(The first of seven posts on the verses I outlined as the main 7 verses used to condemn homosexuality by fundamentalist Christians. The original list of verses (and most the arguments I will be outlining in these posts) was taken from the documentary Fish Out Of Water by Ky Dickens.)
28 God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”
– Genesis 1:28 (the rest of the chapter)
Most common misinterpretation: Homosexuals cannot procreate and are therefore, inherently sinful.
The very first commandment in the Bible is be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and consequently a number of Bible readers would say that any form of sexual activity has to lead toward procreation.
– Dr. Amy Jill Levine
If that standard is applied widely their are a whole lot of folks that are in trouble. That means any post-menopausal woman, any man or woman who is sterile, pregnant women – she’s not going to get pregnant again, anyone who chooses to use birth control.
– Reverend Greg Dell and Dr. Amy Jill Levine
Now here, in this case, I can at least see an argument. At least in any of those situations, the potential for procreation is there. Even in a sterile couples there have been documented cases of the occurrences of pregnancy.
So when Reverend David Ickes says “A man with a woman is a fruitful relationship, a man with a man is not.” I suppose, if what he means is that there is a potential for procreation there, I understand.
However, then the issue becomes what the phrase “fruitful relationship” means.
I mean, clearly Reverend Ickes believes it is the basis for a marriage and that it is something that a man and a woman can have and that 2 men and 2 women cannot have.
The dictionary says that the word Fruitful means “Productive; Successful”.
So really, what the basis for marriage is…is a productive and successful relationship?
…go figure…never would have guessed that in a million years. *rolls eyes*
Surprisingly my dictionary mentions nothing about procreation, though I suppose you could try to imply that the second definition (the one that applies to growing fruit) applies to human relationships as well…but I wouldn’t bet on that holding up in court.
And as far as the multiply part of that command. I think Dr. Levine and Reverend Dell have covered that pretty well.
Over population is more of a threat than under population as far as I can tell. … We really need to let go of that procreation argument as being pretty irrelevant for the world in which we live.
– Reverend Greg Dell
Oh, bugger, there’s that pesky “read the Bible in the context in which it was written” idea that academic Christianity loves and popular Christianity hates so much.
Let’s be fruitful and multiply in another way. Let’s multiply the amount of healthcare, let’s multiply the amount of aid.
Dr. Amy Jill Levine
Clearly that part of the command was written in the context of needing to populate (or re-populate) an area. We have no such problem today and could, in fact, stand to cut down on the populating just a little bit.
And if the whole procreating thing is really such and issue, may I remind you neither gay men nor lesbians have any more chance of being sterile than anyone else and both groups can (and do) procreate on a fairly regular basis through surrogates and sperm donations, options which are viewed as valid ways to have children for thousands of heterosexuals couples who face sterility in one, or both, partners. Why should that form of procreation be viewed as less valid, simply because a same sex couple is the one making use of it?
Until I see Reverend David Ickes, or any other pastor who preaches against gay marriage, denying marriage to the aged, the sterile and those on birth control, the argument posited by this verse is a moot point.