Unnatural Relations, Adam and Steve, Marriage, Anatomy, and Evolution

This post will be a bit fragmented.  I chose to look at the specific texts in the Bible as the main part of the debate, because for me the Bible is authoritative. This post will quickly touch on some of the other regularly-repeated arguments on either side.  Some are more about general themes that are claimed to be in the Bible, and some are more driven by science.

The Natural Argument

This is the most frequent one that I hear from the Side A part of the debate. Sexual orientation is natural, so how can you say that it is wrong if God made it that way? To me this is missing the point. At least within Christian theology, we acknowledge that humans are both image-bearers of God (good) and broken (bad). This argument tends to rely on the fact that if it’s natural then it must be good, which could be scarily applied to other things like anger, greed, drug addictions, etc. No, the Side A proponents don’t make those kind of extensions themselves, and that is my point: they seem to make a bit of a special case of sexual orientation saying that, well obviously it comes from the good nature of humanity and not the bad.  But why does it follow that natural equals good? I’ve never heard anybody on Side A even try to answer that.  To be fair, Side X usually seems to buy into the argument, equally missing the point, and usually prefers to deny science and say that sexual orientation is purely chosen and has nothing to do with a natural drive.

Adam and (St)Eve

I don’t feel bad about outright calling this one stupid. It often comes in the form of the horribly unfunny joke “God made Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve”. Ugh. I’m always curious whether the people saying that actually think they’re funny. Usually these are people who assume Adam and Eve were literal historical figures so I’ll do the same for a moment, but whether they were literal or metaphorical I don’t think really matters here. Since God made the first couple heterosexual, then obviously everybody was made heterosexual, right? God also made the first couple in a garden in Mesopotamia, so do we all need to find a garden in the Middle East to move to? It’s the same logic.

Yes, I do know that it is a bit more complicated than that. It is a claim that the fullness of God is found in the union of male and female, since both male and female are made in God’s image. That argument actually does make more sense to me than anything else I’ve heard. I’ve studied cognitive science, and I do know that there are very significant differences between the average man and the average woman, even though there is still far more that’s the same. I do think there is a bit of a truth, even if it is a bit cliché, when somebody says “you complete me” to their significant other.  As God pulled Eve out of Adam, sex/marriage brought them back together as one. But does one have to be male and the other female for that completion to happen? There isn’t really anything biblically or psychologically to suggest that’s the case.

As with the rest of the idea of using Adam and Eve as your example, the problem comes with whether the fact that they were one male and one female was prescriptive or descriptive. When a gay friend says that he is “complete” with his boyfriend, I don’t see the kind of biblical or psychological evidence to reply “that’s not possible!” I see the opposite. To me there is no evidence that Adam and Eve were meant to be prescriptive and not simply descriptive.

The Meaning of Marriage

This follows from the previous one: marriage is God-ordained and it is God-ordained for one man and one woman. Yes, the government deals with the practicals of it, but it is fundamentally a spiritual union blessed by God. To that I say: prove it. Show me something, anything, in the Bible that claims marriages are an exclusively Christian thing. Second question: what does that mean for atheist marriages? If marriage is purely a spiritual thing, then atheists shouldn’t be allowed to marry either right? I’m hoping that as you read that you saw it as being as ridiculous as I do. I’m not saying that marriage is not also a spiritual union. Definitely is. But to say that people who don’t embrace God shouldn’t be entitled to the legal rights of marriage is stupid. Similarly, if you think that God doesn’t approve of their marriage, then don’t be a part of their wedding. Lots of pastors in Canada still quietly don’t perform same-sex marriages. They just don’t spend their time attacking it and trying to deprive others of it because of “the sanctity of marriage” either. This argument is all about politics, and if you know me or this blog, you know that I hate the corruption of each that comes when church and state intermingle.

The Argument from Anatomy

A pansexual friend of mine – who is in a committed same-sex relationship – told a story to myself and some others recently. When she was a teenager, and first starting to realize where her attractions were, ready to come out, she went to church one Sunday morning as she usually did and still does (although of a different denomination for obvious reasons). When it was time for the children/youth time at the front of the church, the person leading it out came out with those toys we have as kids with the different shapes of holes and different shapes of blocks to go in them.  She began shoving the square block at the round hole repeatedly, then said “this is why homosexuality doesn’t work.” Everyone laughed and my friend went back in the closet for a while.

It’s almost amusing to me that it is the same people (the church) who so highly value the importance of sex, arguing that it is far more than physical, and who then use the inability to procreate as the reason why homosexuality is wrong. Anybody else seeing the double standard? Sex is more than physical. As long as one of you is a man and the other is a woman. If you’re both the same sex, then throw out all the spiritual and emotional stuff and it is all about physical in order to justify why it doesn’t work. Does that imply that we don’t think gays and lesbians are capable of the spiritual and emotional connections? Because that would just be foolish and there is no way you could conclude that if you actually know any. At least I’ve never heard anybody try to use this one as the only argument.

The Evolution Argument

You don’t hear this one much because it is usually the same people who oppose gay and lesbian lifestyles as those who oppose evolution. But this did come up in the comments on one of my previous posts – The Sides of the Debate I think. Natural selection picks those who can survive long enough to reproduce. As in the previous point, gays and lesbians aren’t going to reproduce, so why would evolution continue to spread those genes? It’s a good question. In response to the comment asking on that previous post, Vicki provided a link to this article that helped answer the question.

Ryan Robinson

It is easiest to identify Ryan as both theologian and tech guy. By day, Ryan is a Technical Consultant work with PeaceWorks Technology Solutions. There, he works on websites, CRMs, and SharePoint implementations. Along with blogging here, Ryan is a founding member of the MennoNerds blogging network and a contributor to the book A Living Alternative.