Yesterday, for the first time in history, the President of the United States gave a personal opinion of his that people living in a homosexual lifestyle ought to be able to marry persons of the same sex. I found myself turning the TV off, to prevent my kids from hearing what he said. (That was the first time I can say I felt the need to turn off the President to protect my kids’ ears.) But the President is not alone. This view is gaining popularity in America. We would be blind to say it is not. The reasons that are most often given are many. Some see it as a civil rights issue, the equivalent of the change of old laws against interracial marriage from a few generations ago, when a longstanding injustice was overturned. Since “gay” men and “lesbian” women should have equal rights, it hardly seems equal to allow others to marry while they can’t, some will argue. Those who oppose changes to law to allow for such unions are accused of wanting to impose their values on others, or worse, labeled bigots or “haters”. I’m convinced that the mounting confusion has much to do with a misunderstanding of the complementary nature of men and women as God created them, right before instituting marriage.
God expresses in this passage that there was something incomplete in the life of the man, Adam, on day six of creation week. He says it was “not good” than man should be alone. These words indicate not that there was some mistake or imperfection in God’s creation of Adam, but that he had not yet finished the other half of what He had planned for the human race: woman. God says that woman is to be created as a “helper suitable for him.” (NASB) In these words is expressed the complementary nature of man and woman. Man and woman are in many ways alike. We learn in Genesis chapter 1 that both were created in God’s image. There is an essential equality between man and woman in worth, in their being composed of a body and an immortal soul, and in their reflection of God’s character in knowledge, righteousness, and holiness. Yet they are not exactly the same. They complement or complete one another in many ways: physical, mental, social, etc. Equality does not imply that there is no difference between men and women. Since the 1970’s, the feminist movement has sought to downplay or deny the differences and erase the distinctions between men and women by teaching that women ought to have exactly the same role as men in all spheres of human life. In part, this was an understandable reaction to a long history of abuse by men of women. But at its root, it denies the basic distinction that woman was created to be a “helper” to man and to complete was lacking, not to be a carbon copy!
In this passage we find the root of the complementary nature of men and women. The male and female sexes are created to match and supply one another’s weaknesses, where each other sex is lacking, in other words, to complement one another. The obvious physical differences of men and women complement one another, and this points to deeper differences beyond just the physical. Together, man and woman are a perfect “fit.” Other passages of Scripture give more details about the precise relationship of men and women in their roles, as they are to be followed in the church and in the family. (1 Corinthians 14:34-35, 1 Timothy 2:11-15; Ephesians 5:22-28, Colossians 3:18)
The idea that members of the same sex can “marry” ignores the complementary nature of men and women. Two of the same cannot complement each other. A nut and a bolt are complementary. Two nuts or two bolts are not. Men and women are made to complement one another in many ways, physically, socially, mentally, and emotionally. That is the foundation for marriage as God instituted it. Two men or two women will never be able to marry each other in the true sense of the word. At its root, same sex marriage is impossible because two of the same sex do not complement one another as a man and woman do.
(Some content of this post was adapted from a Bible study lesson I wrote on Genesis 2.)