Symbolism & The Postmodern Apologetic (Pt. VI of VI)

Today, I’d like to broach a sensitive topic: homosexuality & the Bible. This conversation cannot be separated from our hearts, so I want to begin by saying that if this issue is personal to you, you are a fearfully and wonderfully made individual and precious to God.

People who love Jesus and feel same-sex attraction, or are addicted to pornography, read explicit novels, or feel overpowered by lustful desires are in the midst of a real conflict.

For any person who feels their identity is more anchored in their sexuality than their personhood in Christ, I want to say that identity begins as a child of God.  If you belong to God, then you will seek revelation from Him on how to conduct your life – but your conduct is not the full story. God looks at the heart, and He is looking for people who surrender to Him because they believe He is good and they trust Him. It is only as God transforms our heart that our actions change and we have peace in our spirit.

If you entrust your life to God, then it will follow that you will want to know God through His Word, and you will be interested in how the Bible says we receive life and live abundantly.  

If you are in that place but do not know how to live a life of both freedom and obedience, be encouraged. As you continue to seek God, you will see His faithfulness to you. He has not abandoned you to a struggle that cannot be overcome. He is leading anyone who cries out to Him through the struggle of their heart, and its desires, to a place of perfected peace. It comes down to His unfailing love, which is very present (Psalm 107).

Now, as concerns the question:  Is Homosexuality a viable option for a child of God?  I would like to acknowledge the respect I have for the Scriptural debate.

If you are a Christian who believes the Bible says that homosexuality is not a sin  (click the link for one example of those arguments), I want to start this conversation with you. First, I want to hand over every proof text from Scripture, with the exception of Romans 1, to your belief that those passages do not consider monogamous homosexual unions to be sin.

Now I want to talk about symbolism. Pull up a chair, have a read and then please join the conversation below.

Transcending the Argument of Homosexuality & the Bible

We know that God is spirit.  Therefore, it makes sense that the only things that can truly communicate the depth of Spirit, the depth of Truth and the attributes of who He is, are in symbolic form.  

It says in the Scriptures that Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.  That he is the father of lies, and that he seeks to steal, kill and destroy

 I have no trouble seeing that in any spiritual path there are wonderful truths involved —truths that capture the human heart because they touch our innate yearnings, like the fact that God has set eternity in the hearts of men — which, Satan has taken and twisted just enough to enslave people to his lies in all kinds of false teachings.

Where symbols are concerned Satan works to corrupt.  

When it comes to homosexuality, and the question of its viability as a Christian lifestyle, this issue intersects perhaps the most holy symbol in all of Scripture – the image of God.

When God created man and woman, it was the two together which were His image (male & female).  This is a mystery, but the two become one flesh through sexual union, and in their oneness also symbolise God.  

Not only that, but their union produces fruit – other lives. It proliferates, which attests to the righteous outcome of union & love which is life.

When we take the symbol of man and multiply it with man, or join man to man, without woman, we have an amplified and skewed representation of the symbol of the Creator, and vice-a-versa with woman added to woman.

Not only that, but we have a different message from that symbol, for both kinds of homosexual unions may requite passion, but no life can be formed.  Nothing more can come from the union. It is a dead end to the proliferation of life, which is part of what makes the heterosexual union selfless: its nature is to create dependents. Other lives are likely to be created, served and nurtured through the union and as a direct result of it. In fact, other lives can be created no other way.  Human life would end without the union of both the male and female contribution to life. 

Look at how this is demonstrated through Romans 1:

18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth [l]in unrighteousness, 19 because that which is known about God is evident [m]within them; for God made it evident to them. 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. 21 For even though they knew God, they did not [n]honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 22 Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and [o]crawling creatures.24 Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them. 25 For they exchanged the truth of God for [p]a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed [q]forever. Amen.26 For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is [r]unnatural, 27 and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing [s]indecent acts and receiving in [t]their own persons the due penalty of their error.

This passage clearly links the image of God being dismissed by the people with homosexuality as the result.  Men and women disregarded the image of God in their worship and the direct spiritual consequence was that the same symbol (the image of God) was corrupted in themselves, through their sexual unions.   

Further Male/Female Symbols

Not only that, but there is prophetic value to the symbol of male & female in the relation of Christ to His Bride, the Church.  This drives home the “completeness” (read, definition of holy: complete, perfect, not lacking anything) of the male/female union.

Consider the following:

-The creation of humanity

-The virgin birth

-The giving of the Holy Spirit

-Christ united with His Bride

What do they all have in common?  

The symbols are directly related to the principles of masculinity and femininity in their union.

Think about conception.  When a baby is first created, the sperm comes from the father, the egg the mother.  They both make a contribution, but the feminine contribution is mainly the “housing” for the new life, and not the origin of it (correct me if I am missing something here).  The origin of life (all the blood of the new baby) comes from the masculine. 

Now, Biblically speaking, we all died IN Adam because the “seed” of all humanity was in his loins (just as Levi paid tithes to Melchizedek in the loins of his father Abraham).  We were present at the fall in Adam’s sperm – the potential for all humanity.

This is how the virgin birth was possible.  The egg that housed Jesus did not impart life to Him, He came from His Father, just as we all do, and thus either sin & death, or holiness & life are literally passed down from the masculine.

What is this a symbol of?  In one sense, it is a physical symbol of the spiritual reality that life proceeds from a masculine God into a feminine humanity – a humanity that receives spiritual life from Him and then proliferates it.

Think about how Adam was taken from the soil.  Have you ever wondered why? It seems so arbitrary for such an important event.  But the ground is feminine as it becomes the receptor for the breath of God which enters Adam.  The ground is like the egg, 
and the breath…

The Spirit is the breath of God

…and the Spirit is what is given us at our new birth.  

Did you catch that?

We are literally, spiritually reborn because we are infused with a new seed.  (The seed is the Word planted in us, the Spirit indwelling us, the image of Jesus).

This is symbolically the explanation for how we can become children of God…because our bodies (spiritual soil) are infused with the spiritual seed of life (Word/breath of life/new image) which now grows within us unto maturity.

It is symbolically as if our bodies are in the womb in this world.  When this process culminates we will be birthed (resurrected) into our new state – a glorified body. Right now we are being formed in the darkness, by the life of the Spirit in us, to be transformed into the image of Christ.

In all of this, I am driving at the outcomes and the significance of the male/female union in the creation, spiritual and temporal.  It’s so simple, so profound, and completely natural.  This lens for looking at sexual unions gives us a rich context for what boundaries we place on them.  

Natural Thresholds

My 18 month old just woke up this morning and I had a candle burning.  She waved at it and said, “no touch.”  

A flame is such a metaphor, another symbol, given us (and since God sees us as children, are we surprised He fills our environment with pictures of truth?).  Here we have something beautiful that has a natural threshold for enjoyment.

My toddler cannot transgress the flame with her finger without consequence.  I know this.  She does not know that she can be hurt other than to repeat my command that she not touch it.  Do I not want her to experience the beauty of the flame?  To feel its warmth?  Or be comforted by its presence?  Of course!  But at the proper threshold.  She can only enjoy it within its natural confines because it is holy only within those confines.  As soon as she goes beyond the natural relationship of her skin to fire, she will go from that holiness (light and warmth) to harm (a severe burn).  

The candle is a simple metaphor, but it fits the message.  God does not reject people who spiritually burn themselves, but He has designed us with thresholds relating to the pleasures he has created for us (fearfully and wonderfully made).  We cannot move past His design without parting with holiness & goodness (warmth & light).  When we take His image and do man-made things with it, we are the ones that suffer, but make no mistake, that suffering still holds the intention of mercy.

Symbolism of Mercy

Here is a wonderful symbol.  Let’s not forget the rainbow.  As an excellent friend once pointed out to me, and I wholeheartedly agree – I am for the LGBT (and the longer form acronyms) community claiming the rainbow.  The rainbow was given precisely as a pledge of God’s mercy, and He has wrapped the world in its promise to show great lengths of grace to us.  This is the time of His mercy.  It is His express desire to draw us to Himself through mercy, through kindness. 

He has not yet brought the judgment of sin to humanity.  In this time, He lovingly extends His acceptance to us through Jesus – that we might correct where we parted from worshipping Him in Truth, and receive His perfect image (the image of Jesus) into our very bodies so that we might be transformed back into His children through the correct and precious image of His True Son.

This means that the very basis of Christianity is that God welcomes those who struggle with sin, that they might receive the seed of His spiritual life to begin a work in them, correcting who they are unto glory.  That is true for every one of us. 

What are your thoughts?

Thank you for taking a moment with this read. Feel free to better this post by providing any corrections or feedback below.  As always, I most value your comments.  I hope to hear from you.

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