Academic journal article Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society

Does Genesis 2 Support Same-Sex Marriage? an Evangelical Response

Academic journal article Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society

Does Genesis 2 Support Same-Sex Marriage? an Evangelical Response

Article excerpt

(ProQuest: ... denotes non-US-ASCII text omitted.)

In light of the rapid moral and cultural changes in the West-one of which has been the redefining of marriage-in recent years it has become popular for biblical interpreters to turn to the Bible for approval of these seismic shiits in the landscape of the family structure and sexuality. Interpreters-some self-professed evangelicals included-now see a need to justify these cultural changes by appealing to the very text which has been used throughout history to inveigh against such behaviors and institutional changes.1 However, affirming scholars who push for same-sex marriage "rights" rarely desire to do away with or make obsolete traditional marriage customs. On the contrary, even though some may reinterpret certain aspects of the language related to marriage (e.g. What is "biblical marriage"?), they are careful to acknowledge the goodness of heterosexual unions as ordained by God within the Scriptures. Instead, scholars of this persuasion want to "ex tend,"2 or "add to"/"revise"3 marriage to include same-sex unions. To "strengthen" their case, many times affirming scholars proffer a variety of supposed "parallels" between same-sex rights and other struggles from the past (e.g. women's rights vis-a-vis patriarchy, slavery, women's ordination, Gentile inclusion in the church, etc.).4 Indeed, one of the more popular assertions is the belief that samesex coupling produces "good fruit" and is therefore proof of the Spirit's blessing and God's approval of these relationships.5 However, these types of arguments merely muddy the water and non-affirming scholars have shown that many of these arguments amount to false dichotomies.6

Along with these supposed "parallel" arguments, heartfelt appeal to cultural shifts and public opinion of the church has also been cited as a valid reason for making these changes in the definition of marriage. Indeed, in some cases, the citing of national polls, which show the church as "judgmental" or "anti-gay," serves as a means of arguing for change so that the Bible and Christianity will no longer be the sources of "bigotry" and "exclusion," traits-whether real or imagined- which could hurt the church's "witness for generations to come" if change is not enacted quickly.7 Yet, the oft-cited argument that the church has an "exclusionary stance" vis-a-vis same-sex oriented people is misleading. While I am sure one could find churches that are bigoted in this area, the majority of churches would welcome same-sex persons with open arms-I know my church would. However, rejecting one's sin, whether sexual or otherwise, does not make a church "exclusionary" but rather biblical. 8 And the assertion that heterosexual marriage is "churchprescribed"9 is simply not true; as I will demonstrate below, the Bible in fact sets the standard and tone in this case.

Generally speaking, the reason for the scholarly shift in the area of same-sex marriage, apart from the cultural shift and the sexual revolution, is usually the result of some personal experience with a friend, child, or parent/spouse who has "come out" and now desires to embrace this way of life.10 In some cases, those who have made the decision to pursue a same-sex lifestyle-preferably including the option to get married-still desire to remain within the Christian tradition. In light of these personal experiences, every one of the oft-cited anti-same-sex texts has been "reimagined," "reinterpreted," or "set aside" in order to push forward an affirming agenda.11 Of late, one text in particular, Gen 2:18-25, has been the focus of affirming scholars in their efforts to find validity for same-sex marriage.

Almost every person who has ever attended a wedding has heard the text of Gen 2:24 recited or read at some point in the marriage ceremony: "Therefore a man shall forsake his father and his mother and shall cling to his wife. And they shall become one flesh." A straightforward reading of the text seems to make clear that this is a picture of the marriage union of Adam and Eve. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.