Friday, February 22, 2013

A3.  God made Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve.

A.  The Charge. The conservative Christian slogan "God made Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve" may seem trivial, but actually it makes an important point, for it epitomizes Bible-based arguments that tell conclusively against homosexual behavior. Among other things, the statement affirms that the Biblical account of the creation of human beings as a male-female pair, as narrated in the book of Genesis, indicates the natural way of life for humanity.

B. Background.  The phrase about Adam and Steve appeared on a 1977 protest sign, as noted  in a New York Times report concerning a November 19 rally in Houston that year.  Two years later Jerry Falwell included it in a press conference. A report in Christianity Today gave the utterance wide circulation.

The phrase continued to reverberate.  In it is now widely familiar and, when used to name two characters in a work of fiction, signals that they are members of a homosexual pair (cf. Paul Rudnick's play "The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told," the 2005 film "Adam & Steve," and other works).

The key passage in the Bible is Genesis 2:18-22 where we are told that God decided that Adam needed a "helper." Some translations use the terms "companion," "helpmate," or "partner" here. God marched all of the animals past Adam, looking for a suitable helper, but none was found. So God put Adam to sleep, removed one of his ribs and created Eve from the bone.

Although this implies a cloning operation, it obviously was not, because Adam, being a male, had XY sex chromosomes; Eve was a female with XX chromosomes.  This example shows the need to place the biblical narrative within the realm of biological reality, correcting it where necessary.

For their part, conservative Christians insist on their own interpretation:  God created Eve to be Adam's wife. He made a woman to be the companion of Adam, a male. This indicates God's plan for humanity, which is simply that men and women are to pair off, and form permanent, heterosexual partnerships.

C.  Response.  Keeping within the Biblical framework, if either Adam or Eve were homosexual  - that is, a Kinsey 6, exclusively so - the human race would not have developed. God obviously needed to create both Adam and Eve as individuals with a heterosexual capacity, so that they could be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth with human progeny, even though that required their children to commit incest. But did he need to make them exclusively heterosexual?

In verse 18, God observes: "It is not good for the man to be alone" (NIV). This shows the importance that God ascribed to committed relationships. For a heterosexual person, the suitable companion is an individual of the opposite gender. For a homosexual person, the suitable companion is a person of the same gender. To say that gays and lesbians should not form committed relationships is to imply that it is good for people to remain alone. This would seem to be a direct contradiction of God's precept.

As far as continuation of the species goes, Adam and Steve can indeed have progeny, either through adoption or with the assistance of a surrogate mother.  Lesbians, of course, can become mothers themselves, and many do.

BIBLIOGRAPHY.  Matt Ridley, The Red Queen: Sex and the Evolution of Human Nature, New York: Harper Perennial, 2003; Joseph Blenkinsopp, Creation, Un-creation, Recreation: A Discursive Commentary on Genesis 1-11, New York: Continuum, 2011.


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