Homosexuality “Loving the Homosexual to Healing with Truth”

This article briefly considers homosexuality, both biblically and scientifically. For a more thorough treatment of the subject, you can download my series under the same title at www.trinitynorman.org/resources/.

The Scripture clearly teaches that while all sin is sin, some sins are more sinful than others. Matthew 12:30-32 speaks of the unpardonable sin, in contrast to every other sin which can be forgiven by faith in Christ; Matthew 23:23 speaks of the “weightier provisions of the law;” John 19:11 says that in comparison to Pontius Pilate, Judas has the “greater sin;” James 1:14-15 distinguishes between temptation, lust, conceiving, and sin. Sin can refer to full mental indulgence or the physical carrying out of that which is conceived. While the mental envisioning of say, adultery, is sin, the carrying out of the physical act worsens such sin. To wit, the thought of murdering someone is sin, but the greater sin is to carry such thought to its fullness and commit the physical act of murder.

Correspondingly, the Bible speaks of degrees of judgment (Matthew 11:20-24; Mark 12:38-40; Hebrews 10:26-29; Luke 12:47-48). The reasons that some sins deserve greater judgement is based upon the following; first, explicit statements that some sins are by nature greater than others (John 19:11); second, the amount of light or knowledge rejected (Matthew 11:20-24; Mark 12:38-40); third, the degree to which the sin is carried out. This can encompass either the degree to which one follows through in the sin (contemplation to actual execution) or the repetitiveness of the sin. To wit, to lie is sin, but to do so egregiously or repetitively is more sinful. We recognize such distinctions in distinguishing between a murder (a serious crime) and serial murder (a more serious crime) without lessening the heinousness of the former; lastly, the sinfulness of sin is determined by examining how far removed it is from God’s standard or design, which is the nature of sin.

An example of some immoral acts being more sinful than others can be seen in 1 Corinthians 5, where Paul uses the word porneia translated “immorality” twice in (vs. 1) and immoral (vs. 9, 10). In verse one he describes the immorality “as does not even exist among the gentiles.” which specifically refers to a man who “has his father’s wife.” Paul clearly views this moral sin as more sinful than some other kinds of immorality. Thus, when one sees lists of moral sins such as, 1 Corinthians 5:9-10, 6:9-10; Revelation 22: 8, it seems prudent to recognize that some immoral acts are more sinful that others. Additionally, each of the moral sins include a range of sinfulness; for example, there is incest, and then there is incest in which one can plum to unfathomable depths of sinfulness without minimizing other incestuous sins; a lack of recognition of such seems to be both unwise and hurtful. With these thoughts in mind, we can consider homosexuality.

Biblically: In considering creation, we find that homosexuality is illegitimate on three accounts. First, marriage is definitionally heterosexual (Genesis 2:18, 21-23). Thus, a Biblicist cannot properly speak of homosexual marriage because such a thing does not exist within God’s creative plan. Second, a homosexual union cannot fulfill the first command given to Adam and Eve, “be fruitful and multiply” (Genesis 1:28). Consequently, God’s creative act demonstrably precludes the divinely sanctioned normalcy of homosexuality.

One finds the same when a comprehensive scriptural portrait regarding homosexuality is considered. First, there is not a single positive biblical statement (sanction) regarding homosexuality in the entirety of Scripture. This includes relationships, feelings, inclinations, thoughts, and actions. In fact, every mention or portrayal of homosexuality is negative—not just neutral. This is in contrast to heterosexual relationships in marriage, which are consistently encouraged and extolled.

Although science does not support the idea that homosexuals are born that way (predetermined, see Science section below), understanding the fall of man as leaving man totally depraved (every aspect of man affected by the fall), it should not surprise us if different enzymes, genes, etc., are found in homosexuals. Actually, we might even anticipate such in much the same way that we should anticipate other biological abnormalities such as genetic predispositions to cancer, etc. The fall affects our spirituality, biology, psychology, sociology, etc. It pervades every aspect of our humanity.

Thus, having different genes or enzymes should be expected. Moreover, the presence of certain genes or other empirically detected differences does not tell us anything about the rightness of homosexuality, any more than a genetic difference in cancer patients tells us whether cancer is good or bad. Such evaluations are determined by one’s view of human life. Lastly, when people contend that genes determine behavior (without choice or the profound influence of nurture upon such choices and acting upon such), they are arguing, either wittingly or unwittingly, philosophical determinism or compatibilism. Meaning that everything that is—choice, propensity, etc.,—are the result of determinative antecedents. The Bible in no unmistakable terms rejects every form of determinism, and even those who believe in some form of determinism live their everyday lives as if they are not determined.

I do believe homosexual interests, feelings, and desires include choice, but I do not believe the choice is comparable to whether one is deciding to eat a piece of cake or not. To wit, it is not merely a choice. Both man’s fallenness and his environment can contribute to creating or exacerbating man’s various sinful desires, proclivities, interests, and the varied intensity of certain sinful passions in different individuals. This is not to excuse the sin or giving into the draw of sin, but rather to highlight the reality that some sinful desires are stronger, longer lasting, and more relentless in one person than another, and that some of these effects of the fall can be very difficult to control. The sex drive is a case in point. All desires, inclinations, and actions that are contrary to holiness as taught in the Scripture are sin and to be resisted. Some effects of the fall vary in intensity and, therefore, some effects of the fall require both choice and commitment to resist, and this comes only by the grace of God.

As described above, while it is true that all sin is sin, and any one sin separates a person from God, it is not true that all sin is equally sinful. In the case of homosexuality, it is clearly a sin (1 Corinthians 6:9-11), but it is a worse sin than heterosexual sex outside of marriage. Sin is simply violating God’s standard of holiness, design, or we might say true rightness. Both heterosexual adultery or fornication and homosexual relations violate God’s created context for sex, which is marriage. However, homosexuality also violates God’s created partner for sex. Consequently, it is two steps removed from God’s design within marriage which is definitionally heterosexual, and adds to that having the wrong partner, same sex rather than opposite sex. Additionally, according to the creation account (Genesis 1 and 2), heterosexual desires arise from God’s created design, whereas homosexual desires arise after and from the fall of man. Therefore, while adultery, fornication, and homosexuality are all sin, homosexuality is the furthest from God’s design and also arose from sin rather than creation; therefore, it is a greater corruption and sin.

It is important to remember that homosexuality is not the unpardonable sin. One can be forgiven of homosexuality just as one can be forgiven for heterosexual sin (adultery, fornication, etc.). Correspondingly, just as heterosexual sin is to be resisted and never accepted as something approved of by God; the same is true of homosexuality.

Scientifically: A number of people claim that homosexuality is predetermined by one’s biology, genetics.[1] This is said so frequently that it is quite often accepted as scientific fact, and to disagree with such pronouncements is considered evidence that one is a homophobic Neanderthal. We are led to believe that science has proven the biological predetermination of homosexuality; therefore, it is natural and unchangeable. The truth is, science has not demonstrated a genetic predetermination of homosexuality; as stated above, even if such a gene is found, it does not prove predetermination, nor that it is good (to be normalized) or unchangeable or that such passions should not be resisted. Actually, this is beyond the domanial authority of science. Narth.com is a great resource regarding the science and psychology of homosexuality. The following are quotes made by prominent scientists regarding the lack of scientific demonstration that homosexuality is genetically predetermined.

Dr. Francis S. Collins, one of the world’s leading genetic scientists and head of the human genome project, says, “Evidence from twin studies does in fact support the conclusion that heritable factors play a role in male homosexuality….indicating that sexual orientation is genetically influenced but not hardwired by DNA, and that whatever genes are involved represent predispositions, not predeterminations.[2] (italics added)

Paul R. McHugh, M.D., University Distinguished Service Professor of Psychiatry at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, says “(1) There is no scientific consensus on what homosexuality is, and the number of people who fit in the class…varies widely, depending on which definition of homosexuality is used and (2) there is no scientific consensus that homosexuality is exclusively or primarily genetic in origin.”[3]

“There are basically three studies that led activists to trumpet the notion that homosexuality is biologically determined. These studies were conducted by Simon LeVay, Dean Hamer, and the team of Michael Bailey and Richard Pillard.”[4]

Homosexual activist and researcher Dean Hamer, “We knew that genes were only part of the answer. We assumed the environment also played a role in sexual orientation, as it does in most, if not all behaviors…”[5]

Researcher N. Mitchell, “Homosexuality is not purely genetic…environmental factors play a role. There is not a single master gene that makes people gay…I don’t think we will ever predict who will be gay.”[6]

Homosexual activist and researcher Simon LeVay says, “It’s important to stress what I didn’t find. I did not prove that homosexuality is genetic, or find a genetic cause for being gay. I didn’t show that gay men are born that way, the most common mistake people make in interpreting my work. Nor did I locate a gay center in the brain.”[7]

Dr. Mark Breedlove, “a researcher at the University of California at Berkeley, demonstrated that sexual behavior can actually change brain structure. Referring to his research, Breedlove states: ‘These findings give us proof for what we theoretically know to be the case-that sexual experience can alter the structure of the brain, just as genes can alter it. [I]t is possible that differences in sexual behavior cause (rather than are caused) by differences in the brain.’”[8]

Succinctly, the Biblicist recognizes the role of nature and nurture. We know that creation and the fall involve the confluence of both nature and nurture. Because of the fall, the presence of corrupted genes and enzymes are to be expected. To wit, the biological aspect of man is corrupted as is every other aspect of man, which is most evidenced in that man’s death includes the death of his physical body. Gene presence does not answer the question of good or bad, e.g. cancer. Both behavior and genes can affect the brain structure. The idea that one gene or several genes can cause behavior that eliminates choice is based on scientism not science. Genetic causality of behavior is simply the philosophy of determinism, which means that people do not make a choice between accessible options. They choose, but have no choice, because every choosing is the result of determinative antecedents—this is true in both determinism and compatibilism. Actually no determinist lives everyday life as though determinism is true, but rather they live like they are created by God with the ability to make choices and be responsible for such choices. When it is claimed that God made individuals as homosexuals, it ignores the ubiquitous and consistent teaching of Scripture and ignores the fall of man, which leads to conclusions that if one is a certain way, God surely so made him.

The Bible makes it compellingly clear that homosexuality is sin and to be resisted and turned from as is the case with all sin, regardless how powerful the lust to follow the sin (Genesis 19; Leviticus 18:22; Romans 1:18-32; 1 Corinthians 6:9-11; 1 Timothy 1:10). The Bible makes it wonderfully clear that God loves the world, which includes homosexuals (John 3:16), and they like any other sinner can call upon the Lord Jesus and be saved.

[1] http://www.scribd.com/doc/100219506/Is-There-a-Gay-Gene, accessed 2-5-15.
[2] Francis S. Collins, The Language of God (New York: Free Press, 2006), 260.
[3] http://www.narth.com/#!cv/cdy2 accessed 2/5/15.
[4] For a fuller presentation as well as citations see the lecture of Dr. Dean Byrd, http://www.fairmormon.org/perspectives/fair-conferences/2004-fair-conference/2004-born-that-way-facts-and-fiction-about-homosexuality; accessed 2-5-15, A. Dean Byrd, PhD, MBA, MPH, is the President and CEO of Thrasher Research Fund and is a member of the University of Utah School of Medicine Faculty, with appointments in the Department of Family and Preventive Medicine and in the Department of Psychiatry. In addition, he is Adjunct Professor, Department of Family Studies, also at the University of Utah. He was trained at Spartanburg Methodist College, Brigham Young University, Virginia Commonwealth University and Medical College of Virginia, Loyola University, and the University of Utah. He has lectured in many countries throughout the world, including in Israel (Bar Ilan University, Hebrew University, and University of Tel Aviv), Poland (University of Krakow School of Medicine), Democratic Republic of the Congo (University of Kinshasa School of Medicine) and the Ivory Coast (Ivory Coast School of Public Health). He has authored six books and more than two hundred peer-reviewed journal articles, book chapters, book reviews, and opinion editorials on family-related topics. He is married to Dr. Elaine Byrd, Professor of Elementary Education at Utah Valley University. They are the parents of five children.
[5] D. Hamer, & P. Copeland, P. The science of desire. (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1994), 82, http://www.narth.org/docs/innate.html accessed 2-5-15.
[6] N. Mitchell, (1995). Genetics, sexuality linked, study says. Standard Examiner, April 30. http://www.narth.org/docs/innate.html; accessed 2-5-15.
[7] http://www.narth.org/docs/innate.html; accessed 2-5-15.
[8] M.S. Breedlove, (1997). Sex on the brain. Nature, 389, p. 801, http://www.narth.org/docs/innate.html accessed 3/30/15.