Erectile Dysfunction, Viagra, and God's Will
Even those of us who are godly and walk in the way of the Lord may find ourselves from time to time beset by afflictions and setbacks – problems such as erectile dysfunction. Erectile dysfunction is a serious issue for Christian men, as it interferes with performing the duties of a good husband in the marriage bed and can therefore affect one’s ability to be fruitful and multiply, as the Lord has commanded us. Our Heavenly Father has promised us “I will make you as firm as a rock, as hard as a diamond,” (Ezekiel 3:9) but what happens when our own flesh fails us? It can test a believer’s faith, both in himself and in God. What is a good Christian to do, and is Viagra an option?
Erectile dysfunction is not a new phenomenon. It has always plagued mankind. Even in biblical times, difficulty in achieving or maintaining an erection troubled many: ”An evil disease cleaveth fast unto him; And now that he lieth he shall rise up no more.” (Psalms 41:8) In the Old Testament, impotence was sometimes a sign of the wrath of God on the wicked or His enemies: ”Yes, I will take you, breathing on you the fire of my wrath, and you will become soft in it.” (Ezekiel 22:21)
A Strong Erection is a Gift from God
Throughout the Bible, having a hard and lasting erection is frequently equated with righteousness and Godliness. Potency and procreative ability and prowess are often equated with God’s blessings: “His seed shall be mighty upon earth: the generation of the upright shall be blessed.” (Psalms 112:2) In the Old Testament, David was one of God’s most favored servants, and here the Lord declares how he has blessed him with a firm manhood: “For thy steadfast love was established forever, thy faithfulness is firm as the heavens. I pledged my word to my servant, David, saying, Everyone descending from you is guaranteed life; I'll make your rule as solid and lasting as rock.” (Psalms 89:2-4) As we can see, an erection is not only a gift from God, but also a means of glorifying Him. Later in the same Psalm, the Lord explains how David’s erection is actually praising Him: “My faithfulness and my steadfast love shall be with him, and in my name shall his horn be exalted.” (Psalms 89:24)
Of course, strong and long-lasting erections are a gift in other ways, as they improve lovemaking for both husband and wife. We have discussed God’s gift of oral sex elsewhere, but here is another scriptural example of how the blessing of a God-given, solid erection comes together with the blessing of oral lovemaking: “Because thy steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise thee...my mouth praises thee with joyful lips, when I think of thee upon my bed.” (Psalms 63:3 – 6)
The ability to maintain an erection and to have longevity during lovemaking are qualities that the Bible highlights as important, especially for older men. “Older men are to be self-controlled, worthy of respect, sensible, and sound in faith, love, and endurance.” (Titus 2:2) The Bible is full of stories of older men who fathered generations of children well into their old age. The most well-know is Abraham, who fathered Isaac at age 100: “And I will bless her, and give thee a son also of her: yea, I will bless her, and she shall be [a mother] of nations; kings of people shall be of her. Then Abraham fell upon his face, and laughed, and said in his heart, Shall [a child] be born unto him that is an hundred years old? and shall Sarah, that is ninety years old, bear?”(Genesis 16:16-17) The book of Genesis, Chapter 5, also relates a long list of men who continued to have active sex lives and fathered children at advance ages, including Adam, at 130 years; Seth, at 105 years ; Enos, at 90 years; Cainan, at 70 years; Mahalaleel, at 65 years; Jared, at 162 years; Enoch, at 65 years Methuselah, at 187 years; Lamech, at 182 years; and Noah, at 500. It’s hard to imagine that in such advanced years, they didn’t have a little divine help.
Is it OK to take Viagra?
If erections are a gift from the Lord, this naturally raises the question, Is it OK for Christians to take Viagra? Is taking Viagra a sign of a lack of faith? Given the scriptural mandate for males to perform sexually, and given that it is the Lord’s will that we be firm, upright, long-lasting, and steadfast, we believe that taking Viagra is an acceptable solution for Christians facing the challenge of impotence. Viagra is like any other medication that we take to relieve medical symptoms. It’s not a sign of a lack of faith to take an aspirin for a headache, or to take blood pressure medication, or insulin for diabetes. The Scriptures acknowledge the problem of erectile dysfunction as well as some of the compensations we have for it: “Lo, this only have I found, that God hath made man upright; but they have sought out many inventions” (Ecclesiastes 7:29)…inventions such as penis pumps, penis extensions, erection-enhancing lotions, and cock rings. However, unlike these “inventions,” Viagra and similar drugs work with your body to enhance your own natural erectile ability.
Of course, as with any physical or spiritual ill, we would first want to consult the Lord in prayer and seek his wisdom and guidance, and ask for healing. But even for the faithful, there should be no spiritual contradiction in also seeking the advice of a family physician or other medical professional, who may prescribe Viagra, Cialis, or Levitra.
Although dealing with erectile dysfunction can be stressful and even bring on an emotional and spiritual crisis for some men, we must be careful not to blame ourselves or the Lord for our predicament. As it says in the Gospel, “The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak" (Matthew 26:41). The Lord understands that sometimes we need a little help to do His will. In this earthly plane, our bodies are often faulty, but we can take comfort in the God’s promise of vitality and potency everlasting on the day of judgment: “He will also keep you firm to the end, so that you will be faultless on the Day of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1st Corinthians 1:8)