I call upon You, Lord, God of Abraham and God of Isaac and God of Jacob and Israel, You who are the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the God who, through the abundance of your mercy, was well-pleased towards us so that we may know You, who made heaven and earth, who rules over all, You who are the one and the true God, above whom there is no other God; You who, by our Lord Jesus Christ gave us the gift of the Holy Spirit, give to every one who reads this writing to know You, that You alone are God, to be strengthened in You, and to avoid every heretical and godless and impious teaching.

St Irenaeus of Lyons, Against the Heresies 3:6:4

Saturday, December 21, 2013

A Thought on the Meaning of "Covenant" Marriage...and What It Can't Mean.

Today we often stress the covenantal nature of marriage by pointing to the mutual vows between the two entering therein. We oft illustrate it by talking of other social contracts. In this modernized conception, the gay marriage proponents find some degree of traction; it also neutralizes beefy objections coming from orthodoxy. In some of the marriage debates of his own day, Jesus points his opponents to Genesis 2 (Matt 19). There we find YHWH "cutting" the covenant; he divided Adam’s flesh, which became the covenant sacrifice. It was from this flesh cutting-division that YHWH ratified the covenant, and from which he established a new covenantal relation.

This event became the archetype of OT covenant theology (cp. Gen 15). From the divided flesh, God made a new and different flesh. Only if the "twain" were different could their union remake them into "one flesh" again. So, from this perspective on marriage, as based on the archetypal "cutting" rite in Gen 2, the argument for gay marriage in the Christian context is nonsensical, since in same-sex unions the cutting of the covenant is impossible, as it is a picture of the one (kind of) flesh becoming (rather remaining) one flesh. Thus gay "marriage" is biblically and covenantally impossible. This may help to displace the tired cliché, "God made Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve," which simplistically points to creation rather than covenant.

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