Copyright 2009 by Gary Konecky, 2010  by and Gary Konecky and 2011 by Gary Konecky

When we examined the biblical account of creation in part seven of this series, I discussed Eve being created from Adam and that Adam (before the creation of Eve) had been created with male and female attributes.  With this thought in mind, we will take a look at Genesis 2:24:  Therefore, a man shall leave his father and his mother, and cleave to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.”

Furthermore, Genesis 1:28 states:  “And God blessed them, and God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and rule over the fish of the sea and over the fowl of the sky and over all the beasts that tread upon the earth."  (See Part 8 Appendix:  What is the Meaning of Genesis 1:28?)

The Religious Right and the Roman Catholic Church claim that the only permissible sexual activity is reproduction.  Yet, these verses bring up a host of questions.  If the purpose of the exercise is reproduction, then why did G-d create gays, lesbians, infertile couples, as well as allowing married heterosexual couples to live past their childbearing years?  Are heterosexual single people committing a sin by dating instead of being married and having children?  How can single people be committing a sin by having children out of wedlock if their purpose is procreation?  It seems multiple wives and concubines do not conform to Genesis 2:24, yet some of the most righteous men in the Bible had multiple wives and concubines. 

What about the gays and lesbians who marry people of the opposite sex before they come to terms with their sexual orientation or because of societal pressure?  Does G-d want marriage so bad that He demands unhappy ones?  Does G-d want marriage so bad, that he will settle for marriages lacking love, intimacy, and passion?  If G-d is so big on heterosexual marriage, why did he have Moses divorce his wife (as discussed in Rashi’s commentary to Numbers 12:1)?

We were told in Genesis 1:27:  And God created man in His image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.”  How can LGBTI people, people made in the image of G-d, be a sin? 

Genesis 2:21-22 states:  And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon man, and he slept, and He took one of his sides, and He closed the flesh in its place.   And the Lord God built the side that He had taken from man into a woman, and He brought her to man.” 

We now come to a fascinating explanation of this verse.  For this verse teaches us:

If man and woman had been created simultaneously, it might have been thought that a human being’s main purpose was to have children, just like all the other animals.  This is certainly not true; man is in this world only to serve G-d.  Man and woman were created separately, so they would know they are different from all other creatures.  (note 1)

In addition, Genesis 6:9 tells us:  These are the generations of Noah, Noah was a righteous man he was perfect in his generations; Noah walked with God.”  This verse can also be understood as saying: “These are Noah’s offspring: Noah was a righteous man.” (note 2)  This verse means that Noah’s true offspring are his good deeds and observance of G-d’s commandments and that nobody’s children can be better than one’s good deeds and observance of G-d’s commandments.  Whether one has children or not, a person’s righteousness is his or her offspring.  May this be a consolation to all those who want children and are childless. (note 2)

Lastly, we come to a teaching from the Talmud (Shabbath 77b):  “Rab Judah said in Rab's name: Of all that the Holy One, blessed be He, created in His world, He did not create a single thing without purpose.”  (note 3)  Even if we cannot figure out the purpose of sexual orientation and why some of us are attracted to the same sex and some of us are attached to the opposite sex, that does not nullify the fact that every single thing including sexual orientation was created by G-d with a purpose. 

Those who use the Bible and religion to demonize the LGBTI community claim that sex is about pro-creation.  Yet, this is clearly not the case.  Incest is procreative, yet is banned in Leviticus.  Adultery is also procreative and banned.  Furthermore, nowhere in the Hebrew Bible, nor in the rabbinic tradition, is there a ban on non-procreative sex (note 4).

Are we to believe the G-d who is so compassionate as to clothe the naked, visit the sick, comfort mourners, and bury the dead as discussed in the Talmud (Sotah 14a) is so petty, vengeful and cruel as to make LGBTI people as a sick joke, or is it more likely that organized religion is making a mistake in their interpretation of G-d’s word?

Sources: is the source for the quotations from Genesis.

Note 1:  Page 258 of The Torah Anthology / Me’am Lo’ez, Book One, Genesis I, Beginnings, by Rabbi Yaakov Culi, translated by Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan, Moznaim Publishing Corp., copyright 1988. 

Note 2:  Page 338 of The Torah Anthology / Me’am Lo’ez, Book One, Genesis I, Beginnings, by Rabbi Yaakov Culi, translated by Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan, Moznaim Publishing Corp., copyright 1988.  The discussion of this teaching runs from page 337 through page 340.

Note 3:  The Soncino Talmud, Judaic Classics by David Kantrowitz, Version 3.0.8, Copyright 1991-2004, Davka Corporation. 

Note 4:  For additional discussion of this subject, see page 206 of Jacob’s Wound, Homoerotic Narrative in the Literature of Ancient Israel by Theodore W. Jennings, Jr., copyright 2005, published by Continiuum
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