I want to catch up on the comments from the Gay Christian sermon blog post (includes rules for commenting on these topics), the Nature vs. Nurture post, and the Gay Marriage post. Please check these out before commenting on today’s post.
With gay marriage, I think the essence of the argument comes down to who defines what “marriage” is? The government? The Church? The Bible? I look to the Bible, but even this is complex. I see the definition of marriage in Genesis 2:24 where the Bible says “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.” One flesh = the intimacy that sex creates. This is the definition of marriage according to Scripture: heterosexual & monogamous. Many ask why we still see so much polygamy in the Old Testament. The main answer to this is because Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, etc. did not have the book of Genesis given to them. The book is about them, but was written down 650 years after Abraham. I preached and blogged specifically about this biblical interpretation paradigm here.
Moses, who wrote down Genesis (along with his scribes) and also wrote down the Law (which gives a lot of commands about monogamous heterosexual marriage), did so in around 1450 B.C. Moses also had multiple wives, which is explainable because he had them before God gave them the Law. But the sticky part is after the Law was given, dudes were still practicing polygamy. King David had 7 wives, and his son Solomon had the Wilt Chamberlainesq number of 300 wives and 700 concubines! God never approved of this, though we do wonder why he didn’t condemn it (that we know of), as Genesis 2:24 and the Law is clear what marriage was meant to be.
An understanding that is helpful in interpreting the Bible throughout the millenniums it represents is progressive revelation, which means that God revealed more and more of his truth as history progressed, and the accountability to this revelation was gradually increased as well. It wasn’t revealed all at one time, and held to full accountability all at one time, because humanity at that time couldn’t handle it within the cultural constructs they swam in.
All this to say, what we do know is that by the time 1 Corinthians 6:12-20 was written by Paul in the 1st Century, the Genesis 2:24 definition of sex and marriage was definitely taken literally and accountability was in order for this definition, as he quotes in verbatim to prove his point about sex being for marriage only.
My point: The Christian definition of God’s design for marriage (and sex) comes from Genesis 2:24 and anything outside of this is a sin. This truth was first penned in 1450 B.C.
This is why I brought up the idea of calling gay “marriages” unions and leaving the term marriage in the biblical context where it originated from. Which you can read about here. This may feel like semantics, but it feels like a win-win to me for Christians who want to uphold the biblical definition of marriage and for those who want to give homosexuals the civil rights that go along with our government’s definition of marriage. I’d be fine if the government stopped using the word marriage altogether and just let the Church use that word. It might disarm people and allow us to move forward peacefully.
Amanda asked about standing up in her friend’s gay wedding even though she believes homosexual behavior is a sin. I’ve thought about a similar potential situation. What if one of my children turns out to be homosexual and pursues a gay marriage? You hear so many horror stories about Christian parents who disown their children when this happens. I think that is awful for parents to do and is extremely unChristlike. I can still love without agreeing with the behavior taking place. If this situation ever happened with one of my children, I could not officiate the wedding as the pastor, because I feel that would be me approving of the behavior and acting like God approves of the behavior. But I would definitely be at the wedding and be there for my child as a father, through thick and thin, good or bad, sin or not.
Something to chew on with the gay marriage argument…whenever I hear arguments for gay marriage, that all people are entitled to the same civic rights, it always makes me wonder how those same arguments do not also have to automatically apply to making consensual polygamy legal. I have never seen the show Sister Wives but as I understand it, it navigates a man and his four “wives”. (Found an interesting blog about the show, Mormonism, and polygamy HERE) They aren’t legally married but in their minds, they are. Yet these women are deprived of the same rights as gay couples in America. So where is the the human rights outcry for polygamy to become legal? I’m not trying to be cynical or sarcastic, just asking that both sides of the gay marriage argument be honest about their motives. I talk thoroughly about how Christians can be very self-righteous in their argument against gay marriage, but I think those who argue for it can also be self-righteous by misrepresenting what they are actually arguing for and why. I think an honest and consistent argument for gay marriage must include an equally passionate argument for the legalization of polygamist marriages.
To me, the solution to this goes back to my first point: Let the church define marriage and let the government (voting process) define civil unions. Give people equal rights. Homosexuals, heterosexuals, and polygamists. But separate that from God’s design for marriage. These are two different things and I don’t think they need to be joined at the hip in the way we talk about them.
In my next post on this topic, I’ll discuss Romans 1 “exchanging natural for unnatural”, as well as if Paul’s biblical writings are just his opinions. I’ll also discuss my thoughts on the nature vs. nurture debate. Stay tuned.