What does the Bible say about Homosexuality? Helps on answering pro-homosexuality arguments.
The pro-homosexual movement in its "religious" element has put forth arguments to justify the practice of homosexuality from their understanding of the Bible. In this blog we shall examine their arguments and see how they use eisegesis (ie...reading a desired meaning INTO the text), whereas we shall seek to exegete (pull meaning OUT OF the text). The pertinent scriptures will first be given, with a brief explanation, then the position/objections of those with whom we disagree, and then our rebuttal/answer. We compare scripture to scripture and give the truth, this is called "apologetics."
First, what does the Old Testament say?
1. Leviticus 18:22 You shall not lie with a man as with a woman, it is an abomination. esv
2. Leviticus 20:13 If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall surely be put to death; their blood is upon them. esv
Comment: All agree these are clear condemnations against homosexuality in the Law of Moses as given to the nation Israel. It was considered so serious to the health of the society that God's law demanded the death penalty in ancient Israel.
Objections: Some in the homosexual movement dispute whether such prohibitions are still relevant. They do so by using the "Law is ended" argument. They quote Romans 10:4 which says: Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone that believes. What they assert is that because there are other Levitical laws that are not followed today (prohibitions about eating certain seafood or pork, wearing mixed fabric garments, etc), that it is inconsistent to pick & choose what laws we are to keep today. Or they say all such things are ended and were peculiar only to Israel. In other words, since some laws concerning 'abominable 'things aren't followed by Christians, then to be consistent, the law against sexual sin is also ended. They see an inconsistency when Christians eat shrimp, which is a Levitical abomination in Lev. 11:12, yet condemn the homosexual act which is also an "abomination."
Objections Answered: There are three primary problems with this line of thinking. First, to the unbiased inquirer, it is obvious that they are seeking to find an excuse to obtain the desired interpretation. Finding an inconsistency or even hypocrisy in others is never a way to establish truth. Instead it is an obvious attempt to justify a behavior by finding an excuse. Second, it must be recognized that here was a special people (Israel), chosen by God -to be a separated nation unto, and for, Himself. The dietary laws (besides being good for you) and the clothing, ritual, and etc., were all things that set Israel apart from the godless nations around them. The moral aspect of the law was also something that characterized them as separate. All was for their good and their separation. The moral code and its influence even outside Israel has shown to help build healthier societies in contrast to that of pagans. So while the ritual and dietary laws were peculiar to the nation Israel, and not applicable today, God does not therefore set aside moral laws of right and wrong for the mass of humanity, simply because the Law of Moses ended with regard to establishing national righteousness in ancient Israel. Moral right and wrong does not change. Dare we say that the abominations of idolatry, or child abuse (immolating) are now acceptable? The argument is self-defeating. Third, The church is not a nation in the way Israel was, ie...chosen by God to be a special national people in the earth. The church in contrast is a heavenly company and not an earthly one like Israel was (see Eph. 1:20 and 2:6). It is true that the church is a body of called out, separated people. But it has a different origin (Acts 2), calling, and destiny than Israel. Yet both ancient Israel and the Church of this age were to be holy. Israel's holiness and separation unto God included many externals that are not binding on Christians, true. This is because the church is not Israel. It is a different program in God's plan. So to summarize, the Law is not a means to righteousness for Christians nor individual Israelites. It had a ritual and moral aspect. It is worth noting that the "end of the law" in the Old Testament does not end standards of morality. We will see that the New Testament reaffirms OT teachings on right and wrong, including homosexuality. Morality doesn't change, just because ritual went away. It is outside the scope of this article to elaborate, but the "means" to which a believer in Christ can walk pleasing to God is not the law of Moses, but in so walking such a person will not be found to be willfully practicing behaviors that go against the moral laws of Moses.
3. Genesis 18:20,32 the outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grave,...I will not destroy it (Sodom) for the sake of ten (righteous men present) nkjv
4. Genesis 19:4-5,14 Now before they lay down, the men of the city, the men of Sodom, both old and young, all the people from every quarter, surrounded the house. And they called to Lot and said to him, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us that we may know them (sexually).."... So Lot went out and spoke to his sons-in-law, who had married his daughters, and said, “Get up, get out of this place; for the Lord will destroy this city!” nkjv
Comment: This was chronologically before Leviticus, and illustrates the sin of Sodom as it was first presented in scripture. The first mention principle is one in scripture which defines something; and that definition follows the topic throughout the Bible. Here the men of Sodom were so depraved that they seemed to see in the visitors fresh opportunity to indulge in their unholy revelry. Jude 7-8 gives pertinent commentary to identify the primary problem: "as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities around them in a similar manner to these, having given themselves over to sexual immorality and gone after strange flesh, are set forth as an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire. Likewise also these dreamers defile the flesh, reject authority, and speak evil of authorities." Here it is specified that the central sin of Sodom involved “sexual immorality (ἐκπορνεύσασαι) and perversion (ἀπελθοῦσαι ὀπίσω σαρκὸς ἑτέρας – literally having departed to strange or different (heteros) flesh).” This is consistent with the description of widespread homosexual practice in that city wherein those practicing this sin were "all the males": "the men of the city, Sodom, surrounded the house, from the youngest to the oldest—all the people from every quarter.." (Gen 19:4 JND) It was "strange flesh" that they sought, which was against nature. Romans 1 will further elaborate both this point and the "giving over" of Jude 7-8.
Objections: Those in the contrary position see but two violations here, and deny homosexuality as the central one. Lack of Hospitality and Gang Rape are put forth as the true sins of Sodom, rather than homosexuality.
Objections Answered: This argument fails because Jude 7-8 gives direct commentary, and tells us that neither the Inhospitality question nor Gang Rape -nor anything else- was the central problem. It was a perverted sexual immorality related to desiring "strange flesh." The Greek word here is sometimes translated as "strange" and means "different from the norm." What this tells us is that the evil attraction was to that which was different than the usual; it was in that way strange, it was abnormal. What was being sought.... instead of.... man/woman.... was.... man/man. The lack of hospitality and a gang mentality were present no doubt, but Jude clarifies for us that sexual perversion was the central sin of Sodom and Gomorrah.
5. Ezekiel 16:49-50 Behold, this was the iniquity of thy (Jerusalem's) sister Sodom: pride, fullness of bread, and careless ease (abundance of idleness) was in her and in her daughters, but she did not strengthen the hand of the poor and needy. And they were haughty, and committed abomination (destestible things) before me, and I took them away when I saw. jnd
Comment: Here Ezekiel gives a detailed list of the sins of Jersualem, comparing her guilt to Sodom's, even using the comparative terminology "your sister". This was a harsh word against the holy City, and speaks of a deep departure of the nation from her place before God as a separated nation. The word for "abomination" (sometimes translated 'detestable') is the same Hebrew word as Leviticus 18:22 above.
Objections: Here the contrary party believes he has us, where the sin of Sodom is said to be pride, obesity, abundance of idleness, careless ease, and lack of care for the poor. These are vices and sins indeed.
Objections Answered: Homosexuality is not the sole reason for the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. If anything, Ezekiel gives an indictment that the sins of later Jerusalem and therefore of earlier Sodom included Homosexuality as well as other displeasing behaviors. The word for detestible things is the same word as abomination in Leviticus 18:22 translated "abominations". It is obvious to the impartial reader that homosexuality is the abominable issue that Ezekiel condemns Jerusalem for, as well as the other things listed. Those seeking to justify homosexuality are good at quoting Ezekiel 16:49, but regularly ignore 16:50. Their end goal is to insist that the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah was inhospitality. "The men of Sodom and Gomorrah were certainly being inhospitable. There is probably nothing more inhospitable than homosexual gang rape. But to say God completely destroyed two cities and all their inhabitants for being inhospitable clearly misses the point. While Sodom and Gomorrah were guilty of many other horrendous sins, homosexuality was the reason God poured fiery sulfur on the cities, completely destroying them and all of their inhabitants. To this day, the area where Sodom and Gomorrah were located remains a desolate wasteland. Sodom and Gomorrah serve as a powerful example of how God feels about sin in general, and homosexuality specifically..." (from gotquestions.org)
We now turn to the New Testament.
First let us recall an assertion the pro homosexual interpreter gave, that Christ is the end of the law (Rom 10:4) ie...that there is a supposed cancellation of all Levitical prohibitions. If that be true we should see no repeat of the prohibitions in the New Testament. But we find that there are moral issues presented in the NT, for example: The Law of Moses said DO NOT STEAL. In Ephesians 4:28 it says LET HIM THAT STOLE, STEAL NO MORE. Morality didn't end with the Law of Moses & Romans 10:4. It continues to the present. With that in mind, we turn to the NT concerning homosexuality:
6. Romans 1:22-27 "...they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things. Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due. nkjv
Comment: This passage was quoted at length for context. A downward progression in the human condition takes place as he rebels against God's order.
► Futile thinking
► Dark hearts
► Exchanged glory
► a Judicial giving over by God
► Dishonor/Lust/vile Passions
► Exchange of natural for unnatural
► Receipt of just penalty.
A simple and honest reading of the passage shows that men are born sinners and can progress downward in sin. When men insist on shaking their fists at God He gives them over to their hearts desire. This is sombre.
Objections: The contrary party here gets creative. A common assertion reads something like this: ...that in biblical times same-sex misbehavior was primarily between men and adolescent boys via prostitution, generally by men who were married to women. This took varied forms from within temple prositution. Thus they assert that what is in view here isn't the "men lying with men" like Leviticus 18, but something else. "Abuses" are therefore in view, rather than "natural" love. They say Paul is against the unnatural love of married men and boys in temple prostitution. So goes the arguments, along these lines.
Objections answered: Basically this argument presses on the text an unnatural, though albeit creative, cultural argument. But what Paul is actually doing in Romans 1 is showing the rebellion of the heathen world against God. And in doing so he uses homosexuality as a pointed illustration. We must notice it is the FUNCTION of the woman that man leaves to lust for other men. That may seem a bit coarse and abrupt, but is necessary to point out to help explain things. In this context the function of the woman is as a recipient (in marriage of course) of the males sexual capabilities. Men abandoned that natural use to engage in homosexual activities. Therefore the judgment is against that which is AGAINST the clear and Natural Design of God. Genesis 2:23-25 gives the natural relationship: Adam said: “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed. Matthew 19:4–6 also shows the natural relationship: “Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? ‘So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.’”
By the way, the Gay rights movement and the sexual "freedom" people ever seek to lower the age of consent, heading right towards older men and younger boys. It has happened extensively in Western Europe already.
Seeking the unnatural relationship, brings its own just reward.
7. 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor catamites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God. nkjv
Comment: Here there are several types of sinful men categorized by particular behaviors. They are those who will not inherit the kingdom of God. Included are homosexuals, and catamites (those who submit to homosexuals).
Objections: Various explanations are given, usually prefaced by "we don't know how to translate all these ancient words." Other diversions are that the two words in question mean (instead of homosexual/catamite) soft men, dirty old men, moral softness, male prostitutes. In short, it is argued that either we have it wrong, or one cannot be sure, and by proposing doubt, clarity in the passage is obscured.
Objections answered: We quote here from bible.org: "...Some have raised questions about the two Greek words for homosexual activity in this verse. They would interpret them as referring only to a moral softness (μαλακος), and to a male prostitute (αρσενοκοιτης). However this kind of translation disagrees with the premier Biblical Greek Lexicon (BDAG). Beyond that it essentially disagrees with most (if not all) the other standard English lexicons and is not a good translation for these words here. Thus these words in context do refer to the two different roles in homosexual relationships..." That is the homosexual and the catamite. The agressor and the passive. It makes one unclean to think of such things.
We are glad that the Corinthian verse is last in the present study. Why? Because of this phrase: "and such were some of you." This is a tremendous grace and it gives a real hope. It tells that among those believers in Corinth, were those who were previously practicing fornicators, adulterers, thieves, and ........ homosexuals.
God is in the business of redeeming and changing lives.
• What about lesbianism? Answer: The same things apply to women, as men, in this context.
• Aren't people born this way? Answer: Yes and no. All men are born sinners with the Adamic, fallen, sinful nature. The propensity to various sins differs for different people. Far from excusing it, this explains things greatly. How? The increasing cultural ignorance about the historic Fall of Man, has done more harm by confusing this and other ills of the human race as to their root cause. Its loss has done more harm than any other lost doctrine. To say that "I was born this way" and that it must therefore be acceptable because of genetics is a terrible argument, that could be said of pedophilia, thievery, lust, and a host of sins. Man is born a sinner, that is why he sins. This is the doctrine of the "fall" and the depravity of man (Romans 1:18-3:20) He doesn't become a sinner the first time he sins- it is by birth. There can be victory through Christ over the most besetting of sins.
• This is so judgmental. Answer: Yes it is. All humans are aware of evil in themselves and the world around them. We are born into a sinful race. Man is utterly depraved and utterly in need of a Savior. Our sins may differ but the Savior remains the same. Remember above where it says "and such were some of you." The Christian isn't the judge, he/she is the ambassador of God pleading with people to be reconciled to God.
• This is intolerant. Answer: Yes it is. God is not tolerant of any sin. This is just one of many sins, but its position in Romans 1 is especially emphasized. God is so intolerant of sin that He sent His Son to the cross as a sin bearer, there was no one else sufficiently or morally capable to meet the need. This is LOVE. Keep in mind also that those pressing the contrary opinion are equally intolerant. The question is, who and what is true & right?
• Why so much emphasis on this topic? Answer: Two reasons. 1. is that the culture around us is emphasizing it and so answers are given. 2. In the context of Romans 1, it appears to be a crowning sin and behavior where man is given over by God judicially, so it is important. Also, it seems that the crowning sins of man have an increasing intensity in scripture near the end of the age. Unless God intervenes in temporal judgment, this is an important barometer to when the end of the age is approaching.
• Is there any hope? Answer: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. Where we differ from those pushing this agenda is what Christ said to the woman caught in adultery: Go and sin no more. Only a saved sinner can obtain God's help in such a command! We do not judge homosexuals, we merely give the warning that God does judge. He also judges the religious unregenerate man or woman. In love we point the reader to the cross of Christ, where sin's penalty was paid, Christ is risen from the dead. Repent and believe the gospel, and look to the Lord for help in overcoming sin. No one reading this is beyond reach. What about hope for those who don't want Christ and Christianity? This is a harder question, for these we cannot say much except to suggest that a culture is healthier when it is moral and has foundations of right and wrong.
• What about the inconsistency of "Christians" who have committed other sexual sins like adultery and fornication? Answer: We quote here from Peter who says "the dog returns to its vomit and the sow to wallowing in the mire" (2 Peter 2:22). There are those who profess to be Christians that practice sin, and they may or may not be converted. If they are dogs they return to their vomit eventually and stay there. If they are sheep, they return to the fold, under the discipline of God. Sometimes it is hard to tell, and for this we are sorry. God scourges every one that He receives, so time is the great sorter-out of such things. The Christian is told to shun the willful sinning "brother" who is unrepentant. There is a great danger, we find in 1 John 3, of them that "practice unrighteousness" because they are not born of God. One has said quaintly: It is not the perfection of one's life, but the direction of a life, that provides evidence of regeneration. Lastly, truth isn't invalidated because of human frailty. If human failure and even hypocrisy negates truth, then all standards of right and wrong can fall in in trash heap.
• Why don't we just let people love one another? This sounds good on the surface, but there is an individual and cultural degradation that happens with tolerated sin. The downward progression of Romans 1 can be traced and confirmed; the widespread perversion of the males in Sodom gives warning. These things tell us that it is not a benign thing to wink at sin. Love actually does what is harder; it says "no", it says "this is wrong." And it must be emphasized that a very small portion of the homosexual activity is the supposed "love" between two persons. The frequency & multitude of partners in homosexual surveys is astonishing. Look it up. On second thought, do not. Protect your thought life. Also, with regard to "leaving people be", the aggression of the Gay agenda, is where the true aggression lies. We speak the truth in love, and God judges.
A hard topic indeed. But it is not impossible to know the truth, despite the downright false teaching out there which seeks to redefine sin and make it acceptable. Last note from a fellow sinner:
Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.
- The Apostle Paul
(Note: The use of terms like "we" in this blog refers to the understood & general consensus of True Christians)
postscript: Some will argue along the the "hypocrisy" line of thinking. For example, there was an article we recently read that said something like "10 sins the church is ok with" where things like gluttony or divorce/remarriage are tolerated. This type argument that seeks to expose hypocrisy, if used in conjunction with a pro-homosexuality teaching, hardly strengthens their position. It may expose some hypocrisy in christendom, but let us not forget that christendom in itself houses the false and the true, and the presence of the false never does away with that which is true. It may sadly cloud the truth or hinder it, sadly indeed, but does not destroy the truth.