Jesus and Sexuality, part IV
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful, I know that full well. (Psalm 139:14)
Once we understand the role of scripture in the formation of Christian ethics and morality (see previous blog entries for a more detailed discussion), knowing its strengths (understood as authentic revelation from God) and its limitations (often our interpretation can be culturally, contextually, and even politically bias), we are ready to look at some of the broader themes of scripture and apply them to the issue of sexuality.
The first broad theme in all of the scriptures, which is faithfully preserved throughout, is God as creator. The first two chapters of Genesis in the Hebrew scriptures, countless psalms, the first chapter of the gospel of John and Paul's letter to the church at Colosse all illuminate God as creator.
In the Genesis account, God makes all of creation. He creates matter from nothing. Interestingly, all of his creation is described as "good" (read Genesis 1). That has huge implications regarding the foundational worth and quality of humanity and individual persons. In Genesis 1:26-27, God affirms the value of each person by declaring that people, both males and females, were made to reflect His image.
According the the Biblical story, this God-image found in humanity, is marred and distorted by humanity's desire to be like God (see Genesis 3). In the story, although humanity was most like God, we choose to be the captains of our own fate, deciding what is good and bad based upon our own understandings and desires, as opposed to God's. This led to distortion of humanity from the image of God, to its own distinct image, which was no longer "good" but "inclined towards evil all the time" (Genesis 6:5). According to the Biblical narrative, humanity is still retains elements of the image of God (James 3:9), but is now a self-centered distortion of the original model.
If we were originally created as good, then one can assume that sexuality in general, which is implied in Genesis 2, is good as well.
The problem, in our situation, is to try to get a better understanding of what aspects of sexuality are made in the image of God, and what has been distorted by our own self-centered, distorted desires.
So here a couple points to consider as we specifically look at our sexuality through the creation narratives:
1. Being fully human means to also have healthy sexuality. According to Genesis 2, a healthy sexual desire for adam towards Eve and vice-versa was good. This is our only model of sexuality given before the distortion of our desires.
2. We were created by God, but our procreation continues to be marred by evil. The biblical narrative progresses from good/innocence to evil/corrupted. Early Church fathers interpreted that as "original sin", or the concept that our sinfulness is passed on to our children. Our marred images of God continue to make other marred images.
3. There is no Biblical narrative that demonstrates homosexuality or bisexuality before the fall of humanity. Part of that reason is that the population of humanity, was, according to the Genesis narrative, two people: a male and a female. They would not have had anyone to be homoerotic towards. Yet, the record is clear that healthy heterosexual desires were present prior to the fall.
4. Scientifically, there has been no evidence that homosexuality or bisexuality is a condition in which you are born with. Although this is often disputed by advocates of the Gay and Lesbian communities, the fact is that there is no solid evidence that people are born homosexuals. The argument is often put forward that if God created Gay people, then it must be moral. The premise that God created anyone Gay is not sustained by the Biblical narrative, nor is it scientifically supported.
5. Even if science were to show somehow that some people are born Gay, the Bible speaks to all people being born in "sin" (Psalm 51:5). This implies, that having a desire to do something at birth does not make it natural or good, but that it can be distorted from birth. Aggressive infants naturally hit others, but that does not mean that violence is a natural, healthy aspect of humanity. Its proof that we can see our distorted image early on.
6. We are to recognize the humanity of one another based upon the image of God placed within. According to scripture, our respect for others is based upon our respect for God (James 3:9). We can not respect God and disrespect that made in his image. This respect is irregardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, or sexuality. The treatment of people with same sex attraction or gender confusion by Christians is to be respectful and loving. In far too many cases, this is not the case.
So, we are all flawed people who have distorted thoughts and sexualities according to scripture. We will explore more specific scriptures further in this series, but for now, it is important to share the Creation narratives are closely linked with redemption narratives in scripture. That is, God relentless restores that which was lost, distorted, and marred by "sin". This is why Jesus is the pinnacle of the entire Bible. In other words, the Bible narrative is a hopeful narrative.
Will you take time to read and reflect on Genesis 1 and 2. While these are not proof-texts of sexuality, pleasae take some time to glean what God is revealing about humanity and sexuality in those verses.
Next blog, what does the Bible say about healthy spirituality specifically?
Pastor M Traylor