Both weddings and salvation bring oneness. They’re similar that way. What happens to the bridal couple at their wedding? Both Old and New Testaments say the two become “one” with each other – one flesh.1 What happens when we join ourselves to Jesus? We become one with Him – one spirit.2 God deliberately uses the word “one” to describe each relationship.
God set up this oneness/oneness parallel for a purpose: He intends marriage to accurately illustrate what it’s like to join to Him. Sometimes we represent His analogy well – we’re faithful, loving, aware of each other, and put our spouse’s well-being ahead of our own. Doing these things makes visible to others the truth of what it’s like to be joined to God. And doing it well is crucial, because when we do it poorly, we distort God’s illustration and make it difficult for others to see the deeper oneness that marriage is to represent. That breaks God’s heart. It ought to break our hearts as well.
How We Distort Oneness
Selfishness, rudeness, indifference, coldness … on and on, we’ve seen it all. Even people who have no idea that marriage is a picture of oneness with God still know intuitively that people shouldn’t treat each other so badly. Frankly, same-sex couples are absolutely right when they point to the committed, loving, nurturing nature of many of their relationships. They represent aspects of oneness far better than do some male-female couples; they put them to shame.
But here’s my concern: same-sex marriages also distort oneness, but in a way that’s seldom recognized. Oneness involves more than love and faithfulness and generosity and self-sacrifice – it also involves otherness. That’s the distinction we miss.
Oneness and Otherness
While we resemble God (we’re made in His image), we are not the same as God. The human/God distinction stays in place even after we become one with Him – of course it does. Likewise, wife and husband in many ways resemble each other, but they are not the same as each other. Though joined, they remain not only distinct individuals but also different in a very specific way. The first biblical marriage, the pattern marriage, explicitly identifies that difference as a gender difference. Adam is male; Eve is female. This is not a casual distinction; it’s foundational. In marriage oneness and in our oneness with God, two who differ are joined.
To accurately illustrate our union with God we must mirror God’s Edenic example. If we ignore God’s gender distinctions in marriage we’re also ignoring His distinction between us and Himself, and by doing so are equating ourselves with God. That we must not do.
1 Genesis 2:24, Matthew 19:5, Mark 10:8, 1 Corinthians 6:16, Ephesians 5:31
2 1 Corinthians 6:17
Oneness, Otherness, & Same-Sex Marriage
© Lynne Fox, 2015