One Nation Under (the wrath of) God
Have we slipped over the edge and fallen into the Abyss? Did we cross a line that should never be crossed? Is enough … enough? Did we tip the scales? Have we passed the point of no return? Have we gone too far? These are idiomatic expressions in the form of questions that demand a response to the dismal decision rendered by the United States Supreme Court to approve same-sex marriage. When, in fact, the very concept and institution of marriage bears a built-in natural and supernatural definition that needs no prefix or any other modifier or reason to define or otherwise explain it.
Marriage is between a man and a woman … period. Same-sex matrimony is not marriage … period. There is no such thing as same-sex marriage. In reality there’s also no such thing as “traditional” marriage. Is the institution of marriage a (long-standing) tradition? Of course it is: the most enduring custom of the human race. So much so, that we should never need to refer to it as traditional marriage. We do so only in rebuttal to those who claim that there is an alternative to conventional (conservative, orthodox, straight) marriage.
God created man, then he created woman from man to be with the man. When Adam saw Eve he said, “At last! … This one is bone from my bone, and flesh from my flesh! She will be called ‘woman,’ because she was taken from ‘man.’ This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one” (Genesis 2:23-24).
No other explanation is needed. It’s totally understood and accepted that the uniting of a man and woman constitutes marriage itself … a union between man and woman. Any other relationship, other than between a man and a woman, is not a marital union. Rather it is an unnatural, abnormal, and ungodly (a deliberate distortion of and deplorable deviation from God’s original creation); therefore, a perversion of God’s prototype and purpose for the human race.
To pervert (verb) is defined by Webster’s dictionary: “…to overturn, corrupt … to cause to turn aside or away from what is good or true or morally right … to divert to a wrong end or purpose. Misuse: to twist the meaning or sense of…”
There are some timeless precepts that simply cannot be changed or discarded. There are polar opposites that do not mix … light and darkness, right and wrong. Yet Scripture tells us that one day good would be called evil, and evil would be seen as good. Well folks, that day has come. If we can redefine marriage, we can reconfigure the intrinsic meaning of any clear self-defining concept that doesn’t fit with our belief system or lifestyle. We can change the meaning of terrorism, greed, adultery, lust (and love), truth, polygamy, bigamy, incest. We can even redefine God, by making him in our image … whatever we want him to be. Actually, we’ve already done that; which is why we think that we can reconstruct marriage.
“What sorrow for those who say that evil is good and good is evil, that dark is light and light is dark, that bitter is sweet and sweet is bitter. What sorrow for those who are wise in their own eyes and think themselves so clever” (Isaiah 5:20-21).
We think that by reinterpreting or changing or nullifying laws we can place a legal stamp of approval on our own concept of morality (what is true and right) and alternate lifestyle choices. We deceive ourselves into thinking that the highest court in our land has the ultimate right to tell God that he is outdated, that his Word and Laws are no longer relevant. We appeal to the highest court of our country to endorse all those, including our leaders (President, legislators, judges, officials) who, “…plot together against the Lord and against his anointed one” (Psalms 2:2). We say with them, “Let us break their chains … and free ourselves from slavery to God” (Verse 3).
We refuse to accept God’s truth that acknowledging, seeking, and following him is the path to true liberty … freedom from sin that is the cause of all of society’s woes.
Response of Two Supreme Court Justices to a Stunning but Ominous Decision
In a 5-4 vote, the Supreme Court decided that the very form and substance of God’s ordained institution of marriage is no longer valid, no longer appropriate or relevant to our post-modern society of relativistic morals and truth. (What’s true and morally right is determined by the individual; moreover, what’s true for one may not be true for another … there is no longer any such thing as absolute truth).
But something startling happened after this historical decision. Two of the dissenting judges made some astonishing post-decision comments, the essence of which I don’t ever recall reading or hearing a Supreme Court Justice(s) make after a vote.
Said dissenting Justice Antonin Scalia: “To allow the policy question of same-sex marriage to be considered and resolved by a select, patrician, highly unrepresentative panel of nine is to violate a principle even more fundamental than no taxation without representation … no social transformation without representation.” In other words, we have a Justice who adamantly believed that this issue should never have been decided by the Supreme Court.
Listen to an even more penetrating observation from Chief Justice John Roberts immediately following the Higher Court’s landmark decision on June 26th, 2015. In my opinion he answers the questions posed at the beginning of this article, i.e. have we gone too far?
Said Justice Roberts: “The court invalidates the marriage laws of more than half the states and orders the transformation of a social institution that has formed the basis of human society for millennia…” Then he dramatically dropped a bombshell in the form of a rhetorical question: “Just who do we think we are?” Once again: This shocking indictment came from the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.
Exactly! Who do they think they are? But at least the Chief Justice was bold and honest enough to acknowledge (challenge) that even the Supreme Court didn’t possess the legal or moral right to decide such an issue. But it’s a question that is pertinent far beyond the Supreme Court of the United States. We all must ask the same question. Who do we think we are? What right do we have to change not just a family and societal institution that has existed from the beginning of the human race, but a moral, spiritual, and physical precept and standard that was created by God, himself? One man, one woman … united in God-given pleasure to express and share the love they have for one another; and, in doing so, to continue the human race.
Ah, but isn’t the whole rationale for same-sex marriage based on love? Why can’t two people of the same-sex be given the same rights of marriage as heterosexual couples are afforded, as long as they love each other? This question will be addressed later in this article; insightful I trust, but only in summary fashion, as it is a subject that would require two or more articles.
It’s fundamentally clear that Justice Roberts and Justice Scalia firmly believe that the US Supreme Court didn’t have the right to vote on, much less overrule the inherent legal and moral premise of marriage itself. Once again: marriage is one of those rare concepts that defines itself. Much like truth is defined in the Bible as God’s truth; which is truth itself. Any man-made deviation from or distortion of that truth is a deceitful lie. There are physical laws and spiritual laws established by the Lord. Marriage is a fixed model that is a law unto itself; it was so from the beginning. Nor more or less than the law of gravity, it doesn’t need to be, nor should it ever be altered.
Webster’s Dictionary defines institution as: “something that serves to instruct (serves as an example or model of).” Also, “a significant practice, relationship, or organization in a society or culture.” It even cities marriage as an example of an institution!
Not that we need Webster’s definition of institution to prove that God established marriage exclusively between a man and a woman. It was absolutely a foregone conclusion that intimate relationships involving sex and (obviously) procreation was to be between a man and woman in and through the institution of marriage.
Justices Roberts and Scalia stated and implied that any such decision or legal interpretation (which should never be needed in the first place) of what constitutes marriage or who may be legally married should be a matter of state rights. There must be representation of the people in such decisions. In that context, it’s all too clear in the last forty years or so that the Supreme Court has (in my opinion and the opinion of many others) far exceeded the intended authority prescribed for them when our Constitution was put into place and the three branches of government were established, Executive, Legislative, Judicial.
I realize that even the Supreme Court struggles with the kind of cases that it reviews or doesn’t review, or just how it’s supposed to function as a judicial check and balance between the President and Congress. However, if the very members of this highest court of appeals—particularly the Chief Justice—tell the citizens of this country that the Supreme Court has overstepped its bounds, it doesn’t take an expert in jurisprudence to confirm what some of us have thought for many years … that they, in fact, have gone too far. Consequently, they have created an imbalance of power that, for all practical purposes, gives the Supreme Court final (God-like) authority over both legal and moral issues in this country.
Actually, I believe this imbalance began with the monumental Roe vs Wade decision of 1973. That’s another article for another day, except to say that murder of a human being is forbidden by God as first written in Scripture. This country and every country on earth has made this a legal law, violation of which requires punishment. But not the Supreme Court, not when it comes to the licensed killing of babies. What’s the difference? Sorry, but no argument on earth can convince me and many others that an unborn child in its mother’s womb is not a human being. I’d like to see a Supreme Court Justice argue that point with God. Furthermore, my belief is based on Scripture, which makes it much more than just an opinion (see Psalm 139).
Back to the gay marriage decision. It was a 5-4 vote. Think about it: Based on ONE (more) vote, the very institution of marriage has been altered for a country of over 300 million people! The moral compass and very destiny of this nation could hinge on this one vote. I’m sorry, but there is something wrong, so very wrong with this kind of justice. That’s not just my opinion; that’s the opinion of Chief Justice John Roberts, himself … as well as three other members of the Court. I’m certainly not suggesting that we abolish the Supreme Court. But it does need some major renovation to return it to the original model established by our Constitution.
For example, couldn’t the Supreme Court establish the following criteria when the case clearly involves a significant moral question or law: Just like a twelve person jury must be unanimous in their verdict of guilty, so, too, should the Supreme Court’s ruling on certain issues be unanimous … all nine must agree.
I fully realize and understand that homosexuality has been around for a very long time. But so have all the other transgressions against God’s laws and standards, i.e. adultery, stealing, murder, lying. We all do wrong things and all too frequently. Obviously, even Christians sin. For that reason, we don’t or shouldn’t judge the sinner, only the sin. God can separate the two and so should we as believers. God is Love, but God is also holy. He hates the sin, but loves the sinner. He loves the sinner (all of us) so much that he gave us a whole laundry list of offenses that he knows will bring us nothing but harm and destruction. But he has done so much more than that. Because of his great love, he provided a magnificent remedy for sin and the penalty of sin, which is Christ’s death on the Cross. God’s instructions for right living is for our own good, but most people just don’t see that. Actually, they don’t want to see it.
Concerning the subject at hand, here is what God says about it:
“Yes, they knew God, but they wouldn’t worship him as God or even give him thanks. And they began to think up foolish ideas of what God was like. As a result, their minds became dark and confused. Claiming to be wise, they instead became utter fools … So God abandoned them to do whatever shameful things their hearts desired. As a result, they did vile and degrading things with each other’s bodies. They traded the truth about God for a lie. So they worshipped and served the things God created instead of the Creator himself, who is worthy of eternal praise! Amen. That is why God abandoned them to their shameful desires. Even the women turned against the natural way to have sex and instead indulged in sex with each other. And the men, instead of having normal sexual relations with women, burned with lust for each other. Men did shameful things with other men, and as a result of this sin, they suffered within themselves the penalty they deserved” (Romans 1:21-27).
Later in this passage, the Apostle Paul includes examples of other gross conduct of those who refused to acknowledge God, with a cutting accusation: “They know God’s justice requires that those who do these things deserve to die, yet they do them anyway. Worse yet, they encourage others to do them, too” (Romans 1:32).
As for me, I can’t see the Supreme Court’s revision of the institution of marriage—exclusively between a man and woman—as anything but an “encouragement” to exchange the truth about God for a lie.
In Paul’s letter to the Romans, we see that homosexuality was every bit as much of a problem then as it is now. But the Roman Empire didn’t approve or enact same-sex marriage laws. Even the pleasure-seeking Romans would have considered such a legalization as having crossed the line of society’s moral boundaries.
Scripture is clear that God has authorized city, state, and national leaders to enforce laws of the land and impose punishment on those who break the law. Otherwise there would be anarchy and chaos. Society deals with these offenses on a human and temporary basis … in this lifetime. Other sins against God and people that may not technically violate a statutory law will still be dealt with by God now and/or in eternity; and is a matter between the individual and God. As long as governmental leaders (executives, legislators, and judges) realize and accept this Biblical standard, God will continue to relate to society on mostly an individual basis.
But here’s the thing: When people permit and even promote defiance of God’s laws on a sweeping, broad-based, and national basis, then God will deal with the entire nation. This is a fundamental principle of Scripture seen time and time again with Israel and Gentile nations. Often, we read that God’s short-term and then long-term judgments will fall more harshly on a people when the leaders flaunt sin and evil by making it even more socially acceptable, through executive laws or judicial decisions that clearly conflict with the spiritual, moral, and physical standards established by Almighty God.
Recently, I decided to watch a video of a so-called gay-pride parade that was endorsed by a leading business in this country. It was sent as an email attachment by a Christian organization who was warning believers that this prominent retail business had sponsored the parade, along with many other aspects of the gay agenda. I think the parade was held in New York City, but I don’t recall for sure. I managed to get through about 45 seconds of the video (parade), at which time I had to turn it off. I don’t consider myself prudish in any way, shape, or form. But what I was watching was flat-out disgusting. About the only thing being paraded were nearly naked men gyrating on several floats, with a clear inference that it wasn’t love that motivated their gay agenda; it was arrogant pride and lust. Moreover, there were children watching this parade.
That’s the graphic nature of what Paul is saying in the book of Romans. God’s tells it like it is. He gets to the core of the matter. Paul was alluding to Sodom and Gomorrah stuff. The depravity of what was taking place in these cities is explicitly depicted in the scene where men from all over Sodom attempted to rape the two angels who were sent to rescue Lot and his family prior to utter destruction of these wicked people. It’s obvious that city officials completely condoned this depraved behavior, as there were no restraints of any kind to prevent such a thing from happening. They didn’t love or respect the guests in Lot’s house, they lusted after them.
Having said that, I say again: God’s judgment belongs to God alone. Ultimately God will deal with each person on earth based on whether they accepted Jesus Christ as God’s perfect sacrifice for their sin(s). That if we believe and receive Christ as personal Savior, we will be saved from God’s wrath and from an eternity in hell.
But if the leaders of an entire nation sanction (parades) a lifestyle that is unquestionably an aberration of God’s institutional law of marriage and an abomination in God’s eyes (Leviticus 18:22); and does so in the form of a final decision by our nation’s Supreme Court, then God will deal with this on a national basis. Legally, the Supreme Court is the highest court of appeals. Morally, however, there is a much higher court: the throne of the Most High God.
More Implications of the Supreme Court’s Decision
Let’s examine again Chief Justice John Robert’s scathing response that the Supreme Court had the audacity to “order the transformation of a social institution that has formed the basis of human society for millennia…” In that statement, he accurately reflected God’s priority design for God-ordained institutions of the human race. In the following order of rank and importance: Family; then communities that make up society; then nations to provide boundaries and sovereign unity for its people. And finally governments, both local and national (and in the unique paradigm of America, states within a nation) to serve and protect its citizens at various levels. But it all starts with the family. And the family begins with a union of one man and one woman in holy matrimony!
The implication of Justice Roberts and Justice Scalia’s statements are profound. Both of them strongly suggest that the Supreme Court has too much power; that this kind of power was not intended by our founding fathers. Chief Justice Roberts carried it one step further. The Supreme Court had absolutely no right to “invalidate” the universal institution of marriage that has been in place the world over from time immemorial.
The Supreme Court’s decision has potentially staggering repercussions. If they can decide that marriage should also include same-sex couples, then what’s to prevent them from endorsing incestuous marriages? Or polygamy? Or bigamy? As long as, for example, a sister and brother (or even first cousins) love each other, why can’t they get married? If a man loves five women and they all love him, why shouldn’t they be able to get a marriage license. They are absolutely, beyond any doubt, the same thing as gay marriage. None of them fit the God ordained purpose and parameters of marriage. All of them claim the same rights based on love; that is, their version and definition of love.
Truth and Love
“Pilate said, ‘So you are a king?’ Jesus responded, ‘You say I am a king. Actually, I was born and came into the world to testify to the truth. All who love the truth recognize that what I say is true.’ ‘What is truth?’ Pilate asked…” (John 18:37-38).
We see two things happening in this crucifixion passage: (1) Jesus explaining his mission on coming to this earth … to testify of the truth. Earlier in his ministry he had said that he, himself, was The Way, the Truth, and the Life (John 14:6). He also said the truth would set us free, meaning himself. God’s truth for mankind is that his Son is the only Way to God, his son is Truth itself, and his Son is Life (salvation that comes from God’s great love for the human race which leads to eternal life, John 3:16). (2) Pilate diverted and deflected Messiah’s declaration and explanation of truth by facetiously asking, “What is truth?” With his clear inference that truth is relative to anything and everything; what is true for one isn’t true for another.
Many people (particularly unbelievers and especially those who practice or promote homosexual behavior and/or assert equal rights to a marriage license) claim that love trumps everything else, including truth. Of course it would, because there is no longer any such thing as absolute truth, i.e. given to us by God, himself as found in Scripture, the very Word of God. They refuse to consider real truth; accordingly, they really don’t understand what love is.
First comes truth, then comes love. Scripture tells us in no uncertain terms that it is the Truth that sets us free, not love. Without universal divine truth as found in Scripture, we simply cannot and do not understand what love is. We confuse it and substitute it with passion or at the very most, a deep brotherly type affection that is good among people, but apparently not enough to overcome the racial, political, cultural, and religious differences among people, including men and woman.
In fact, marriage is the least likely relationship in which the basic motivation and subsequent words of, “I love you,” or “I promise to love, cherish….” will stand the test of time. The 50% plus divorce rate should tell us that much. We are much more likely to say and mean those same words to a brother, sister, child, parent, or friend forty years from now than a spouse.
Institutions are characterized by and predicated on relationships.
The fundamental components of any relationship are love, honor, and respect; but here we must defer to Scripture’s definition of love and how that love determines the boundaries of relationships, particularly marriage.
In the English language the word love is used for just about anything and everything that we cherish, adore, admire, esteem, or really like. For example a woman can say, “I love my husband.” Or, “I love my brother.” Or, I love Sandra, my friend.” Or, “I love chocolate ice cream.” We pretty much understand the difference in the degree of love she has for each of these. Obviously, she doesn’t love chocolate ice cream in the same way she loves her husband, or even her brother. At least we hope that she doesn’t! It’s also clearly understood that the woman’s love for her brother or female friend should not—by God’s laws and the common sense moral laws of the human race—be expressed sexually, to any extent, in any manner, for any reason … and certainly not marriage. That is exactly what the Word of God is telling us.
The original text of the New Testament is from the Greek language. There are three basic Greek words for love that more accurately and definitively convey the different levels of love … how and when they are expressed in the dynamics of human relationships.
- Agape: This word is used to define and express unconditional love of the highest order. This is the Divine standard and example for ultimate display of love, through the heart and spirit of one person to another or for God, himself. It is the love that God has for every man, woman, and child. He demonstrated this great love by giving his only Son as a sacrificial redemption for our sins and the penalty of those sins. This grace-filled love is greater than any sin ever committed. All three kinds of love are expressed in action, but none more so than this one.
- Phileo: To like, to treat with affection, to appreciate, to befriend, i.e. kindness, fondness. It is what we call brotherly love, for one’s brother or sister or friend.
- Eros: Physical passion … sex. Speaks for itself. According to God and his Word, the only setting (institution if you will) where all three types of love can and should be expressed is through marriage; which by divine, but also innate, definition is between a man and a woman. Whether Agape or Phileo, a man can love another man, a daughter her father, a mother her son, a woman another woman. But this love is never to be conveyed through physical intimacy, i.e. sex. Even the God-given pleasure of sex between and man and a woman is to be through marriage. And only between a man and woman.
Thus, to deny marriage rights to same-sex couples is NOT discrimination. Because there is no such right to begin with. Instead, it’s just the opposite. Whether from a spiritual, moral, and/or physical vantage point, same-sex intimacy and marriage are flat-out wrong. It’s non-spiritual, immoral, and unnatural. Furthermore, deep in our conscience, soul, and heart, we know that.
Things to Ponder
Like never before, the United States of America has defied God himself, by effectively saying that the Word of God is a lie. That has become the real battleground in this country … the absolute, timeless truth of God against the relativism of truth and morality in our post-modern culture.
“…For they have rejected the law of the Lord of hosts and despised the word of the Holy One of Israel” (Isaiah 5:24, NASB).
Will this be One Nation under God? Or will our country be One Nation under the Wrath of God?
The choice belongs to us.
And we believers should be reminded of our past, of what Christ has done for us:
“Once we, too, were foolish and disobedient. We were misled and became slaves to many lusts and pleasures. Our lives were full of evil and envy, and we hated each other. But—‘When God our Savior revealed his kindness and love, he saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He washed away our sins, giving us a new birth and new life through the Holy Spirit … Because of his grace he declared us righteous and gave us confidence that we will inherit eternal life’” (Titus 3:3-7).