THE practice of homosexuality continues to gain acceptance in many lands. A group in one church in the United States is calling for a reinterpretation of what the Bible says about homosexuality in light of “contemporary wisdom.” A pastor in Brazil who recently entered into a same-sex marriage also encouraged “taking a fresh look at the Bible,” so as to allow for his church’s contemporary view.
On the other hand, those who do not approve of homosexual acts are often tagged as homophobic or prejudiced. What does the Bible really say about homosexuality?
What Does the Bible Say?
The Bible does not promote prejudice against people. However, its view of homosexual acts is clear.
“You must not lie down with a male the same as you lie down with a woman. It is a detestable thing.”—Leviticus 18:22.
As part of the Mosaic Law, this prohibition was one of many moral laws given specifically to the nation of Israel. Even so, the commandment expresses God’s view of homosexual acts, whether by Jews or non-Jews, when it says: “It is a detestable thing.” The nations around Israel practiced homosexuality, incest, adultery, and other acts prohibited by the Law. Therefore, God viewed those nations as unclean. (Leviticus 18:24, 25) Did the Bible’s viewpoint change during the Christian era? Consider the following scripture:
“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.”—Romans 1:26, 27.
Why does the Bible describe homosexual acts as unnatural and obscene? Because they involve sexual activity that was not intended by our Creator. Homosexual acts cannot produce offspring. The Bible compares homosexual activity to the sexual relations that rebellious angels, who came to be known as demons, had with women before the Deluge of Noah’s day. (Genesis 6:4; 19:4, 5; Jude 6, 7) God views both acts as unnatural.
Factors That Justify Homosexuality?
Some may wonder, ‘Would genetics, environment, or traumatic life experiences, such as sexual abuse, justify one’s giving in to homosexual desires?’ No, they would not. Consider this example: A person may have what some scientists consider to be hereditary tendencies toward alcohol abuse, or he may have been raised in a family where alcohol abuse was commonplace. Certainly, most people would be empathetic toward a person in such circumstances. All the same, by no means would he be encouraged to continue abusing alcohol or to give up his fight against alcohol abuse just because he may have been born with the tendency or he was raised in such an environment.
Likewise, while the Bible does not condemn those who struggle with homosexual tendencies, it in no way condones giving in to those tendencies, whether they are the result of genetics or they stem from some other source. (Romans 7:21-25; 1 Corinthians 9:27) Instead, the Bible offers practical assistance and encouragement to help individuals to win the fight against homosexual practices.
What Is God’s Will for People With Homosexual Desires?
The Bible assures us that God’s will is that “all sorts of men should be saved and come to an accurate knowledge of truth.” (1 Timothy 2:4) Though the Bible disapproves of homosexual acts, it does not encourage hatred of homosexuals.
God’s view of homosexuality cannot be watered down. At 1 Corinthians 6:9, 10, the Bible clearly states that “men who lie with men” are included in those who “will not inherit God’s kingdom.” But verse 11 adds the comforting thought: “And yet that is what some of you were. But you have been washed clean, but you have been sanctified, but you have been declared righteous in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ and with the spirit of our God.”
Clearly, those who sincerely desired to worship God on his terms were warmly welcomed into the early Christian congregation. The same is true today for all honesthearted ones who seek God’s approval—not by reinterpreting the Bible—but by bringing their lives into harmony with it.
HAVE YOU WONDERED?
● What is the Bible’s viewpoint on homosexual acts?—Romans 1:26, 27.
● Does the Bible discriminate against people with homosexual desires?—1 Timothy 2:4.
● Is it possible to abstain from homosexual acts?—1 Corinthians 6:9-11.
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Should God’s view of homosexuality be reinterpreted?