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The Importance of Reading Well - Part 2

Redemption Restores Creation

In the previous post Irenaeus encouraged us to read Scripture as a big mosaic. The biblical drama is made up of different acts. When we get the order right and pay attention to the whole then the big picture is of Jesus as “King.” Get things jumbled, and we end up with a “dog” or a “fox.” Moving from second century France to twenty-first century Britain, just as some might play favourites with persons of the Trinity, others play favourites with acts of the biblical drama. One recent example is Robert Song’s Covenant and Calling,[1] which so emphasises the act of redemption that it rejects what was put in place in the act of creation. Song speaks into the same-sex marriage debate, seeking to open a space for same-sex “covenant-partnerships” that sit alongside the callings of marriage and celibacy. Rather than examine the specifics of Song’s argument,[2] I want to zoom out and examine Song’s presentation of the biblical drama as a whole.

In the act of creation, Song is clear that God made humans in his image to rule creation wisely. God made humans “male and female” (Gen 1:27), put them together in marriage, and told them to procreate so that more little images of God are running around, thereby extending God’s good rule. Procreating becomes even more pressing when we add death into the equation. So, in creation, there’s an important knot between “male+female–procreation–marriage.”

In the act of redemption, Jesus steps onto the stage. As the true image of God (Col 1:15), Jesus beats death. Jesus rules forever, without ever getting married or procreating. So, Jesus cuts the knot between “male+female–procreation–marriage.” In Jesus’ kingdom, procreation is “redundant,”[3]“sexual differentiation is unnecessary,”[4] and marriage’s days are numbered.[5] All of this has big implications not only for marriage, but also for the significance of sexed embodiment. Creation’s binary of “male and female” opens out into a rainbow of sexed options.