Third, just as reproduction is an aspect of the image of God, the institution of marriage is created to carry out this objective function. We see this in the story of Adam and Eve.
Genesis 2:24 24 For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.
Note that man and wife are used to define the marriage partnership, and the purpose of the marriage is for the male and female to become one flesh. When a husband and wife carry out the reproductive function of the image of God, the child they have actually is the two (father and mother) becoming one flesh (the child). Same-sex unions by definition cannot accomplish the one flesh nature of marriage.
Fourth, Jesus points back to this chapter in Genesis as foundational in his understanding of marriage and divorce. Though the passage does not directly address the topic of same-sex unions, what Jesus says clearly excludes such unions from qualifying as marriage.
Matthew 19:3-6 3 Some Pharisees came to him to test him. They asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?”
4 “Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’5 and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? 6 So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.”
Note in verse 4 that Jesus affirms the objective ‘male and female’ design to marriage from Genesis 2. Often people will point out that Jesus never spoke against homosexuality. This is technically true, but it is not relevant because he instead affirmed the positive, male / female design for marriage. It would be the equivalent of me telling someone ‘eat healthy today’, and then when I catch him with a large Dairy Queen Blizzard that afternoon, he responds, ‘You never told me not to eat junk food’.
Finally, notice Christ’s statement ‘What God has joined together, let man not separate’. God unites people in marriage, not the state. All the state can do is acknowledge what God has done. And it is safe to assume the reverse of the above statement is true: “What God has not joined together, let man not unite”.
When my generation comes to power, I expect that they will legalize same-sex unions. But what this will be is the equivalent of my Pittsburgh Pirates, who have nearly twenty losing seasons in a row, demanding the state pronounce them as the best baseball team of the last two decades. The state may make that pronouncement, but it won’t be true. In the same way, the state may tell us that same-sex couples are married and one flesh, but in reality the emperor has no clothes.
What all this means is that for Christians to consistently hold a view of sexuality where subjective attraction outweighs the objective physical design, we must deny the objective value of humans. In other words, for Christians to accept same-sex unions, we must deny that members of the LGBT community are created in the image of God. I am not willing to take this leap.
Now that I have shown that the embrace of male-female unions as normative is based on the high view of the LGBT community as created in the image of God, let me respond to my Christian friends on how we should address this issue.
Christians, which is more important to you? Keeping gays out of the military or getting them into church? Stopping gays from same-sex unions or seeing gays in union with Christ?
The church’s response to the gay community must extend beyond voting Republican.
God has given the Church, not the LGBT community, the ministry of reconciliation. That means that the church needs to take the initiative to build bridges with the gay community. This does not mean rejecting an objective view of sexuality, but it does mean that the church’s mission must be greater than being law-centered; it must be greater than passing a Constitutional Amendment defining marriage as between male and female.
The Church’s mission must be grace-centered, and must involve reconciling people created in the image of God to their Creator.
I took this call seriously while ministering at a local University. I attended its Queer Student Union and told the participants that I was there to listen. I received a standing ovation for this, and I was able to make friends with these students while not having to deny my beliefs. And when the hate-filled Westboro Baptist Church came to protest my friends, we Christians on campus joined the
counter-protest by acknowledging that Jesus did not just die for straight people.
One of the campus ministers took up this effort at reconciliation after I left the university for Calvary Presbyterian Church. One night I got a text message from him; one of the leaders of QSU was coming to church with him the next day. When I talked to the minister the next day, he told me that the leader had been so moved by the worship that she had spent the entire service in tears.
I find this story a far more inspiring way for Christians to interact with our friends in the LGBT community than just voting for Mitt Romney in November.