How should we as Christians react to the current issues surrounding homosexual marriage? A clear understanding of God’s purposes for marriage helps us understand what’s at stake if our culture redefines what He originally created.

 

If you feel flustered when someone asks you to explain your views on the issue of homosexual marriage, you are not alone. Many Christians may perceive instinctively that gay marriage threatens the “sanctity” of marriage and the world their children will live in, but what does that mean?

 

Let’s start by recalling God’s blueprints that we find in Scripture. When we speak of the “sanctity of marriage,” we mean to say that marriage is a holy and sacred institution created not by man, but by God. That means it’s not ours to tamper with or redefine.

 

Our authority is the Scripture. Two different passages in the first two chapters of Genesis tell of the purposes God set forth for marriage. The first is Genesis 1:26-28: Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness ... God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them ... and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth ...”

 

1. Mirroring God’s Image

 

The first critical purpose for marriage described here is to mirror God’s image. The Hebrew word for “mirror” means to reflect God, to magnify, exalt and glorify Him. We are to be God’s representatives to a world that desperately needs to see who He is.

 

The union of a man and woman reflects the image of God by forming a picture of the intimate relationship between Jesus Christ and His followers. This is a theme that appears throughout the New Testament in passages such as Ephesians 5:22-33. A husband’s love and sacrifice for his wife, for example, are pictures of Christ’s love and sacrifice for the Church.

 

Homosexuals have suggested for years that their practice is an acceptable alternative lifestyle. Yet God makes it clear in Scripture that homosexuality is not part of His design — it’s actually rebellion against the Designer. Romans 1:21-27 tells us that, as humans failed to honor God, “God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error.”

 

2. Multiplying a Godly Legacy

 

A second purpose for marriage is found in Genesis 1:28 when God commands Adam and Eve, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth ...” The most obvious aspect of this command is that God designed male and female to join physically and reproduce children. Procreation is an integral part of God’s design for marriage.