Same-Sex Marriage: Creating a New Definition.
Every religion operates with certain rules and Do and Don’ts of each religion is believed to have come from God, who created heaven and earth. Every person, therefore, who accepts that faith or religion, is expected to comply with the norms of that religion. Christianity is not excluded from this phenomenon.
Marriage, as an institution within the practice of Christianity, has certain norms that should be adhered to by every practising Christian. As a sacred reality, instituted by God Himself, it is simply defined as a voluntary union of one man and one woman. Marriage as a divine institution is a covenant by which a man and woman become husband and wife.
God, the author of matrimony endowed it with various benefits and purposes. Within Christianity, therefore, marriage is for companionship (cf: Gen. 2:18) of man and woman. It is for the procreation of children, (cf: Gen. 1:28) and physical relationship that helps in the quietening of concupiscence or sin (cf: 1Cor. 7:8-9).
Some years back, adherents of the faith were very faithful to the norms of religion.
They did not just keep to the letter of the law but were very obedient to the spirit of the law. Many Christians of old appreciate the benefits and purposes of marriage. It was John and Jane getting married and the Lord was pleased with His creation.
However, recently, people and nations no longer appreciate the dignity of marriage as enacted by God. A new definition has been given to the institution called marriage. Marriage is now for some individuals, the voluntary union of man and man, or woman and woman.
Gradually, homosexuality crept in. Boys start having the sexual relationship with boys, and girls joined in the obnoxious act of having sex with the same gender. Abomination! To some level, it was still done secretly. Many do not have the courage to say boldly that, they are involved in the practice. Perhaps, for the fear of what people will say: or because the law of the land forbids it.
2. Many countries are now legalized same-sex marriage:
It is more worrisome that, many countries where Christianity strived and spread to Africa now legalized same-sex marriage. It is on record that not less than 20 countries have passed the bill, legalizing same-sex marriage. What can one say of Ireland? Oh! My Ireland! Oh! St. Patrick! May your labour never go in vain. The whole madness, yes, madness started in 2001 by Netherlands. Belgium in 2003, Canada and Spain joined the absurdity in 2005.
It took its turn in South Africa by 2006, 2009 was the time of Norway and Sweden while Portugal, Iceland and Argentina came on board in 2010, Denmark in 2012. As if that was not enough. New Zealand. France, Brazil, England plus Uruguay passed the bill in 2013. 2014 saw Scotland and Luxembourg accepting the practice. The United States of America crowned it all in 2015, “God’s own country” approving Stephen and Stephen to be joined together as husband and wife. What an irony!
3. The Biblical and traditional root of the church view on homosexuality.
The church continues to emphasize that her teaching today on homosexuality is an organic continuity with the Scriptural perspective and tradition. Though today’s world is quite new in many ways, the church has the profound and lasting bond which joins us to the generations who have gone before we marked with the sign of faith.
Contrary to the view that scriptural condemnation of homosexuality was addressed to a particular space and time, the church rather reads God’s sustenance of His refutation of homosexuality in the revelation of His word across different spaces and times from the ancient days of the patriarchs in the Old Testament up to the beginning of the church in different cultural climes.Homosexuality all through this vast historical moment received repudiation and condemnation before God.
At the patriarchal period, Genesis 19: 1-11 presents homosexual as evidence of how deterioration due to sin was advancing in the lifestyle of Sodom. Almost a thousand years later, in Leviticus 18: 22, 20:13 where Scripture presents to ancient Israel the condition for being the people of God, it excludes the people of God those who practice homosexuality.
Almost two thousand years after, in 1 Cor. 6:9-10, God addresses the Christian people to preserve the ancient Hebrew people’s view of homosexual acts, stating that those who behave in that manner will never inherit the kingdom of God. In Romans 1:18-32, Paul presents homosexuality as one of the symptoms of darkness that blind humankind.
Though of the same generation, the culture of the Romans differed from that of the Greek- Corinthians. Finally, we read 1 Tim 1:9-10, in full continuity with the biblical precedence, explicitly names as sinners those who engage in homosexual acts. Timothy is from Lystra in Asia Minor and the Bishop of Ephesus. We thus see how the message of the scripture against homosexuality is universal.
It becomes clear that the view of the church is completely based on the sacred scripture which condemns homosexual acts as the serious depravity and emphasized that it is a sad consequence of rejecting God. This judgement of scriptures does not, of course, permit us to conclude that all who suffer from this anomaly are personally responsible for it, but it does attest to the fact that homosexual activity is intrinsically disordered and can in no case be approved of.
4. The church’s scriptural teaching on same sex marriage.
According to the church and based on the scripture, marriage is not just any relationship between human beings. It was established by the Creator with its own nature and purpose. As such, “no ideology can erase from human spirit that certainty that marriage exists solely between a man and woman.”
There are three fundamental elements of the creator’s plan for marriage as narrated in the book of Genesis which shuts out the possibility that divine institution of marriage is also open to same sex relationships.
1. First, as the prelude to the institution of marriage, Scripture emphasizes that God created two genders’ male and female he created them’.
2. Secondly, marriage is instituted by the creator as a form life in which a communion of persons is realized in the use of sexuality. ‘That is why a man leaves his father and mother and clings to his wife and the two become one body’ (Genesis 2:24).
3. Thirdly, God has willed to give the union of man and woman a special participation in his work of creation. Thus he blessed the man and the woman with the words: “Be fruit and multiply” (Genesis 1:28). Therefore, in the Creator's plan, sexual complimentary and fruitfulness belong to the very nature of marriage.
Following therefore from the testimony of the Bible, the church declares that “there are absolutely no grounds for considering the homosexual union to be in any way similar or even remotely analogous to God’s plan. Homosexual go against natural law. In any way to homosexual behaviour or legal recognition of homosexual unions, the respect for homosexual persons cannot lead to that.
Not on isolated phrases for facile theological argument, the church’s doctrine is thus based but on a solid foundation of a consistent biblical testimony which across many ages and among different peoples did not change its tone or position.
5. The reasons why Same-Sex Marriage is abnormal and unnatural lifestyle behaviour:
Religious conservatives generally believe that homosexuality is a changeable, chosen, addictive, abnormal and unnatural lifestyle behaviour; they will probably disagree with most of the rebuttals.
The following are the reasons why Same-Sex Marriage is abnormal and unnatural lifestyle behaviour:
1. Looking at it from the point of benefits and purposes of marriage:
Looking at it from the point of benefits and purposes of marriage, same-sex marriage cannot bring about a meaningful companionship in marriage.God choose Eve for Adam in the book of Genesis depicts a "helper fit for him". While it is not good for a man to be alone, it is not the choice of another man, that will serve the needs, within the family set-up. The Lord has designed specific roles for both man and woman in the house. Anything contrary to that roles can never meet the best plan of God.
2.It is also not the plan of God that same gender should be the instrument for the procreation of children and physical relationship:
It is also not the plan of God that same gender should be the instrument for the procreation of children and physical relationship. As ordained by God, sexual relationship in marriage is between man and woman, to be co-creators, and not between man and man.
3.Gays and lesbians make poor parents:
Some churches like the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the Roman Catholic church claimed that gays and lesbians in committed relationships make inferior parents. The best way to assure that children get the best possible upbringing is to require spouses to be of different genders.
4 Children need to be raised by their biological parents:
Children are better off when raised by their biological parents. In a same-sex marriage, at least one parent would be genetically unrelated to the child. With a divorce rate approaching 50%, a large minority of children are parented by a genetically-unrelated adult at some time in their lives.
5.A child with same-sex parents will be subjected to hate:
It effect serves as a punishment for the child for raising a child in a home with gay or lesbian parents because they would be exposed to homophobia by the public. Hatred directed at the child's parents would spread to the child.
6. Marriage is only feasible if the couple is monogamous; same-sex couples cannot be:
Because of monogamy, marriage is a stable institution. This is apparently a reference to the state's belief that homosexual couples cannot be monogamous.
7.Homosexual activity is a capital offence in the Bible:
There are at least half-dozen references to homosexuality scattered throughout the Bible. All are negative. Leviticus 20:13 states that "The penalty for homosexual acts is death to both parties. They have brought it upon themselves." (Living Bible): The New Living Translation says: "The penalty for homosexual acts is death to both parties. They have committed a detestable act, and are guilty of a capital offence." How can we allow gays and lesbians to marry if the Bible calls on them to be executed?
8. Almost everyone agrees that homosexuality is immoral:
When same-sex marriages were considered in some parts of the world, a conservative Christian organization said that same-sex marriage would introduce "a radical reform in the basic institution of marriage, drastically redefining the fundamental structure of our society and jettisoning long-recognized cultural values" .
6. Disadvantages of same-sex marriage:
Looking at it from the point of benefits and purposes of marriage, same-sex marriage cannot bring about a meaningful companionship in marriage.
i. God choose Eve for Adam in the book of Genesis depicts a “helper fit for him”. While it is not good for a man to be alone, it is not the choice of another man that will serve the needs, within the family set-up. The Lord has designed specific roles for both man and woman in the house. Anything contrary to that role can never meet the best plan of God.
ii. It is also not the plan of God that same gender should be the instrument for the procreation of children and physical relationship. As ordained by God, sexual relationship in marriage is between man and woman, to be co-creators, and not between man and man.
iii. When James sleeps with James, or Janet now have sex with Janet in the name of legalized same-sex marriage; it is nothing but a distortion of God’s plan for humanity.
iv. Homosexuality or gay marriage is a sin. It is immoral whether approved by the best country in the world or not.
Must we fold our arms and allow some elements to bring the wrath of God over all nations. The answer is simple No! Let us remember the story of Sodom and Gomorrah. Every good child of God must learn to condemn this act in all its ramifications. It is not enough to just condemn, a good Christian should not practice it.
We must, therefore, say no by words and action. Same-sex marriage is anti-God, anti-humanity, and must not be accepted as the ideal. It is nothing but creating a new definition of marriage, which definitely will not be pleasing to God, and will do no good for the entire world.
- Consideration Regarding Proposals to Give Recognition to Union between Homosexual People, Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith, Vatican City, 2003.
- Darling Young, “Gay Marriage: Reimaging Church History”, First Things, No 47 (November. 1994), 43-48.
- Persona Humana, Vatican City, Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith, 1975.
- David Herlihy, “Family” American Historical Review, 96; No 1 (Feb 1991), Pp 1-16.
© 2017 ODEWOYE FRANCIS SUNDAY