>The debate on Monday night was a blessing in a lot of ways for me. Chiefly, it was incredibly for me to see the love and support of my church family and to feel their prayers. I couldn’t have done this without the help Matt and Doug and Bob and Scott and David and Tim and my dad as well as those encouraging me and praying for me.
I spent most of Monday night rehashing the debate in my mind – what I wish I had said, what I wish I hadn’t said, etc. One point I wanted to clarify because I made a mistake that really misrepresents who God is and has practical implications also (I expect this to be the only post-debate clarification. I could spend months restating and clarifying, but this is the only blunder I feel I really need to clarify).
Me: “God designed us male and female for the purpose of highlighting the Trinity, the difference that exists in unity. So male and female coming together as husband and wife highlights that in a way that homosexual union does not.”
Dan Barker: “God is male and Jesus is male. What is the Holy Spirit?”
Me: “He is also I believe male”
From there is was me stammering for a little while. I was lost, not sure how clear that was to everyone, but it was to me. Why? Because I admitted to something I should never have admitted to. I think I even surprised Dan Barker with this admission! Oops. We do speak of the Spirit in masculine pronouns and that’s what I was thinking when I answered. However, I don’t think you can say God is male or the Holy Spirit is male. You obviously must say Jesus was male, but I don’t think ‘maleness’ applies to the eternal, pre-incarnate Son. Speaking of God in male pronouns is a form of anthropomorphism – attributing to God human characteristics – like having hands, etc. There are good reasons we refer to God using male pronouns and predominately male titles, but that’s a different post for a a different time (I think I’ve posted on it before, actually, in response to ‘gender neutral’ bible translations).
Despite that, I think it is important to not that God is not completely or even adequately pictured solely in male terms. Hence, Genesis 1:27 says, “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” I believe there is something about male and female together that more adequately conveys the image than does maleness or femaleness in isolation. It follows, from that then, the heterosexual marriage communicates something that a homosexual union does not. That is how I should’ve responded. Do I understand all the in’s and out’s of how heterosexual marriage more adequately reflects the Trinity? Of course not. Should that surprise us – that we don’t understand all the inner workings and mystery of the Trinity? We do take some things simply at God’s word without fully comprehending them. But I believe that Scripture is clear, both in the NT and the Old that God has designed marriage to reflect his nature and his relationship with his people. I have an understanding of how that works and look forward to when I understand more fully!