He Made Them Male and Female

Last week we began to examine what the Bible teaches concerning man. Some of the most important points we considered were that (1) man is not the product of blind evolutionary forces, but is instead the very handiwork of God; (2) the creation of man was a collaborative effort of the Holy Trinity; (3) man was created in the image of God; (4) the human race is one (implication:  since we are all descendants of one man, we are all distantly related and there is no room in the thinking of a Christian for racism); and (5) man was created to glorify God.

What we did not have time for last week, but is nevertheless essential for us to discuss—especially after the decisions of the Supreme Court this past week—is the fact that God made man male and female. In our opening text we read this:

So God created man in his own image,
            in the image of God he created him;
            male and female he created them. (Genesis 1:27)

And then in chapter two we have the details. Chapter one gives us a general overview of creation. Chapter two gives us some of the particulars about the creation of man. This is important to understand because there are some people who set these two chapters over against each other and claim they give us two different and contradictory accounts of creation. Perhaps to a superficial reader they appear contradictory, but they really are nothing of the sort. They are complementary, chapter one giving us an overview, and chapter two breaking it down and giving us some of the details.

The thing that is vital for us to understand, however, is the fact that the creation narrative is paradigmatic of God’s intention for marriage. This means that the creation narrative sets the example, serves as the pattern, gives us the model for properly understanding God’s intention for marriage. In other words, the creation narrative is an expression of his will.

This is certainly what Jesus teaches, isn’t it? Do you remember when the Pharisees posed a question to Jesus concerning divorce? They asked him, “Is it lawful to divorce one’s wife for any cause?” What they were asking is expressed more fully in the NIV:  “Is it lawful to divorce one’s wife for any and every cause?” They asked this question of Jesus because there was a controversy in his day between the two chief schools of rabbinic thought. The majority sided with Rabbi Hillel who taught that a man could divorce his wife for virtually any reason whatsoever. And they were asking Jesus, “Is this true?” And how did Jesus respond? It’s very interesting. He grounded his answer in the creation narrative. He took the narrative as an expression of God’s will concerning marriage. He said,

Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh”? (Matt. 19:3-5)

And then he draws a conclusion that relates directly to the question he was asked. He said, “So they are no longer two but one flesh. What God has joined together, let not man separate” (Matt. 19:6). Jesus takes the creation narrative as an expression of the divine will and as providing moral norms with respect to marriage. (And by the way, Paul does the same thing in First Corinthians 11 and First Timothy 2.)

The question Jesus answered from the creation paradigm concerned the subject of divorce. But the creation narrative expresses a number of other aspects of God’s will concerning marriage as well. What things? Though we could identify several more, let me just mention four today.

Monogamy

The first is monogamy. The word monogamy, of course, means marriage to one person. You will recognize the Greek prefix mono as meaning one (monologue, monocle, monotone, monotony, monopoly, mononucleosis, etc.). The second half of monogamy comes from the Greek gamos, meaning marriage.

God’s will concerning monogamy is evident from the fact that God created one man and one woman. He did not create one man and several women. It wasn’t Adam and Eve and Mary and Susan and Patty and Jane. Nor did God create one woman and several men. It was one man and one woman. This provides us with the divine norm for marriage and clearly rules out polygamy or plural marriage. This is why we find Paul teaching that one of the qualifications for serving in the offices of elder and deacon is that a candidate must be “the husband of one wife” (1 Tim. 3:2, 12). A more literal translation of the Greek is “a man of one woman.” This means that not only are elders and deacons each to have only one wife, but they are to be faithful to their wives, meaning that not only is polygamy ruled out, but so is adultery and everything else that betrays a lack of devotion to one’s wife.

Paul establishes this as a rule for elders and deacons because it is in accord with God’s will as it is revealed in the creation narrative, and elders and deacons are to be examples to the flock. They are to be devoted to one woman. And this devotion to one’s wife is to last for life.

Lifelong monogamy

God’s will, then, is not only monogamy, but lifelong monogamy. God didn’t create Adam a new wife after a few years of living with Eve, or Eve a new husband after a few years of living with Adam. He didn’t say, “Look Adam I know you need a little variety in life to spice things up a bit, let me create you a new woman.” No. God said that a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. He shall not discard her.

This rules out serial monogamy. This really was the question the Pharisees posed to Jesus. Those of the school of Hillel taught that a man must be faithful to his wife so long as he was married to her, but he could divorce her for any one of a number of different reasons, including not cooking his food according to his liking, or because she had bad breath, or even because he found another woman more attractive. Any light or trivial thing could be used as a justification for a man to divorce his wife. Jesus, on the other hand, said that divorce was allowable only when there was an offense that struck at the heart of the marriage covenant, like infidelity.

The liberal divorce law of the Hillel school is the sort of thing the Lord speaks against in Malachi.

And this second thing you do. You cover the Lord’s altar with tears, with weeping and groaning because he no longer regards the offering or accepts it with favor from your hand. [dje – that is, the Lord has no regard for your worship or answers your prayers] But you say, “Why does he not?” Because the Lord was witness between you and the wife of your youth, to whom you have been faithless, though she is your companion and your wife by covenant. Did he not make them [dje – husband and wife] one, with a portion of the Spirit in their union? And what was the one God seeking? Godly offspring. So guard yourselves in your spirit, and let none of you be faithless to the wife of your youth. “For the man who does not love his wife but divorces her [dje – without proper justification], says the Lord, the God of Israel, covers his garment with violence, says the Lord of hosts. So guard yourselves in your spirit, and do not be faithless.” (Mal. 2:13-16)

The paradigm of creation teaches not just monogamy, but lifelong monogamy. Only when there is an egregious breach of the marriage covenant resulting in a lawful divorce, or in the case of the death of a spouse, is a second marriage permissible.

Heterosexual Lifelong monogamy

It should be obvious from everything that we have said so far that God’s intention for marriage—his will for marriage—does not include homosexual relationships whether gay or lesbian. God made man male and female. He made Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve, nor Eve and Genevieve. He made a man and a woman. He made man male and female, and he made them this way for a purpose, in order to fulfill a calling.

God’s Calls Married Couples to be Fruitful and Multiply

This calling is central to the creational paradigm for marriage. We must not overlook the fact that God called Adam and Eve to be co-creators with him in the procreation of children.

And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth” (Gen. 1:28).

Remember what we read in Malachi:

Did he not make them one [husband and wife], with a portion of the Spirit in their union? And what was the one God seeking? Godly offspring (Mal. 2:15).

Procreation, or having children, is not incidental to God’s purpose for marriage; it is fundamental. But of course procreation is impossible in homosexual relationships. It is a calling that neither two men, nor two women can fulfill…for obvious reasons:  they are not properly equipped for the task.

Now perhaps someone will argue, “Well some male-female couples are unable to bear children, too. Does that mean that they have no business being married?” No, it doesn’t mean that at all because there is a vast difference between the two. The inability of a homosexual couple to conceive is inherent in the nature of the relationship. The inability of a heterosexual couple to conceive is only accidental. Homosexuals know going into it that they cannot produce children. Infertile heterosexual couples don’t know until afterward. In their case, it is a matter of finding out that something is physiologically wrong. But a homosexual couple can be perfectly healthy and they can still never bear children. In other words, they cannot fulfill one of the fundamental purposes of marriage.

Heteros Trashed Marriage, Sex, and Family First

I must say that it has been a departure of heterosexuals from a biblical view of marriage, sex, and family that has paved the way for the advance of the homosexual agenda. The decline of marriage—the assault on marriage, really—began among heteros with the separation of sex from any consideration of bearing children, a separation which was made possible by the pill. (A good book to read on this subject is Adam and Eve After the Pill:  Paradoxes of the Sexual Revolution, by Mary Eberstadt, 2012). If there is little to no risk of sex leading to children, then there is little to no need of waiting for marriage to have sex. Casual, recreational, indiscriminate, and promiscuous sex does not bear the same consequences as it had always done in the past with respect to producing children. Knowing that a brief casual sexual encounter might lead to a lifetime responsibility of being a parent had the effect of encouraging sexual self-control—especially among women, because the larger share of the responsibility of raising a child has always fallen upon the mother. It was not in her interest to have a child out of wedlock. Enter the pill. Consequence removed.

There are still other consequences, of course:  physical, emotional, spiritual, and relational consequences, but these are not as immediately obvious or as easily quantified and so they don’t provide as much incentive for sexual self-restraint. But my point is that when heteros began to think of sex apart from marriage and family, it paved the way for homosexuals to say there really is no difference between us.

This point is well made by Yale professor George Chauncey, who is himself a homosexual. He has shown that the acceptance of homosexual behavior was,

profoundly shaped by the sexual revolution of the 1960s and ‘70s. All around them, lesbians, bisexuals, and gay men saw their heterosexual friends decisively rejecting the moral codes of their parents’ generation, which had limited sex to marriage, and forging a new moral code that linked sex to love, pleasure, freedom, self-expression, and common consent [dje – in other words disassociate sex from marriage and family]. Heterosexuals, in other words, were becoming more like homosexuals [dje – whose sexual acts could never produce children], in ways that ultimately would make it harder for them to believe gay people were outsiders from a dangerous, immoral underworld. Moreover, the fact that so many young heterosexuals considered sexual freedom to be a vital marker of personal freedom made lesbians and gay men feel their quest for freedom was part of a larger movement. Ultimately, both gay people’s mass decision to come out and heterosexuals’ growing acceptance of them were encouraged by the sexual revolution and became two of its most enduring legacies. I think this did not represent the assimilation of gay life into the Normal so much as the transformation of the Normal itself.[1]

Most of us here in this room were raised either during or after the sexual revolution. We can hardly imagine a world in which the Norm is not “do whatever you want with whomever you please whenever and wherever you wish.” We can hardly imagine a world in which the cultural expectation was more or less consistent with what the Bible teaches, even if it stemmed more from pragmatic considerations than from Christian convictions. We can hardly imagine a world in which the institutions of society supported marriage and welcomed and encouraged the having of children, encouraged fidelity, looked with disapproval upon sex before marriage, a world in which virginity was beautiful and honorable and a prized possession.

The vast majority of our social ills would disappear if such things were true today. Today’s cultural assumptions and practices with regard to marriage, sex, and family have been devastating at all levels:  personal, family, and societal. For instance, one of the reasons the government has grown to such enormous proportions is because of the breakdown of the family. The government is increasingly taking on the role of parent, and this only further encourages the breakdown of the family. If the government is there to pick up the slack, then we can all shirk our responsibilities.

The transformation of the Normal with respect to sexual behavior necessarily includes a redefinition of marriage. Marriage is no longer viewed even by most heterosexuals as a “comprehensive, exclusive, permanent union that is intrinsically ordered to producing children.”[2] It is instead “an emotional union, rather than one inherently ordered to family life.”[3] And if such an emotional bond can lead to marriage among heteros, in other words, if heteros no longer think of bearing and raising children as fundamental  to marriage and sex (children are just an option)—then why not homosexual marriage?

Reasons for opposing the redefinition of marriage

There are many reasons to oppose gay marriage. The first is because “gay marriage” is an oxymoron. It’s a self-contradiction.  It is war against reality. And it is never wise to tamper with reality.

The second reason to oppose what is called by the oxymoronic term “gay marriage” is that if such a union is given the same legal status as real marriage, then on the principle of equality, people in said unions will demand the right to have children (adoption, artificial insemination, surrogate motherhood, etc.), and it is demonstrable that children who are brought up with same sex parents are worse off in nearly every measurable way. [4]

There are eight outcome variables where differences between the children of homosexual parents and married parents were not only present, and favorable to the married parents, but where these findings were statistically significant for both children of lesbian mothers and "gay" fathers and both with and without controls. While all the findings in the study are important, these are the strongest possible ones--virtually irrefutable. Compared with children raised by their married biological parents (IBF), children of homosexual parents (LM and GF):

·      Are much more likely to have received welfare (IBF 17%; LM 69%; GF 57%)
·      Have lower educational attainment
·      Report less safety and security in their family of origin
·      Report more ongoing "negative impact" from their family of origin
·      Are more likely to suffer from depression
·      Have been arrested more often
·      If they are female, have had more sexual partners--both male and female

The following…are some additional areas in which the children of lesbian mothers (who represented 71% of all the children with homosexual parents in this study) differed from the IBF children, in ways that were statistically significant in both a direct comparison and with controls. Children of lesbian mothers:

·      Are more likely to be currently cohabiting
·      Are almost 4 times more likely to be currently on public assistance
·      Are less likely to be currently employed full-time
·      Are more than 3 times more likely to be unemployed
·      Are nearly 4 times more likely to identify as something other than entirely heterosexual
·      Are 3 times as likely to have had an affair while married or cohabiting
·      Are an astonishing 10 times more likely to have been "touched sexually by a parent or other adult caregiver."
·      Are nearly 4 times as likely to have been "physically forced" to have sex against their will
·      Are more likely to have "attachment" problems related to the ability to depend on others
·      Use marijuana more frequently
·      Smoke more frequently
·      Watch TV for long periods more frequently
·      Have more often pled guilty to a non-minor offense

The third reason why we ought to oppose what is called gay marriage is for the purpose of giving hope to those who ensnared in this sin. Legalization legitimizes a behavior. It expresses social approval. And if homosexual behavior is viewed with approval, what social incentives are there for homosexuals to change? Approval only confirms them in their sinful and self-destructive ways and offers them no hope of escape. If we love them and care for them—and we should—we will tell them that their behavior is unacceptable to God and offensive to him, but that his mercy is great, and if they turn to him he will forgive their sins and give them the power to overcome their temptations and change their desires (1 Cor. 6:9-11). You can find many wonderful and very moving testimonies online.[5]

The fourth reason we ought to oppose what is called gay marriage is that widespread acceptance and practice of homosexual behavior and other sexual perversions will be visited with the wrath of God. We have, of course, the example of Sodom and Gomorrah (not that homosexual behavior was the only sin that led to their downfall, but it was certainly a prominent reason). In addition, we have the warning of Leviticus 18:24-30 and the teaching of Paul in Romans 1:18-27.

If This Then That

We are na├»ve to think that recognizing homosexual relationships as the moral and legal equivalent of marriage is where the matter ends because the reasoning which is used to justify it will inevitably lead us to justify polygamy, incest, and even pedophilia. If all that is necessary is an emotional bond where two people profess their love for each other, then on what rational basis can we limit the relationship to just two? Is it not inherently discriminatory to polyamorous people to prevent them from marrying? Why shouldn’t marriage involve more than two so long as they can say, “But we love each other”?[6]

On what rational basis can we deny marriage to a brother and sister who profess their love for each other, or between a mother and her son, or a father and his daughter? I mean, if they really love each other? We can no longer use the excuse that children born to incestuous relationships are more likely to have birth defects, because after all there is always the pill, and if that fails there is always abortion, or if Peter Singer has his way, infanticide.[7]

Further, if “love” is the only requirement for sex or marriage why not an adult and a child, if the child is willing?[8]

My point is that the rationale or the logic used to justify same-sex marriage necessarily leads us to this brave new world where anyone could marry (or at least have sex with) anyone and as many anyones as they profess to love.

But perhaps the most troubling aspect of the SCOTUS decisions last week is the assumption, clearly written into the opinion of Justice Anthony Kennedy for the majority in the DOMA case, that those who oppose the legalization of gay marriage are motivated by hate. Justice Antonin Scalia put his finger on this when he wrote in his scathing dissent that the court has adjudged those who oppose gay marriage to be “enemies of the human race,” and that by so opposing it we intend to “disparage,” “injure,” “degrade,” “demean,” and “humiliate” homosexuals.

Even though the DOMA decision only affects the definition of marriage for federal purposes—striking down the requirement that marriage necessarily involves a man and a woman—the reasoning of the court will necessarily lead to challenges of state law. If limiting marriage to the union of a man and woman at the federal level is hateful and discriminatory, why wouldn’t this be true at the state level? And if so, the situation will have to be remedied.

The redefinition of marriage will also have a huge impact on religious liberty. If opposition to gay marriage is hateful and bigoted then clearly such opposition cannot be tolerated. They try to assure us that it will not impinge on religious freedom, by which they mean that ministers and churches will not be forced to participate in homosexual unions. But that is the limit of their idea of religious freedom with regard to this issue.

There has been, of late, a troubling change in terminology by members of the current administration, a change from talking about freedom of religion to freedom of worship.[9] The change may seem inconsequential, but it is potentially very far reaching in its implications. Worship can be taken to mean “what you do in church.” If this change in terminology reflects an underlying shift from the exercise of religion in the broad sense that the First Amendment undoubtedly has in view, to “what you do in church on Sunday morning,” then what this effectively means is that you may behave as a Christian when you are in church, but not elsewhere.

The First Amendment might well keep clergy from being forced to celebrate same-sex weddings, but their lay coreligionists will not enjoy similar protections, nor will their educational and social-service institutions long escape discrimination in licensing and government contracting. From the wedding on through the honeymoon and into common life, couples transact as a couples with countless people. Photographers, caterers, innkeepers, adoption agency officials, parochial school administrators, counselors, foster-care and adoption providers, and others will be forced to comply with the revisionist view or lose their jobs.

We are not scaremongering:  we are taking revisionists at their word. If support for conjugal marriage [dje – traditional marriage to the exclusion of “gay marriage”] really is like racism, we need only ask how civil society treats racists. We marginalize and stigmatize them. Thus, in a rare departure from professional norms, a prominent law firm in April 2011 reneged on its commitment to defend the Defense of Marriage Act for the House of Representatives. In Canada, Damian Goddard was fired from his job as a sportscaster for expressing on Twitter support for conjugal marriage. A Georgia counselor contracted by the Centers for Disease Control was fired after an investigation into her religiously motivated decision to refer someone in a same-sex relationship to another counselor. A ministry in New Jersey lost its tax-exempt status for denying a lesbian couple use of its facility for a same-sex wedding. A photographer was prosecuted in the New Mexico Human Rights Commission for declining to photograph a same-sex commitment ceremony.

The courts are already eroding freedoms in this area, as champions of the rights of conscience have shown. In Massachusetts, Catholic Charities was forced to give up its adoption services rather than violate its principles by placing children with same-sex cohabitants. When public schools began teaching students about same-sex civil marriage, precisely on the ground that it was now the law of the commonwealth, a Court of Appeals ruled that parents had no right to exempt their students. The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty reports that over “350 separate state anti-discrimination provisions would likely be triggered by recognition of same-sex marriage.”

Because of the mutual influence of law and culture, moreover, emerging legal trends are mirrored by social ones. The dismissal of the conjugal view as bigotry has become so deeply entrenched among revisionists that a Washington Post story drew denunciations and cries of journalistic bias for even implying that one conjugal view advocate was “sane” and “thoughtful.” Outraged readers compared the profile to a hypothetical puff piece on a Ku Klux Klan member.[10]

Conclusion

It remains to be seen just how hard and how consistently the proponents of gay marriage are willing to suppress dissent, but at this point things do not look good for those who are anything other than enthusiastic cheerleaders for the cause.

In the meantime let us be remember that “no wisdom, no understanding, no counsel can avail against the Lord” (Prov. 21:30). He is not worried. Rebellion against the Lord is doomed to failure.

Why do the nations rage
            and the peoples plot in vain?
The kings of the earth set themselves,
            and the rulers take counsel together,
            against the Lord and against his anointed, saying,
“Let us burst their bonds apart
            and cast their cords from us.”
He who sits in the heavens laughs;
            the Lord holds them in derision.
Then he will speak to them in his wrath,
            and terrify them in his fury (Ps. 2:1-5)

One last thing:  the political and legal battles must be fought, and thank God for those individuals and organizations who are on the frontline, but that is only one aspect of the warfare. The other—and more important one—is the Christian family. Never underestimate the powerful witness of a home that is filled with love and joy and peace as a result of the grace of Jesus Christ. It is a beautiful thing. Let’s strive to live in such a way in our own families so that when others see it they can’t help but say, “I want that!”


[1] http://www.yalealumnimagazine.com/articles/2482?page=4
[2] Justice Samuel Alito in dissent in the DOMA case as quoted in “The Supreme Court, You and Me, and the Future of Marriage,” http://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/2013/06/10455/ by Sherif Girgis, Ryan T. Anderson and Robert P. George
[3] Sherif Girgis, Ryan T. Anderson, and Robert P. George, What is Marriage? Man and Woman:  A Defense (New York, NY:  Encounter Books, 2012)
[4] See the results of the study released last year by Mark Regnerus, “How different are the adult children of parents who have same-sex relationships? Findings from the New Family Structures Study” (http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0049089X12000610); for an overview of the study see “New Study on Homosexual Parents Tops All Previous Research,” by Peter Sprigg (http://www.frc.org/issuebrief/new-study-on-homosexual-parents-tops-all-previous-research)
[5] https://www.facebook.com/pages/Ex-Homosexual-Through-Jesus-Christ/227709067265250
[6] “Plural marriage supporters find hope in this week’s court rulings” (http://www.ksl.com/?nid=148&sid=25771381). The ACLU’s official position is favorable to polygamy (http://www.acluutah.org/pluralmarriage.htm)
[7] “Taking Life:  Humans” and excerpt from Practical Ethics, 2nd edition, Cambridge, 1993, pp. 175-217 http://www.utilitarianism.net/singer/by/1993----.htm ; see also Alberto Giubilini and Francesca Minerva, “After-birth abortion:  why should the baby live?” (http://jme.bmj.com/content/early/2012/03/01/medethics-2011-100411.full.pdf+html)
[8] “Pedophiles want same rights as homosexuals:  Claim unfair to be stigmatized for sexual orientation,” http://www.greeleygazette.com/press/?p=11517
[9] http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2010/july/2.12.html
[10] Sherif Girgis, Ryan T. Anderson, and Robert P. George, What is Marriage? Man and Woman:  A Defense (New York, NY:  Encounter Books, 2012)


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