The God of Implications
Implications can jump up and sting you. You think you’re saying something insightful or admirable, and then reason spoils things. You start to trace out the logic of your claim, and things get awkward. Philosophers call this a “reduction to absurdity.” By posing conditional “what if?” questions, they often show that one’s declarations don’t travel well. For instance, if I announce grandly that there is no right or wrong, then my statement implies that it would be morally acceptable for you to murder me. But that’s crazy.
The Bible is well aware of implications, and uses them. Consider Paul’s statement in 1 Corinthians 15:14, that “if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain.” If the Lord is still in the tomb, forget it; you have no hope and no gospel to preach.
Which brings us to the current confusion over gay marriage. Some tender people are being led astray by some not-so-tender people trying to normalize the abnormal. The amiable soul reasons, “Why should I object when they act on their sexual orientation and make solemn pledges to their partners? That’s what I did with my spouse. And, besides, they’re not hurting anybody by their union. Just two sweethearts in love and marriage.”
But what’s the principle at work here? Is it that consenting adults should be allowed to do what they want to do sexually, so long as there is no immediately and directly assignable harm to others? This sounds sort of nice, but how about those pesky implications? Wouldn’t this make way for incest, if the brother and sister, father and daughter, or other pair of relatives are of age and desire it? And what about polygamy, when the man and his many wives say they’re happy with the arrangement?
It’s always interesting to see how the gay-marriage advocates protest when these implications are brought to their attention: “How dare you compare this to that!” (Politicians do much the same thing when pressed for the implications of their pronouncements, saying, “I don’t deal in hypotheticals.”) Both are admitting tacitly that it’s politically perilous to follow the logic.
Speaking of the desires of consenting adults, there’s the case of Germany’s Armin Meiwes, who, in 2001, enlisted Jürgen Brandes through the Internet to submit to being killed and eaten. And how did that hurt us? And who are we to interfere with the predilections of consenting adults? Then there’s the poor fellow who finds an animal friend for mutually-satisfying sex and companionship in the privacy of his home. Why prohibit that? “After all, it’s just harmless gratification, and we’re for as much of this as possible. No room for suppression, repression, or oppression in affairs of the heart and loins. Right?”
Well, in fact, societies do make such judgments. Meiwes, the “Rotenburg Cannibal,” is serving a life term in prison. Polygamy is illegal in countries as varied as the United States, Thailand, and Tunisia. Incest is widely forbidden in North America and Europe. So am I implying that homosexual behavior should be illegal along with these practices, or should it be allowed along with heterosexual promiscuity? Well, throughout history and much of the world today, “sodomy” has indeed been forbidden, but there are limits to how authoritative and intrusive government can and should be. It certainly makes for an interesting discussion, but regarding homosexuality, that issue is now moot in the West.
The real question is whether homosexuality should be endorsed by the state, since homosexuals now insist on more than the freedom to do their erotic deeds; they demand that we treat these deeds as normal, under penalty of prosecution or ostracism for “homophobic hate speech,” and with accommodation of their every whim (including marriage and raising children), backed by the “full faith and credit of the government.”
Gays may not want to think about the broader implications of what they’re demanding, and soft-hearted people may not care to do so either, but the practitioners of other perversions are watching with barely suppressed excitement. They know where this can lead. And they care not one whit for the integrity of the most fundamental and essential institution in civilization, traditional marriage.
Of course, God knows all the dreadful implications of what is being touted as fresh wisdom today. And we are fools if we don’t heed His Word and the testimony of His creation order.