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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:

iStockphoto man-arrows
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.
, 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.

I encourage you also to read our little booklet Gay Marriage: Right or Wrong? And Who Decides? and the article We’re all ‘born that way’. I hope this is helpful.

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?

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.

Helpful Resources

Christianity for Skeptics
by Drs Steve Kumar, Jonathan D Sarfati
US $17.00
Soft Cover
Gay Marriage: right or wrong?
by Gary Bates, Lita Cosner
US $3.50
Soft Cover
The Genesis Account
by Jonathan Sarfati
US $39.00
Hard Cover

Readers’ comments

Robert N.
Thank you Lita for your thoughtful and Biblically based article on homosexuality, and the Church's response to this lifestyle and behavior.
I would like to comment on your statement that Westboro Baptist Church is a cult: WBC certainly may be so, as it is on the extreme end of its application of doctrine, and its "in your face" tactless protests which lack empathy and love of fellow sinners. However it seems that the church has its own political correctness, where we are far more likely to support an over-emphasis of love, where the doctrine may be equally or more "off", than an emphasis of the judgement of God. As far as I understand, even in New Testament times God is equally a God of Righteousness and Love. Fact is also that all sinners who don't repent for their sin or accept Jesus Christ as savior will have to pay for their sin, in an eternity of torment in Hell - all true Christians know this, we're just a bit shy of saying so. So the WBC is correct in their doctrine, and that homosexuality is considered a vile sin by God - Paul (I assume the author) in Romans 1 calls this "Vile" and "Unnatural", writing of homosexuality and Lesbian acts with astonished disgust - fact! Sometimes people who have gone down a path of any sinful lifestyle need to hear it straight and know where they stand before a Holy and Righteous God - as much as they need to know that He loved them so much that he sent his sinless Son to die in their place. I know I did. I acknowledge that this is a very hard message to get right, but a balance of uncompromising truth and love is necessary. Let us also not forget that many of those who have chosen their lifestyle, which they believe they were "born like" and "cannot change", will never be happy to hear the gospel message however it is packaged.
Lita Cosner
Robert, I agree that some Christian groups have tried to be loving to the extent of minimizing sin (which isn't loving at all). I personally try to strike a balance of being loving towards the person while being absolutely uncompromising toward the sinfulness of the action (in this case, homosexuality). My goal would be to leave the person in no doubt about my desire that he or she repent and believe the Gospel because I want them to enjoy the transformed life that I have myself in Christ (because I am a sinner too, forgiven by the grace of God in Jesus).
Dean Y.
Hi Lita, you and I have not always seen eye to eye on everthing, but well done on your gay article and sensible rebuttals. Being a Christian is a journey with Jesus - and not an easy one for most of us - unless I am the only one with terrible struggles. God's standards are perfect but thankfully, so is His mercy in Christ Jesus. I find it quite strange that some refer so readily to the Old Testament laws that were a shadow of things to come (Col. 2:17) and neglect the sermon on the mount, which is the perfection of those laws.

I also find it strange that some forget what Jesus said about those that cause children to sin (Luke 17:2) Some people are sexually destabilized during their early development and criminally traumatized by early homo-paediophilic encounters with people they trusted. Combine this with broken homes, shattered trusts and the countless other evils that some people experience and the outcomes are scattered on a tragic trajectory. The only gift that brings a murderer, a thief, a liar, a drunkard, a homosexual or an adulterer home to God is the love of Christ. The only thing that keeps the love of Christ at a distance, is a knowledge that puffs up. Without love, we are nothing (1 Cor.13:2)
David L.
Our local MP a very fruitful and effective worker for the community responded when challenge about His acceptance of "Gay Marriage" by saying that at one time THE BIBLE required DISOBEDIENT WIVES AND SONS to be stoned***we don't do that today!! so why continue to treat the "Gay Community" the way we do rather than drop the guilt as with Wives and disobedient sons> We have "Gay" people in our society there must be rules for them ? HOW SAY YOU! ???
Lita Cosner
First, we don't advocate the death penalty for homosexuals because we don't live in the theocracy of Israel under the Sinaitic Covenant. We live under the covenant of Christ, where there is forgiveness for even the most grievous sins, so we proclaim the Gospel. However, that does not mean that the sins cease to be sins, so we must lovingly stand our ground; to do otherwise would be to hate our homosexual neighbors, because it would be withholding the Gospel from sinners, which would be perverse for people who have been forgiven from our own sins to do.
Travis E.
Sin by its very nature is a destructive force. God’s commandments aren’t arbitrary and he does not want to capriciously punish transgressors of ‘the rules’ with punishment. God gives us these guidelines because he loves us, and because he doesn’t want us to hurt ourselves. Like a loving parent he tries to guide us away from actions that will harm us. True love always looks to the welfare of the beloved a character attribute perfected in the person of Jesus. Sin wasn’t Jesus’ focus, his focus was the welfare of the sinner and sinners knew this and loved him for it. If Christians today are going to make an impact on a sin filled world we need to act likewise. It is also worth noting that Jesus didn’t love sinners by accommodating their sins like some post-modern Christians do he said, “Neither will I condemn you, now go and sin no more,” (John 8:11). Lord help us to be more like you.
Collin G.
There appears to be a shift of terminology.
Creationist and evolutionists correct terminology describes homosexuals.
By attempting to replace Homosexual with the 'G' word we allow ourselves to become a part of someone's problem.
The Bible and the Biology text books correctly define Homosexual. Do not try to sanitize the actions of Homosexuals by creating a new word.
The 'G" word is correctly defined in credible dictionaries and only recently have changed to include a 4th or 5th definition to accommodate a corruption of the English language. Other languages and dialects are not so fickle.
We should only use the correct terminology in all correspondence, thereby correcting those that are out of order.
Lita Cosner
My personal view is that I will give a lot of leeway with words in order to get to the heart of the matter. Time that I'm spending arguing over whether we should call someone 'gay' or 'homosexual' is time I'm not spending getting to what the Bible says about the practice in question.
Chris T.
God instructed Moses to tell the Israelites (and therefore all of us) "You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination." Leviticus 18:22 Later, God repeated the instruction, but with further detail - "If a man lies with 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". No one could argue that those instructions mean any more than they clearly state.
Dallas C.
God does not hate homosexuals, nor do majority of Christians hate homosexuals. Homosexuals think we do. My opinion is we do not agree with the act of homosexuality. After all Christ died for all sinners. Christians love the sinner, hate the sin.
Rob H.
To Sam and Lita, as a young man, I detested homosexuals! The thought made me completely disgusted! As a result of my own sin-nature, I ended up in prison with a life sentence; it started out as a death penalty case and, by God’s grace, my life was spared.
During my incarceration, I worked in a law library within the prison. I dealt with many different folks with all kinds of issues, all which The LORD brought into my realm of influence for various assistance, but always evangelistic in nature. However, I would not readily assist homosexuals, whom I called “sodomites.” Claiming that since the Scriptures obviously condemned such practices with no uncertain terms I was free to cling to my hate of homosexuals without conflict of my beliefs.
Then one night I was lying in my bunk and I felt The LORD’S presence; I clearly heard Him tell me, “Unless you get rid of that hate in your heart, I will not be able to use you.” I knew exactly what He meant, the word from my heart was, “how?” The answer came soft and emphatic, “pray.”
It took less than two weeks of praying to break the stronghold of hate that had been set up in my heart for so many years. What The Holy Spirit showed me was my hypocrisy; what I expected God to do for me, I was not willing to do for homosexuals.
By God’s great grace, on June 25, 2012, over what everyone had claimed was impossible, I was paroled after over 25 years in prison. To God be the glory!
Sam, please reconsider your position! It is not the position of the Great God of Creation! He is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. How will they hear, if they are not shown! And, secondly, The LORD wants to deliver you from your bondage to hate, so you can share the Gospel with anyone, anywhere!
Melvyne C.
Such articles are good and necessary; cause a reaction and response.

In the past, Christians have not been in the forefront of even attempting to understand the inner turmoil most gay people must experience. Surely, pull the beam out of our own sexual desires before pulling the splinter out of someone else's.

Those of us who set great store on the Ten Commandments, crowned in love by Jesus, and great store with the Genesis Sabbath Commandment, will do well to remember, that before Yahweh gave the Ten Commandments to Moses, He asked Moses to sanctify the people gathered at Sinai; they had to abstain from intercourse for three days, and wash their clothes (of such stains), (Exod 19:10-15), then Yahweh sanctified them. Jesus would later say, "Father sanctify then in your truth" (Jn 17:17).

I wonder how many heterosexuality Christians reflect on that spiritual teaching at Sinai, or even gay Christians?

Besides, Jesus died for us at our worst, to save us from our worst, whatever that is; but pride is generally at the forefront.

Michael I.
Great article. It doesn't surprise me that your statement "I've never seen a Christian that hates gay people..." brought up the WBC as a "Christian" group that does. To name them a cult is the first I've heard but it definitely fits. Point in fact, in many of my conversations with people about Christian views of homosexuality, I've condemned the WBC's actions as wrong saying that's not Christian. I've said a real Christian cannot witness with hate no more than they can support sin. God bless you guys, I love CMI and I point people to your website all the time. I'm not sure how many have actually visited it but I tell them it's here nonetheless.
Sam O.
"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." I hope that this does not mean you will censor out my politically incorrect views from this discussion, just because I do not conform to your liberal view of scripture on this matter. I believe freedom of speech is one of those great Christian gifts to the world CMI is so proud of. I use the word "gay', like the Bible, to describe something bright or happy. I think what you are referring to in this context, is what the Bible terms "Sodomites". Now we know that every word of God is pure, and profitable for doctrine, for reproof and for correction, so lets use the words the Holy Ghost teaches shall we? being the God fearing Christians that we are, We wouldn't want to be guilty of being ashamed of the words of our Lord, nor from trying to please men, nor being respecters of persons (Sodomite rights?) The Bible (some versions) make it quite clear that there are things that God Hates. For Christians the fear of Lord, is interpreted as to hate evil. (proverbs 8:13) These being interpreted as Pride, arrogance, the evil way, the froward mouth. King David prayed numerous imprecatory prayers against Gods enemies; Psalm 139:22 - Do not I hate them Lord that hate thee? I hate them with a perfect hatred, I count them mine enemies. Now as David was a man after Gods own heart, and a 'type' of Christ (the root of Jesse), I will take seriously Davids words on this matter. We also have Jehu in II Chronicles 19:2 rebuking Jehoshaphat - shouldest thou help the ungodly and love them that hate the Lord?
therefore is the WRATH upon thee! How any Christian can read Romans 1, and not come to the conclusion that Sodomites are haters of God, worthy of death, is beyond belief. Jude1:7?
Lita Cosner
1. I'm publishing your comment, but even if I didn't, it wouldn't be censorship. Censorship is the government restricting your speech. That doesn't mean you have an absolute right to say anything you want on other people's private property (like this website, for instance).
2. I think you're the first person who has ever called my position on homosexuality and 'gay marriage' liberal. I think that would probably offend practically every liberal out there, but personally I find it kind of humorous.
3. The Bible never uses the word Sodomite in the original language to refer to homosexuals (other than the actual men of Sodom). The male cult prostitutes in 1 and 2 Kings are called qadesh in the original Hebrew, literally "consecrated ones"--i.e. they were consecrated to the service of a false god. They were certainly engaged in homosexual activity but qadesh is etymylogically unrelated to Sodom. Paul uses the words arsenokoites and malakos to describe the active and passive homosexual partners, respectively. The first word is from the words "man" and "bed", and the second one literally means "soft" or "effeminate". For all your concern about using the exact words God did, it seems you haven’t done your research.
4. We do not know who among the homosexual community God will save. For instance, there is a man in my own church who led a homosexual lifestyle for decades, and he became converted, and now has a wife and children. The Gospel is for all sinners. Do you know any homosexual people? If so, have you shared the Gospel with them? Do you pray for them to come to a knowledge of the truth and abandon their sinful lifestyle? If not, how dare you claim to follow Christ when you do not love the sinners He loved and gave His own blood for (Revelation 1:5).
5. You seem to exclude yourself from that list I cited, but from your message it seems that you are full of anger and hatred toward at least some people. Jesus said that that was as bad as being a murderer (Matthew 5:21–22, see also 1 John 3:15). You need to repent and believe the Gospel.
Adam S.
Clear and concise as always Lita. A timely article given the recent portrayal of homosexuality on the Amoral/Atheistic/Anti-Christian Broadcasting Corporation's show "Playschool". Referring to the bible's foundation and common-sense would clearly show that a man is meant for a woman and vice versa - by design. The only way this is unclear is if it has become unclear by false teachers and those willing to compromise on the foundations.
Gary T.
I wouldn't say that "God created in such a way as to confound any naturalistic or idolatrous ideas about nature" as much as that naturalistic/idolatrous ideas about nature are simply opposed to God. Anything done against God (deliberate or not), in rebellion to God, etc, must, of necessity, run into an impenetrable wall.
Re: the US Supreme Court (SCOTUS), that's a travesty of ignorance (in the US) of US history and of the original structure/purpose of the US government. The SCOTUS is part of the Judicial Branch. As such, they render rulings on the cases brought before them. Therefore, their rulings are opinions on specific, particular cases, *NOT* law. Their rulings CANNOT be law because they are not a legislative body. Only Congress has legislative authority. Thus, the idea that SCOTUS rulings are "law" is thoroughly spurious and a gross injustice.
Dan M.
A strait forward reading of the gospel certainly condemns homosexuality as well as the other offenses towards God, recorded in 1Cor 6:9-10. Yes we are offending God, not each other and as Christians we are not to judge another for we will be judged with the same harshness that we judge others Mat 7:1-2 and God committed all judgment to Jesus only. Our job is that of evangelism with love and gentleness with an understanding of Gods word. This is not to say that we cannot make reasonable judgment's according to scripture weather something is right or wrong but we need to be carful not to get self righteous because some also were some of us 1Cor 6:11.
I can identify with the homosexual struggle, not because I was homosexual but because I am listed among those in 1Cor 6:9-10. I was a fornicator and guilty of some of the other offences listed there. I lusted after women not treating them as God intended so I was offended at these verses also. When I gave my life to Christ I had to face up to my sin and repent and follow Jesus. This meant I had to deny self and I struggled along the way but nowadays I am having victory in obedience because I love God more than sin.
It's all a matter of who is your God? Self, or the God of the bible?
Homosexuals, if you really love God your going to have to make some hard sacrifice's and deny self. After all the God of the universe sacrificed himself for your love and salvation!
Thank you God for reaching out to me in my hour of need even though I didn't deserve your love.
Tomislav O.
"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."
Ever heard of the Westboro Baptist Church?
"As it is written: 'God’s name is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of [these kinds of 'believers'].' " (Romans 2:23)
Lita Cosner
As I said, I have never seen a Christian who hates gay people. The Westboro 'Baptist Church' is a cult made up of primarily members of one bigoted family.
Wayne T.
On encountering the question of homosexuality, I ask people to deconstruct the word: what do they mean? Do they refer to gay marriage, homosexual relationships, or the inclination to homosexuality. In my understanding, inclinations themselves are not wrong: it is how we respond to them. We can be inclined to lust, to adultery, to violence, to alcoholism, to theft, and so forth, but such inclinations are equivalent to temptations, and Scripture guides us on how to respond. I have some evil inclinations, which I will not tell you about, just as the Apostle Paul wrote about (Romans 7:14-24). We should never condemn evil inclinations, but always work to assist those so afflicted. We love God firstly by keeping His commandments, and then by keeping His commandment to love one another, but always in the context of the first and greatest commandment. To love one another absent of that context is to make up our own rules, being more obedient to the traditions of men than the commandments of God. Homosexual "acts", including lust, are forbidden - there is no questioning Scripture on that score. Homosexual inclinations, like other evil inclinations, are to be accepted as part of our human nature, but resisted and prayed over, not succumbed to.
Philippus S.
Not only did he create them Male and Female, but he gave clear instruction on what they must do; Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it:
Gen 1:27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
Gen 1:28 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.
There is no doubt that God created man, male and female in marriage to have children in marriage, and that marriage is for that reason to orden the relationship for the same of children and world Oder. See God instructions on why you should not marry your sister or Cousin or nephew, your mothers sister or in the case of females her brother.

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