The Sin Against Nature
A Scripture Study On Homosexual Relations
One popular new interpretation of Scripture was examined by theologian Mark Dunagan. He writes, “In recent years many have tried to soften these verses and claim that Paul was only condemning a certain kind of ‘homosexuality’. Some would say a ‘lustful kind’ or ‘harmful kind’. And yet if this is true, then the same argument must be used for all the other sins mentioned here. Is there a ‘non-lustful’ kind of fornication? Adultery? Is there a non-harmful kind of idolatry? Theft? Greed? Extortion? Can I engage in all of these behaviors just as long as my heart is right? …We need to remember that any argument offered in the attempt to ‘justify’ homosexuality, must be applied to all the other sins mentioned in this list and every other list in the Bible.”
Another argument of the homosexual lobby is to indiscriminately mix Old and New Testament verses as if both apply equally today. Abraham and other patriarchs had more than one wife—and concubines too—so we are told that Christians must therefore want that in society today also! In fact, liberal advocates almost exclusively quote Old Testament verses that are very selectively chosen, most of them irrelevant to the issue, and with little regard for the fact that Christians are not under the Old Covenant today.
There are four primary passages in the New Testament regarding homosexuality, yet none of them ever seem to be quoted in liberal mainstream media articles concerning the Bible’s position on this issue. Let us read them:
“The Law was written for people who are sexual perverts or who live as homosexuals or are kidnappers or liars or won't tell the truth in court. It is for anything else that opposes the correct teaching of the good news that the glorious and wonderful God has given me.” –1 Tim. 1:10-11, Contemporary English Version
“God let them follow their own evil desires. Women no longer wanted to have sex in a natural way, and they did things with each other that were not natural. Men behaved in the same way. They stopped wanting to have sex with women and had strong desires for sex with other men. They did shameful things with each other, and what has happened to them is punishment for their foolish deeds.” – Rom 1:26-27, Contemporary English Version
“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… shall inherit the kingdom of God.” -1 Cor. 6:9-10, King James Version
This phrase, “abusers of themselves with mankind” is a bit confusing to understand today. The Greek text is a compound of "male" and "intercourse". The Amplified Version is much clearer: “Do you not know that the unrighteous and the wrongdoers will not inherit or have any share in the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived (misled): neither the impure and immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor those who participate in homosexuality…”
The IVP Biblical Background Commentary says, “Scholars have disputed the meaning of the term translated “homosexuals” (NASB), but it seems to mean those who engage in homosexual acts, which were a common feature of Greek male life in antiquity.” Yet this modern commentary goes on to say that, “Like the rabbis, Paul engages in rhetorical damnation…” Are the biblical commands only a matter of some overheated rhetoric, or is the New Testament correct in saying that such sins will prevent such people from enjoying life in the kingdom of Elohim?
In agreement with the Apostle Paul, Revelation 21:8 does indeed exclude from the Divine kingdom those who partake in sexually immoral practices: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.” (King James Version) How is “abominable” defined? It is a translation of the Greek, bdelusso (Strongs #948) “from a derivative [meaning] ‘to stink’, to be disgusted…detest, abhor, abominable.” A majority of English Bibles in fact translate it as “the abominable,” which is an exact match with the Old Testament command in the Torah of Leviticus 18:22: “Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.” (also see Lev.20:13)
Other Bible versions use a variety of similar expressions to translate bdelusso, such as “the sinful,” “the degraded,” “the detestable,” “the corrupt,” “the immoral,” or “the unclean.” Each of these terms is closely synonymous in meaning with both the Torah and the Apostle Paul’s language in the passages given above concerning homosexuality.
The Guzik Bible Commentary on 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 adds, “Since this is such a clear condemnation of homosexuality, those who would like to justify the practice say Paul is speaking of homosexual prostitution, not a ‘loving, caring homosexual relationship.’ But taken in context, there is no doubt God is speaking of homosexual acts of all kinds with the words malakoi (homosexuals, which literally refers to male prostitutes) and arsenokoitai (sodomites, a generic term for all homosexual practice).”
The Daily Study Bible has this to add on the Corinthians passage: “We have left the most unnatural sin to the end—there were homosexuals. This sin had swept like a cancer through Greek life and from Greece, invaded Rome. We can scarcely realize how riddled the ancient world was with it. Even so great a man as Socrates practised it; Plato's dialogue The Symposium is always said to be one of the greatest works on love in the world, but its subject is not natural but unnatural love. Fourteen out of the first fifteen Roman Emperors practised unnatural vice. At this very time Nero was emperor. He had taken a boy called Sporus and had him castrated. He then married him with a full marriage ceremony and took him home in procession to his palace and lived with him as wife. With an incredible viciousness, Nero had himself married to a man called Pythagoras and called him his husband. When Nero was eliminated and Otho came to the throne one of the first things he did was to take possession of Sporus. Much later, the Emperor Hadrian's name was associated with a Bithynian youth called Antinous. He lived with him inseparably, and, when he died, he deified him and covered the world with his statues and immortalised his sin by calling a star after him. In this particular vice, in the time of the Early Church, the world was lost to shame; and there can be little doubt that this was one of the main causes of its degeneracy and the final collapse of its civilization.” How can anyone then say that this is an unimportant issue?
One additional matter is the wording of 1 Corinthians 6:9 in the King James and some other translations, using the word, “effeminate.” Will men be eliminated from the Kingdom of Elohim for a lack of proper manliness? This seems to make no sense. The Greek word, malakoi, was, according to Mark Dunagan, “a pejorative epithet for men who were ‘soft’ or ‘effeminate’, most likely referring to the younger, ‘passive’ partner in a pederastic relationship.” The true interpretation of the passage is brought out in the Lexham English Bible: “nor passive homosexual partners, nor dominant homosexual partners.” Similarly, the “Literal Translation of the Holy Bible,” says, “nor male prostitutes, nor homosexuals.” The Easy-To-Read Version perhaps is the most clear: ”men who let other men use them for sex or who have sex with other men.”
Unfortunately, some Bible translations use rather unclear or confusing language on this subject. My favorite example of this is the Geneva Bible of 1587, which translates 1 Corinthians 6:9, “nor wantons, nor buggerers.” However, the modern Concordant Literal Version is no clearer: “nor catamites, nor sodomites.” Should we need a dictionary when reading the Bible on this subject?
Seeing the direction in which things are headed, American churches are receiving legal advice to write into their constitutions language asserting that the only marriage they will recognize is between one man and one woman. There is a growing fear of being sued for discrimination, and courts will look dimly at church constitutional changes made only after a lawsuit is filed against them. One “gay” rights leader has said that lawsuits against churches are the last thing on his mind right now—but what about in the future?