Isn’t the Song of Songs too sexy to be inspired? How to I answer Muslim critics about this question?
My question is about the book of Song of Songs. This book is always criticized by Muslims. They say that it is a sexy book especially chapter 7. Solomon describes the breasts, thighs… etc. Can this be the word of God? Christian apologists in my country always say that this book can’t be interpreted literally. It refers to the relationship between Christ and believers. What’s your opinion?
The book Song of Songs is a celebration of romantic love between a man and his wife. The love between a man and his wive includes sex. Sex was invented by God and it is a very good thing. There is nothing “dirty” about a man enjoying his wife’s breasts or a wife enjoying the beauty of her husband’s body. Yes, this is the Word of God. It is the world that has made sex ugly and a hurtful thing. It is the world which tells us that any kind of sex between two consenting people is just fine and dandy. Sex outside of the committed relationship between a husband and a wife is not a thing of beauty. Sex outside of the territory within which God has blessed it is harmful to people. It creates insecurity, not security. It appeals to our pleasure outside of a committed love relationship. Christians should not be in the least bit ashamed of the marital relationship, including physical love in marriage. It is a beautiful thing which God created and which should be celebrated.
As far as I know, the Qur’an does not consider the sexual relationship between a husband and wife a “dirty” thing. I have read the entire Qur’an and found no statements that sex is bad. The Qur’an does not have a sura like Song of Songs, but, as far as I know, there is nothing in Islam which would say that the content of Song of Songs is not a good thing. Some Muslims object, but this is because of prudishness on their part, but, like I said, as far as I know, based on the Qur’an only, their religion considers sex between a husband and a wife as a healthy and good kind of pleasure.
Of course, there is the fact that Muhammad had many wives, including young girls, which is a great embarrassment. And then there is the modern version of Islam which, unlike the Qur’an, makes women almost prisoners of their husbands, and demands that they cover themselves to what I would consider a radical extent, which is a way of controlling women. Not all Muslims are like this, fortunately, but many are. Muslims will complain that in the West, women dress very provocatively and inappropriately. Of course we, as Christians, agree with this. However, we live in cultures which are not overtly Christian, so such inappropriate and provocative behavior is not to be blamed on Christians. Hopefully, Christian women show more restraint. Nevertheless, to be honest, as a Christian living in the West, I can see why many Muslims are repulsed by the things women wear in other cultures, and can even see why they are tempted to “blame” Christianity for this problem. The blame is not correctly placed in this case, but I can understand it. I can also appreciate the fact that in some Muslim cultures women are dressed more modestly. It is just that I cannot personally support the covering of the entire body and even the faces of women, as this seems to me to be oppressive of women.
But that is not the question. The question is whether the “sexy” content in the Song of Songs is bad or inappropriate. I believe that it is not. It is a beautiful and poetic description of the beauty of love within a marriage of two people committed to God. As a married man, I read this book and find it instructive for my marriage relationship.
By the way, the idea that Song of Songs is a metaphor of the relationship between Christ and believers is a stretch in my opinion. It misses the entire point of the book. Is this metaphor an underlying aspect of the book? Maybe so. Perhaps the analogy between human romantic love is a good metaphor for God’s love for the church, but it certainly is not the main thing going on in Song of Songs. The imagery is too obviously about physical romance (such as in Ch. 7 as you point out) for this book to be primarily metaphorical. It is primarily about romantic love. It is a biblical love story. Do not let your Muslim friends disrespect a beautiful biblical picture of the marriage relationship or intimidate you into needlessly defending this book against such a false charge.