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Timothy Dalrymple on Marriage, Facts, and Hydrogen

Timothy Dalrymple, "Is it Time for Evangelicals to Stop Opposing Gay Marriage?" (November 26, 2012)

Our critics should understand this. We do not regard marriage as a social contract, an arrangement established by cultural convention, and therefore susceptible to renegotiation. We regard marriage (whether or not it is perfectly understood in any given culture) as an institution made by God — and Christians in general are critical realists. We understand there are difficulties in perceiving the facts of the world, but we believe there are facts in the world, and most evangelical Christians, and most Christians worldwide, still believe it’s a fact — as objectively true as any other fact — that marriage is the union of male and female. In the same sense that a hydrogen atom simply is constituted by the creative complementarity of a proton and an electron, a marriage simply is constituted by the creative complementarity of male and female. And just as you can put other particles together in other relations, but those will not be simple hydrogen atoms, so you can devise other human relationships and call them whatever you like — and yet they will not be marriages. Marriage simply is a lifelong covenant between a man and a woman.