Children of a Lesser God?

March 1, 2012

 

For why is all around us here
As if some lesser god had made the world,
But had not force to shape it as he would?

Alfred Tennyson Tennyson (1809-1892)

The fifth objection raised in comments following the Spahr decision included the claim that LGBT couples are ethically and spiritually equal to heterosexual couples:

5. It is wrong for the church to perpetuate the idea that LGBT couples are “children of a lesser God.” They are the “ethical and spiritual equals of heterosexual couples” in God’s eyes. By emphasizing the traditions of heterosexual marriage, the church has done a great injustice to the LGBT community.

We have two issues here: what is said about God, and the relative virtue or moral equivalence of different kinds of couples.

Is the existence of GLBT people, or deaf people, or people with diabetes proof that God is something less than the omnipotent and omniscient supreme being? In other words, do people who do not fulfill the requirements of “normal” or “perfect” reflect some flaw or limitation of their Maker? Is God a “lesser God” for having created individuals who have issues or congenital defects or other medical conditions?

On one side of this question is the nature of God and God’s value (less or more) based on what he has created. In answer, we start with “the beginning.” It is a profound basic tenet of the Christian faith that even before creation, God was, God was perfect, God was complete, God was all and everything, and God was good. God did not need the product of his fertile and prolific imagination to prove anything about his character. He was—before there was anything else to perceive him—himself, an independent being needing nothing in order to exist. And God’s creation could not and did not diminish him; Job got the most colorful reminder of this reality (Job 38).

On the other side of this question is the evaluation of people’s condition as “better” or “worse” in terms of basic value and worth. Whether an individual is deaf or hearing, tall or short, gay or straight,[1] blue eyed or brown eyed, each one is a particular and beloved target (and, we hope, recipient) of God’s grace and truth. As I think I have pointed out before, becoming a “child of God” requires faith in Jesus Christ (John 1:12), and therefore, technically speaking, not every person is a child of God; but every single one of us has God’s attention and was created to respond to God’s invitation for relationship. Nobody is exempt or excluded from that invitation.

But the question is forced as to the relative moral standing of homosexual and heterosexual couples. The claim is that the two are morally equivalent, but this claim is built upon another mountain of false assumptions, including that one can lump all relationships into only two categories. Even just comparing homosexual and heterosexual couples leaves open the question of covenant, life-long commitment and faithfulness in monogamy; failure in both permanency and monogamy is readily evident in both. So we have to narrow the variables here and compare only the two circumstantial equivalents: couples faithful to each other in a life-long commitment. The problem here is that we are no longer talking merely about “condition” or sexual orientation, which I have suggested are morally neutral in and of themselves. The complication in the realm of marriage is that a “couple” implies “coitus,” which takes us into the realm of actions. And unfortunately this is the turning point in the evaluation of “ethical and spiritual” equivalency, otherwise known as morality. Even a committed homosexual couple engages in sexual practice proscribed in the strongest terms by God in both the Old and New Testaments. A heterosexual married couple engages in sexual practice that was designed for male-female marriage and is therefore acceptable. Its propriety is enacted by covenant-making (i.e. marriage vows) and sustained in faithfulness through a lifetime.

I am aware my argument here raises the hackles of the PJC commissioner who claimed that emphasizing the virtues of heterosexual marriage has perpetrated an injustice upon the LGBT community. This opens another topic I will address in my next post.

 


[1] Leaving aside for this discussion the question of whether a person is born gay, for lack of evidence to prove it, the focus is on conditions rather than conscious choices. I am willing to believe that some self-identified homosexual persons discovered their sexual orientation rather than chose it.

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One Response to “Children of a Lesser God?”


  1. hack·le 1 (hkl)
    n.
    1. Any of the long, slender, often glossy feathers on the neck of a bird, especially a male domestic fowl.
    2. hackles The erectile hairs along the back of the neck of an animal, especially of a dog.
    3.
    a. A tuft of cock feathers trimming an artificial fishing fly.
    b. A hackle fly.
    tr.v. hack·led, hack·ling, hack·les
    To trim (an artificial fishing fly) with a hackle.
    Idiom:
    get (one’s) hackles up
    To be extremely insulted or irritated.

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