Joe Carter, a senior writer for The Gospel Coalition and associate pastor at one of David Platt’s satellite churches, decided he needed to give his two centson the debate that is currently raging over gay marriage by giving what he believes is a solution. If you just read the first few paragraphs of the article you might think that Carter is heading in the right direction and will come to a Biblical solution, after all, he does understand that you cannot change the definition of marriage and maintain that marriage isn’t fundamentally changed.

“As Abraham Lincoln was fond of asking, “If you call a dog’s tail a leg, how many legs does a dog have?” “Five,” his audience would invariably answer. “No,” he’d politely respond, “the correct answer is four. Calling a tail a leg does not make it a leg.”

Like Lincoln’s associates, many of our fellow citizens—including many Christians—appear to fall for the notion that changing a definition causes a change in essence. The attempt to change the definition of marriage to include same-sex unions is a prime example. Simply calling such relationships “same-sex marriages,” many believe, will make them marriages. Such reasoning, however, is as flawed as thinking that changing tail to leg changes the function of the appendage.”

While it would seem right to commend Carter for understanding this simple truth about reality and the essence of marriage in a time when postmodern thought reigns supreme, I can not commend him or his solution. After establishing that there is reality that you cannot change, like the number of legs a dog has or definition of marriage, he soon falls into — or synthesizes — into the same postmodern thought that is detached from reality that he is warning his readers about.

“What do we do about homosexual couples who have ordered their lives around the legal fiction of same-sex marriage? French says, “I wanted gay couples to enjoy marriage-equivalent legal protections but without changing the legal definition of marriage.” That was always a possibility—and still is. We don’t need to attempt to redefine reality and call a tail a leg to achieve this objective. The solution is, and always has been, to promote civil unions.”

Carter’s solution to gay marriage is to promote civil unions for same-sex couples. This solution reveals that Carter is missing the real problem with gay marriage. The issue, or reality, that is confronting us is not an issue of definition, it is an issue of morality. The reason America — and every other nation — should reject gay marriage is found in Proverbs 14:34 “Righteousness exalts a nation, But sin is a reproach to any people.” If any nation wants to be exulted they must submit to the authority of God, or as Psalm 2 puts it the rulers of the nation must “kiss the Son”.

God is not judging America on if we pass a trivial test of if we are defining sin in accordance with reality. He is judging America on if we are known for our sin or our righteousness. Carter goes on to point out that a civil union doesn’t have to imply a sexual relationship and this is why he believes it is a proper solution. Conservative Christians keep marriage based in reality and homosexuals get all of the benefits and governmental incentives of a heterosexual marriage, but we will call it a civil union. This is how Carter wants to uphold reality.

What Carter fails to understand is that the definition of marriage is rooted in reality because of the God given laws and order behind it. In Genesis 1:27 we see the order of gender that God created mankind in His image and He created them male and female. In Genesis 2 we see the order of marriage that there is a husband and a wife. We see this set order reflected in Exodus 20 when God commands mankind “Thou shalt not commit adultery.” Of course we see this order reflected in the various sexual laws given in Leviticus and Deuteronomy, and this order is upheld thought the rest of Scripture. It is through the set order of marriage between one man and one woman and the following laws attached to it that we rightly conclude the definition of marriage is between one man and one woman only.

In Carter’s solution we find an acceptance of the definition of reality but a rejection of the set morality that shapes the definition. A civil government is not merely to recognize the definition of the institution marriage, they are to uphold the justice of God (see Romans 13:1-7). Ironically, to believe that a nation is honoring God and observing reality by tolerating sin and in some cases would be rewarding it, is nothing more than an abomination to God and a sinful fantasy.

Joe Carter’s solution is merely a synthesis of sin in an attempt to move his readers to the left while still feeling like they are conserving traditional marriage. I would encourage you as a reader to remember Proverbs 14:34 and give no room to the immorality of homosexuality in our nation in false called same-sex marriage or in a wicked civil union that would reward sin. Remember “Righteousness exalts a nation, But sin is a reproach to any people.”