Saturday, February 8, 2014

Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve

Let's do a quick recap of all the things I hope you've learned from my previous blog posts:
I'm gay.
I'm a Christian.
I was born this way.
I am fine with it.
I believe God is fine with it.

If you didn't know all of these, I have failed as a blogger (or maybe you just can't read).

So that's all fine and dandy, but now you're all wondering how in the world I could ever read those six passages in the Bible and still feel confident in who I am and who God created me to be.

So I want to start digging into these six verses and see what I can find. I encourage you to do the same. I will be using a website called blueletterbible.org which is a very handy Bible study tool. It has the verse you search for, and for every word there is a translation, a definition, cross references, and some other tools.

That being said, I will be documenting everything I learn, but I challenge you to do your own study. It's fun and very simple.

I guess the best place to start is, well, the beginning. Genesis, where God in all of His mighty power created everything from absolute nothingness. And then He created man, and for man He created woman, and both were made in His image.

THERE YOU HAVE IT. Done. He created ONE man and ONE woman and they were made for each other and God told them to fill the earth and subdue it. How can anyone argue and say this is not God's design for us?

Let's dissect Genesis verse by verse right before Eve comes into the picture...

Genesis 2:18:  
The LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”

The word helper in Hebrew is `ezer and it means "fellow worker." 'ezer is used 22 times in the Old Testament and is most often used to describe God as our helper. Ok, so no argument there about whether it should specifically be a female. Let's keep going.

Genesis 2:19
Now the LORD God had formed out of the ground all the wild animals and all the birds in the sky. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name.

I love this passage. I picture God pushing each animal towards Adam and encouraging him to be creative and call them what he wants. Of course, God could have easily picked names for His creations (they were, after all, HIS) but I think it's important to note here that God is giving Adam freedom and control. That's how much God respects and loves the human He created.

Genesis 2:20
So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds in the sky and all the wild animals. But for Adam no suitable helper was found.

Here I picture God pushing the animals towards Adam, and after they are named, God raising His eyebrows at Adam, who shakes his head because he didn't find them "suitable." Just like God let Adam name the animals and rule over them, it would make sense that God also gave Adam the freedom to choose his own helper. If God had never intended for Adam to have a say in it, the phrase "no suitable helper was found" would be utterly pointless. God would have simply created woman from the start.

Genesis 2:21-23
So the LORD God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and then closed up the place with flesh. Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.The man said, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken out of man.”

This is where I get very confused by traditionalist arguments. "SEE?" they say, "God made ONE man and ONE woman."

Well...duh. He made billions of MEN and billions of WOMEN. These are his two special treasures that He holds above all the other beasts in the world. There are many different variations of men and women, but these are the two generic prototypes for every human that has ever lived. And they were both made equally in God's image.

Then why did God create for Adam a woman, and not another man?

Because Adam was straight! Like most men in our world, a woman is what he desired and wanted as a life long "helper." If Adam were gay, maybe God would have made him another man. And then they would be able to reproduce, and our world would be filled with only men (I like the way God did it better). But like I said, these were the two generic prototypes of human beings. God had to start somewhere. He didn't make every race, every height, every eye color all on that one day. These are things that will come from His two special treasures. Adam and Eve represented and encompassed thousands of years and variations of people across time and cultures. If Adam and Eve were created in God's image, I think you can argue that EVERYONE is created in His image, not just the people who are exact replicas of Adam and Eve.

What about God's design for populating the Earth and having babies? Gay couples can't procreate so they must not be in God's design.

OBVIOUSLY God made man and woman able to reproduce, because at that time, they were the only two humans on Earth! How else would any of us be here?

Honestly I think we should all praise God that He didn't make ALL humans able to reproduce. Sure, during Bible times it was of the utmost importance, and I guess I can see why gay couples and infertile women were looked down upon in society. But now, when we are using the world's resources almost 30% faster than they can be produced, I think it's a little less urgent. And quite frankly, we would be in trouble if ALL couples EVERYWHERE were able to have children.

Genesis 2:24
That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.

The word "united" here in Hebrew is dabaq. It means "to cling to" or "to stay with." Good! I agree that Adam set a good example for all couples who have chosen to commit to each other.


"...and they shall become one flesh." This trips a lot of Christians up. For some reason we are obsessed with the idea that one flesh has some sexual connotation regarding, in Robert Gagnon's words, a "complementarity of the different genders." If we do the TINIEST BIT OF RESEARCH we find really quickly that the word "flesh" here in Hebrew is basar. Which when translated literally means "kinship, blood-relations." We are talking about family here. The same word basar is used 264 times in the Old Testament. Just a few examples:

When Adam meets Eve for the first time and he makes a connection with her that he couldn't make with any of the other animals...

Genesis 2:23
The man said, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken out of man.”

Genesis 29:14
Then Laban said to him, “You are my own flesh and blood,” (after Jacob had stayed with him for a whole month).

2 Samuel 5:1
All the tribes of Israel came to David at Hebron and said, “We are your own flesh and blood."


etc. etc. It doesn't mean cookie cutter straight man/straight woman sex. It means having a relationship with someone that is stronger than friendship, characterized by mutual care, respect, and love. Being each others' "helper." It's hard for Christians to imagine gay people fitting into this plan, but if modern day Christians don't give it much thought (and trust me, most of them don't give it ANY), you can only imagine how far it was from their minds during ancient times when there were fewer people and no internet.

People argue that if homosexuality was okay, there would be more in the Bible about it than just the negative stuff.

That would be a good point if we could prove that the rare, erotic same-sex behavior described in the Bible is also referring to the committed, God-fearing gay couples we see today. But that's a topic for next week. 

12 comments:

  1. Well studied, Missa, good job and great post! Thank you.

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  2. I really enjoyed reading this. Thank you for writing it so clearly and thoughtfully. :-)

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  3. I am really enjoying your blog Missa!! You are shedding light where there is darkness--Tyou precious jewel!!

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  4. Keep up the good work. You are a treasure to all !

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  5. I had never pondered the "one flesh" perspective before. Thank you for clarifying that! I was at a seminar yesterday where the speaker said, "The three most important things we need to consider when looking at a scripture passage are: 1. Context, 2. Context, 3. Context. And then, #4 is still Context! When we look at linguistic, historical and cultural context, verses can read very differently than if we just pull a single verse out and hold it up for examination. I am so glad you doing this series of posts!

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  6. Thanks everyone! I'm having a lot of fun doing this Bible study. Marlene, I agree with the speaker! Context is so important and so easily forgotten.

    Hope everyone is having a great day!
    Missa

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  7. You always come at things so directly and with great passion and understanding. May God continue to grant His wisdom and blessings on your life and your calling.

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  8. You've covered a lot of topics here, and one resource I have found very helpful is Tim Keller' work, The Meaning of Marriage. I highly recommend it.

    I'm wondering if when you refer to "committed" couples in a sexual relationship you always mean married couples, or do you believe the Bible also allows for sex in other types of commitments?

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    1. Because marriage isn't allowed in many areas, I think the commitment to each other is what's important. In Bible times there weren't ceremonies like we have now. The idea of marriage I'm talking about is about being exclusively with one person for the rest of your life, and if there's government recognition of that marriage it makes it harder to dissolve.

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  9. Excellent work, Missa. I just found some new info in Matthew Vines' book that addresses this subject --- Eve was not created because Adam needed to procreate. She was created because Adam had a need for companionship. The command to procreate came after that, as it was necessary to populate the planet. It almost seems like sex was of no concern when God picked a suitable helper for Adam. I don't know how to fully dissect that info, but it's worth studying.

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    1. That's really interesting, I wanna look more into that. Thanks for sharing!

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