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America's Culture War

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An Alabama Lawmaker

by  Dave Miller, Ph.D.

Alabama State Representative Alvin Holmes recently issued a challenge, offering $5,000 to anyone who can show him the biblical passage stipulating marriage as being solely between a man and a woman (McGrew, 2005). Okay, here they are:

So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them (Genesis 1:27).

Then the rib which the Lord God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man. And Adam said: “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh (Genesis 2:22-24).

The Pharisees also came to Him, testing Him, and saying to Him, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for just any reason?” And He answered and said to them, “Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate (Matthew 19:3-6).

Nevertheless, because of sexual immorality, let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband (1 Corinthians 7:2).

The word translated in the above Genesis verses as “woman” and “wife” is the common Hebrew word for female (ishah), even as “father and mother” refer to a man and a woman. The Greek terms that are translated “man” (aner) and “wife” (gune) in the above verses from Matthew and Corinthians likewise connote gender as being male and female. This is the case throughout the New Testament. For example, in an extensive discussion of husbands and wives in Ephesians 5:22-33, Paul consistently uses the Greek term for “female” to refer to the wife, and the Greek term for “male” to refer to the husband.

The Bible never refers to a marriage as consisting of two men or two women. The Bible never refers to a man’s “wife” as being a male, or a woman’s “husband” being a female. And that’s not a matter of “my interpretation versus your interpretation.”


McGrew, Jannell (2005), “Holmes Stands Behind Bible-verse Quest,” Montgomery Advertiser, February 11, [On-line], URL:

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