Natural order and the Bible

The Book of Job, illustration by William Blake (1826).

By Geoff Thompson

Traditional Christian teaching on sex and gender assumes a correlation between the natural and moral orders.

While this has biblical warrants, the Bible also contains other views about the relationship between the natural and the moral, most notably in the books of Ecclesiastes and Job.

Ecclesiastes asks, “Who can make straight what God has made crooked?”

When God directs Job to look at creation, God shows him things that seem “unnatural” and invites Job to accept these as part of the good creation.

These might be a minority voice in the Bible, but they are theologically very sophisticated.

They are part of the wisdom literature which looks to lived experience and concludes that God transgresses conventional boundaries of order and justice.

This has implications for how the appeal to ‘the natural’ has been used in Christian discussion about sex and gender diversity.

It also prompts questions about how the Bible is used and how we understand the idea of the image of God.

To read Geoff’s ABC article, click here

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