f The Wittenberg Door: Do Same-Sex Couples Deserve a Chance to Get Married? – Part 2

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Commenting on Christendom, culture, history, and other oddities of life from an historic Protestant perspective.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Do Same-Sex Couples Deserve a Chance to Get Married? – Part 2

Continued from part one . . .

Sadly, the type of logic used by Senator Portman is not the result of “progressive” thought. In fact, it is millennia old; it dates back to the Garden. After Eve conversed with the serpent, she reasoned thusly with regard to the forbidden fruit, “the tree was good for food... pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise” (Genesis 3:6b). This line of reasoning is often duplicated when people contemplate moral dilemmas.

Man’s Supposed Epistemic Autonomy

First, a determination is made that a thing (ideology, action, dialogue, etc.) is good and adequate to satisfy some sensual desire, “good for food.” In this case, the desire for companionship and to love and/or to be loved. Second, a determination is made with regard to whether or not a thing is pleasing to us (visually, emotionally, sensually, etc.), “pleasant to the eyes” Third, the thing is evaluated in terms of its reasonability.

Does it make sense?
Is it beneficial?
Does it benefit or harm those around me?

In other words, is it a wise thing to think, say, or do? Is it “desirable to make one wise”?

The problem which leads one to answer all of these questions incorrectly is because he’s reasoning from a false sense of autonomy. We do not have existence in and of ourselves, “It is (God) who made us, and not we ourselves” (Psalm 100:3b). Because this is true, we are not at liberty to determine for ourselves good and evil. God told Adam and Eve what they were to do and what they were not to do. Their rebellion in the face of these requirements and prohibitions is what resulted in the deplorable condition into which we are all plunged (Romans 3:23).

Like Eve, we contemplate moral questions in the supposed absence of (or better yet, in direct opposition to) prior and clear direction from God, “but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day you eat of it you shall surely die” (Genesis 2:17, emphasis added). This not only leads to sin (thinking in this manner is itself sinful), but sin results in the perpetuation of this foolish type of thinking.

Like both Adam and Eve, we find ourselves ashamed on account of our sin (Romans 6:21). In addition to this, we run from God rather than to Him because of fear (Genesis 3:8-10). Even worse, we attempt to cover our sin by methods of our own determination (Genesis 3:7). These methods inevitably require far less of us than what God says is required, namely, death!

God’s Legitimate Epistemic Authority

With regard to the matter at hand, Senator Portman has done nothing to disprove the foregoing model. The opening paragraph of his op-ed piece reads as follows:

I have come to believe that if two people are prepared to make a lifetime commitment to love and care for each other in good times and in bad, the government shouldn’t deny them the opportunity to get married.

Later he says:

I wrestled with how to reconcile my Christian faith with my desire for Will to have the same opportunities to pursue happiness and fulfillment as his brother and sister. Ultimately, it came down to the Bible’s overarching themes of love and compassion and my belief that we are all children of God.

His first statement asserts that as long as two people agree to love one another they ought not be forbidden to marry. This bypasses the authority of God to impose His moral law upon us in deference to “doing what is right in (our) own eyes” (Judges 17:6, Proverbs 21:2). We have no biblical compulsion to reconcile the Christian faith with our children’s temporal happiness. What makes my children happy often flies in the face of biblical imperatives. As a father, I am required to teach my children to deny themselves fleshly pleasures and short term fulfillment in light of the Holy God who has set his standard before them as the benchmark. This benchmark is for the restraint of sin, breaking through the obstination of the self-righteous heart of fallen mankind, and serving as a beacon of sanctification for the Christian to aim at.

To be continued. . .

--The Deacon

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