Reading Time: 6 minutes
A lot is being made today of rainbows.
Everywhere you look, it seems people are either parading around waving rainbow flags or crossing the street between rainbow-colored crosswalks or riding around with rainbow-colored window decals on their automobiles. Even the White House was recently illuminated in rainbow-colored lights.
The motivation for these gestures should be obvious to anyone who hasn’t been living in a comatose state the past several months. In observing the euphoria being exhibited by those who are celebrating the legalization in of same-sex marriage, it would be wise of us to consider the true origin, significance, and symbolism of the rainbow.
The operative word is again.
The reason I emphasize the adverb “again”, is because the God who thousands of years ago destroyed every living thing on the earth – His earth – is the same God who today we have largely ignored. Contrary to what proponents of the LGBT agenda would have us believe, the rainbow is not a symbol of the unity that exists between man and God, or even with one another for that matter, but of our inherent disunity with Him.
You see, the rainbow, as beautiful and captivating as it is in all its majesty and splendor, was not borne out of God’s affirmation of or acquiescence to our behavioral choices, but from an unambiguous condemnation of them. In other words, something as beautiful and picturesque as a rainbow actually has its origins in something extremely dark and alarming – mankind’s willful disobedience to God’s law.
There are those today who would invert and transpose the true biblical significance of the rainbow, into something representative of the very behavior and conduct which served as the impetus for God establishing it in the first place (Genesis 6:5-7).
The rainbow exists for only one purpose: as a symbol of God’s everlasting covenant between Himself and mankind that His righteous anger, as initially expressed through an all-consuming flood thousands of years ago, would never be demonstrated in the same manner as in the days of Noah.
This is not to say, however, that mankind will never again experience God’s destructive wrath. In fact, quite the contrary.
“But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up.” – 2 Peter 3:10 (NASB)
Even prior to the recent Supreme Court decision in Obergefell v. Hodges which legalized same-sex marriage in America, many so-called “Christian” churches, organizations, and ministries, had already begun adopting this inversion of the rainbow, all under the guise that God is a God of love, inclusiveness, and acceptance.
But the view that the God of the Bible is solely a God of love is not exclusive to those who identify as “gay” and “Christian”.
The misconception that God’s unconditional love somehow renders moot His other attributes, namely, His holiness, is held by countless heterosexual Christians as well, which leads us to the question: how is it that we are so convinced that God will forgive our sins, yet are so dogmatic in our belief that He will not judge them?
How is it that we trust what the Bible says about God with respect to one aspect of His nature but not another? After all, is not the reason forgiveness is necessary to begin with because there is such a thing as sin to begin with (1 John 3:4)?
“God created man in His image and man has returned the favor.” – Blaise Pascal
The reason we are so comfortable compartmentalizing God in this way, is because we are merely deists who fancy ourselves as theists.
What the misapplication of the symbolism of the rainbow is demonstrating, is that it is much easier for us to believe in the existence of a God (deist) than to believe in God (theist).
There is a difference.
To be a deist, that is, to profess a belief that a God exists while not actually believing in the active involvement and authority of that God in and over our life, affords us the theological convenience of developing our own subjective idea of who “God” is.
Consequently, we construct our own theology about God, including what behaviors, attitudes, and actions He does and doesn’t approve of. To be a theist, however, is to believe by faith what the Bible says about God and, on that same basis, accept what His word has objectively declared to us about Himself and His standards for how we are to live.
“Although contemporary culture belittles the problem of sin and makes light of its devastating effects, the Bible underscores the plight of the lost and the need for the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ to save us from our sin. Sin is a corrupting presence in each human being. We are infected and enslaved by sin. Contemporary understandings of human nature must take into account humanity’s fallenness and the inherited corruption that issue in sinfulness.” – R. Stanton Norman, “Human Sinfulness”, in A Theology for the Church, Daniel Akin, Editor, pp. 474-475
Only a deistic mind, if that, would venture to take what God has created for His own glory and distort it in such a way as to symbolize His acceptance and affirmation of a behavioral lifestyle He utterly detests.
On the other hand, the theistic mind acknowledges the significance of the rainbow for what God Himself designed it to be.
God said, “This is the sign of the covenant which I am making between Me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all successive generations; I set My bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a sign of a covenant between Me and the earth. It shall come about, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the bow will be seen in the cloud, and I will remember My covenant, which is between Me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and never again shall the water become a flood to destroy all flesh.” – Genesis 9:12-15 (NASB)
These contrasting paradigms are what University of Loyola-Chicago philosopher, Paul Moser, describes as thin theism (the belief that it is epistemologically rational, at least for some people, to believe that God exists) and robust theism (that a deep, filial knowledge of God is what He requires of us).
“The chief human deficiency regarding God is not in our explanatory or intellectual abilities but is rather in our moral orientation regarding authority, or lordship, over our lives. So, desiring genuine reconciliation, the true God would not settle for thin theism but would promote cognitively robust theism, the view that we epistemically should lovingly believe in, or trust, God as the Lord of our lives.” – “Cognitive Idolatry and Divine Hiding”, in Divine Hiddenness: New Essays, Daniel Howard Snyder and Paul K. Moser, pp. 125-126
In contemplating this theological reality, one cannot help but wonder why proponents of the LGBT agenda would choose a rainbow as the symbol of what they stand for.
Think about it.
Given its true biblical origins, no symbol could be more antithetical to the LGBT agenda than that of a rainbow. The only explanation I can come up with for such profound ignorance is pride which, irony of ironies, is something those who subscribe to and support the LGBT agenda take such, well, pride in, in propagating (e.g. “Gay Pride” this and “Lesbian Pride” that).
But theirs is not the kind of pride in which one should boast, for although God’s love indeed does extend to every person, contrary to what many believe, it is not an open-ended love that is without boundaries or devoid of consequences when we willingly choose to disobey Him.
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.” – John 3:16-20 (NASB)
“He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.” – John 3:36 (NASB)
The danger of “thin theism” is that it fails to take into account the immutability of God, that is, that He does not change.
God does not change because He cannot change.
God is equally holy as He is loving. He is equally wrathful as He is merciful. And though His holiness is not an attribute that is often spoken of in today’s post-Christian America, the symbolism of the rainbow is extremely important to God. Like marriage itself, it is God who created the rainbow and who gives it meaning and significance, not man.
“God’s grace is not infinite. God is infinite, and God is gracious. We experience the grace of an infinite God, but grace is not infinite. God sets limits to His patience and forbearance. He warns us over and over again that someday the ax will fall and His judgment will be poured out.” – Dr. R.C. Sproul, The Holiness of God
To distort what the rainbow truly represents is a direct affront to God, whose holiness is in no way negated by the love He bears even for those who choose to disparage what He has created for His own glory.
The theist understands this.
The deist does not.
Humbly in Christ,
The Holiness of God (Teaching Series) by Dr. R.C. Sproul
Gays Need More Than Our Rebuke, They Need Our Gospel (Rick Thomas)