Read Genesis 1
From the very beginning, Scripture reveals to us that God’s creative work is a work of distinctions: one thing being unique from and complementary to another. There is this, and there is that, and they both relate to and contrast with one another. What are these distinctions? First, God the creator is distinct from His creation – “In the beginning, God created…” God stands apart from and rule over creation. Second, God brought forth creation in distinct, complementary pairs.
Day 1: Light and darkness, day and night, evening and morning
Day 2: Heavens and Earth, sky and earth
Day 3: Land and seas
Day 4: Greater light by day, lesser light by night
Day 5: Creatures of the seas, creatures of the sky
And this symmetrical crescendo of creation climaxed in God’s creation of humanity as male and female. In a parallel account of the creation in Genesis 2, we are told that this distinct complementarity found unity as Adam and Eve were brought together (Gen 2:24) – a beautiful picture and understanding of marriage as intended by God. Theologian NT Wright noted that this complementarity is significant in God’s design for creation and is hinted to through the marriage of Christ and His church in the account of God’s new creation in the Book of Revelation, at the end of the Biblical story. Consequently, one of the reasons why Christians uphold this understanding of marriage as between male and female is: it serves as a signpost to the goodness of the original creation and God’s intention for the new heavens and new earth.
“The binaries in Genesis are so important—…heaven and earth…sea and dry land…male and female. It’s all about God making complementary pairs which are meant to work together. The last scene in the Bible is the new heaven and the new earth, and the symbol for that is the marriage of Christ and his church. It’s not just one or two verses here and there which say this or that. It’s an entire narrative [of Scripture] which works with this complementarity so that a male-plus-female marriage is a signpost or a signal about the goodness of the original creation and God’s intention for the eventual new heavens and new earth.”
In light of the creation account, how do you make sense of the current debate on gender as a continuum vs gender as 2 distinct sexes of male and female? Do you agree with Wright that heterosexual marriage is a signpost about the goodness of the original creation and God’s intention for the new creation? Why or why not?
Lord, as we mediate on Scripture and Nature, give us clarity and courage to embrace your design for creation. We pray this in Jesus’ Name. Amen.