I had a run-in this week with a person on social media regarding my post on Leviticus 20:13. The individual wrote in response to my post something to the effect of “God never said anything about homosexuality in Scripture.” I did my best to address the issue with him but the conversation was quickly discontinued when he resorted to using 4-letter expletives with me. I’m sorry if some cannot accept it, but I believe that Spirit-filled believers wouldn’t resort to using such harsh language when they become upset that someone disagrees with them. The individual resorted to the language he did because, to be honest, he didn’t have any biblical evidence to show that that Scripture agreed with him.
This post will tackle the same statement that he made, not to pay him undue attention, but to address a claim that not only this internet troll, but others make with regard to homosexuality: that is, “the Bible never addresses homosexuality.” To address this claim, I’ll discuss a few issues with the statement.
Issue #1: God foreknows all things
God foreknows all things, and that includes all occurring political and social trends. And along those lines, God foreknew that homosexuality would take center stage in heated religious and political discussions. The rise of the homosexual marriage in the church campaign is nothing new, nor is the rise of homosexuality in culture for the last few years anything that has taken God “off-guard.” He foreknew that in these days, homosexuality as a sexual orientation would run rampant.
God is not Open Theist, ignorant of human decisions until they are made. He isn’t surprised by homosexuality as if He couldn’t have foreknown of its existence. Just read Leviticus 20:13 and Romans 1, among other passages, and it’s clear that God foreknew that homosexuality would become a growing sexual orientation. Sodom and Gomorrah also had the same problem, though some distort the issue of the men of Sodom and the angels in Genesis 19 to assume it’s merely homosexual gang rape.
The Scriptures tell us of the future arrival of Jesus Christ on the earth, that God will defeat sin and Satan (Book of Revelation), and that in the end times, people would be lovers of themselves rather than lovers of God (see 1 Timothy 4). How could God foreknow all this and yet, know next to nothing about homosexuality?
Read the Old Testament, and you’ll find that God is quite knowledgeable about events and actions before they happen. With that said, if some presume that “the Bible never mentions homosexuality,” then they’re assuming that God didn’t foreknow that homosexuality would occur in the world. I beg to differ: God did foreknow about homosexuality and, if He did, the Word of God should address it in some form. It seems awfully conspicuous that God would dictate His Word on marriage, family, and even divorce, but say next to nothing about homosexuality in the process.
Issue #2: God addresses marriage and divorce, family, and sexuality
If “the Bible never addresses homosexuality,” as some claim, then why is it that God addresses marriage, divorce, family, and sexuality? If God approved of homosexuality, we’d expect the Lord to address it in definite terms. Christians have always presumed that the Word of God is sufficient in all matters of life. When one examines the biblical text, he or she finds that God addresses all sorts of issues with marriage and family, including divorce.
The Word talks about marriage as a gift, husband and wife in marriage, having children, what happens if two people divorce, what happens if a woman or man is widowed (Romans 7), and even how divorce entered the world (because of the hardness of men’s hearts, see Matthew 19). With all the talk of sexual immorality, sexual morality, and marriage and divorce, it just seems as if, if believers were wrong about homosexuality, then there’d be some measure of discussion on such sexual practice that God, Jesus, Paul, and Peter would’ve addressed. Jesus presupposes male and female in marriage as the norm, not giving the slightest hint that He entertained any other idea. His audience doesn’t either. We’ll get into that below.
Issue #3: Jesus presupposes heterosexual marriage
In Matthew 19, Jesus Himself presupposes opposite-sex marriage:
3 The Pharisees also came to Him, testing Him, and saying to Him, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for just any reason?”
4 And He answered and said to them, “Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’ 5 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’? 6 So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.” (Matthew 19:3-4)
The bold statement of verse 4 says it all: “Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female…'” What Jesus is saying here in Matthew 19 is that the Jews have “read” this interpretation. Where would they have read this? In the Scriptures, their “Torah” in Jesus’ day. Jesus, unlike the pro-homosexuality advocates today, didn’t discard Leviticus 20:13 “because it’s in the Old Testament.” He believed that Leviticus was still as valid as the rest of the Torah in His day. Would to God we believed the same today in light of the existence of the New Testament.
Next, Jesus believed the Torah taught that “He who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,'” settling the homosexuality debate once and for all. In the mind of Jesus, heterosexuality was God’s prescribed design for marriage, sexuality, and family. Whether that sits well with modern-day sensitivities doesn’t change the fact that our Lord endorsed it. If it’s good enough for Jesus, then it’s good enough for me.
Issue #4: The English word “homosexual” didn’t exist until 1892, but the practice existed long before then
The one main argument my opponent tried to make with me in a heated discussion is that homosexuality is never mentioned in the Bible “because the word didn’t enter the English language until 1892.”
I have two responses to this statement. First, the word didn’t enter the English language before the late nineteenth century, but, then and again, the New Testament was originally written in Koine Greek, not English. So, with that said, while there were not English words pertaining to same-sex lifestyles until 1892, there were Greek words that pertained to the practice. One such word is the Greek word arsenokoites, a word used in 1 Corinthians 6:9 and 1 Timothy 1:10. The word arsenokoites consists of “arsen,” a word used to describe maleness (specifically, the male, as opposed to female).
In 1 Timothy 1:10, the word arsenokoitais, the plural of arsenokoites, is translated “sodomites” in the New King James. The original KJV says “abusers of themselves with mankind,” but “sodomites” refers to those who perform anal sex. At the end of the day, men are known as sodomites, and homosexual men are known for their practice of anal penetration during sex between two men. Women cannot penetrate other women in this manner, though Paul’s words against homosexuality in Romans 1 pertain not only to men but also women.
In 1 Corinthians 6:9, the word used for “abusers with mankind” is arsenokoitai, a similar word to that of 1 Timothy 1:10. The word means the same as that of 1 Timothy 1:10, and the first part of the word, arsen, refers specifically to the male gender, as Jesus uses the word arsen in Mark 10:6 when He discusses that God made mankind “male and female.” The word “koitai” refers to sexual promiscuity (as it is used in Romans 13:13),
As said above in this section, the Greeks had words for homosexuality before the name as we know it (“homosexuality”) made its way into our language. The English language is derived from the Greek (“homo” and “heteros” are Greek words, after all), so the argument about the English language from the individual above is a rather naive approach to language and language history. Whether or not the English practice ever had a word, Romans 1 has been there since the first century AD to indict those who do the forbidden.
We’ve covered some things to keep in mind when addressing homosexuality by way of Scripture. Along the way, we’ve covered Jesus’ own words on marriage (which He assumed was between a man and a woman, opposite sexes), along with the foreknowledge of God regarding world events. Homosexuality hasn’t taken God off-guard, neither has the name Americans gave to the sexual practice of same-sex relations.
With all of these factors in mind, we report that Jesus DID address homosexuality in the Bible, and those who deny Romans 1 and Matthew 19 as relevant are doing what Paul indicts in Romans 1 – “exchanging the truth for a lie” (Romans 1:25).
God does address homosexuality in the Bible, and Jesus addresses what marriage has always been: between one man and one woman. The problem with the opposing side is that they just find it hard to accept and live with the divine statement.