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THE SCRIPTURE DIALOGUE

My dear friends, this article will be a lot different from what you are used to seeing on this site. You should know that I have not set out to write to you as an atheist, agnostic or irreligious person on the one hand, and neither am I a Christian bigot on the other. Instead, what I have set out to do is to sort of call you to some form of re-examination of the Bible – the Word of God – and not just to re-examine it, but to find out what she might be saying differently.

One of the beautiful passages of scripture which gives a succinct description of the inner life of God and which seeks to, in a way, give a description of His very essence is 1 John 4: 8, which says: “God is Love.”

Each time I think about this passage, it opens up a deep ocean of discovery that many times, I am not even ready to delve into. It is a description of that other being that is so deep I doubt if John, though he was called the beloved one, actually understood the entirety of its depth; of its mystery. For what John is saying to us is that God’s being is synonymous with Love. That HE IS… LOVE. If this is therefore the case, then it means that all that God has ever done has been because of love and for the purpose of Love. God therefore created out of love and he saved us out of love. At this point, I call to mind John 3: 16 where the same John tells us that “For God so loved the world that he gave his only son, that whosoever believes him may not perish but may have life.” Thus, the reason for sending Jesus was “Love” – which is by no means an attribute He had to acquire, but an intrinsic attribute of His, something descriptive of His very essence.

And not only did He create and save us because of love, He did so for the purpose of love. And if love is central to His divine essence, then by making us in His own image and likeness (Gen. 1:26-27) means that we were made to love (cf. Deut. 6:5) and we were saved to love – for the greatest commandment He gave us was simply love. (cf. Matt. 22:37, Mark 12:30, Luke 10:27).

First, let’s take a look at creation with this interpretative lens of love. Genesis 1 in a way gives us a more detailed overview of the creation of all that exists culminating in man. We are told in verse 26: “Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, after our likeness’…” And in verse 27: “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him, male and female he created him.

In examining these words carefully, we’ll see that that which was made “in the image” is one thing, and that which is now manifested is another. “God created man,” it says, “in the image of God created he him.” There is an end of the creation of that which was made “in the image”: then it makes a resumption of the account of creation, and says, “male and female created He them.” I presume that everyone knows that this is a departure from the prototype for “in Christ Jesus, there is neither male nor female”, this according to Paul (Galatians 3:28). Man was not originally intended to be divided into the categories of male and female as is now the case; and by acquiring perfect knowledge of the inner principles according to which he exists, he may transcend this division…for in Christ there is no male or female. The image of God is neither male nor female for God is neither male nor female and the purpose of this creation was not centered on the male-female dichotomy but the image and likeness of God which each must in fact mirror, quite irrespective of their gender in the physical. Jesus himself insinuates this when in response to the Sadducees’ question on marriage said that in the resurrection, people will neither marry nor will be given in marriage, but they will be like the angels in heaven. (cf. Matt.22:30).

The second point I would like to raise while taking a closer look at this passage is what we see when we look at verse 28. “And God blessed them and said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth’…” I emphasise the word ‘blessing’ because contrary to some voices in Christianity who maintain it was a commandment that must be fulfilled, I see nothing in the passage that insinuates a command that the man and woman must in fact procreate. The passage specifically called it a ‘blessing’. Again, we see that Jesus himself, the perfect man did not procreate, and praised those who leave family ties for the Kingdom (Matt. 19:29), and mentioned that there are some who have forfeited sex for the Kingdom (Matt. 19:12). Even Paul wished that we all would be celibate and not even marry (1 Cor. 7:7, 27, 32-34). It is worthwhile to notice that Adam and Eve were together in love and companionship, and procreation didn’t happen till after the Fall. As a result of this, some early Christian fathers especially John of Damascus (676AD-749AD) taught that marriage was instituted only after the Fall in order to facilitate the procreation of children, in response to the mortality which resulted from the Fall.

“When death entered into the world by reason of the transgression, then Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore seed. So that to prevent the wearing out and destruction of the race by death, marriage was devised that the race of men may be preserved through the procreation of children. [John of Damascus “An Exact Exposition of the Orthodox Faith” lib 4 cap 24].

But back to being fruitful, we know that our Lord Jesus also uses the bearing of fruits to mean the multiplication of virtues, of love and of grace for the Kingdom (e.g. John 15:8). So if we take away the exclusive male-female-sex-procreation lens which we have been using to look at Genesis 1, we begin to realize that there might have been something albeit much more spiritual in God’s mind at creation than only sex.

Furthermore, a look at Genesis 2 – the second account of creation – makes us realize that Genesis 1 was, as I said earlier, a detailed summary of the creation of all things; Genesis 2 goes ahead to tell us about Man’s creation and the reason God created the Woman.

Was this reason for ‘Sexual Complementarity’?

I do not think so. In fact, Genesis does not say so, for as we have seen, procreation was at the very least not ‘exclusively’ on God’s mind. Genesis 2 tells us that the reason for the creation of Woman was: “It is not good that man should be alone…” (verse 18). And so God formed the animals and presented to Adam for helpmeets, and yet they could not be his companions. Looking at this passage, it will be totally out of place to think that in God’s mind, it was only a physical woman that could be a ‘friend’ to the physical man and that her capacity in being that friend was due to some difference  in her anatomy. For we know that a man can be a friend to another man, and we have seen great friendships among men and even among women that are even ‘hallowed’ by the scripture, examples of which are David and Jonathan (cf. 1 Samuel 18:1-2), and Ruth and Naomi etc.

But l do not want to dwell on that. Rather than some difference between them, the beauty of God’s solution in creating Woman (Hebrew Ishshah—like man) for Man (Hebrew—ish), was in her sameness. Not because she in some way ‘complemented’ him but that in some deeper way, deeper than mere anatomy, she was like him. This is further evidenced in the fact that when Adam saw the Woman, he did not say, “Whoa, this ‘complements’ me, I have found someone different from me’. Instead he said, ‘This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh’ (verse 23). This is why the animals could not be his helpmeets, for though they were also distinguished according to sexes, male and female (Gen. 7:2), they could not be his helpmeets because they were not like him.

Of course there is some complementarity in every relationship between two people; nobody is self sufficient, but nobody says that such complementarity has to be (1) as a result of opposites, for two similar half-full glasses can “complement” each other to be whole while there is nothing different or opposite about them; (2) sexual, for complementarity takes many forms as each person brings his or her distinctive contributions to the relationships of friendship and love that he or she is involved in.

Looking at all these arguments from Genesis, it would therefore appear that using Genesis 1 and 2 as a premise to condemn homogender love and sexuality falls short of an appropriate interpretative lens. Genesis 1 and 2 were trying to explain the existence of people as coming from God, men and women alike on the one hand, and that friendship, love and communion were top in God’s mind and not exclusively sex, and so has nothing particular about the nature of the sexes to say concerning the fulfillment of this divine initiative. Of course it would be foolish and unscriptural to say that God meant that love, friendship and communion were only to exist between a man and a woman, for that would be the other alternative which as we have shown from scripture is false especially when we look at 1 Samuel 18.

TO BE CONTINUED

Written by Efcee


About shakespeareanwalter

Walt Shakes(@Walt_Shakes) is an award-winning Nigerian writer, poet and veteran blogger. He is a lover of the written word. the faint whiff of nature, the flashing vista of movies, the warmth of companionship and the happy sound of laughter.

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20 comments

  1. Please don’t continue this writeup if it’s all about supporting homosexuality’s. Our society is already corrupt and you are not helping it with this article….

    • Oh shut up, mister or missis!
      Your society is corrupt, not because of homosexuals, but because of thieving politicians and insincere countrymen. Deal with that.

    • Why do you have so much hate in your heart @Megaphor?? What did homosexuals ever do to you people to deserve such disdain you have for them?? Why?

  2. The average Christian will NOT buy into this, Efcee. Any wider interpretation of the scriptures, especially one which allows for the tolerance of anything perceived to be abominable, will not fly. lol. That’s just the simple truth. To be honest, I have never considered these new truths you’re talking about, and they make such sense that I’m literally amazed. It’s even sheer common sense sef. But a majority of christendom (not all o, for those who will come for my head) is not exactly famous for their common sense when the status quo of the religion is challenged. So don’t expect a lot of enlightenment from the masses.

  3. Sigh.

    I do not have anything against homosexuals. They have been around for ages and some of them are pretty decent people. What i don’t understand is why people keep trying to make it seem like the Bible allows it. No matter how we try to explain it, IT DOES NOT. I can interpret the Bible in whatever way that suits me in whatever subject that brings itself up. It does not make what i believe true or right. We commit fornication, adultery, steal, kill all the time. I don’t see people try to use the bible to support it. I don’t understand the never-ending trying to support homosexuality with the Bible.

    • shakespeareanwalter

      This is perhaps because the bible is the antigay person’s usual go-to place to condemn homosexuality?

    • U equate things like stealing and fornication with homosexuality @Doris. It goes a long way to show your sheer lack of proper education in basic things about life itself. Sexuality is something you’re born with, stealing and fornication are both choices you make. Don’t you ever forget that. You say you have nothing against homosexuals, but you come off as a homophobe whose disdain comes from deeply rooted socio cultural and religious idiosyncrasy.

    • Hi Doris, it is good of you to think that homosexuals are “pretty decent” people. I am sure it will go a long way to making us feel human.

      Remember the Bible (or Koran) has not been used to justify laws that make pre-marital sex illegal and perpetrators liable to blackmail by the Police, beatings by street mobs or a 14 year jail sentence.

      So please forgive us if every once in a while someone comes along and tries to point out the passages of tolerance and universal love in the Bible, to allow homosexuals walk about freely without fear of prosecution.

  4. This is a very controversial essay and I am enjoying the comments and responses as much as the article. Will just kick back and get the full gist first.

  5. Well till the continuation comes, all I can say is that “NO SCRIPTURE IS OF PRIVATE INTERPRETATION”(2peter1:20) So till then Efcee make sure your interpretation of scripture is according to revelation granted you by the Holy Spirit because He is the teacher and author of scripture so he sure does know what he meant in every single verse(2peter1:21)

    • Does this same Holy Spirit courtesy apply to those who whip out bible verses to condemn others simply because of their sexuality? Is it the Holy Spirit revealing things to those who are quick to judge and condemn others to damnation when their lives aren’t perfect?
      I’d really love to know.

      • First off, the Holy Spirit NEVER teaches you to judge even Jesus said “don’t judge” but if you judge, your head needs a scan! Every time you try and make sense of scripture rather than spirit, you mess up yourself with wrong interpretation. A man without the HolyGhost and one who doesn’t reason according to the spirit will NEVER know what God intended because “the carnal man(the one who is born again but doesn’t live according to the dictates of the Spirit) will never understand scripture ACCORDING TO HOW THE HOLY SPIRIT MEANT IT! God bless you!

        • Thank you. Why do people keep trying to force homosexuality down our throats? If you believe its OK thats your cup of tea but enough of bullying others who do not agree to your way of thinking. The bible can never be explained logically, its the Spirit that reveals. If your against homosexuals you are called a homophobe, kilode na by force. I’m so tired of this online bullying
          I do not believe in premarital sex but neither do I go around condemning everyone I know engaging in it, all I can do is pray for the, same way I will pray for any homosexual. Why was Sodom destroyed? Please believe your beliefs but leave the bible out of it.

        • Thank you, the scriptures can never be understood logically but by the Spirit. I am a very logical person and when I hear logical reasoning I tend to always see the logic in it, but I also follow the Spirit and some things that ,make logical sense do not jive with my spirit. While I am not to judge men I am to judge all things I receive into my mind. I am seriously tired of the bullying to accept homosexuality. If any one wants to accept its their cup of tea but please do not make me accept it especially using the bible. Its just like trying to locate in the scriptures justification for Darwinism.
          I do not believe in pre-marital sex but that does not mean I condemn every one I know that engages in it. I do not know any homosexuals but if I happen to find out someone I know is one all I can do is pray for the person.
          Sodom was destroyed for a reason.
          I know I will get a backlash from some people for my stand but its opinion, my opinion, a free world for us.
          I will end with a quote I read. ‘People believe with their emotions and find reasons to justify them’.

  6. The way I see it which this article agrees to is; You can love any gender without holding back. Love and don’t stop loving. We are all creations of love.
    Beautiful article.

  7. I will just sit back and look until I see the end of this article then I will say something. *sits back and crosses arms over chest*

  8. Look, life is simple. While you don’t want people to force heterosexuality only on you, why are you so adamant to force homosexualiy on others? while you say the bible is not everything, and some of you have discredited it so many times, why do you work so hard to make it say what it does not say? While you preach tolerance with a verve, why can’t you tolerate people who don’t accept your line of thought and believe? If God didn’t mind what gender he created, why didn’t he make another man? Why did he make a woman? For books such as the Bible, it’s great to use your mind but also be taught by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit actually teaches us to understand scripture. This train of thought, was it taught by the Holy Spirit or a human being’s attempt to make what he wants to be true? With this God, there are really no half measures. You in, or you out. Last question, why don’t you just ask God for yourself. Hear what he really has to say.

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