So unless you’ve been locked in a closet for the last few years, you’ve probably realized that homosexuality has become a fairly hot button topic in our country. From the recent Supreme Court ruling declaring it a right for same sex couples to marry in any state, to many people changing their avatars to rainbows on Facebook to show support, to the recent news story of Kim Davis refusing to comply with the new law, everyone seems to be talking about it and everyone seems to have an opinion.
Christians, in particular, seem to be strongly against same sex marriage and those who are for gay marriage don’t seem to understand why (and frankly it seems like a lot of Christians don’t know why they’re against it):
Here’s some of the questions I’ve heard:
- Why do Christians follow some outdated moral code from an old book about strange fairy tales?
- Why don’t they get up with the times? Isn’t it obvious we don’t live in the stone ages where your silly institution was started to protect ancestrally land rites?
- Have you even read your own book? Because it seems like your just cherry picking which verses you like and don’t like.
- The Old Testament has one verse about homosexuality in Leviticus, but you don’t follow anything else from that book so seems a bit inconstant to use that verse.
- If gay marriage is such a big deal, why didn’t Jesus say anything about it?
- Yeah, Paul did apparently say somethings about homosexuality, but isn’t it quite possible the idea of a committed loving consensual homosexual relationship wasn’t even known to him? Couldn’t the terms he uses for homosexuality be mistranslated do to a later bias in the reading when he was maybe originally talking about something more along the lines of pedophilia or male prostitution?
- Jesus talked about Eunuchs born that way from birth, he actually could’ve even been referring to those born gay couldn’t he have?
- Didn’t Jesus talk a lot about divorce, and Christians seems to get divorced a lot, why aren’t they talking about that one?
First let me give 3 reason I am NOT writing this post:
- I am not writing to tell those who aren’t followers of Jesus how to live. Whether or not you’re a follower of Jesus we can both agree that it won’t be me that will be judging you when you die. If you’ve felt judged and experienced hatred from other Christians for your sexuality, I apologize, Jesus said he didn’t come to condemn the world by to offer it salvation. I hope to have the same attitude but know I often fail and am judgmental towards others
- I am also not writing to debate the validity of the recent Supreme court ruling. If you don’t believe in my God I wouldn’t expect you to follow his morals. I’d rather focus on telling people how awesome Jesus is then to try and force those who aren’t Christians to live like one.
- I’m not writing to debate the above questions and tell you why your questions are dumb and show you ‘what the Bible really says’. I actually think they are good questions, (especially the divorce one. We most certainly are being giant hypocrites in that area). I’d rather go a bit a deeper and address the fundamental beliefs that lead to differing viewpoints because otherwise we will just go round and round in a debate that goes nowhere. If we establish that then we can fire away at questions like the above getting into specifics.
Why I am writing:
Why I am writing, though, is to answer the question as to why. Why is homosexuality a big deal to Christians and why do we disagree with the majority of American’s viewpoint that a committed consensual romantic relationship between members of the same sex is morally acceptable?
My hope is that you may disagree still, but at least you’ll be able to say okay I understand why they believe what they believe.
Because, what I have mostly seen is heated debates that come down to Christians saying homosexuality is wrong because the Bible says so and you should listen to the Bible and those for same sex marriage saying well I don’t believe the Bible and your rules are outdated and don’t make any sense. This generally turns into an argument that goes nowhere.
Okay enough of the long introduction here’s the meat of what I want to say:
The reason that Christians and the majority of Americans differ on the moral acceptability of same sex marriage is because we fundamentally have a different understanding of what the point of sex, marriage, and family is, why they exist, and what they are for.
Although I’m sure the answer to what the meaning and purpose of sex, marriage, and family would very greatly from person, if I could broadly generalize what I understand most of those supporting same sex marriage to believe, it would go something like this (and please feel free to correct me if I misrepresent your views):
- Marriage is primarily about love and happiness and it is when 2 consenting adults decide to express their love by committing to exclusively be in a romantic relationship with one another. Robbing someone of the right to express their love to another in marriage just because they are of the same sex is cruel and imposing your preferences onto them and not much different then discriminating against another person because they are a different skin color then you.
- Consensual sex is a way that two people can both fulfill pleasure and express love towards one another. If both people are old enough to consent and enjoy it, it is doesn’t hurt anyone else it doesn’t make any sense why this behavior should be deemed immoral or why you should care about what other people do in their own bedroom. Sex is a personal matter and each person should be free to do as they wish as long as it’s consensual.
- Family is a place where kids are raised. The goals should be to provide a safe, loving environment where they are free to become who they want to be. Families can take all kinds of shapes and forms, the important thing is that kids are getting the above things.
(Again if you support same sex marriage and this grossly misrepresents your view on sex, marriage, or family, please feel free to let me know, I in no way shape or form mean to mock, belittle or misrepresent your views or beliefs and I’d love to better understand where you’re coming from and thank you for taking the time to read this and understand where I am coming from).
Now the conclusions of most people who support same sex marriage makes a lot of sense, in my opinion, if their foundational beliefs about sex, marriage and family are true.
However, why I as a Christian can’t fully agree with the above statements about sex, marriage and family is because I have a very different understanding of what those 3 exist for and are all about.
The meaning of life:
As a Christian, I believe the purpose of my life is to know and enjoy God and to make him known. This is true in every area of life.
The Bible says that God created us to be his image bearers. What that means is that we are created like God in a way that no other part of his creation is, and we are intended to give the rest of creation a picture of what God is like.
We work and create because God works and creates. We think, feel and act because God thinks, feels and acts. We make art and tell stories, because God is an artistic story teller creating the most magnificent or art like a beautiful sunset, the Grand Canyon, Mount Everest or Niagara Falls and telling stories through lives of peoples and rulers and civilizations.
And, most fundamentally to all of who God is, is he is a loving relational God. We are created to have a relationship with him and with each other.
Our human relationships both help us know God and help to make God known.
This is why Jesus said all of God’s instructions and laws can be summed up by this: love God and love your neighbor as yourself. Relationship are (or should be) at the top of what is most important to Christians (first with God then with one another).
God’s Purpose for Creation:
One of my favorite books outside of the Bible is called From Eternity to Here By Frank Viola. In it, he tackles the question of what God’s eternal purposes were for creating the world and creating us people.
2 of the 3 reason he identifies for God’s purposes in creation are this:
1)God wanted a bride for his son
2)God wanted children for his family
Marriage and family are the 2 most important types of relationship to God then, because they are all about who He is and why he created us. Let me try and explain:
The apostles Paul wrote the following (which may sound odd and cryptic but hang with me for a bit) in his letter to the Ephesians:
This mystery [marriage] is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. (Ephesians 5:32 ESV)
What he is saying here is that marriage exist to show the relationship that Jesus has with his covenant people (the church). Jesus is the husband and the church is his bride.
Through marriage we both get to reflect (you could think of that as acting out who God is) and understand who God is and how we relate to him.
You see God created us to be in a deep committed loving relationship with him like a husband and a wife. He promises to be faithful to us and asks us to be faithful to him by loving him and putting him above all else.
We however have not been faithful to our side. We rebel against Him and worship created things rather than the creator.
There’s a story in the Old Testament about a prophet named Hosea. God calls Hosea to marry a prostitute named Gomar. He tells him that Gomar is going to keep whoring herself out to other men but he wants Hosea to view as a princess and to keep loving her, chasing after her and winning her over until she will become a faithful bride to Him.
That story is about Jesus and us. We keep running away and prostituting ourselves after other gods who are not gods but he keeps loving us and pursuing us as he seeks to woo us back to him.
He wanted us as his bride so much so that he came down and took on human flesh in the person of Jesus. Yet instead of receiving him, we crucified him.
Any guy that’s asked a girl out or proposed to a girl and been turned down knows how bad rejection hurts, in fact the fear of rejection alone paralyzes a lot of us guys from even approaching girls we like. Do you know Jesus knows more than anyone the pain of that type of rejection.
Yet death couldn’t stop him, he rose from the dead and offers us forgiveness and new life in him. He offers to make us new creation, when we accept his marriage proposal we are no longer filthy prostitutes but a pure virgin bride.
Before Jesus left the earth he commanded his followers to practice something called communion where we share a meal together, break bread, and drink a cup of wine. The bread and wine remind us of his body and blood that was ahead on the cross for us. But it also represents his marriage proposal to us.
In ancient Jewish cultures if you were going to ask to marry a woman you would go the brides house after talking with her parents and offer her a glass of wine. If she accepted the glass of wine it meant she was accepting your proposal.
This is what is being referred to in this verse in Revelations:
“Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.” Revelations 3:20
You can read more here if your curious, but the entire Jewish wedding tradition from proposal to the wedding ceremony was completely acted out by Jesus and heaven is often compared to a giant wedding banquet in the Bible.
This is why men propose to woman because it is Jesus who proposed to us in the cross, not the other way around.
I heard a pastor named Doug Wilson says that ever Saturday night he has a family dinner and asks his kids what’s the story of the Bible all about, and hey respond “kill the dragon, get the girl.”
This is why our hearts resonate so much with the great love stories about Prince Charming coming and slaying the dragging and rescuing the princess. (You didn’t realize that Zelda and Super Mario Bros were actually Christian video games did you!)
Through us God wants to tell a beautiful love story. God doesn’t want us for a one night stand, he doesn’t want us to be his friend with benefits, he doesn’t want us just while we’re both experiencing euphoric highs of romance and then we can be free to pursue someone else when that wears off, he doesn’t want us whoring ourselves out to other men, and God loves animals but isn’t offering this type of intimate relationship to them. No God is jealous for us and won’t settle for anything less than an intimate committed relationship.
This then, is why I believe all sexual relationship outside of a man and a woman in a marriage relationship is wrong, whether it be a man and a woman not married, two men or 2 woman married, polygamy, or something as perverted as bestiality, because it misrepresents who God is and how he loves us, and through it we rob ourselves of knowing him deeper.
So for Christians, marriage isn’t a right, it’s a privilege and a calling. It’s a privileged to display to the world who God is. To play out the the love story that has been in process since the beginning of creation of God wooing and winning over his bride. It’s an opportunity to know God and make him known. It’s not primarily about getting our individual needs of love and happiness met, although those things get thrown in as bonuses if we don’t let them be our main focus.
And despite how much the church has talked about sex like its something dirty and gross and exclusively for making babies, it’s actually meant to be something deeply spiritual and helps us understand the deep pleasures we have in a loving committed relationship with God. It’s meant to bring oneness and unity to a husband a wife. There’s actually an entire book in the Bible called Song of Solomon all about sex that Jewish boys weren’t even allowed to read until they were 13. So for Christians we don’t save sex for marriage because we think it’s gross we save it for marriage because we think it’s something divine that needs to be protected and used in the proper context.
Now I’ll just touch briefly on family because I talked a lot about marriage and you probably already have the gist, but to a Christian God also reveals himself to us as a father and we are his children and God wants a big family with lots of children.
This is why Christians value (or at least should) value children and large families. It’s why we believe in role distinctions in marriage. It has nothing to do with one gender being better than another it’s all about who God is and knowing him and making him known and playing our part in His epic story.
Why Then Does God Make People Have Homosexual Desires?
Okay that sounds all good and nice you might say, but why then would God create me or others to be attracted to people of the opposite sex. What kinda god would be so cruel to create people to have desires then tell them there wrong?
Well this was never his intention. Our first parents, Adam and Eve, had a choice to live by God’s life or live apart from God, sadly they listened to the lies of Satan (the dragon) and chose to live life apart from God rather than by his life. It lead the human race to be filled with all kinds of desires in us that are wrong and we as a result don’t reflect God the way we were intended too.
I never have experienced sexual attraction to another man, but I do experience desires and thoughts about woman that aren’t my wife, and before coming to Christ was a porn addict that treated woman like an object to fulfill my sexual fantasy rather than children of God. That’s just as wrong and distorts who God is as any other sexual sin.
You can think of sin kinda like darkness. You don’t really create darkness, it’s just the absence of light. Sinful desires aren’t from God they come from the absence of God. Without God’s life inside of us we get all kinds of desires that aren’t of God, be it homosexuality, lust, greed, bitterness, covertness or any other sinful desire.
But God doesn’t see us for that. He see us for the beautiful bride he created us to be, and he sent his Son to die on the cross to forgive our sins. And when we repent (turn from living apart from him and again live for him) and believe he then sends his Spirit to come live inside us. God makes his residence inside us again and our desires begin being transformed to His image so we can perfectly image Him as we were created to.
I can tell you first hand it’s not a fairy tale, I’ve experienced it in my life. I don’t have the same desires I once had. When I gave my life to him, he came into me and my desires changed drastically.
And although this side of heaven we will always continue to struggle with sinful desires, if we trust in him and accept his marriage proposal. though, one day he will come back, slay the dragon once and for all and take us back to his castle to live happily ever after.