Does the Bible condemn homosexuality?
Published: 6 February 2016 (GMT+10)
Gay marriage has been an important issue around the world, and in the US especially since the Supreme Court’s gay marriage ruling. D.C. from the US challenges our view:
The question of whether the Bible condemns homosexuality is up to a lot of debate today within the Christian community. From the articles on this website, I see that CMI supports that idea that the Bible does indeed condemn homosexuality. On the other hand, I read an article on a pro-gay Christian site which attempts to show that verses in the Bible DO NOT condemn homosexuality (well at least homosexuality in the modern day). I just want to know how a “conservative” Christian like members of CMI would respond to the pro-gay argument.Lita Cosner, CMI-US responds:
First, for some general background on our views, see Morality and Ethics Questions and Answers under the heading "Homosexuality: What are the biblical and ethical issues?"
The Bible’s statements on sexuality cannot be limited to the six main verses which condemn homosexuality. In the creation account, we see that God created mankind male and female (specifically, he created a man and a woman, Adam and Eve), and that this sexual duality is both central to human beings as a species, and also the foundation for marriage. Thus the monogamous lifelong marriage is always the ideal in Scripture. While the Bible has numerous examples of positive portrayals of non-sexual love between two men or two women (Jonathan and David, or Ruth and Naomi, etc), there is no positive portrayal of a homosexual relationship, and no hint of even the concept of homosexual marriage. In addition, the Bible’s teaching on marriage assumes that this is between a man and a woman.
Second, the view that the Bible only condemns homosexual relationships that are somehow abusive or non-consensual cannot be squared with the Bible’s actual text. Paul speaks of men burning with lust for one another (Romans 1:27), which indicates that both are willing participants. In general, pro-homosexual interpreters must reinterpret the text to include elements that could not have been in the author’s mind, or to leave out critical parts of the argument
Third, people often argue that the Bible verses must be reinterpreted in order to prevent hate crimes against gay people that the traditional interpretations might inspire. However, that is largely a bigoted stereotype against conservative Christians. I have never seen a Christian who hates gay people as a group, and I would take them to task for it if I did. That isn’t to say that there aren’t any, but they aren’t a prevalent group.
If someone wants to argue that the Bible is wrong to condemn homosexuality in such universal terms, they are certainly free to do so. But it is not possible to responsibly exegete the text of Scripture to come up with an interpretation that does not condemn homosexuality.
G.H. from the US asks:
I know that in the daily order of creation there is a sequence where one thing must happen before the rest. i.e. light has to be the first or nothing else works. I just can’t remember the significance of the sequence. Can you help me out?Lita Cosner answers:
Genesis 1–2 tells us what God did, but the rest of Scripture tells us a lot more about the significance of this. Scripture tells us that God created by wisdom, and reading the orderly sequence of creation that can generally be divided into ‘forming’ and ‘filling’ the cosmos, it is easy to see the beauty and the majesty in how God created. It generally makes sense for God to have created things in the order in which He created them.
At the same time, God created in such a way as to confound any naturalistic or idolatrous ideas about nature. God created light on Day 1, but He did not create our primary sources of light, the sun, moon, and stars, until Day 4. God created plants (Day 3) before the sun (Day 4), even though plants cannot live without sunlight.
There are certainly other things that could be said about the order of creation, for instance, the New Testament draws some lessons about roles in the church from men being created before women. I hope this helps.