Recently there has been an ongoing discussion in the church globally as to the nature of same-sex attraction in the lives of individuals as well as the Church’s stance on homosexuality. In the Church, the discussion has been phrased and concluded with two perspectives: “Pro” homosexuality and “Anti” homosexuality. Being in a country where the right of same-sex partnerships was legalized since 2006 I have always maintained that the core discussion is not how to be more inclusive as a church or more tolerant of homosexuals. The core question simply put is “Soteriological” (how we account for our definition of sin) and “Ecclesiological” (how we as a Church respond to homosexuality). It should be noted that Christians are not to hate the sinner but are commanded to love all people (Eph.5:2) in spite of sexual orientation, and preference but to also encourage individuals to refrain from sin.
A definition of sin is plainly the violation of the law of God (1 John 3:4) rebelling against His prescribed statutes (Deut. 9:7; Joshua 1:18). Sinners are clearly to be loved (Joh.3:16, Rom.5:6; 8) and Jesus has instructed endeavor to “sin no more” (Joh.8:11, 5:14). We should venture to bring the conversation into perspective and built on these two essential questions even before we attempt to pursue a further discussion. That being said, even before we reflect very shortly on the Biblical definition and its account of homosexuality, there are a few “non-Biblical” views that presuppose the Biblical argument when considering the nature of homosexuality that we need to face:
1. The Biological impossibility of homosexuality.
When we look at the physiology of a man and a woman, we clearly discover intelligent design as well as a procreational intent. God reveals His ultimate purpose for self-sustenance when He declared “be fruitful and multiply” (Gen.1:28) in the Genesis account of creation and the creation account makes it emphatically clear that even the seeds of the field were to produce after its “own kind” (Gen.1:11, 29-31). There is, therefore, a clearly creative intend in God’s creation of male and female that entails the giver of “seed” and the “seedbed” where the seed would be planted. God’s purpose and created intend was therefore for humankind to be fruitful in this prescribed means. We recognize therefore that God saw it was good and biologically we conclude that this created initiative is a biological fact. Man and man, cannot produce naturally, nor is there any account of a man having the inherent right to refrain from God’s desired good created means for humankind to reproduce.
Interestingly enough, evolutionary biologists have conclusively noted the obvious for years in that male/female reproductive strategies are vastly different in that males produce “sperm” and females “eggs”. These biological differences give credence to different priorities for both male and female sexes that produce quite diverse behaviorism and essential priorities. Anthropologist Sarah Blaffer Hrdy in a survey on Human productive behavior mentions the different biological outcomes for these sexes. The woman could become dominant and create structures that would defend their offspring and make them feel safe where men would be provider/nurturer to the infants and mothers. Social stability is therefore not as a high priority for males as it is for females. In male-dominated cultures, the priority is social order by constructing a dominant hierarchy to preserve their social status. The reason for the male’s desire could be to gain more access to resources, safe resting places, and common status benefits. There is, therefore, a great difference between the biological fact of procreation of both sexes as well as the reason for sociological, productive, and anthropological intentions.
2. The Sociological difference between men and women.
At the creation account of man, God created for him a “suitable partner” that could be his “helper” (Gen.2:18). The idea here is not that Eve was inferior but rather that she was complimentary, she completed Adam. Biblically there is a clear distinction as for God’s intention in the created order between man and woman. It is not a question of personality difference that we are encouraged to embrace in this account, but one of gender and sociological dissimilarity that is celebrated (Gen.2:18-25, Eph.5:21-33).
There are essential differences sociologically between men and women. Amber Hensley mentions ten important differences between the way men and women think. This has an incredible sociological and relational response to the way both sexes think and relate. She mentions that women are far superior in communication skills and that they can contribute far more effectively for instance to a solution to a problem in a group setting.
Men, on the other hand, can disconnect a lot easier from emotions and make a logical decision, which is based solely on the facts. Men are more “left-hemispherical” which means they are stronger with problem-solving being task-orientated, where women solve problems generally more creatively with greater care off feelings and communication. Further, she mentions that men-to-men relationships look qualitatively different from woman-to-woman interaction yet in woman-to-men relations are quite complementary (and vice versa). The area of the brain called the “inferior-parietal lobe (IPL)” in the right side of a woman’s brain allows them to focus for instance more specifically on for instance the baby crying at night.
Under stressful conditions, Psychologist Shelly E. Taylor mentions that woman produces more estrogen, which enhances oxytocin, which has a calming and nurturing effect on them where men release testosterone, which reduces the effects of oxytocin. We will look at the effects it has emotionally later in this article. There is simply no doubt that the male-female brains are collectively diverse yet correlatively similar. Psychologist Professor Richard Haier of the University of California comments that in his study of the human brain that his;
“Findings suggest that human evolution has created two different types of brains designed for equally intelligent behavior.”
3. Medical facts of gay sex.
Why does God hate Sin? I have heard so many times people sitting across from me in a counseling session complaining that God wants to “spoil their fun” or “restrict their free will.” The best I heard from a fellow when trying to explain his extramarital affairs was that he mentioned that he “could do all things through Christ.” Today’s culture is still rotten to the core, and even though we have progressed technologically as a people it does not mean we are morally superior. From past to present, the wages of sin is still the same and will still cost the same… DEATH! (Rom.6:23). Does God just want to restrict us and spoil our pleasures? No, the reason He hates Sin is because He knows the effect of it. Sin will destroy you in the end. Any Sin! Secret sin, public sin, and even imputed sin. All are equally fatal. There is an article published by Dr. John R. Diggs j.n.r. that stipulates all the effects of “gay sex health risks.” He mentions numerous grievous effects:
“The list of diseases found with extraordinary frequency among male homosexual practitioners as a result of anal intercourse is alarming: Anal Cancer, Chlamydia trachomatis, Cryptosporidium, Giardia lamblia, Herpes simplex virus, Human immunodeficiency virus, Human papillomavirus, Isospora Belli, Microsporidia, Gonorrhea, Viral hepatitis types B & C and Syphilis.”
Dr. Diggs further mentions that other physical problems associated with anal intercourse are:
“hemorrhoids, anal fissures, anorectal trauma and retained foreign bodies.”
I cannot but think how cruel it is that the effect of gay sex is not cogent with God’s original intent and how we can even justify this medically? There are numerous other damaging effects that the gay sex culture produces and when I think as a Christian to ‘veto’ any of its acts, the idea that I consent to this just seems obscure because of its ill ridden results. Let me just say that sexually the act of homosexuality is solely harmful without any intended good BUT perverted pleasure!
What we as a Church need to realize is that there is more to account for when we want to make a home for the gay lifestyle within the Church than just consenting adults wanting the privilege of a marriage union. When we pronounce a blessing on such a union, we deny God’s created intention and His prescribed physiological order. The denial of homosexual relations or relationships is not because we deny the right of individuals to be loved or accepted but a denial to consent to people harming themselves through a lifestyle that God did not call good! Let’s look now at the emotional and psychological challenges as a result of homosexual living.
4. Emotional and psychological challenges of the homosexual community.
God made men and women distinctly different when it comes to our physiology and biology. Dr. Hugo Heyrman mentions that;
“Women typically have a larger deep limbic system than men, which allows them to be more in touch with their feelings and better able to express them, which promotes bonding with others. Because of this ability to connect, more women serve as caregivers for children. The downside to this larger deep limbic system is that it also opens women up to depression, especially during times of hormonal shifts such as after childbirth or during a woman’s menstrual cycle.”
Simon Baron-Cohen, director of the “Autism Research Center” at Cambridge University mentions that men are what he calls “superior systemizers” where women are “better empathizers”. He is insistent that this is not due to cultural conditioning but is simply a biological fact and necessity in the sexes.
Dr. John R. Diggs mentions that more than one high profiled medical studies have shown that there are very high rates of psychological illness, including depression, drug abuse and attempted suicide amongst the gay and homosexual communities. He mentions that GLB communities point to this fact is because of a lack of acceptance in normative communities and mentions that they even blame this for the severe conditions. He cautions though that this should be considered substantially but reminds us that medical studies have concluded other causes for these afflictions.
Interestingly he noted that a Dutch Study found direct relations to the same sex-sex and severe mental and sociological diseases. This is found even amongst the Dutch community that is overwhelming “Pro” homosexuality. This Dutch study found that homosexual men experienced higher levels of “depression, bipolar disorder, panic disorder, agoraphobia, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Females with any homosexual contact within the previous 12 months were more often diagnosed with major depression, social phobia, or alcohol dependence. In fact, those with a history of homosexual contact had higher rates of nearly all psychiatric pathologies measured in the study.” He adds,
“the researchers found “that homosexuality is not only associated with mental health problems during adolescence and early adulthood, as has been suggested, but also in later life…” [and the] “study offers evidence that homosexuality is associated with a higher prevalence of psychiatric disorders. The outcomes are in line with findings from earlier studies in which less rigorous designs have been employed.”
5. Biblical exclusions of homosexual practice.
We have investigated four other views that might influence our view on the question of homosexual relationships even before looking at the Biblical reasons to deny homosexual acts.
We affirm that we deny homosexual relations due to the fact that it is: Biologically impossible; Sociologically uncomplimentary; Medically harmful and Emotionally disturbing. Lastly, we look at Biblical objections.
Let me add lastly that there are three main Biblical objections I encounter whenever I speak to Christians that are “pro-homosexual:”
1. First, they mention that homosexual exclusions were mere because of it being an antiquated idea (Lev.18:22). They mention that in Acts 10, these ceremonial laws were done away with and we should not, therefore, be under the yoke of these supposed legal requirements, which are clearly abrogated in this passage.
2. Secondly, they mention that the Sin of Sodom was inhospitality and selfishness, not homosexuality (Ezek.16:49).
3. Lastly, the restriction Paul mentions was merely a private opinion and not a direct instruction from the
Lord (1 Cor.7:12, 25) where he condemns homosexuality earlier (v/9).
When we evaluate these three objections we need to consider quite a few things in its given context, and we always need to understand that we hold our conscience captive to Scripture, even if it goes against our own proclivities.
When we consider these objections allow me to answer them in order:
a) Scripture makes it clear that homosexuality was not just denied due to ceremonial factors but because of clear moral implications. Other sins like, rape, incest, and bestiality are obviously moral objections that will always be wrong, and they are mentioned in the very same chapter as homosexual sins (Lev.18:6-14, 22-23). Further, God judged other nations for homosexual sins (Lev.18:1-3,25). Even the penalty for violating the law shows the severity of the offense. Eating shrimp or pork meant a few days of isolation, participating in homosexual practice meant death (Lev.18:29). It is worth noting that Jesus did change the dietary laws (Mark.7:18, Acts.10:12) but the moral prohibitions are clearly upheld and stipulated again in the New Testament (Rom.1:26-27, 1 Cor.6:9; 1 Tim.1:10 & Jude 7). It is also necessary to look at the reason for the Levitical law and the dietary restrictions; it was so Israel would not participate in fellowship/communion and social interactions with other Pagan nations surrounding them.
b) The sin of Sodom was homosexuality! Even though we agree the Hebrew word “Yadha” is not only interpreted in an intimate sexual capacity the context clearly speaks emphatically. The context of this word used in the book of Genesis (4:1, 25 & Ch.18) clearly denoted “sexual intercourse” 10 out of the 12 times it is used. A lot refers to his daughters as not “known” a man (19:8) and the context denotes the same intention to Lot’s houseguests. No one in the context can deny the sexual intentions that were demanded of these men. Was the sin of Sodom mere inhospitality or selfishness? No, their sin was sexual (Gen.19) and their intentions clearly perverse. Ezekiel 16:49 mentions their selfishness but does not exclude homosexuality because it is, in essence, a selfish sin looking for its own insistent gratification. Verse 50 of Ezekiel mentions that their sexual sins were an “abomination” which is exactly how homosexuality is described in Leviticus 18:22 and other related passages speaking of this sin (Jude 7).
c) It is important to note that when Paul mentions “I. not the Lord”; he does not mean that his word is not from the Lord. He merely mentions that Jesus did not instruct Him directly about this in his vision but that Jesus did promise His Disciples that His Spirit will “guide you in all truth” (Joh.16:13). Homosexuality in the context is always spoken off as an offense (1 Cor.6:9). We cannot downplay the seriousness of homosexuality and say it is the same as “hair length.” Paul makes it clear that “homosexual offenders …will not inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Cor.6:9). Again, we see that issues of hair length were not a reason for ex-communication but sexual sins where (1 Cor.5:1-5; Rom.1:21-27).
We saw that there are quite a few objections that “pro-homosexual” Christians need to answer even before we get to the Scriptural imperative of exclusion or acceptance as they pre-suppose.
First, it is undeniable that there is no procreative benefit between man-man/woman-woman relationship and no physiological compatibility between mutual sexes.
Secondly, sociologically men and women seem to complement each other a lot better where same-sex partners purely relate to their similarities and not differences. This might explain why even in MM or FF relationships there seems to be an MF gender distinction. We have noted though that God made a “suitable helper for man” that would assist him and compliment him in their overall diversity.
Third, we looked at the absolute medical facts of gay sex, and we mentioned that there just is NO benefit, accept for perverse pleasure. We also noted that even the medical profession has shown severe medical issues with gay sex that has devastating effects.
Fourth, we have mentioned the Sociological and psychological damage evident in homosexual communities. This cannot be solely contributed to the rejection they face in normative communities but we have shown that there are numerous contributing facts that generate complications for the homosexual community.
Lastly, we just looked at two perspectives mentioned when it comes to the Biblical perspective on homosexuality, We have concluded that the prescribed exclusions found in Scripture are not as a result of the bible presenting a merely antiquated idea and that the sins at Sodom were not just connected to in hospitability and further, we noted that homosexuality was not just condemned because it was sociologically unacceptable at the time of Paul. All these reasons were because of the fact that it was a sin!
Selah.Rudolph P. Boshoff.
Hardy, Sarah Blaffer. 1999. Mother nature; a history of mothers, infants, and natural selection. New York: Pantheon Books.
Boehm, Christopher. 1999. Hierarchy in the forest. The evolution of egalitarian behavior. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard Univ. Press.
Goldstein, Joshua S. 2001. War and gender. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. pp. 204-208.
Anne Rompalo, “Sexually Transmitted Causes of Gastrointestinal Symptoms in Homosexual Men,” Medical Clinics of North America, 74(6): 1633-1645 (November 1990); “Anal Health for Men and Women,” LGBTHealthChannel, www.gayhealthchannel.com/analhealth/; “Safer Sex (MSM) for Men who Have Sex with Men,” LGBTHealthChannel, www.gayhealthchannel.com/stdmsm/.
“Anal Health for Men and Women,” LGBTHealthChannel, www.gayhealthchannel.com/analhealth/; J. E. Barone, et al., “Management of Foreign Bodies and Trauma of the Rectum,” Surgery, Gynecology and Obstetrics, 156(4): 453-457 (April 1983).
Essential Difference: Men, Women and the Extreme Male Brain (published by Penguin)
For example, Judith Bradford, Caitlin Ryan, and Esther D. Rothblum, “National Lesbian Health Care Survey: Implications for Mental Health Care,” Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 62(2): 228-242 (1994); Richard C. Pillard, “Sexual orientation and mental disorder,” Psychiatric Annals, 18(1): 52-56 (1988); see also Mubarak S. Dahir, “The Gay Community’s New Epidemic,” Daily News (June 5, 2000), www.gaywired.com/story detail.cfm?Section=12&ID=148&ShowDate=1.
Katherine A. O’Hanlan, M.D., et al., “Homophobia As a Health Hazard,” Report of the Gay & Lesbian Medical Association, pp. 3, 5, www.ohanlan.com/phobiahzd.htm; Laura Dean, et al., “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Health: Findings & Concerns,” Journal of the Gay & Lesbian Medical Association, 4(3): 102-151, pp. 102, 116 (2000).
Theo Sandfort, Ron de Graaf, et al., “Same-sex Sexual Behavior and Psychiatric Disorders,” Archives of General Psychiatry, 58(1): 85-91, p. 89 and Table 2 (January 2001).
Ibid., p. 89.