A visitor to my blog recently posted a comment in response to a post on gay marriage. He argued for gay marriage using this quite simple line of reasoning: As a Christian, I am married to Jesus. Jesus is a man and I am a man. That is same-sex marriage. Thus, marriage between men is okay.
I am not making that up.
I was tempted to just let this one go. The gap in this logic seems pretty obvious. But I think there may be an opportunity here to clarify the deeper principle at the root of marriage as a creational covenant manifesting the eternal image of God in a temporal relationship. So, here is my reply to him, copied from the comments section below the post “Missing the Point: Fussing About Gay Marriage”:
Jesus is married to a woman, the church. It is a matter of corporate identity. I am not married to Jesus as an individual, but as a covenant member of the body of Christ. My baptism was my covenantal incorporation into the church, the bride. The bride, the Lamb’s wife, is the city, the New Jerusalem, the church.
In Christ, there is no longer “male or female, slave or free, Greek or barbarian, Jew or Gentile,” but all of that is a matter of corporate salvation in the New Covenant, not personal identity. Our standing before God in Christ is equal, but our roles are still diverse, and our maleness and femaleness continue to manifest distinct aspects of the image of God.
This is why Paul continues to address men as men and women as women throughout his writings. The discussion of headship in I Corinthians 11 (God-Christ-husband/male-wife/female) makes no sense if God does not still recognize gender roles in the New Covenant. In the resurrection, when gender distinctions no longer play the same covenantal role that they do now, marriage will end as a gender-distinct, unity-in-diversity relational manifestation of the image of God. Then, Jesus said, we shall be as the angels. So, until the resurrection, as long as there is marriage at all, it must remain between gender-distinguished men and women.
Marriage is intended to manifest the relationship between Christ and the church, which is a marriage between a man and a woman. Thus, gay marriage strikes at the heart of God’s self-revelation, mars the male-female image of God revealed mysteriously in marriage, and makes it impossible for the willfully blinded to see God in the creational covenant of everyday relationships. That is, of course, Satan’s goal in the gay marriage agenda: to blind the world to the revelation of God manifest in marriage.