This article on CNN Belief blog, My Take: The Bible’s surprisingly mixed messages on sexuality by Jennifer Wright Knaust, is an example of why I avoid Belief. I try to avoid near occasions of sin and situations that make my blood pressure soar.
It is not a reasoned argument, and it is condescending and patronizing to boot. No I am not impressed that she is a Bible scholar and has numerous letters after her name.
Besides, she teaches at the marginally Catholic University Boston College. Enough said.
A reader emailed me, however, and asked me to blog about it. So ok.
Knaust begins with:
“We often hears that Christians have no choice but to regard homosexuality as a sin – that Scripture simply demands it.
As a Bible scholar and pastor myself, I say that Scripture does no such thing.
“I love gay people, but the Bible forces me to condemn them” is a poor excuse that attempts to avoid accountability by wrapping a very particular and narrow interpretation of a few biblical passages in a cloak of divinely inspired respectability.”
From there, her argument goes downhill faster than an Olympic skier.
First let me state for the record that neither the Catholic Church nor the bible compels me to “condemn” homosexuality. I am, however, called to speak out against homosexual activity. It is acting on homosexual impulses which are considered a grave sin (CCC 2257-2359). It is also a grave sin for heterosexuals to engage in sex outside the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony.
Of course it is a much harder cross for homosexuals to bear, because, unlike unmarried heterosexuals, they have no recourse to marriage. That is why the Church reminds Christians to treat homosexuals with love, respect, and compassion.
We are called to invite all people including homosexuals to accept the truth of Jesus Christ.
Second, Jennifer Wright Knust makes the claim that the Genesis story makes it clear
“that God’s original intention for humanity was androgyny, not sexual differentiation and heterosexuality. Genesis includes two versions of the story of God’s creation of the human person. First, God creates humanity male and female and then God forms the human person again, this time in the Garden of Eden. The second human person is given the name Adam and the female is formed from his rib.”
This twist on the biblical creation account is new to me. Mama’s don’t let your babies grow up to be Theologians or Biblical Scholars. Well at least not of the progressive persuasion.
She does not cite any sources except to say that Ancient Christians and Jews explained the creation of human beings as she writes above. I guess we are to take her word for it. Okay she does mention the Gnostic Gospel of Philip and one third century rabbi.
There are two accounts of the creation of human beings in Genesis.
In Genesis 1:26-27
Then God said: “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. Let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, and the cattle, and over all the wild animals and all the creatures that crawl on the ground.”
God created man in his image; in the divine image he created him; male and female he created them.
And in Genesis 2:21-25. God decides to make a partner for Adam:
So the LORD God cast a deep sleep on the man, and while he was asleep, he took out one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh.
The LORD God then built up into a woman the rib that he had taken from the man. When he brought her to the man,
the man said: “This one, at last, is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; This one shall be called ‘woman,’ for out of ‘her man’ this one has been taken.”
That is why a man leaves his father and mother and clings to his wife, and the two of them become one body.
The story that God created Eve from Adam’s side does not mean that Adam was a hermaphrodite, a dually sexed person. We can see from what follows, “and the two of them become one body, that this text points to the marriage of man and women.
Man and women are created complimentary. In married sexual union two become one and in a mystical way mirror the Holy Trinity. This is impossible for same sexed couples. The main attribute of God the Holy Trinity is love. Love cannot be sterile. It is always generating.
That is why in Genesis 1: 28, God tells Adam and Eve to be fruitful and multiply.
Yet Knust claims that God’s original plan was for sexual unity in one body not two. Oh and that androgynous body was not designed for sex at all. This is a clearly Gnostic heresy.
She then goes on to make the usual claim by people who think that love is always eros that David and Jonathan were lovers. The idea of fraternal non sexual love is beyond the grasp of such people.
Her argument goes on to claim that the story of Lot and sons of God who lust after daughters of men. According to Knust New Testament writers (where, who citations please) “concluded that the mingling of human and divine flesh is an intolerable sin. Well angels are pure spirits although they can appear as humans.
Oh and ever hear of the incarnation. You know Jesus is true God and true Man.
Finally, yes Jennifer Jesus never mentioned homosexuality. He was speaking to Jews who prohibited homosexual acts unlike their pagan neighbors. It simply wasn’t an issue.
But Jesus did define marriage as between a man and a woman.
“Have you not read that from the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female’ and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, no human being must separate.” (Mt. 19:4-6)
John Paul II’s Theology of the Body should be must reading for any Christian who wants to understand human sexuality. EWTN has it online here.