Phillip , thanks for these profound reflections on how Genesis reveals what is distinct about human sexuality. Your central observation that “mutual help and companionship,” rather than reproduction, is what makes human sexuality distinctively human is urgently relevant to our efforts to advocate humane sexuality in the public square. When dealing with the intersection of Christianity with human culture, the central question is almost always “what does it mean to be human?” When dealing with issues of sexuality, then, we should remember that reproduction is only one part—and not the most important part—of the total union of two human beings in marriage.

This is so urgent because the cultural environment is currently structured in such a way that if we don’t make continual efforts to balance our approach, we will be constantly forced into presenting a radically truncated picture of humane sexuality. As the culture has fragmented, political conflict has displaced deeper and more holistic approaches to culture. This has happened across all issues, but perhaps nowhere more obviously than in issues of sexuality. Political conflict, in turn, requires us to focus on the aspect of sexuality most relevant to law and policy—reproduction. As a result, our neighbors constantly hear Christians talking about marriage and sexuality only as a means to reproduction. Naturally and rightly, they cringe with horror when they hear their marriages described in utilitarian terms , as tools for accomplishing a public policy objective, even an objective so noble as providing a better environment for the upbringing of children.

If Christianity is going to present to the culture a picture of humane sexuality that is plausible and appealing—if it is going to present a picture of humane sexuality that is really humane—Christians need to be aware of the danger of constantly reducing the Christian vision of sexuality and marriage to mere reproduction under the pressure of political imperatives.

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