Do you remember the TV comedy, Maude? The December 3, 1977 episode was ‘The Gay Bar’, in which a very conservative acquaintance told Maude that, ‘If God wanted gay people he wouldn’t have created Adam and Eve, he’d have created Adam and Steve’.
Shortly before, on November 19, The New York Times reported a protest sign that read, ‘God Made Adam and Eve, Not Adam and Steve.’ This seems to be the first use of the phrase. Some two years later anti-gay fundamentalist, Jerry Falwell, began using the phrase and made it famous.
Falwell was Right!—and Wrong!—about Adam and Steve
We discussed earlier that the Eden story, which contains Adam and Eve, is not an historical narrative about two people who actually existed but a mythical reflection on the human condition. Therefore Falwell is correct in saying God did not create Adam and Steve; but he is mistaken in saying God created Adam and Eve. The person who ‘created’ Adam and Eve was the author of the Eden story, just as the person who ‘created’ Huckleberry Finn was Mark Twain. So it is an error to say ‘God made Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve’.
Of course, the point Falwell attempts to make is that God created Adam and Eve as the proper model of all sexual relationships—one man and one woman, and this simply is not the case. Adam and Eve are mere details in a wonderful myth about the human condition. They are no more standards for us to follow than are the antics of Huckleberry Finn.
‘One man and one woman’ is not even the standard in the Bible. Even our greatest Old Testament heroes had multiple wives and concubines—Abraham, Jacob, David, Solomon. One man and one woman was NOT the standard. And there is NO biblical standard against a loving relationship between two males or between two females.
Another objection against gay and lesbian relationships comes from Genesis 9:
God blessed Noah and his sons, saying to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the earth…multiply on the earth and increase upon it.”
The objection is that gay and lesbian couples cannot increase and multiply, but I think we have pretty much accomplished that task, and heterosexuals are going to continue multiplying. But, going back to Adam and Steve, does God create some of us heterosexual and some of us gay? How does this work?
How We Are ‘Created’ LGBT and Straight
I contend that God does not cause any of us to be either straight or LGBT. In fact, I don’t think God is directly involved in our personal prenatal development. It is a natural process that we actually understand very well: an egg and a sperm combine to create an embryo so that some nine months later a new person is born. The basics are quite clear.
Some believers would disagree with me by pointing to Psalm 139:
You created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
The poet delights in the wonder of the birth process, and I agree with him! The development of a new individual is an amazing thing, but this is just poetry—not God’s revealed truth. The same poet, later in the same Psalm, says:
If only you, God, would slay the wicked!…They speak of you with evil intent; your adversaries misuse your name. Do I not hate those who hate you, Lord…I have nothing but hatred for them; I count them my enemies.
Whoa! I don’t think that represents God’s revealed truth! Do you?
Individuals are not created by God—they are born. And some of us are born straight while others are born LGBT, and I don’t think God is involved; it is a natural process.
Why Are Some Born LGBT and Others Born Straight?
One of the most cruel things fundamentalists say to gays is that they ‘choose’ the gay ‘lifestyle’ (don’t get me started on that!)–and that they can change! Not true! Both heteros and LGBTs are born the way they are. Sexuality is complex: some are born straight, some are born gay or lesbian, and it gets more complicated than that. Some are born transgender; their genitals do not match the gender of their brain. Who would choose that?
As an anti-gay Christian, one thing that made a big impact on me was learning about intersexuality, where the baby’s sexual organs are ambiguous; sometimes they are born with both gender characteristics and doctors or parents arbitrarily assign them to one gender or another. This made me realize how complex sexuality can be; it is not nearly so cut and dried as anti-gay Christians suggest. In addition there is bisexuality, asexuality, and probably conditions of which I am not even aware.
How does this happen? I think there is a rather simple answer—evolution.
Genetic mutation is a big factor in evolution; that is when a genetic change occurs in an individual and is passed on to their offspring. Sometimes these mutations do nothing, but other times they create some actual change in a population. Mutation is the source of many of our differences from each other—such as height, skin color, and a host of others.
So some of us are born straight and some are born LGBT because of genetic mutations in our population. Neither homosexuality nor heterosexuality is created by God, nor are they choices made by the individuals. Homosexuality is the result of evolution and is neither sinful nor defective. It is only different from heterosexuality—nothing more. It should not even be an issue; there is no reason LGBTs should not be welcome by all Christian believers.
Next time we will talk about what Young Earth Creationists say about genetic mutations.
- Evolution and Inerrancy: Confusing Other Genres with History in Genesis (part 1)
- Evolution, Eden, and the Flood: Confusing Other Genres with History in Genesis (part 2)
- Evolution and Original Sin: How Calvin’s TULIP Falls Apart
- Evolution and Imago Dei: What, Whence, and When the Image of God?
- Evolution and Homophobia: How We Are ‘Created’ LGBT and Straight