The debunking of the Clobber Passages has been so effective that anti-homosexual campaigners had to search for more Bible bullets to use against their opponents. Their most recent addition to their arsenal has been the creation of Adam and Eve, which they say is the pattern for human marriage.
So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and closed up the place with flesh. Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.
The man said,
“This is now bone of my bones
and flesh of my flesh;
she shall be called ‘woman,’
for she was taken out of man.”
For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.”
This argument from the second chapter of Genesis used to be accompanied by stale jokes about Adam and Steve and by plumbing discussions. If we are going to draw lessons from Genesis 2, it becomes a matter of deciding which is the intended lesson.
In all seriousness, my wife wasn’t formed from my rib, so I guess I’m not following the Biblical example? Is that the point?
I didn’t awake from a deep sleep, or a coma, or major surgery, and discover a mysterious woman with whom I was supposed to copulate without the benefit of marriage. Am I not following the Biblical example?
Here is a well-known explanation for what the Adam and Eve story means:
Eve was not taken out of Adam’s head to dominate him, neither out of his feet to be trampled by him, but out of his side to be equal with him. Under his arm to be protected by him and near his heart to be loved by him.
Of course I could just as easily say that since woman is derived from man, that man is superior because he was created first. Then I can say no to all that egalitarian and equality stuff. One of Paul’s disciples took that approach:
I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet. For Adam was formed first, then Eve; and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor.
It’s interesting how we can get contradictory meanings from the same passage of Scripture.
Genesis says that God realized that it was not good for the man to be alone, that he created a helpmate suitable for him (Genesis 2:11). This could prove that white men need white women and that black men need black women. Or it could prove that God created one unique, special woman for every man, and that it is the responsibility of every man to find that one, perfect woman created especially for him. Or it could mean that there are potential mates created for gays and lesbians, mates that are suitable for men who like men and women who like women.
The problem with drawing precise meanings out of a story which provides no precise meanings in itself? Many different meanings can be drawn out of such a story, or read into it, even contradictory meanings. For example, if I take the story of the temptation of Eve, then temptation is meeting a talking snake in a garden who then tries to get you to disobey a direct order from God. I’ve never met a talking snake, so maybe I’ve never been tempted. I did see a talking snake though, in a Harry Potter movie, and I hear Aesop has a good story about a Farmer and a Snake.
Consider the automobile. A Flemish Jesuit missionary named Ferdinand Verbiest is believed by many to have built the first automobile in 1672. It was steam powered, and built in China. Subsequent automobiles range evidence a wide range of designs whose fuels continue to change.
Consider the first time piece. Lost in the mists of history, and in use as early as 5000 and 3500 BCE, the gnomon (sundial) was a vertical post or pillar. The shadow indicated the time of day. Most modern sundials are landscape ornaments. Subsequent time pieces evidence a wide range of designs and materials using springs, batteries, and nuclear power.
And marriage? In the Bible, examples of marriage include unofficiated unions like that of Adam and Eve, the polygamy of Kings David and Solomon (authors of a considerable amount of Scripture and found among the ancestors of Jesus the Messiah), and the quasi-marriages of hundreds of concubines to men who could afford them.
The creation of Adam and Eve is an important story, but it does not prove that one-man-and-one-woman heterosexual unions are the only ones acceptable to God.
You can’t quote Genesis to prove that God rejects homosexual couples.
But these arguments and comparisons will not be persuasive for most evangelicals, and certainly not for fundamentalists. Conservative religion appeals to people who are hard-wired to submit to authority, who respect hierarchy, the chain of command. Your voice or mine are to them the voice of the enemy. They have been innoculated against Scriptural logic and independent thinking. They are taught to distrust themselves and to trust their leaders, who are wiser and better educate than they are. Many don’t want to be bothered with thinking things through; they’d rather just be told what to believe. They’re in their churches for a sense of belonging, security, and safety, and will not put those at risk. And the price of this sense of security and belonging is intellectual freedom. But that freedom doesn’t matter to everyone. That is one of the species of diversity.