When we read the creation narrative people often look for the answer to how God created the world. In other words we come with scientific questions. But the real purpose of the text is not to give a scientific answer but to give an answer regarding the purpose of creation and God’s desire for His creation. This has a large bearing on many of the social issues that are facing the church and the world today.
The primary reason for God’s creation is that the world becomes His temple. God’s desires order so that creation can fulfill that purpose. When sin comes into the world disorder is introduced. Things become messed up. God desires life. Death is introduced. God desires that humanity have dominion over creation, but suddenly creation is fighting back. God desires that humanity as male and female multiply and fill the earth. Now there is increased pain associated with multiplying (giving birth). On and on it goes. Disorder has been introduced into creation.
Thus the reason for redemption is to return the order of creation that God desires so that it can be God’s temple. We think of salvation in personal terms, and it is. But God’s plan of salvation is cosmic in scope. And thus the church is to be a redemptive community seeking to bring back order to creation through proclaiming the gospel and living out gospel principles.
In history this has occurred on numerous occasions. For example the slavery and racism of the past in this country was a sin that brought disorder. We are still feeling the effects of it. Africans were considered less than human and became property. It was the church (not all the church) within Britain and the United States that saw the evil of slavery and sought to rectify it and rid it from the land. We fought a Civil War to rid it. It didn’t succeed completely in bringing back order because racism is still present. Institutional racism has significantly diminished, but due to sin racism is still in the world, and from time to time this disorder rears it’s brutal head; such as in Charleston. The point is the church had a major influence in society at the time. It could speak authoritatively regarding this evil. It could bring order back where there was disorder.
But in the 20th century the church lost its authoritative voice due to many within the church playing down or even rejecting the authority of Scripture. The church had become “progressive.” As a result when the sexual revolution hit in the 1960’s the church really did not speak with a clear unified voice regarding God’s order for sexual expression which is in the covenant of marriage. But disorder was introduced and now we have large amounts of sexual disorder within our world. Co-habitation has risen dramatically, marriage is being put off longer, divorce has become more prevalent, etc. One consequence is that 50% of children are born without both parents in the home. In some parts of our country it is even higher. This has led to other disorders such as increased poverty, gang violence, drug use, etc.
Out of this disorder of the sexual revolution further sexual disorder began to flourish. In the past two decades homosexuality began to come out of the closet and become more accepted as normative. This is a disorder from God’s intention for creation. The reason homosexuality is a disorder within creation is because it is impossible for same-sex unions to bear children. Same-sex couples cannot be fruitful and multiply. Also same-sex marriage can never experience the one flesh union described in Genesis between male and female. Therefore same-sex marriage will further destroy the reason God designed marriage between a man and woman. Therefore same sex marriage is not victimless. It ultimately has grave societal implications. More disorder will be introduced and more societal chaos will result.
Many even among the churched celebrated the SCOTUS ruling on same-sex marriage. They see it as a human rights issue. They say we should be tolerant and allow people to express their love as they wish. Sounds like the sexual revolution of the 60’s. Remember that “free love” message? But the church is not to succumb to culture. The church is to be salt and light to bring order within creation and to change the culture.
So what is the church to do?
First we need to recognize the source of the disorder is Satan himself and that the larger culture is spiritually dead, captivate to sin, and needs redemption. If anything this ruling should re-energize the church to evangelism. The early church propagated the gospel in a Roman culture much like our present culture. Sexual promiscuity was rampant. And the culture was incredibly pagan. But the church brought the gospel to society and changed it.
Second biblical churches must teach the reason for marriage and go back to the creation narrative to see God’s design for His creation.
Third the church should be ready to be persecuted for its stand. Remember bringing order to disorder is hard work. And people are going to resist. Jesus said, “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”