Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Bible's Mixed Message on Sexuality (?) Part 1

Last week, Mark Driscoll, Pastor of Mars Hill Church in Seattle, tweeted an article from about homosexuality. The title of the article is The Bible's Surprisingly Mixed Message On Sexuality. Knowing what I do about Mark Driscoll, he was not endorsing the article, but, I assume, posting it so that some might give it some response. I intend to do that here.

Jennifer Wright Knust is the author of the article and a book called Unprotected Texts: The Bible's Surprising Contradictions about Sex and Desire. I haven't read the book, but the subtitle gives away her perspective. I can only hope that the scholarship displayed in her book is far greater than what she displayed in this article.

Let's start with this:
In Genesis, for example, it would seem that God’s original intention for humanity was androgyny, not sexual differentiation and heterosexuality.

Genesis includes two versions of the story of God’s creation of the human person. First, God creates humanity male and female and then God forms the human person again, this time in the Garden of Eden. The second human person is given the name Adam and the female is formed from his rib.
This is a fascinating misreading of the text, but a favorite one of liberal scholars. There are not two versions of the creation story, but rather two perspectives: one macro, one micro. Genesis 1 is the cosmological and theological perspective of Creation. Genesis 2 is the localized and anthropological perspective. Approaching it from a literary point of view, anyone who has ever read a great book will instantly see that Genesis 1 is an introduction, or prologue, of sorts. Or, thinking about it from a filmmaker's perspective, Genesis 1 is the narration over the opening credits.

Genesis 1 is more song than story, and in it we see Creation from the perspective of God's throne. Genesis 2 brings us from heaven to earth, giving us the perspective of God's footstool. These are not two competing stories of Creation. They are complimentary.

It fascinates me that liberals love to read Genesis this way because this is such an overly literalistic way to read the text. They're reading the Bible so literally that puts the literalism of the Young Earth Creationists to shame! Knust is saying that God created one person with both sexes in Genesis 1, and then he created two people--one male and one female--in Genesis 2. I can't help but wonder if liberals read the Bible this way to try to make it sound as ridiculous as possible.

Knust also claims that God's original intention for humanity was androgyny. By this she means that God originally created one person containing both genders. Unfortunately, this position cannot be supported by the Hebrew text, which clearly states in 1:27-28, that God created a plurality of persons "male and female". To put it simply, a plural pronoun is used. There is more than one person in Genesis 1.

Furthermore, if God's original intention is androgyny, how might the command of verse 28 be explained? "Be fruitful and multiply." Clearly, based on the text of Genesis 1, God's original intention was, in fact, sexual differentiation and heterosexuality resulting in procreation.

This post is already getting long, and there is much more to say in response to Knust's article, but that will have to be saved for later.


Lori Mercer said...

Fascinating. Thanks for working my mind in a new way. I did not know this about liberals interpretations of Genesis, and its quite shocking to me. I need my eyes to be opened to these things so I can be more Christ-like in trying to understand my non-believer brothers and sisters.

Anonymous said...

this reminded me of what I read in Isaiah this morning(althought speaking of idols) the people are simply blind and can not even see what is in frot of them.IS44:19 "No one stops to think, no one has the knowledge or understaning..."