My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.Hosea 4:6
Over the past four weeks, we have been taking a deep dive into Robyn J. Whitaker’s article, “God Made the Rainbow: Why the Bible Welcomes a Gender Spectrum.” This, my final article in this series, we will be tackling a real doozy.
The very first section heading of Whitaker’s article is entitled, “On the Sixth Day, God Created a Gender Spectrum.” Her logic is as follows:
“’God created the human in God’s image, in the image of God s/he created him; male and female God created them.’
At first glance, this might seem obvious: God made two different, discrete sexes. But if we look at this line in its context, we see this creation account follows a poetic structure made up of a series of binaries that indicate the breadth of God’s creation: light and dark, seas and dry land, land creatures and sea creatures.
In the structure of the Genesis poem, these binaries are not discrete categories, but indications of a spectrum.
The sea and dry land merge on tidal plains. Some animals inhabit both land and sea. Darkness and light meet in the in-between spaces of dusk and dawn. God didn’t create night or day, but night and day, inclusive of everything in between.
If we apply this same poetic logic to humanity, a case can be made for sex and gender diversity built into the very fabric of creation. A creative diversity categorically called ‘good’ by God.”
I am going to tackle three glaring issues that I see in the above statement:
- Reducing the inspired creation narrative of Moses down to “the Genesis poem.”
- The idea that God calls gender diversity “good” in the book of Genesis, but then calls it an abomination two books later in Leviticus (18:22).
- The critical importance of differentiating biblical exegesis from eisegesis.
The Word of God is a compilation of many different literary styles: historical narrative, law, wisdom literature, poetry, prophecy, eschatology, etc.
While each book is written in one predominant style, it may have overlapping elements of another. For example, the book of Isaiah is a historical narrative documenting the reign of King Uzziah; but it also very clearly includes prophetic portions.
As we discussed in last week’s article, the book of Psalms is clearly a book of poetry, but also includes “already/not yet” prophetic passages.
The book of Job is also a historical/biographical narrative that contains dusty human dialogue blended with beautiful poetic stanzas coming from the mouth of God.
Books of the Bible are categorized under the predominate writing style of the book; but this does not mean elements of other styles do not co-exist. With that said, The Torah (the first five books of the Bible) were written by Moses and they are categorized as historical narrative.
I am a poet. One thing I noticed a long time ago is that whenever God opens His mouth in Scripture (whether in Genesis, or Job, or wherever) His speech and sentence structure are always strikingly beautiful.
He doesn’t just tell Job, “How dare you talk to me like that! Do you have any idea who I am?” No, instead He says, “Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge?” God doesn’t just say, “I created the ocean tide.” No, He says, “Or who enclosed the sea with doors when, bursting forth, it went out from the womb.”
Come on! Shakespeare’s got nothing on this Guy!
Whitaker’s assertion that Genesis 1 is poetry is an attempt to subtly undermine the authority of the narrative; because journalistic renderings of an actual event are thought to be objective; while poetry is considered to be allegorical, metaphorical, and open for personal interpretation.
Brothers and sisters, while scholars and theologians have always (and will continue) to debate some of the intricate details and complexities of Genesis 1, even within these circles of intellectual disagreement, at the end of the day, what you have are men and women who are all trying to answer the question, “What does this verse mean?” NOT, “What does this verse mean to me.” In the words of Dr. Michael K. Lake, “If God has an opinion; and you have an opinion—guess who’s right?”
To LGB or Not to LGB, that is the Question…
“’Who controls the past,’ ran the Party slogan, ‘controls the future: who controls the present controls the past.’ And yet the past, though of its nature alterable, never had been altered. Whatever was true now was true from everlasting to everlasting. It was quite simple.George Orwell, 1984
All that was needed was an unending series of victories over your own memory.”
Moses writes in Numbers 23:19a, “God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind.”
Yahweh’s thoughts are not our thoughts. His supreme intellect, even in comparison to the most brilliant human being who has ever lived, would be the equivalent of a man getting on his hands and knees to shout string theory down an ant hill.
So, while God may always be a hundred steps ahead of us, there is one thing we inferior human beings can always take to the bank—God is not wishy-washy! He does not lie, he does not change His mind, He does not vacillate back and forth between opinions, He does not have to rethink His position on things when new information or discovery arises (He is omnipotent), and He does not fear man (a big reason why a lot of us talk out of both sides of our mouth).
If Yahweh created a gender spectrum on Day Six and declared it “good,” as Whitaker contends, we have a way, way, way BIGGER problem than sorting out how many genders there are. If the God of the universe—the Guy in charge of deciding where we spend our eternity based upon HIS definitions of righteousness—if this God tells us in the book of Genesis that gender diversity is good, but tells us in Leviticus that the lifestyle these good people partake in is an abomination—we now have a God who is talking out of both sides of His mouth. And who’s to say that this untrustworthy God of confusion isn’t going to throw us for another loop on Judgement Day when He shrugs and says, “Sorry folks, it’s opposite day!”
There is something far worse than a God who outlaws same-sex relationships—it’s a God who can’t get His story straight. Or a God who tells you one thing today, and the exact opposite tomorrow. This “god” is a liar. This “god” is untrustworthy. If God told Moses during the writing of Genesis that a gender spectrum is good…and then tells Moses during the writing of Leviticus that a gender spectrum is bad…of which opinion will this vacillating Judge be of on the day of judgment? It’s anybody’s guess….
Here’s the Catch 2-2. If the Torah is mere poetry—open to interpretation and the ever-changing winds of culture and worldview; the good news is, we can make the Word of God say that homosexuality is A-OK (or anything else we choose). But the bad news is, once we destroy the reliability of the text and the trustworthiness of the text’s ultimate Author—then we can no longer put any stake in ANY of it. Because if the overflow of verses outlawing every single sex act on the planet apart from one man and one woman entering into a lifelong covenant are now nothing more than poetic guidelines for a bygone age—then all the verses about grace, salvation, forgiveness, Jesus coming back, heaven, and eternal life are also potentially just allegorical, idealistic, archaic musings that may or may not be literal either.
What a terrible exchange! In earning our freedom to choose any sex partner we wish, we lose something far greater—the assurance of our salvation! Because the Gospel and the Messiah that we are all depending upon to rescue our sinful souls is outlined within the very same text dictated by a God who vacillates from day to day regarding what He believes to be right and wrong.
Just Another Day in Paradigm
We have discussed over the course of the past month that in order to properly interpret a text one must take into account a passage’s context, culture, language, geography, and history. But it is also crucial that any student of Scripture understands the difference between biblical exegesis and eisegesis.
“Exegesis and eisegesis are two conflicting approaches in Bible study. Exegesis is the exposition or explanation of a text based on a careful, objective analysis. The word exegesis literally means “to lead out of.” That means that the interpreter is led to his conclusions by following the text.
The opposite approach to Scripture is eisegesis, which is the interpretation of a passage based on a subjective, non-analytical reading. The word eisegesis literally means “to lead into,” which means the interpreter injects his own ideas into the text, making it mean whatever he wants.
Obviously, only exegesis does justice to the text. Eisegesis is a mishandling of the text and often leads to a misinterpretation. Exegesis is concerned with discovering the true meaning of the text, respecting its grammar, syntax, and setting. Eisegesis is concerned only with making a point, even at the expense of the meaning of words.”
This differentiation is so crucial that it really should have been the first paragraph of Part One of this series. But I have left it until last because it is indeed SO crucial, that I want it to be the freshest thing in your mind upon walking away from this series.
The Word of God is not a cipher that we use to reverse engineer all our modern thoughts, feelings, dreams, philosophies, and ideas. The Word of God is where we go when we are ready to fall prostrate before the throne of Yahweh, declare our helpless state, and beg Him to reveal to us the Truth that will set us free from these prison-bodies of death.
Yahweh’s people perish for lack of knowledge. But this is NOT the same knowledge that we obtain when we eat of the tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.
Michael K. Lake once said, “Only God decides what is right and what is wrong. Deciding for yourself what is right and wrong is ‘eating of the tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.’ The nephesh (the serpent in the garden of Eden) says we will ‘be as gods’ if we eat of that tree. This simply and only means, that from that point forward, we decide for ourselves what is right and what is wrong—not God.”
From what little information we are given, Adam was not given very many instructions. And it is understood that he was to pass these rules on to his wife, Eve; and it can be assumed they would also teach these rules to their children so that everyone on earth was on the same page. Because whether it was Adam, Eve, or one of their descendants—as soon as a human being broke one of the rules, sin would have entered the world.
We know from the text that Adam and Eve were:
Not eat of the tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil
(2) To be fruitful and multiply, and to
(3) Fill and subdue the earth.
Don’t eat from that tree, make sure the place doesn’t run amok, have a bunch of kids, and have all the sex you want. Sounds WAY easier than those ten commandments that came later….
The rule Adam and Eve eventually tripped up on was not eating from the tree. Upon breaking the rule, they were immediately punished and they, all their descendants, and the entire earth fell under a curse.
But the fact is, if Adam and Eve had told that serpent where to go and refused to eat of the tree, had they broken one of the other rules, the fall of man would have then occurred at THAT point. Or, say Adam and Eve never broke any of the rules, but a great-great-great granddaughter at some point down the line ate of the tree, or broke one of the other rules, the fall of man would have then occurred at THAT point.
So, let’s say Adam and Eve never ate of the tree. They continued to live sinless lives in a perfect world, and they fulfilled God’s command to “be fruitful and multiply.” The earth is eventually filled with their descendants—all of whom must also follow the few rules God put into place. These descendants begin pairing off into couples and obeying God’s command to be fruitful and multiply.
At the point where two of these male (or two of these female) descendants decided to pair up and be a same-sex couple—we would now have the fall of man. This would have been the point in time where sin entered the world, because males having sex with males, and females having sex with females, will never result in pregnancy. This means, for that first same-sex couple, they would be defying God’s mandate to be fruitful and multiply. Their union would not carry out the will of God; they would be declaring for themselves (independent of God) what was right in their own eyes—not what was right in the eyes of God.
We see this played out all throughout the Old Testament. When Israel was not walking in covenant with God but had forsaken the Torah and chased after idols, demons, and false gods, the phrase the inspired Word of God uses is, “…everyone was doing what was right in their own eyes” (Judges 17:6, Judges 21:25, Proverbs 21:2, Proverbs 14:12, Isaiah 5:21, Proverbs 26:12, Proverbs 3:7, Proverbs 12:15).
find it interesting that the two books of the Bible that warn mankind the most earnestly
about what happens to a person (or nation) that does what is right in their own
eyes is the book of Judges and the book of Proverbs (written by the wisest man
who ever lived). We would be wise to listen to those who came before us, lest
history repeat itself.
Brothers and sisters, CLING to the Word of Yahweh! It is there to direct us AWAY from the inclinations of our sinful hearts—not to corroborate the filth that is already there. Put on your thinking caps in 2020. Set aside the laptops, and air pods, and iPhones; shut off You Tube and Spotify and crack open a Bible and set your physical eyes upon its physical pages.
time to put the QUIET back in our quiet times. Let NOTHING stand in between you
and the Spirit of God during your times of devotion and study. Shut off the
incessant racket of the world and have some one-on-one time with your Savior this