Reimaging the Meaning of Marriage

on October 9, 2015

A day or so after Judge Vaugh Walker struck down California’s marriage amendment in 2010, I was interviewed on Logo TV, the LGBT network. We covered the typical arguments for marriage between one man and one woman cordially, respectfully and predictably. Then I mentioned that from a Christian point of view a central purpose of marriage is to show the love between Christ and his Church — two things that, like a man and a woman, are by nature different. Two men or two women don’t qualify.

The interviewer remained gracious, but, he had been blindsided and the interview was over.

I thought about that a few weeks ago when I had the opportunity to hear theologian Scott Hahn at the World Meeting of Families. Hahn’s lecture, “Back to the Garden of Eden: Unearthing God’s Covenant with Humankind,” traced the theme of marriage from the marriage of Adam and Eve in Genesis to the marriage of Christ and his Church in Revelation.

Hahn emphasized the one-flesh aspect of marriage between those created in the image of God: “So God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them…. Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and clings to his wife, and they become one flesh” (Genesis 1:27, 2:24).

While every individual is created in the image of God, Hahn said, there is more to it. The image of God is more clearly seen in a matched set — male and female in the covenant of marriage. Then when the matched set procreates, the image comes into even sharper focus. “Molly and me and baby make three” is more than a happy sentiment from an old song. The human family is the image by which we glimpse the Trinity, our God who is a community of persons.

Read the rest here.

  1. Comment by MarcoPolo on October 14, 2015 at 9:37 am

    Marriage to those, who’s religion dictates “who” can marry, should be protected. So too, should the rights of all who seek to enter the institution of Marriage be supported for protection. And thus, we find ourselves in a world where we can all live-out our lives as free citizens. Hallelujah!

    One would have to accept the fabled story of Adam and Eve, to believe what Mr. Tonkowich is writing about. But there are so many more people who do not subscribe to the Christian perspective on human existence, so let’s not forget that our great Country is made up of many differing viewpoints. Each deserve equal opportunity to belong.

  2. Comment by Larry Ready on October 16, 2015 at 10:32 am

    First, one does not have to believe in a literal Adam and Eve to believe that “a central purpose of marriage is to show the love between Christ and his Church”, so missing the point seems to be your issue with the author. Second, sloppy writing sometimes reflects sloppy logic. The contraction who’s and the word whose have different meanings.

  3. Comment by MarcoPolo on October 16, 2015 at 10:45 am

    I stand corrected on the grammatical error. Thank you.
    I was attempting a possessive pronoun, but failed. My bad.

    I’ll accept the symbolism of Adam & Eve, but I still defend the right for marriage equality.
    No sloppy logic here!

  4. Comment by Richard S. Bell on October 20, 2015 at 10:17 pm

    Let us make a trade.
    You send me a copy of the Hahn lecture.
    I will send you my essay, which refutes your “brilliant and valid natural law arguments that marriage must be between one man and one woman” and also Robert Gagnon’s putative debunking of “gay-friendly interpretations of Romans 1:26-27, 1 Corinthians 6:9, and related texts.” (No kidding! My essay proves that God wills marriage of homosexual couples on the same terms as heterosexual couples. It has been read and criticized by many mature and respected Christian scholars; not one has shown any of its arguments or its main thesis to be unsound.)
    I want to help you “establish a new conversation about the meaning of marriage in the public debate.” I will go further than my essay. I will read the Hahn lecture and send you my critique.
    I propose we make the trade by email. My name is Richard Bell and my address is

  5. Comment by Brad F on October 23, 2015 at 1:30 pm

    Does your “essay” override the New Testament and 2000 years of consistent Christian ethical teaching?

    I don’t think so. You and the apostle Paul are not in the same league, not even close.

  6. Comment by Brad F on October 23, 2015 at 1:29 pm

    Good article, sir. Even if I were an atheist, I don’t think it would change my views on marriage one iota. Common sense mandates that man and woman are, as you said, a “matched set” – not just physically (a three-year-old knows the difference) but emotionally and mentally too. Man and woman are made for each other, and even though polygamy and serial divorce are bad, they don’t “break up the set.”

    But, face it: the fact that any country or state ever got around to legalizing same-sex “marriage” proves that common sense is dead. In a sane world, we would not even be having this discussion.

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