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Incestuous Creationists part 2

In my previous post I looked at the creationist explanation for where Cain found his wife. Marrying your relatives, it turns out, is not a sin in creationist land.

Jonathan Sarfati of Creation Ministries International takes it a step further.

The main point is: morality is defined by the law of our Creator, who owns us, and who makes the rules, for our good. For example:

  • Why is murder wrong? Because God has commanded ‘do not murder’ (Ex. 20:13, Romans 13:9), and this goes back to the creation, where man is made in God’s image, and murder destroys this.
  • Why is homosexual activity wrong? Because God has declared it to be an abomination (Lev. 18:22, Rom. 1:26–27), and this goes back to the creation of the institution of marriage in Gen. 1:27 and 2:24 (both cited by Christ in Mt. 19:3–6). This first marriage, according to Christ, set the pattern of one man and one woman for life, not two men or two women.
  • Why is adultery wrong? Because God has declared it to be so (Exodus 20:14, Romans 13:9), since it breaks the marriage covenant of the two becoming one flesh.

There is so much wrong with this, it's hard to know where to start.

First, these all originated in the very same Mosaic law as the incest prohibition. It's a curious form of cherry picking to suggest that some of the law applied before it was given, and some of it only after it was given. Nowhere does the Bible itself make such a division.

And in fact, when Cain—the same Cain—committed the first murder, God put a mark on him to protect him. There was no "eye for eye" in Genesis as we see in Exodus.

Also, if you're going to extrapolate a "one man, one woman" policy from the first marriage, you'll have to explain why God blessed Jacob's dual marriage to both of his cousins, and their maids. By my count, that marriage involved more than one woman. For that matter, King David was known to have at least seven wives—and that was after the law was given.

Sarfati, having offered dubious examples of moral laws which have been in place for (part of) all time, then creates a class of temporary laws.

The obvious example is food:

  • Adam and Eve were allowed only vegetables (Gen. 1:29).
  • Noah was allowed to eat any animal he liked as long as it didn’t have the blood in it (Gen. 9:3–4).
  • To keep the Messianic Line spiritually pure, God commanded the Jews/Israelites to be separate from the nations, to avoid being corrupted by them. Part of this was His command through Moses to abstain from certain foods such as pork and shellfish.
  • Since the coming of Christ, the barrier between Jew and Gentile has been broken down (Ephesians 2:14), so both Jews and Gentiles can now become one in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:28, Col. 3:11). Therefore Christians today are as free as Noah (Mark 7:19, Acts 15:20, Col. 2:16).

There's a wonderful passage in the New Testament book of Acts, where Peter has a vision of a blanket covered in "unclean" foods, which God invites him to eat. Peter, still observant of the dietary laws, refuses. Then God tells him these foods are now clean. Peter is puzzled about the meaning of the vision, until he receives visitors sent by a Roman centurion who wants to meet with him. Peter realizes that the acceptance of "unclean foods" in his vision meant he was to accept "unclean people" in real life, because God has made what was "unclean" clean.

But Sarfati turns this idea on its head. The acceptance of Gentiles into the body of believers has broken down barriers—that's a good start—so now we can eat what were once considered "unclean" foods. Instead of extending a welcome to those on the outside, Safarti's theology merely expands the privileges of those within. This approach requires a lot less work than ending our exclusion and prejudice toward "those people". If you were looking for a way to feel good about doing the right thing, while avoiding the hard work of actually doing the right thing, you might find this strategy appealing.

Anyway, having divided the Mosaic law arbitrarily into things that are morally wrong for all time, and laws with an expiration date, Sarfati is ready to show where incest fits.

But first, he must clear up a misconception by one of his readers.


Dear Sir/Madam

I have just read [your booklet about Cain’s wife]. I find his explanation totally unacceptable and ‘bizarre’ and I am sure it will give the wrong impression to non-Christians. The intimate coupling of brothers and sisters is incest, an abomination! And infusion, a grievous sin. Something that has always been wrong and always will be. Whether the ones involved are ‘married’ to each other or not! Surely he can come up with a better explanation than that. It’s gross and disgusting. I’m sure the answer lies elsewhere. It does nothing for the Creation versus Evolution cause. Back to the drawing board and come up with better stuff than that!Yours sincerely in Christ


Sarfati doesn't see it the way MJ does.

As CMI points out, which you apparently overlooked because of the emotional barriers you erected, the issue of brother-sister marriage is on the same level as the food laws. Although you claim it is ‘something that has always been wrong!’ you provide no evidence that God has always declared it so, or that it violates the created order. Even Abraham testified that he married his half-sister (Genesis 20:12), and this was a marriage blessed by God, and led to the Messiah. It wasn’t till the time of Moses that God forbade the Israelites from brother-sister marriage (Lev. 18–20).

Now, that's technically true. Incest between siblings is not explicitly forbidden in the Bible until Leviticus chapter 18. This is, incidentally, the same chapter that first mentions homosexuality. And while there is one sentence about sex between two men (and zero for two women), Leviticus includes an entire paragraph of 13 verses outlining all the ways incest is wrong, including between brother and sister.

And it's important to note that incest between father and daughter is also mentioned here, and is listed in the same class as brother and sister. Because incest between a father and his daughters is mentioned (and not in a positive way) long before the law of Moses. In Genesis 19, after Abraham's nephew Lot escapes Sodom with his two daughters, he gets drunk (at their urging) and impregnates them both. Their sons are the ancestors of the Moabites and Ammonites, Israel's traditional enemies.

(Some of you are looking back a couple paragraphs and wondering how I could say homosexuality is not mentioned in Genesis, and then reference the story of Sodom. It's simple: Sodom is not about homosexuality.)

But back to Sarfati. He never explains why he considers marriage between a brother and a sister to be different from any other type of incest. But he will give us a reason not to try it at home.

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