To understand their conviction one must recognize the authority Christians give the Bible. Thereafter, consider what they read in its very first chapter. It says God created everything that exists, and here’s the pinnacle of that story: “So God created man in his own image,/ in the image of God he created him;/ male and female he created them” (Genesis 1:27).
Up to this point, same-sex marriage advocates might see no problem. But The Bible’s second chapter follows with the story of Adam and Eve. This says that God instituted male/female marriage. Then it closes with this editorial note: “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh” (Genesis 2:24).
From there, for all Bible readers the narrative darkens. The third chapter of Genesis reports Adam and Eve’s disobedience and its dire consequences. They and their descendants must live under the curse of their sin.
Chapter 4 reports their descendant, Lamech, “married two women” (Genesis 4:19). This veers from God’s plan and with the introduction of bigamy the distortion of marriage is shown to invade ancient culture. Even Abraham, the father of the faithful, had children by two women, his wife Sarah and her maidservant, Hagar (Genesis 16).
And Abraham’s grandson, Jacob, in accommodation to culture was tricked into marrying two sisters and eventually had children by them and their two maidservants (Genesis 29:31-30:23). The stories show the hurtful consequences – family strife, jealousy, and bargaining for sleeping rights.
All the while, Genesis repeatedly holds up the standard of “one man and one woman for life.” For example, although Pharaoh of Egypt did not belong to the chosen people, he was aware that it was wrong to invade the sanctity of another man’s marriage (Genesis 12:10-20). The same was so of Abimelech, a heathen ruler in the southern regions of Philistia where Abraham and his retinue had settled for a period of time (Genesis 20).
Through the story of Sodom, the Genesis account speaks to homosexual practice where marriage was not only disregarded but where the very idea of heterosexual love was perverted: men, with no interest in women, sought sexual satisfaction with men – and did so violently. The cost for this abandonment to sexual perversion was eventually a divine judgment by fire. (Genesis 19:1-28).
Genesis closes with the story of Joseph a Hebrew alien in Egypt. He had no family to support him and no faith community to guide him. His master’s wife tried repeatedly to draw him into a sexual liaison. He steadfastly refused, asking his temptress, “How then could I do such a thing and sin against God?” (Genesis 39: 6-20).
Thus, this opening book of the Bible portrays the distorting influence of sin on God’s revealed provision of monogamous marriage. Genesis reports polygamy, adultery, incest, promiscuity and homosexuality in a variety of ways. But it does not lose sight of God’s original intent — one man and one woman by God’s design in covenant with him and each other, for life.
So, how does our Lord Jesus Christ treat Genesis, this fifty-chapter account of God’s divine intent and man’s unfaithfulness?
On one occasion, when the Pharisees sought to corner him on the controversial issue of divorce, his answer reached back across the Old Testament Scriptures to their first references to marriage.
“Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘for this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one” (Matthew 19:5).
For Jesus, and all who follow him, marriage from the beginning of creation was meant to involve one man and one woman for life. It is for this substantially stronger reason that Bible-believing Christians stand firm.
They believe that to corrupt or distort marriage into something it was not intended to be can only invite human distress and the judgment of God. To stand staunchly for marriage as God ordained it, they believe, is to stand for what God, himself, intended! Truth!