I tried to be honest with my readers in this post that I don’t believe God wants a gay lifestyle for anyone, and that I would be willing to say that to anyone. I also related what I am sure God doesn’t want for any of us, and that is judging each other. If you’ve read my blog for any length of time, you know the reasons why I’m certain of that.
But I would like to share the reasons why I believe God doesn’t want us practicing a gay/homosexual lifestyle (choose your preferred term), and by that I mean, engaging in homosexual acts/intercourse. I will stick to scripture in this series of posts, and warn you ahead of time that I am not a biblical languages scholar, have not read widely on the subject, and am not interested in being locked into a preconception that I’ve already held. I just want to know what God says in scripture, what He does not say, and what are reasonable conclusions that can be drawn based on that. I’ve tried to keep an open mind on the question, and what I’m sharing is the conclusions I’ve come to.
You need to come to your own conclusions after your own study and prayer and fasting and desert time. You need to, even if you don’t know, care about, love or hate someone who identifies herself or himself as gay. Because you might, and God still loves them, and their souls are as precious to Him as yours.
So here’s reason number one.
Please don’t ask me to explain that. I don’t have a clue. We think of God as being able to see all from wherever He is — presumably heaven — but in this case, He visits by these proxies while He stays with Abraham. Perhaps it has something to do with the severity of the evil that these cries have charged Sodom with committing, and the reliability of two or three witnesses that we find recommended in scripture. Perhaps it has something to do with God’s personal aversion to evil. Maybe His very presence there would have caused judgment and obliteration … before Abraham’s nephew Lot and his household could be rescued. I’m guessing, and only guessing.
What was that outcry God heard? Scripture doesn’t say. Whom did it come from? The Bible doesn’t tell us.
But when the men/angels come to investigate, Lot is at the gate and tries to turn them aside from entering the city/fortress. (Originally, he had camped outside Sodom; it would seem that he built a house with a door there.) He has to persuade them not to spend the night in the square. Why? I think we’re left to draw the conclusion that if they had been ordinary men, they would have been in danger from the evil within.
Instead, the men from all over the city come to Lot’s house and their idea of hospitality is not the same as his. They surround the house and call out to Lot: “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us so that we can have sex with them.”
Some have argued that their initial intent was rape. Okay, I’ll grant that as a possibility. But although there is a term for rape in the language of the scripture as originally written, it doesn’t appear here. They’re just asking. Lot goes out, shuts the door behind him. There’s no indication that he was in danger; he shut the door behind him because the men were asking for his guests. Lot tries his powers of persuasion to dissuade them.
Personally, I think the offer of his engaged virgin daughters is made in jest, perhaps in an attempt to lighten the mood of the tense situation. He calls them his friends. Everyone there knows that their interest is not in his engaged daughters. It’s a tasteless joke, agreed — but possibly a desperate one. When they threatened Lot, the men/angels pulled him inside. Their threat against Lot and his guests at this point has the implied violence associated with rape. At any rate, things went south fast. These men are struck blind, and the next day after Lot, his immediate family and his guests escape before sunrise, fire from the sky (burning sulfur) rains down and completely destroys the city. (His future sons-in-law remained behind, thinking he was joking. Apparently Lot didn’t have a real developed sense of humor.) The refugees are instructed by the men/angels to keep moving; not to look back. It was too much to ask. Lot is granted respite closer than the angels preferred. Looking back at the firestorm destroying her home and doubtless her friends, Lot’s wife is transformed into what is described as “a pillar of salt.”
This fire was “from the Lord.” Did He destroy the cities for the attempt at rape, or the idea that hospitality should include homosexual intercourse, or for more? Well, definitely for more than either or both of those things. Isaiah 3 says that Sodom paraded its sins; the prophet is building on a metaphor that Israel has become as wicked as Sodom and Gomorrah, and names many other sins, perhaps parallel to those of the doomed cities. Jeremiah takes up that metaphor several times, too, against pagan nations. Ezekiel 16 says the sins of Sodom (exceeded by Israel) were arrogant self-indulgence, neglect of the poor and denial of justice. But these sins do not exclude nor negate those recorded in Genesis; they simply supplement and exacerbate them.
My point is that Lot was, in those patriarchal pre-Mosaic Law times, trying to protect his guests from the intrusion of unwanted attention. That attention included the offer of homosexual intercourse. If the guests/men/angels were traveling alone and Lot considered it culturally/morally/ethically acceptable for people to engage in homosexual intercourse, then he would have had no reason to go out and dissuade his friends from making the offer; if the encounter had started as a threat of rape, he probably wouldn’t have gone outside to reply.
That’s my thinking. You’re free to disagree; but this is only one of several reasons I find in scripture that tell me God doesn’t want a gay lifestyle for anyone; the first that touches on the question directly.
(Why didn’t I begin with Genesis 2? Yes, I believe God created man male and female for procreation to take place through sex — and He put pleasure in the mix so that it was also for recreation. Sex is meant to seal a bond of intimacy between man and wife that is described nowhere in scripture as meant for any other relationship. But I consider the phrase “Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve” to be so trivializing of something deeply sacred, and so belittling and insulting to the intelligence of anyone who has heard it, that I’ve elected not to go there. Only two people existed in the context of these verses; that it speaks of the single complex relationship between them (later known as marriage) is inevitable. Other people would appear later in scripture, and other relationships. The issue in this context cannot be whether a heterosexual monogamous relationship is the only one in which sex is blessed and permitted by God; there could not have been any other because that was the only kind of sexual relationship possible. So the permissibility or blessing of other sexual relationships cannot possibly be in view here.)
Now, once again, perspective: None of us is sinless. None of us is immune to sexual temptation — to temptation generally. As I’ve said in previous posts, our call is not to judge but to love. If we’re going to discuss matters on which we disagree, it must be in love and humility. If we do not wish to be judged, we must not judge.
There is ample evidence that some people have a predilection to prefer same-sex intercourse, and most don’t. A few have no preference. The evidence about why is inconclusive at this point. To say that people choose their innate sexual taste is simply not realistic. But to say that what people choose to do with that sexual preference and how they act upon it is a matter of choice — that is inarguably accurate. And nothing in scripture persuades me that we are judged by God over what tempts us — but that we are judged when we act selfishly, against His will.
My desire in this series is to discern His will in this matter.
I am convinced that He wants what is best for us — all of us.