077. Question. “What Does The Bible Say About ‘Gay Marriage’? Is There A Simple Answer?”

Answer:- The simple answer is that the Bible doesn’t mention gay marriage. Marriage in the Bible always refers to the union between a man and a woman.

However it’s an important topic to look at as there are many nations around the world exploring the concept of gay marriage at the moment. Though the Bible does not mention “gay marriage” it does have something to say about “gay” in terms of homosexual practice. The following are some of the references in the Old Testament. (We will look at New Testament passages in future articles).

Leviticus chapter 18. In this chapter, we read that the God of Israel (YHWH) gave commandments to Moses concerning the required behaviour to be adopted by His people. He had led them out of slavery in Egypt through the leadership of Moses. He instructed Moses to tell the people, Lev 18:3  You shall not do as they do in the land of Egypt, where you lived, and you shall not do as they do in the land of Canaan, to which I am bringing you. You shall not walk in their statutes. They were not to “do their own thing” either, but to do what was pleasing to God, Lev 18:4  You shall follow my rules and keep my statutes and walk in them. I am the LORD your God. In other words God was telling His people what was pleasing to Him (which He demanded they do) and warning them about the things that were displeasing to Him (which He commanded them not to do). This was not a consensus between YHWH and His people. This was His law for them because He knew what was good for His people and what was not.

 Amongst the patterns of behaviour which YHWH commanded them not to engage in (characteristic of Egypt and Canaan of that time) were a number of sexual matters. One of them was homosexual practice. Lev 18:22 You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination. So in simple terms God has made His view known. He expressed it in strong language. “Abomination” refers here to the act and not to the people involved in the act.  There were others things in the Old Testament that God declared to be “abominable” or “detestable” in His sight where the same Hebrew word toebah is used. For example in Pro 6:16-19,   There are six things the LORD hates, seven that are detestable to him: 17  haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, 18  a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, 19  a false witness who pours out lies and a person who stirs up conflict in the community. The word is also used to describe God’s attitude to idolatry and to the sacrifice of children. So it is no light thing when God declares all these things to be abominable in His sight. God loves people and wants them all to love and obey Him for their own good. He wants them to live in the way He (as their Creator) created them to live. He hates sin of all kinds including all forms of sexual sin as shown in the prohibitions seen in Leviticus 18.

The chapter closes with the YHWH’s general command to the people of God, Lev 18:30  So keep my charge never to practice any of these abominable customs that were practiced before you, and never to make yourselves unclean by them: I am the LORD your God.” To practise any of the things He declared “abominable” in chapter 18 would render them guilty and unclean in His sight.

Leviticus chapter 20. In verses 7 and 8, YHWH commanded the people, Consecrate yourselves, therefore, and be holy, for I am the LORD your God. 8 Keep my statutes and do them; I am the LORD who sanctifies you.  His people were to set themselves apart from the nations around them and to reflect His holy character. They would do that by keeping His statutes and living as His sanctified (set apart) people. The same prohibition on homosexual activity is seen in verse 13. But this time His judgment is pronounced not only on the action but on the people involved in the action.  Lev 20:13  If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall surely be put to death; their blood is upon them. YHWH was concerned that His people live in the way He knew was best for them. He also wanted them to show forth His character among the peoples they would meet as they journeyed towards the Promised Land. He wanted His people to be different and not to adopt the culture of the peoples about them. They would be held accountable to YHWH for any deliberate rejection of His commandments. He gave His reason in verse 26 You shall be holy to me, for I the LORD am holy and have separated you from the peoples, that you should be mine. Unholy behaviour in His people was not permitted by a holy God.

 YHWH is the Creator of all peoples. He sets the rules for how people are to behave as His creatures in His creation. His people have a special responsibility to do so, as He can give them the grace to live as He wants them to live. Those who do not as yet belong to the people of God are accountable for their failure to seek His forgiveness for all their sin committed through not observing His laws. They are also accountable for their failure to seek His grace to be different.

As we see later in Romans 1 it is not just homosexual activity that is condemned by God but every activity that does not reflect His character. The list of sins condemned there includes “29 …all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, 30  slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31  foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32  Though they know God’s decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.” Every single person needs to repent before God of guilt in any of these areas. They need to seek His forgiveness. They also need to seek His grace and help to not do those things again. It is very disturbing however that there are some who say that homosexual activity is “good” and is pleasing to God. Some go further and argue that God would be pleased with “gay marriages”. Such folk imply that homosexual activity is not evil in the sight of God when in fact God has declared it an abomination in His sight. To tell people what God has declared about homosexual behaviour (and all forms of sin) is neither homophobic nor judgemental. It actually is a loving thing to do as it is seeking the best interests of all those involved. To actively encourage people to engage in homosexual activity is not love but is actually homophobic behaviour as I suggested before in a previous article.

Well if there is so much rejection of God in this world and some behaviours in the world are contrary to what God has commanded in Leviticus chapters 18 and 20, why does He tolerate it? The answer is the same for all peoples everywhere who sin against God in any way. In His love He is giving us all time to repent of all our sin and to seek His forgiveness. He revealed this through His apostle Peter in 2 Peter 3:8  But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. 9  The Lord is not slow to fulfil his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. 10  But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed. 11  Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness  … 14  Therefore, beloved, since you are waiting for these, be diligent to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace.

God has declared in no uncertain terms that all sin including homosexual activity is contrary to His will. Thus the term “gay marriage” is an oxymoron because the words are incompatible in the sight of God who instituted marriage on a different premise. His intention has always been that a marriage is the relationship between a man and a woman who commit solely to each other in love.  Politicians and others may press for changes in definitions such as “marriage”, but the originator of the concept of marriage  is not going to change His mind about marriage. Ever!  Leviticus chapters 18 and 20 will still challenge humanity for eternity as will every part of the eternal word of God. But God is willing and able to help us to live in the way He wants us to live, if we ask for His forgiveness for all our sin and trust in His grace to live as He wants us to, to His glory.

Blog No.077.  Jim Holbeck.  Posted On Monday 18th June 2012 


About Jim Holbeck

Once an Industrial Chemist working for the Queensland Government but later an Anglican minister in Brisbane, Armidale and Sydney. Last position for eighteen years before retirement in 2006 was as the Leader of the Healing Ministry at St Andrew's Cathedral Sydney.
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1 Response to 077. Question. “What Does The Bible Say About ‘Gay Marriage’? Is There A Simple Answer?”

  1. Pingback: Index of Blogs | holbeck

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