I am still reeling from the implications of the Supreme Court’s ruling on the Defense of Marriage Act. I cannot shake the conviction that the last vestiges of the legal foundations of Western Judeo-Christian civilization are crumbling to rubble. Justice Kennedy explained his vote by arguing that DOMA was created out of hate for homosexuals, and so must be demolished. But the Scriptures could not be clearer. The basis of human society was established by a special act of God, who created first a man and then a woman, both in God’s image. They were to rule over the earth in a life-producing, civilization-creating marriage.
This has been the bedrock of Western civilization for two millennia. Prior to that, the Greco-Roman pagan world allowed all kinds of sexual expressions and views of the divine. In its understanding of both God and Man, the West is now returning to those pagan morals-in the name of freedom, love, civil rights, diversity and equality. Such “values” free us from the definitions of human nature established by the Creator. Darwin and Marx have won. Our culture no longer believes that God created the cosmos nor that he set marriage in place as the fundamental human and societal building block.
We still want to be spiritual, to have a moral universe and a sense of meaning for our lives, but shorn of any notion of a personal, meaning-defining Creator. Thus homosexuality demands “gay marriage” as its legitimizing ritual, without any basis in the creation account. A liberal Episcopal priest L. William Countryman, defines “gay marriage,” in which he is a firm believer, in the following way:
Marriage is the union of two adult people, the sharing of their entire lives with one another. It’s the celebration of a particular intimacy and the creation of a household….The celebration is not simply for them. …Rather it’s a celebration of a new building block in the community. It has to be open to the community. It serves as a center of hospitality, of generosity, of hope, of contribution to the larger community. ….It should be a sacrament. Because sacraments aren’t inward looking. They are proclamations of the gospel.
There are a number of problems with this definition. The first is that once you open the door of marriage to any two persons who “share intimacy,” there are all kinds of couplings that could claim the “sacrament,” such as a father and an adult daughter, a father and an adult son, or a mother and an adult daughter, etc. Moreover, “twoness” is not essential if intimacy is the main criterion. This is w hy the ACLU, which is
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trying to create a constitutional right to “gay marriage” in all fifty states, also endorses a constitutional right to polygamous marriage.
More importantly, “gay marriage” does not express the gospel. The “mystery” of the gospel (Eph 5:31) was long ago depicted in the pre-Fall divine declaration of heterosexual marriage (which Paul calls “natural,” that is, according to creation, Rom 1:26) in which God declares: “therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh” (Gen 2:24). The gospel is about no less than the Creator, who created heterosexual marriage (“hetero” means “different”), who is radically different from us, who “marries” us through the atoning death of his Son. He joins himself to his church in a “hetero” relationship of difference with intimacy. The gospel can never be expressed by “gay marriage”
Creator God of the gospel.In its essence, homosexuality expresses intimacy with sameness (“homo” means “same”). Some gay scholars argue that homosexuality is a “sacrament” of the pagan notion of the “god within.” That god is the same as us.
Alas, “gay marriage” is a counterfeit of the genuine original and, like false bank notes, can fool people for a time. One can only imagine what “civilization” will become when it is based on the counterfeit, completely untethered from the clearly expressed design of the Creator. The prophet Amos gives us some idea in his words to rebellious Israel:
The days are coming, says the Lord God, when I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord… they [unbelievers] shall fall, and never rise again. (Amos 8:11, 14)
For our civilization we can only pray: Lord, have mercy on us! May we hear again the genuine gospel, including its announcement of sin, and its glorious offer of forgiveness: “God (the Creator) was in Christ reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message [preaching] of reconciliation” (2 Cor 5:19).