Why does God forbid homosexuality?
Scott Sauls points out the biblical proverb that says, "There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death." He adds that in both the old testament and new testament, all the direct references to homosexuality echo this proverb with a tone of somber warning, with no affirmations to counter them.1
Christians have clarity here regarding homosexuality, because among other reasons, it not only has been this way from the beginning as Jesus affirmed, but also because the union between husband and wife point to our ultimate union: the union between Christ and his bride, the church.
But many, including self-identified gay-affirming evangelicals, look at the situation differently. They don't think it is fair to say only heterosexual couples can enjoy God's gift of sexual intimacy and lifelong partnership. Just as the Bible was apparently pro-slavery and oppressive to women before actually studying the facts, they feel we've been reading the Bible wrongly all these years.
There's been an evolution in the minds of many who would say they take the Bible seriously. Whereas the multitudes for a millennia thought these deeds were wrong now there's a growing nod of approval shown toward those who practice homosexuality. It's true you don't need to agree on anything to be kind to one another, but is it really kind to be silent on things Jesus wasn't?
Here's how I've been thinking about this issue lately..
Go back to the Garden of Eden and think about the tree that was placed their that God forbid them to eat. Other than the most gracious warning of death by eating, there doesn't seem to be any particular reason to forbid it. But God still forbids: "You can eat all the trees in the garden except this one."
Keller was asked why God would put that Tree in the garden? Here's what he said:
Regarding homosexuality, God says "Don't do it," and no explanation given. I love that we have good reasons to give, but really this is a matter of obedience. We are told to do sexuality God's way just because we love God and because He is God and we're not. We may think homosexuality might be fulfilling, but He is Lord and Savior, so we don't take and eat of that tree.
Do you see what is happening here in our time?
God has placed this tree in our midst - this option before humans to have homosexual thoughts and lifestyles - thinking eating this tree will lead to a happier future than obeying God. That is our problem. That was Adam and Eve's problem. They didn't believe God had their best in mind, that God was holding out on them, and that true happiness would only be found in disobeying God and partaking of the Tree.
And just as God was clear of the outcome then, so he is now. John Piper says: And on top of sin’s self-destructive power comes, eventually, the final wrath of God: “sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming” (Colossians 3:5–6).
Did God Really say..?
But what are we doing? We're listening to the voice of Satan, "Did God really say.." You see this narrative in our culture: "Has God really said that about homosexual marriage?! I just don't believe it! It sounds so backwards and repressive and off."
But God did say a clear word and warning on the issue. Adam and Eve had the entire garden, but soon entertained this dangerous question. There must have been an evolution in their mind toward what God clearly said, perhaps thinking, "I kind of want to eat this Tree..it does indeed look good to eat...wonder why God is keeping me from this fulfilling food. Yeah He mentioned something about death, but I'm beginning to question Him..something about God doesn't seem right if he would give me every tree to eat except this one.." So they eat and BOOM sin enters the world. You can see this evolution in our political leaders who flip-flopped on this issue in just a few years time, and entire segments of our culture who have evolved on this issue in an accelerated fashion especially over the past 15 years.
This issue we are facing as a church is very much a spiritual issue.
Will we obey God's Biblical view of sexuality just because God said so -- just because He is our Lord and Savior? Or will we eat of it and wholeheartedly support others eating of this forbidden Tree, somehow deluding ourselves that this is the loving thing to do? That somehow the institutionalization of so-called homosexual marriage is progress? Don't be deceived. Be kind to all, desire God to show mercy, but don't eat the Tree. Know what God has clearly said about sexuality.
1. See Leviticus 18:22; Romans 1:26-27; 1 Corinthians 6:9-10; 1 Timothy 1:8-11