There is a lot of confusion about this simple declaration of Scripture. (Of course, that’s the main problem in contemporary society – it’s Scripture. Very few people really think the Bible has any relevance to or place in 2014.) This confusion is exemplified in the recent decision by a popular social medium to add a large number of choices for folks to check in this regard as they make their profiles. Nevertheless, no matter how you dress it, homo sapiens only comes in two models: male or female.
A few weeks ago, the popular star of a reality TV show talked about this in an interview. I don’t know who was more upset and offended by his remarks: the gay community for disagreeing with their viewpoint, or Christians for talking about the physiological realities involved. Granted that he perhaps could have been more careful in his choice of words, but he was just telling it as he saw it, the incompatibility of the human body with same-sex relationships.
The human body truly is an amazing organism. It has a number of “systems” to keep it going. The skeleton provides the framework which supports all the rest. Muscles, ligaments and tendons hold it all together and make it possible to move and do things. The respiratory system brings in oxygen, which the circulatory system distributes to every cell of the body several times a minute. Not only does the circulatory system distribute oxygen to each cell, but then it picks up “waste” like carbon dioxide, which it transfers to the respiratory system, which then exhales it. This is all done without our thought, for the most part. True, one can hold his breath, but eventually will have to breathe. The body will not allow you to hold your breath long enough to commit suicide. If nothing else, you will pass out – and then the body will automatically begin to breathe. Have you ever thought about how amazing the respiratory and circulatory systems are? How would you like it if the same trucks which picked up your trash, say on Wednesday, then delivered your groceries on Thursday? Then there’s the reproductive system, by which homo sapiens continues as a species. It’s heavily muscled, to allow for the exertion of sexual activity and for the rigors of birth. It’s specifically designed for that. God made them male and female, and told them to bear children before the Fall. Sex isn’t just some sordid result of it. Men have turned it into something sordid, but that’s not God’s fault. Then there is the nervous system, which gives us a sense of touch. The digestive system allows us to enjoy a thick steak or nice veggie burger, digest it and distribute its nutrients to every cell of the body, and to get rid of what the body doesn’t or can’t use.
The thing is, with all these systems, and others we haven’t mentioned, that while these systems are all interdependent, they are not interchangeable. Each system has a definite role to play in the life and well-being of the individual.
Further, there’s more to the individual than just the body. While some may dismiss this as just the result of chemical processes or genetic disposition, where do works of art come from? Musical masterpieces? Works of commerce and industry – good or bad. Science, which explores and seeks to explain the world in which we live? You may say, well, they come from the brain. That’s true, but every animal has a brain.
The Robin’s nest I wrote about a few months ago is a marvel of construction, still firmly attached to the top of the porch light through wind and rain and 8 feet of snow (not all at once!) though it is protected by the roof’s overhang. In fact, I couldn’t remove it without literally tearing it twig from twig. It’s stuck! I’m waiting to see if Robins use it this spring – if it ever stops snowing!
There was a story several years ago about a chimpanzee. This chimp was given a handful of rice mixed with grains of sand. The object of the experiment was to see how she would cope. There was some water nearby. She threw this mixture into the water and was then easily able to pick out the grains of rice. Now, that is truly something to think about – how this chimp figured out how to solve her problem. But I don’t know of any animal that has figured out how to plant rice.
Given what she did, and there are other stories as well, still, there are no “Collected Works of Apespeare.” No animal writes books or builds libraries. Birds can fly and some squirrels can glide, but no animal has ever built an airplane or hang-glider.
There is a difference. In spite of the evolutionary viewpoint which tells us that we’re just advanced primates, it’s obvious we’re different.
The idea of male and female brings up the topic of sex. I’m sorry if that phrase offends you, but where do you think you came from? If you’re uncomfortable with the subject, though I’ll try to be a little more careful than the reality TV star, perhaps you ought not to read the rest of the post.
I recognize that many people don’t believe the Bible. I can’t help that; it’s there we’re going. God made every part of His animate creation to yield seed and to reproduce itself. Every part of animate creation does. At the same time, sex was never meant to be an end in itself. For every species except humans, that’s true. Marlins and moose and myna birds don’t have “gentlemen’s clubs”. Only humans take sex down into the sewer.
Having said that, make no mistake about it, God made sex to be enjoyable. If it were like having a root canal, how long would the race have survived? Even women are meant to enjoy it, contrary to that religious view which practices female circumcision. In Genesis 18:12, after God had promised Abraham that he would have a son through his wife, Sarah, who had been eavesdropping, said, “Shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also?”
“Shall I have pleasure?” The word translated, “pleasure” is from the same root as the word translated “Eden,” as in the Garden of Eden. Because of their sin, Adam and Eve suffered “paradise lost.” Satan tries to convince fallen men and women that unbridled sexual activity is “paradise regained.” It’s too bad he seems to have succeeded.
In His wisdom, God put some limits on human sexuality.
The first limit was that it was to be between a married man and woman, married to each other, that is. It was meant to be a privilege, the consummation of a lifelong commitment of one man to one woman – and one woman to one man. It was never supposed to be “casual,” or the commencement of a “relationship,” or even just “a one night stand.” It was something designed for a lifetime. The Bible never countenances the idea that “it’s just sex,” as if it were of no more importance than selecting which clothes to wear for the day or which sandwich to have for lunch.
God made them male and female. For that reason, same sex sexual relationships are forbidden. Even human physiology shows their incongruity. Male/female matches. Male/male or female/female do not. It’s like the two poles of a battery. Opposite poles attract; corresponding poles do not.
The differences between male and female were to extend even to clothing. It was forbidden to wear the clothes of the opposite sex. I remember when pantsuits came out. In the church we went to at the time, the pastor was all up in the air about women wearing men’s clothing. The thing is, pantsuits were designed for women. I don’t know that I ever saw a man wearing them. In many cultures, men and women dress similarly, but you can still tell the difference. If we’re not supposed to wear the clothes of the opposite sex, how much less are we to try to become or live like the opposite sex?
It’s sometimes argued that we’re born with a particular sexual orientation and so can’t help it. That may be true. However, we’re also born as sinners, and God holds us accountable for it. God holds us accountable for every part of our lives.
It’s sometimes argued that Jesus never talked about any of this. That’s only partly true. Because He was a Jew, born under the Law, Galatians 4:4, He had no reason to mention it. The Law is quite specific. Cf. Leviticus 18 and 20, where the word nakedness refers specifically to the genitalia. Sexual relationship between other than husband and wife – or with animals – was strictly forbidden. Jesus had no reason to mention these things. The laws were on the books.
He did, however, confirm the Old Testament’s original statement that He made them male and female. Matthew 19:4, 5; Mark 10:5, 6.
Sex is the one place where mankind can be the most like God, that is, in the creation of life. Granted, there are huge, insurmountable, differences between us and our ability and God and His ability. Nevertheless, it’s the only way we can bring life into being.
The second limit follows from the first. Without getting into the discussion about “birth control,” sexual activity results in children. In the Bible, children are a blessing, not a burden.
Human children are unlike any other offspring in the world. Other offspring mature and are able to live on their own in just a few days or weeks. In some rare cases, it may be a year or two. Not so with human babies. They take years.
The baby robins who were born on my porch were grown and gone in just a few weeks. When I was growing up, we kept tropical fish. Mama guppy was as likely to eat her offspring as not. Precautions had to be taken to prevent her from doing so. The male Siamese Fighting Fish was a joy to watch as he carefully built his nest of bubbles, then gently enfolded the female, squeezing the eggs from her body, at the same time fertilizing them. Then he would carefully gather the eggs into his mouth and put them into the nest. It was no “family affair,” though, because after the spawning was done, he was done with her and we had to put her into a different aquarium to protect her. As the little ones hatched, he watched over them and made sure they didn’t wander too deep into the aquarium. The pressure would have harmed them or killed them. However, when it became more than he could handle, he was likely to put them on the menu himself. So far as I know, there are no “granchildren” in the animal world. After I was married, I tried to get back into the hobby. We had some zebra danios who became heavy with eggs. When momma danio began to lay those eggs – in a community aquarium – the other fish went wild. Danio caviar!
I joke about it, but children are no joke! Among our grandchildren are some teenagers. Though they’re getting there, they’re still not adults. It may be true that children learn the majority of all they will learn in the first few years of life, but no five-year-old is ready for his own apartment.
God intended sexual activity to be confined to marriage, and marriage was to be the foundation of family and the cement which held it together. Family was to be the foundation of society. I understand, especially in our day, there are a lot of single mothers – and fathers. I also understand there are reasons for this, but the main one is that society has thrown out the idea of “the traditional family” to a large extent and made sex an end in itself. Children are just an unfortunate “byproduct.” The woman is usually the one who gets stuck with them. She suffers and so do the kids. This has become an acceptable norm. At a place I worked, one of the young women had either become pregnant, or knew someone who had. One of her co-workers asked who the father was. The tone of her voice was no different than if she had asked where the first girl got her outfit. At another place, one of the young men was bragging about the fact that he had eight children by five different women. He was rejoicing that he had now become a man, because he finally had a daughter! It doesn’t take anything special in a man to get a woman pregnant. It does take something to commit to that woman, stay with her, take care of her and help raise the children the man fathers!
There’s something else. There was a story on the internet about a man who had just discovered that the family he had been in for many years was not his real family. He was trying to find his original family, in part so “he could find out who he was.” Our family forms our first sense of identity.
It’s a great shame that the concept of “family” is more far likely to be molded by Tuesday night “comedy” on TV than it is by Scripture.
Fathers have almost become irrelevant, except as sperm donors, and even that is often done impersonally through third party “sperm banks” or fertility clinics. Men might want to rethink that, though. A judge recently ruled that one such sperm donor was responsible for child support (!)
In the original creation, it took male and female to be “complete”. Eve wasn’t created with some perceived inferiority in herself, but because of the incompleteness of Adam. There’s more to it than this, of course, but a man – or a woman – can’t conceive by themselves. Neither are they supposed to raise children by themselves.
It’s in the family that we get our first lessons of living with others. We learn to share – at least in theory. We learn to get along with others. We also learn about something called “authority.” Too often in our society, it’s the kids who run things, but that’s not the way it’s supposed to be. Parents are there to teach kids that not only is there such a thing as authority, but that there is an ultimate authority – God. We need to learn that we can’t just run around doing whatever we want without regard for others. The chaos in our society and among our youth is there because this basic truth has been discarded and kids grow up with the idea that they’re number one. This carries over into adulthood and we see the ruin that accompanies that viewpoint all around us.
There’s more to our lives than what happens in the bedroom. That is why He made them male and female.