Who speaks for God on the issue of marriage?

While a nonbelieving world can dismiss the question as irrelevant, those who profess faith in God are forced to consider it. Said most simply: They speak for God who faithfully declare what he has said. Those who speak or teach what is contrary to the Bible's clear teaching are deceivers and false prophets, whatever titles and degrees precede their names.

What has God said on the issue of same-sex marriage? The issue is unequivocally settled in the opening chapters of Genesis and is reaffirmed in the New Testament by the Lord Jesus and St. Paul.

“But for Adam no suitable helper was found. So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man's ribs and then closed up the place with flesh. Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man. The man said,

“This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called 'woman,' for she was taken out of man.”

That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh” (Genesis 2:20b-24).

The longing of Adam's heart for a suitable helper was not found in someone of the same sex but in a member of the opposite sex. The act of becoming one flesh, for which the male and female bodies perfectly complement each other, consummates and symbolizes the unique, monogamous relationship God intends husbands and wives to experience.

Through the sharing of marital love, he blesses them with children and thus propagates the human race. That is the clear message of the Bible, a message so simple a child can understand it.

Those who promote same-sex marriage can find nothing in what God has said to support it. In fact, same-sex relationships receive his condemnation and are evidence of man's rebellion against God. In speaking of the consequences of same-sex unions, St. Paul writes:

“In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error” (Romans 1:27). The consequences St. Paul speaks of, the “due penalty,” are a well-guarded secret by the gay community.

Epidemic levels of syphilis, AIDS and other STDs; other diseases and syndromes; and higher rates of domestic violence and mental illness are capped off with a shortened life expectancy, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's website about gay and bisexual men's health.

One study estimated that if current trends continue, nearly half of 20-year-old gay and bisexual men will not reach age 65, according to the Family Research Council.

God's voice is intended to shake us out of sinful lethargy and complacency; sin has both present and eternal consequences. But the shaking also affords the opportunity for us to hear in the clearest possible tones God's heartbeat for the sinner. He loved the lost, rebellious world so much that he sent his Son Jesus to pay its penalty on the cross.

Through his cross, he provides payment for sin and sends his Holy Spirit's power so that we can live changed lives reflecting his holy character.

The Rev. Ed Grant is pastor of Calvary Lutheran Church in West Ashley.