There’s been wide-ranging reaction to California’s proposition 8 being passed with overrules the California Supreme Court by providing state constitutional protections for traditional marriage. Similar measures were passed in Arizona and in Florida, both by a wider margin than California.
I think for some in the homosexual community this isn’t just about “civil rights” (one reason, I think, these initiatives passed is that the African-American electorate flatly rejected the idea that gay marriage is about civil rights). This movement isn’t just about equal rights. It is a movement that desires normalcy and to impose that view on others. It desires unconditional acceptance and legitimacy.
Even if these homosexual activists achieve homosexual marriage either through judicial or democratic means, they will fail in their ultimate quest toward legitimacy. Why? The State didn’t institute marriage. God did.
Our first insight is in Genesis 1 when God created males and females. He said to them to be “fruitful and multiply,” (Genesis 1:28). One, not the only, reason for marriage is the propagation of the human race. We are to procreate, and God provided marriage as a means to do that. Gay marriage can not accomplish this. They can mimic it by fighting to have adoption laws changed or through artificial insemination, but it can’t occur naturally.
In Genesis 2:18 God says, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him,” (ESV). A helper fit for him… what does this mean? In the Hebrew the first word in that phrase – “helper” implies, naturally, someone who assists and encourages. “Help” provides support for what is lacking in the one who needs help.
“Helper” is qualified by “fit for him” – this word in Hebrew seems to be related to the verb meaning “to be plain or visible.” A related noun refers to an “eminent” person. So possibly “helper fit for him” means a a person matching his distinctiveness (as one created in God’s image). This phrase certainly points to one who is fit to stand before the man, opposite him, as his counterpart, companion, and complement.There isn’t a sense of inferiority or subordination, rather this person is one who “like him,” but to give a literal rendering “like opposite him.”
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. And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. 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.”
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 2:21-25, ESV).
The removal of Adam’s rib in order to create Even implies that from now on neither is complete without the other. The man needs the woman for his wholeness, and likewise. Marriage helps complete. Again, this can’t happen in gay marriage.
This marriage is a covenant with the Lord being a witness between the husband and the wife of his youth, (Malachi 2:14). The relationship between a husband and his wife is to be patterned after the relationship between Christ and His Church, (Ephesians 5:22-33). This covenant has three components to it. First, leaving, and then cleaving (“hold fast to his wife”), and then becoming “one flesh.” While leaving and cleaving are important, they really aren’t relevant to the topic at hand. I do want to conclude here by looking at what is meant by “one flesh.”
This refers to the personal union of a man with his wife at all levels in their life. It is expressed and deepened through sexual intercourse, but it means much more than that. It refers to the “oneness” that becomes more and more of a reality over time. This “one flesh” relationship is also realized in the “one flesh” of children that they have together in this covenantal relationship.
In light of this passage we can see why sex is to be reserved for the one context of heterosexual marriage. It is a symbol of covenant commitment. It is to deepen faithful love, and it needs the context of consistency and reliability. Also we can see why homosexual relationships, and homosexual marriages in particular, can’t be affirmed biblically (at least not with people being faithful to the text). The “not good” that our Creator God saw in man’s being alone is met with the provision of a woman to complete and complement him.
So even if homosexuals do end up with the ability to marry in all 50 states, it will be a faux marriage. Instead of being a covenant witnessed by God it will be nothing more than a legal contract approved by the State.
Update 11/14/08: Evidently I struck a nerve with an author of a Daily Kos reader blog. If you read it just know that my intent was not to present a constitutional case against same-sex marriage, but rather to outline the theological definition.