Richard describes a mock debate put on during chapel at ACU. The idea is that you have two rostrums and two microphones, and the speaker is asked to argue both sides of a controversial issue — one side from one microphone and the other from the other mic. Excellent!
This sounds like law school training. I mean, you can’t fairly take on someone else’s argument if you don’t understand it well enough to argue the other side’s case. (And this is why I read Behold the Pattern multiple times before writing my books and posting here. I believe it essential to understand your opponent’s position as well as — if not better than — he.)
So Beck made two arguments, one on each side of the homosexual marriage issue. Here they are.
This was my argument for the position that, no, same sex marriages are not reflective of the image of God:
Same sex marriages are not in the image of God because when God created humanity in God’s image Genesis 1.27 says “male and female he created them.” Thus, the model for marriage is Adam and Eve. The basis of marriage is biological complementarity. This understanding is supported in Romans 1 where Paul describes same sex relations as “unnatural.” In light of this, the command God gives to marriage, as a reflection of God’s image, is reproduction (“be fruitful and multiply”). Obviously, same sex marriages are not based on biological complementarity and cannot procreate. Thus, same sex marriages cannot reflect the image of God. The theology informing this understanding iscreation theology.
This was my argument for the position that, yes, same sex marriages are reflective of the image of God:
Same sex marriages are in the image of God because the model for marriage is Yahweh and Israel rather than Adam and Eve. Thus, the basis of marriage is grace and election, God choosing Israel from among the nations. The primacy of election/grace over biology is supported in Romans 11 where God is found “unnaturally” grafting the Gentiles into the covenant with Israel. In light of this, the command God gives to marriage to reflect God’s image is covenant faithfulness. Obviously, same sex marriages display the grace of election and can model covenant faithfulness. Thus, same sex marriages can reflect the image of God. The theology informing this understanding is salvation history.
Let’s start with the second summary (which is very nicely worded — and much clearer than Williams and Rogers, from whom he borrows).
We’ve covered most of these points before. But there’s one really important point yet to cover. Sometime ago, I posted a series called “Jesus and Paul on the Hermeneutics of Sexuality.” Links to the posts are provided in the first of the six posts in this series most recently published.
Where I disagree with the election/covenant faithfulness theory most fundamentally is that, when the question of marriage and sexuality comes up, Jesus and Paul always allude to Gen 2 as the model to follow. I argue this extensively in the earlier posts in this series from 2013 listed here, but here are a few examples to make the point —
(Mat 19:4-6 ESV) 4 [Jesus] answered, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, 5 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’? 6 So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”
(1Co 6:16-17 ESV) 16 Or do you not know that he who is joined to a prostitute becomes one body with her? For, as it is written, “The two will become one flesh.” 17 But he who is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with him.
(1Co 7:2-4 ESV) 2 But because of the temptation to sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband. 3 The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to her husband. 4 For the wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. Likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does.
(1Co 11:8-9 ESV) 8 For man was not made from woman, but woman from man. 9 Neither was man created for woman, but woman for man.
(Eph 5:31 ESV) 31 “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.”
(1Ti 2:13-14 ESV) 13 For Adam was formed first, then Eve; 14 and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor.
The relationship of Jesus to the church is mentioned by Paul in Eph 5 — along with a very explicit reference to Gen 2. So Paul certainly believes the relationship of Christ to the church matters in understanding marriage, but he also insists that Gen 2 matters. Therefore, we don’t get to pick one or the other. Both matter.
Why is this important? Because Gen 2 describes a sinless relationship, freshly created by the hand of God. And Moses, by inspiration, tells his readers that this is a template for marriage even after the Fall.
(Gen 2:24 ESV) 24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.
And I think this is the theological root of marriage. It’s not procreation so much as a natural unity found both in the natures of men and women and in their physical differences —
(Gen 2:20-25 ESV) 20 The man gave names to all livestock and to the birds of the heavens and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper fit for him. 21 So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. 22 And the rib that the LORD God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. 23 Then the man said, “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” 24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. 25 And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.
This is, in fact, Paul’s argument in Rom 1 —
(Rom 1:26-27 ESV) For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; 27 and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.
Now, to a Jew, “nature” is, in this context, how God made men and women. Moderns tend to distinguish God from science, and those without a truly biblical worldview see the origin of sexuality and all in Darwin and the Darwinian drive to maximize the genetic material passed to the next generation. Thus, to someone who thinks in modern terms, “male” and “female” are genetic accidents that happen to benefit passing along genetic material.
But the Judeo-Christian worldview sees God’s hand in the creation of male and female and in the creation of marriage itself. Marriage is not just an evolved cultural construct that serves the Darwinian purpose well, marriage is a gift from God, an expression of the very nature of God (as illustrated by the God/Israel and Jesus/church metaphor). Marriage demonstrates, among other things, what a good husband and good father are, and so marriage teaches us about God. But marriage also teaches us about good wives and mothers, and this teaches us about being a part of the church.
(Eph 5:32 ESV) 32 This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.
So heterosexuality is woven deeply into the fabric of scripture, and we cannot excise Gen 2 as “silly” or “Darwinian” or whatever. Indeed, to attempt to dismiss Gen 2 with the wave of a condescending hand is to, well, surrender. I mean, if Gen 2 doesn’t fit into your understanding of sexuality, then you’re not engaged in hermeneutics or theology.