Friday, July 3, 2015

The Proud Irony in the LGBTQ Rainbow

Last week on Friday the Supreme Court issued their ruling legalizing same-sex marriage in the U.S.  Based on the authority of Scripture, I can not celebrate this since it approves homosexual behavior, which God revealed as morally wrong in his Word (Lev 18:22, Rom 1:26-28, 1 Cor 6:9). I stand with other evangelicals who believe that marriage is designed to be the union of one man and one woman in a lifelong covenant. 

But many people were celebrating this over the past week. I noticed how social media lit up with rainbows.  Even the White House website was decorated this way. Some people changed their Facebook profiles to a rainbow enhanced picture of themselves. 

What I’ve found interesting for awhile is the symbol that the gay pride movement has chosen for its brand is a rainbow.  It’s supposed to show the diversity of the LGBTQ community. It has been around since 1978. 

The rainbow that we occasionally see in the sky has been around since the Flood of Genesis (Gen 6-9). The Flood was an act of God’s judgment on the world because of the increasing sinful depravity of humanity (Gen 6:5-7).  The only part of creation spared was Noah, his family, and the animals in the ark.  After the floodwaters abated, the Lord gave the rainbow as a covenant sign to humanity that he would never destroy the earth again (Gen 9:21).  Even though humanity will continue in wickedness, the Lord God will never send out a catastrophic judgment of this magnitude.  The fact that farmers continue to plant and harvest shows that he has kept the promise to this day. 

The Hebrew word used in Genesis is literally a bow (see Gen 9:13 in ESV, KJV or NASB); this reminds us of the bow a warrior uses in battle.  The imagery is striking. God the Creator hangs his bow of judgment up that he just used against all his creation. 

The gay pride movement did not “create” the rainbow as a stamp of diversity.  God, who also created marriage, created the rainbow as a symbol of his covenant with humanity.  Biblically informed people, when they see a rainbow, remember that sinful depravity brings about God’s swift judgment.  They also remember that God provides salvation through his grace, just like he did for Noah and his family.  There is also a reminder of how central marriage is to the narrative of human history.  When God commands Noah to come out of the ark, he also commands his wife, his sons and their wives.  When God begins a new creation with Noah and his family, the foundation again has the institution of male-female marriages and childbearing (Gen 9:1), just like the original creation of Adam and Eve (Gen 1:27-28). 

So the irony of the rainbow is that symbolically it is really packed with meaning in God’s perspective.  It speaks of the human depravity of sin and God’s judgment.  It also says something about how God began a new creation through marriage, male-female relationships, and childbearing.  And most importantly, it speaks the truth that God often does not treat us as our sins deserve (Ps 103:8-10). 

I write this as one who understands my own sinful depravity and need of God’s grace in Christ.  I can only hope that many of those who proudly wave their rainbow flags are able to see the same thing.