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The essence of the second fundamental argument by the pro-LGBTQ faction is that the context of the Levitical Holiness Code shows it was peculiar to the times to separate the Jews from the surrounding pagan nations.  Bishop Wilke says:

This code was designed for the specific purpose of setting the Jews apart from the Canaanites. It was not intended as a universal morality. It was peculiar to the Hebrews — and to the times. It reflected one side of the constant tension in Judaism, as well as in all religions, between exclusion and inclusion.

According to the pro-LGBTQ faction, today, neither Jews nor Christian obey the Holiness Code.  Three examples of “disobedience” are: (1) Christians eat shrimp, (2) Christians do not stone those who commit adultery, and (3) Christians do not justify killing children for talking back to parents.  (See Wilke presentation).

For the sake of completeness, the passages-in-question read:

Leviticus 18:22 (ESV) – 22 You shall not lie with a male (zākār) as with a woman (is·sā); it is an abomination (tôʿēbâ).

Leviticus 20:13 (ESV) – 13 If a man (is) lies with a male (zākār) as with a woman (is·sā), both of them have committed an abomination (tôʿēbâ); they shall surely be put to death; their blood is upon them.

There is no question that each passage on its face condemns homosexual practice.   Leviticus 20:13 makes it a capital offense.

As mentioned in my previous article (Part 16A), there are four reasons the pro-LGBTQ faction is wrong to discard Leviticus 18:22 and Leviticus 20:13 from the Bible.  This article discusses the first reason, which is the account in Genesis of the creation of human beings (i.e., Genesis 1:26-28; 2:5-7, 15-24).  The Genesis creation account shows that the only God-ordained sexual practice is between a man and a woman within the marriage covenant. 

The first passage of Genesis 1:26–28 (ESV) reads:

26 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” 27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male (zākār)  and female (nĕqēbâ) he created them. 28 And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

God decided to “make man (ādām)˓in our image, after our likeness.”  God then carried out His creative act when He “created man in his own image, in the image of God, he created him; male (zākār) and female (nĕqēbâ)he created them.”  By using “male (zākār)” and “female (nĕqēbâ)”, God brought human sexuality into the equation.  One commentator (Mathews, K. A. (1996). Genesis 1-11:26 (Vol. 1A, pp. 172–174). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers) writes:

Being human means being a sexual person. Human sexuality and sexual bonding between husband and wife are deemed “very good” (1:31) by God and are to be honored as the divine ordinance for men and women (see 2:18–24 discussion). There is no place in God’s good order for unisexuality or for any diminishing or confusion of sexual identity. Human sexuality in Genesis is a blessed function in the creative purposes of God, and it is essential for carrying out God’s mandate for humanity (cf. 9:1, 7) and for the patriarchs in particular (e.g., 12:1–3; 26:24; 28:3–4).

Verse 28 records a command God gave to His created male and female to ““Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, …”.   This command reveals God’s original plan that the “male” and “female” procreate through sexual intercourse to populate the earth.   In The Bible and Homosexual Practice, [(2001) Abingdon Press, Nashville, TN, 2001], Dr. Robert A. J. Gagnon writes at page 58:

God’s intent for human sexuality is imbedded in the material creation of gendered beings, irrespective of the globe’s population.  “Male and female he created then” probably intimates that the fullness of God’s “image” comes together in the union of male and female in marriage (not, one could infer from same-sex unions).

In light of the scope of the command, God’s command appears to apply to the offspring of the “male” and “female” of God’s original creation. 

Genesis 2:5-7 and 15-24, which add more details pertinent to the creation of the human race, read (ESV):

5 When no bush of the field was yet in the land and no small plant of the field had yet sprung up—for the Lord God had not caused it to rain on the land, and there was no man to work the ground, 6 and a mist was going up from the land and was watering the whole face of the ground— 7 then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature. … 15 The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. 16 And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” 18 Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” 19 Now out of the ground the Lord God had formed every beast of the field and every bird of the heavens and brought them to the man to see what he would call them. And whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. 20 The man gave names to all livestock and to the birds of the heavens and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper fit for him. 21 So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. 22 And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. 23 Then the man said, “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” 24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.

We see that there was a need for a man to work the ground and the solution when the LORD God:

… formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature.  … 15 The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it.

God recognized that it was not good that “the man” should be alone.  The solution was for God to “make him [the man] a helper fit for him.”  Even though the man had named all livestock and every beast and bird, there was not found for him a helper fit for him.  Matthews gives more insight into the Hebrew words (boldfacing added):

“Suitable” (kěnegdô, lit., “like what is in front of him”) indicates a correspondence between the man and the woman. The focus is on the equality of the two in terms of their essential constitution. Man and woman share in the “human” sameness that cannot be found elsewhere in creation among the beasts. … In the case of the biblical model, the “helper” is an indispensable “partner” (REB) required to achieve the divine commission. “Helper,” as we have seen from its Old Testament usage, means the woman will play an integral part, in this case, in human survival and success. What the man lacks, the woman accomplishes.

At page 60, note 43, Gagnon writes that (boldfacing added):

As J. Andrew Dearman notes” The term ‘helper’ (cēzer) does not imply inferior status but one who supplies what is lacking.” 

The solution to the problem of “the man” not having a “helper” was not the independent creation of another “Adam,”, but to build a complementary being from a portion of Adam’s own self.  See Gagnon at page 60.  To accomplish this, God put “the man” in a deep sleep and while he slept, God “took” one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh.  God then took the rib He had taken from “the man” and “made [the rib] into a woman.”  

God then brought the woman to the man, and “the man” said that the woman was “at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.”  Gagnon writes at page 61 (boldfacing added):

The woman is not just “like himself” but “from himself” and thereby a complementary fit to himself.  She is a complementary sexual “other.

Matthews highlights the sameness of man and woman:

The building block for constructing the woman is a portion of the man’s essential skeletal frame. As we have already observed, the language of the garden scene is found in the tabernacle description; the term ṣēlāʿ, here rendered “ribs,” appears frequently in the construction setting of the tabernacle, there translated “side.” 117. The woman was taken from the man’s side to show that she was of the same substance as the man and to underscore the unity of the human family, having one source. This is made clear by the man’s description of her: “Bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh” (v. 23). The verb “took” (lāqaḥ), which is given prominence in the narrative (vv. 22–23), may anticipate the marital union of the two since it is the common idiom for marriage.

This passage ends with God’s definition of marriage because a man shall leave his father and mother and “hold fast” to his “wife.”   The result is that they shall become “one flesh.” Matthews (p. 223) expands on the concept of “one flesh” (boldfacing added):

“One flesh” echoes the language of v. 23, which speaks of the woman’s source in the man; here it depicts the consequence of their bonding, which results in one new person. Our human sexuality expresses both our individuality as gender and our oneness with another person through physical union. Sexual union implies community and requires responsible love within that union.

There are three passages that reference Genesis 2:24 and reinforce God’s definition of marriage for the 21st Century.  These passages are set out below:

Matthew 19:5–6 (ESV) – 5 and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? 6 So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”

Mark 10:8 (ESV) – 8 and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two but one flesh.

Ephesians 5:31 (ESV) – 31 “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.”

These passages establish that prior to the Fall, it was God’s intentional plan that man and woman are each other’s sexual counterpart whereby each is one half of a sexual whole.  The only sexual whole is a man and a woman.  It is impossible to fashion a sexual whole via a man with another man or a woman with another woman.  To try to say otherwise is to defile God’s original creation of the human race.  The fact that the Fall corrupted mankind does not change God’s original plan for the sexuality of man and woman.   

One Bible dictionary [Johnson, J. A. (2003). Homosexuality. In C. Brand, C. Draper, A. England, S. Bond, E. R. Clendenen, & T. C. Butler (Eds.), Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary (p. 777). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers] sums it up:

HOMOSEXUALITY Sexual relations between people of the same sex. When discussing homosexuality, the biblical emphasis is on behavior, and the verdict is always that it is sinful.  Homosexuality is a consequence of rejecting the created order. The prima facie case against homosexuality in the Scripture is found in God’s creative plan for human sexuality. God created mankind as male and female, to procreate within the context of marriage (Gen. 1:27–28; 2:18–24). This creation order for human sexuality received the endorsement of both the Lord Jesus Christ (Mark 10:6–9; Matt. 19:4–6) and the Apostle Paul (Eph. 5:31). On the surface, homosexual behavior should be recognized as sinful because it violates God’s original plan for heterosexual monogamy.

Finally, Matthews points out the importance of Genesis 2:24 and its impact on homosexual practice in general (boldfacing added):

Finally, this “leaving” and “uniting” involves a public declaration in the sight of God. Marriage is not a private matter. It involves a declaration of intention and a redefining of obligations and relationships in a familial and social setting. In our contemporary climate of sexual freedom and societal tolerance for moral deviance, we would do well to reconsider the biblical viewpoint toward marriage and sexual behavior. Without question 2:24 serves as the bedrock for Hebrew understanding of the centrality of the nuclear family for the survival of society. Monogamous heterosexual marriage was always viewed as the divine norm from the outset of creation. Mosaic instruction shows considerable efforts to safeguard this ideal against its dissolution by clarifying what is “family.” Sexuality was instrumental in defining what a household was in Israel; abrogation of sexual boundaries threatened the identity of this core social institution. Without proper limits “family” ceased, and the consequence was the undoing of Israel as a nation, the same fate suffered by their predecessors (Lev 18:24–30). Strong prohibitions against sexual offenses often prescribed the penalty of death, as in the case of the heinous sins of murder and idolatry.

To ignore or discard the prohibitions against homosexual practice of Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13 removes the God-given boundaries that prevent the disintegration of the core social institution of marriage and family.   Everything in the account in Genesis (i.e., Genesis 1:26-28; 2:5-7, 15-24) of the creation of  the human race points to a sexual whole.  And that sexual whole ONLY exists in a monogamous husband and wife sexual relationship.  The LGBTQ faction of the UMC is wrong to remove Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13 from the Bible.

Please send me any comments to steve@stevebelsheim.com or use the comments feature of the blog.

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