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?
The Genesis Creation Stories
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:
- God intended all couples to be composed of a man and a woman.
- 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.
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Have a great day! ~Tim