Adam and Eve vs. Adam and Steve

Some of you may remember the witty slogan, “God made Adam and Eve—not Adam and Steve.” It was popularized by fundamentalist leader Jerry Falwell.

Slogans are an easy way to communicate where one stands on an issue; but they are not arguments—they only remind us of the argument. We must discuss the arguments themselves to engage the issue.

In this case the argument is that God intends all people to form opposite-gender pairs like Adam and Eve in the Genesis creation stories.

Is this a legitimate argument?

Adam and Steve quote

The Genesis Creation Stories

The Genesis creation stories in chapters 1-3 are often used to defend certain conservative doctrines such as young-earth creationism and original sin.

The short answer to using these chapters to support doctrines is that the creation stories are not descriptions of historical events; rather, they are stories written to answer questions of ‘Why?’ or to separate the Jewish God from the crude gods of Mesopotamian myth.

The creation stories are also used to condemn same-sex attraction. We can dismiss this claim by recognizing that the creation stories do not describe historic events, but instead I will look into the stories themselves.

Genesis chapter 1 says:

So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it.”

Adam and Steve

Those Christians opposed to same-sex attraction contend that this passage shows that gay relationships are inconsistent with God’s plan. They make two major points:

  1. God intended all couples to be composed of a man and a woman.
  2. God intended all people to be fruitful and populate the world.

This is not necessarily true. Even if God created the first couple, that does not mean they were the model for all relationships. Think of others things one can conclude by using this logic.

God Intends All Men to be Farmers

Genesis chapter 2 says:

The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.

So it seems that God intended Adam to be agricultural. Even after the fruit disaster Adam is told in chapter 3:

Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat food from it all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field.

By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food…So the Lord God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken.

Apparently God expected Adam to continue farming for a living. Is this the model for all men? Should we all quit other jobs and become farmers to meet God’s standard?

God Commands Couples to Multiply and Gays Cannot Multiply

It is true that gay couples cannot multiply; but neither can barren couples. Do barren couples sin against God for not multiplying? Is an infertile Christian partner expected to leave their marriage so the fertile partner can find a another mate and multiply?

What about single Christians who never marry; do they defy the will of God? Think of all the Christian ministers and others who forgo marriage to serve God more fully. Think of the Pope, or New Testament leaders such as Paul, and even Jesus himself.

Besides, humans are in no danger of becoming extinct through lack of fruitfulness. As a group, we seem to have succeeded in filling the earth already.

I don’t think the points from these passages in Genesis are valid for condemning gays; the model of Adam is not the standard for everyone to follow.

Why a Man is United with His Wife

One additional passage from the creation stories is used to condemn gays. Genesis chapter 2 states:

Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man…That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.

This seems to be an answer to a question; perhaps it was, ‘Father why do I have to leave home? I like it here.’ It was an answer to the question of why men leave their parents’ home to start a new life with someone else—it was because of a rib.

Perhaps the girls had the same question; they were basically their father’s property until he gave them to be another man’s property. I am sure it could be quite frightening to leave home.

No Mention of Homosexuality

If there is a biblical passage that demonstrates that we should condemn gays, I don’t think this is it; these passages don’t even mention homosexuality. We must continue searching, and we will do that next time when we talk about Paul.

Image credit: Quote Factory
I invite your comments and observations below.
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Have a great day! ~Tim
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15 Responses to Adam and Eve vs. Adam and Steve

  1. michaeleeast says:

    You failed to mention that the two accounts of creation contradict each other – one has God creating them male and female, the other has Eve created from Adams rib. In the second case the original couple is Adam and God – therefore the original relationship is between Adam and the Father.

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    • You are correct Michael. In the Genesis chapter 2 account, Adam is created alone and God communicates to him alone. Only after reviewing all the animals does it become apparent that Adam had no appropriate partner and Eve was produced.

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    • madagoo says:

      II agree Michael, and would add, that in the yahwist voice of the second version, God presents all the other animals to Adam as possibilities for a soul mate. But it was adam’s choice not a dictat from God that caused eve to be his partner. I would commend an excellent ( though linguistically turbid) book by the late Jesuit scholar Gareth Moore, “In search of Truth” – he walks you through the logical fallacies ( and dismantles the catholic documents on homosexuality at the same time!) best wishes, Malcolm

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  2. Pingback: Does Leviticus Say Gays are Detestable and Must be Killed? | Jesus Without Baggage

  3. sheila0405 says:

    I always hated that statement because I’m sure the original Hebrew names for Adam and Eve don’t rhyme. It’s just silly to me. Also, I don’t think Adam and Eve were historical people. I believe as you do, that it was a story to try to answer the “why are we here” question. Or, “what is our purpose on earth?” Just my opinion, though.

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  4. Anita says:

    Hi, Tim, what bothered me a lot which made me getting through my spiritual crisis at the moment is how women are suppressed in the teaching of Paul in particular. With the current circumstances today when women work, educated, I think mutual respect, love and feet in the other’s people shoes instead of his quotes in bible make more sense. Often the lust and sin that committed and the original sinful, lustful minds are born because of the thoughts thinking that opposite sex is so opposite like another species, which the sin that men have ego and lust and women have fear and the desires to be lusted after.

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    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Good points, Anita. To me, one of today’s most repugnant doctrines among conservative believers is the idea of ‘biblical order of the family’ (or patriarchy) and related issues. These doctrines are supported in part by statements from Paul, but I think such appeals to Paul are invalid.

      Paul did make remarks about women in his advice to the churches he founded, but they were in response to specific issues in specific congregations based in part on the cultures of those churches. Since they were local, personal issues, we don’t have much insight into what was going on to elicit Paul’s comments. In other places, Paul promoted women as his own equal as teachers and leaders and even mentions favorably a woman he calls an Apostle.

      It is unfortunate, that some of Paul’s local comments are now considered God’s very word on how women are somehow unequal and subservient to men. I reject that thinking categorically.

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  5. Anita says:

    I have to confess that the statement left previously which was misled and misleading others, I plea for the forgiveness from my Lord Jesus Christ if my comment made a stumble block to anyone. I do not agree the biblical order of the family could be simplified as patriarchy, but it must be applied when the man is a loving one, a true brother in the family of Christ and the woman is a respectful one who is a true sister in the family of Christ. It could be easily misused and wrongly interpreted in the worldly sense because Satan is the father of lies and deceive us by twisting the words in bible.

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    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      I don’t think you created a stumbling block, Anita. The harmful doctrine to which I object is that the man is the head of the woman (as father or husband) and that a woman must be obedient to the man. Today, this is taught in such an extreme way that women are severely oppressed.

      I believe that men and women are equal before God, and both are able to make spiritual decisions, teach believers, pastor churches, and perform all the duties and functions of the church.

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  6. I don’t think there is a Biblical passage anywhere that makes it okay to condemn anyone. Especially, those of us who embrace Christ. We are vessels of mercy, set aside for God’s good works. We aren’t called to these works because of our perfection but because of our imperfection;even, because we are “base”. The one thing I know for certain is that if God can have mercy on me, He can have mercy on anyone, who opens their hearts to God to receive mercy. Still, I have to recognize what God calls sin, as being what isn’t His best for the human family. There are homosexuals in my life, whom I dearly love. They aren’t the sum of their sexuality or their practice of it, anymore than I am the sum of my sin. They are people just like me, with value equal to my own.
    The issue of homosexuality is confusing to people. However, most heterosexuals are confused about their own sexual behavior. Few people practice their sexuality within boundaries that make it healthy and safe. It has become recreational, rather than an expression of love and sacred empathy. Because of birth control and abortion, the sexual act is divorced from the procreation of children in the minds of many and in our media. It is about self-gratification and the seeking of new thrills. It has become a popular spectator sport. Still, sex is where we all begin and if we value ourselves so little, it is no wonder we don’t value our children either.
    I believe our entire culture is infected with a kind of sexual insanity, (as the law defines insanity as not understanding right from wrong), and that insanity is mostly heterosexual. The condemnation of homosexuals is transference. It’s denial of the fact that marriage and the traditional family have already been destroyed. No licensing by the government, or their making licensed sex, of any kind, a right will fix that. We have condemned ourselves, already and bearing the consequences of it in the dysfunction of our families and personal degradation. We are in an epidemic of self-abuse.

    Sorry for being so long winded. I’m so worn out by the left vs. right of it. None of it makes sense unless I focus on Jesus. The world is so confused and He is my only relief from it.

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  7. p.s. At least, you know your posts make me think.:0) I’m not very good at the self-promotional, ‘at-a-boy but I’m always willing to share how your words spur my understanding. Or, I may be just an old lady that talks too much.:0)

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