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What the Bible really says about Homosexuality

Discussion in 'General Debates' started by Druidus, Nov 11, 2004.

  1. Druidus

    Druidus Keeper of the Grove

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    Essay on what the Bible *really* says about homosexuality

    Part 1 of III

    INTRODUCTION

    There are several works available in the market today which deal with
    the subject of homosexuality and the Bible. However, there are very few which
    approach the subject from a conservative theological view without beginning
    with a definite bias against homosexuality. Most of these available works are
    either anti-gay or decline to view the Scriptures as an authoritative book of
    doctrine. These latter writers prefer to view the Bible as a source from
    which to build doctrine.

    I approach this work as someone who has extensive training from one of
    the most conservative Bible schools in America: Bob Jones University. It was
    there that I learned the conservative hermeneutical tenets, and a working use
    of Greek and Semitic languages. My perspective is conservative both in
    theology and in the use of hermeneutical principles.

    The Basic presuppositions of this work are as follows:

    1. Plenary-verbal inspiration of Scriptures in their original
    languages, that is, the Hebrew and Aramaic Old Testament and the
    Greek New Testament were written by human agents in their own
    natural style and grammar, but the end results of their writings
    were the exact words which God intended to have recorded.

    2. Authority and infallibility of Scripture. In other words,
    everything stated in the Bible (in the original language and
    context) are completely accurate and definitely true.

    3. For any accurate understanding of a particular portion of
    Scripture, it must be read in its entire context.

    4. The best commentary on Scripture, is the Scripture itself.

    5. The language of the original Scriptures must be understood as it
    was used in the time it was written.

    6. In order to understand why certain events and statements occurred,
    we must understand the cultural situation of the time of whose
    events and statements.

    7. Before we can apply the teachings of the Bible to our present day
    situation, we must understand the meaning of those teachings in
    the day in which they were given.

    I make no apology for my presuppositions as listed above. However, it
    is understood that there are many Christian men and women who do not
    share these same presuppositions. Although they may find this work
    interesting and useful in some contexts, they may also want to use some
    of the other available works with a theological assumption more closely
    approximating their own.

    The Rev. L. Robert Arthur
    Los Angeles, CA.
    1982 Chapter One
    Sodom and Gomorrah

    Perhaps one of the most unfortunate developments of the English language
    is the use of the word sodomy to describe anal penetration and/or male
    homosexuality. The mere fact of this linguistic development several millennia
    after the events described in the Genesis account of the destruction of Sodom,
    has sealed in the minds of many English speaking people that Sodom was
    destroyed because of male homosexuality. Theologians have been guilty for
    centuries of playing upon this unfortunate misunderstanding to condemn those
    who found their sexual orientation to be homosexual.

    Our narrative really begins back in Genesis 18 when, as recorded in
    verses 1 and 2, Jehovah and two others appeared to Abraham in Mamre. They had
    a two-fold message for Abraham. First they told him that he and his wife,
    Sarah, would parent a son, in spite of their old age. Secondly of great
    wickedness in Sodom and Gomorrah. We see that Abraham understood this to mean
    that they were about to destroy these cities, for he pleaded intercession to
    spare them for the sake of any righteous people living there. In verses 23-33
    we find that Abraham bargained with Jehovah, and won a promise that if as many
    as 10 righteous people could be found there, Sodom would be spared. (Of
    course we recognize Abraham's vested interest in Sodom, since his nephew Lot
    lived there.)

    Now according to verse 22, Jehovah stayed to talk with Abraham, while
    the other men proceeded toward Sodom. The two who arrived in Sodom are
    variously described as angels (19:1) and men (19:5). In 18:2, Jehovah and the
    two angels are described as men. This is not really anything unusual in the
    Bible, since we frequently read of angels, and even Jehovah, taking human form
    to interact with human beings. (Cf. Genesis 3:8; Judges 13:15-16) So we read
    of these two angels in human form arriving in Sodom, and being offered
    hospitality.

    At this point it is very important for us to understand the law of
    hospitality which has been prevalent throughout ancient history. A story
    which is strikingly similar to the account of the angels' visit to Sodom is
    told by Ovid in his Metamorphosis (8:625 ff) about visiting gods being hosted
    by a resident in a city which otherwise refused them hospitality, and being
    saved from the city's destruction.

    We must remember that our modern motel business was not thriving in
    those days, and a traveler was dependent on the hospitality of those he met en
    route. Even in this same story we find Abraham's example of hospitality to
    these same angelic men in Mamre (Genesis 18:1-5).

    We even read of God's command to deny access to Hebrew worship to
    Ammonites and Moabites for ten generations, because of their lack of
    hospitality to the wandering Israelites (Deuteronomy 23:3-4)

    This same law of hospitality is found in various examples throughout the
    Bible. Perhaps one of the greatest Old Testament examples is that of Rahab,
    who in Joshua 2, risked her life to protect her guests, the spies who were
    sent to peruse Jericho. Even as late as the New Testament, the disciples were
    told not to waste their time in any place which did not receive them and treat
    them with the laws of hospitality. In fact these cities are compared with
    Sodom in their sin of not providing hospitality (Luke 10:10-13).

    Now with reference to our narrative in Genesis, we read that Lot offered
    these two visitors his hospitality. Along with that hospitality was implied
    security and protection. Therefore when the men of Sodom came knocking at
    Lot's door, seeking to do harm to these visitors, it was imperative for Lot to
    provide them with protection. Much has been said about one Hebrew word found
    in this passage. This is the Hebrew work "Yada". Its basic meaning as a verb
    is "to know." However, since Hebrew is a verbal language, they have a rich
    variety of verbs which English does not have. Whereas in English we have
    several shades of meaning for any one verb, Hebrew has different verbs to
    express those shades of meaning. For example, where we translate a verb
    meaning "to know," the Hebrew has a variety of verbs as follows:

    bin: to consider
    yada: to know thoroughly
    nakar: to discern
    sakal: to understand and act upon
    shama: to hear with understanding
    raah: to see with understanding
    sakan: to become acquainted with

    This verb "yada" is sometimes used in the sexual sense. In other words
    to thoroughly know a person, is to sexually know them as well. We read in
    Genesis 4:1, that "Adam yada Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bore Cain,"
    (KJV). It is therefore obvious that in Genesis 19:5, the men of Sodom wanted
    to sexually know the visitors (who were obviously unwilling), because the
    Hebrew word "yada" is used in this verse. Furthermore, invoking the law of
    hospitality, Lot instead offered his two daughters to them who are described
    as never having "yada" a man (19:8). When the same word is used twice in the
    same passage, we have no choice but to understand it in the same way. Since
    Lot was obviously offering his daughters for sexual use ("yada") or rape, then
    we must believe the intent of the men of Sodom was to sexually use ("yada") or
    rape the visitors. What greater violation of the law of hospitality can
    exist, than to rape your guests?
     
  2. Druidus

    Druidus Keeper of the Grove

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    Part II of III

    This was the so-called "straw that broke the camel's back," proving the
    already reported sinfulness of Sodom and Gomorrah, and the angelic messengers
    warned Lot to flee the coming destruction of the cities. Ten righteous people
    had not been found.

    Now of course there are those who would lift the nineteenth chapter out
    of context and try to prove that God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah because of
    their rampant homosexuality. But we can see from the context that well before
    their destruction, and this attempted rape, that God had pronounced their
    judgment to Abraham.

    Following our presupposition number 4, we now turn to other Scriptures
    to find the commentary on the destruction of Sodom. Probably the clearest
    analogy in the New Testament is found in Luke 10:10-13, where the disciples
    are told that the judgment on those cities which do not show them hospitality
    will be more severe than that of Sodom and Gomorrah. But we also have
    comments in many other places in the Bible. Another good example is Ezekiel
    16:48-50 where the sins leading to Sodom's destruction are listed as follows:

    Pride
    Plenty
    Laziness
    Uncaring for Poor and Needy
    Haughty
    Committed Abominations Before God

    Nowhere in this list do we find reference to homosexuality. But in
    comparing this list and the comment in Luke with the narrative in Genesis
    18-19, we do see each of the above descriptions as a good commentary on the
    way of life there which was so displeasing to God.

    There are those who try to see in the word "abomination" a reference to
    homosexual activity. However a brief word study will show us quite otherwise.
    This Hebrew word, "toebah" is found frequently in the Old Testament. If one
    were to read it in the context of every place it occurs, one would find it is
    always connected with or synonymous with idolatry. After all, the very first
    commandment is to have no other gods before Jehovah. Probably one of the
    clearest definitions of this word "toebah" is found in Deuteronomy 7:25-26
    where we see that the abomination is the idol used in false worship. However,
    the word "abomination" does occasionally have a broader use: to indicate
    anything to do with false worship (Proverbs 21:27). Obviously, the people of
    Sodom were involved in false worship practices in order to degenerate to the
    level of sinfulness they exhibited at the time of the angelic visit.

    Of all the places in the Bible that refer to the sins of Sodom, perhaps
    the one that is most misused is Jude 7, where we read that Sodom and Gomorrah
    suffered the vengeance of eternal fire because they were "going after strange
    flesh."

    This is a good illustration of the violation of presupposition number 3.
    Although trite, the saying is true that states, "A text out of context is a
    pretext." As is true with statistics, so anything can be proven with
    Scripture taken out of context.

    For a ridiculous example, let us put the following verses together:

    Matthew 27:5: "[Judas] went and hanged himself."

    John 13:15: "I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have
    done.

    Admittedly, no one would be foolish enough to claim on this basis that
    we are all expected to hang ourselves. But is it not just as foolish to claim
    dogmatically on the basis of Jude 7 that since "going after strange flesh"
    means homosexuality, that this is the reason for Sodom's destruction?

    First of all, what is so strange in the flesh of another human being
    constructed sexually the same as one's self? But, more importantly, what is
    the meaning of the first part of verse 7: "EVEN AS Sodom and Gomorrah and the
    cities about them IN LIKE MANNER?" Obviously the two phrases in caps are
    referring back to a previous verse. So let us look at verse 6. Here we read
    of angels who left their own habitation being punished. Then verse seven
    tells us that the people in Sodom and Gomorrah were acting IN LIKE MANNER to
    the angels when they were "going after strange flesh," and why it may be so
    detested by God that both the angels and the humans should be so severely
    punished.

    For our understanding of the sin of these angels, let us look back to
    Genesis 6. Here we read of a time when the "sons of God" cohabited with the
    "daughters of humans" resulting in a strange progeny called in the Hebrew
    NEPHILIM, a rare word indicating something weird or strange. Immediately
    after this event God sent the flood to destroy all humanity except Noah and
    his family.

    Now of course, the question is who were the "sons of God" and why was it
    so wrong for them to cohabit with the "daughters of humans"? For an
    understanding of the phrase, "sons of God," we need to look at Job 1:6. Here
    we see that Satan was before God as one of the "sons of God." Now we know
    that Satan is a fallen angel, so we would understand the "sons of God" to be
    other angels. We again get this same understanding from Job 38:7. If we
    therefore conclude that the Hebrew phrase "sons of God" refers to angels, we
    see that what happened in Genesis 6 is a cohabitation between angelic "flesh"
    and human "flesh." This event was the "last straw" before the flood, and
    according to Jude 6, before the punishment of the angels involved.

    Jude 7 then tells us that the sins of Sodom and Gomorrah were IN LIKE
    MANNER. Remembering that the two visitors to Lot were angels, we see humans
    committing the same sin of attempting cohabitation with angels, or "going
    after strange flesh," resulting in the same consequences as Genesis 6;
    destruction. Again, we are not reading of homosexuality, but of the mixing of
    two distinct orders of creation.

    We read of a situation occurring in Judges 19 that some have compared to
    Genesis 19, the story of Sodom. Here, however, are several difference. First
    of all, the male house guest was a man, not an angel. Secondly, the people of
    the tow of Gibeah accepted the woman in place of the Levite man, and raped her
    until she died. Again, we are not reading of homosexuality in this passage,
    but of rape. The men wanted to rape the Levite, but were satisfied by raping
    his concubine. Again, the city of Gibeah was destroyed (Judges 20:38-44), but
    not for homosexuality, but for rape (heterosexual at that) and violation of
    the law of hospitality.

    There is one other passage we should consider in this chapter; Genesis
    34. Here we read of the rape of Jacob's daughter Dinah by Shechem the Hivite.
    As a result of this heterosexual rape, Shechem's home town was destroyed. Yet
    in spite of this destruction, we hear no one condemning heterosexuality on the
    basis of this passage, but rather a condemnation of rape. So also is the case
    with Sodom. If we consider one of the many sins of Sodom for which they were
    destroyed, an attempted rape of men (who were really angels), then the
    condemnation should fall squarely on rape, not homosexuality. Chapter Two
    Levitical Law

    There are two verses in Leviticus which we often hear quoted in polemics
    against gay and lesbian Christians: "Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with
    womankind, it is abomination." 18:22 KJV. "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 death shall be upon them," 20:13 KJV.

    In both verses we read the word "abomination" in connection with the
    proscribed activity. Now in the last chapter we indicated that abomination is
    integrally related to idolatry. In what way then, is this activity connected
    with idolatry? Again the context can help us.

    In both chapters we find this activity in a list of proscribed
    activities, but all in some way related to the worship of Molech (18:21;
    20:2). We must remember that the levitical law was given to the people of
    Israel as they were traveling through hostile territory where the inhabitants
    were all idolaters. The major god of these desert peoples was Molech, a fire
    god.

    The major thrust of God's instructions to Israel is summed up well in
    Leviticus 18:3: "After the doings of the land of Egypt, wherein ye dwelt,
    shall ye not do; and after the doings of the land of Canaan, to which I bring
    you, shall ye not do; neither shall ye walk in their ordinances," KJV.

    God intended the chosen race to be a "peculiar people," untainted by the
    practices of the surrounding nations. Anything which could possibly identify
    the people of Israel with the surrounding people and their practices was to be
    scrupulously avoided. For this reason we read of several peculiar
    prohibitions in Leviticus. All of these practices were part of the heathen
    worship of Molech:

    Bestiality (18:23)
    Child Sacrifice (20:2)
    Idolatry (19:4)
    Beard Trimming (19:27)
    Tattooing (19:28)
    Wizardry (20:6)
    Menstrual Intercourse (20:18)
     
  3. Druidus

    Druidus Keeper of the Grove

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    Part III of III

    Any violation of these proscriptions would tend to identify the
    Israelites with the worshippers of Molech and make them appear to be idolaters
    (committing abomination). So God made these part of the legal code of Israel.

    In addition, the Hebrew theology of women was based on their
    understanding of the creation of men and women. Since the Hebrews believed
    that men were created in the image of God, the earthly likenesses of God must
    be treated with the same awe and respect as one would treat God. However,
    since they believed women were created in the image of men, they were one more
    step removed from God, and not deserving of the same respect. As a result the
    place of women was under men, and completely dominated and used by men for
    their own purposes. Women were used sexually at the whim of their husbands,
    and not free to determine their own destiny. If a man were to treat another
    man in the same manner as he was free to treat women, that would be degrading
    the "image of God" to a mere human possession, as women were. This would be a
    direct affront to God and God's image, the man. So to "lie with a man as with
    a woman" was a blasphemous action degrading God to a mere possession. (Of
    course Paul attempted to correct the Hebrew theology of women, viz. Galatians
    3:28.)

    We know that the purpose of the law was two-fold; to keep the Israelites
    pure and undefiled among the heathen nations; and to teach them the
    impossibility of being perfect and the need for a perfect sacrifice to atone
    for imperfection. When Christ, that perfect sacrifice came, the law had
    completed its purpose and its usefulness was cancelled.

    The early church struggled with the problems of legalism: how much of
    the law need Christians live up to? Paul addressed the question quite
    forcefully in his epistle to the Galatians. Since the perfect sacrifice has
    freed us from the condemnation of the law, we are no longer under the law's
    demands (3:23-25). We who are of the faith are not to associate any longer
    with the teachings of the law (4:30-31). In fact, if we attempt to live up to
    the law, we as much as call Christ foolish in that he died for nothing (2:21).

    It is certainly very dangerous to start trying to pick a few laws that
    are still binding, and agree that all others are nullified. There are very
    few Christians today who would impose on us the laws forbidding certain foods,
    trimming beards, or even having intercourse with one's wife during
    menstruation. Yet, somehow, one particular law is selected to bind lesbian
    and gay Christians. Is this really consistent hermeneutics? Christ gave us
    two laws to live by: Matthew 22:37-40.

    Love God.
    Love your neighbors as yourself.

    If we live up to these laws of Christ, we are to separate ourselves from
    all other laws and those who would impose them on us (Galatians 4:30-31;
    3:23-25). Chapter Three
    Qedeshim

    One of the errors of the translators of the KJV has been corrected by
    later translators in many of our more modern version. However, much damage
    has been done by those who use only the KJV by applying certain passages of
    the old Testament to gays and lesbians.

    The Hebrew word gadesh (plural:gedeshim) was translated in the KJV as
    sodomite(s). This is a very unfortunate translation, especially since it is a
    noun form of the root verb which means "to be holy." A better translation of
    the word would be priest. But since the normal Hebrew word for priest is
    gadosh, a distinction needs to be made between gadesh and gadosh. The
    distinction in the Hebrew mind was that a gadosh served Jehovah God, and
    gadesh served some pagan deity.

    By looking closely at the six passages of the Old Testament where gadesh
    is found (Deuteronomy 23:17;I Kings 14:24;I Kings 15:12;I Kings 22:46:;II
    Kings 23:7; Job 36:14), we soon see that in each case these gedeshim were
    priests who served in fertility cults. They in essence were assigned to the
    temples of the various fertility deities to receive the sexual sacrifice of
    their worshippers. Thus some of our more modern translators have used the
    more appropriate term "cult prostitute."

    Naturally, Jehovah would prohibit the men and women of Israel from
    serving in these capacities (Deuteronomy 23:17), and ordered them eliminated
    from the land. However, this certainly has little or no relevance to a
    homosexual person, especially a gay or lesbian Christian.

    As we move into New Testament times, we still encounter fertility cults
    such as Diana (Artemis) of Ephesus (Acts 19). Many of Paul's converts had
    been involved in the worship of these false gods, and he writes to the
    Corinthians to specifically tell them to forsake the practices they had
    acquired in that worship. Even though Christian liberty allows a great deal
    of freedom, it still does not allow us to serve as facilitators of the worship
    of these false gods. In chapter 6 of I Corinthians, he gives a list of
    descriptions that would apply to the gedeshim of Corinth, as well as to many
    of the worshippers of these false gods.

    One of those terms he uses is the Greek word arsenokoites. This term
    has caused problems for translators for centuries. Paul seems to have been
    the first person to use this term in writing. John Boswell, in his book
    "Christianity, Social Tolerance, and Homosexuality", does a good word study on
    this subject. But the conclusion he reaches is that the arsenokoites is a
    male prostitute who took the active role in sexual encounters. Obviously this
    Greek word could easily have been Paul's equivalent for the Hebrew gadesh.

    Many translators over the years have tried to make arsenokoites
    equivalent to arrenokoites, which generally refers to homosexual men, and so
    most English translations use some form of homosexual activity to translate
    arsenokoites. This does seem strange however, when one of the sources quoted
    in Greek lexicons for determining the meaning of this word is a passage in
    Jejunter of the sixth century. The context there is "men are even playing the
    part of an arsenokoites with their own wives," - hardly a homosexual
    reference.

    Understanding arsenokoites to be equivalent to gadesh, we find much more
    meaning in Paul's letters to Corinth (I Corinthians 6:9) and Timothy (I
    Timothy 1:10). (Timothy was the bishop of Ephesus.) Those who facilitate the
    worship of false gods are not fit for the kingdom of God.

    Paul and Homosexuality

    We have already looked at one of the words Paul used which has been
    mistranslated; arsenokoites. A brief comment would be in order as to a second
    such word; malakoi. This Greek adjective is also found in the list of types
    of characteristics which render one unfit for the kingdom of God in I
    Corinthians 6:9.

    Although malakoi is translated "effeminate" or "catamite" by many
    English versions, this Greek adjective is found frequently in Greek
    literature, and rarely connotes any sexual meaning. In fact, it is properly
    translated the other three times it occurs in the New Testament: twice in
    Matthew 11:8, and once in Luke 7:25. It basically means "soft." But when
    applied to people it usually means "gutless." Someone who will not stand up
    for what is right is certainly not fit for the kingdom of God. Viz. Luke
    7:62. This understanding of malakoi certainly fits in much better with
    Pauline theology than any homosexual meaning. Paul was continually urging his
    converts to stand for the truth no matter what the cost. (Philippians
    1:19-30).

    Perhaps the most often quoted Pauline passage on this subject is Romans
    1:26-27. However, a quick glance at the first phrase of verse 26 ("For this
    cause") tells us immediately that any reference to these two verses is
    inadequate without looking at its entire context; the whole first chapter.
     
  4. Druidus

    Druidus Keeper of the Grove

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    Part IV of III (I didn't give a proper estimate of size)

    What is the point of the first chapter? Paul is warning that many
    people become guilty of worshipping the creature more than the Creator (verse
    25). Anything which is loved more than God becomes an idol; and the love for
    that idol is an unnatural love called lust. Lust brings its own natural
    results, and God turns the idolaters over to their own lusts and their natural
    consequences.

    There are three examples of lust given in Romans 1. First there is a
    lust for the idol of wisdom. The natural result of that lust is foolishness
    (verse 22). Secondly, some women allow sex to become their god. When
    perverting of their natural love for sex into something unnatural (verse 26).
    Paul does not specify what that unnatural sexual conduct is. For different
    people it could be different things. But whatever it is, it is something not
    natural for those persons because sex is their god.

    Thirdly, Paul says that some men allow sex to become their god. Again
    the same thing happens. They will abandon what is natural for them and turn
    to unnatural sexual activities to satisfy their lust for their god, sex (verse
    27).
    Especially for Christian lesbians and gays, this passage should not
    apply. For to a Christian, God is first in our lives, and all other desires
    fall into second place. Therefore sex is not a god, and we do not fall under
    the condemnation described in Romans 1.

    However, in this verse Paul describes men as naturally preferring women.
    For men whose natural preference is women, the result of making sex a god
    could very well be the turning from women to lusting after other men. Note
    the word "lust" - not love. It is interesting also to note that these men
    must "katergazomai" the act of sex with other men. The Greek word "ergazomai"
    alone means to work or accomplish. But when the preposition "kat" is put with
    it, the extreme energy required to accomplish that deed is referred to. This
    would indicate a violation of the natural tendencies of that man who has sex
    with another man. Could the act of rape be indicated by selecting this
    particular verb? At any rate, for a gay man, whose natural preference is for
    other men, it would certainly not require "katergazomai" to accomplish a
    sexual act with another man.

    But of course there are those who would say that anything unnatural is
    out of God's will for us, and so since Paul labels opposite sex preference as
    natural, those who would prefer the same sex are not in God's will, and cannot
    receive God's blessings. This is certainly an unfortunate understanding of
    Paul's use of the term "natural."

    From this same understanding of Paul's use of the term "natural," there
    are many churches who would condemn a man whose hair is too long, based on I
    Corinthians 11:14. However, why is it then that God gives exceptional
    blessings to men who take the Nazirite vow which includes the promise of never
    cutting their hair? Perhaps the most famous of those who were so blessed by
    God for not cutting his hair was Samson. When his vow was violated by the
    cutting of his hair, he lost that special blessing of strength God had given
    him (Judges 13-16).

    This then cannot be the meaning Paul attaches to the word "natural."
    What then does he mean when he uses the word? What do we mean when we use the
    word? Simply put, the word "natural" means that which is customarily
    observed. (Cp. Romans 11:24) Certainly in Paul's day as well as our own the
    commonly observed preference of people is for the opposite sex. But that does
    not mean that the 14% of people who prefer the same sex are any less blessed
    of God.

    One other interesting note is found in the greetings Paul sends at the
    end of the book of Romans. If Paul were so hostile to homosexual men and
    women, why would he send greetings to one who was notoriously gay? Yet we
    find in Romans 16:11 greetings to the household of Narcissus, who was Nero's
    famous lover at the time. In fact, many early church historians like
    Dionysius claim that Narcissus was the one who successfully interceded with
    Nero for Paul, and got him acquitted after his first arrest.

    It is rather difficult to picture Paul as being the anti-gay and lesbian
    person that many people claim he was. And as we have seen, there is nothing
    in his writings that would indicate to the contrary.

    Christ and Homosexuality

    If Christ is the center of Christianity, then of course anything He said
    on the subject would be definitive. However, search as we may, we can find
    not one word on the subject from His lips anywhere in the Gospels.

    There are some who look at His statements in Matthew 19 as pertaining to
    the subject. When the Pharisees asked Him for His teaching about divorce, He
    made the comment that from the beginning God did not intend for divorce. It
    is from this passage that the familiar statements in our popular wedding
    ceremonies are taken; "For this cause shall a man leave father and mother and
    shall cleave to his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. Wherefore, they
    are no more two, but one flesh. What, therefore, God hath joined together,
    let no one put asunder."

    What some call the argument from natural order of creation goes like
    this. Since God intended from the beginning that a woman should be with a
    man, homosexuality is not in God's plan for humanity. After all, "God did not
    create Adam and Steve, but Adam and Eve." Therefore, one can only be truly in
    God's will if married heterosexually.

    Of course, we immediately wonder how Christ could be in God's will,
    then, if He was not married. And we wonder why Paul would be so bold as to
    recommend the single state over God's will of marriage (I Corinthians 7:7-9).

    But we are not the only ones with such a question. We find in this same
    chapter (Matthew 19:10) that the disciples said then that they could not
    understand why anyone would want to get married. So Jesus replied with a
    rather unusual statement in verses 11-12. This plan for marriage with no
    divorce is not meant for everyone, but just for those to whom it applies;
    those who get married.

    He then gives a curious statement as to who some of those are for whom
    it is not intended; eunuchs who were born eunuchs, eunuchs who were made that
    way in life, and those who chose to be eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's
    sake. Who then are these eunuchs?

    Most people think of eunuchs as only castrated males. However, neither
    the Greek of the New Testament or the Hebrew of the Old Testament would
    support this idea. The Greek word used in Matthew 19 is "eunouchos", which is
    a masculine noun referring to men who are in the state of "eunouchia", a noun
    which means the state of being unmarried. That one need not be castrated to
    be a "eunouchos" is denoted by the use of that word in the Wisdom of Solomon
    3:14, where it talks of eunuchs masturbating. In the Old Testament we read of
    a man who was married, yet called a eunuch. Potiphar was described in Genesis
    39 as a "saris" (Hebrew word translated elsewhere as eunuch). Here the word
    chamberlain is used to translate "saris", because he was married (but without
    children). Apparently he was impotent, and it was for this reason that his
    wife tried to seduce Joseph.

    In ancient cultures, the greatest curse upon a family was to be without
    heirs. Anyone not producing an heir was called a "saris"(eunuch). The
    feminine equivalent of the male "saris" is "sarisa". Although the only
    eunuchs referred to in the Old Testament were male, there were most certainly
    female eunuchs because the feminine form of the word is found in the Talmud.

    So now if we properly understand Christ to be talking in Matthew 19 of
    people who are either incapable of having children, or for some reason do not
    have children, either due to circumstances of life or for religious choice,
    then no eunuch is under this teaching of marriage. No matter what
    philosophical or psychological explanations are used, it is obvious that most
    gay men and women do not have children*, and are therefore not included in the
    specialized instructions given to married people in Matthew 19.

    There is also an interesting passage in Isaiah 56:3-5. Here we are told
    that eunuchs (both male and female) who hold fast to God's covenant will
    receive an inheritance in heaven better than the inheritance of those who are
    called the sons and daughters of God. This is certainly similar to Christ's
    teaching in His Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:10). How often have modern day
    eunuchs (gay men and lesbians) who hold fast to the new covenant as Christians
    faced persecution from other children of God? If we stand firm on that
    covenant, we will certainly inherit the kingdom of heaven with a better reward
    than the other sons and daughters of God.

    _____________
    *In fact, Christ states that grounds for divorce is fornication, which in
    Greek indicates any use or abuse of one's sexual partner to satisfy one
    person's needs without care for the other. Most lesbians and gay men who find
    themselves in heterosexual marriages are usually in just such an abusive
    situation, and they therefore have Biblical grounds for divorce.
     
  5. Mister Emu

    Mister Emu Emu Extraordinaire
    Staff Member Premium Member

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    I think in the context(refering to marriage) Mat. 19 the word eunuch is best translated as

    from www.blueletterbible.org

    Also alot of this is based simply on his opinion, the title should read "Essay on what *I think* the Bible *really* says about homosexuality"
     
  6. The Voice of Reason

    The Voice of Reason Doctor of Thinkology

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    I agree with this statement by Emu completely and without reservation.

    I also think that virtually EVERY statement made by a human that quotes scripture from the Bible (or any holy book) should be prefaced by the same verbage "I THINK this is what the Bibles says about ....". Unfortunately, this almost NEVER happens.
    Rather, almost every statement made by a human that quotes scripture presents that person's interpretation as though it were indisputable fact, and that anyone that interprets the scripture differently is inherently wrong.

    Not all, but much of what is written in the essay presented by Druidus is logically sound, regardless of interpretation of the scriptures quoted. By this, I am referring to the examples of using one verse in support of another, when the two are wholly unrelated. Those types of arguments in this essay are correct and do not require interpretation of the scripture.

    TVOR
     
  7. Jayhawker Soule

    Jayhawker Soule <yawn> ignore </yawn>
    Premium Member

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    Plagiarism is unethical. Homosexuality is not.
     
  8. Druidus

    Druidus Keeper of the Grove

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    Hmm? Is it plagiarism? I didn't change anything on the essay, and the author's name is there...

     
  9. Feathers in Hair

    Feathers in Hair World's Tallest Hobbit

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    Eeep, I can't find it. Is it toward the begining or the end?
     
  10. Druidus

    Druidus Keeper of the Grove

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    It's the twelvth paragraph. ;) It probably should be at the top, but I can't edit it.
     
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