This answer to another question makes a strong case that Genesis 2:24 refers to conception as the thing that makes two into "one flesh". If so, then it seems same-sex activities would not result in "one flesh". However, even if it refers to the sex act itself, does it not seem to be written as either assuming or asserting male-female coitus specifically?:

[Gen 2:22-25 CSB] (22) Then the LORD God made the rib he had taken from the man into a woman and brought her to the man. (23) And the man said: This one, at last, is bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh; this one will be called "woman," for she was taken from man. (24) This is why a man leaves his father and mother and bonds with his wife, and become one flesh. (25) Both the man and his wife were naked, yet felt no shame.

I'm wondering if this distinction is at all present in Paul's singling out of "fornication" in his list of sins, saying that it uniquely is a sin against his body:

[1Co 6:15-18 NLT] (15) Don't you realize that your bodies are actually parts of Christ? Should a man take his body, which is part of Christ, and join it to a prostitute? Never! (16) And don't you realize that if a man joins himself to a prostitute, he becomes one body with her? For the Scriptures say, "The two are united into one." (17) But the person who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with him. (18) Run from sexual sin! No other sin so clearly affects the body as this one does. For sexual immorality is a sin against your own body.

In other words, in a same sex union or copulation, does the "joining" and "becoming one flesh" occur? Or does that only happen as a result of heterosexual copulation, and presumably by the fact that an offspring ensues that is a genetic fusion of the two parents?

  • I’m trying to understand the question. A) Are you asking if Adam and Eve were united/one-flesh/echad at the point of coitus? Only during coitus? From the point of the first coitus onwards? B) are you asking if this one-flesh is limited to heterosexual coitus? But where does it say the prostitute is a female? Or the believer is a male? The Hebrew I’d argue says that Adam and Eve were united flesh. And this echad is not limited to coitus but would include ambitions, desires, dreams, direction, purpose, pulling in the same direction with the same motivation. Commented Nov 6, 2019 at 23:14
  • Moses seems to specify the sex of the parties become one flesh, does he not? My question is whether or not that means that same sex activities do not result in "one flesh". It seems to me that platonic love alone could not be alone in becoming "one flesh" though that line doesn't seem to be drawn; except in the choice of words of "one flesh".
    – Ruminator
    Commented Nov 6, 2019 at 23:21
  • Moses specifies the genders because he is speaking of marriage, Apostle Paul is speaking of extra-marital activities or unions outside the permissible union of a man and woman in marriage-covenant. Therefore all and any prostitute unions are included and not excluded Commented Nov 6, 2019 at 23:27
  • @NihilSineDeo Can you please provide some evidence to that effect?
    – Ruminator
    Commented Nov 6, 2019 at 23:29
  • “Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the *sexually immoral person sins against his own body.”* ‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭6:18‬ ‭this includes all sexual sins committed with the body. It even includes masturbation. Commented Nov 6, 2019 at 23:33

3 Answers 3


Full disclosure: I am heterosexual and have lived in a heterosexual marriage of over 40 years. I do not condone homosexual behavior but still believe that people are free to make their personal decisions and I do not interfere. That is a matter between them and God as are all ethical questions.


Now to the OP's question about Gen 2:24. God is clearly talking about the copulation that would ensue between Adam and Eve by making a statement of general principle. Does the "one flesh" idea apply to any and all copulation or just heterosexual copulation?

I believe the answer is two-fold:

  1. According to 1 Cor 6:15, 16, sexual activity with a prostitute (which is clearly illicit) still unites the two participants and they become one flesh. Note that there is no question of procreation here at all. Therefore, according to this verse, sexual activity unites the participants and they become one flesh.
  2. Psychologically, sex is a powerful bonding experience which I believe is one of the factors that allows many marriages to succeed at all with flawed humans. Since this is a non-biblical part of the answer, I will not discuss this too far other than to observe that current psychological evidence strongly supports what Paul says in point (1) above.

If this is true, while God's pronouncement in gen 2:24 is aimed squarely at heterosexual relationships, marriage specifically, I see no reason to exclude non-heterosexual activity from the bonding activity. Whether such is acceptable behavior or not (see Rom 1:24ff for evidence that Paul was against it) is another matter.

I also pause to observe that while sexual activity, statistically speaking VERY rarely results in procreation (look at the ratio of sexual acts to conceptions even in ancient times to realize that the ratio was well below 1% suggesting that the primary function of sex was not procreation), it was not excluded. This contributes another reason for the prohibition of sex outside heterosexual marriage in the Torah and NT.

  • Hi Dottard. Do you happen to have a source for the 1% statistic? Thanks.
    – Ruminator
    Commented Aug 14, 2020 at 13:30
  • I think I'll wait for a study, thanks. I do know that in the USA (which has low birth rates compared to Muslim countries, Catholic countries and others) that the average number of children per family was 1.93 in 2019. statista.com/statistics/718084/… So leaving and cleaving does statistically result in children as a rule, not the exception. In a time without conception, biologically speaking, a man sleeping with a female prostitute is at least a one in five chance of conception.
    – Ruminator
    Commented Aug 14, 2020 at 21:22
  • webmd.com/baby/…. There "they shall become one flesh" is pretty much a given in my scenario. But I cannot see any mechanism by which coitus with a prostitute that does not result in pregnancy would effect "one flesh". Can you explain the mechanism? The only other biological mechanism might be bursting the hymen, resulting in blood being shed, would could be construed as some kind of blood covenant, but it would be rare to encounter that scenario on the streets.
    – Ruminator
    Commented Aug 14, 2020 at 21:22
  • HOW do you see "become one flesh" working, biologically?
    – Ruminator
    Commented Aug 14, 2020 at 21:35
  • I understand why you might think that. Peace out.
    – Ruminator
    Commented Aug 14, 2020 at 22:24

The Hebrew term 'LeVasar Echad' or in English "into-Flesh One" (לְבָשָׂ֥ר אֶחָֽד) found in [Bereishit (Genesis) 2:24] refers to birth of 'one' (אֶחָֽד) child conceived in marriage, not the marriage - explained later in Genesis 29:32.

In Bereishit (Genesis) 29:32, we learn the purpose of marriage was to conceive (תַּ֤הַר) 'Tahar' and to give birth (תֵּ֣לֶד) 'Teled' to a child which would be raised to bring more glory to God.

  • Through Leah's child not marriage, the world would receive God's Law (10 Commandments) from Moshe the descendant of Leah's son Levi.  Through Leah's child not marriage, the world would receive God's Salvation (Yeshua) from the anointed descendant of her son Judah.

Consider Adam's statement regarding God's conception of Ishah as the 'Vasar MiBesari' in Genesis 2:32 : "This time, it is bone of my bones - and #flesh of my flesh (וּבָשָׂ֖ר מִבְּשָׂרִ֑י)".

  • Adam is praising God's creation of Ishah (אִשָּׁ֔ה), and later in Genesis 3:20 celebrates his own conception of a child with his #wife by renaming Ishah -> Chavah (חַוָּ֑ה ) the 'Mother of all-Life' (אֵ֥ם כָּל־חָֽי). In honor of His own ability to conceive children, God states in Genesis 3:22 "Behold the Adam has become like one of us" ( הֵ֤ן הָֽאָדָם֙ הָיָה֙ כְּאַחַ֣ד מִמֶּ֔נּוּ) in reference to Adam's conception of a child with Chavah.
  • Are you saying this as evidence that the intent of marriage is intrinsically male-female because the purpose is procreation? That seems clear enough. The question centers more around whether the physical act itself, regardless of whether it is male-female or not, results in one flesh. This may be unanswerable definitively because it doesn't seem to be explicitly stated how it works or even what it means. I think it implies conception but I don't guess it can be "proved".
    – Ruminator
    Commented Aug 14, 2020 at 13:50
  • Consider Adam's statement regarding the conception of Ishah in Genesis 2:32 : "This time, it is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh". - Adam is praising God's creation of Ishah (אִשָּׁ֔ה), and later in Genesis 3:20 celebrates his own conception of a child renaming Ishah -> Chavah (חַוָּ֑ה ) the 'Mother of all-Life' ( אֵ֥ם כָּל־חָֽ). In honor of His own ability to conceive children, God states in Genesis 3:22 "Behold the Adam has become like one of us" in reference to Adam's conception of a child with Chavah. Commented Aug 14, 2020 at 14:26
  • 1
    I think I see. Whereas Eve was taken out of Adam and was thus flesh of his flesh, so only in procreation do the offspring of both the male and female become one flesh. It is the "taking out of" that matters in both cases. I like it. Can you add that to your answer? Thanks. PS: "Taken out from" as opposed to "penetrated into"!
    – Ruminator
    Commented Aug 14, 2020 at 14:40

Whatever one might want to read into Genesis 2:24, God made his intent clear when He codified it in the Law given to Moses:

22Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.
Leviticus 18:22 (KJV)

Such an act was so grievous an attack on the general health and welfare of the community that it attracted the highest possible penalty:

13If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.
Leviticus 20:13 (KJV)

The LORD didn't create automatons, but beings with the same capacity He, Himself, has: to pursue the desires of the heart. However, He would have been an irresponsible father had He not made it abundantly clear how He would have His children behave. His intent regarding His Law is unmistakable:

19I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:
Deuteronomy 30:19 (KJV)

Anything prohibited by the Law of the LORD will be seen, by those who have regard for the Law, as something that will impact their life in the land in a negative way. Same-sex coitus is clearly prohibited by the Law of the LORD, and if one's desire is to please Him in preference to oneself, then how one ought to behave in regard to it is a no brainer.

So, yes, as far as the LORD is concerned, and anyone else of a like heart (whose desire is to live and prosper in the land), Genesis 2:24 speaks exclusively to male-female copulation.

Additional Comments

It has been suggested in a comment by the OP that I have missed the point of the question.

However, nowhere else in Scripture is the expression "one flesh" used in regard to any other union than that of "a man and a woman". The expression is exclusive.

Jesus, prefacing his answer to the Pharisees' question concerning divorce, said:

4... Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, 5And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh
6Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.

Matthew 19:4-6 (KJV)

So, when a man decides to leave his father and mother and "cleave to his wife", then they are no longer two, but one.

Jesus goes on to say, "What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder. So the "one flesh" union, i.e. the joining of a man (male) and his wife (female), is an act of God.

So, what constitutes "the union"? The article on Marriage in Judaism at the Jewish Virtual Library has this to say,

Mishnah Kiddushin 1:1 specifies that a woman is acquired (i.e., to be a wife) in three ways: through money, a contract, and sexual intercourse. Ordinarily, all three of these conditions are satisfied, although only one is necessary to effect a binding marriage.

For those who might be distracted by the words "through money", I would suggest following the link and reading the whole of the article.

So, in the opinion of the Rabbis, coitus between a man (male) and a woman (female) is only one means by which a binding marriage might be effected. Nevertheless, in the eyes of the LORD, as expressed by Jesus, once a man takes a woman as his wife, "What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder."

So, reiterating my previous conclusion: as far as the LORD is concerned, and anyone else of a like heart (whose desire is to live and prosper in the land), Genesis 2:24 speaks exclusively to male-female copulation.

Since man in not an automaton and has a God-given capacity to pursue his own desires, he is free to engage in whatever activities to which he might be inclined. However, to pursue desires that are contrary to what the LORD has approved, and teach others to do so, will have very predictable consequences:

26Ye shall therefore keep my statutes and my judgments, and shall not commit any of these abominations; neither any of your own nation, nor any stranger that sojourneth among you: 27( For all these abominations have the men of the land done, which were before you, and the land is defiled;) 28That the land spew not you out also, when ye defile it, as it spewed out the nations that were before you.
Leviticus 18:26-28 (KJV)

  • Hi enegue. Always glad to see you here. However, I think you may have missed the point of the question. The question relates only to what qualifies as "one flesh". Or rather, how does one "become one flesh?". For example, does signing a marriage certificate constitute becoming one flesh? Vaginal penetration? Vows? Anal penetration also? Or might it be exclusively conception, where the offspring embodies a wealth of both the male and female?
    – Ruminator
    Commented Aug 15, 2020 at 1:50
  • 1
    @Ruminator Yes, I'm still here. :-)
    – enegue
    Commented Aug 15, 2020 at 1:54

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