Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Same-Sex Marriage: The Biblical Answer, pt. 1

Last week I began a series of blog posts on the issue of same-sex marriage. These are flowing out of a series of lectures I am teaching on this issue at my church. So far, I have simply introduced the series and then suggested that there's a more important question that needs to be asked than whether homosexuality is right or wrong. Today and tomorrow, I want to look at the Bible. What does the Bible have to say about this issue? As with anything else, the Christian must not stand on issues simply because we think they might be right. We must stand on more firm footing than our opinions. We must have something more stable. We must know what God has to say. When we turn to the Biblical evidence, it is crystal clear.

Genesis 1-2: The Creation Account
It is impossible to read Genesis 1-2 without getting the very clear picture that God intended marriage to be one man and one woman. God creates man. Male. Then God comments that it is not good for man to be alone. He puts man to sleep and creates another human that would be his companion. He doesn't create another man; he creates a woman. Then God said these words:
"Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed." (Genesis 2:24-25). 
God instituted marriage. There is no possible way to get anything from the creation account other than this was God's plan. It was God's plan spiritually and physically. They became one flesh. And they were given a mandate from God to be fruitful and multiply the earth (Genesis 1:28). Two men or two women cannot physically fulfill the creation mandate to be fruitful and multiply the earth. At some point, there would need to be another person of the opposite sex involved in that mathematical equation.

In addition, there is nowhere in Scripture where this mandate or this example is erased. Nowhere does God give an allowance for something other than this. In fact, every place in the Bible that refers back to Genesis 1-2, confirms that marriage is between one man and one woman.

Genesis 19: The Sin of Sodom
As the account goes, there are two angels that show up in Sodom to visit Abraham's nephew, Lot. As they were closing the door on the house, the men of the city rose up and wanted Lot to bring the men out so that they could "know" them. They were not interested in having a cup of coffee with them and play board games. They wanted to "know them" in the biblical sense of sexuality. Within two days of this event, the city will be completely destroyed because of its wickedness.

Some people will try to argue that the sin of the city was rape, not homosexuality. While rape is certainly in play here, it must be noticed that the conviction and passion of the men of the city was to pursue other men. When they are offered women to satisfy their lust, they refuse. They wanted men. What this passage does has nothing to make us think that homosexual behavior would be considered an accepted behavior in the mind of God.

Leviticus 18 & 20: The Moral Code
No doubt, the clearest examples, and the ones that gets more attention than anything else in the OT are found in Leviticus 18 & 20. I want to show the context so that this makes sense.
"And you shall not lie sexually with your neighbor's wife and so make yourself unclean with her. You shall not give any of your children to offer them to Molech, and so profane the name of your God. I am the Lord. You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination. And you shall not lie with any animal and so make yourself unclean with it, neither shall any woman give herself to an animal to lie with it: it is perversion" (Leviticus 18:20-23).
I still believe that most people think it would be wrong to lie sexually with your neighbor's wife (vs. 20). Don't you? And do you think that most people would condemn offering your children as a sacrifice to some god (vs. 21)? And do you think that most people would still consider it to be degrading and perversion to have sex with an animal (vs. 23)? Then why do those same people think that vs. 22, sex with someone of the same gender, shouldn't be included?

This is actually an important question because the number one objection of Leviticus 18 & 20 would be  something like, "Well, don't you eat shellfish and wear clothes that have multiple threads to it? That's in the OT as well and you don't do that? So why should we think that sex with someone of the same gender is wrong?"

If they say that adultery, bestiality, and offering children for sacrifices is wrong, they are doing the same thing they are accusing the Christian of doing. Picking and choosing which OT laws are still valid for today. When in fact, that is not what the Christian is doing. There are certain things in the OT Law that are still valid for today because they are Moral Laws, written on the heart of man. There are other parts of the OT Law that are not valid today because they were Ceremonial Laws, meant to be customs for the nation of Israel to separate them from other nations. (For more information, check HERE).

In addition, I would ask someone who does not want to take their cues from Leviticus 18 & 20 to answer this question: If you believe that the Mosaic Law of God has fully passed away, does that mean that you believe God has no laws or moral codes for us today? The answer of course has to be NO. Of course God has moral standards for today.

It just seems as though everyone wants to pick on these verses as if the New Testament is silent. But it's not. The NT is even more clear than these passages that homosexuality is sinful behavior in the eyes of God. And that is what I will offer tomorrow. What does the NT teach about the issue of homosexuality? Until then . . .

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