Q: What is the Seventh-day Adventist Church’s view on sex before marriage? Can I marry a virtuous non-Adventist over an Adventist with whom I can’t be compatible? — Eric, from Ghana
A: Eric, let’s look at your questions one at a time. To answer your first question, all of the beliefs of the Seventh-day Adventist Church are based on the Bible, and the Bible is clear that sexual intimacy is a gift from God to be experienced by a husband and wife. Outside of the marriage relationship, sexual intercourse is sin. Before marriage, it is called fornication. After marriage, to have sex with someone other than one’s spouse is called adultery.
The Bible strongly condemns both fornication and adultery, as well as other sins. In 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 we read: “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.”
And, of course, one of the Ten Commandments is “You shall not commit adultery” (Exodus 20:14), which includes all sexual impurity.
This command is not because God wants to keep us from happiness. Rather He longs to save us from the terrible consequences of sin. Many heartaches have come from sex outside of marriage — diseases, unplanned pregnancies, emotional upheaval, divorce, and much more. I urge you to follow God’s way and wait for that special someone to marry before unwrapping this beautiful gift.
Regarding your second question, certainly you should marry someone you love and with whom you are compatible. The Bible speaks clearly however, regarding the compatibility between a believer and nonbeliever: “Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?” (2 Corinthians 6:14).
We are given this inspired counsel because God knows that a marriage is much stronger — and happier — when both the man and the woman share the same biblical values and beliefs, especially regarding the Sabbath. Amos 3:3 says, “Can two walk together, unless they are agreed?”
Unfortunately, when Seventh-day Adventist believers marry someone not of our faith, hoping against hope that after marriage their spouse will eventually see the light of Bible truth, they are almost always disappointed.
I encourage you to read the rest of the answer on my Presidential Perspectives webpage where an answer to a similar question to yours was posted. Here’s the link to the question “What marriages are forbidden in Adventism?”
May the Lord bless you with wisdom and courage to follow His way in these important decisions.