What Does God Have To Say About It?   4 comments

Quick recap of prior posts here and here.

The question of the legitimacy of the homosexual lifestyle is a question of what God has to say about it. If there is no God, then there is no right and wrong, and it doesn’t make any difference what lifestyle you choose—the persecutor of homosexuals is morally equivalent to the advocate of homosexuality. But if God does exist, we can no longer base our moral stance on our own opinions. We have to find out what God thinks on the issue.

Okay, God doesn’t hang out at Barnes & Nobel waiting for someone to ask Him what He thinks on a given issue. Christians look to the Bible and the Bible says God forbids Christians to engage in sexual immorality, which includes homosexual acts.

Here’s the reasoning:

  • Christians are obligated to do God’s will.
  • God’s will is expressed in the Bible.
  • The Bible forbids homosexual behavior.
  • Therefore, homosexual behavior is against God’s will and is wrong.

To resist this reasoning requires that you either deny that God’s will is expressed in the Bible or deny that the Bible forbids homosexual activities.

We are talking about behavior here, not orientation. This is an important distinction. Being homosexual is a state or an orientation. A person who has a homosexual orientation might not ever express that orientation in actions. By contrast, a person could engage in homosexual acts even if he has a heterosexual orientation. The Bible condemns is homosexual actions (behavior), not having a homosexual orientation. The idea of a person’s being a homosexual by orientation springs from modern psychology and may have been unknown to people in the ancient world. What they were familiar with was homosexual acts, which is what the Bible forbids.

There are enormous implications in this distinction. The whole debate about whether homosexuality is something you were born with or is a result of how you were raised really doesn’t matter in this discussion. Your orientation is not the crux of the matter. It’s what you do with it that matters. Some defenders of homosexuality are very anxious to prove that your genes, not your upbringing, determine if you’re homosexual because then homosexual behavior is normal and right, but the Bible doesn’t allow that option. Just because you’re genetically disposed to some behavior doesn’t mean that behavior is morally right. Some researchers suspect a genetic predisposition for some people to become alcoholics. My husband would be one of those. He does not get an excuse from the Bible or from society if his drinking disturbs the peace. He’s expected, if he can’t control his drinking, to abstain from alcohol so as to prevent misbehavior. The sober truth is that we don’t fully understand the roles of heredity and environment in homosexuality and it doesn’t really matter. Even if homosexuality were completely genetic, that fact alone still wouldn’t make it any different than a birth defect, like a cleft palate or epilepsy. That doesn’t mean it’s normal and that we shouldn’t try to correct it.

People don’t generally choose to be homosexual. Many homosexuals testify how agonizing it is to find yourself with these desires and to fight against them, and they’ll tell you they would never choose to be that way. The Bible doesn’t condemn a person because he has a homosexual orientation. The Bible condemns homosexual acts. It is perfectly possible to be a homosexual and be a born-again, Spirit-filled Christian.

Just as my sober husband stands up at an AA meeting and says, “I am an alcoholic,” so a homosexual who is living straight and keeping himself pure ought to be able to stand up in a prayer meeting and say, “I am a homosexual, but by God’s grace and the power of the Holy Spirit, I’m living chastely for Christ.” I have heard that statement and was pleased that the Christians there welcomed the speaker as a brother in Christ.

But, does the Bible forbid homosexual behavior? The Bible is so realistic! You might not expect it to mention a topic like homosexual behavior, but in fact there are three in the Old Testament and three in the New Testament where this issue is directly addressed. In all six of these passages homosexual acts are unequivocally condemned. Then there are all those passages dealing with marriage and sexuality which have implication for this issue.

  • Leviticus 18.22 — It is an abomination for a man to lie with another man as with a woman.
  • Leviticus 20.13 — The death penalty is prescribed in Israel for such an act, along with adultery, incest, and bestiality.

Sometimes homosexual advocates make light of these prohibitions by comparing them to prohibitions in the Old Testament against having contact with unclean animals like pigs. Just as Christians today don’t obey all of the Old Testament ceremonial laws, they say, we don’t have to obey the prohibitions of homosexual actions. The problem with this argument is that the New Testament reaffirms the validity of the Old Testament prohibitions of homosexual behavior, as we’ll see below. This shows they were not just part of the ceremonial laws of the Old Testament, which were done away with, but were part of God’s everlasting moral law.

We know homosexual behavior is a serious sin in God’s eyes. The third place where homosexual acts are mentioned in the Old Testament is the Genesis 19 description of the attempted gang rape of Lot’s visitors by the men of Sodom. God destroyed the city of Sodom because of their wickedness.

The New Testament also forbids homosexual behavior. In I Corinthians 6.9-10 Paul wrote, “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Do not be decieved: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the Kingdom of God.” The words in the list translated “men who practice homosexuality” refer in Greek literature to the passive and the active partners in male homosexual intercourse (I checked this with two Greek scholars I know).The second of these two words is also listed in I Timothy 1.10 along with fornicators, slave traders, liars, and murderers as “contrary to the sound teaching of the Gospel.”

The most lengthy treatment of homosexual activity comes in Romans 1.24-28 where Paul talks about how people turned away from the Creator God and begun to worship false gods of their own making:

Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.

For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.

Liberal scholars have done acrobatics to try to explain away the clear sense of these verses. Some have said that Paul is only condemning the pagan practice of men’s sexually exploiting young boys, but that ignores the clear wording in verses 24 and 27 that these homosexual acts by men were committed “with one another” and in verse 26 where he speaks of lesbian homosexual acts. Other scholars have said Paul is only condemning heterosexuals who engage in homosexual acts, not homosexuals who do. That interpretation is contrived and anachronistic. Remember that it was only in modern times that the idea of homosexual or heterosexual orientation developed. What Paul is condemning is homosexual acts, regardless of orientation. Given the Old Testament background to this passage and what Paul wrote in I Corinthians. 6.9-10 and I Timother. 1.10, it is clear that Paul is  forbidding all such acts. He sees this behavior as the evidence of a corrupted mind which has turned away from God and been abandoned by Him to moral degeneracy.

The Bible is very forthright and clear when it comes to homosexual behavior as contrary to God’s design. It is sin. Even if there weren’t all these explicit passages dealing with homosexual acts, such acts would still be forbidden under the commandment “You shall not commit adultery.” God’s plan for human sexual activity is that it is reserved for marriage: any sexual activity outside of the security of the marriage bond—whether pre-marital sex or extra-marital sex, whether heterosexual or homosexual—is forbidden. Sex is designed by God for marriage.

Someone might say that if God intended sex for marriage, then just let homosexuals marry each other and they would not be committing adultery, but that completely misunderstands God’s intention for marriage. In the creation story in Genesis, God made woman as a suitable mate for man, his perfect, God-given complement. Then it says, “For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother and shall cleave to his wife and they shall become one flesh.” This is God’s pattern for marriage, and in the New Testament Paul quotes this very passage and then says, “This is a great mystery and I am applying it to Christ and the church” (Ephesian 5.32). Paul says that the union between a man and his wife is a living symbol of the unity of Christ with His people, the Church.

Viewed in this light, homosexual behavior is a mockery of God’s plan. It flies in the face of God’s intention for humanity from the moment of creation.

No, Jesus never specifically condemned homosexual behavior, but He also did not specifically mention lots of things which we know are wrong, like bestiality or torture. His silence does not mean he approved of those activities. What Jesus does do is quote from Genesis to affirm God’s pattern for marriage as the basis for his own teaching on divorce. In Mark 10.6-8, He says, “From the beginning of creation, God made them male and female. For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and the two shall become one flesh. Consequently, they are no longer two, but one flesh.”

For two men to become one flesh in homosexual intercourse would be a violation of God’s created order and intent. He created man and woman to be indissolubly united in marriage, not two men or two women.

The Bible makes itself clear, so there can be no argument that the Bible allow some wiggle room on homosexual behavior. It is sin, according to the Bible. But maybe Christians are required to follow the Bible or maybe the Bible as we have it does not reflect the true will of God.

We’ll look at that.

4 responses to “What Does God Have To Say About It?

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  1. Pingback: Who Am I to Say? | aurorawatcherak

  2. I have never seen it stated more clearly than you have done here!

    Like

  3. Pingback: What’s So Wrong? | aurorawatcherak

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