Gender, Sexuality, Marriage and the Bible
Dr KEITH GRAHAM
Questions about sexuality, sexual identity, gender and thus sexual expression are dominant issues today. Many, both in the church and in society, are confused about sex, morality and personal identity. In Australia we are currently debating whether or not we should redefine ‘marriage’ to include same-sex couples. This paper seeks to address these burning issues and offer clear guidance based squarely on what the Bible has to say.
This paper will assist those wanting to follow a Christian lifestyle. Any who want to know what God says and how we are to handle our creator’s gift of sexuality will learn what the Bible teaches by exploring eight key passages.
The Bible does not have a negative, prudish, and unenlightened view of sex. When God created man (singular), He created them (plural) male and female. Scripture recognizes that our physicality—our gendered nature as well as our biological, social, psychological need to be intimate with others, is given in the creation itself. Everyone is born with a biological sexual identity, either female of male.
Five times the Bible states that humankind, created by God, is created in/as God's image and likeness (Gen. 1:26, 27; 5:2; 9:6; 2 Cor. 11:7; James 3:9). The declaration that God made humankind in "the image of God", affirms the dignity and worth of humankind, and elevates each individual, male or female, to the highest status conceivable, short of complete divination. Christian women have an equal share in the kingdom of God to come; and even now as a citizen of the kingdom, they experience the grace of God equally with men (1 Peter 3:7). According to 1 Peter 3:7 a wife is not to be viewed as a believing man’s chattel but as a partner of equal dignity before both man and God.
Loud voices are clamouring for the State to grant gay and lesbian couples equal marital status as that of heterosexual married couples by describing such unions as a marriage. By using the expression “marriage equality” it is suggested that unless same sex unions are described as a “marriage union” then the two partners in a same sex union are somehow inferior. It is being suggested that we are not acting “justly” by not allowing “equality” for gay and lesbian couples to be married. But the issue is about redefining the word ‘marriage’ it is not about equality.
Since 2008 gay couples have full relationship equality and the same benefits as any other co-habiting couple including Medicare, tax, superannuation, inheritance and next-of-kin status. They have full equal rights to civil registration of their relationship with the government. There is no discrimination as far as their relationships are concerned.
These issues will be discussed under the following headings:
Gender - Masculinity and Femininity
Gender - Identity and Public Worship
Gender - Morality and Marriage
Gender – male and female, equality of persons
Gender - Marriage – a heterosexual union
Gender - Same sex unions, equality or inequality of persons
Gender – helpful definitions and designations
Gender – Sexual Orientation
Findings from Scientific Research
Major Scientific Findings
Genetic Determination – homosexuality
The Bible and Homosexuality
Genesis 19:1–10; Jude 7 - the story of Sodom and Gomorrah
Leviticus 18:20 – adultery
Leviticus 20:13 - homosexual intercourse
Romans 1:24-27 - same-sex relations
1 Corinthians 6:9-10 male prostitutes and sodomites
1 Timothy 1:10 – sexual morality
Gender – attraction, longing, lust for sex with another person
The Challenge for individuals and local churches
Appendix A - The Christian's Scriptural Identity and Position
Appendix B - An interview with J. Alan Branch, author of: Born This Way? Homosexuality, Science, and The Scriptures.
Appendix C - Gender, Sexuality and the Bible - Study Questions
Some recent books and journal articles addressing these issues
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