Does God condemn the gay or lesbian lifestyle? Is it a sin to be gay or lesbian? This question is one of importance and should be diligently researched before making any conclusions.
Join me, as we go through each and every scripture that mentions homosexuality and consider the truest meanings of each word within the scriptural context (i.e. ~ Greek and Hebrew definitions, to avoid error):
There shall be no whore of the daughters of Israel, nor a sodomite of the sons of Israel. - Deuteronomy 23:17-18 - Well, interestingly on this passage, the Hebrew term for "whore" actually refers directly to a "female temple prostitute" and the term "sodomite" here actually refers to a "male temple prostitute". See for yourself: #06945 qadesh, #06948 kedeshah, or just click on the verse reference and click on the Hebrew numbers there. So, in actuality, this verse here can not be used to condemn standard gay and lesbian activity. Related Scriptures: ( 1 Kings 14:22-24, 15:22, 22:46, and 2 Kings 23:7)
19:4 But before they lay down, the men of the city, [even] the men of Sodom, compassed the house round, both old and young, all the people from every quarter: 19:5 And they called unto Lot, and said unto him, Where [are] the men which came in to thee this night? bring them out unto us, that we may know them. 19:6 And Lot went out at the door unto them, and shut the door after him, 19:7 And said, I pray you, brethren, do not so wickedly. 19:8 Behold now, I have two daughters which have not known man; let me, I pray you, bring them out unto you, and do ye to them as [is] good in your eyes: only unto these men do nothing; for therefore came they under the shadow of my roof. 19:9 And they said, Stand back. And they said [again], This one [fellow] came in to sojourn, and he will needs be a judge: now will we deal worse with thee, than with them. And they pressed sore upon the man, [even] Lot, and came near to break the door. 19:10 But the men put forth their hand, and pulled Lot into the house to them, and shut to the door. 19:11 And they smote the men that [were] at the door of the house with blindness, both small and great: so that they wearied themselves to find the door. - Genesis 19:4-11 - First thing to note, is that these men wanted to "forcefully rape" visitors to their city. This is not the same as being gay, as their relationships are concentual, not forced. So, to say they were smote because of gay activity is not what this passage or other passages state (Deut. 29:23, 32:32; Wis. 19:14-17; Isa. 3:9, 13:19; Jer. 23:14, 49:18, 50:40; Lam. 4:6; Ezek. 16:46-48; Amos 4:11; Zeph. 2:9; Matt. 10:15; Luke 17:29; Rom. 9:29; 2 Pet. 2:6; Jude 7), as it is more likely because they were trying to gang rape people.
Further, if you read the Book of Jasher, which is cited in Joshua 10:13 and 2 Samuel 1:18, you will hear a great deal more of the types of evil Sodom and Gomorrah committed. To give you a synopsis, they basically made laws against feeding the poor and any stranger that visited their cities. They also would torture visitors for no reason, to scare people away. So, if any man came into their cities, they would find a way to torture him (whether with starvation or physical torture). And if any person showed mercy, they would receive a capital punishment for violating their law. So, this makes it entirely clear, they were very vindictive and unmerciful to any stranger who came into their cities.
So, I do not believe this passage should be used to condemn or prove God was against gay activity. Also, if you look at Ezekiel 16:49-50, it states that Sodom's sins were pride, fullness of bread and abundance of idleness and forgetting the poor. So, no direct correlation, to "standard" gay activity as being the main reason for the punishment. Something to also consider is the warning here about pride, abundance of idless and fullness of bread, which seems to describe more Westernized countries. (Judges 19:22, Jude 6-7; 2 Peter 2:4, 6-8.)
1:26 For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: 1:27 And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet. - Romans 1:26-27 - We also know from Leviticus 18:22 and Leviticus 20:13 that God has an Old Testament commandment potentially against male-male sex (in context of idolatrous male-male sex). However, note, we can not infer this to mean men can not have love or closeness with another man. Now, many assume that Romans 1 is refering to two women having sex. However, seeing that Romans 1 is the only passage that may relate out of 33,000+ verses within the Bible and seeing it is not direct or clear as to what is meant by "against nature", we can not easily conclude it is talking about two women having sexual relations (as the two Leviticus passages never mention it being a sin, or any other passages: 1, 2 ). The reason I state this is because there is more than one potential type of "against nature" activity.
Anal sex could be potentially against nature, as it is non-creative.
Sex in an idolatrous context is likely what is meant by "against nature" here, as one book (Testament of Naphtali) written about 200 years before Paul's writings, indicates that "against nature" means idolatrous sex or sex with angels. In the Testament of Naphtali 3:3-5, we find a connection between the Genesis 3 account (angels having sex with humans) & the Sodom account (men trying to rape men and angels). This work would have been likely what Paul was referencing in the Romans 1 account (men trying to have sex with men unto a false god). Perhaps these temple priests in Paul's time were considered "representatives" of the false god, making it into a change of nature's order (in other words sex is to be between humans, not men and animals, or men and angels, or in men and false gods).
Also, if you take the common understanding of sexual identity in Paul's time, it could be refering to how women ought to be passive and men active, yet in the case of Rome's idolatrous atmosphere, the temple prostitute women would sleep with many men (being "active" - against nature) and the consecrated eunuch men unto this false god (Cybele, for insance) were passive as many men would have anal sex with them (against nature). So against nature would be refering to women and men exchanging their passive/active roles.
Another compelling viewpoint is that it is refering to heterosexuals that are forced or cohersed by society to practice homosexual acts, often to desensitize, control or humble. Sometimes it is combined with the practice of the occult, witchcraft or idolatry as well. This viewpoint at first seems to not be that relevant, but the more you think about it, the more you realize its potential merit. Consider what the Didache (First Christian Handbook) mentions regarding sexual sins to avoid: "You shall not commit adultery; you shall not commit pederasty (sex with boys)." - Didache (c. 80-140, E), 7.377 . How does this relate? Consider it an abusive form of homosexuality, where they are controlling and humbling boys. Consider also this tidbit about Hitler's Youth regarding which form of homosexuality was accepted and which kind was condemned: " In his book, 'The Pink Swastika,' Lively exposes a secret homosexual activists don't want you to know about Nazi Germany: that although the Nazis did persecute homosexuals, the homosexuals the Nazis persecuted were almost exclusively the effeminate members of the gay community in Germany, and that much of the mistreatment was administered by masculine homosexuals who despised effeminacy in all its forms." - Truth about homosexuality and Nazi Party. So, those who were actual homosexuals were thrown in concentration camps, while those who were forced or cohersed into homosexuality become male predators burning with lust and desiring to control and abuse men and boys. Another factor to consider is the heavy use of occultism in the Nazi Party and Hitler's Youth. Meaning, the Bible seems to point to these activities as evil when it comes to the homosexuality topic:
Force or cohersion by society to practice homosexuality (particularly cohersion of natural heterosexuals). In Romans 1, we hear Paul talking about all men practicing paganism which include gay homosexual relations, not just natural homosexuals.
A form of idolatry, witchcraft, occultism or some other spiruality mixed with the sexual act.
Abuse of those of lower position, such as children or men of weaker status. (consider Sodom and Gammorah, Hitler's Youth or Prison Rape).
Last, you could take the common conservative 21st Century view that it is refering to gay and lesbian sex (however, the early fathers thought it was anal sex and idol sex, and the Testament of Naphtali and other constructs from this time, seem to not agree with 21st Century conservative viewpoints).
Quotation from Testament of Naphtali.
The Gentiles went astray, and forsook the Lord, and changed their order, and obeyed stocks and stones, spirits of (4) deceit. But ye shall not be so, my children, recognizing in the firmament, in the earth, and in the sea, and in all created things, the Lord who made all things, that ye become not as Sodom, which (5) changed the order of nature.
In like manner the Watchers [fallen angels] also changed the order of their nature, whom the Lord cursed at the flood, on whose account He made the earth without inhabitants and fruitless.
-Testament of Naphtali (137-107 BC), 3:3-5
Since the ideas of heterosexuality and homosexuality were understood differently than today, as they actually had maybe six orientations instead of two (homosexuality was broken into a few categories in Paul's day). Also, consider that polygamy in the Old Testament permits more than one woman to have sex with a man. So, to "assume" Romans 1 is refering to two women interacting sexually in all scenerios is to conclude without proof and seeing that Jesus did not make any new morality, we should see an example in the Old Testament condemning, women with women. However, I would say that there is no such thing as lesbian marriage, as God did not create such an institution. The only marriage models found in the Bible are either one man and one woman (God's ideal) or one man and more than one woman (polygamy). Since God is smarter than you or I and would know that such a topic would be relevant today, I am sure he would have made it clearly obvious, if it was a sin for women to have sex together. However, at most, only gay male sex could be argued as a sinful activity from scripture (yet, it is not black and white). With regards to lesbianism, there is one vague verse which could mean a myriad of things. If you were God and wanted to tell people lesbianism was a sin, would you do this, or would you make it very straight forward and clear?
Regarding Homosexuality, I do believe it is possible for two men to have love or a close relationship with each other. As we see examples in the Bible of such relationships (David and Jonathan for instance). Yet, the Bible says that gay anal sex is "unseemly" and that it is "in error". I would say, likely the Testament of Naphtali could be correct regarding the term "against nature" and it could be saying that gay temple prostitution is reversing the natural order (as they are trying to have sex with a diety or unto a diety). So, I believe the point is that God has created some men to love other men, but anal sex appears forbidden. There are actually examples of relationship in the Ancient church between two men. They had a love for each other, but were likely celibate. Should such a union ever happened in history? I would have to say the agreement between David and Jonathan could have been one of these type agreements.
19:10 His disciples say unto him, If the case of the man be so with [his] wife, it is not good to marry. 19:11 But he said unto them, All [men] cannot receive this saying, save [they] to whom it is given. 19:12 For there are some eunuchs, which were so born from [their] mother's womb: and there are some eunuchs, which were made eunuchs of men: and there be eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake. He that is able to receive [it], let him receive [it]. - Matthew 19:10-12 - With this scripture here, some say that a "eunuch" that was "born from mother's womb" is what we would today call a "homosexual". A eunuch according to the greek is one who abstains from marriage, or one who is castrated, or one who serves to protect women in harems, etc.. And the one definition from the greek that homosexuals are refering to is "1c) one naturally incapacitated". So the debate is, are they born without a penis/testicles, or is it refering to them born naturally disposed to not want women (hence wanting men).. To me, it could mean a man who just doesn't want to get married to a woman or a celibate man who has love for a man. Does this mean that they are gay? It is possible, as most eunuchs in Jesus' time were gay, as can be seen in the usage of the word in various other greek writings of that time. The assumption then is, if they do not want to marry a woman, they would want a man, which may or may not be the case. I guess, the point is, you can't assume gay male sex is ok because of this passage, but we can say likely that Jesus is saying some are born gay. So, it is likely Jesus was refering to gay men when he spoke of naturally born eunuchs. But, can we conclude a great deal from this? Does it mean Jesus doesn't have a problem with gay sex? The problem is there just not a lot of data in the Bible to make strong declarations either way. As you can build a plausible case for or against the gay lifestyle being a sin. If you look at Romans 1, you could argue that it is an "unseemly" desire. However, some gays just argue that this "unseemly" desire was not refering to all gay desire. So, we can see, the Bible is not really clear on this topic, as some may imagine it to be.
18:22 Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it [is] abomination. 20:13 If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood [shall be] upon them. - Leviticus 18:22, 20:13 - With reference to this passage, it could be refering to the common homosexual activity of men having sex with other men (yet, there is some odd wording surrounding the passage in chapter 18 & 20, making it appear potentially to be saying men can not have sex with men in religious related situtations). I believe it is likely focused on gay temple prostitution unto Molech, but could also refer to anal sex in general (due to Romans 1). Now, some may argue that this passage only applies to that time period, to distance themselves from the culture around them, etc. God maybe ok with same sex platonic relationships, but we can not simply conclude that God is ok with same-sex unions, where the men are sexually active together. I believe men can be potentially born gay due to Jesus comments on "natrual born eunuchs" and the usage of the word in Jesus time. However, I am concerned that anal sex is a sin, because of a few scriptures and some health statistics illude to its harmful nature (See here: 1, 2, 3, 4). It should be pointed out, it does not mention women lying with women. Assuming God is logical in his method of writing, we can see in Leviticus 18, that "men lying with beast" and "women lying with beast" are both sins, which indicates his style of talking about men and women individually in this section of scripture.
6:9 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind. 1:10 For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine; - 1 Corinthians 6:9, 1 Timothy 1:10 - On this one, the term "effeminate" or mal-ak-os' 3120 means either a male prostitute, or a boy slave used for gay sex, or a male who submits himself to unnatural lewdness. If you take the root meaning of the greek word it is: "male bedder". Knowing a lot of words in the greek New Testament are derived from doctrines and scriptures in the Old Testament, it appears to be an illusion to Leviticus 18 and 20 (men shall not lie on bed with men). However, Leviticus 18 and 20 also seem to have some odd wording surrounding them, which brings about some circumstancial evidence that it maybe focusing more so on the practice of gay temple prostitution. So, to me, this one is a little difficult to know if it is refering to all sexually active gay men. I believe it is refering to gay temple prostitutes and maybe those who enslave men to use for sex. I do not believe it is refering to men who have a love or close friendship with another man (otherwise, potentially King David, would not have been a servant of God, due to his strong love for Jonathan). But, I do not think David and Jonathan had anything more than a platonic, non-sexual relationship. I believe the point is we can not conlcude that anyone who is not "straight" is going to Hell. That is far more of a theological construct than an actual scripture in the Bible.
18:1 And it came to pass, when he had made an end of speaking unto Saul, that the soul of Jonathan was knit with the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul. 18:2 And Saul took him that day, and would let him go no more home to his father's house. 18:3 Then Jonathan and David made a covenant, because he loved him as his own soul. 18:4 And Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that [was] upon him, and gave it to David, and his garments, even to his sword, and to his bow, and to his girdle. 20:3 And David sware moreover, and said, Thy father certainly knoweth that I have found grace in thine eyes; and he saith, Let not Jonathan know this, lest he be grieved: but truly [as] the LORD liveth, and [as] thy soul liveth, [there is] but a step between me and death. 20:4 Then said Jonathan unto David, Whatsoever thy soul desireth, I will even do [it] for thee. 20:41 [And] as soon as the lad was gone, David arose out of [a place] toward the south, and fell on his face to the ground, and bowed himself three times: and they kissed one another, and wept one with another, until David exceeded. 1:25 How are the mighty fallen in the midst of the battle! O Jonathan, [thou wast] slain in thine high places. 1:26 I am distressed for thee, my brother Jonathan: very pleasant hast thou been unto me: thy love to me was wonderful, passing the love of women. - 1 Samuel 18:1-4; 20:3-4, 20:41 and 2 Samuel 1:25-26 - Now, I would say these scriptures are perplexing, atleast a little. If you look at the passages as face value, particularly 20:41, you would think its possible you are reading about two gay men who are in love. As I like to read the Bible unbiased, without allowing my doctrine to paint the passage. But, for you who are gay, I would like to ask you something. Is it possible for two men to love each other without having gay sex? In real life, you see platonic relationships between men and women, where they deeply love each other, yet they are not boyfriend/girlfriend and they are not having sex. So, theoretically, is it possible two men could love each other, without being sexual? So, with these passages, I can not assume they are sexually gay. So, to assume they were sexually gay because they kissed (which I believe was a custom at the time) I do not believe is enough to show them as having gay relations. So, I think the safest approach would be to say God may honor love between men, but not sexual relations between men. As, it is quite obvious, David hear loved Jonathan more than a woman. But, it does not follow, that he had sexual relations with him.. Also, taking logic here, if a man has sex with a bunch of women, do we assume he "loves" them? Or is he more just a man going around screwing women? So, having sex, does not infer love.