Monday, February 20, 2006

Beyond Proof Texts, Sex, God's Sex Manual and Homosexuality

If we were to go beyond the proof texts which speak against homosexuality, and look at the general biblical view of sex, this is what we get:

Sex
The general biblical view of sex is basically that there should be no sex outside of marriage. This is not some arbitrary obsolete moral standard imposed by people living in the dark ages who didn't know better. It is the account of how God made humans to function and so how humans will function optimally and happily.

If a watchmaker made a batch of watches, then wrote an instruction manual for them so that they'd know how to live their lives (eg. periodic oiling of parts, winding each other up every 2 days), then those watches ought urge each other to follow the manual, not because it imposes all sorts of perceived restrictions on them, but because it ensures they get the most out of their lives. Conversely then, it would be suicidal for a few watches to say,"Look. This manual sucks. It was written eons ago. I'm oppressed by it and my freedom is curtailed. I want my rights. I'm actually a soup ladle, see. And I'll just follow my desires. Don't you dare tell me otherwise." They are ensured a shortlived life in the pot and boiling watery death.

God's Sex Manual
God chose to create humankind male and female. In Genesis 1 we are told he did this that we might "be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth"; children are a blessing to be desired; they are the natural outcome of a sexual relationship; so that when children do not come we are rightly sad. Sex between a man and a woman is naturally ordered towards having children. This is how God has made us.

In Genesis 2 we celebrate the delight of man and woman in one another in marriage. In the Song of Songs and the book of Proverbs and elsewhere this delight of sex within marriage is affirmed; it is God's idea, to be accepted with thankfulness. Always sex within marriage is affirmed and sex in other contexts is not.

One of the great images of God's relationship with his people is that he is their husband and they are his bride; he delights in them and they should delight in him. Jesus applies it to himself. He is the Bridegroom. The end of history will be his Wedding Day.

And always and everywhere in the bible story it is a man and a woman in marriage. Every deviation is portrayed negatively. The bible gives a massive centrality to marriage in all its talk about sex.

Of course we have sexual desires apart from one man and one woman in marriage. The unmarried have desires which, if submitted to, will lead to a multiplicity of sexual relationships. The married have desires outside of marriage. And so on. But these desires are to be resisted; they are painful disorders in our broken humanity. Same-sex intimacy is another example of this disorder. (Christopher Ash, for more details see his excellent book "Marriage: Sex in the Service of God")

Jesus' teaching on this subject reinforces the permanency and exclusivity of the sexual bond between a man and a woman (Matthew 5:27-32; 19:1-12). In the discussion of divorce in Matthew 19:1-12, the disciples' response to Jesus' high standards concerning marriage is to question whether it is better not to marry at all. Jesus' reply suggests that apart from marriage, the only other viable state is celibacy. Such celibacy may be the result of one being born a eunuch (the impotent), being made a eunuch (the castrated) or making a voluntary decision not to marry. It would therefore appear that Jesus did not contemplate homosexual union as a viable alternative of sexual expression for those who would be members of the kingdom of God. On the contrary, he reaffirmed and reinforced the teaching of the Old Testament with respect to sexual union (Matthew 19:4-5; cf 5:17). (Glenn Davis)
Therefore, God's sex manual states that humans, because of the way he has made them, are to find satisfaction in sex within:
1. heterosexual marriages; and
2. heterosexual fidelity,
and homosexual relationships violate both these divine instructions.

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I. Project Shop Blood Brothers Cafe The Bible On Homosexuality (Blood Café and Whether Homosexuality is Wrong)
II. merge lane Beyond Proof Texts, Sex, God's Sex Manual and Homosexuality
III. Pancakes - side view The Turquiose Room, Mardi Gras, Shrove Tuesday and Arguments for Homosexuality
IV. Homosexuality, Repentance, Change and Love
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