I originally published this post a while back on my Wordpress blog. As I move content over to the new site, I'm going to periodically highlight certain posts. Here's another one.
In the debate surrounding homosexuality, Christians are often known more for what we are against rather than what we stand for. In light of that, I think it is important that our discussion address what we believe to be God's desire and standard for us on this score. So to start the discussion about homosexuality, Genesis 1 and 2 need to be front and center. These passages set the stage for a discussion of the Christian view of marriage. Understandably they are not the last nor only word about the matter, but in the biblical text they are the first word and as such need to be understood first and foremost. Genesis 1 and 2 describe God's creation of the universe with humanity as the crowning achievement; chapter one does this in a more general and holistic way, describing humanity's place within creation as a whole, while chapter 2 does this in more particular way, describing man and woman's creation in relation to each other. There are lots of principles relative to God's design for humanity asserted here by the author:
- Plants and animals were made to reproduce “according to kind” (1:11ff). In creation God emphasizes order, not chaos, and reproduction of species emphasizes that point.
- The human race was made in God’s image (1:26), and the different genders within the human race (1:27) are part of that representation.
- The blessing of reproduction (1:28) flows out of that male/female distinction and is an important way to fulfill God’s design of the human race.
- A solitary existence was not appropriate for man (2:18a).
- Correspondence, not identity, was the principle God chose for companionship (2:18b).
- This principle of correspondence, not identity, provides the basis for reproduction and the family unit within society (2:24)
There is a lot of important theological truth here. The male/female distinctions and correspondence as a whole represent God's nature. It is within the context of these distinctions that we fulfill one of God’s fundamental purposes for us, that of the flourishing of humankind. The sexual act between a man and woman which produces children is a wonderful joy and responsibility within this mandate to flourish on the earth. So based upon Genesis 1 and 2 Christians can stand for marriage as a loving, committed relationship between a man and woman which provides the best context for the particular responsibility of raising children and the general goal of human flourishing and happiness.