I was reflecting on Jesus’ words regarding divorce the other day. Jesus was asked point blank how he felt about it. His answer draws on the ideal situation presented in Genesis 2. It is God who has pronounced that a man and a woman become one flesh when joined together, therefore we shouldn’t rush to undo that. Nevertheless, Jesus is quick to point out that humanity doesn’t always function according to the ideal, so God shows that the divine meets us where we are and grants that the ideal is not always possible where humanity is involved. So God allows divorce.
A thematically similar thing happens in the Hebrew scriptures. The patriarchs all had more than one wife. Or concubines. Or slaves with which they acted married. None of them even came close to Genesis 2 ideals.
Then there is King David. Validated as a man after God’s own heart, even though he was an adulterer, a bigamist, and had a ton of concubines. Far far away from the Genesis 2 sexual-relational ideal.
Now to switch gears a bit. There is a Hebrew concept of Torah interpretation called “binding and loosing”. This is the process by which Rabbis interpret certain laws to be more important than others and give instruction on whether to keep them or break them in certain circumstances. Jesus does this, for example, when he teaches that it is lawful to heal or rescue a donkey on the Sabbath.
Therefore when Jesus tells his followers that whatever we bind on earth will be bound in heaven and whatever we loose on earth will be loosed in heaven, he is giving us permission to make interpretive judgements about scripture, and that God, at least on some level, will honor those calls.
Given these things, I believe it is appropriate to reconsider our stances on homosexuality. Nowhere in scripture does God advocate doing away with the Genesis 2 ideal of marriage because of the hardness of the human heart. But what is validated is making a person’s sexuality a non-issue as we strive towards God together. God honored the binding and loosing of marriage and divorce, sexuality and multiple partners. I advocate that we honor the sexual-relational ideal of Genesis 2, but for our time, allow a person’s sexuality to be a non-issue while we get on with the business of weightier matters, much in the same way God did with David, the Patriarchs, and those who divorce. A sort of “doing good on the sabbath”. Loving others and treating them with respect is weightier than a sexual purity law, at least according to every example in the Bible. Except Ezra. But he was a jerk.