By Tyson Thorne

Nov 26, 2013

mar•riage (mãŕ-ïj) The legal union of a man and a woman as husband and wife.



The meaning of marriage

Due to some state governments’ permitting gay marriage, questions have been raised about the meaning of marriage. Is marriage a piece of paper granted by the state? Is the purpose of marriage to obtain tax and insurance benefits? Can the traditional definition of marriage be expanded to include same-sex couples?

Most of the progressive talk centers on acceptance and benefits. Those left-of-center believe homosexuality ought to be accepted, and allowing gay marriage would help promote acceptance. Furthermore, heterosexual couples shouldn’t be the only ones to enjoy tax and insurance benefits. Pick up most any newspaper and you will see that they believe anything short of full acceptance of homosexuality, legally or otherwise, stems from close-minded and discriminatory beliefs. Walter Cronkite, retired anchorman of CBS news, called the “Christian right’s” (meaning right-wing, or conservative Christians) objection to gay marriage “as obnoxious a thing as has ever happened.”

Most of the conservative talk centers on tradition and definition. Certainly the tradition of marriage the world over has been between a man and a woman—regardless of the waxing and waning of homosexual acceptance in various cultures. Furthermore, pick up most any dictionary and you will see the definition of marriage has always been the union of a man and a woman as husband and wife. Because words have meaning it would be wrong to attempt to redefine marriage to include same-sex couples. Besides all this, as scientific polls reveal, most Americans are opposed to the idea of gay marriage.

Thankfully the left- and right-wing politicians are not the only source of information on this issue. For those who trust in Jesus, the Bible is an absolute standard of truth and weighs in on the issues of homosexuality and marriage.

First, both Old and New Testaments condemn homosexual behavior (Leviticus 18.22, Romans 1.24-.32, among others passages). In the Old Testament the Israelites are warned against many sexual perversions, including homosexuality. God calls people who practice such things “defiled”. This is as strong a statement about sin as any that can be found. In the New Testament we see just as strong a language used. Homosexuality is consistently listed among mortal sins, and described as “unnatural”, “shameful” and “indecent”.

Second, the two Testaments also have one voice on the issue of marriage. Both Jesus and Paul quote Genesis 2.23-.25 in their discussions about marriage. Genesis is clear about marriage being invented and defined by God as one man and one woman united together as one flesh. Adam and Eve were created in God’s image (Genesis 1.28) and there is indication that marriage itself may be a part of that image. Notice that the Old Testament punishment for adultery is death, but the punishment for fornication is far less severe (Leviticus 20.10). The disparity of punishment between the two acts indicates that sex is not at the heart of this issue, but rather that there is something more involved and precious in marriage than there is in sex outside of marriage. Marriage involves something greater, deeper and more meaningful and that something cannot exist inside a homosexual relationship.

In the end, regardless of what laws government may pass or how the two sides of the political spectrum may try to frame the issue, God’s Word tells us that such behavior is an offense and no acceptance of the practice — either socially, politically, or morally —should be made.

  1. Foreign powers: Egypt, Medo-Persia and Rome.
  2. Domestic kings: Saul, Abijah, Athaliah, Ahaz, and Amon.

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