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De-Gendering Marriage

I am not opposed to same-sex marriage because of the individuals who are asking for it to be legalized. I’m not opposed because I’m a “homophobe” or a hatemonger or because I like to push people’s buttons.

I’m opposed to de-gendering marriage because it strips God’s purpose from the fabric of marriage.

I am opposed to same-sex marriage because it stands in direct opposition to the truth about God. I’m opposed to same-sex marriage because God created marriage as a model to reflect a picture of the Gospel. Gender matters to God, and serves a much bigger purpose than what we can see in the physical realm. When we choose to discard traditional marriage and de-gender marriage, we are throwing aside the beautiful picture God designed for displaying the gospel.

When we accept same-sex marriage as an option, we’ve ripped the design from the Designer and reengineered our own invention for our own purposes—all of them self-serving and none of them for the purpose of revealing who God is.

In contrast to God’s model for marriage, the same-sex marriage model follows the pattern recorded in Romans 1 where three exchanges take place.

The First Exchange

Exchanging: The glory of immortal God for . . . images resembling mortal man (v. 22–23)

[box]Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.[/box]

The Second Exchange

Exchanging: The Truth about God for . . . a Lie (v. 25)

[box]They exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever![/box]

The Third Exchange

Exchanging: Natural sexual relations for . . . unnatural sexual relations (vv. 26–27)

[box]For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another . . .[/box]

Do you see what is happening here?

The exchanges eventually result in homosexuality (“homo” originally borrowed from the Greek “homos” meaning: same). The first exchange denies God’s “otherness” and degrades Him by placing God on man’s plane of existence, bringing Him into a “homogeneous” relationship to man (as though God is of the same corruptible nature or essence as man). The first exchange denies the existence of God as God. God is no longer “other.”

Homogenizing God

When I say that God is totally “other” I mean He’s not common but is unique to man; immortal as opposed to mortal. Creator in contrast to the created. However, in the first exchange, God is stripped of deity—He’s removed from His transcendent position of other and dragged into our realm as nothing more than a mere mortal—the same as us.

The first exchange is an attempt to homogenize God—which denigrates Him.  

It’s putting God on the same playing field as man—where the Creator is no longer different than the created—but the same. He’s no longer above, beyond, and greater—but is homogenous (the same as us). 

The second exchange twists the truth about God (namely that He’s divine) into a lie. Putting God in the same category as man leads to the last exchange which results in homosexuality.

But don’t miss the point—I’m not railing against people who struggle with same-sex attraction; I’m not even focusing on sexual immorality. What I’m talking about is much more serious than homosexual activity—homosexuality simply mirrors the spiritual dynamic that’s occurring—placing God in the same category as man or other created things.

That sameness presents a model of God that is degrading. And that God-model—God stripped of His divinity—is what homosexual unions reflect.  

When partners unite in a model where there are two of the same rather than opposite genders, the picture of the “Transcendent Other” (infinite God uniting with finite man) is missing. In contrast to that, when we have a heterosexual marriage model, it is a celebration of the fact that the transcendent God, the One who is like no other, chose to initiate a relationship with finite man.

Although we are in a relationship with God, it is a relating of two very un-homogenous natures. God will never become “one” with mankind in the sense that He loses His divine nature or is no longer “other” (the transcendent deity). The marriage model of two opposite genders reflects two different—rather than same—natures in relationship. As male and female unite, they retain their distinctive genders within this relationship and marriage even serves to highlight those gender distinctions. In the same way, when we enter a relationship with God, our distinction as a finite being is highlighted as we relate to this infinite deity. Two different natures uniting in one love relationship.

What is the big deal about preserving the idea of traditional marriage?

What is all the fuss about?

When heterosexual marriages are exchanged for same-sex relationships, marriage’s ability to serve as a model or visible portrayal of Infinite God uniting with mortal, finite man is destroyed.

The command to be fruitful cannot be fulfilled.

The model for the gospel is decimated.

Please don’t miss the importance of this—this is why heterosexual marriage matters. This debate is about much more than the visible and temporary. This debate goes to the heart of the gospel as revealed through the marriage model.

10 Comments

  • Allan

    This argument is a serious stretch. What comes across as reasoned and studied is really just rationalizing, grasping for a causative formula and some sort of moral equivalency. If what is posited here is true, then all people who reject God and worship nature should be homosexual. So too Roman Catholics that pray to statues of Jesus, Mary and the Saints. Paul’s letter to the Romans is used inappropriately in this case. Paul was writing to Roman Christians who lived in a culture rife with idol worship. Pagan idolatry incorporated images of birds, beasts and human-like gods and in the case of Rome, the Imperial Cult – Caesar himself. Pagan Temple ceremonies often involved homosexual, heterosexual and bisexual orgies and other debasing activities. Paul was warning the Roman Christians that pagan idolatry could lead to such things and they must refrain from indulgence. It’s also very likely that some in the Roman church in fact indulged in these ceremonies.

    To attempt to force Romans 1 to be the explanation for the existence of homosexuality in Western culture is a misuse of scripture IMO.

    And what about homosexuals in monogamous unions who confess Christ? Are they lying? Are they merely delusional? The logical extension of the argument is that homosexuals are incapable of biblical faith. There are thousands of same-sex couples who would argue such a claim and whose faith-walks appear every bit as genuine as heteros.

    Finally, the claim that hetero-marriage is somehow a witness to the gospel seems rather contrived and wishful thinking. A culture that has for the most part rejected most if not all things of God is not going to be influenced by an institution rife with brokenness and hypocrisy. Divorce, emotional, physical and sexual abuse hardly bear witness to “two different natures uniting in one love relationship.”

  • Kathleen

    Succint spiritual insights! Christians can’t appeal to this debate from a secular standpoint. Our basis for defending marriage between male & female is rooted in the biblical model that God has established. Christ Himself defined it ..for this purpose a ‘man’ leaves his father & mother & clings to his ‘wife’
    This issue will drive the wedge between the world & the church even deeper …& we must be prepared to be hated on account of our desire to adhere to the pure truths of scripture.

  • Kimberly Wagner

    Hello Allan,

    Thank you for taking the time to find my blog and send me a comment. I actually agree with much of what you shared. I think your description of 1st century Rome is pretty accurate, and yes, it is very likely that some in the church were involved in the pagan ceremonies.

    I believe Romans 1 is giving us a progression, a progression that can (but not always) lead to homosexuality. Much more could be said about this passage than can be served in a blog post, but the purpose of this post wasn’t to elaborate on the entire passage.

    I agree completely with this portion of your comment:
    A culture that has for the most part rejected most if not all things of God is not going to be influenced by an institution rife with brokenness and hypocrisy. Divorce, emotional, physical and sexual abuse hardly bear witness to “two different natures uniting in one love relationship.”

    You are exactly right. That is why heterosexual marriages that are not reflecting the power of the gospel do not bring God glory, in fact it brings blasphemy to God’s Word. The beautiful description of marriage that Ephesians 5 gives us is what God desires. The model of the husband (representative of Christ) and the wife (representative of the Church)is a picture of the love relationship that we are to display to others in our marriages. That kind of marriage is only possible through the transformation provided by Christ’s atoning work on the cross, and two sinful mates applying the truth of God’s Word through the empowering grace of the Spirit.

    I was guilty of this in my own marriage. I am so ashamed that for many years our marriage did not reflect the picture of the gospel, did not glorify God, or give credence to the power of His Word. If you would like to hear how God mercifully worked in our marriage, you can see that video clip here:

    http://www.kimberlywagner.org/?p=180

    I’m praying that God will be glorified through marriages where husbands and wives live with one another in humility, demonstrating the love of Christ, submitting to the authority of His Word, and walking in the fruit of the Spirit.

  • Kimberly Wagner

    Thank you for your comment, Kathleen. I agree. And yes, we must be prepared to be hated. My prayer is that the Church will be refined by the persecution that seems to be drawing closer.

  • Jenelle

    “be fruitful” … see Isaiah 54. Was Christ “fruitful”? The fruits of our labor are love and understanding and compassion. From a Christian standpoint, I fear for your comprehension of the wedding of Christ to his church…where can that survive in this narrow and self-referential “insight” … for Mother Theresa. Or any unwed person? Or childless couple. This view falls so short of scripture!

  • Cheryl in France

    ‘homosexuals in monogamous unions who confess Christ?’

    Those are not for me or any other human to judge (even if I do disagree)- and by judge I mean saying that I know what will happen to them when they die. That’s up to God, and I’m grateful I don’t have to make the decision. For me, it’s simply sex outside of marriage, because that is biblically defined as man/woman. BUT IT IS NO WORSE A SIN than heterosexual sex outside of marriage. Yet another reason I’m glad I’m not God, lol. We can love these people, find out their stories, ask them questions, tell them God does love them. We cannot ans should not try to be the Holy Spirit and convict them that they are this it that (fill in all the things you’ve heard).

    I’ve got enough personal issues to get right in my own self to be telling anyone ‘they’re going to Hell’ in a hateful way ( but I do have a responsibility to gently talk to a fellow Christian about sin in loving kindness and then let it go, bcc again, it’s not my responsibility to play anyone’s Holy Spirit…

  • Kimberly Wagner

    Hello, Cheryl ~

    Thank you for leaving a comment. Yes, it isn’t our job to be anyone’s Holy Spirit. It isn’t our job to render judgment on what is right and wrong because we are not the author or the authority of right conduct. God is. And thankfully, He has given us His Word on this topic. Whether it is heterosexual immorality or homosexual immorality–it is still sinful.

    We are all sinners in need of a Savior–and thankfully Jesus came to our rescue!

  • Kimberly Wagner

    Thank you, Jenelle, for stopping in to leave a comment. The metaphor of marriage that Ephesians presents in no way marginalizes single individuals or childless couples, it merely explains how the marriage relationship is to serve as a visible picture representing the mystery of the gospel. This isn’t my opinion, it is what Scripture states:

    “For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.

    Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.

    In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body. “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.”

    This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband. (Ephesians 5:23–33)