Gen.1-21 “Sexual Ethics of Genesis, part 2: Answering the Christian Homosexual Argument Wherein They Defend Homosexual Behavior as Good”

Posted on September 4, 2010. Filed under: Genesis: Answers to Life's Crucial Questions |

Gen.1-21 “Sexual Ethics of Genesis, part 2: Answering the Christian Homosexual Argument Wherein They Defend Homosexual Behavior as Good”

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Bryan E. Walker

Read: Genesis 1:26-31; 2:18-25

26 Then God said, “Let us make man  in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”

27 So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them.

28 And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” 29 And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food. 30 And to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the heavens and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so. 31 And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.

2:18 Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for  him.” 19 Now out of the ground the Lord God had formed every beast of the field and every bird of the heavens and brought them to the man to see what he would call them. And whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. 20 The man gave names to all livestock and to the birds of the heavens and to every beast of the field. But for Adam  there was not found a helper fit for him. 21 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. 22 And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made  into a woman and brought her to the man. 23 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.” 

24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. 25 And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.

Pray:

Introduction: Welcome back to the Genesis class! We began our semester last week in a different manner from normal in that we did not just pick up where we left off in May with ch. 21 of Genesis. Instead, we began with a topical study of sexual ethics in Genesis 1-21. This is a result of the Federal Court ruling on Aug. 4, 2010, by Federal Judge Vaughn Walker, an open homosexual, which overturned California’s Constitutional Amendment, Proposition 8, banning same sex marriages. Prop 8 was passed by the citizens of California in Nov.2008 by a 4.6% margin of the state’s voters with a 79% turnout. The ruling by Judge Walker is being appealed to the 9th Circuit where a Judge has already forbid any marriages from taking place while the Appeals Court considers the issue. It is my opinion that same sex marriage will eventually become the law of the land and We, the Church, had better be about defending the biblical view of marriage and preparing our defenses for a protracted fight over freedom of speech and freedom of religion because this is going to be a critical friction point between competing rights in the future. The sad thing is that the Church really lost this fight back in the 1960’s through an inadequate response to the sexual revolution. This is not just an issue, this is a Gospel issue in that it involves the very definition of what it means to be human, who God is, the nature of the Bible, the nature of good and evil. It is not just a political issue, it is a Gospel issue.

I became personally involved in this issue not merely because I am a political junkie and I teach the Genesis class, but because someone in my family is homosexual and we disagree on the issue. I love my family member, but he and his friends attempt to defend homosexuality from the Bible. I have been in deep dialogue with some of the homosexuals in recent weeks on this issue and this study is really a result of that dialogue. The issue is, then, personal to me. For you, I believe that you need to be equipped to defend the biblical view of humanity, sex, marriage, homosexuality and the gospel itself whether at work around the break room, in a family situation with your children who will be exposed to this issue at some point, or like me, in direct confrontation with family members who are in the homosexual movement.

Why we should care about this issue:

1)      Human sexuality is a biblical doctrine that we should know for our own growth in grace and sanctification. It is in the Bible, so we need to understand it.

2)      If you think that all of our church children will grow up with no temptations towards homosexuality you are wrong.

3)      Part of the Christian’s calling, and the Church’s, is to confront our culture with the Gospel which necessitates speaking truth to evil, answering the questions the lost world puts before us, and simply calling sin Sin.

4)      The Church must challenge heresy within its ranks, and today much of the Church proclaims homosexuality to be a good thing. To remain silent on this issue, as the church has done for far too long, and concede the issue to the heretics is a sin.

5)      If we remain silent we will lose our political freedom to proclaim the gospel in peace and persecution will begin based on this issue. Some Believers would say, “Let the persecution begin!” but persecution is another evil and we should never welcome it, we should resist it by every means available. Then, if it comes, we suffer for God’s glory and the name of Christ. Already in many workplace environments, if you disagree with homosexuality you will be singled out for “Diversity Training or sensitivity re-education” or even terminated.

6)      As we fight this battle we must do so with grace, civility, competence, and with genuine love in our hearts for the homosexuals we are personally dealing with, but be aware that as soon as you start confronting people with their sin they will claim you are not loving (but then they confront you with your sin of confronting them so…)

Review: Last week we began this study and basically focused on Gen. 1:26-31 where we saw the main point was that in creating Man as both male and female, God was creating us in His image. Both the man and woman as individuals are created specially by God and in His image, but both together as a couple are in His image. The man and the woman represent diversity and unity in that we both are Man, yet we are different and complement each other; this points us toward the Trinity as does the language of the text itself. This breaks down with the homosexual pairing of two men or two women. Based upon Gen.1 it is impossible for the same sex marriage to reflect the image of God. We looked briefly at Mark 10:1-12 because Jesus refers back to our two texts in Gen. 1-2 while answering a question about divorce. Jesus points to the creation of Adam and Eve and the original design for marriage as God’s enduring standard. This is the key argument against the Homosexual Movement. We briefly dealt with the issue of being single by referring to Matt.19:12 and saw that some are born eunuchs, and this may include those born with a genetic gender confusion based on the X-Y chromosome issue or hermaphroditism, and perhaps even to the homosexuals who may have a genetic predisposition toward homosexuality. Jesus blesses remaining single and lives his life as a celibate single as our example. To fall back on some form of determinism ignores the powerful grace of God and one of Man’s key likenesses to God- the ability to make a moral choice.

Today’s Lesson: We will examine Gen. 1-2 to see the link between procreation and God’s design for marriage and how that excludes same sex marriage, then we will look at how sin ruins marriage in Gen. 3-4, 16. Finally we will look at Gen. 18-19 and find first mention of homosexuality in the Bible.

  1. I.                   Marriage, Sex, and Procreation in the Garden
    1. A.     God’s blessing of fruitfulness, Gen. 1:28
      1. 1.      Gen. 1:28 And God blessed them… ‘Be fruitful and multiply…’ The first thing we notice about this text is that the blessing of God, and command, to be fruitful and multiply occurred prior to the fall in chapter 3. Sexual reproduction and the pleasures, joys and fruitfulness of the sex act were part of God’s plan from the beginning and were in place before sin entered the picture. Heterosexual sex is inherently fruitful and productive and is the God-given, natural way of filling the earth according to God’s plan. Homosexual sex is not mentioned (along with no other sinful variants such as polygamy, polyandry, bisexuality, polyamory, etc.) Perhaps the homosexual argument would go along these lines: ‘It is not mentioned, it is not forbidden and our loving committed relationships would be just as good as heterosexual marriage.’ The problem is that they are using an argument from silence and failing to look at the passage for what it is: God’s original design for the family for all time. And since Jesus points back to the Genesis text as the design for the family after the fall, God’s original plan remains in place.
      2. 2.      Part of the meaning of being created in the Image of God is being able to procreate. Allen P. Ross writes, (p.113) “Human life, male and female, thus has great capacity and responsibility by virtue of being the image of God….A man and a woman can produce a living soul. This privilege is part of their blessing from God, a blessing that includes divine enablement. For believers, childbirth is an act of worship, a sharing in the work of God, the one who created life.” The homosexual relationship is inherently sterile and therefore cannot reflect the glory of the Creator as can a heterosexual relationship in marriage. Of course medical science can use artificial insemination in a lesbian and legally, homosexuals can adopt children in many states; but no natural offspring occur in the homosexual lifestyle although some hermaphrodites can reproduce.
      3. 3.      Augustine writes, (p.378-379), “If the question is asked, though, for what purpose it was necessary for this help to be made [Eve], no more likely answer suggests itself than that it was for the sake of procreating children- in the same sort of way as the earth is a help to the seed, so that the plant may be born of each of them. This, after all, is what was said at the first establishment of things: Male and female he made them, and God blessed them, saying: Increase and multiply and fill the earth and lord it over it. This reason for the setting up and joining together of male and female and this blessing did not fall away after the man’s sin and punishment; it is in terms of it, after all, that the earth is now full of men and women and being lorded over by them…Although, you see, it was when they  had been turned out of Paradise that they were reported to have come together and brought forth, I still cannot see what could have prevented their also being wedded with honor and bedded without spot or wrinkle (Eph.5:27) in Paradise, God granting this right to them if they lived faithfully in justice and served him obediently in holiness, so that without any restless fever of lust, without any labor and pain in childbirth, offspring would be brought forth from their sowing.” Augustine, therefore, suggests that there was nothing preventing Adam and Eve from having normal sexual relations in Paradise, and, if they had not sinned, having children in Paradise. Here we see the standard, the intent of God’s creation, and homosexuality, polygamy, nor any other perversion a part of it.
      4. 4.      Dr. James Leo Garrett writes, p.426 “The realization of conjugal love by a husband and a wife, as well as the propagation and upbringing of children, is a major and legitimate purpose of monogamous marriage. It enhances the seriousness of adultery, it helps to explain why both polygamy/polyandry and homosexual practice are contrary to the divine intention for human beings, and it is distorted and perverted by pornography…. Conjugal love cannot be rightly sundered from the God-ordained function of procreation (‘be fruitful and multiply,’ Gen. 1:28b). Homosexual practice constitutes a fundamental sundering, whereby the possibility of procreation is excluded. Such practice reflects the fallenness of human beings and of the sinful social order, not the design and intention of the Creator. The growing problem as to how to respond to homosexuals and homosexual practice has become a divisive issue in churches and denominations, especially the mainline Protestant denominations. John R.W. Stott has summarized the biblical prohibitions against homosexual practice as follows: (1) The stories of Sodom (Gen.19:1-13) and of Gibeah (Judges 19) regard it as forbidden. (2) There are Levitical prohibitions (Lev.18:22; 20:13). (3) Homosexual practice as contrary to nature is listed among the sins of the Gentile world (Rom.1:26-27). (4) The inclusion of ‘male prostitutes’ (malakoi) and ‘homosexual offenders’ (arsenokoitai) among the sins that will prevent the inheritance of the kingdom of God (1Cor.6:9-10) and that are against both law and gospel (1Tim.1:9-11) would seem to be conclusive.”
      5. 5.      Kenneth A. Mathews writes in The New American Commentary, Vol.1A, Genesis 1-11:26, Broadman&Holman: Nashville, TN. 1996 (pp.173-174) “Being human means being a sexual person. Human sexuality and sexual bonding between husband and wife are deemed ‘very good’ (1:31) by God and are to be honored as the divine ordinance for men and women …. There is no place in God’s good order for unisexuality or for any diminishing or confusion of sexual identity. Human sexuality in Genesis is a blessed function in the creative purposes of God, and it is essential for carrying out God’s mandate for humanity…human procreation is not intended merely as a mechanism for replication or the expression of human passion but is instrumental in experiencing covenant blessing. The union of man and woman as husband and wife is an inclusive oneness….”
      6. 6.      Mathews continues, “The proper role of the sexes therefore is crucial to God’s designs for human life and prosperity. In the later Mosaic tradition its activity is specifically regulated within certain bounds, which if unheeded will profane the holy community, requiring redress…When human sexuality is distorted through neglect or abuse, the human family suffers as the image bearers of God. This notion of blessing associated with reproduction is a constant in Israel, where children are seen as the providential favor of the Lord. The theme of filling and procreating continues as a significant motif in the patriarchal stories, where the blessing through Abraham’s chosen seed is perceived as the fulfillment of this first command at creation….The tension in the patriarchal narrative will be the improbability of childbearing by Sarah…but the intervention of God assures the realization of blessing.”
      7. 7.      Problem – What about childless singles or infertile couples? Because of sin entering the human race in Gen. 3, many things have been warped and damaged by sin. Diseases and birth defects, sinful behavior with physical consequences, and unwanted singleness harm people and produce effects which cause people to not participate in the joy of bearing children. I know singles who long to be married and eventually have children and married couples who, for physical reasons, cannot bear children though they earnestly desire to. Barrenness is usually not the result of that person’s sin, but is simply a part of the general fallenness of mankind, but sometimes it is a result of sexually transmitted diseases. Sometimes a couple is fertile, but because of an inherited defect or disease the couple may choose to not have natural children and risk passing the disease on to the children. In the ancient Middle East childlessness was a shameful condition and it was frequently assumed that the couple had offended God. Today in our culture there is no shame attached to childlessness, but the pain is still intense. Again, I would point to Jesus as an example in that he had no natural offspring. Adoption for infertile couples is a great, biblical option that also points our spiritual adoption by the Father because of the Atonement by the Son. The Church should be supportive and proactive in the adoption process for childless couples. While being a single parent due to death, abandonment or divorce of a spouse is not sinful and the single parent should be helped and encouraged by the church, singles who father a child or get pregnant outside of wedlock, or deliberately seek to adopt outside of marriage, are stepping outside of God’s plan for the family. The overwhelming statistics for poverty, juvenile delinquency and prison for children of single mothers where there is no father in the picture is evidence from our lost culture that God’s plan for marriage and procreation is a good and beneficial plan. Singles can find most of their needs for nurturing children met within the context of their extended families, their local church, and their community where there is a never ending need for positive role models working with children of all ages. Jesus said in Mark 10:14 “Let the children come to me…” The blessing from Gen. 1:28 can still be passed on substantially to the godly, celibate, unmarried Christian. For the childless couple suffering from some physical problem or disease, medical science has made so many great strides in conquering infertility that there is a lot of hope for most couples. However, medical science also faces some serious ethical issues with out of the womb fertilization where many fertilized eggs may be discarded or where women using fertility drugs become pregnant with 5-8 babies at once. It also seems to me that using sperm donors is less than biblical.
    2. B.     Naked and Not Ashamed- Genesis 2:18-25
      1. 1.       And the rib that the LORD God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. While God had simply said, “Let the earth bring forth living creatures…And it was so” here, God made the woman from a part of the man, thus indicating that the relationship between men and women, this first couple, was to be significantly deeper and closer than the pairs of animals. There is a oneness in this act of creating the woman from the man that again points us to the oneness in the Trinity. This oneness points to God’s ordained plan of one man and one woman as a mated pair and excludes the homosexual relationships, polygamy or polyandry.
      2. 2.      Paul references this passage in his discussion of the husband-wife relationship in Eph.5:28-31 “…husbands should love their wives as their own bodies (because she was taken out of man). He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body. Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” Paul here validates the OT Creation model for marriage as one man and one woman. He uses the Greek word gune for wife indicating a woman, of the female gender. This disallows the concept of a “loving, committed, homosexual relationship” as being a part of God’s intentions in Genesis 1-2 or in Paul’s day. Similarly the model consists of one man and one woman, denying polygamy which was still practiced at times, though rarely, in Paul’s day.
      3. 3.      Mathews writes, (p.217) “The symbolic significance of the ‘rib’ is that the man and woman are fit for one another as companions sexually and socially.” And again, (p.218) “The Lord presents his special ‘project’ to the man, suggesting by this that she is a gift from the man’s Maker….The narration has steadily progressed toward this pinnacle where the man speaks for the first time, for God alone has spoken up to this point….In the man’s naming of the animals there was no recorded speech, but with the presentation of the woman, the man exclaims in poetic verse. …the exclamation reflects what the narration has sought to show: the unique compatibility of the man and the woman. Adam responds by a shout affirming that he and the woman, indeed, are made of the same ‘stuff’….Adam’s response centers on the sameness that he and the woman share as opposed to the creatures….Possibly the expression refers to covenant loyalty, in which case Adam is expressing a covenant commitment. ‘My bones’ and ‘my flesh’  with their pronouns heighten the effect. Also by naming her issa (woman), a sound play on is (man), he underscores their attachment. This pun is hearn in English ‘man’ and ‘woman’. (p.219).
      4. 4.      “Therefore…and they shall become one flesh” Therefore, because of God’s command for the man and woman to be fruitful and multiply, the man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to, cleave to, his wife, and they shall become one flesh. Marriage and the sexual relationship are God’s ideal for being fruitful, multiplying and filling the earth. Anything less than this is sinful. Mathews writes, (p.222) “Marriage and family are the divine ideal for carrying our the mandate. As we noted, Jesus’ appeal to the garden (quoting Gen. 2:23) as the basis of his teaching on marriage and divorce (Matt.19:3-9; Mark 10:2-12) indicates that the garden established a paradigm for marital behavior. That Eden was viewed by the Hebrews as the model, authoritative experience can be seen also in Jewish literature of the time but especially by Paul, who appeals to its events in speaking of the most profound theological tenets of Christianity (Rom.5:12-21; 1Cor.15:45) and in offering instructions concerning the propriety of worship (1Cor.11:2-16; 1Tim.2:11-15), moral behavior (1Cor.6:16), and marriage (Eph.5:31)…Marriage is depicted as a covenant relationship share by man and woman. Monogamy is clearly intended. ‘Leave’ (azab) and ‘cling’ (dabaq) are terms commonly used in the context of covenant, indicating covenant breach ( eg Deut. 28:20; Hos.4:10) or fidelity….(p.224) “Without question 2:24 serves as the bedrock for Hebrew understanding  Monogamous heterosexual marriage was always viewed as the divine norm from the outset of creation. Mosaic instructions shows considerable efforts to safeguard this ideal against is dissolution by clarifying what is ‘family’. Sexuality was instrumental in defining what a household was in Israel; abrogation of sexual boundaries threatened the identity of this core social institution. Without proper limits ‘family’ ceased, and the consequence was the undoing of Israel as a nation, the same fate suffered by their predecessors (Lev. 18:24-30). … Sexual relations with animals were abhorrent since that revoked creation’s distinctions (e.g. Exodus 22:18-19). Similarly, homosexual behavior was a confusion of sexual identity between men and women (e.g. Lev.18:22; 20:13; cf. Deut. 22:5). Christian expectations for sexual behavior were the same and were a given among Jewish converts, but the Gentile world did not follow such norms. It was against the customary practices of the Greco-Roman world that Paul urges sexual restraints (e.g. Rom. 1:24-28; 1Cor.6:9; 1Thess. 4:3-7).”
      5. 5.      John D. Currid, Genesis Vol.1 Genesis 1:1-25:18, Evangelical Press: Darlington, England 2003 (p.113) “The author now inserts an editorial comment on the scene that has unfolded. Moses understands that the marriage of man and woman is to serve as a paradigm, a pattern that God has set in time and history prior to the fall of mankind. Marriage is a creation ordinance and institution. The verse is a description of divine intention.”
      6. 6.      naked and not ashamed- prior to sin, nakedness had no shame attached to it; nakedness was normal for them in the Garden. For the Hebrews, nakedness after the fall was shameful (see Noah’s story in 9:22f). Currid writes, (p.114) “The two humans stand naked and they are ‘not ashamed’. The second verb is a Hithpael in Hebrew, and it bears the idea of reciprocal action- that is, ‘They felt no shame before one another.’ The verb for ‘to be ashamed’ in Hebrew expresses the sense of confusion, embarrassment and dismay that occur when matters turn out differently than expected. It is the antonym of the verb ‘to trust’, and thus it indicates that the humans had complete faith and trust in one another. And, indeed, they had nothing to be ashamed of! No imprudent or immoral act lay in their past. No guilt or remorse existed. In addition, the verb translated ‘were not ashamed’ is an imperfect with a frequentive use. That means it reflects continuous activity. Thus the humans’ reaction to their nakedness was not a single moment of discovery but rather it was a state of being in which they were created.”
      7. 7.      David Atkinson, The Message of Genesis 1-11, “The Bible Speaks Today” series.  Intervarsity Press: Leicester, England 1990 pp77-79 “…the Christian tradition has reserved sexual intercourse for the one context of heterosexual marriage. For sex to symbolize a covenant commitment, and to deepen a relationship of faithful love, it needs a context of consistency and reliability- that is permanence. Sex without relationship, as in pornography, or sex in transient relationships, falls short of the meaning which the sexual union is meant to carry. …the Christian tradition has never felt able to affirm homosexual relationships. The not good of the Creator that man should be alone is met by the provision of the woman to complete and complement him.” Atkinson continues, “God’s mind regarding human sexuality is most clearly seen in what he did. He provided the isolated Adam with a helper like-opposite him in the person not of another man, nor a child, nor a beast, but of Ishshah, the Woman. Heterosexuality is part of the givenness of God’s creation. It celebrates the ‘otherness’ of the opposite sex. Male and female complementarity …is part of the way thins are. That, at least, is the understanding of Genesis 2. Add to this the link that is forged between heterosexuality and procreation , and it is hard to see how sexual homosexual relationships can be affirmed as anything other than a falling short of the divine pattern.”
      8. 8.      Atkinson continues, “The consistent biblical witness is that all sexual relationships outside the context of heterosexual marriage fall short of God’s intention. We cannot, therefore, endorse the view that homosexuality is simply something ‘natural’. Indeed, it is to the ‘naturalness’ of the creation  pattern that St. Paul appeals in Romans 1 where he gives the example of homosexual relationships as one among several illustrations of a society which has abandoned the ways of God….Some would also wish to regard a committed loving homosexual relationship at a certain stage in a person’s journey as a ‘least detrimental alternative’- and surely preferable to a life of sexual chaos, and in practical terms, certainly in the face of AIDS, that may well be so. But from Genesis 2 we are not at liberty simply to affirm homosexual relationships as an alternative to heterosexuality. To do so is to fly in the face of the consistent witness of biblical theology and Christian tradition.” He continues, “The Bible offers us two life-styles in which, as sexual beings, we may hold together something of the love and creativity of God: celibacy and heterosexual marriage. Celibacy, as the life of our Lord illustrates, sets a person free to develop creative friendships of love within the community, in which the affective dimensions of our sexuality can find full and appropriate expression. Heterosexual marriage provides a context of loving intimacy in which the genital dimensions of person’s sexuality can also be given appropriate expressions, in commitment to one other person, enhanced in many ways by parenthood.”
      9. 9.      The secular culture today would also join in today, to an extent, and say that nakedness is not shameful. The streakers of the 1970’s, nudists, exhibitionists, pornographers, and those regular people who go to the beach in tiny bathing suits all indicate there is a lack of shame associated with the human body. The ancient Greeks considered the nude male to be heroic and exercised and competed athletically in the nude. But in this post Fall world, this lack of shame is not a good thing; it is lustful immodesty. Neither is the muslim answer of hiding the women inside an all encompassing burkha complete with veils an adequate answer. One view exalts the fallen human body more than Scripture would allow and the other denigrates women as a possession and a source of evil. Hebrews 13:4 “let the marriage bed be undefiled” preserves the dignity and joy of a healthy sexuality between a husband and wife without any of the excesses that our culture brings from both poles. Clearly one of the practical things a church should do is instruct the young people in how to dress in a manner that is pleasing and appropriate for the situation yet still modest.

 

  1. II.                Sex and Marriage After the Fall
    1. A.     Nakedness and Shame, Genesis 3:7
      1. 1.      Gen. 3:7 Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together… Previously they were naked and not ashamed even in the presence of God, but now they are ashamed of their nakedness. The major difference is that their eyes were opened to evil and sin, and guilt and shame have entered in. They realize that their nakedness now, under these conditions, is inappropriate before God. They seek to cover up their nakedness, to hide from the presence of God when he comes looking for them. In the following verses, as God confronts them, Adam blames Eve and God for his sin, Eve blames the serpent. The blame game begins and marital bliss has been lost. They are banned from the Garden and now live East of Eden, where the thorns and thistles grow and childbirth will now be painful.
      2. 2.      Bruce Waltke writes, (p.92), “Ironically, their opened eyes bring them shame. This knowledge of good and evil is not a neutral state, desired maturity, or an advancement of humanity, as is commonly argued. God desires to save humans from their inclination for ethical autonomy…In the Bible, arum, (naked), usually describes someone stripped of protective clothing and ‘naked’ in the sense of being defenseless, weak, or humiliated (Deut. 28:48; Job 1:21; Isa. 58:7). With an awareness of guilt and a loss of innoncence, the couple now feels shame in their naked state. Their spiritual death is revealed by their alienation from one another, symbolized by sewing fig leaves together for barriers, and by their separation from God, symbolized by hiding among the trees.”
    2. B.     Polygamy, 4:19 and chapter 16
      1. 1.       Lamech and polygamy, Gen. 4:19 And Lamech took two wives. John Calvin writes, (p.217) “We have here the origin of polygamy in a perverse and degenerate race; and the first author of it, a cruel man, destitute of all humanity.” Bruce Waltke writes, (p.100) “Lamech represents both a progressive hardening in sin- polygamy…and grossly unjust vendetta…”
      2. 2.      Mathews writes, (p.285) “The first alarming evidence of Lamech’s moral decline is his inauguration of polygamy, a dismal departure from the divine norm….Although Genesis does not condemn the patriarchs for their practice of polygamy, it is transparent from Genesis itself that such practices resulted in painful consequences. In Mosaic legislation it was assumed that polygamy produced troubling home life (Deut. 21:15-17).”
      3. 3.      Victor P. Hamilton, The New International Commentary on the Old Testament, The Book of Genesis Chapters 1-17, Eerdmans: Grand Rapids, MI, 1990 (p.238) writes, “To be sure, no rebuke from God is directed at Lamech for his violation of the marital arrangement. It is simply recorded. But that is the case with most OT illustrations of polygamy. Abraham is not condemned for cohabiting with Sarah and Hagar, nor is Jacob for marrying simultaneously Leah and Rachel. In fact, however, nearly every polygamous household in the OT suffers most unpleasant and shattering experiences precisely because of this ad hoc relationship. The domestic struggle that ensue are devastating.”
      4. 4.      Gordon J. Wenham, The Word Biblical Commentary, Vol. 1A, Genesis 1-15, Word: Waco, TX 1987, (p.112) writes, “It may therefore be wrong to argue that because the first polygamist in Scripture was an unsavory character, Genesis is thereby condemning the practice of polygamy itself. It is more concerned with illustrating how all human activity, including marriage, is affected by sin. Nevertheless, the fact that Gen. 2 pictures the ideal relationship between man and woman may suggest that the author regards monogamy as the norm and that Lameck’s bigamy reflects one aspect of his decline from the Creator’s pattern for human life.”
      5. 5.      With the advent of the Pill and of easy, no fault divorce in America in the 1960’s and 70’s the divorce rate skyrocketed and serial monogamy became common as did living together before marriage. Promiscuity rates accelerated as did pregnancies outside of marriage and STD infection rates. Now, with the current fight for same sex marriage almost certain to be won by the homosexual community, the question of polygamy is before us. Although many in the homosexual community that I have spoken with absolutely deny any linkage between same sex marriage and polygamy, I believe they are deliberately being deceptive on this issue. They know that the issues will be linked and that that will damage their position, so they claim they are not linked. And they may genuinely not desire polygamy anymore than I do, but they are willing to risk it in order to get what they desire. In one discussion I had on the subject with a leading blogger in the homosexual community on the subject, her defense of keeping marriage between two people was based on the tradition that here in America that was how we did marriage. Yet when I used that very same argument to defend heterosexual marriage she (and others) rebuked me for using an argument based on tradition. When you consider that Islam is growing more rapidly in America than any other religion and the aggressive nature of the muslim faith in spreading sharia law which allows for up to 4 wives at a time, you realize that polygamy may come very soon. It is in fact already being practiced by many muslims in America but underneath the radar. Throw in some of the fundamentalist mormons and the polyamory crowd and you have all kinds of pressure to allow for plural marriages of many kinds. If America allows same sex marriage there will be no logical reason to not allow polygamy. Despite my homosexual friends’ protests, the two issues are logically linked.
      6. 6.      In Genesis 16 we have the sad story of Sarai, Hagar and Abraham and the effects of polygamy. In giving her handmaiden to her husband Abraham, Sarai did nothing illegal or immoral for her time and culture. God nowhere in the story corrects or rebukes Abraham, but neither does he approve of polygamy. Although Scripture allows for some cultural practices that are not the best without rebuke (slavery comes to mind besides this issue of polygamy), the overall teaching of Scripture remains the one man/one woman model of Genesis 1-2 as affirmed by Jesus in Mark 10. This story, and the issue of slavery, can be used in the homosexual community to support their claims that being in a same sex relationship that is loving, committed, and long term can be biblical. “Since Scripture does not say no to polygamy and since it allowed for slavery until society became enlightened enough to stop it, so too, society has now become enlightened enough to stop persecuting homosexuals and should allow them to marry.” This type of reasoning fails at the very beginning. Moses clearly shows that the actions of Sarai, Hagar and Abraham lead to disaster. The birth of Ishmael, though accompanied by the promise of a blessing by God, also comes with a prophecy of strife that is with us today. In the lives of Abraham, Jacob, David and Solomon, multiple wives brought on multiple problems and strife. God blessed the patriarchs not because of their sins, but in spite of their sins. Abraham’s sin is heightened by coming immediately after receiving the promise of a son in ch.15, and having his faith commended by God. The situation teaches that man’s answers to problems that are not rooted in faith and laid before God in earnest petition lead to further complications and more sin. When we follow our culture rather than God we risk losing the blessings of God’s presence. The homosexual response to gender confusion should not be to follow the way of the world or to follow one’s natural inclinations. It should be to seek to abide by God’s Word and walk by faith not in the flesh.
      7. 7.      Waltke writes (pp.250-251) “Sarah’s scheme, contrived without seeking the Lord, contrasts with Abraham, who earlier asks God about the option of adopting a son. Had Sarah also sought God’s counsel, we can be sure he would have ruled out surrogate motherhood for her as he had ruled out adoption for Abraham (Gen.15:1-4; cf. 17:19; 18:9-15).” Waltke also points out that Moses uses the same language in verse 3 that he used in 3:6 to link Abraham’s listening to his wife with Adam listening to Eve; both led to sin.

 

  1. III.             The Sins of Sodom

A.    There were many issues besides homosexuality

  1. 1.        Gen. 18:20-21 “Because the outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is great and their sin is very grave, I will go down to see… the word for ‘outcry’ is clamor, zeaqa, and is used as the cry of the oppressed. Evidently, Sodom was oppressing its citizenry or a significant portion of it’s citizens or, as the story unfolds, the visitors to Sodom. The word is used in Ex.22:22-23 and Deut 14:25. Significantly, the word root is also used in Ex.11:6 and 12:30 in describing the visitation of the angel of death upon Egypt during the night of the death of the firstborn, the Tenth Plague. Thus the word is used by those who are being oppressed unjustly, and by those being punished by God justly. Ezekiel 16:49-50 show us that the sins of Sodom included pride, gluttony, prosperous ease, not caring for the poor and needy, haughty and “they did an abomination before me.”
  2. 2.        Some homosexuals that I have talked with point to the Ezekiel passage as proof that “homosexuality” was not the sin the brought judgment upon Sodom, oppression of the poor was. Victor P. Hamilton, The New International Commentary on the Old Testament, The Book of Genesis Chapters 18-50, Eerdmans: Grand Rapids, MI. 1995 (p.21) writes, “this is not the total explanation of their sins, as Gen. 19 will make manifest, but it is a major part. Social immorality plays as large a role in the Sodom story as does sexual immorality.”
  3. 3.        Hamilton further tells us  that in vss.4-5 the word yada translated as ‘know’ is used 1,058 times in the OT and only 15 of those times does it mean sexual knowledge. Some apparently insist then, that in this text the men of the city simply want to get acquainted with the two angels visiting Lot. Hamilton responds, (p.34), “This viewpoint argues that the sin of the Sodomites is a violation of the rules of hospitality. Because he is only a sojourner, Lot has exceeded his privileges. Since he has no authority to monopolize the time of these visitors, the men of Sodom request the opportunity to meet and get to know these two outsiders. This interpretation can only be evaluated as wild and fanciful. For when Lot responds by offering his daughters ‘who have never known a man’ (v.8), it becomes clear that the issue is intercourse and not friendship.”
  4. 4.        Hamilton continues, “Among those who agree that the issue is sexual, the question arises whether the problem is homosexual relations per se or homosexual rape. The answer depends on how one chooses to translate yada. For instance, compare Speiser’s ‘bring them out to us that we may get familiar with them’ with JB’s ‘hand them over to us so that we may abuse them.’ We see at least four problems with the view that the prohibition here is only on homosexual rape. First, nowhere in the OT does the verb yada have the nuance of ‘abuse’ or ‘violate’. Second, the OT uses unmistakable language to relate rape incidents. Thus the Shechemites ‘seized’ and ‘lay with’ and ‘humbled’ Dinah (Gen. 34:2). Amnon ‘forced’ and ‘lay with’ his half sister Tamar (2Sam.13:14). Similarly, the biblical laws about rape also use these terms: ‘seize,’ ‘lie with’ (Deut. 22:25-27). Third, this interpretation forces one meaning on ‘know’ in v. 5 (i.e. abuse) but a different meaning on ‘know’ three verses later (i.e. have intercourse with’), for it is unlikely that Lot is saying: ‘I have two daughters who have never been abused.’ Fourth, such an interpretation forces these incredible words in Lot’s mouth: ‘Do not rape my visitors. Here are my daughters, both virgins- rape them!’ Clearly, then, the incident frowns on homosexual relations for whatever reason. Note that in the often cited parallel to Gen. 19, viz. Judg.19, the host offers both his own virgin daughter and his guest’s concubine to Gibeah’s city dwellers with the statement ‘and sexually mistreat them’…By contrast, Lot avoids using any verb that has clear-cut indications of sexual aggression.” (p.35).
  5. 5.        Conclusion about Sodom Sodom’s sins were clearly not limited to economic and political oppression, nor were they limited to crimes of violence. The homosexual community that I have spoken with dismisses the idea of homosexual behaviour in Sodom being one of the sins for which they were being judged. To them, rape is a crime of violence and that there is nothing in the story indicating that “committed, loving relationships” were the problem. This specious argument lacks merit. It is difficult to understand why all the men of the city from every quarter should want to publicly rape these visitors unless they were all already either homosexuals or bi-sexuals. Considering that it was a prosperous, thriving city with some kind of stable population, there had to be families where husbands and wives had normal relations with consequent offspring. Yet, the men must have been so corrupt that they were bi-sexual and they possibly raped other travelers as a matter of course. To dismiss this and rely on the supposition that whatever homosexuals were in the city were in “committed, loving relationships” is ridiculous. Homosexuality is the context of the city and all of its crimes against humanity and angels. The very purpose in writing this history of Lot, the angels and Sodom is to link Canaanite behavior and the wrath of God with the story of Noah and the flood and to warn Israel under Moses to not emulate the Canaanite behavior lest God judge them too. This would include the practice of homosexuality which is expressly forbidden in the Law. While the homosexuals I have spoken with respond to the Law negatively they need to further understand the links between the Genesis narratives and the Law.

Conclusion: Human sexuality is a gift from God who created us male and female, in his image, and for his glory. Sexuality is to be expressed in either a heterosexual marriage or in celibate singleness as Jesus himself did. Polygamy is not condoned by the Scriptures and in fact is always shown to be very problematic. Jesus himself applies Gen. 1-2 in his day to emphasize no divorce and one man with one woman. Paul likewise repeatedly uses the material from Gen. 1-2 in his discussions of marriage and sexuality.  In Genesis 1-21 homosexuality is only mentioned in ch. 19 and that in an extremely negative manner, with the judgment of God coming. This alone should be a sobering thought: the only mention by example of homosexual behavior in Genesis is Sodom and it was destroyed by God for its many sins. For the Christian homosexuals to ignore the pattern of human sexuality portrayed in the Garden prior to sin, and endorsed by Jesus, is to blatantly disregard a foundational doctrine. To then turn around and defend homosexual behavior as being good is heresy. The only biblical options are heterosexual marriage or celibate singleness.

               

 

Partial Bibliography:

Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture, Old Testament, vol.I Genesis 1-11. Andrew Louth, editor. InterVarsity Press: Downers Grove, IL. 2001 (pp.27-41, 43-45, 47-53, 63-102, 109-114, 123-128, 155-160, 173-175.)

Erickson, Millard J. Systematic Theology, Baker Book House: Grand Rapids, MI.1985.

Garrett, James Leo. Systematic Theology: Biblical, Historical & Evangelical, vol.1. Eerdmans: Grand Rapids, MI. 1990.

Keil, C.F. Keil&Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament, vol.1, Pentateuch “The First Book of Moses (Genesis)” translated by James Martin. Hendrickson: Peabody, Mass. (Reprinted from the English edition originally published by T&T Clark, Edinburgh 1866-91). (pp.3-268).

Ross, Allen P. Creation and Blessing: A Guide to the Study and Exposition of Genesis. Baker Academic: Grand Rapids, MI. 1996 (744pp.)

Sailhamer, John H. The NIV Compact Bible Commentary. Zondervan: Grand Rapids, MI.1994 (pp.11-62).

Waltke, Bruce K. Genesis: A Commentary. Zondervan: Grand Rapids, MI 1991 (656pp.)

 

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    This blog exists to study the bi-vocational ministry, explore the Bible & Theology, and look at current events, history and other world religions through scripture, and have fun doing it!

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