Several years ago, I engaged in online discussion with a blogger who had written a post supporting what the author called “marriage equality.” His post asserted that marriage is a basic human right and that for gays to be married is no more than proper since they are human. His argument assumed that human beings had already redefined marriage to mean the union of people who want to be united in marriage. If that were the definition of marriage then it might conceivably be argued that to forbid gays or any other pairings or groupings from being married is completely unjust. Unfortunately for the blogger, that redefinition has not occurred.
The thesis of my argument was that the word marriage has been defined in human culture, not to mention biblical teaching, for as long as humans have existed. The first human beings knew that marriage is the union of a man and a woman. The Bible reveals that God intended that definition, and it is validated throughout human history and throughout the Bible. The notion that suddenly it means something else is incomprehensible. Human beings have not changed. The needs of human beings have not changed. The behavior of human beings, good or bad, has not changed. The Bible has not changed.
The only thing that has changed is that more people do not believe that God exists or they reject God’s right to impose judgment on their behavior.
This attitude is expressed in various ways, but when I disputed the notion that the definition of marriage had actually changed, the blogger fired what he considered to be his most forceful weapon against me. He declared, “You are on the wrong side of history.”
I read a post just today in which the same argument is continuing on a variety of fronts in the Catholic Church. Breitbart reported an interview with a Catholic Cardinal in which the Cardinal was asked questions about marriage and other issues faced by the church. Cardinal Burke said there are people within the Catholic Church and people outside of it who allege that “because the culture has changed ‘so radically,’ the Church ‘cannot teach as we had in the past.’” Cultural change is part of what secular thinkers regard as the progressive evolution of human beings into better and better beings. The Cardinal’s answer to this allegation is that the Church’s mission is to bring to the culture “that which will save it and be full of hope.” He continued to explain that the Church finds that saving hope in the Bible. My answer to the blogger was, “I don’t go to history to find a basis for morality. I go to the Bible.”
It is not popular to consider the Bible to be the guide for human faith and life, but that does not change its truth as God’s revelation of himself any more than the passage of a thousand years changes the nature of electricity. God’s truth is truth at all times and in all places, just as the behavior of electrons in an electric current is the same at all times and in all places. It is quite thought provoking to consider that secular thinkers allege to believe in science, which regularly demonstrates that nothing about human beings has actually changed over the eons of human existence, yet they persist in believing that the basic morality that makes humans different from animals is in rapid flux now that we know more science.
Some things do not change. God does not change. God’s authority does not change. God’s guidance for the blessing and happiness of human life does not change. The culture constantly changes. Ask any woman who tries wearing last year’s featured shade of lipstick. The fundamental truths that make life worth living do not change, because they are rooted in the eternal, unchanging God whose unchanging truth is revealed for all people in the Bible. That is what will save the culture and bring it hope.