So before moving on to Romans 4, I decided to go back to Genesis 12-25 to study Abraham in order to learn more about him (as the first question in Romans 4 is about Abraham and his relevance to all Paul was teaching.)
Abraham and his wife Sarai and nephew Lot had just been kicked out of Egypt for deceiving the Pharaoh by claiming Sarai as Abraham's sister so that Pharaoh took her as his wife (and then Abraham got very rich.) Mind you, the context of this is that Abraham was afraid of being killed if they knew Sarai was his wife to begin with, so he asked her to claim she was his sister... so the marrying of Sarai to Pharaoh and riches were a result, but not necessarily an intention. (But see how that can get twisted around?)
Abraham and Lot have gone separate ways to have room for all their possessions, and then a bunch of war breaks out among kings...
Lot gets kidnapped and so Abraham rallies all his servants to go after him, recovering him, his possessions, the plunder the kidnappers stole, and a bunch of other people.When Abraham gets back, the King of Sodom offers him a bunch of the plunder, but he refuses it.
God tells Abraham not to fret, and that his reward will be grand. God promises him a large family when Abraham expresses his concern that his servant will inherit everything - but asks him to sacrifice several animals to Him.
When Sarai hasn't yet produced a child, she tells Abraham to take her maid, Hagar, as a wife and sleep with her to produce a child. (Traditional marriage as defined by Christians today? I think not... here's wife #2.) So Hagar gets pregnant and runs away because of Sarai's abuse, but God tells her to go back and that he will give her a large family.
When Abraham is 99 years old God tells him again he will give him a large family and make him "father of nations" - this is also when his name gets changed from Abram to Abraham, and then tells him Sarai (changed to Sarah) will bare a child in one year... God instructs him to circumcise every male as a mark of God's permanent covenant.
God then tells Abraham he is going to destroy Sodom for all the sin. Abraham asks Him, that if there are 10 decent people there, to spare the city, and God says he will spare it if there are. Two men arrive at the city and Lot offers them a place to stay. Some men of Sodom try to break into Lot's home to attack and rape the two men - Lot tries to offer him his daughters but they refuse and threaten to harm all of them if he doesn't let them pass. The two men (angels of the Lord sent to destroy Sodom) struck them blind leaving them laying in the dark, locked out of Lot's home. The two men then tell Lot to take his family and run before the destruction of the city.
So here we are at Genesis 19 - another "clobber passage." Many believe that the story of the men wanting to rape the two men is good reasoning to condemn all homosexuality. But these were not acts of love, these were acts of vile and hate, with intent to rape and harm the two men.
"Saying that the last recorded acts of the Sodomites -- the demands for same-gender sex -- are proof that they were destroyed for homosexuality is like saying that a condemned man cursing his guards on the way to his execution is being executed for cursing the guards. Sodom was judged worthy of destruction before the incident with Lot and the angels." Inge Anderson
Chapter 19 ends with Lot and his family living in the mountains... his two daughters fear they will never bare children, so they get Lot drunk and both sleep with him and get pregnant. During these times, incest was not an issue - there was a need to have relations with close relatives in order to grow the population. One of the main reasons we have such an issue with it today is because of the break down in the gene pool and it causes birth defects and deformities.
In Genesis 20, Abraham again tells a king that Sarah is his sister. But when this king goes to take her as his wife God stops him and warns him she is a married woman... and says He knows the king's intention was pure (not knowing she was Abraham's wife because they both told her her she was his sister) but he is trying to keep the king from sinning against Him. So now in this verse, it is a sin for the king to marry this married woman, and would mean certain death for his entire family if he doesn't give her back right away. But during these times, women were look at as property. So it was OK for men to marry multiple women, but women did not have multiple husbands.
When a servant of the king asks Abraham why he did it, he explains that he "assumed that there was no fear of God in this place and that they'd kill me to get my wife." Also, he explains here that Sarah is actually his half-sister.
God visited Sarah as he said he would and she became pregnant at 100 - mind you I like this story because this is where I got my name... My mom was older (not 100, but closer to 40) when I was born and I was a surprise because she was told she wouldn't have any more children after my sister was born. (Just a useless but fun fact, moving on.)
One day, Sarah see's Hagar's son poking fun at Issac... so she tells Abraham to send them away. Abraham doesn't want to, but then God instructs him to listen to Sarah and that He will also give this son many nations.
Next, God tells Abraham to sacrifice Issac. Abraham does as he is told and takes Issac to be sacrificed. God's angel stops him right before he can kill Issac and says "Don't lay a hand on that boy! Don't touch him! Now I know how fearlessly you fear God; you didn't hesitate to place your son, your dear son, on the altar for me."
Abraham's loyalty to God has been tested, but he does not fail.He also learns that his brother has had 8 sons by his wife, and 4 by his concubine.
Sarah died at age 127. Abraham buried her in a cave he bought from a Hittite, which would also be his burial plot. Abraham instructs his servant to make sure his son Issac gets a wife from his homeland, but not to take his son there (and if the woman would not leave, the servant would be free from this oath).
The servant goes, and when he arrived he prayed that God would show him the woman to be Issac's wife. Then Rebekkah came and his prayer was answered. Rebekkah was the daughter of Abraham's brother, so Issac's cousin. The servant was very grateful to God for this. When he tells Rebekkah's family the story, they know it is from God and they send her with him.
Abraham remarried to Keturah and had 6 sons by her. He still gave everything he possessed to Issac. While he was still living, he gave gifts to the sons he had by his concubines, but sent them away. Abraham died at 175.
So looking back at one of the first families in the bible, Abraham the Father of Nations, we see that what is claimed as"traditional marriage" in a biblical sense, is not indeed the tradition shown during these days of the Bible. During these times, men have multiple wives and concubines. The traditions of marriage has changed drastically over the many years.
Women are no longer property, and are no longer bought. Women are no longer selected from a specific lineage or nationality. Women will no longer be put to death for not being a virgin prior to marriage. Men only marry one woman now, but it was not always this way. Men no longer have concubines. Men had children with many different women. Men used to marry their close relatives.
I've put a little cartoon to the left - it is meant to be humorous, but it also make a valid point here since that is how it was done during those times... are we preserving traditional marriage?
This is just one example of many in the bible (for a more collective list of other examples CLICK HERE), but the marriages in the bible don't reflect what we consider "traditional" or "biblical" marriage today. And pulling a single verse out of this entire story that doesn't reflect "one man one woman" nor does it specifically discuss the issue of homosexual orientation, just to back up the right-winged view that gays shouldn't marry, is pure hogwash.
***Disclaimer: This post is a recollection of my thoughts and reflections as I study and learn these passages for myself. There is no intent of "pointing fingers" or condemning sin. If you feel convicted from reading my post, then I recommend you study these passages further yourself for further confirmation, don't take my word for it - I'm just sharing what I've personally learned with hopes that someone will be inspired.
PS I hope I live to 127. That would be awesome.