All ancient religions and cultures developed creation stories including the Amorites, Canannites and Babylonians, all which predate the creation story found in Genesis 1-2. These ancient stories tell of how the world came into being, who their deities were and how their deities played a part in the forming of the world and in relating to humanity. The Israelites needed their own story to answer the basic questions of how did we get here and why are we here. Even more they needed to not only explain how the world came into being and their God's relationship with humanity but to explain God's unique and exclusive covenant with them, the people of Israel.
The creation story is used in opposition to gays and lesbians in several ways. According to the creation story (and we would be more accurate to say stories since there are two separate accounts given in these chapters) God created them Eve from Adam's side to be his helpmate, the woman being a complimentary to the man. Thus the argument goes that God made woman for man and man for woman and therefore same-sex relationships are in violation of this divine order.
The second argument is that God gave Adam and Eve clear direction that they were to "go forth and multiply" and because same-sex couples aren't able to procreate they are again unable to fulfill this divine directive.
In responding to the first argument, Peter Gomes writes in "The Good Book,"
"The authors of Genesis were intent upon answering the question, 'Where do we come from?' Then, as now, the only plausible answer is from the union of a man and a woman...The creation story in Genesis does not pretend to be a history of anthropology or of every social relationship. It does not mention friendship, for example, and yet we do not assume that friendship is condemned or abnormal. It does not mention the single state, and yet we know that singleness is not condemned, and that in certain religious circumstances it is held in very high esteem."
While we recognize that heterosexual coupling is the norm in human relationships (and since we're all here aren't we glad about that?!) there's nothing in the Creation story to suggest that heterosexual relationships are normative or exclusionary. Genesis doesn't elevate them as such or set them as the ideal relationship for all humanity. Because Genesis is concerned with explaining how the world, including its population, came into being it's only reasonable that the first family would begin with a male-female relationship, yet that doesn't come at the cost of excluding, minimizing or denying all other varieties and combinations of human relationships from friendships to partnerships. Were male-female relationships the Divine ideal for all humanity (one man + one woman = one marriage) then one has to contend with Paul's negative view of marriage and a single Savior. After all, wouldn't Jesus have followed God's divine order if marriage were the ideal?
An argument against homosexuality based on the inability for child-bearing is all the more problematic for those who wish to defend it given the vast number of marriages that never lead to procreation. Couples marry at ages when childbirth is no longer an option. Other couples are childless because of impotence, infertility, health restrictions, or genetic concerns. Still others opt to not have children for a variety of reasons. The lack of children doesn't invalid these relationships nor does it devalue them. Neither should it for gay or lesbian couples.
We've heard it all before, that "God made Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve," but what Genesis makes abundantly clear is that all creation came forth from God, including Adam and Eve, Sara and Lisa, Frank and Diane, Linda, Bob, Terrance, and all who are God's children, each and every one.
Anita Cadonau-Huseby is the Founder and Administrator of ChristianLesbians.com, which has evolved into SisterFriends Together. She has spent nearly 30 years in pastoral ministry.
Note from Mary: When I was first struggling with my sexuality and my faith, I found Christian Lesbians. Anita's leadership and her delightful sense of humour made my journey easier. It was so good to know I was not the only one. I will forever be in her debt.
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