So I’ve been seeing a lot on the internet about homosexuality and gender these days. This is understandable. We live in a time where it’s becoming more common for people to actively express and promote their homosexual (and transgender, etc.) lifestyles. There’s been more activism in America for “gay rights” recently than there has been for decades. In light of this movement, the supreme court of the United States of America recently redefined marriage to include homosexuals. Times are changing from what many Christians call “the good old days” and many people in society call times of “oppression.” I think it’s time we talk about the implications of everything that’s been happening and shed some light on God’s truth instead of just hurling mud at each other.
Who is God?
One very important question we need to ask ourselves before getting into stereotypes and gender is this: who is God? If we skip this essential step, we risk building our worldviews on shifting sand. We might ask ourselves if gay marriage is wrong. Well, what makes something wrong? God decides, right? Well, who is God and why does it matter? Now we’ve trapped ourselves. We’ve started with the nuance and never considered the foundation. If we are to have consistent, applicable ideas about the world, we must base those ideas in an overarching concept so that everything fits. Some people choose the golden rule as their foundation. Some choose “whatever makes me happy” as their foundation. Many times, we aren’t even aware of our foundation. This is dangerous, as it makes us open to contradictory beliefs and conflicting values.
We must have a foundation. I believe the most important foundation people have is their view of God. We all have our own view of God. Some think of Him as a helper through their troublesome lives. Some think of Him as a killjoy. Some see Him as unimportant or nonexistent. Still others hold Him to be their Creator, their glorious Savior, and their only hope and joy in this world and the next. Of course, this last view is the one I aspire to hold myself, and pray that you do as well. But what view do you hold as of now? Who is God to you? Don’t spout off verses, hymns, or cliches just yet. Really give yourself a few minutes to think about who you think God is and the role He plays in your life.
Done? No? Ok, how about this: I’ll go spend a few short minutes thinking about who God is to me. You do the same. Then we’ll meet back here. Sound good? Alright, go.
So you’re back! Great! How did it go? Who is God to you? Were you surprised at what you really thought about God? I found that while I do hold many of my self-proclaimed beliefs to be true practically, I also view God as far away most of the time. I hear Him very faintly instead of loud and clear, and it makes me forget about Him sometimes.
This kind of self-examination is important. But remember that this isn’t a journey of self-discovery. This is a search for the truth. I may feel that God is far away, but is He really? We can use sources like the Bible, as well as reasoning and common sense, to find the truth about who God is. This is a process we must each go through individually, but once we better understand who we are and who God is, we can begin answering some of the smaller questions. For example, what does God think of gays?
Does God Hate Gays?
First, we must define God according to the truth we have discovered. God is the Creator, the Provider, and the Almighty. He is Lord over all. He has made things a certain way, with complexity and order. One of those things is sex and gender.
“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” Genesis 1:27
God only made us as either men or women. It seems as though God assigns us a gender at conception and intends for us to be that gender henceforth. Pretty simple, right? Of course, the different outward actions members of these two genders take vary throughout history, but the central idea that we are either male or female remains.
If we view God as the Creator and Lord over all, that means He has the right to do what He wants with His creation.
“Whatever the LORD pleases, he does, in heaven and on earth, in the seas and all deeps.” Psalm 135:6
He has chosen for men and women to take on different roles in life. This is obvious through our physical differences and our roles in procreation, but it is also present in other, more idealistic terms.
“Then the man said, “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” Genesis 2:23-24
“Nevertheless, in the Lord woman is not independent of man nor man of woman; for as woman was made from man, so man is now born of woman. And all things are from God.” 1 Corinthians 11:11-12
“Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them.” Colossians 3:18-19
“I desire then that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling; likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire, but with what is proper for women who profess godliness—with good works. Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness. I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet. For Adam was formed first, then Eve; and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor. Yet she will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith and love and holiness, with self-control.” 1 Timothy 2:8-15
God has given us some guidelines for how men and women are to act on this earth. Remember that these are coming from the Lord of all things. He has the right to impose these ideas on us. He has given us wills of our own, but it is up to us to either do things His way or not. Those who act upon and embrace homosexual desires and lifestyles are not doing things the way God intended. They are going outside what God designed. This is why their actions are wrong and sinful.
“Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.” 1 Corinthians 6:9-10
Look at all the sins outlined here. What is common among them all? They are all actions that go against God and what He desires for us. Idolaters are sinful because nothing should be held as higher than God Himself. Thieves and those who are greedy take things for themselves and care nothing for others. This is sin because God cares for all and desires justice in this world. Homosexuality (and any other form of altered sexuality) is sin because it accepts a sexuality that is different than the male-female relationship God defined at the creation of the world. In short, when we use what God gave us for purposes other than what He intended, we sin against Him and dishonor Him as our source of all life and sustenance.
But why does it matter? Why shouldn’t we do what we want to? After all, He gave us so much freedom on this earth to do what satisfies us. Why take any other course of action? Well, remember that our view of God is the foundation. If we view God as our servant, than it would be natural to assume that He has given us our genders, and we can do with them what we want. But if God is the master, now we must be careful. He has given us specific instructions as to how we are to use and express our genders. If we forego our desires to line ourselves up with His ideals, then what good will come of it? Two things. Joy on earth and Joy in Heaven.
Heaven and Earth
If we partake in holding to God’s original creation of masculinity and femininity accordingly, we will almost certainly experience joy on earth. When we reject sexual desires for those of the same sex and live our lives in accordance with His will, with prayer and study, then we will find satisfaction in how He meant for us to be. We will be able to experience glorious heterosexual relationships, even to the point of a natural marriage should that be God’s plan. This will give us healthy joy on earth. But this is not the ultimate reason we obey God’s ways. Sometimes it’s fun and rewarding to go against God’s design while we still have breath on this planet. That’s where Heaven comes in.
If we live according to how God designed us and what He wants for us, we will most often find great joy on earth. But the real reward and prize is what lies beyond earth. Heaven is real. We may have our daily schedule planned out in our head, and at the end of our perceived future lies our death. But death is not the end. It is just the pathway to what our choices ultimately mean. Our actions here on earth do matter in light of what is to come. If we reject God now, we may find good times for the next few decades. But after that, we will face the consequences of our sins. Why does God punish us for not being like Him? Well, because He is perfect. He is the only pure light in this dark world. If we are not with Him, we are not where we ought to be. He is right to punish that which is opposed to Him. It is His duty as God. Do you see how our view of who God is affects our worldview so much?
But none of us are like God, are we? In that case, He should destroy us all. It is just and right for Him to do so. He is purely just, as God should be, and this means erasing all unjust things. But instead of sending us away, He decided to reach out His hand and save us.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.” John 3:16-17
God knew He had to provide a just punishment for our sinful twisting of His perfection. But He loved us, so He physically and spiritually killed His Son, a part of Himself, laying on His shoulders all the righteous fury He had due to our actions. This provided justice and gave us freedom from eternal death. But this isn’t the end. We still have a choice. We don’t have to take God’s offer. We can live however we want. But not only will we likely experience pain on earth for going against His ways, we will also most certainly experience the full power of His just wrath should we reject alignment unto His perfection.
So yes, God hates gays. He also hates liars, thieves, idolaters, and adulterers, and He is right to do so. He is perfect. We have all fallen away from His perfection. But He has provided a way out for everyone, including those who practice homosexual lifestyles. This means He also loves gays and all sinners. This salvation doesn’t involve our goodness or merit. It is a gift paid for by Jesus a long time ago. It is the salvation offered through His death, giving us all the opportunity to be free from our imperfect ways. We can have redemption from our messed up lives and gain reconciliation with God in Heaven. We have but to come to His feet and ask Him for it.