14: Responding to Apologists of Matthew Vines
Responding to Apologists of Matthew Vines
One of the most extensive apologist writings Ive come across in support of Matthew Vines, is found here. The post is in response to this Christian Post article and covers so much ground that responding to it all would be very lengthy. So at this stage I will just respond to the beginning, where Genesis 1 & 2 are covered.
Vines’ apologist (Pastor R. D. Weekly) writes that “Following traditional illogic concerning the creation account, Lenow made procreation the primary element of Gen. 1-2, and of God’s creation of Eve for Adam.” But did Lenow actually portray procreation as the primary theme? Lenow specifically refers to procreation as “Part of the idea …”. Yes, merely part of the idea. And Lenow follows this by saying “.. if God viewed marriage as the means for mankind to reproduce after his kind …” Notice the ‘if’. It’s not surprising that Weekly finds Lenow illogical, if Weekly is only half listening.
Although Weekly quotes part of what Lenow has said, he doesnt quote what Lenow said about Genesis 1. In the Christian Post article, we read him Lenow cite and detail how “Part of the creation mandate in Genesis 1 is that the animals would reproduce after their kind.” And that “part of the idea that it was not good for man to be alone was that he could not reproduce ‘after his kind’ without a suitable partner.” Lenow also points to Gen 1:28 where immediately after describing the creation of Adam and Eve, it states “God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number …”. Weekly though writes that “First of all, if we examine chapter 2, which details the creation of Eve, we find it nowhere mentioned that procreation was an intent of this coupling.” This is correct, but by not quoting what Gen 1 says about procreation, and then stating that Gen 2 doesnt mention procreation being an intention, the reader is gets the impression that perhaps Genesis on the whole doesnt mention procreation as a goal for Adam and Eve. And that’s misleading to the reader.
Weekly then writes that “… if we examine chapter 2, … What we do find, however, is a lonely Adam in need of companionship and intimacy that is suitable for him.” But do we find this? Is there any mention of Adam needing intimacy? Not specifically. What we find is verse 18; “The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”” along with a reference that none of the animals were a suitable partner (verse 20). There is no clear mention of Adam needing intimacy that is suitable for him.
Weekly then accuses traditionalists of ignoring the fact that “The one who created Adam’s partner was well able to create any partner of any sex that was capable of procreating with Adam.” But of course traditionalists ignore such a hypothetical, since it clarifies very little. If we consider that hypothetically God could repeat the loaves and fishes miracle continually for all poor people, does this mean that Christians are absolved of a need to help the poor? No, the reality is that irrespective of what God might hypothetically do, Christians are told to help the poor. Likewise, the reality is that for human beings to reproduce, both genders are required. If God had wanted same-sex human couplings to be able to reproduce, surely he would have arranged this as an inheritable genetic function that remains today. The fact that He didnt, tends to suggest that it’s not what He wanted. Pondering how things might differ if He had, doesnt seem to achieve anything other than a momentary escape from reality.
Weekly then comments that he’s expressed a hypothetical, and accuses traditionalists of being no less hypothetical. No less hypothetical! Really! Weekly’s reasoning is a strawman argument; IE that traditionalists believe that that because Adam and Eve needed to procreate in order to fill the earth, “so must all mankind”. Weekly says traditionalists reach this conclusion because they “assume (rather incorrectly) that Adam is representative of all mankind”. Weekly makes this claim despite Genesis 2:24 actually portraying Adam’s relationship as a model and despite Jesus teaching that the relationship continued to be a model (Matthew 19:4). Does Weekly think that it was solely the job of Adam and Eve to “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth” (Genesis 1:28) and nobody else? How would they parent billions of children? How would they school billions of children? If Weekly thinks this was intended, why were Adam and Eve not chastised for not doing so? Weekly is correct to say that not all Christians are expected to reproduce. Both Jesus (Mat. 19:11-12) and St Paul (1 Cor. 7:8) teach that some Christians should remain single, and by implication this means no reproduction for them. But Lenow didnt explicitly claim that all Christians should reproduce, and I thought it was Lenow’s arguments that Weekly was focusing on here? Traditionalists who know the New Testament will agree that Christians are not all expected to follow Adam and Eve by reproducing. But this does not mean that it’s sensible to discard the teaching that Adam and Eve’s relationship remains a normative model, as detailed in Genesis 2:24 and reiterated by Jesus himself in Matthew 19:4.