The Bible’s Viewpoint
“I don’t think God really cares about one’s sexual orientation. He cares how we lead our lives. And sex is not the point.”—Member of a homosexual Bible-study group.
A GROWING number of people accept homosexuality as just an alternative life-style. Does God agree?
While many people have changed their view and others are undecided, the Bible’s viewpoint is crystal clear: “You will not have intercourse with a man as you would with a woman. This is a hateful thing,” states the Bible. (Leviticus 18:22, The New Jerusalem Bible) No apologies, no concessions, no ambiguity—homosexuality is detestable in God’s sight.a For ancient Israelites living under the Mosaic Law, the penalty was death. (Leviticus 20:13) And with the advent of Christianity, God’s condemnation of homosexuality continued.—1 Corinthians 6:9, 10.
God Is Opposed—Why?
But why is God so adamantly opposed to it? One reason is stated at Isaiah 48:17: “I, Jehovah, am your God, the One teaching you to benefit yourself, the One causing you to tread in the way in which you should walk.” Those words come from the Author of the universal laws of nature. He knows our physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual makeup. He opposes homosexuality because, among other things, it does not benefit the individual. A review of the apostle Paul’s letter to Christians living in Rome confirms this. He wrote:
“That is why God gave them up to disgraceful sexual appetites, for both their females changed the natural use of themselves into one contrary to nature; and likewise even the males left the natural use of the female and became violently inflamed in their lust toward one another, males with males, working what is obscene and receiving in themselves the full recompense, which was due for their error. And just as they did not approve of holding God in accurate knowledge, God gave them up to a disapproved mental state, to do the things not fitting.”—Romans 1:26-28.
Note, homosexuality is called not only “disgraceful,” “obscene,” and “not fitting” but also “contrary to nature.” Regarding these verses, a report from the Church of England says: “What Paul means by ‘unnatural’ is ‘unnatural’ to mankind in God’s creation pattern. All homosexual behaviour is a divergence from God’s creation scheme.” Anthropologist Weston LaBarre called it a “frustration of one’s own and others’ essential biological nature.” This concurs with the meaning of the Greek word used in the Bible and translated “natural” or, “according to nature.”
It is no surprise that any “divergence from God’s creation scheme” reaps bad results (as man’s miserable record with the environment has shown). Homosexuals ‘receive in themselves the full recompense, which is due for their error.’ In other words, their life becomes a life of unnatural sexual aberration; hence, a life devoid of God’s approval. In addition, they may suffer physical harm because of their perversions.b
Paul also says that homosexuals would be “violently inflamed [literally, burned out] in their lust toward one another.” While wrong thinking can fan wrong desires even in heterosexual relations, it seems that with the anticipation of depraved sexual relations, the wanton lust burns even stronger. “A Perilous Double Love Life,” an article published in Newsweek magazine, said: “Men and women bisexuals alike often talk of the ‘intense’ arousal, the ‘different energy’ they experience with their own sex. James remembers it as being ‘like sky diving. It was intoxicating, a high.’” Being thus inflamed, many homosexuals have multiple partners (some have hundreds), and for some their compulsion drives them to have sex many times a day, even with complete strangers. This promiscuity not only leads to communicable diseases, such as hepatitis, but fosters jealousy, insecurity, and unhappiness, even as it does in promiscuous heterosexual relationships.
Once a person submits to “covetous sexual appetite,” he can become enslaved. (1 Thessalonians 4:5) To what extent? Referring to AIDS, one homosexual admitted: “Even faced with a miserable, awful death, the sex drive is a strong drive.” This calls to mind the Bible’s warning: “Do not let sin continue to rule as king in your mortal bodies that you should obey their desires.”—Romans 6:12.
Since sexual immorality is based largely on self-gratification, it often leads to more debased acts. And fallen human nature being what it is, once an act becomes commonplace, its excitement tends to wane. Thus, some homosexuals have gone on to sadomasochism and other vile practices.c One Bible commentary says that “the effect of such base and unnatural passions . . . tended to debase the mind; to sink man below the level of the brute; to destroy the sensibility.” A Bible scholar grouped homosexuality with “crimes, which were utterly inconsistent with reason, nature, and their own and each other’s welfare.”
Bible Standards Bring Peace
We can be grateful that God does not change his standards just to satisfy the passing fancies or perverted desires of men. Even as he does not approve of polluting the earth or of lying simply because more people want to do it, so he does not condone homosexuality though many espouse it with zeal. No matter what course men promote, Jehovah wants us to honor him and benefit ourselves.
Thankfully, some have rejected such practices and lined up with “the healthful teaching” found in God’s Word. (1 Timothy 1:10; 1 Corinthians 6:9-11) As one former practicing homosexual stated: “What brings me pleasure is that I now have a clean conscience, and I know that I am living a life that is pleasing to Almighty God.”
a Homosexuality is sexual activity with a member of the same sex.
b “Gay men have a variety of unique medical problems that are related primarily to their sexual lifestyle.” (Providing Health Care for Gay Men) Among such disease problems are anorectal candidiasis, rectal and oral gonorrhea, lymphogranuloma venereum, trichomoniasis, and Bowen’s disease.
c Sadomasochism is defined by Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary as “the derivation of pleasure from the infliction of physical or mental pain either on others or on oneself.”