DOES THE BIBLE CONDONE, OR CONDEMN, HOMOSEXUALITY?
March 5, 2020
Homosexuality is a controversial issue in many societies. For some it has become an equal rights issue; for others, it is a religious and moral issue; for many, it is both. The goal of this post is to express what I believe is the biblical view on the matter. For somebody who is not a Christian, nor a homosexual, this post is of little interest. For those who identify themselves as homosexual Christians, this issue has tremendous importance because of its implicit contradiction. For us Christians, there is a Creator, and nature itself is its evidence. We believe that God made people in His image (Gen.1:26-27). He designed men and women with specific, functional, and complimentary organs for a male to couple with a female (Gen. 2:22-25). He was the one who determined humanity’s moral standards; what is right and what’s wrong. This is why most students of the Bible assert that homosexuality diametrically opposes God’s clear intentions; that it is a declaration that His design is wrong. To commit homosexual acts contradicts God’s plan. Whether heterosexuals engaging in homosexual acts, or persons of the same sex carrying a monogamous relationship, they are sinning. The Bible clearly and consistently indicates that engaging in same-sex relationships is “a detestable act,” Leviticus 18:22; “they have committed an abomination. They must be put to death,” Leviticus 20:13. These laws couldn’t be clearer; they prohibit all homosexual acts, and the punishment for the participants is death. Whether consensual or non-consensual, homosexuality is considered a sin that results in God’s judgment and death.
To advance their erroneous cause, the defenders of homosexuality insist that the definitions found in the Old Testament apply only to those following its rules, which Christians do not have to obey. To these unbelievers, most biblical condemnations of the act can be dismissed, based on that premise alone. Furthermore, they would not acknowledge God’s standard of morals. The assertions contained in the Old Testament are irrelevant to them. The problem they have to confront is that the New Testament also says a lot about sexual immorality; it condemns it consistently. To verify, you don’t have to go very far; just read Romans 1, where Paul specifically describes homosexuality as an example of persistent denial of God’s commands about man and woman marriages. Additionally, the Bible does not contain verses that support homosexual relationships in neither Testament. On the contrary, the Books condemn homosexuality regardless of context. Sex is only right when the act is performed by a man married to a woman. Other than that, it is immoral and condemned. Because they cannot overcome these condemnations, most defenders of homosexuality argue that having sexual relations with a person of the same sex is a preferential venial sin, not different from gluttony or drunkenness; in no way as detestable as killing your parents. The only way for them to explain the many verses contradicting their beliefs is to choose some selected passages and misinterpret their meaning. These interpretations, however, should be rejected for several reasons, some of which will be clear as you read this post. It will not take long for the reader to conclude that our opinion on this subject is in agreement with the biblical declaration that homosexuality is a mortal sin.
The defenders of homosexuality constantly utilize some biblical passages to demonstrate that sexual relations between persons of the same sex were as common in biblical times, as they are today. Of course, it is only their opinion. To justify their assertions, they will suggest you read some Bible verses, such as 1 Samuel 18:1 where we read that “Jonathan loved David,” and then 2 Samuel 1:26 where we can almost cry with David when he laments Jonathan’s death by saying that his “love for Jonathan was more wonderful than the love of any woman.” For some readers, it is easy to misinterpret these passages as a biblical recognition of a homosexual relationship between David and Jonathan. It is important to note, however, that the word “love” in this verse has a different connotation; it has nothing to do with carnal, much less homosexual, relationships. David and Jonathan were best friends. They had an agreement where Jonathan was to be David’s second in command in exchange for David’s promise to protect Jonathan’s family. This is an example of true friendship, nothing more. Additionally, when David said that Jonathan’s love was “greater than anything he could have received from any woman,” most scholars believe it was a clear reference to his experiences with one of Saul’s daughters, who tricked him. The idea that these men were practicing homosexuals does not reflect the point of view abundantly supported by the Bible.
The same rationale applies to the relation between Ruth and Naomi. The defenders of homosexuality see the close mother and daughter-in-law relationship, as the perfect example of lesbianism. For these unbelievers, Ruth and Naomi were homosexual lovers. Of course, this is pure speculation. There is nothing in the book of Ruth to suggest that there was any kind of sexual relationship between the two women. On the contrary, in the narrative, Ruth was the wife of Naomi’s son, Mahlon (4:10); Naomi expected Ruth to seek another husband (1:13); Boaz regarded Ruth as a virtuous woman (3:10-11); Ruth married Boaz, and they had a proper sexual relationship between husband and wife (4:13). The proper conclusion from the Biblical record is that the only sexual relationships these women had were with their husbands.
Then we have Matthew 7:17, where the evangelist tells us that “a good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit.” The implication is that this verse supports homosexual relationships because you are born gay, and there is nothing you can do about it. Natural does not mean moral as well as unnatural doesn’t mean immoral. Even if homosexuality comes from natural causes, as some argue, it is not a determining factor on whether is moral or not. Nevertheless, as with many other verses, the defenders of homosexuality take this one completely out of context. In it, Jesus was not referring to homosexuality at all; he was warning against false teachers.
Another favorite passage of the defenders of homosexuality has to do with the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. They argue that these towns were destroyed for their lack of hospitality, and their treatment of the poor, not for their sexual preferences. This is a completely erroneous interpretation of what happened. Despicably, women exchanged their natural sexual relations with men, for unnatural ones with other women. Likewise, men abandoned their natural relations with women and replaced them with other men. The inhabitants from Sodom and Gomorrah knew that God’s righteous decree about practicing homosexuality made them deserving to die; nevertheless, they not only performed these acts themselves but also encouraged others to do the same.
The Bible is clear in establishing that the principal reason for the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah was that the participants were men attempting to rape other men (they did not know they were angels), which continued even after they were blinded. The point the unbelievers try to make is that they attempted to perform these heinous acts when the angels were under the hospitality of another member of the community. This is just an addition to the main sinful act which is homosexuality. The scriptural description of these men trying to rape other men is wicked and evil; the Bible couldn’t be clearer than that. While Ezekiel 16:49-50 says that Sodom “did not help the poor and needy,” it also said that they “committed abominations before me.” And then, Leviticus 18:22 explains the meaning of the word for us: “You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female; it is an abomination.” The Creator’s actions against Sodom and Gomorrah, reflect His feelings about the horrendous acts that the men of these towns wanted to perpetrate on the angels sent by God to alert Lot about what was about to happen.
Extolling a homosexual relationship between David and Jonathan, or a lesbian union between Ruth and Naomi, or misrepresenting the events at Sodom and Gomorrah, would be contradicting the prohibitions denounced in Genesis 1:26-27, Leviticus 18:22; Leviticus 20:13; Romans 1:18-25, and other verses found throughout the Bible.
Although there are other passages that the unbelievers use to reach similarly erroneous conclusions, the defenders of homosexuality cannot support their arguments utilizing the Bible. On the contrary, the Scriptures state that sex is right only in the context of marriage between a man and a woman, and for procreation purposes. Any sexuality outside of these definitions is immoral. The biblical mandate is that we are prohibited from any sexual relationship until we are married to a member of the opposite sex. The Scriptures do not leave space for doubt regarding sexual interactions, homosexual or not, outside marriage between a man and a woman: adultery, divorce, child abuse, pornography, one-night stands, etc., all these relationships are sinful. Jesus said that it is wrong to even fantasize immorally. He made clear that God’s standard of right and wrong did not simply stop with an external act, but rather included our thoughts and heart. To determine if an action is right or wrong, one must have a standard by which the questionable action is measured. Our cultural preferences could vary, but the standards set by the Creator of the universe do not. For many of us, these standards are almost impossible to keep. It is human nature!