Vol. 9, No. 1
Since You Asked
~ Page 20 ~
Names may be included at the discretion of the Editor unless querists request their names be withheld. Please check our Archive for the answer to your question before submitting it; there are over 1,000 articles in the Archive addressing numerous biblical topics. Submit a Question to GGO.
Does God hold us accountable for inappropriate dreams, such as dreaming about sexual acts or criminal acts? Dreams are a part of our total being so why should we not be held accountable for them. Dreams are just as much a part of us as our conscious thoughts. Please, no bs answer. James Bannister
First, I am aware of no Scripture that directly pertains to the content of dreams or other involuntary, unconscious thoughts. Hence, it would be difficult and even dangerous to make hard and fast pronouncements on this (or any) matter in absence of biblical authority pertaining to it.
New Unger's Bible Dictionary addresses the type of dreams comparable to the inquiry.
Another significant aspect of dreaming is the ethical. In the dream one's true nature manifests itself, breaking through the pressure of external relations and the stimulation of the waking life. From the selfishness of the soul, its selfish impulses, its restlessness stimulated by selfishness, are formed in the heart all kinds of sinful images, of which the man is ashamed when he awakens, and on account of which remorse sometimes disturbs the dreamer. The Scriptures appear to hold the man responsible, if not for dreaming, at least for the character of the dream (Lev 15:16; Deut 23:10).
However, ceremonial uncleanness was not always equivalent to sinning (e.g., menstruation, marital relations, a leper). The passages cited by Unger's do not stipulate sinfulness. In addition, we living today are guided by the New Testament rather than the Old Testament (Ephesians 2:15; Colossians 2:14), and the references of Leviticus 15:16 and Deuteronomy 23:10 are not reinstituted in the New Testament.
Involuntary, subconscious dreams where sometimes appears an image of moral impurity appears to be an unfortunate incident among most, if not all, humans. Even if while awake a momentary and involuntary impure thought visits one's mind, which he promptly dismisses, there is no biblical indication of sinfulness. To be tempted is not sinful (Matthew 4:1; Hebrews 2:18; 4:15), but to purposefully submit to that temptation in mind (Matthew 5:28) or bodily action (James 1:14-15) is sinful.
However, if ungodly themes persistently populate one's dreams, it may be an indication that something is amiss with one's thought processes while he is awake, too. A person either doing something intently immediately before retiring for the night (e.g., a video game) or something prominently on one's mind (e.g., a new job) may find himself involuntarily rehearsing those things throughout a restless night's sleep. Therefore, if one is doing or contemplating ungodly things during his waking moments, he may well populate his dreams accordingly.
We should think on excellent things: "Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things" (Philippians 4:8). This may assist our waking and sleeping moments respecting the nature of what we may dream, but even this may not completely prevent the occasional, involuntary unconscious dream over which we may be embarrassed upon awaking. It appears that one's dreams (in the absence of biblical application) may not be sinful, though one's waking moment's activities that may be sinful can contribute to inappropriate dreams.
The slang with which the query closes is unbecoming, especially respecting one professing a keen interest in biblical truth. This is not meant to be a harsh criticism, only a valid observation for due consideration.
New Unger's Bible Dictionary. CD-ROM. Chicago: Moody P., 1988.
"The Galilaeans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices" (Luke 13:1). This biblical citation is the rarity about which neither additional biblical mention occurs or is there any known witness in the secular, historical record from which one might gain additional insight. "This event is extant in no other historical record than Luke's" (Butler 279). Commentators offer speculations based on what little information appears in Luke 13:1, but no substantive information that can be verified.
Butler, Paul T. The Gospel of Luke. CD-ROM. Joplin: College P., 1981.