Definition: The characteristics of earthly creatures that serve as a means of reproduction by two interacting parents. The differences between the male and female sexes have far-reaching effects in human life. Since God himself is the Source of life and since humans are meant to reflect his qualities, the ability to transmit life by sexual relations is to be treated with great respect.
Does the Bible teach that sexual relations are sinful?
Gen. 1:28: “God blessed them [Adam and Eve] and God said to them: ‘Be fruitful and become many and fill the earth.’” (Fulfilling this divine command would require that they have sexual relations, would it not? Doing so would not be sinful but would be in harmony with God’s purpose for the populating of the earth. Some persons have thought that the ‘forbidden fruit’ in Eden was perhaps a symbolic reference to a divine restriction or even a prohibition of sexual relations on the part of Adam and Eve. But that conflicts with God’s command quoted above. It also conflicts with the fact that, although Adam and Eve ate of the forbidden fruit in Eden, the first mention of their having sexual intercourse was after they had been expelled from there.—Gen. 2:17; 3:17, 23; 4:1.)
Gen. 9:1: “God went on to bless Noah and his sons and to say to them: ‘Be fruitful and become many and fill the earth.’” (This further blessing, together with a restatement of the divine command to procreate, was given after the global Flood in Noah’s day. God’s viewpoint toward lawful sexual relations had not changed.)
1 Cor. 7:2-5: “Because of prevalence of fornication, let each man have his own wife and each woman have her own husband. Let the husband render to his wife her due; but let the wife also do likewise to her husband. . . . Do not be depriving each other of it, except by mutual consent for an appointed time, . . . that Satan may not keep tempting you for your lack of self-regulation.” (What is wrong is thus shown to be fornication, not proper sexual relations between husband and wife.)
Are sexual relations before marriage wrong?
1 Thess. 4:3-8: “This is what God wills . . . that you abstain from fornication; that each one of you should know how to get possession of his own vessel in sanctification and honor, not in covetous sexual appetite such as also those nations have which do not know God; that no one go to the point of harming and encroach upon the rights of his brother in this matter, because Jehovah is one who exacts punishment for all these things, just as we told you beforehand and also gave you a thorough witness. For God called us, not with allowance for uncleanness, but in connection with sanctification. So, then, the man that shows disregard is disregarding, not man, but God, who puts his holy spirit in you.” (The Greek word por·neiʹa, translated “fornication,” refers to sexual intercourse between unmarried persons, also to extramarital relations on the part of married persons.)
Eph. 5:5: “No fornicator or unclean person or greedy person—which means being an idolater—has any inheritance in the kingdom of the Christ and of God.” (This does not mean that anyone who in the past was a fornicator cannot enjoy the blessings of God’s Kingdom, but he must cease that way of life in order to have God’s approval. See 1 Corinthians 6:9-11.)
Does the Bible approve of living together as husband and wife without legal marriage?
What does the Bible say about homosexuality?
Rom. 1:24-27: “God, in keeping with the desires of their hearts, gave them up to uncleanness, that their bodies might be dishonored among them . . . 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.”
1 Tim. 1:9-11: “Law is promulgated, not for a righteous man, but for persons lawless and unruly, ungodly and sinners, . . . fornicators, men who lie with males, . . . and whatever other thing is in opposition to the healthful teaching according to the glorious good news of the happy God.” (Compare Leviticus 20:13.)
Jude 7: “Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities about them, after they . . . [had] gone out after flesh for unnatural use, are placed before us as a warning example by undergoing the judicial punishment of everlasting fire.” (The name Sodom has become the basis for the word “sodomy,” which usually designates a homosexual practice. Compare Genesis 19:4, 5, 24, 25.)
What is the attitude of true Christians toward those who have a history of homosexuality?
1 Cor. 6:9-11: “Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men kept for unnatural purposes, nor men who lie with men . . . will inherit God’s kingdom. 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.” (Regardless of such a background, if persons now abandon their former unclean practices, apply Jehovah’s righteous standards, and exercise faith in his provision for forgiveness of sins through Christ, they can enjoy a clean standing before God. After reforming, they may be welcomed in the Christian congregation.)
True Christians know that even deeply rooted wrong desires, including those that may have a genetic basis or that involve physical causes or environmental factors, are not insurmountable for persons who truly want to please Jehovah. Some people are by nature highly emotional. Perhaps in the past they gave free rein to fits of anger; but knowledge of God’s will, the desire to please him, and the help of his spirit enable them to develop self-control. A person may be an alcoholic, but, with proper motivation, he can refrain from drinking and thus avoid becoming a drunkard. Likewise, a person may feel strongly attracted to others of the same sex, but by heeding the counsel of God’s Word he can remain clean from homosexual practices. (See Ephesians 4:17-24.) Jehovah does not allow us to go on thinking that wrong conduct really makes no difference; he kindly but firmly warns us of the consequences and provides abundant help for those who want to “strip off the old personality with its practices, and clothe [themselves] with the new personality.”—Col. 3:9, 10.
Is the Bible’s view regarding sex perhaps old-fashioned and needlessly restrictive?
1 Thess. 4:3-8: “This is what God wills . . . that you abstain from fornication . . . So, then, the man that shows disregard is disregarding, not man, but God, who puts his holy spirit in you.” (The Bible’s view regarding sex is not simply something that was developed by certain humans who lived many years ago. It comes from mankind’s Creator; it makes clear what is required in order to have his approval; it also provides guidelines that contribute to stable families and wholesome, happy relationships outside the family. Those who apply this counsel safeguard themselves against the deep emotional scars and loathsome diseases that go with immoral conduct. The Bible’s counsel is very much up to date in meeting the needs of those who want a clean conscience before God and a life free from needless frustration.)
If Someone Says—
‘What is your attitude toward homosexuality?’
You might reply: ‘It is the viewpoint that is expressed here in the Bible. I believe that what it says is more important than any human opinion, because this gives us the thoughts of mankind’s Creator. (1 Cor. 6:9-11) You will notice that some of these who became Christians were formerly practicing homosexuality. But because of their love for God, and with the help of his spirit, they changed.’
Or you could say: ‘In answering that, I might say that I’ve noticed that many who feel that no stigma should be attached to a homosexual life-style do not believe that the Bible is God’s Word. May I ask how you view the Bible?’ If the person does profess faith in the Bible, you might perhaps add: ‘Homosexuality is not an issue that is new. The Bible sets out Jehovah God’s unchanging viewpoint in very clear language. (Perhaps use material on pages 368, 369.)’ If the person expresses doubts about the existence of God or about the Bible, you could add: ‘If there were no God, we logically would not be accountable to him and so could live as we pleased. So the real question is, Is there a God and do I owe my existence to him [also, perhaps, Is the Bible inspired by God]? (Use thoughts from pages 145-151 or 58-68.)’