Genesis 2 is Not Literal (The Bible Tells Me So)

Genesis 2 is Not Literal (The Bible Tells Me So) April 21, 2015

Genesis 2 figurative quote

The quote comes from my recent post “Marriage is Sacred.” The point is one that I have made before, but since someone particularly liked this brief way of making the point, I thought I would turn it into a meme image.

Of related interest, Andrew Perriman has a whole series on the idea of “one flesh” in Genesis and the ways that text might apply, when interpreted contextually, to the issue of same-sex marriage. In one post, highlighting that sex is not the focus in Genesis 2, he notes that it is the similarity of the woman to the man, and not her difference from him, that is highlighted. That post is part of a series about a book by James Brownson, Bible, Gender, Sexuality: Reframing the Church’s Debate on Same-Sex Relationships. Here is a link to Andrew’s summary of the book’s argument. He also focuses particular attention on Paul’s argument in Romans, and the eschatological context of Paul’s perspective.

Also related to this is Lucy Peppiatt’s book about 1 Corinthians, which Scot McKnight and Derek Leman have blogged about: Women and Worship at Corinth: Paul’s Rhetorical Arguments in 1 Corinthians. The point made in that book in relation to 1 Corinthians is much that which has been made about the section in Romans 1 which is often quoted in relation to homosexuality. I have blogged previously about the fact that Paul may there be adopting the persona of someone else’s view, in order to then turn on that person and rebuke them.

But attention to individual passages risks missing the point, much as debates about the household codes in the New Testament epistles missed how the key principle of the Golden Rule leads naturally to a rejection of slavery. Genesis says that it is not good for human beings to be alone, that it is one of the joys of life to find one’s other half. With that as a core principle, Christians should not be trying to prevent people attracted to members of the same sex from experiencing that joy.


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  • Andrey Bolkonsky

    Is anything in the Bible to be taken literally?

    • Richard Worden Wilson

      Apparently not by those who don’t want to accept what has been understood to be clear for at least 3000 years.

      • Richard Worden Wilson

        The Bible is, as Jesus seems to have believed, to be taken as literaturely true, that it speaks what God intends it to speak, as understood by those God spiritually endows with the authority to interpret what it means. To reinterpret it in ways like those McGrath does requires (ISTM) prophetic authority. What say you James, are you one of God’s prophets for today?

        • I’m guessing this is a spoof post. “Literaturely” true?

          Or are you in all seriousness setting yourself up as the arbiter of who has the right to interpret Scripture, and in what ways?

          • Richard Worden Wilson

            Not so spoofy, just coining a term to get at the idea that some people, prophets like that Jesus guy, Apostles and such, had the authority to interpret scripture clearly (?), but most of us do not. Do biblical scholars also have that authority, or only some of them? So, no I’m not setting myself up with special rights to interpret scripture, just challenging those who act like they have that right to say so if they think they do.

      • Andrey Bolkonsky

        Clear, huh? That sounds like a Tom Cruise Scientology rant.

        • Richard Worden Wilson

          Wow, 236 Comments that you declare “Private.” You wanna chat?