Monday, September 10, 2012
All God's Children?
If a man lies with a male as he lies with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination. They shall surely be put to death. Their blood [ shall be ] upon them.
Several things we might note about this 'command'; first, it IS a part of the Mosaic Law, which most Christians will heartily agree, passed away at the cross, and secondly ( and these are not necessarily in order of importance ), this only speaks of male with male, there is nothing said here ( or anywhere else, to my knowledge ) about female with female, or two females with a male, or any other such combination. You might note that it IS impossible for a woman to lie with another woman after the manner she would with a man, and in a sense you'd be correct, but for the purposes of purely selfish pleasure, this is somewhat possible. With the marvels of modern technology, it might even become possible for two women to have sexual intercourse, and for one of the women to become pregnant through such intercourse. Although they are working on this too, it is still not possible for two men to lie together ( have sexual intercourse practicing sodomy ) and for one of the men to become pregnant. It just doesn't work; unless the sperm penetrates the egg, there is no conception!
Traditionally, especially among the more 'conservative' Christians; sexual intercourse, between a man and his wife, has been hallowed for it's procreative essence, almost solely, and up till 100-200 years ago, depending where you're from, maybe, it was deemed an almost 'necessary evil', and only to be practiced as the means of natural procreation. Some of these puritanical ideas exist even among certain sects of Christianity today! It most definitely was not purely a pleasurable past-time!
God made the male and female bodies so that they would mesh perfectly, and devised an ingenious delivery system that would not only safely and efficiently deliver the sperm to the egg, but He also made the system in such a way as to afford a kind of orgasmic pleasure to both partners! He created us in such a way, too, that there was not a conception every time this system was utilized, but that it was always, or at least, almost always, depending on the situation ( 'headaches', etc. ) enjoyable!
Biblically speaking, then, there is the verse quoted above, that speaks against what is known as homosexuality, or sodomy, in some circles, and the episode of Lot and the two messengers in Sodom, as recorded in Genesis 19, that speak most plainly against this life-style ( or death-style, as I've even called it in the past ), but interestingly enough, Jesus never condemned the practice in His day, though you must know it was around. The Ten Commandments never mention it, and when Jesus summed them up in Matthew 22; if He attached as much importance to the condemnation of this practice as most Christians do today, you'd think He would have at least added, 'oh yeah, and that thing about a man lying with a man back under the Mosaic Law........', but He didn't; not one iota!
Now don't get me wrong; I believe that God instituted the marriage of a man and woman, for as I've often said, 'God brought Eve to Adam, not Steve to Adam'! This is most likely where the puritanical notion that men and women are supposed to 'come' together solely for the purposes of procreation came from ( 'Be fruitful and multiply' ). Now, as described above; it is not even possible ( they're working on it, though ) for a man to get pregnant, as he only carries the sperm, and not the egg. Sperm with sperm only creates confusion, when there is no egg to penetrate, or invest in! I'm not saying that homosexuality is not wrong, but neither will I condemn it as a more terrible transgression of God's word than any other selfish idolatry, or any practice of rebellion against God!
Children of God?
In this post-eschaton ( some might even say 'post-biblical'; oh, wait, that was me! ) era in which we live, there is a growing tendency, even among some Christians, to say that the law is no more, even to an almost neo-anti-nomian extent. There may be a sense in which that is true; the so-called Mosaic Law, that which was written in stone, was fulfilled in Jesus the Christ, and nailed, with Him ( in Him, might be a better way to say it ) to the cross: the Law died! Without going back over too much ground that we've already covered, Jesus, in that sense, was the Law, and Jesus was resurrected! In the same way then, the Law was resurrected, only this time, it wasn't written in stone; this time, the Holy Spirit of God entered into us, much as in the pictorial story of Matthew 1 and Luke 1, and planted, much as a seed, the Word of God within our hearts.
As our Creator, our Father, if you will ( okay, even if you won't ), God has many children, but traditionally, again, Christianity tells us that only those who accept God and His Christ, and live according to His Word are children, or rather, sons of God. Scripture does say, in several notable passages, that the sons of God are those ( and only those? ) who do His will and keep His commandments. In a previous article, I hinted rather strongly at the possibility that this phrase was simply an eschatological statement. Not only do I believe this to be so, and that this phrase was used in opposition to 'sons of Abraham' ( Adam ), or even 'sons of the devil' ( which is what Jesus called the Pharisees ( John 8:44 ), but that all men ( women too ) are the children, sons and daughters of their heavenly Father.
One way to explain this post-eschaton, and almost extra-biblical belief, would be to use the analogous example of a human father and his children. Like it or not, and it happens even among Christians ( I can attest to this in my own life ), something happens in families, where one or more of the children become estranged, for whatever reason, from one or both of their parents, and even though in some cases, the offending child will often be disowned, this child is still a part of that family, though maybe not an integral part, and not privy to the blessedness of family life. As long as both parent and child live, there is always the hope of a future reconciliation!
So it is with our heavenly Father; all His children have been reconciled with the one final and atoning sacrifice of Jesus the Christ on the cross. One can argue till they're blue in the face that it is only those who subscribe to the Covenant that have been reconciled, but I believe that common sense, at the very least, should tell them how wrong that is! I agree; all have not reconciled with their Father, and so, in that sense, have not been reconciled to their Father, but the Christ finished His work at the cross; He reconciled His children to Himself! It is now up to us, with the Power of the Holy Spirit of God, of course, to reconcile the world with Him!
In His family,
Charles Haddon Shank