Re: Social Problems--Part A

Russell Maatman (
Sat, 14 Feb 1998 21:53:24 -0600

Tom Pearson wrote on Saturday, February 14, 1998 12:26 PM

> Folks,
> I have no special insights into homosexuality, but I do teach logic, so.
> At 10:26 AM 2/14/98 -0600, Russell Maatman wrote:
> >Briefly: In Genesis marriage is defined as the union of one man and one
> >woman. In several places in the Bible, the church is described as the
> >of Christ. In Ephesians, Paul teaches that human marriage is to be
> >after the church's relation to Christ. So God's plan of redemption
> >is linked to the nature of marriage.
> The conclusion here does not follow from the premises. One might be able
> say that, "The description of the church's identity itself is linked to
> *metaphor* of marriage," since that's what your biblical examples
> illustrate. The relationship between Christ and the church is
> expressed by reference to marriage. Paul elsewhere compares the church
> the physical body (I Cor. 12), but it would hardly follow that God's plan
> salvation is linked to the nature of physical bodies. There's nothing in
> what you've cited here that justifies any conclusion about "God's plan of
> salvation" or "the nature of marriage." It's a non sequitur.

I think you are saying that the fault in my reasoning is that the man-woman
relation in marriage is only a metaphor of Christ's relation to his church.
I find it difficult to maintain that position in view of Matthew 9:15;
Paul's use of Genesis 2:24 in Ephesians 5; Paul's other statements in
Ephesians 5, especially verses 25 and 32; Revelations 21:2-3; and places
where God refers to himself as Israel's husband. Perhaps our discussion
hangs on the meanings each of us gives to "metaphor." What I see in these
passages is--at the very least--a description of the love, care, and
faithfulness that a man has for a woman is--again, at the very least--also
a description of what Christ does for his church. Paul is bold to make the
comparison, but also says in Ephesians 5 that the relation is a mystery.
The sexual union in marriage is, of course, like nothing else in human
experience. It is this unique relation that Paul likens to the
Christ-church relation. As far as I know, the unique relation that Christ
has for his church is nowehre in Scripture compared to any other relation,
such as other kinds of human affections, and certainly not to a homosexual

Concerning the biblical use of metaphor: I wonder if the "body" of I
Corinthians 12 represents a _relation_ between Christ and his church. Isn't
Paul saying here that in any organization, certainly the body of believers
who constitute the church, the parts must fit together? Wouldn't Paul have
said to the Tarsus Tentmakers Association that the officers were to lead,
each with his own task, and the others were to follow?

> That being said, I also want to indicate my appreciation for the time and
> effort you took to post your thoughtful observations to the list.

Thank you, Tom. Perhaps we can continue this discussion.


P.S. I'd also like to hear what you think of the other parts of the

Russell Maatman
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