Earlier this week, I clicked on a link to an article which displayed a Facebook page of someone who claimed to be a Christian, but was hurling hatred toward homosexuals. It infuriated me. I feel a need to clarify the biblical perspective on homosexuality. There are non-Christians in our culture who are seeing all of this hate-speech, and rejecting the God of the Bible because of His followers’ idiocracy. And there are Christians who are honestly confused over how they should feel about homosexuality, and how they should treat homosexuals.
This will be a two-part attempt at clarifying the biblical stance on homosexuality. In this post, I’ll discuss the biblical position and compare that to some current secular claims. In the next, I’ll discuss how this information should affect Christians.
Let it be first understood that I am a biblicist. I believe that the Bible is true, reliable, and accurate, and that it is, on its own, “profitable for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work,” (2 Tim. 3:16-17). It is not a god, but it does reveal “the” God.
Many times, when discussing the issue with Christians and non-Christians alike, I hear that the Bible “doesn’t condemn homosexuality.” Section I here will be dedicated to the instances in scripture (both Old Testament and New) that treat homosexuality as a sin…
Section I. The Bible on Homosexuality.
Genesis 19 – This is the story of Sodom and Gomorrah. Two angels visit Lot, outside the city and the men of the city demand that Lot hand them over so that they may “know them.” Many translations even read, “so that we may have sex with them.” Some more recent translators argue that the men of Sodom just wanted to understand who the men were, but that is not consistent with what the rest of the context says. Verse 8 tells us that Lot offers his virgin daughters as a substitute for what the men of Sodom were wanting. Whether that substitution was “right” or “wrong” is not the issue here. Sodom’s men wanted to have sex with the men in Lot’s home. So why is this bad? Verse 7 describes what the men of Sodom were wanting to do as “evil.” (In the New Testament, Jude vs. 7 recalls this event, and the common practice of sexual immorality in Sodom and Gomorrah, and re-testifies that homosexuality is a sin against God.)
Leviticus 18:22-24 – Part of the Law given to the people by God Himself, through Moses: “you are not to sleep with a man as with a woman; it is detestable. You are not to have sexual intercourse with any animal… …a woman is not to present herself to an animal to mate with it…” Verses 23 and 24 says these things “defile” a person. Verse 22 says it is “detestable.”
Leviticus 20:13-21 – This part of God’s OT Law puts man-with-man sexual relationships in the same category as incest and bestiality.
Judges 19:16-23 – A story that is either a repeat of Genesis 19 from above, or more likely, another incident describing the same basic thing. The men of the city want to have sex with the men in the house, and the Bible calls it “evil” and a “horrible thing” (verse 23).
I Kings 14:24, 15:12, 22:46, and II Kings 23:7 – These are instances where the Hebrew word קָדֵשׁ describes men (it is a masculine noun) who have consecrated themselves to the worship of Astarte or Venus (ancient Serian gods of sex and pleasure) by prostituting themselves to other men for money in pagan temples. The word is translated “sodomite.” In every instance, the act is considered an “abomination” to God.
Romans 1:26-27 – Perhaps the most convincing of all the biblical text that homosexuality is a sin. Men were “inflamed with their lust for one another… …committed shameless acts with males” and women “exchanged” natural intercourse with what is unnatural. In verse 28, God deems this “worthless/reprobate” (ἀδόκιμον) and “morally wrong/shameful,” (καθήκοντα).
I Corinthians 6:9 – Paul, here, lumps homosexual offenders and those “male prostitutes” from earlier with thieves, drunkards, greedy people, liars, and adulterers who will not inherit God’s kingdom. We’ll come back to this verse in the next post. It tells us that homosexuality, though a sin, is not a “greater” sin than any other.
I Timothy 1:9-10 – In this letter, Paul tells us that God’s Law (from earlier in this post) condemns those who are sexually immoral ( πόρνοις) and those who are homosexual (ἀρσενοκοίταις). Once again, these two sins are not singled out – they are lumped together with those who are unholy, irreverent, murderers, and liars.
FYI – These are examples of CON-HOMOSEXUALITY. There are also countless examples of PRO-HETEROSEXUALITY (as the “right” way of living, and as God’s design for sex and family).
Now, Section II in this post will discuss some of the secular/scientific argument(s) for PRO-HOMOSEXUALITY. Then, of course, I will raise some questions/concerns with these arguments.
Section II. The Culture and Homosexuality.
THE BIOLOGICAL ARGUMENT
Much of the modern-day biological debate for homosexuality is founded in the work of D.F. Swaab and M.A. Hofman (1990 research). So that we can be on the same page, and so that you have a fair chance to view both sides of this argument (theirs, and mine), I’ve included a link where you can download the .pdf file. You can download and read Swaab and Hofman’s research, article, and conclusions here: http://depot.knaw.nl/668/.
The general principle here is that deceased homosexual men showed an increase in size and volume of the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) – a section of the brain known to be involved with one’s “biological clock,” but now (after this study, mind you) thought to be involved in sexual preference and reproduction as well. The primary, overall conclusion of the authors of the paper is that “the SDN data do not support the global hypothesis that homosexual men have a female brain.” NOTE: The “SDN data.” Their official conclusion did not even address the SCN. It addressed the SDN – sexually dimorphic nucleus – a completely separate part of the brain. Unofficially, however, the authors allude to the assertion that an enlarged SCN is the biological reason for homosexuality in men.
Firstly, let me present some scientific problems with this research. (1) The sample size was hardly enough to make this important of a conclusion. Only 14 individuals (it says 18 at one point, and then in the same paragraph and for the rest of the paper, it says 10 homosexual men and 4 heterosexual men) were studied. There needs to be much more research on this with samples from all over the globe (or country at least) that are representative of the entire population, not just one small geographic area. (2) The control group consisted of 4 heterosexual males, and the variable group of 10 homosexual males. Every good scientist knows that the control should be at least equal to the variable. For instance, what if those four heterosexual males are not representative of the entire population (close to 3 billion worldwide, I’m estimating) of heterosexual males? (3) Every one of the subjects (both heterosexual and homosexual) died of AIDS. The scientists themselves admit in the last section of this article that this could seriously hinder the results of experimentation. They suggest that “homosexual men who did not die of AIDS should certainly be studied in the future.”
Secondly, let’s look at other possible conclusions. One possibility brought up, but quickly glossed-over in this paper is that during early years of development, different interactions with sex hormones could affect the size and matter of the SCN. Why is this not a HUGE topic???!!! Even secular Behavioral Psychologists such as B.F. Skinner would agree that the amount of and kind of interaction with a child/adolescent during developmental stages seriously affects an individual biologically, emotionally, and socially. While Skinner would conclude this means it is not the individual’s “fault,” at least he recognizes the influence of the outside world on behavior and sexual orientation. If this idea were to be concluded, it would indeed mean that individuals are NOT “born” with an enlarged SCN. Another possible conclusion is that (if we approach it with a biblical world-view, agreeing with the Bible that homosexuality is sin) sin corrupts the emotions, spirit, and biology of an individual. As a supporting note here, it is proven through research that schizophrenia and other health issues also cause enlargement in different regions of the brain. Children are not born schizophrenic. It is a learned, developed behavior/mental health problem.
Thirdly, let’s take this to the next level. If homosexuality is a genetic response to a biological or biochemical deformity (which is what this boils down to), then is excessive aggression also? Have we done a study on death-row inmates’ corpses in which we examine the amygdala and prefrontal cortex of the brain (thought to be related to aggression)? If these areas are abnormal when compared to the control group, would we then justify the aggressive behavior as a biological deformity, as these scientists are attempting to justify homosexuality?
I don’t want to get too caught up in the biological argument. I just want you to see that there is no solid evidence for a biological cause of homosexuality. Let me move on to the Postmodern argument.
THE POSTMODERN ARGUMENT
This is a more recent development which assumes that “This is how I am because this is how I feel.” It leads to questions like, “Why would God create me this way (or let me ‘feel this way’) if it’s a sin?”It is an argument based on personal emotion/feeling which is grounded in experience and a humanistic/relativistic idea of truth.
I have no doubt that many people are inclined toward homosexual tendency. I have never said that homosexuality doesn’t exist, or is a figment of the imagination. I believe some people really struggle with same-sex attraction. “Well then, how can you argue against it, Tony?”…
We all have our struggles… spiritual struggles, that is… Some struggle with the sin of gluttony. Some are compulsive liars. Some are inclined to theft, lust, or rage. Each of these sins is real, and repugnant to Almighty God. Christians who constantly struggle with lust, for instance, must set boundaries for themselves and put their actions and feelings in check. When we’re struggling with alcoholism or drug addiction, we join a support group. When we are constantly angry at others, we go to counseling in an attempt to control our fits of rage. Why do we do these things? Because we are genuinely struggling with sin.
The Bible, throughout its pages, tells the story of an originally perfect creation which has been almost completely disfigured from the effects of sin. People hate each other. Disease and sickness take lives. Beautiful creation withers and fades. Individuals are influenced by sin and enticed to rebel against God and His standard of holiness. Seems hopeless, right? Well, it’s not.
Just as the liar is offered forgiveness and salvation if he confesses it as sin, repents, and places his life inside Christ Jesus… so is the murderer… so is the adulterer… so is the thief… so is the homosexual. The battles we face, the sin we so desperately must elude, are conquerable through a relationship with Christ Jesus.
CONCLUSION: The Bible declares homosexual activity as sin, just as it does lying, theft, adultery, etc. The culture’s arguments for genetic causation and progressivistic justification are lacking. The Bible offers hope for freedom from sin through the person of Jesus Christ.
You’ll notice that I’ve disabled comments for this post. I do want your comments – but I want you to read all of Part 2 (my next post) first. Comments are allowed on the Part 2 page… but only in a constructive, collaborative, non-condemning manner.
You can go straight to the Part 2 by clicking HERE.
Grace and Peace,