May 23, 2015

The Bible and Homosexuality XVII: God Made Me This Way, Part I

The Genetics Argument

I believe through a proper theological understanding of Scripture and properly understood logic it is conceivable that this argument can be retired and put away once and for all without getting into myopic scientific minutiae. It is critical to refute this argument because the modern theological division is divided at this point.  I suspect this is the avenue down which I will receive the stiffest opposition and be savagely attacked for this particular argument.

If there is a place where the Church is out of its depth knowledge wise it is here.  The Church attempts to take the genetic argument to the opposing side on a scientific level and this is a mistake. By doing this the Church is allowing the other side to define the terms, the rules of debate and even the realm of debate. This is foolhardy for a Christian. It is believed you need to be an expert on genetics and science to refute this assertion. I beg to differ. The assertion that God makes people gay is a theological issue, not a scientific one. 

The Bible defines homosexuality as sin. Sin is a theological issue, not a medical one. We need to stop allowing pseudo-intellectuals to frame this debate in a scientific light when in reality it is a theological one that defines whether or not homosexuality is wrong. It boils down to choice to perform an action, not genes defining behavior. Genes might say that I have a predilection for anger and violence but it is my choice whether or not to physically attack someone in anger.

On one side we have conservative theology that believes that homosexuality is inherently sinful and is the position of this paper. On the opposing side are those that believe or accept that homosexuals are made the way they are or have little or no choice in the manner (Holtam 593). The recent trend culturally is that even the wordage of this phenomena has even changed over the last few years to enforce the idea that homosexuality is now an "orientation" rather than a "preference" which would indicate a choice. 

These terms (like those of abortion) become exceptionally important when dealing with legal or litigious issues concerning respective legalities. It needs to also be mentioned that no studies have ever conclusively proved there is any genetic linkage to the behavior of homosexuality. As this is primarily a biblical and theological series on homosexuality and so that I do not bog down this post with unwarranted scientific complexities I reference some of the most recent scientific references here in their source material: 

Mustanski et al-Human Genetics 116, 272–27

Rice et al-Science 284: 665-667.

Having tentatively mentioned that the genetic argument for homosexuality stands on extremely shaky ground, I now move to the main gist of the theological/biblical polemic.

First, based on previous argumentation it can conclusively be shown that homosexuality is a sin (among many others). Sin by its nature is not of or from a holy God per se as this would contradict God’s nature being holy. Therefore God could not have made a human homosexual or sinful. He could allow it for His purposes but through their own freewill, individual people choose to sin of their own volition. Additional Scripture validating the attributes and nature of God are as follows.

1 John 1:5 ~ This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all.

Habakkuk 1:13 ~ Your eyes are too pure to look on evil; you cannot tolerate wrongdoing. Why then do you tolerate the treacherous? Why are you silent while the wicked swallow up those more righteous than themselves?

When confronted with sinful sexual circumstances including immoral or wicked thoughts humans are confronted with a choice (freewill) to violate the rules and statutes that God has ordained for human sexual activity. The truth is that the only acceptable sex acts are those within the covenant of marriage between man and woman (Genesis 2, Ephesians 5). What we choose to do with our minds and subsequently our bodies when dealing with temptation and sin is choice (Enns 209, Erickson 210-212, Grudem 333). If our fantasies and acts of sexuality are outside of marriage they are in violation of Scripture, therefore they are sin and an offense against God. The Bible is replete with examples of sexual sin being sins of choice. From the mouth of Paul we again see the following about adulterers, thieves, homosexuals, etc.

Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God. 1 Cor 6:9-11

The implication in the above passage is that the believers made a choice to believe and become part of the Church. Paul then states that it was a past action / condition. Therefore by entering the Church they were to put away the old behaviors such as homosexuality. It is clear that because Paul needed to address these sins in such a manner, some within the Corinthian church were still choosing to commit the aforementioned sins. They would now need to make a choice to stop committing these sins. More specifically, they having been told these sins are clearly out of bounds for Christian behavior and the Corinthians should at least now be convicted of their immoral behavior enough to feel guilt and wish to stop these sins of their own volition.

When we begin to combine the idea of sexual thoughts / sexual acts being choice with the idea that a person may have homosexual inclinations we see an inconsistency. The first premise logically invalidates the second premise or claim. Even though a person may be homosexual and have homosexual proclivity - like unmarried heterosexuals, they have a biblical obligation to control not only their physical sexual life but also their sexual thought life just as Jesus said:

Matthew 5:27 ~ “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery’; but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

Although the passage above does not speak directly to homosexuals the underlying principle is clear. To look at a woman (or object of desire) and have sexual thoughts about her/him outside the bounds of marriage (adultery) is to sin. To think a sin is to have committed the sin in your mind. It therefore follows logically that any sexual thoughts about another human being (or object) outside the bond of marriage is improper and sinful. Since homosexuality is not within the acceptable confines of what is considered legitimate biblical marriage, we see a compounding of sin (Romans 1).

What is additionally interesting about the Habakkuk 2 passage above is that it speaks not only to the fact that God is pure and cannot look upon evil but it also alludes to the idea that God allowed/allows wickedness (therefore sin). It is at from this angle of the pro-homosexual argument that we arrive at the aspect that says homosexuals cannot help that they are or the way they are. It is the idea that God may not have made a person homosexual but he has allowed people a that choice to sin and perform homosexual acts for only reason He could know or understand. 

[Concluded in Part II]

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