Many verses address homosexuality directly, and most people have seen them. You can find them all over the Internet. When I was asked to teach in our Bible study on the recent Church of Scotland decision on homosexuality, I knew I would cover those verses.
However, I wanted to take a different approach initially, to look at what God intended for marital intimacy, and then compare it to homosexual behaviour. Is it real, or is it a counterfeit? The posts preceding this (linked below) reflect what we covered, and led to the material discussed in this post.
The Nature of Counterfeits
As we evaluate homosexuality, we need to remember that a counterfeit never works unless it bears at least a superficial resemblance to the genuine article. That is true of every kind of counterfeit. Even false teachers will put on sheep’s clothing.
Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.
Thus, as we look at homosexual behaviour, we do not look for a few surface similarities to marriage and marital intimacy. Any counterfeit will have some surface similarities. If it is genuine and acceptable to God, as some religious teachers claim, it should substantially fit the purposes of marital intimacy as given in Scripture. We’ll look at each purpose for intimacy covered in the preceding posts.
From The Purposes of Marital Intimacy. Not every God-honouring marriage produces children, and children are not the only purpose for marriage. But this is the first purpose mentioned in Scripture, and obviously a very important one.
Some counterfeits of marriage (adultery and other extra-marital relations between men and women) do produce children. Even then, sadly they often fail to produce “a godly seed” as mentioned in Malachi. Many children coming from such alliances are never taught to know the Lord, because too often, their parents go on to live in rebellion against Him.
Homosexual behaviour never produces children at all. It completely fails on this first purpose.
Two side notes:
1) Some who engage in homosexual behaviour want to adopt children. Their G0d-given desire for children shows their awareness of this purpose, and hunger for it. By trying to adopt, they try to undo a natural consequence of forsaking God’s plan in favour of behaviour that fails in His purpose for intimacy.
2) It is not surprising that a society which kills the unborn, decides it is ok for children to be unwanted, and discourages large families should see an increase in homosexuality. When we reject God’s view of children as a blessing and His purpose in giving children, we accept wrong views of intimacy which contribute to many counterfeits.
Companionship / Bonding / Unity
From The Purposes of Marital Intimacy. This is one way that homosexuality does at times parallel marital intimacy. Homosexual physical relations can lead to life-long bonds or long term partnerships between two people.
Yet, while there is a parallel, it doesn’t match up. Promiscuity is very high in those who engage in homosexual behaviour. While some bond to an individual partner, many who change from partner to partner are simply bonding to their own pleasure, forming an affinity to an activity they find pleasurable rather than to a person.
False bonding also often occurs in extra-marital relations between men and women. Promiscuity of any kind is indicative of a false bonding, bonding to an activity rather than to a person. But the great prevalence of promiscuity in the homosexual community shows that even in this area, where there is a parallel to marital intimacy, something is wrong.
Protection Against Temptation
From The Purposes of Marital Intimacy. Homosexual behaviour does not protect against the temptation to engage in physical relations with someone other than your spouse. It encourages you to engage in such relations, and gives you a strong emotional bond to that activity. It not only does not meet this purpose of marital relations, it works directly against it.
Illustrating God’s Love
From The Purposes of Marital Intimacy. Marriage illustrates the love relationship between God and His people. Ephesians 5 tells us the wife is to honour and obey her husband as the church honours and obeys Christ. The husband is to love his wife and give his life for her as Christ gave His life for the church. In marriage, both the man and the woman have a role to play in portraying this spiritual love relationship.
Though we are in God’s image, we are different in nature, and the authority in our relationship with Him results from that difference. Similarly, though men and women are of the same species, there is a substantive difference, physically, mentally, and emotionally, and God intended authority in marriage to flow out of that difference.
A homosexual relationship is lacking something, either a wife to portray the role of the church, or a husband to portray the role of Christ. “Two husbands” together (or “two wives”) breaks the picture. If there is any authority in the relationship it is by decision, and not because of a difference in nature and a God-ordained distinction in roles. There is no wife submitting to her husband as the church submits to Christ. There is no husband loving his wife as Christ loved the church.
A homosexual relationship can never begin to fulfill this purpose for marriage. A glance through Ephesians 5:22-33 quickly shows it does not describe a homosexual relationship.
Pleasure with a Purpose
From Psalm 45, “Greatly Desire Thy Beauty,” and Marital Intimacy and from Proverbs 5:19, “Ravished Always,” and Marital Intimacy. As we saw in these passages, pleasure in marriage has purposes — 1) to illustrate God’s desire for fellowship / unity with us and the joys of worship 2) to unite / bind together husband and wife 3) to protect from temptation.
These are not the purposes for which people engage in homosexual behaviour. They say they are “oriented” that way. That boils down to simply a description of which pleasures they want — they are telling us their desires are “oriented” towards a particular kind of pleasure. Thus, they seek what pleases them simply because it pleases them. Pleasure becomes its own purpose. They let “what I want,” “what I like,” “how I am oriented” for pleasure become the thing that determines their behaviour. Instead of pleasure serving a purpose, it is the master which must be served.
When pleasure becomes the standard, when it is its own purpose, any counterfeit can look acceptable, as long as it give pleasure. When we see the purposes for God-honouring and God-blessed pleasure, then the counterfeits become obvious for what they are.
It’s not Just Homosexuality
Most of my readers aren’t homosexual, but sadly, some who read this engage in other counterfeits. It may be pornography, adultery, pushing the boundaries of appropriate behaviour with a girlfriend, private lustful thoughts, or some other behaviour.
Look through the post again. Measure your own behaviour by the reality. Counterfeit intimacy is like counterfeit money. It has no real value, it only looks good to those who are deceived, it causes great damage, and it destroys your appreciation for the value of the genuine article. Quit falling in love with, and enslaving yourself to, a counterfeit.