My wife and I were married in 1999. We spent part of our honeymoon in Belize, the tropical central American nation that boasts world-class scuba diving, dense rain forests, and breath-taking beaches. One day we took a shore excursion along the coast. We were awe-struck by the huge, white-pillared homes that lined the gulf overlooking the ocean. Dozens of mansions stood out, owned by oil tycoons and business executives and movie stars. Then a funny thing happened.
We noticed that the shoreline was still dotted with big houses, but at a point, they all looked abandoned. Crumbling and uninhabited, some had fallen in upon themselves. Others were choked by vines and weeds, the kinds that grow where there's no traffic or people. It was a curious sight to see so many former million-dollar homes sitting empty, rotting away, perched on the planet's most gorgeous beaches.
We asked our guide the obvious question. What happened? His reply was to the point. The wealthy homeowners, in a rush to grab the best lots for their mansions, failed to dig their foundations deep enough. The homes were built quickly, but they lacked the strong foundations to support their weight. As the sands shifted with the tides, the homes started crumbling, falling, imploding. People abandoned them and the properties became worthless.
This true story serves as a parable to America regarding the idea, the institution, and the tradition of marriage. In our rush as a nation to embrace the fads of tolerance and open-mindedness, we are attempting to build something substantial on quicksand. In constructing new definitions of marriage, we are de-constructing the very foundation that culture is naturally built upon. The question then becomes, what will become of us when we have nowhere solid to place our feet and build a future?
This is so much more than a debate about gay marriage. This is a fundamental question about what it means to relate to one another, the nature of our bodies, our species, our ability to pro-create and repopulate the planet, and ultimately our design that was given to us by the Designer.
As a Christian, I read scripture and see that there was a Divine intent when God created male, then female, for one another. The very beginning of recorded human history includes two distinct genders, given an attraction for one another, anatomies suitable for sexual intimacy and reproduction, and a command from God to be fruitful, multiply, and subdue the earth.
As if that was not enough (for anyone who claims that was the OT and Jesus Himself never dared wade into the murky waters of marriage) - Christ Himself explicitly affirms God's created order of husband and wife, male and female, in monogamous marriage covenant when he refers to, and even quotes the Genesis account in Matthew 19. He says, "For this reason, a man will leave his mother and father, and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. So what God has joined together, let no one separate."
"For this reason..." is a clear, direct and unmistakeable reference to the marriage relationship. "Male and female..." is His clear affirmation of what humans have intuitively known for millennia, that it takes a man and a woman to form a true marriage. Jesus even goes so far as to claim that God thought up the concept of male and female marriage and therefore no one should attempt to separate it. Or re-define it.
As Christians, we should never demean, assault, or hurt those with different convictions than ours. As Americans, we affirm that our democracy must remain a fair and just society for all law-abiding citizens. Yet we also know that certain things are morally and ethically beyond momentary cultural whims and fads. Exploiting the poor is always wrong. Slavery is always deplorable. And marriage has always been the foundation, the pillar, for any culture to thrive and any society to survive. What happens when something much bigger than a house is built on a new idea that has never been tried? What happens when an entire culture strikes out on an untried experiment that, if it fails, has real consequences for generations to come? If the foundation is removed, the structure will collapse.
The point of an open mind is not for the mind to remain open forever. The point is to eventually close that open mind on the truth. God established marriage as a symbol of the union of Christ and the church. He is glorified when we obey His gracious command to be married and be fruitful. When we think we can build anything sustainable without a deep foundation, we will soon be running for our lives before the structure implodes on top of us.