Howdy there, friends! Thanks for joining me once again.
So, last time I presented the proposition “God is love” as the first principle of this case that I am building for why God would honor a same-sex relationship. This first principle is really focused on theology proper, that is theology that is concerned with God Himself,1 as opposed to a theology of creation, or angels, or atonement, etc. From here, we move to Christian anthropology, that is our theology of humans.
The foundational idea in Christian theology when it comes to the question, what does it mean to be human?, is the claim that humans are made in the image of God.2 This image of God is what we call the imago Dei, because saying stuff in Latin makes you sound smarter. So, from the get-go, God’s creation of mankind was an act of creating people in His own image.
But, what is the image of God?, you ask so inquisitively. What does that fancy Latin phrase (imago Dei) even mean?
To be fair, there is a very lively and egg-headish debate among theologians as to what the imago Dei actually is.3 Some claim that it refers to the human soul (whatever that is, amiright?). Others claim that it has more to do with the role that we play as benevolent rulers of creation. And still others say that it is our relationality – our ability to experience and generate love. Personally, I happen to think that each of these views carries a degree of merit, and so we shouldn’t ignore any of them or say, “That’s dumb. [Insert viewpoint here] couldn’t possibly be right.” I think that in different ways each of these viewpoints is correct, and to neglect one or the other would leave us with an impoverished understanding of what it means to be human.
That being the case, I think that we need to take very seriously the claim that God in His very being is love. More specifically, orthodox Christianity claims that God actually is a loving relationship made up of three divine Persons – the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. So, when we say “God is love” we mean more than that God is loving. He actually is a deep, intimate, loving relationship.4
So, if God is that sort of deep, intimate, personal, covenant relationship, then humans (who are made in His image) are creatures that are inherently built for deep, intimate, personal, covenant relationships. It isn’t just a nice thing that we get to experience once in a while, like cherry cheesecake or a new season of Sherlock. It is something that is an inherent part of what makes a human being human. This is why loneliness is one of the most painful experiences that humans can have, because it is unnatural. Loneliness is the lack of something vital to us being us. It would be like trying to go without oxygen, or living without your skin. It’s painful.
And, just like (or at least similar to) suffocating someone or flaying them alive, denying someone access to deep, personal, intimate, covenant relationship is to deny them the very thing that makes a person human. It is dehumanizing on both a physical and metaphysical level.5
So, people, all people, should be able to enter into these sorts of relationships. This was God’s intention when He first started making people. Before He ever commanded them to tend creation, before he gave them any sort of law to live by, and well before homosexuality even came up as a viable option to consider, God made people to be in covenant relationships. It’s not just what we do. It’s who we are. Which means that it takes priority.
Now, admittedly, covenant relationship is not limited to marriage. But let’s not jump to all that just yet. We’ll talk about the implications of a biblical anthropology next time. For now, let’s just rest with idea that God is love, and we are made for that very thing.
1: since theology literally means thinking/learning (logos) about God (theo)
2: Genesis 1:26-27
3: If you’d like a good look at some of the major viewpoints on this topic, along with their biblical and supporting evidences, CLICK HERE.
4: If you want to get all nerdy and smart about this, look up the term Perichoresis.
5: Honestly, this is one of the reasons that I think long-standing sentences of solitary confinement for prisoners is one of the cruelest forms of punishment. And don’t get me started on “time-out” for children.