I recently returned from a large Christian conference, over a thousand in attendance, held in a prestigious hotel. Over us all, hanging high in the atrium, was a large rainbow flag, far out of reach, as much as to say that there was not a thing we could do about it. This is LGBT Pride month, and there does not appear to be anything much we can do about that either.
Many Christians know that something is wrong with the homosexual agenda, but because of the dearth of teaching on this subject in the church, and because the world’s teaching on it might be described as whatever is the opposite of dearth, we may know what we think without knowing why.
So consider this piece to be a very brief, introductory primer.
Created in God’s Image
God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. (Genesis 1:26–27)
“We need to declare Christian marriage loudly and boldly, and the way we do that is by preaching the gospel.”
When Adam and Eve were given their charge to exercise dominion over the world, the world was already “stocked,” as we might say. The earth was teeming with life (Genesis 1:21). It was not the case that we had two Adam and Eve fish, two Adam and Eve birds, two Adam and Eve caribou, and so on. No, the world was full of life, and God created man in his image, after his likeness, in order to “have dominion” over all of that. Now clearly Adam and Eve were going to need reinforcements, and God created them with the capacity to obtain them.
In verse 26, it is implied that the image of God resulted in mankind being created male and female. In verse 27, it is stated explicitly. The fact that we bear God’s image is stated three times in these two verses, building to the crescendo of how this is displayed in the fact of us being male and female. Let us make man in our image. So God created man in his own image. In the image of God he created him. Male and female he created them. Same-sex couplings deny this.
The Image Marred
After the glory of chapters 1 and 2 comes the tragedy of chapter 3. The man and the woman were already in the image of God, having been given a great dignity, but they were tempted to become “like God, knowing good and evil” (Genesis 3:5). God gave them the likeness of God; the serpent nevertheless promised them the likeness of God, and because of their sin, they badly marred the likeness of God. They made the likeness they already had “less like.” It was still there, but it was badly damaged.
So the image of God in man is now like a ruined cathedral, open to the sky. You can still make out the outline of the church, and you know where you are in that church, but it is nothing like what it once was.
We know that man retained the image of God after the fall because God states it as his reason for requiring the death penalty for murder (Genesis 9:6). And we know that man needs to have the image of God restored in him because that is precisely what Jesus came in order to do (Ephesians 4:24).
Erasing the Image?
So unregenerate man is in a great predicament. He reached out for more “Godlikeness,” but on his own terms, and so he fell backwards a long distance. God in his grace provided a Redeemer, and a way to be restored to that image, but that way is closed to everything that is not repentance and faith. This leaves unregenerate man, so long as he insists upon being unrepentant, with only two possible things to attempt on his own. He might continue to strive for autonomous godlikeness, or he might undertake to erase the concept of God’s image entirely.
We are living in a time when the announced strategy is very much the latter.
- Atheism: There is no God to have images of.
- Evolution: The cosmos is all that ever was or ever will be.
- Secularism: The way of enlightenment is complete institutional godlessness.
- LGBT: All pictures of the former king must be torn down.
One of the most natural things for rebels to do, when they cannot actually get at the emperor, is to burn images of that hated emperor in effigy. And that is what we are dealing with here.
What We Can Do
I began by saying that there does not appear to be much we can do about this, but this is actually not true at all. We cannot do anything by legislation or signing petitions — that is quite true — but there is something we can do. Where should the point of collision be?
“LGBT advocates war against marriage because it declares the image of God softly, but still too loud for them.”
Our culture is at war with Christian marriage because through it we declare the image of God softly, but still too loud for them. So, we need to declare it as loudly and as boldly as we possibly can, and the instrument we have been given for doing that is the preaching of the gospel.
The Father has sent a bridegroom into the world in order to redeem and obtain a bride, which he has done by dying on the cross, being laid in a tomb, being raised from the dead, through ascending to the right hand of his Father, and by sending his Spirit into the world to make the bride ready.
When we declare this boldly, as we ought to do (Ephesians 6:19–20), it will be enough to make all their schemes come to nothing.