“I will praise you for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” Psalm 139
The argument is often advanced that a person is obese, unable-to-be-committed, tempestuous, judgmental, gay, straight, bossy, cute, not as cute, loving, or <fill in the blank>, because “God made me/us/them that way.” At times it is hard to tell whether God is to praise or to blame.
Recently the argument has again been put forth as a defense of gay marriage. “If God made my cousin gay, why shouldn’t he be able to marry the man he loves?” “Why shouldn’t I fully embrace who I am since God made me gay?”
In many instances these arguments refer to a vague god (“My god is a god of love. He wouldn’t want people to be unhappy.”) He is more the god of the Grammys or those with foxhole religion. It is a god in our image, according to our likeness and our likes. Such a god is indistinct, nebulous, impersonal. It is the god of Sheilaism.
A common rejoinder to the “God made gays gay and straights straight” reasoning is, “Well, what about that guy born with no arms and legs? Or that baby whose heart was born outside her body? Are they ‘fearfully and wonderfully made’? Do you still say ‘God doesn’t make mistakes’?” It’s a good, and fair, question.
And, it ignores a basic biblical truth: the entirety of creation was cursed by The Fall. Nothing we see is as God made it.
The biblical narrative includes two people made without a sinful nature: Adam and Eve. The Bible says God made Adam “in the image of God.” Then Eve from Adam’s side.
After Adam and Eve sinned and began to procreate their children were born in their own fallen image (Genesis 5:3). Even though humans retain the image of God, the image is distorted, marred. In sin, not perfection, do our mothers conceive us.
The Fall brought us sin, sickness, disease, and death, the full basket of dirty laundry. No one escapes it. Murder, theft, and adultery are not the only fruits of The Fall. Disease, decay, and death are inextricably entwined.
We cannot believe The Fall was bad enough to threaten eternal destinies without believing it thoroughly corrupted temporal realities. Hell is not the only concern. Life is, too.
It is blithe and simplistic (not to mention unbiblical) to say, “Well, God made me this way,” without taking into account the corruption and distortion of sin. How thorough is that corruption and distortion? The Apostle Paul wrote the entire creation is groaning in travail. It awaits its own redemption, just as surely as we await ours.
For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together with labor pains until now. And not only that, but we ourselves who have the Spirit as the firstfruits–we also groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our bodies. (Romans 8:22, 23, HCSB)
Humans retain the shadow of God’s image, but are formed bodily with dirty DNA. Even so, we, even as malformed people, are not divine mistakes. We are those in need of redemption now and in eternity. Being in a “miry pit” is more than metaphor.
“God made me this way” is not overt in its dismissal of salvation, but it is subtly so. If “God made me this way and God makes no mistakes,” why the need for a savior? If I do not need redeeming, why did Jesus die? It is a deep, dark rabbit hole of bad theology. God is not responsible for my sinful thoughts and behaviors, even if I want to rationalize them as completely natural.
So, arguing “God made me this way” without taking The Fall into account is incomplete. Fully formed arguments (if making a biblical case) must consider the effects of sin on our bodies, thoughts, desires, wants, and the rest of human existence. If we ignore The Fall and opt for a “sunshine and roses” theology, we are left with a God who is either uncaring, inane or inept. Such a god is not the God of Christianity.
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