Yesterday during the sermon I went off my notes and paraphrased a thought from Ross Blackburn’s book, The God who makes Himself Known: The missionary heart of the book of Exodus. Now, the wisdom of entering a side-bar during a sermon is debatable, especially for me. Although intentions are good, sometimes the outcome is confusion. Therefore, I thought it would be helpful to post the quote directly from the book. Blackburn wrote:
A striking aspect of creation is the manner in which God orders the heavens and the earth. The land is separated from the seas, the sun and the moon order the days and the seasons, and the animals are created in ordered kinds. What began as chaos in Genesis 1:2 becomes an ordered creation that God deems ‘very good’ in 1:31. The point is that order begets blessing, and that living according to that created order is the means by which blessing is upheld. In other words it is not simply that God brings a curse upon a world that disobeys his commands (as true as that may be at times), but rather that violating his commands in and of itself violates the blessed order that God intends. Just as violation of the boundary between land and sea brings destruction and chaos, so does violation of the boundary that protects a marriage, or the boundary that protects the life of the vulnerable. (pg. 111)
N.T. Wright, with whom we would have some serious disagreements, especially regarding justification, recently offered some helpful statements in an interview when he was asked about marriage. I believe Wright’s remarks complement well Blackburn’s above. In answering a question about the redefinition of marriage, Wright appealed back to Genesis Chapter One. He stated:
…the binaries in Genesis are so important—that heaven and earth, and sea and dry land, and so on and so on, and you end up with male and female. It’s all about God making complementary pairs which are meant to work together. The last scene in the Bible is the new heaven and the new earth, and the symbol for that is the marriage of Christ and his church. It’s not just one or two verses here and there which say this or that. It’s an entire narrative which works with this complementarity so that a male-plus-female marriage is a signpost or a signal about the goodness of the original creation and God’s intention for the eventual new heavens and new earth.
If we are going to take the Bible seriously we must take God’s intention for marriage seriously. If we pervert marriage, we are perverting the signpost to the Gospel (Eph. 5:22-33). It is illegal to alter road sings or directional signs on hiking trials in National Parks. Why? Because misleading someone can become not just a matter of inconvenience, but a matter of life and death. The current cultural philosophy is, “be true to yourself.” The Gospel says we must all be saved from ourselves and our transgressing, chaos inducing deadly ways. Thanks be to God, in Christ, He is making all things new.