From an editorial in today’s Cincinnati Enquirer, by Verna Williams, a University of Cincinnati law professor: “History shows that marriage is what we say it is.”
I do not think history is filled with government-sanctioned unions between men with other men or women with other women, but that’s beside my point. My point: That sentence is the crux of the current political and social marriage debate.
Does God define what something is or do humans?
The professor makes a similar statement, albeit in passing, earlier: “The 13th and 14th Amendments gave slaves humanity…”
No. They did not. At most, those Amendments recognized the humanity of freed slaves. But God gave it. And every slaveowner, white person, or fellow African who who denied that African/African-American human beings were human beings was sinning against God. He created humans, He created marriage, and He is the standard and the judge of what is fitting and what is good.
“Then the Lord God said, ‘It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him…’ So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man… Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.”
From Genesis 2
“Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior… Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her… ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.”
From Ephesians 5
If we want to know what marriage is, if we want to know what a human is, if we seek to know what goodness or truth or meaning or happiness are, we have to look to the God who is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. He is the Maker, Sustainer, and Definer of all good things.
You cannot change what marriage is any more than you can change your birthday or raise the dead. The most you can do is to play god and pretend that authority is yours. But that always ends badly for the one who does it. And for anyone foolish enough to take him seriously.
I do actually appreciate the professor’s clarity: At least it is evident now (at least to the editorial’s readers) that she and those of us who look to and submit to Jesus Christ as Lord are in fundamental disagreement. We say that He is in charge, and that every knee will someday bow to Him as each corresponding tongue confesses that He is Lord. We say He is the Judge, and that He is a far better, fairer, and more righteous One than any of us could be.
And we also say, or at least should, with great urgency, joy, and worship: “Come repent and believe in Him, the Savior, while you have time! Come be safe, and be rescued from the wrath for your sins! He is wonderful and has made a way that we do not deserve! Come now, because He is Lord, and He is returning!”
It’s increasingly clear that we are not simply a nudge in the right Christian direction amongst a nation of Jesus-lovers (I seriously doubt that was ever the case, but it may have once felt that way). No, we are a God-fearing, Jesus-loving light in the darkness of deepening folly. It’s a great responsibility, and a fantastic gift, to be a bearer of the truth in a world that loves lies.
Let us speak the truth in a love that outshines their shadows, and hope to lead many home to the Father of Lights.