The One Flesh Paradigm: Gods Exclusive Standard For Sexuality And The Model For His Relationship With Mankind
In Genesis 1:27 & 2:24 God sets forth the exclusive one flesh paradigm for human sexuality: the lifelong, faithful union of one man and one woman created in His image for procreation. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him male and female created he them .
This male/female complimentarity, consummated in marriage, reflects the very relationship of God and Man, as the Apostle Paul explains in Ephesians 5, citing Genesis 2:24.
For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.
All sex outside of marriage is thus wrong and harmful spiritually equivalent to worshipping false gods as in fact God condemns as adultery all idolatry by His people.
Challenge: The Bible Only Mentions Homosexuality Six Times
In an article about Fuller Seminarys new student group, OneTable, created to be a safe place for dialogue between LGBTQ students and the wider Fuller community, a student explains the shift in her beliefs about homosexuality:
In a blog post from this past spring, OneTables former presidentsimply identified as Samanthashared her personal story of growing up as a Christian, but eventually becoming more tolerant of the homosexual lifestyle. Through a week-long FTS/Young Life ethics course, she came to doubt her long-held belief that being gay was a sin.
I was shocked, absolutely floored, she wrote about the ethics course, to learn that the Bible only explicitly references homosexuality six times in both testaments combined. What!?!? How had no one ever told me that? I felt slighted by my faith communities and by the guidance and teachings they had offered me. When we watched For the Bible Tells Me So, I was moved to tears by the hatred and intolerance the gay community had suffered in the hands of the Church.
Remember that in this case, youre speaking to someone who is attending a seminary, so I think it would also be helpful to address the view of sexuality expressed throughout the Bible.
Lets hear how you would graciously respond to Samantha, and then Alan will give his video response on Thursday.
Does The Bible Promote Prejudice
Still, some people would say that the Bible promotes prejudice against homosexuals and that those who adhere to its moral code are intolerant. The Bible was written at a time when people were narrow-minded, they claim. Today we accept people of all races, nationalities, and sexual preferences. To them, rejecting homosexuality is the same as rejecting people of a different skin color. Is that comparison valid? No. Why not?
Because there is a difference between rejecting homosexual conduct and rejecting homosexual people. The Bible tells Christians to be respectful of all kinds of people. But that does not mean that Christians must accept all kinds of conduct.
Consider a comparison: Suppose you view smoking as harmful and even repugnant. What if you have a workmate who is a smoker? Would you be considered narrow-minded just because your view of smoking differs from his? Would the fact that he smokes and you do not smoke automatically mean that you are prejudiced against him? If your workmate were to demand that you change your view of smoking, would that not make him narrow-minded and intolerant?
Jehovahs Witnesses choose to live by the moral code set forth in the Bible. They do not approve of the actions that the Bible prohibits. But they neither mock nor mistreat people whose practices differ from their own.
Recommended Reading: Does The Bible Say The World Is Flat
What About Transgender And Transsexual People
The Bible does not say anything specific about either situation. However, the book of Deuteronomy has a prohibition against dressing in clothing of the opposite sex:
A woman must not wear men’s clothing, nor a man wear women’s clothing, for the LORD your God detests anyone who does this.
No one knows for sure whether this prohibition was intended as a general principle or was directed at some specific abuse among the ancient Hebrews. Cross-dressing was likely considered an affront to the natural distinction between the sexes ” rel=”nofollow”> Genesis 1:27). It may also have been related to some deviant sexual practice, or more likely, to pagan worship. It is known that some pagan rituals of that time involved women wearing armor and men dressing as women, and the Hebrews were forbidden to do anything that had even the appearance of pagan worship.
You Have Been Part Of A Research Team That Is Seeking To Understand How The Decision Was Made To Put The Word Homosexual In The Bible Is That True
Ed: Yes. It first showed up in the RSV translation. So before figuring out why they decided to use that word in the RSV translation I wanted to see how other cultures and translations treated the same verses when they were translated during the Reformation 500 years ago. So I started collecting old Bibles in French, German, Irish, Gaelic, Czechoslovakian, Polish you name it. Now Ive got most European major languages that Ive collected over time. Anyway, I had a German friend come back to town and I asked if he could help me with some passages in one of my German Bibles from the 1800s. So we went to Leviticus 18:22 and hes translating it for me word for word. In the English where it says Man shall not lie with man, for it is an abomination, the German version says Man shall not lie with young boys as he does with a woman, for it is an abomination. I said, What?! Are you sure? He said, Yes! Then we went to Leviticus 20:13 same thing, Young boys. So we went to 1 Corinthians to see how they translated arsenokoitai and instead of homosexuals it said, Boy molesters will not inherit the kingdom of God.
So then I started thinking that of 4 of the 6 clobber passages, all these nations and translations were referring to pederasty, and not what we would call homosexuality today.
Recommended Reading: What Does The Bible Say About The Gays
Jesus’s Discussion Of Marriage
In Matthew 19 and parallel in Mark 10, Jesus is asked if a man can divorce his wife. In that context, Jesus replies:
He answered, “Have you not read that the one who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female’, and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”
Theologian Robert A. J. Gagnon argues that Jesus’s back-to-back references to Genesis 1 and Genesis 2 show that he “presupposed a two-sex requirement for marriage”. On the other hand, Bart Ehrman, Professor of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina, states of Jesus’s references to Genesis 1 and 2, ” not actually defining marriage. He’s answering a specific question.” Ehrman notes further “And here the conversation is quite easy. In our surviving records Jesus says nothing about same-sex acts or sexual orientation. Nothing. Nada.”
Bu Theologian: The Good Book Is Not A Rule Book
It is easy to label Jennifer Knust, the author of Unprotected Texts: The Bibles Surprising Contradictions About Sex and Desire, a theological renegade. And she does say the sorts of things in this bookabout premarital sex and abortion and gay marriagethat make conservatives shudder. But in one respect at least, Knust, a School of Theology assistant professor, is a throwback.
Long ago and in a place far away, Christians used to actually fear God. They saw a yawning gap between their limited intelligence and the mind of God. So they were exceedingly careful about presuming what God had to say about almost anything. He who would learn astronomy, and other recondite arts, wrote the Protestant reformer John Calvin, he should go elsewhere than the Biblical text.
Today many supposedly conservative Christians have no trouble pontificating on what Jesus would do about the deficit or what the Bible says about war and peace or sex and the solar system. Knust, who is an ordained American Baptist pastor, thinks that this confidence is not only preposterous, but perhaps idolatrous as well.
We sat down a few days ago, as people increasingly sit down nowadays , to discuss her new book.
None of this would have been possible if Ruth had not set out to seduce Boaz in a field, without the benefit of marriage.
Stephen Prothero, a College of Arts & Sciences professor of religion, can be reached at .
This article originally appeared on theHuffington Post.
You May Like: In And Out Bible Verses
Understanding The Root Of Your Childs Misbehavior
Often, children act out because they are used to getting attention through bad behavior. Dr. Kevin Leman offers advice to help parents transform their childs behavior. He discusses the benefits of allowing your kids to learn from real-life consequences and describes the importance of understanding your childs temperament based on his birth order.
Dont Miss: Omer Bible Meaning
B Leviticus : 13 Punishment Of Homosexuality In The Law
Lev 20:13 If a man has sexual intercourse with a male as one has sexual intercourse with a woman, the two of them have committed an abomination. They must be put to death their blood guilt is on themselves.
This straightforward law gives the consequences for homosexual acts as they were to be carried out under Israels theocratic government. It comes in the midst of a section detailing crime and punishment lists. This particular section deals with sexual offenses and their judgments. The punishment for homosexual acts was to be death for both participants. This seems to clarify what was meant by being cut off from the midst of their people in the earlier discussion of sexual sins in Leviticus 18. Thus in the law homosexuality was a sin against God that required capital punishment.2
You May Like: What Does The Bible Say About Exercise And Diet
Bible Verses That Have Been Used To Condemn Lgbtq People
When seeking to understand any Bible verse, it is important to know the context of the verse, as well as how the verse has been translated from the original language. The following are points to consider when thinking about the verses that have been used to justify prohibitions on same-sex marriage and full participation in church community for LGBTQ people. Nowhere in the Bible, taken in its original language and context, is there a prohibition against loving, consensual same-sex relationships, nor against people living as their authentic genders.
Genesis 19:1-13 The Sodom & Gomorrah story is preceded by examples of Abraham and Lot being very welcoming to strangers. The lack of hospitality and the desire to do violence to the visitors were considered grave transgressions, regardless of the gender of the visitors. The reference in Jude 1:7 to strange flesh likely refers to the fact that the angels they wanted to assault were not human. Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned they did not help the poor and needy.
Romans 1:26-27 Here, Paul is condemning the sinful and harmful acts he perceives in Roman culture at the time. Since same-gender and non-heterosexual attractions are natural, this condemnation is not directed at LGBTQ people.
Sexual Sin Is Especially Grievous In The Eyes Of God Because It Defiles Both His Image In Us And His Relationship With Us
The teaching of Leviticus 18, which we will address shortly, makes clear Gods perspective of sexual sin as the most destructive to human society and our relationship to Him. It is important to highlight this fact before we proceed to examine the lessons of Genesis 6-19.
As Paul explains Every other sin that a man commits is outside the body, but the immoral man sins against his own body. Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? . Every human body was created to be a temple of the Holy Spirit! Through Christ, the bodies of the elect are cleansed and made inhabitable by Him, but even the unsaved were created for this same purpose.
Jesus summarized the Mosaic laws with two commandments: You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength and You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
Humans tend to measure the gravity of sins based on the second commandment, and thus we think of murder, or perhaps genocide, as the worst of sins. But from Gods perspective, the worst human sins are violations of the first commandment. You shall have no other gods before me tops the Decalogue, and its violation is certainly the greatest of all possible sins, but sexual sins are uniquely grievous in that they violate both the first and second commandments simultaneously.
Recommended Reading: What Is The First Commandment In The Bible
Background To The Verses
So whats going on in the two verses that were looking at? First of all, these verses are addressed only to males there is no mention here of two women. Secondly, how are the Israelite people going to be distinct from, different from their neighbours by putting these into practice?
Well, in the surrounding cultures, the major socially acceptable form of same-sex activity was with male shrine prostitutes as part of temple worship to pagan gods and goddesses. And there is repeated rhetoric against these shrine prostitutes at different parts of the Hebrew Bible .
Looking wider afield, there were cultures like Ancient Greece, where the dominant form of male-male intercourse was men with boys pederasty. And did you notice that the verses said a man lying with a male, not a man lying with a man?
Now, occasionally Ive seen some commentators claim that this is trying to link it back to Genesis , but if so it is rather strange that female isnt used its as with a woman and not female.
I think it more likely that male is used here precisely because it can include lying with boys as well as men.
So two main contexts for the Israelite people to be different from male-male intercourse linked with pagan temple goddess worship, and pederasty.
Note how different these are from what we are looking at today with faithful, loving, committed relationships.
So There Is Historical Tradition To Show That These Verses Arent Relating To Homosexuality
Absolutely! Sometimes Im frustrated when speak with pastors who say, Well I believe the historical tradition surrounding these verses and then proceed with a condemnation of LGBTQ individuals. I challenge them to see what was actually traditionally taught. For most of history, most European Bibles taught the tradition that these 4 verses were dealing with pederasty, not homosexuality. I am saddened when I see pastors and theologians cast aside the previous 2000 years of history. This is why I collect very old Bibles, lexicons, theological books and commentaries most modern biblical commentaries adjusted to accommodate this mistranslation. Its time for the truth to come out!
Dont Miss: What Does The Bible Say About Depression And Sadness
Also Check: What Book Of The Bible Should I Study First
The Bible Mentions Homosexuality 7 Times But Poverty 300 Times
here are really only seven passages in the Bible that refer directly to homosexual behavior, and none of them are associated with Jesus. Compare that to the more than 250 verses on the proper use of wealth or more than 300 on our responsibility to care for the poor and work for justice, and you appreciate quickly that homosexuality was not exactly a major theme of the Bible.
The precise estimates of how often the Bible mentions each of these vary. Nonetheless, that there is a big gap is pretty clear. What is less clear is that those seven passages actually prohibit homosexuality. Along with many other Christians I would argue they are either time specific injunctions that are no longer binding or bars on rape or prostitution. Whats more theres a double standard in how passages relating to sexual and financial morality are treated. Though shalt not lie with a man as with a women is generally taken as an inviolable rule, while go, sell your possessions and give to the poor is generally treated as at most as steer.
Whether or not one thinks homosexuality should be an issue for Christians, it evidently should not have become a defining issue. When choosing our priorities as a broad steer we should probably gravitate towards issues Jesus actually mentioned.
Recommended Reading: Is The Bible Infallible
As Sexual Perversion Increases In The Post
In Genesis 19, God destroys Sodom and Gomorrah with fire and brimstone, foreshadowing the last-days destruction of the earth . The final insult to God is the attempted homosexual rape of the two angelic witnesses whom He sent to Sodom to confirm its wickedness .
Importantly, the incineration of Sodom and Gomorrah is completely unique in Biblical history. Gods intentional association of homosexuality with the outpouring of His wrath by fire is absolutely unmistakable, as is His warning that it was simply a preview of the last days.
He condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to destruction by reducing them to ashes, having made them an example to those who would live ungodly lives thereafter .
Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities around them, since they in the same way as these indulged in gross immorality and went after strange flesh, are exhibited as an example in undergoing the punishment of eternal fire .
Recommended Reading: What Is The Apocalypse In The Bible