In the current debate, the issue lies with the definition of marriage. However, in some respects, seeking to define marriage puts the cart before the horse.
In any discussion of marriage, I believe the starting place must be an understanding of what marriage is. If we do not understand what marriage is, how can we have any hope of defining it? Definition can only truly be attempted where there is understanding. With that in mind, we will attempt to briefly understand what marriage is.
Here we have to pause for a moment. In order to fully understand the explanation I am about to put forward, you need to know the worldview from which I am presenting it.
I am a pastor who believes in the complete authority and reliability of God's Word, the Bible. I believe that within the pages of this ancient yet culturally and socially relevant book, we find the answers to all of life's questions. Holding that belief, let's take our earlier question and put it to the biblical test.
In seeking to know what marriage is, we must know its origin. Genesis, the first book of the Bible, records for us God's creation of all things. This creation included man and woman. With the creation of man and woman, God created the first marriage. As the creator, designer and source of marriage, I believe that God has the responsibility and privilege of defining what marriage is. He does so very clearly.
Genesis 2:21-24 says, "And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place. Then the rib which the Lord God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man.
"And Adam said: 'This (is) now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called woman because she was taken out of man.' Therefore, a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh."
These verses not only deal with origin, but definition as well. Marriage is a one-flesh experience. This idea encompasses physical, emotional, spiritual and psychological unity. Man and woman alone complement one another in all of these areas. Nowhere in the Bible is this description of marriage contradicted.
When the Apostle Paul gives directions about marriage in 1 Corinthians 7 and Ephesians 5, he still speaks of a man and woman. More importantly, Jesus Himself supports this definition in Mark 10:6-9.
We see then that God, the creator of marriage, defines it as being between one man and one woman. This has been the normal social and cultural belief ever since. Marriage, then, belongs to God and is defined by Him. Since marriage is not a man-made institution, it is therefore not ours to define. God says marriage is one man and one woman. That settles it for me.