The recent Supreme Court ruling has escalated the debate on homosexual marriage. With everyone giving opinions, what is God’s view on this issue?
In the aftermath of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on the controversial subject of same-sex marriage, the blogosphere has exploded with opinion pieces. Some people love it. Others hate it. Some bloggers approach the subject from a political vantage point; some take a religious angle; and others opt to attack their keyboards in a flurry of untempered emotions.
I imagine you’ve already had your fill of opinions—and if you haven’t, they’re not hard to find. Instead, let’s focus on a subject most churches seem to be skirting around or completely misinterpreting: the reason God will never condone same-sex marriage.
An honest look through the Scriptures makes it clear that God has never approved of homosexual acts and, in fact, labels them as an abomination (see Leviticus 18:22 ; 20:13 ; Romans 1:26-32; 1 Timothy 1:8-11 ; Jude 1:7 , just to list a few). Despite some churches’ attempts to contort the Word of God into a stamp of approval for same-sex marriages, the inspired Scriptures are clear: Homosexual acts are sin.
The purpose of marriage
After creating Adam, the very first human being, God said, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him” (Genesis 2:18). And that’s just what He did. Using one of Adam’s own ribs, He created Eve. From her appearance to her thoughts, God designed Eve to be fundamentally different from Adam—a perfect complement to her husband; equal, but far from identical. “Therefore,” the chapter continues, “a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh” (Genesis 2:24).
This verse hints at a bigger purpose for marriage, and it’s a concept that Jesus expanded on during His ministry. He rebuked the religious leaders of His time, asking, “Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate” (Matthew 19:4-6).
When God created the two sexes, He did so with clearintentions. He created men to be men, and He created women to be women—and, joined together in marriage, these two radically different genders are to become one flesh, one cohesive unit far greater than the sum of its parts. The wife adds to the relationship qualities the husband lacks, and vice versa. Like a puzzle, men and women are two very different pieces designed to fit together in a special and unique way, becoming part of something bigger than their individual selves.
God created men to be men, and women to be women—and, joined together in marriage, these two radically different genders are to become one flesh, one cohesive unit far greater than the sum of its parts.Understanding marriage, understanding Christ
The apostle Paul talked about that “something bigger” in his letter to the Ephesians. Giving instructions to married men and women, he wrote, “Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord,” and, “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her” (Ephesians 5:22, 25). These verses reveal God’s clear intention for specific gender roles within marriage, a concept much of the modern world finds offensive and distasteful.
Paul continued, again citing the creation account in Genesis: “‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church.Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband” (Ephesians 5:31-33, emphasis added).
Marriage is more than the union of two people who love each other. God specifically designed the marital relationship to provide insight into our own relationship with Jesus Christ. The husband, modeling Christ, is to be a leader whose decisions are motivated by love for his wife. The wife, modeling the Church, is to be a support for her husband, following his godly lead with respect. God equipped men and women differently to each fulfill specific, separate roles—not both. When we take it upon ourselves to rearrange these God-ordained roles, we don’t just lose our view of what marriage should be—we lose our view of what our relationship with God should be.
A lesson from Corinth
So what does this mean for those who live a homosexual lifestyle? Is a loving God denying happiness to the millions upon millions of people who believe they were born with an attraction to their own gender?
Far from it!
The first and most important thing to understand is that when God labels something as a sin, it is because He can see, from His perfect and unbiased perspective, the ways in which that sin will damage us and those around us. This applies even to the things that we, from our limited human perspective, might see as harmless. Satan is actively deceiving the whole world ( 1 John 5:19 ; Revelation 12:9 ), and he’s extremely talented at making sin look harmless, even good or wholesome ( 2 Corinthians 11:14-15).
The second most important thing to understand is this: God will never, ever, identify a sin without also giving us a way to overcome it. The first-century Christians in Corinth were no strangers to sexual sin, which becomes evident when we read Paul’s admonition to them: “Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you” (1 Corinthians 6:9-11).
Fornication. Adultery. Homosexuality. Sodomy. There were individuals in the Corinthian church who had struggled with those issues—not to mention the urges to steal, abuse alcohol, extort from their brothers and commit other shameful acts. The Corinthian Christians had done all those things—in thepast! But what does Paul say next? “But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God” (1 Corinthians 6:11).
Washed. Sanctified. Justified. Through genuine repentance and by tapping into the transformative power of the Holy Spirit, the Corinthians found the strength to change who and what they were and become the men and women God had called them to be. They found forgiveness of their sins through baptism (washed); they were set apart from a sinful world as the chosen people of God (sanctified); and they were brought into a harmonious relationship with God as they continued to pursue righteousness (justified). And they stopped committing those sins.
It was possible then, and it’s possible now. There is hope for those who struggle with homosexuality.
God loved all the Corinthians, including those who were homosexual—just as He loves all sinners ( 1 John 3:16 ; Romans 5:8 ). But He hated their sinful acts. He loved the world enough to send Jesus Christ to die for all of us, but repentance requires bringing our lives into alignment with God’s standards of conduct. Without God, such a change is impossible—but “with God all things are possible” ( Matthew 19:26 ).
The value of marriage
The real issue here is that homosexuality warps something God designed to be beautiful into a confusing mess. Marriage serves to illustrate the relationship between Jesus Christ and His Church. But when two men or two women get married, who becomes the leader and who is the follower? More importantly, can Christ marry Christ? Can the Church follow the Church? Are the two interchangeable? It doesn’t work. It doesn’t make sense. It becomes a hodgepodge of our own human ideas without any of God’s.
Family is the building block of society, and marriage is the epicenter of family. Ruin a marriage, and you can ruin a family. Ruin enough families, and society itself begins to crumble—and if you’re wondering what that looks like, just look around you. It’s happening everywhere, and homosexuality is far from the only culprit. Husbands who refuse to lead with godly love, wives who refuse to follow that lead, spouses who reject God’s standards in their own lives—all these things can (and do) cripple marriages.
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. There are couples who refuse to marry, living together without any real sense of commitment. There are mothers and fathers who give up and walk away from their families. There are one-night stands and hookups and extramarital affairs—without a doubt, God hates those lifestyles too.
God stands opposed to same-sex marriage because it attempts to redefine the essence of the most precious relationship two human beings can share. God wants what’s best for us—and regardless of what the Supreme Court or human reasoning might say, homosexuality will never fit that bill.