What the Bible Teaches about Homosexuality. Genesis 19
What is so significant about the Bible? The Bible informs us, it is God's communication to us, and it teaches us how to interpret everything in our experience. We can come with all kinds of things that are true with a small "t" just on the basis of empiricism or rationalism but we don't really know ultimately how to interpret things around us, society, societal functions, politics, government, law, education. All of these things ultimately are informed for the believer from the Word of God. So the Word of God becomes the starting point for all knowledge and the Word of God becomes the starting point for interpretation.
The Bible is God's Word to man, it is not just man's word about God, not man's word about his religious experience with God, it is God giving special revelation to man. And on the basis of that special revelation man is able to understand and properly interpret his environment. Because of sin, because of arrogance, and because of the way sin affects human thinking, man seeks to interpret and define his environment—whatever that entails, whether it is nature, society, government, politics, law, economics, history, any of the dimensions of human experience or human intellection—autonomously, i.e. independent of God's revelation. But the believer comes along, and because of the information that we have from the Word of God, he is able to understand what is going on in different arenas of life. Specifically, we are looking at an area involving social relationships and this comes out of our study of Sodom and Gomorrah and God's judgment on them and their sexual sins, specifically their homosexuality.
So we are asking the question: What does the Bible teach about homosexuality? We don't want to make the mistake that some extremists do of singling out homosexuality as a unique sin. The Bible does not portray it as a unique sin. There are certain elements about it that are more perverse and more damaging socially than other sins, but there are other sins that have equal or nearly equal damaging social consequences. All sin is sin before God but not all sin in the human realm has the same consequences in terms of human relationships, human society, and the success or failure of a culture. In the book of Leviticus we see that homosexuality was prohibited within the Mosaic law. Some people have a problem with this because they query how you can codify laws against sexual sin. Who is going to go around and be the sexual sin police? But id we even ask that question our presupposition for asking that question is not biblical because the New Testament commentary on the law is that the law is holy and just and perfect. The law is just, i.e. it is a perfect expression of divine justice within the human realm. So within the framework of a legislative code, which the Mosaic law was for a nation, God deemed it necessary to have criminal penalties for certain sexual sins. So we have to ask what the reason was and why it was there? We can't say it was not really enforceable so it shouldn't have been there. That implies a weakness in terms of God's omniscience, in terms of His justice and revelation. Whatever else the law is and however else it was distorted by the Pharisees we have to remember that as it stands in the Word it is a perfect code of law. That doesn't mean that the Mosaic law as a law code should be applied to any other culture because it was unique in some ways to Israel because of its theocratic status and because of its role within God's redemptive plan in history. All we are saying is that starting with the Mosaic law and previous to that in Genesis chapter nineteen it is clear that homosexuality is always viewed negatively, always viewed as a sin.
Leviticus 18:22, "You shall not lie with a male, as with a woman: it is abomination." Leviticus 20:13, "If a man also lies with a man, as he lies with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them." So it is viewed as a capital crime. That is how seriously God views this. Why is that? It goes back to the divine institutions. Let's think in terms of a biblical framework. The divine institutions begin with individual responsibility: man is responsible for the decisions he makes before God, and God will hold him accountable. That accountability relates not only to eternality but it also relates to how man as man lives in history, so that when man reaches a certain critical mass in terms of rebellion against God, God lowers the boom in historical judgment.
When God called out the nation Israel, because His purpose was to promote them as a kingdom of priests, they were to be holy sand separate as unto the Lord, and so the penalties for certain infractions were perhaps harsher than they would be in other cultures. Adultery and homosexuality both carried the death penalty because they were an attack on both divine institution #2, marriage, and divine institution #3, the family. The purpose of marriage, biblically speaking, is the propagation of the species. It is not limited to that but that is part of the purpose—the dominion mandate, to multiply and fill the earth. So this idea of propagation of the species, of producing children and family as the environment for passing values on from one generation to the next, is inherent in the divine institution of the family. When that breaks down through homosexuality, through adultery (which is an attack on marriage), and through other crimes (as they were viewed in the Mosaic law), a nation is destroyed internally.
In Romans 1:18, 24, we see God's view against homosexuality. In v. 18, 24, we see the wrath of God—historical judgment against nations and men: "For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness . . . . Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonor their own bodies between themselves . . . . For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: and likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient." All of this shows that God is giving them over to these unnatural desires. What this shows us is that the Bible views God's original creation as what is natural—what is natural is not what goes on in in what we call nature, what is natural is that which is God's intent and purpose.
1 Timothy 1:8-10, "But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully; knowing this, that the law [not the Mosaic law, but the law in general]] is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and insubordinate, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, for whoremongers, for sodomites, for kidnappers, for liars, for perjurers, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine." The purpose for law in principle is to reign in disorder, criminality and anarchy. What we see here is that sodomy and fornication are listed among many other sins. They are not singled out as special categories on sins. The word for fornicator is the Greek word PORNOS [pornoj] from which we get our English word "pornography" and it literally means fornication or immorality. The word is used forty-four times in the New Testament, always identified as sin, and fornication refers to sexual activity between two partners who are not married to each other. It involves heterosexual or homosexual activity. Sodomy, on the other hand, is the Greek word ARSENOKOITES [a)rsenokoithj] from the ARSEN [a)rshn] which is a male, plus KOITE [koith] which refers to a bed, so the root meaning of the word was two men lying in a bed and it came to mean homosexuality. This is the primary word that is used for homosexuality in the New Testament.
Another passage where homosexuality is listed among just another list of sins is in 1 Corinthians 6:9, "Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God." Again, it is located within a list of sinful activities, it is not broken out as some special category of sin. All sin is a violation of the standard of God, so all sin falls into that category and must be treated the same. The term "adulterer" is a more restricted terms, it is the Greek word MOICHOS [moixoj], and the root meaning of this word is unfaithfulness to a covenant. That is why it applies to spiritual adultery because the believer is being unfaithful to God. When it applies to marriage it is being unfaithful to the marriage contract. The word "homosexual" here is the word MALAKOS [malakoj] which in some versions is translated "effeminate." The root literal meaning had to do with that which was soft to the touch. Often it was applied to clothing that was made of a particularly soft material, and figuratively it referred to a man who was effeminate and allowed himself to be sexually abused in homosexual relationships. Then we have the word "sodomite" which is a translation of the word ARSENOKOITES, one again referring to a homosexual. There are four words there and they are all broken out as part of this list of sins in other passages such as Galatians 5:19-21, "the works of the flesh." There are other passages such as Ephesians 4, Revelation 21, which indicate that those who continuously participate in certain sins forfeit their rewards and inheritance in the kingdom. The point is that we have to understand that the Bible clearly tells us that these are sins, they are wrong.
We live in an era today when there is a homosexual political activist lobby that wants to promote the idea that homosexuality is normal and healthy, and there are no consequences for allowing homosexual relationships and same-sex marriages in our culture. This is just another sample of what is going on in terms of culture wars. We have in this country a historical foundation that was built on Judeo-Christian ethics. The thinking of the founders, whether believers or not, was informed by biblical theism, that there was a God, that that God interacted with mankind, had revealed absolutes to mankind, and they thought within this absolute framework. So they built this into the law of the land that it was necessary in order to preserve and protect the nation from the baser desires and elements within the nation, that there should be laws that applied even to sexual activity. They recognized that if there was a legal permissiveness then this would roll over into a moral permissiveness that would ultimately erode the integrity and the virtue of the nation toward its collapse. That was biblical theism, but today we operate on a worldview that is called naturalism and these are in collision.
In theism we understand that all human beings are distorted by sin. We are all warped by sin, every one of us; we have a sin nature. That sin nature has various trends that manifest themselves in different ways at different times, sin and temptation hovers over us continuously, and the only way we can resist this and the only way we can change is by application of doctrine. Whereas in naturalism you have no God, you have no absolutes; the only absolutes come out of society, and there is no sin, whatever is is okay. That is the main idea in naturalism. There is no ultimate right or wrong. In postmodernism right and wrong are just social constructs so you just need to change the social construct. In theism, homosexual attraction is abnormal. Ever since the fall we have lived in an abnormal world. The word was created without death, without any sin, and that was normal. When the fall occurred and the consequent curse on all of creation as a result of sin much of what we experience is abnormal, it is less than what God intended. In naturalism, though, homosexual attraction is normal. Heterosexual attraction is normal. Whatever is is normal. It goes back to the ultimate value: what is is okay, there is no such thing as sin and evil. In theism, because all men are warped by sin, homosexual attraction is abnormal, therefore all homosexual attraction is sin. In naturalism all homosexual activity is okay—all activity is okay because there is no overriding absolute. In theism, though, there is forgiveness for sin; there is no sin that is not taken care of by the grace of God and the cross of Christ, and change is possible. The Christian life is all about change, that is what sanctification is all about: transforming us into the image and likeness of Jesus Christ. So a Christian who is growing is a Christian who is changing as the Word of God and the Spirit of God changes and transforms his life. In naturalism there is no guilt for anything, Nothing is wrong so there is no guilt, and change is not possible.
The myths about homosexuality
1) The myth that homosexuality is normal, healthy and desirable. Their view is: "Homosexuality is not an illness, it is not something that needs to be cured, we are normal, healthy and natural people." Contrary to that we have statements such as the biblical statement in Romans 1:24-32 which clearly states that homosexuality, whether it is male to male or woman to woman, is unnatural. Second, we have to recognize that every human being is distorted and warped by the fall. We don't have a right to look down our nose at others because of their sin. But what we do have a right to do is take a stand for what ought to be, what is the absolute, but in a non-judgmental manner. Third, just because something feels right doesn't make it right. Remember, to someone who was born blind, blindness seems normal. The Bible defines what normal is, not our feelings. So our conclusion is that homosexuality is not natural or normal.
In 1973, due to pressure form the gay rights movement, the American Psychiatric Association [APA] declassified homosexual activity as a mental disorder. Let's look at why they did that.
First of all in the three years leading up to that were marked by extreme protests, physical violence, disruptions, and chaos at the meetings of the APA. Intimidation was the rule. Finally in 1973 they mailed out a ballot to the 25,000 members of the APA and only twenty-five percent (about 6000) responded, and fifty-eight percent of those voted in favor of declassifying homosexuality as a mental disorder. Dr. Charles Socarides, who was at the meetings and was an expert in the area of homosexuality had some interesting comments to make regarding this. He said: "Militant homosexual groups continued to attack any psychiatrist or psychoanalyst who dared to present his findings as to psychopathology of homosexuality before national or local meetings of psychiatrists or in public forums. In other places he referred to the decision of 1973 as the "medical hoax of the century." (At the time he wrote this he has been involved in the study of homosexuality for over twenty years and was one of the nation's leading experts on homosexuality) In 1977, as a follow-up to the 1973 decision, ten thousand members of the APA were polled at random, and sixty-nine per cent of those polled said that homosexuality was a pathological adaptation. Eighteen per cent of the members polled disagreed with that statement and thirteen per cent weren't sure.
Is homosexuality healthy? Only ten percent of homosexuals are relatively monogamous or, in terms of the Institute For Sex Research, relatively less promiscuous. Sixty per cent of homosexuals have more than two hundred and fifty lifetime sex partners. Twenty-eight per cent have more than a thousand lifetime sex partners. Seventy-nine per cent admit that more than half of their sex partners are strangers. Lesbians, though they are less promiscuous than males, are more volatile and unstable in their relationships. This does not fit anyone's definition of that which is healthy.
In contrast, the Bible says that any sexual activity outside of marriage is fornication and is a sin, and therefore is destructive. Sin by definition is self-destructive. There are forty-four references to fornication in the Bible, all in he context of describing it as sin. Homosexuality is never mentioned anywhere in the Bible in a positive context.
Congressman William Denemier made the comment that "if homosexuality is a perversion of what is natural then homosexuals must look at their own conduct in an entirely different light and explain it in less satisfying terms." This is the point. They keep pressing this issue that it is normal, healthy and desirable because if it is not then they have to do some serious self-examination. In arrogance, none of us like to do any self-examination. Our sins make us comfortable, thank you very much, and we just don't want to change. (I don't know why they get the right to legitimize their sins; I want to legitimize my sins!)
2) The myth that homosexuals are born that way. This is perhaps the most promoted widespread myth and the most erroneously held myth. There is, first of all, no evidence of a gay gene, none whatsoever. Just think about it: if there was a gay gene, and if homosexuality was inherited, it would have died out. This whole idea of a gay gene was allegedly substantiated by a 1991 study by Simon Levett who admits himself that he was biased in his analysis because he is a homosexual. It was a flawed study for a number of reasons. His research consisted of studying the brains of forty-one cadavers, including nineteen homosexual males. He found in his conclusion that a tiny area of the brain believed to control sexual activity was less than half the size in gay men than heterosexuals. This study was immediately seized upon as a reputable evidence that homosexuals are born gay, that there is something inherent and biological, and so it is not volitional and has nothing to do with environment, it has to do with their being born that way, they can't do anything about it. However, this whole study doesn't resolve anything because there wasn't enough data to determine whether or not the smaller hypothalamus was there at birth or whether it was the result of homosexual activity. Furthermore there were other problems indicated in the study. All nineteen of the homosexual men had died of AIDS. So what the smaller hypothalamus related to AIDS or sexuality. A second problem was that there was no way to know the sexual history of the alleged heterosexual men, some of them may have been bi-sexual. Third, there was no way to determine if the smaller hypothalamus's were the cause or the result of homosexuality. And finally, Dr. Levett admitted that it was not a dispassionate scientific study because he was homosexual himself.
Then there had been a twin study where identical twins were looked at who were both homosexual to see what the percentage of concordances where both of the twins are homosexual. William H. Master, co-director of the Masters and Johnston Institute well know for studies in sexuality, stated that the genetic theory of homosexuality has been generally discarded today. John Decheko, professor of psychiatry at San Francisco State University, and also editor of the 25-volume Journal of Homosexuality, wrote in a 1989 USA Today article: "The idea that people are born into one type of sexual behavior is entirely foolish. Homosexuality is a behavior and not a condition and something that some people can and do change, just like they sometimes change other tastes and personality traits." This is from a homosexual. The twin studies were based on a study in 1991 by Bailey and Pellard and they admitted that there were methodological flaws in the study. The subjects they recruited were volunteers who volunteered through advertisements in homosexual journals, so there was a flawed study group to begin with. Other twin studies that have been done since then have failed to support their findings. They said that in 52% of the twins that they studied one was homosexual or both were homosexual, but nothing else has substantiated that number at all. Remember that if genetics were the determinate then the results would need to be one hundred per cent concordance because in identical twins they have the same exact DNA.
3) The myth that homosexuals make up ten per cent of the population. This has been quoted in periodicals and newspapers like USA Today—25-million Americans are homosexual; The Washington Times states, Ten per cent of men and five per cent of women are homosexual; The American Psychiatric Association said ten per cent of Americans are homosexual. Where do they get this number? It comes from a 148 study done by William Kinsey. In that study he looked at 5,300 subjects. Twenty-five per cent of those 5,300 participants in that study were prison inmates and forty-four per cent had had homosexual relations in prison. So it is a flawed study. Several hundred male prostitutes were also included in the study. So there was a loaded study group to begin with. Furthermore, his conclusion is really misstated. What he concluded was that ten per cent of white males were more or less exclusively homosexual for at least three years between the ages of sixteen and sixty-five. He doesn't conclude that ten per cent of American males are homosexual. His conclusion was vastly different from that but, as is typical of popular media, what you get is a distorted version of the conclusion that is popularized. In the years 1984 to 1988 there was the Forman study which concluded that only one point seven (1.7) percent of American males were homosexual. The University of Chicago in 1989 had a study which concluded that less than one per cent of American males were exclusively homosexual. (We have been brainwashed by the propaganda machine of the gay movement)
4) The myth that change is impossible. This just is not true. As believers we know that change is always possible. God is in the business of changing us from dirty rotten stinking sinners who are self-absorbed to believers who are mature and who bring their sin nature under control through walking by means of the Holy Spirit. The "fact" that change is impossible is contradicted by the large number of testimonials from ex-gays. We conclude that through the Spirit of God and the Word of God all sin can be dealt with. So we collapse the entire foundation for the gay rights agenda.
The big issue right now is same-sex marriage
1) The idea of same-ex marriage is an attempt to meet legitimate needs, i.e. we all have needs for acceptance, approval, affection, love relationship, in illegitimate and ungodly ways. It is never the job of law to substantiate that which is evil.
2) Secondly, homosexuals are outside of God's created intention for sex. There is a complimentary facet to the male-female soul and the male-female body. Just one example of this if you hadn't thought about it. When God lowered the boom in the curse and explained the different dynamics of the results of sin, the impact of sin on he woman was different from the impact of sin on the man. That had to do with the fact that the woman's soul is different from the male soul. So God has designed marriage to be one man and one woman because of the way He designed men and women.
3) Marriage is an earth-bound illustration of Christ and the church. In Christ and the church there are two different entities, they are not the same entity.
4) According to Romans chapter one the worship of the creature, even as that works itself out in illicit, unnatural sexual activity, is a form of idolatry. Romans 1:18ff. Same-sex relations are destructive and dangerous. Study after study after study documents this. It is unhealthy for society. What the proponents are trying to do is maintain a façade of normalcy and legitimacy. By legitimizing same-sex unions they want the sanction of law that their sins are just fine. And the next step is that anyone who says that homosexuality is a sin is going to be guilty of hate speech or some kind of criminal speech that won't be protected by law.
5) The homosexual marriage and the homosexual lifestyle is not parallel to heterosexual lifestyle. In heterosexual marriages 57% last over 20 years. There is stability there and that is the purpose for marriage—to provide stability and the context for promotion and teaching of values to the next generation. Homosexual relationships average two to three years in length and only five per cent last over 20 years. They are incredibly unstable. Seventy per cent of men are faithful in a heterosexual marriage; eighty-eight per cent of women are faithful in a heterosexual marriage. But homosexual relationships are characterized by promiscuity and they have hundreds of sexual partners over a lifetime. In a heterosexual marriage the man and the woman are committed, and they are faithful and stable. In homosexual relationships men have traditionally three to five outside partners. (In Holland it is eight) In those who have been together for more than five years not one has been completely monogamous. In lesbian relationships they are volatile, there is domestic and emotional violence which is characteristic, and usually in the background of various lesbians.
Quote from Reverend Troy Perry who is the founder of the Metropolitan Community Church which the largest homosexual church in America. This was in an interview in the Dallas Morning News: "Monogamy is not a word the gay community uses. We talk about fidelity. That means you live in a loving, caring, honest relationship with your partner. You are honest about the other men in your life as well. Because we can't marry we have people with widely varying opinions as to what that means. Some would say that committed couples could have multiple sexual partners as long as there is no deception. Each couple has to decide." So there is no such thing as monogamy or faithfulness, and they twist the meaning of these terms.
Heterosexual marriage people live longer and happier lives. In homosexual relationships you have health problems: AIDS, high risk of sexually transmitted diseases. There is three times the rate of alcohol and drug abuse in homosexual relationships, much more promiscuity, a higher rate of domestic violence, and there is a shortened lifespan.
Heterosexual marriage is the best place to raise healthy children. Homosexual relationships put children at risk. Remember, marriage and family in one sense are all about the children. It is about the future and preparing for the future, whereas homosexuality is all about me because there is no future generation to orient to, it is all about the individual gratifying his own desires.
Isaiah 5:20, "Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil." And this is where we are in our culture. We want to define homosexual activity as normal, healthy and good, and if you don't agree with that then you are guilty of hate speech.
Can a homosexual be saved? Homosexuality is not an issue in salvation. No sin is an issue in salvation. The issue in salvation is faith alone in Christ alone.