People Are Good

I hi-jacked this article from Mike Bull’s Blog. It was too good to leave in only one place.

abrahambows

Why People are Good: or Why Idolatry is Adultery

“So [Abraham] lifted his eyes and looked, and behold, three men were standing by him; and when he saw them, he ran from the tent door to meet them, and bowed himself to the ground…” Genesis 18:2

“Then Abraham stood up and bowed himself to the people of the land, the sons of Heth.” Genesis 23:7

I’ve finally gotten around to doing the post that was to follow Stuff Is Good.

In his little torpedo of a book, The Liturgy Trap, James Jordan gives a definition of idolatry that is worth the price of the book. Firstly, it is natural that the de-eschatologised churches, (the ones that think they need no death-and-resurrections) contain icons. A church that has already arrived [1] must be able to present the unseen as already-seen:

…seeing God is a good thing, but it is not for now. God tells us not to try and do it until He is ready to let us. We find exactly the same thing in Genesis 1-3, where God said that every tree would be for Adam and Eve to eat, and every tree in the garden is said to be good for food. Thus, the prohibition on the Tree of Knowledge was temporary. [2] Adam and Eve were to develop patience by responding to God’s “NO.” By eating the fruit, they rejected God’s plan for growth and development, and became corrupt. Similarly, sex is good, but we are not to engage in it until we are married.

Now, seeing God face to face is a good thing, and if we are faithful, we shall enjoy the “beatific vision” in the resurrection. But God has clearly and unmistakably said that we are not to attempt to see Him in this world…

God strictly forbids any attempt to make a “form” that connects to Him visually. [3] God will let us see Him when He is ready, and when we are. To set up an icon and say that this gives us a visual revelation of God or of some dimension of God’s heavenly existence is to jump the gun…

We are to be satisfied with the Word because the Word is ultimate. God is Word, but He is not visible. What we shall see is God’s voluntary self-presentation, not God Himself. But God’s Word is not just His voluntary self-representation: it is God Himself. Thus, the visual is always secondary. To insist on the visual is to despise God’s Word, and thus to despise God. Accordingly, those who set up images are said to “hate” God, which means to treat Him practically as second behind something else…

…those who break the Second Word by indulging in visual worship have proven impatient. They have rejected personal maturity, and have destroyed their posterity. But the third and fourth generation, their seed will have become so corrupt that some kind of new Flood will be necessary. Thus, there can be little or no personal or cultural maturity apart from the strict keeping of the Second Word.

This is related to Peter Leithart’s observation that the Spirit brings the saints an awareness of new plunder—people are precious possessions instead of things. [4] The process of death and resurrection brings an awareness of what is truly valuable. Even godless Hollywood movies tell us that on a personal level: ie. some tragedy brings wisdom and a new appreciation of family. So, we should not be bowing to idols, but we should be bowing—to each other:

Jesus said: “It is to your advantage that I go away” (John 16:7). Jesus then explained that the Spirit would come, and verses 8-15 speak of the Spirit’s work in exclusively non-visual terms… At the ascension, we are expressly told that “a cloud received Him out of their sight” (Acts 1:9). This removal from sight was followed by the coming of the Spirit. [5]

All of this makes it clear that there is nothing to look at and nothing to bow down to in worship. We are living in an eschatological tension. The real absence of Christ makes us yearn for Him, and gives us something to look forward to. It is a serious mistake to jump the gun by filling the Church with icons that supposedly give a philosophically-realistic look into heaven. It is a serious mistake to pervert the meal into something to look at. It is a serious mistake to say Jesus is as this or that point in the room and bow down to His invisible presence. It is very important that we refuse to bow toward anything in worship…

The content of our worship is only visual at one point: when we are visually aware of one another, aware of the gathered community. Worship in the particular sense only takes place when two or three at least are gathered together… Human beings might be called the visible words of God, though perhaps “fleshly words” might be better. We are words in the sentences of the Divine Book of the Kingdom… The Lord’s Supper is not a visible word but an edible one. Baptism is not a visible word but a tangible one. The only “visible words” are human beings, the images of God made after the likeness of the Word of God Himself. In other words, the only thing to look at in worship is other people.

It certainly is appropriate in worship for the pastor to greet the congregation by bowing to them and saying “The Lord be with you.” In this way, the pastor honours the image of God, the visible words of God, thos he is to serve. Then the congregation should bow to the pastor, saying “And also with you.” Nothing else should be bowed to, however, since nothing else is the visible word of God, the special image of God.

Icon worship replaces the true Bride for a false one:

…iconic worship tends against the development of the community. When we hear the Word of God, someone else must read it aloud to us. This creates a community of at least two people. Icon worship, however, is shrine worship. Thus, both the cathedrals and the lands of Orthodoxy and Roman Catholicism are full of shrines (what the Bible calls “high places”) where people go and talk to saints, who of course never talk back. Such people can never move beyond their own preconceived notions, because their worship involves no confrontation with the challenges of the Word mediated through other living, speaking people.

“When they had twisted a crown of thorns, they put it on His head, and a reed in His right hand. And they bowed the knee before Him and mocked Him, saying, ‘Hail, King of the Jews!’” (Matthew 27:29)

“But what does the divine response say to him? ‘I have reserved for Myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal.’” (Romans 11:4)

Jesus said to him, “Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” (John 20:29)

__________________________________________________
[1] See Revived, Not Arrived.
[2] See Touch Not, Taste Not, Handle Not.
[3] See Graven Words.
[4] Plunder is always Step 5 in the Bible Matrix. See Vile Bodies or Bright Young Things. See also The Glory Are We.
[5] On the parallel between Moses’ and Christ’s ascension from sight, and the idolatry that followed see We Don’t Know What’s Become of Him.

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The Imago Dei and Homosexuality

“The Imago Dei and Homosexuality”

by Michael Shover

Outline

  1. Introduction
  2. Authority of Scripture
    1. Common Ground – God is Creator and Definer
    2. Total Depravity
    3. The Ever-Continuing Relevance and Binding Nature of the Law of God as Revealed in the Older and Newer Testaments.
  3. The Imago Dei
    1. Male and Female
    2. Family, Dominion, and Society
    3. The Fall and Redemption
    4. Christ and His Church
  4. Homosexuality in the Bible, and it’s Arguments Considered
    1. Sodom and Gomorrah
    2. Leviticus 18 & 20
    3. Romans 1
  5. Conclusion
  6. A Final Appeal

I. Introduction

The issue of homosexuality in the Church is one that does not seem to be leaving anytime soon.  I have thus decided to comment briefly on the issue in this paper, discussing in particular, how homosexuality is incompatible with the image of God in man, the Imago Dei.  There is nothing that stirs my soul into anguish more than the claims of those people who profess to be Christian, as well as Christian Churches and denominations, and yet espouse such a view as to purport that homosexuality is perfectly ethical, moral, and even Biblical in nature, and thus it is to be accepted as if it has the approval and sanction of God Himself.  Not only so, but to oppose such a view a person would be heaping upon themselves the condemnation of God Himself, because those whom He has created and loves, are being rejected by the very people who carry His name.  The whole situation has been turned upside down.  That which is bad, is considered to be good, and that which is good, is bad.  Right is wrong, and wrong is right, and it is all being done under the guise of “Christian Acceptance” and “Tolerance.”  These arguments must be dealt with Biblically, accurately, and with charity, with an outlook to soften the heart and to call people to repentance; not to the hardening of the heart that would lead people further into a lifestyle that is contrary to nature, the law of God, the betterment of society and culture, and the expansion of God’s Kingdom on Earth. By God’s grace I hope to accomplish such a task in this paper.

In this paper I am going to interact with the arguments of those people who profess to be Christians, and at the same time homosexual.[1] Before I begin, some preliminary ground work must be laid.  First, it must be understood that the Christian’s final authority ought to be the Word of God as is revealed in the Older and Newer Testaments.  Secondly, in light of the first premise, the Imago Dei must be considered and discussed in a positive manner, i.e., expressing in the affirmative what the Imago Dei is.  Also, how the Imago Dei was corrupted by the fall of humanity into sin, the restoration of the Imago Dei in the individual via union with Christ, and how the marriage relationship of man and woman represents a higher truth, namely that of the relationship of Christ to His Church, will also be discussed.  Thirdly, certain texts of Scripture will be examined that speak on the issue of homosexuality, and the arguments for the pro-homosexual position will be considered, analyzed, and evaluated as we go through these texts one by one.  Finally an appeal will be made to the “Christian Homosexual Community” and the denominations that support and defend it as being Biblically sanctioned.

Again, it is my desire that all this will be done in charity, love and respect. Charity, love and respect first towards God and His perfect and holy revealed Law-Word. Then from that first foundation, all genuine charity, love, and respect flows forth toward my fellow Image-bearers who have been impacted on every level of their existence by sin, and who need to trust in the grace of our God and Savior Jesus Christ for redemption, just as I and the rest of humanity.  For me to demonstrate any such charity, love, and respect that would be founded upon any other basis than love towards God, would only serve to illustrate that such virtues would be disingenuous and man centered, and would not be glorifying to God. God forbid I do such a thing.  Soli Deo Gloria.

II. Authority of Scripture

Being that this issue is one that is between professed Christians, the sole foundation upon which we are to judge all our arguments, experiences, feelings, rationale, and inclinations, is the Bible.  This is where the battle ground is, and where the war is being fought.  This is why we must strive for hermeneutical precision and accuracy, taking into account all that has been revealed, in both the Older and Newer Testaments.  We must be consistent and see to it that our foundation is based on the solid rock of God’s unchangeable Word.  What God has revealed to us concerning the character and nature of Himself, mankind, creation, sin, redemption, ethics, sexuality, and all other things, has to be based upon what God alone has revealed to us, and not what we think or how we think things ought to be.  God is the only one who has perfect knowledge of all things, and that would include our present study concerning the Image of God in Man, and the nature of human sexuality.  God’s wisdom must be heard and heeded if we are going to live in His world with His Divine covenantal blessings upon us.  The authority and infallibility of His Word must be regarded in this matter as of first importance.  Any deviation from this foundation will lead us into complete and utter foolishness, and will bring us under the wrath of Almighty God.  

God is Creator and Definer

The first thing is first, and that is this: God is the Creator of male and female, and as such, He alone has the authority and He only has the say as to what it means for humans to be male or female.  God alone is the architect of gender, as well as sexuality, and the sexual relations that occur between these two genders of male and female, and what the intended purposes for sexual relations should be.  In short, we know that whatever it is that we do here on earth, we are to do all for the glory of God.  In light of that, we must know what it is He has said is good and well pleasing to Him, as well as what is good and healthful for us His creatures.  God is the one who determines right and wrong, and any failure to obey God is an attempt to establish our own standards of right and wrong, which is to set ourselves up as God.  This is the original sin that the Serpent tempted Eve with, telling her “You shall be as God knowing (or, determining for yourself what constitutes) good and evil” (Gen. 3:5).[2] Greg Bahnsen explains it like this:

The Creator gives created things their essential identity and function and defines man’s proper relationships.  Man’s sexual function has been defined by God as male-female behavior.  This fact refutes the claims of homosexual apologists who say that all human beings have the right to self-definition.  Such an existential rationale (existence preceding freely chosen essence) reflects an autonomous desire to replace God’s intended distinctions and created design for man with the relativistic will of the creature, who would be worshipped as his own creator.[3]

It is this very sin that caused all humanity to now fall into sin, which is the second issue that must be dealt with.

Total Depravity

Sin is transgression of God’s holy law.  We as human beings who now live after Adam are born into a state of sin.  It is not that we simply do various kinds of sins, but the reason and the foundation that we do these sins is because we are sinners by nature.  We all have been born as sinners, and thus, we are born from the womb with an aversion toward God and His laws, and an inclination toward sin.  Some would attempt to doubt this, but the Scripture affirms this truth in numerous places.  David himself proclaims that he was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did his mother conceive him (Ps. 51:5).  St. Paul describes humanities plight when he declares that even before the law of Moses was given, sin was in the world, because sin came into the world through Adam, and as a result of sin, death came (physical and spiritual death, i.e. separation from God), and so death spread to all men, because of which, all men now sin (Rom. 5:12).  Because Adam sinned, physical and spiritual death spread to all men.  As a result of spiritual death, i.e., separation from fellowship and communion with God, all men now by nature sin and are sinners.  Thus, we are sinners by nature.  Isaiah also affirms this horrible truth when he tells us that our sins have separated us from God, so that His face is now hidden from us (Isa. 59:2).  Jeremiah lamentably decries the horrible condition of man’s heart when he informs us that the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked (Jer. 17:9).  This is completely in line with the condition of man before the flood of Noah, that every thought and intention of man’s heart was only evil continually (Gen. 9:5).

The importance of a proper Biblical knowledge of sin is paramount for the discussion.  We must lay the foundation of God’s Law-Word as the authoritative standard for humanity because our whole being has been affected by sin.  As R.J. Rushdoony has accurately said,

Every aspect of man’s being is affected and governed by sin.  Mind and body, reason and emotion, will, sexuality, and all things else are changed, altered, and warped by the fall…To ignore this fact is to sentence ourselves to impotence in dealing with men.  We will then trust in our reason, or in some other humanistic idea of common ground, rather than in the effectual word of our sovereign God.[4]

It is this very outcome that we should seek to avoid at all costs.  Because our whole being has been affected by sin, our definitions of what is right and wrong, good and evil, pleasing and abhorrent, must come from Him who is perfectly good, holy, pleasing, and who always does what is right because He alone is the standard for what He decrees to be such.

The Law of God Revealed in Both Older And Newer Testaments

Scripture is replete with God’s commands. It is noted that there are 613 laws in the Older Testament.  All 613 laws reflect in some shape, way, or form the character of a completely holy God who, by nature, hates sin and loves purity.  Now in this current debate, the issue of homosexuality is dealt with in the Older Testament by looking specifically to the account of Sodom and Gomorrah and Leviticus 18 and 20.  We will investigate these passages in due time, but suffice it to say for now, that the way these passages are handled by the homosexual provides a way for escape so that they can then flee to Jesus.  The argument is then made that Jesus never even brought up the issue of homosexuality therefore it could not have been that important.[5] The implication of such an argument is obvious, Jesus is not against homosexuality, and therefore Christians shouldn’t be either.  Such an attempt to “de-contextualize” Jesus and make Him the product of some kind of modern day Gnosticism where the Older Testament and the Newer Testament are dichotomized to the effect that there is no continuity of message, in some kind of Marcion-like manner, does violence to the veracity, perspicuity, and perpetuity of God’s Word and strips Jesus of His reason for coming to Earth in the first place.

Let us now briefly consider a few of the Bible’s teachings about the character and nature of God and His word.  First we must note that God is Immutable and Unchangeable (Mal. 3:6; Heb. 6:17; James 1:17), and so is His Law (Isa. 40:8; Ps. 111:7-8; Matt. 5:18).  God is Holy (Lev. 11:44; 1 Pet. 1:15f) and so is His Law (Mic. 6:8; Rom. 7:12, 16; 1 Tim. 1:18). God is Perfect (32:4; Matt. 5:48), and so is His Law (Ps. 18:30; 19:7; 119:160; James 1:25).  God is Good (2 Chron. 5:13; 30:18; Ezra 3:11; Ps. 100:5), and so is His Law (Rom. 7:16; 1 Tim. 1:18).   As a matter of fact, God is so good that His goodness is the reason He instructs sinners in the way of His law (Ps. 25:8-10). Thus, to perform that which is always good, holy, and perfect, we must seek to obey all of God’s commands. God’s Law is forever binding since they will endure forever (Ps. 119:152, 160), and because of which, it must be understood that nothing could ever be subtracted or abrogated from the law of God (Deut. 4:2; Matt. 5:17).

Just in case some people would be tempted to make the argument that the Mosaic Law was only binding for ancient Israel, and thus Gentiles are not obligated to obey it, let us take note that in the Older Testament God holds non-Israelite nations accountable for breaking His Law and being wicked.[6]

Interestingly, the first place we see the word “wicked” being used is in the story of Sodom and Gomorrah. Other nations and non-Israelite peoples were condemned as “wicked” and worthy of judgment as well when they broke God’s law.  God cast out the pagan peoples in Canaan because they practiced divination, sorcery, fortune telling, etc (Deut. 18:9-14).  God pronounces judgment on Babylon in Isaiah 13, and even declares that He will “punish the world for their evil, and the wicked for their iniquity” (13:11).  God tells Joel to prophecy against the nations for trading Israel’s boys into prostitution, which is a violation of Deut. 23:17.  Jonah proclaimed God’s judgment to Nineveh, and by God’s grace they repented. There are more examples, but I think these examples prove the point sufficiently enough to show that God held non-Israelite nations accountable to His Law.  And if one were then tempted to argue that the Church is not “under the law but under grace”[7], let that person look to the New Testament and he will see that there are commands here as well. The Bible is one book, in unity, and it is not to be chopped up in order that one might find reason to support their antinomian tendencies.[8]

And if it is not clear enough, Paul tells us in Romans 3:19 that the law holds those accountable who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world would be held accountable to God! This is because the world learns righteousness when God’s judgments are in the world (Isa. 26:9). When God reveals His Law and He judges law breakers, God’s righteous standard is revealed. This is in agreement with Deuteronomy 4:6-8, which states that Israel was given the law so that the surrounding nations would see the wisdom of their righteous statutes, rules, and laws. This principle is carried right on over in the Newer Testament when Jesus gives the Great Commission and declares that, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son , and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded  you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matt. 28:18-20). The principle is the same in the New as in the Old. That is because there is continuity between the testaments, and not discontinuity. Everything that is commanded in the Older Testament is carried over into the Newer Testament, unless otherwise expressly stated, such as Sabbath keeping (Col. 2:16-17).

Therefore to entertain the notion that: “Because Jesus never spoke of homosexuality, it must not be that important” is an improper handling of God’s Word.  Jesus Himself declared that He did not come to abolish the law, but to fulfill it.  Not one jot or tittle of the Law will pass away until all is accomplished. Accordingly then, anyone who annuls[9] even the least of the commandments, or even teaches others to annul them is considered the least in the kingdom of heaven. On the opposite side is the affirmative:  Anyone who does the least of the commandments and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.  Greg Bahnsen has maybe the best exegetical study of Matthew 5:17-19 in his book Theonomy in Christian Ethics, in which he says this:

A technical analysis of Matthew 5:17-19 can secure a proper understanding of its teaching.  Mh. nomi,shte is a prohibition (expressed by means of an aorist subjunctive and the negative); it means “do not think.”  If Christ’s enemies had basely slandered Him by stating that His teachings were at variance with the Law this is not indicated in the text, for the aorist tense gives the verb an aggressive force: “do not (begin to) think,” as opposed to “stop thinking” (which would require prohibition expressed in the present tense).  The implication is that Christ knew the danger that His hearers or scribal opponents might misunderstand or willfully distort His doctrine of the law, so He commands them not even to start thinking that the Messiah abrogates the law.[10]

Geerhardus Vos also succinctly summarizes Jesus’ teaching in the Sermon on the Mount when he states:

He once more made the voice of the Law the voice of the living God, who is present in every commandment, so absolute in his demands, so personally interested in man’s conduct, so all-observant that the thought of yielding to him less than the whole inner life, the heart, the soul, the mind, the strength, can no longer be tolerated.  Thus quickened by the Spirit of God’s personality, the law becomes in our Lord’s hands a living organism…[11]

It must then be made perfectly clear before we proceed into the next section of this paper, that any claim made by the homosexual that, because Jesus did not speak of homosexual behavior he did not think it was important, is an attempt to not only annul the commandment of God in his favor to give him allowance to continue his sinful acts, but is also an attempt to make Jesus say and do the exact opposite thing that He claimed to do. Jesus Christ did not arise in a historical vacuum. He came from a lineage that has its historical roots all the way back to Adam and on through the patriarchs, and right on through Israel, through David down until the fullness of time (Gal. 4:4). Jesus stands in the long line of the history of God’s law in the world, as one who came to fulfill every last jot and tittle of it, not to abrogate it and invalidate it. He is the end of the Law, the telos, the goal which the end was pointing and moving to, not so that it could be done away with, but so that, in fulfillment of the New Covenant, He would send the Holy Spirit to live within His people, and to cause them to walk in His statutes, to be careful to obey His rules (Ezek. 36:27), by writing His law on their hearts (Jer. 31:33) so that they might live wholly unto God. Jesus even told us, that if we loved Him we would keep His commandments (John 14:15). And those who keep Jesus’ Commandments will be loved by the Father, and Jesus promises to manifest Himself to them. St. John also encourages us with these words,

Let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as He is righteous. Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning since the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning, because he has been born of God. By this it is evident who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother.[12]

One of the worst ways we cannot love our brothers is by teaching them that what is wrong is right, and that the commandments of God are null and void. Jesus said that whoever causes even a little child to sin, it would be better for him to have a millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea (Matt. 18:6)! The words of Jesus are full of commands to abstain from sin and to press on toward holiness, even to the point of taking drastic measures to ensure that sin does not ensnare a person. As such is Jesus’ teaching in Matt. 18:8-9, wherein He states:

If your hand or your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it from you; it is better for you to enter life crippled or lame, than to have two hands or two feet and be cast into the eternal fire.  If your eye causes you to stumble, pluck it out and throw it from you. It is better for you to enter life with one eye, than to have two eyes and be cast into the fiery hell.

With such drastic and explicit teaching on the nature and devastating effects that sin has, and the measures one would do well to take in order to avoid such sins, it is utterly remarkable to me, that those people who call themselves Christian, and yet read the very words of Him whom they are named after, heed not His commands.  How can one call Jesus Lord and not obey Him? Or even worse, how can one call Jesus Lord and diametrically oppose the clear teachings of Jesus, and then commence to instruct others in the same way?

III. Imago Dei

Man was created in the image of God. There have been many inquiries into the doctrine of the Imago Dei, and what exactly that means.[13] In this section I am going to give my own understanding of what the Imago Dei is, by seeking to derive my understanding chiefly from the text of sacred Scripture.

Male and Female

The first thing to note in Genesis 1 when God first creates man, He states, “Let Us make man (singular) in Our image after Our likeness. And let them (plural) have dominion…”[14] Also, in verse 27 it says,

So God created man in His own image,

in the image of God He created him (singular);

male and female He created them (plural).

The point I wish to make here is simple. When looking at these two verses in Genesis chapter 1, we see that the image of God in man (or human kind) consists of not just the individual male, or the individual female, but both male and female together make up the image of God in man (human kind). That is why God says in verse 26, “Let Us make man (human kind, singular) in Our image…”, and then goes on to describe what the function of the image of God in humanity will look like displayed in the world (i.e. dominion), in which He then describes by first saying “them” (plural). The text then says it again in verse 27, showing that man (human kind) in God’s image consists of male and female.  Thus, God’s image in human kind, for our sake here in this paper, is to be understood firstly as male and female together, unity in diversity, or an expression of the one and the many.[15] This is the first thing that we need to see in order to get a proper understanding of what proper biblical sexuality is to look like, and the purposes for it in God’s world, which is what we will look at next.

Family, Dominion, Society, and Culture

The proper role and purpose for which God created male and female together should seem obvious; procreation.  Immediately after God created man as male and female, He blessed them. After He blessed them He commanded them saying, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion…”  In this command, we can see very clearly that the main purpose for humanity in the world was to live out the Imago Dei by being creators of life. God is the ultimate Creator, but He gave mankind the ability to create life as well, under Him.  And so, the very first command is to procreate. “Be fruitful and multiply.”  The command is not to just multiply though, but to be fruitful.  Before man can even obey the command to multiply, he must be endowed with the ability to multiply, and so God says, “Be fruitful.”  He gave man, male and female together the ability to procreate, and then issued the command to perform what He had given them the ability to do. This is the first thing that must be acknowledged in this section of our discussion.

The implications of this are as plain as day. Homosexuals cannot perform either of these tasks. God cannot make two males or two females “fruitful.” This is not how He designed the created order. Multiplication relies on fruitfulness. The ability to bring forth fruit is not possible in homosexual relationships, and as such, the command to multiply is then disregarded, broken, and left undone.  Homosexuals cannot even perform the most basic functions of human activity as God created it, and as such, they are in sin and rebellion against the very first of the commands of God.

The issue of the sinfulness of the homosexual’s inability to procreate should not be diminished and the guilt then transferred by appealing to heterosexual couples who do not have the ability to have children.  A woman or a man might not be able physically to have children due to impotence or some other physiological and biological problem. This is a tragedy due to the effects of sin. The person who has this problem is a victim of sin in this case, and is not guilty of committing the sin of unfruitfulness.  The Heterosexual who is not able to procreate does not break God’s law by their inability.  But the homosexual is guilty of the sin of unfruitfulness because he/she purposefully put him/herself in the position of not having the ability to multiply by purposefully rebelling against the created order, which God Himself blessed.  So then, their sin is actually two-fold; (1) purposefully acting against the blessing of God to be fruitful by turning it into a curse, which then, (2) makes the command to multiply an impossibility.  This sin is heinous in God’s sight not just because of the two mentioned sins alone but also because of the purposes that God had in view for procreation, namely, the cultural mandate as through the medium of the family.

What is the purpose of family? To populate the earth with people, and to fulfill the cultural mandate. God gave the command to “subdue the earth and have dominion.”[16] He also placed Adam in the garden to “work it and keep it.”[17] This is a priestly aspect. Man is given a role to rule over the earth as king in his dominion, and also to perform the work of a priest and to keep it holy and preserve it.  God wants the world to be filled not only with people who exist, not for their own purposes and who live according to their own standards, but for the chief end of glorifying and enjoying Him above all else and are dedicated to living according to His purposes, but also institutions, organizations, governments, relationships, arts and sciences, and etc.  This dedication to God is to be reflected in every single area of life and every single place on earth. Man in his priestly capacity was to spread the Garden of Eden throughout the whole world, making the whole world aestheticly pleasing and God-honoring.[18] This is known as the Cultural, or Dominion Mandate.

Why did God give this command to Adam and Eve? Well, for the same reason, ultimately, that He does everything else: for His own glory. God’s glory is that beautiful, intense light that shines out from Him when He makes Himself visible to human beings. In the beginning, God created us as His “image and glory” (1 Cor. 11:7). So He wanted Adam’s family to spread that glory through the whole world. Adam was not to rule merely for himself, but for God, glorifying God in all he did. So culture is based on a divine command. Adam must develop culture because that is God’s desire. Culture is for God’s sake. So it is subject to God’s commands, God’s desires, God’s norms, God’s values.[19]

So if the cultural mandate is for the purpose of glorifying God in society, and everyone is commanded to do so, then it can be accurately understood that the homosexual is not fulfilling that commission, but is working against it. The homosexual community is directly breaking God’s commands in this regard because they are advocating a position that is directly contrary to God’s purposes, not only in marriage, but in culture.  In lobbying the state and federal governments, as well as churches and other organizations, and requesting “tolerance” and “equality” and “rights”, the homosexual community is performing a perverted form of the dominion and culture mandate.  Homosexuals are taking what God has blessed and are turning it into a curse.  “It is scandalous to suggest that men can enter the kingdom or promote its ends in society while rebelling against the standards of the King.”[20] God will not bless the land that does not abide by His rules and does not seek to live under His blessings. Notice that the effects that sin brought to the creation after the first curse were primarily in the sphere or realm where the cultural/dominion mandate was to take place; over the land: “cursed is the ground because of you…thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you.”[21]

The implications of this are terrifying.  If the homosexual community continues seeking to develop their own cursed cultural mandate, then we would do well to pay attention to the words of Hebrews 10:26-31, which are terrifyingly fitting for this situation:

For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins,  27 but a terrifying expectation of judgment and the fury of a fire which will consume the adversaries.  28 Anyone who has set aside the Law of Moses dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses.  29 How much severer punishment do you think he will deserve who has trampled underfoot the Son of God, and has regarded as unclean the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has insulted the Spirit of grace?  30 For we know Him who said, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay.” And again, “the Lord will judge his people.”  31 It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

Redemption in Christ

Adam was created a king. He was to subdue the earth and have dominion over it. His kingship, however, was not absolute; Adam was a subordinate ruler, a king (prince) under God. He was a king only because God had created him as such and ordered him to rule. God’s plan was for His image to rule the world under His law and oversight. As long as Adam was faithful to his commission, he was able to have dominion over the earth.

But Adam was unfaithful. Unsatisfied with being a subordinate ruler in God’s image, applying God’s law to creation, he wanted autonomy. He wanted to be his own god, making up his own law. For this crime of rebellion he was cast out of the Garden. But, as we have seen in the preceding chapters, this incident did not abort God’s plan for dominion through His image. The Second Adam, Jesus Christ, came to accomplish the task which the First Adam had failed to do.[22]

And accomplish He did.  Jesus Christ, by His death reconciled all things to Himself, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of His cross.[23] For by Him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, thrones and dominions and rulers and authorities. All things were created through Him and for Him, and in Him all things hold together.[24] All authority in heaven and earth has been given to Him, and so He commands us to make disciples of all nations.[25] And since He has commissioned His Church with the mission to make disciples of the nations, and has empowered her with the omnipotent Spirit of God for accomplishing this task, we can then understand better that Christ, who is the head over all things, desires to have all things throughout the entire world to be filled with the fullness of Him who fills all things through His Church.[26] The mission of the Church then is to not just make people Christian, but to make all things Christian.  That includes sexual relationships.

Why are sexual relationships to be restored? As we have seen in Genesis, it is in the proper relationships of man and woman that the Imago Dei is lived out in the world. Yes, the image was tarnished and perverted due to sin,[27] but Christ has reconciled all things to Himself, and made whole those things which were broken, and perfected and healed those things which were marred. This means that the Imago Dei in man has been restored in Christ, because Christ Himself is the true Image of God. As Paul says, in Colossians 1:15: “He is the image of the invisible God.” Christ continues to work in His people by the Holy Spirit and therefore the image and likeness of God in us is being renewed daily as we behold the glory of God. This is the process of sanctification. We continue to be conformed more and more to the image of Christ, which is our predestined inheritance.[28] Thus, when we are “saved”, or “born again” or “redeemed” or whatever other soteriological terms that we use to describe salvation, we are to understand that the Imago Dei has been restored in us. We no longer bear the image of the man of dust, Adam, but the image of God is continually being  restored and renewed in us until that day when we will perfectly bear the image of the man of heaven, who is Christ.[29]

Christ and the Church

We learn from Paul in Ephesians 6:32 that the relationship of man and woman actually refers to Christ and the Church.  In the same way that the image of God was made complete in humanity when male and female came together, the image of God is made complete in individuals when they come together with Christ. Our Imago Dei is restored when we are united to Christ on an individual level.  Also, the Imago Dei is made complete as the collected gathering of individual saints is united to Christ as the Church.  The relationship of male and female represent Christ and the Church.  Thus it is of the upmost importance for Christians to pursue heterosexual marriages because the male-female relationship represents a greater and higher truth, namely that of the relationship between Christ and His Church.  Man and woman are united to form the Imago Dei in the world for the purposes of the cultural mandate. Christ and the Church are united together to form the renewed Imago Dei in the world to fulfill the re-instituted cultural mandate, also known as the Great Commission, as per Matthew 28:18-20.

If people are to profess faith in Christ and maintain that their homosexuality is approved by God, they are deceiving themselves. They are fighting against the very purposes of God in the world, and are seeking to pollute and destroy and pervert His symbolic representations of His Image in the world. In the male-male homosexual relationship, it is symbolically representing a horrible distorted truth.  Christ died for His bride, the Church. He is married to her. Male homosexual relationships perverts that image of the marriage between Christ and His bride, and would show that maybe Christ is then married to a male. This also has implications for headship. Christ is the head of the Church, but if two males were in the relationship, this would represent some kind of power struggle and a frustrated Lordship. This is too horrible to even think of, but that is exactly what the male homosexual relationship does. The female homosexual relationship shows then the Church being married to Herself. There is no Lord, no headship, no sacrifice, no forgiveness of sins.

The theological implications of these two positions are too horrible to consider even further. Suffice it to say, that if the male-female relationship is to represent Christ and the Church, then that relationship is to be maintained and demonstrated and represented at every level that God intended it to.

IV. Homosexuality in the Bible

Finally we get to the section where the traditional passages concerning homosexuality will be examined, along with some of the pro-homosexual arguments. We must remember our very first premise that we started with, that God is the one with ultimate authority, and as such, He is the one who is the ultimate interpreter of Scripture. This truth is understood in the maxim, “The best interpreter of Scripture is Scripture.” So we must seek to let Scripture, and the Christ of Scripture to be our guide into interpretation.

Sodom and Gomorrah

We already discussed the creation account, so we will get right into the very next passage that deals with the topic at hand.  The passage concerning the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah has traditionally been read and understood as condemning homosexual behavior.  Today, the Christian homosexual community would have us to believe that homosexuality was not the sin at all, but the sins were completely different. By appealing to a passage in Ezekiel 16:48-50, one argument is made that homosexuality was not the sin committed. The passage says this:

48 As I live, declares the Lord GOD, your sister Sodom and her daughters have not done as you and your daughters have done. 49Behold, this was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had pride, excess of food, and prosperous ease, but did not aid the poor and needy. 50They were haughty and did an abomination before me. So I removed them, when I saw it.

The implication then is that the sins that destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah were the sins of pride, selfishness and social injustice.  Another interpretation says that the sin was one of inhospitality. When the men of Sodom stated that they wanted to “know” the men who came to Lot, all they wanted to do get acquainted with them, as was the ancient near eastern custom of that time. As a result of their inhospitality towards Lot’s visitors, God reduced the city to ashes.[30] A third view is simply that the sin was their interest in gang rape.

I believe that we can safely address all three of these interpretations at once by actually looking at the text. First, it must be noted that before the angels even arrive in Sodom, God has already said that the city was “wicked.”[31] This means that they were already practicing some kind of wickedness before the angels arrived, so the sin is not simply limited to “inhospitality.”  It is also unlikely that Lot did not understand the procedures for hospitality of new visitors to the city since he was a righteous man who “sat in the gate”, a place where he would sit either as a judge, or at least a prominent social figure in the community.[32] His ignorance of the customs seems to be lacking merit for this argument. Besides, if the social custom was for the visitors to be introduced to the residents, then the sin would have been on Lot for refusing to abide by the custom. But this is not the case at all. For when the men of the city come to Lot’s door in order that they might “know” Lot’s visitors, they do not charge Lot with wickedness, but the other way around. Lot begged the men to not “act so wickedly”, and then sought to satisfy their request by giving them his daughters who have not “known” a man. I doubt that a man who sat in the gate of the city never introduced his daughters to the people and did not abide by the cultural procedures. No, it is quite clear that the context indicates that the men of the city wanted to “know”, or have sexual relations, with Lot’s visitors. Lot attempted to appease their lust by then offering his daughters who have never “known” a man. They were virgins.  Now if the sin of the city was simply an interest in gang rape, and not specifically homosexual gang rape, then why did they not take Lot up on the offer of his daughters? These views of inhospitality and gang rape do not stand up to any analysis whatsoever.

Now concerning the sins of pride, selfishness, and social injustice, these indeed were some of the sins that they committed, as Ezekiel 16 states. But apparently those were not the only sins. Jude 7 gives us the Bible’s own interpretation of the sins of Sodom and Gomorrah:

…just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which likewise indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural desire,[33] serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire.

The Sodomites are described as indulging themselves in sexual immorality and pursuing different flesh, or unnatural desires.  This seems to be the Bible’s way of describing homosexual behavior.  It seems pretty clear in the text of Scripture as to what was going on in Sodom and the surrounding cities.  But to say that the story of Sodom and Gomorrah has nothing to say about homosexuality “as we know it today”, is a seriously flawed statement.[34] To even assert such a statement simply shows that a person is willing to go to even the greatest lengths to justify their beliefs, even to the extent of denying the clear teaching of the Bible regarding Sodom and Gomorrah.

The phrase “as we know it today” is also just as insulting to God and His Word.  This phrase seems to be used to justify and defend the belief that homosexuality “today” is now acceptable because we know more about it. It is argued that we have science on our side, and it has been proven that homosexuality is not a mental disorder, but a biological trait, and so it is now somehow to be understood as acceptable. Also the difference is in relationships. The way that the homosexuals relate to one another is different today than it was back in the times of the Bible. Today there is loving homosexual relationships, back then people just did it out of brute sexuality, and so that was wrong.  This might seem to some as reasonable, and it might seem like a set of well chosen words for the justification of such homosexuality. But this is not at all acceptable in God’s sight, and is insulting to His person.  As I tried to make the case earlier, God is the one who defines all things, and all things get their definition from God. God has determined that same sex relations of any kind are unlawful and wicked. To attempt to justify homosexuality by appealing to our knowledge today, we are insinuating that God did not know something back when the Bible was written. It also insinuates that God has changed His mind as well as His moral righteous standard. But the Lord never changes, and His law abides forever. God knew then what He knows now. And this attempt to try and re-define the definitions by appealing to some superior knowledge that we have today that God did not have back then is dangerous, unscriptural, heretical, unbiblical, and blasphemous. God deserves more honor than that. But then again, when man wants to be his own god and determine for himself what constitutes good and evil, define things for himself in relation to himself instead of in relation to God, we can only expect such sinfulness to abound, and to be reckoned as virtuous.

Leviticus 18 & 20

These passages might just be the clearest in all of Scripture concerning God’s view toward homosexuality, and yet, somehow, there is still a debate.

“You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination.”[35]

“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.”[36]

You would think that just reading the texts would bring the debate to a close, but unfortunately, people will go the greatest lengths to justify their sins.

Leviticus is the ancient Israelite Holiness Code.  It is argued that the Levitical Law was meant simply to keep the ancient Israelites separate from the other pagan nations. Some of those pagan practices were cultic fertility rites associated with their worship. God wanted the Israelites to stay clear from such idolatrous worship that involved prostitution, male and female.  The passages before us then are interpreted as referring to those pagan rites only and so only  apply to the area of worship, and not necessarily private life. While this actually did become a problem for Israel later on their history,[37] which was a direct violation of Deuteronomy 23:17-18, I do not think that it can be limited to pagan idolatry alone, and thus has no place in non-cultic contexts, and is therefore approving of it. The context of the passages speaks nothing of cultic fertility rites of the pagan Canaanites, and even if it did and that was the concept, it seems that God would abhor homosexuality all the more because of the connections to idolatry.

Another reinterpretation of the Levitical passages suggests that homosexuality was looked down upon because of the Israelites pre-scientific understanding concerning male semen.

Because the Hebrew pre-scientific understanding was that the male semen contained the whole of life. With no knowledge of eggs and ovulation, it was assumed that the man’s sperm contained the whole child and that the woman provided only the incubating space. Therefore, the spilling of semen without possibility of having a child was considered murder.

The Jews were a small tribe struggling to populate a country. They were outnumbered by their enemy. You can see why these ancient people felt it was an abomination to risk “wasting” even a single child. But the passage says nothing about homosexuality as we understand it today.[38]

So because it had to do merely with the value of semen in the uneducated Israelites understanding, homosexuality was therefore so severe that it was punishable by death because homosexual acts then were in the end a waste of semen, and was murder.  Well let’s think through this logically. If their population was so small that the semen of a man was so precious, then why would they kill the man who spilled his semen if the man is the producer of the semen. The man can regenerate more semen again, and try to have another child again if he is kept alive. But if he is dead, then that only diminishes the chances of population increase, and makes them even more susceptible to the enemy’s sword. That does not make sense, for one. For two, it is again assuming that God Himself is ignorant of the human body. If it had to do anything with wasting semen, it was not because of some ignorance concerning the biology of the human body. If anything, it had to do with the direct rebellion to the command to “be fruitful and multiply” as I discussed earlier.   And three, this would also suggest that the law was derived from the Israelites themselves and not from God. If the law to not commit homosexual acts was put into law by the Israelites because of an improper view of semen, then sure, that law might be abandoned as not applying to today’s context. But the law was given not by the Israelites, but by God to the Israelites. Therefore, as I have said earlier, God’s law does not change.

Romans 1

Again, this would seem like a passage that is clear as crystal, and yet, the lengths that some people go to defend their homosexuality as not being condemned by God in the Bible is staggering.  In verses 18 – 23, Paul is describing why the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of man. The reasons are that they suppress the truth about God that they already knew which was made evident to them in creation, and in so doing they dishonored God, and committed idolatry and worshipped creatures rather than the Creator. Now because of their sinful idolatry, verse 24 informs us of the wrath of God upon mankind for their sins. The strongest part of the verse is, “God gave them up.” God gave them up to what? In God’s wrath and curse due to men because of their sin, God gave them over to the lusts of hearts in impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves. Here we see that the wrath that is revealed from heaven is God giving men over to their depraved hearts and letting them run free to seek the impure lusts of their hearts and the dishonoring of their bodies. This is the wrath of God revealed from Heaven, when God takes His restraining hand of grace away, and He allows sinners to follow the path that their sin will take them in.

Again, why did God give them over the sinfulness of impure lusts of the heart and the dishonoring of their bodies? As verse 25 explains: “because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever!”  Idolatry is the sin that caused God to give them up to their sins. Paul reiterates this again in verse 26, and then goes even further in his explanation as to what it means for God to have “given them over in the lusts of the hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies.” Paul now calls it in verse 26, “dishonorable passions”, which he then describes in the rest of verse 26 and 27 by saying:

For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; 27and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.

This is clearly referring to homosexual activities. There is no escaping this understanding. God’s wrath is revealed from heaven when He gives them over to homosexuality. Homosexuality is not a virtue that ought to be celebrated, and lobbied for, and fought for. It is the most grievous of sins that should bring a nation to repentance.  Homosexuality is the outworking of the wrath of God on a society who “did not see fit to acknowledge God.”

“But”, the argument goes, “there are Christians who are homosexuals. How can they be said to have committed idolatry to the point that God gave them over to homosexuality? “The homosexuals I know have not rejected God at all; they love God and they thank God for his grace and his gifts. How then, could they have been abandoned to homosexuality as a punishment for refusing to acknowledge God?”[39] The rationale behind the argument is that just because somebody cries “Lord, Lord”, they therefore love God and His truth.  But Christ Himself told us,

Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.[40]

A person’s salvation and subsequent love for God is not revealed in their confession alone, but in whether or not they keep the law of God.  Jesus’ indictment against such people is due to a false profession. They claimed that Jesus was Lord, and yet they are called “workers of lawlessness.”  They practice lawlessness.  They do not keep God’s commandments, they do not consider His law to actually be His true righteous standard. Instead, the commit idolatry by formulating their own standards of morality. Hence, “They exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator.” How did they exchange the truth of God for a lie? They suppressed the truth in their unrighteousness [41] and became futile in their thinking, their foolish hearts were darkened. [42] They did not think God’s thoughts after Him. And concerning the creature, it does not necessarily have to be a beast or an animal, but it could very well be themselves.  Homosexuals who practice their homosexuality are seeking to satisfy their own ungodly lusts, and attempt to justify it by submitting themselves to their own standards of law, and thus, have set themselves up as their own gods, which is why Paul also uses mortal man as an example of their idolatry. They know that it is not pleasing to God, they know God’s law forbids it, and they even know the punishment they deserve for such sins. As Paul says, 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.[43]

Another argument is made, to the effect that Paul is condemning homosexual lust and promiscuity, and not homosexual love and devotion. This is quite the stretch. Indeed, another example how far people are willing to go to justify their sins.  If Paul were not making a complete sweep across the board concerning any and every kind of homosexuality, then anything can be made permissible in Scripture.

Scripture cannot be interpretively shaped to fit the contours of sin, and homosexuality cannot be cleverly domesticated within a divinely approved lifestyle. There is no more a Christian form of homosexuality than there is a Christian form of adultery or bestiality or rape, etc. Romans 1 makes no room for any kind of homosexuality whatsoever, for it is plainly and simply “error,” a wrong lifestyle. If Paul’s words can be twisted to allow for homosexuality under certain conditions, the same line of thought can be taken with all the sins elaborated in verse 28-31– indeed, with any sin whatsoever![44]

Bahnsen makes a very good point.  Is there an appropriate way to not acknowledge God? Is there some way in which it is acceptable in God’s eyes to be filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice? Is it ok in some circumstances for Christians to be full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness? How about gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless? I’m sure that if God can make an exception to certain circumstance of homosexuality, He can also make exceptions for these other sins that He Himself gave the people over to in the first place in order that He might demonstrate His wrath against them. Such thinking is completely illogical, unscriptural, anti-Christian, anti-God, antinomian, and blasphemous.  These people who are professing faith in Christ want to be forgiven of their sins, and at the same time want God to approve of the very sins that Christ came to die for.

Concerning the argument that states that homosexuality was not a choice for them, but they were born homosexual, and therefore, for them to have homosexual passions is “natural” for them, I have only a few words. If they were to commit heterosexual acts, that would be “unnatural” for them. Therefore the implication is that the heterosexual act that the homosexual would commit would be sin. I only have a brief word to comment on this.

Such argumentation is exactly the sin that got us into this mess in the first place. Adam and Eve became their own gods by determining for themselves what constitutes good and evil. They set themselves up as their own standard, and they since then interpreted all things in light of themselves, instead of looking to God for proper interpretations concerning all things. To say that God’s created order is then “unnatural” and that which God actually said is “unnatural” is “natural” is an extremely heinous sin in God’s eyes, one that God takes very seriously and will punish.

Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil.

Therefore, as the tongue of fire devours the stubble,
and as dry grass sinks down in the flame,
so their root will be as rottenness,
and their blossom go up like dust;
for they have rejected the law of the LORD of hosts,
and have despised the word of the Holy One of Israel.
25Therefore the anger of the LORD was kindled against his people,
and he stretched out his hand against them and struck them,
and the mountains quaked;
and their corpses were as refuse
in the midst of the streets.
For all this his anger has not turned away,
and his hand is stretched out still.
[45]

For a thing to be “natural” or “un-natural” is in comparison to God’s created order, and not in comparison to how certain people are born.

V. Conclusion

In conclusion, we have seen that God is the one who is the ultimate definer of all things. He is the Creator and therefore He has the right to say what sexuality is, and what His purposes for it are in the world. We need God to tell us what the truth is because we are sinful and our minds are corrupted and are set bent against His Law. Both the Old and New Testament is the normative guide that God has given us sinners to know His will concerning matters that He has addressed.

Next we have seen that the Imago Dei, the image of God in man was made evident in the relationship of man and woman coming together to form one flesh. God declared that the purposes for which man and woman were created was for the sake of fulfilling the cultural mandate and making every aspect of the whole world God centered. Homosexual relationship cannot bring about this command due to the inability to be fruitful and multiply. Because of the fall into sin, the Imago Dei was corrupted in us, but in Christ it is now restored. Now, those who have faith in Christ are having the image renewed in them every day for the purposes of ultimately becoming like Christ in glorification, and now, for the sake of spreading the gospel of the kingdom of God throughout the world to fulfill the great commission, which is simply an extension and reiteration of the cultural mandate issued in Genesis.

Male and female marriage represents the relationship between Christ and the Church. With the image renewed in man, the truth is to be symbolically represented in the marriage of man and woman, as well as for the actual progression of God’s purposes on earth. Homosexuality provides a perverted image of the relationship of Christi to His Church, and inherently fights against God and His purposes.

Finally a few passages of Scripture were analyzed concerning the issue of homosexuality. Suffice it to say, none of the interpretations that the homosexuals provided are accurate, theologically sound, Biblical, God-honoring. The bible clearly does not teach that homosexuality is pleasing in God’s sight, but it is a sin that occurs as a result of the wrath of God due to man’s failure to worship God.

VI. A Final Appeal

There are a lot of times in this paper when I have expressed thoughts in a manner that might not seem to be consistent with my introductory preface I made, that I was going to do all this with charity, love and respect. If I have not succeeded in that department, that is due to my own sinfulness, and for that I would ask for your forgiveness.  The main thing that is important though, is not so much if I wrote this paper in a manner that is rhetorically pleasing, but is it true? Is it Biblical? Have I been true to the Scriptures own teaching?  I believe that God is my witness that I have done just that.

Now a brief word to the Christians, and Christian denominations who support and defend the sin of homosexuality. Stop it.  God has spoken clearly on the matter in His word. His word never changes, His standard of righteousness never changes, not one jot or tittle of His law will pass away, or has passed away until all is fulfilled. Do not raise yourselves up over against the clear teaching of the infallible and inerrant and absolutely authoritative word of God.  If you continue to do so, you can expect the strong arm of God’s judgment to come upon you, for judgment begins with the people of God first. And as a matter of fact, in light of Romans 1, it is evident that you need to repent of your sins, and exalt Jesus Christ as Lord of all in your churches, denomination, families, relationships, and individual lives.  The very fact that you are supporting and defending the homosexual position is proof of God’s wrath already upon you. Please, for the sake of His name, please, repent, and ask for forgiveness.

Now to those individuals who are homosexual, I say this: If you know that the Scriptures do teach that homosexuality is a sin, and yet, you also feel that you were born homosexual, there is hope. I do not presume to understand what you are going through emotionally, physically, biologically, but I do know what it is like to lust after women.  I do know what it is like to have the strongest temptations to sin. But more importantly, so does the Lord Jesus. He was tempted in every way as we are, and yet without sin. He can sympathize with our weaknesses.  But that does not mean that He approves of such sin, even if we were born with such inversions to it.  He is the one who died to free us of our captivity to sin and who promised to give us a new heart, one that loves Him and hates sin.  The Holy Spirit of God can make you a new creation. Do not harden your heart and insist on continuing in your state of sin because it is easier to just go with your inclinations than to fight against them.  The job of the law of sin is to oppose all things godly and true, and good, pure, and holy.  But if you are a true believer, you have inside of you the law of the Spirit of life to combat the law of sin. Please, continue to fight the good fight against sin. Ask God to give you a holy hatred toward that which He hates, and a love for Him that surpasses all earthly sexual pleasure. Our only refuge in a time of trouble is in Christ. If you love Him, you will abide in His word, and you will keep His commandments.  Please, ask God to help you defeat this sin. He is there for you, call upon Him today.   Soli Deo Gloria.

Bibliography

Bahnsen, Greg, Homosexuality: A Biblical View. Grand Rapids: Baker, 1979.

________. Theonomy in Christian Ethics. Nutley: Craig Press, 1977.

Chilton, David. Paradise Restored. Tyler: Dominion 1994.

Hoekema, Anthony. Created In God’s Image. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1986.

Jordan, James B. Through New Eyes: Developing a Biblical View of the World (Brentwood, Tennessee: Wolgemuth & Hyatt, 1988), 133-141.

Frame, John. “Christianity and Culture”: Lectures given at Pensacola Theological Institute, July 23-27, 2001. Available at http://thirdmill.org/files/english/hall _of_fame/Frame.Apologetics2004. ChristandCulture.pdf (accessed February 14, 2009).

Rushdoony, Rousas John.  Systematic Theology, Vol. 1. Valencito: Ross House, 1994.

Soulforce Inc. “Christian Youth: An Important Voice in the Present Struggle for Gay Rights in America” 2004. Available from http://www.soulforce. org/pdf/youthstudyguide/pdf (accessed December 27, 2008).

White, Mel. “What the Bible Says – and Doesn’t Say – About Homosexuality.” Available at http://www.soulforce.org/pdf/whatthebiblesays.pdf (accessed on February 14, 2009).

Vos, Geerhardus. The Teaching of Jesus Concerning the Kingdom of God and the Church. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1951.

End Notes


[1] In my paper I am going to be using the term “homosexual” to refer to male and female homosexuality, thus lesbianism is in view as well. I will not be directly interacting with people who identify themselves as “transgendered”, but I believe the arguments provided will be applicable to those who identify themselves as “transgendered.” Bisexuals will fall into the realm of this paper, being that homosexuality is part and parcel of bi-sexuality.

[2] Rousas John Rushdoony, Systematic Theology, Vol. 1. (Valencito: Ross House, 1994), 446.

[3] Greg Bahnsen, Homosexuality: A Biblical View (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1979), 28-29.

[4] Rushdoony, Systematic Theology, Vol. 1, 445-446 (italics mine).

[5] Soulforce Inc. “Christian Youth: An Important Voice in the Present Struggle for Gay Rights in America” 2004. Available from http://www.soulforce.org/pdf/youthstudyguide/pdf (accessed on December 27, 2008), 19.

[6] Psalm 1 informs us that wickedness is characterized by not delighting in the Law of the Lord. Consequently, those wicked people will not stand in the judgment.

[7] Also, a proper interpretation of that text in Romans that states we “are not under law but under grace” (Rom. 6:14) should not lead one to interpret that the law is not binding on the Christian, but to correctly assess, that the punishment that the law distributes as a result of sin is no longer binding on the Christian since he is dead to the law of sin and alive in Christ. A proper understanding of the text must be understood in the context of the whole section of chapter 6 in Romans.

[8] This is the great error of the Dispensational hermeneutic. This erroneous teaching has been refuted over and over again. I wave my opportunity at this present time to do so, again for the sake of focusing on the main issue at hand. To read about the errors of Dispensationalism, please see the following books: Ronald M. Henzel, Darby, Dualism, and the Decline of Dispensationalism (Tucson: Fenestra, 2003).  Keith A. Mathison, Dispensationalism: Rightly Dividing the People of God? (Phillipsburg: P&R, 1995).  Greg L. Bahnsen and Kenneth Gentry, House Divided: The Break-Up of Dispensational Theology, (Tyler: I.C.E. 1989).  Oswald T. Allis, Modern Dispensationalism, Darby to Scofield : a historical and critical study of the “parenthesis” method of interpreting Scripture (Nutley: P&R, 1944).  John Gerstner, Wrongly Dividing the Word of Truth: A Critique of Dispensationalism; second edition, corrected and expanded. (Morgan: Soli Deo Gloria, 1991).  Daniel Fuller, Gospel and Law: Contrast or Continuum?: The Hermeneutics of Dispensationalism and Covenant Theology, (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1980).

[9]According to the Luow-Nida Lexicon on BibleWorks7, the verb lu,w which is translated as ‘annuls’ in the NASB, means “the failure to conform to a law or regulation, with a possible implication of regarding it as invalid – ‘to break (a law), to transgress.’”

[10] Greg Bahnsen, Theonomy in Christian Ethics, (Nutley: Craig Press, 1977), 46-47.

[11] Geerhardus Vos, The Teaching of Jesus Concerning the Kingdom of God and the Church (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1951), 109.

[12] 1 John 3:7-10.

[13] See Anthony Hoekema’s Created in God’s Image (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1986), 33-66 for a brief historical survey of some Christian thinkers and theologians and what they believed the Imago Dei to be.

[14] Gen. 1:26 (italics mine).

[15] Just a thought; This male and female union, who have been created to represent “one” humanity, or as it is later said, become “one flesh”, could reflect the image of God by way of the philosophical argument known as “the one and the many” or “unity in diversity.” God being by nature Triune and One, He is the ultimate expression of “the one and the many”, and therefore man is created to reflect the image of God (the one and the many) in that he exists as male and female, and together they are both one.

[16] Genesis 1:28.

[17] Genesis 2:15.

[18]James B. Jordan, Through New Eyes: Developing a Biblical View of the World (Brentwood, Tennessee: Wolgemuth & Hyatt, 1988), 133-141.

[19] John Frame, “Christianity and Culture”: Lectures given at Pensacola Theological Institute, July 23-27, 2001. Available at http://thirdmill.org/files/english/hall_of_fame/Frame.Apologetics2004.ChristandCulture.pdf (accessed February 14, 2009).

[20] Greg Bahnsen, Homosexuality, 14.

[21] Genesis 3:17,18.

[22] David Chilton, Paradise Restored, (Tyler: Dominion, 1994), 67.

[23] Colossians 1:20.

[24] Colossians 1:16-17.

[25] Matthew 28:18-19.

[26] Ephesians 1:22-23.

[27] Hoekema, Created in God’s Image, 83-85.

[28] Romans 8:29.

[29] 1 Corinthians 15:48-49.

[30] Bahnsen, Homosexuality, 32.

[31] Genesis 18:16-33.

[32] Bahnsen, Homosexuality, 32.

[33] Literally, “different flesh.”

[34] Mel White, “What the Bible Says – and Doesn’t Say – About Homosexuality.” Available at http://www.soulforce.org/pdf/whatthebiblesays.pdf (accessed on February 14, 2009), 12.

[35] Leviticus 18:20.

[36] Leviticus 20:13.

[37] 1 Kings14:23, 24; 15:12; 22:46; 2 Kings 23:7; Hosea 4:14.

[38] White, “What the Bible Says – And Doesn’t Say – About Homosexuality”, 14.

[39] White, “What the Bible Says”, 16, quoting Lewis B. Smedes from the video There is a Wideness in God’s Mercy. Available at http://www.soulforce.org/article/lewis-smedes-video (accessed February 14, 2009).

[40] Matthew 7:21-23.

[41] Romans 1:18.

[42] Romans 1:21.

[43] Romans 1:32.

[44] Bahnsen, Homosexuality, 50.

[45] Isaiah 5:20, 24-25.

The Restoration of the Image of God in Man and the Implications it has on the Hip Hop Culture

Man was created in the image of God. Man was endowed with creative abilities just like God. Being creative is just one way in which man reflects the image of God in himself. Hip Hop is a cultural phenomenon that expresses itself in creative ways. Hip Hop provides a way for unheard, neglected people to just have a good time and be creative, and to express life as they see it, the good, bad, and the ugly.

As it is with all forms of art: music, poetry, painting, film, sculptures, etc., there is an inherent characteristic in these works of art, and those who create those works of art, that cries out to the Creator, either in praise to Him, or in rebellion at Him.

Man was created for the sake of glorifying God. When man does not glorify God, he is not operating in accord with his purpose for his existence. When works of art are created, they are either reflections of the Creator, or rejections of the Creator. If they are not reflecting in its mode of existence the reason for its existence, it is worthless, and serves no purpose. A simple illustration should suffice.

Imagine a fruit tree that bore no fruit. This tree would not be worth anything. It has a specific reason for existing, to bear fruit, and it fails to accomplish this task do to some defect in it. There are only two options for this tree. Either it is to be replanted, nurtured, given fertilizer, and dealt with in a manner where this tree is given another opportunity to produce fruit, for which it was initially created, or, the second option is to totally discard the tree and burn it. For it serves no purpose except to be fuel for the fire.

Another scenario, but a little different. Some things are created for a specific purpose, but not due to any fault in itself, but by the coercion of an external force or entity, this thing was used in a manner that it was not intended for. Airplanes were created for travelling. Using it as a weapon is a violation of its reason for existing. Looking upon such a thing is horrific and disturbing, especially when it is used in a manner that is abusive, hurtful, murderous, insensitive, and cruel. Nobody wants a defective product that does not work for the reason it was created. And the person who created something does not want his creation to be used in a manner it was not intended. Plain and simple.

Now what does this have to do with Hip Hop? Everything. Humanity was created for a specific purpose, as well were all things. The most important reason and purpose for the existence of man is to glorify God. As I mentioned above, all things either cry out to God the Creator in praise or in rebellion. Since the Fall of Humanity in the Garden of Eden, we have not been able to operate and function properly for the reason we were initially created. Fallen sinful man could no longer have fellowship with God and glorify Him as he ought to be glorified. Now instead of tossing humanity away completely, God, in His infinite Wisdom already had a plan aligned. He decided to take the necessary steps to help grow and nurture the plant of humanity, and not to completely destroy it just yet.

God sent his prophets and messengers and law into the world to as a means of slowly redeeming man (nurturing). Eventually He sent Jesus Christ into the world to redeem humanity from their sin and to restore us back to our reason for existing, ie. to glorify God by enjoying Him forever. Now all peoples of the world are commanded to be restored back to their humanity, back to the reason of their existence. Those who are restored are blessed by God, made right with Him, and find that they have a new reason to live, not for themselves in selfishness, but for the promotion and glory of their Creator and Redeemer, Jesus Christ.

Man’s creativity is to be a responsive act of worship back to the Creator, in praise, honor, glory and blessing. And being that it is, Hip Hop as a creative culture, and being that all peoples everywhere, including those in the Hip Hop culture, are commanded to be restored back to their reason for existing, Hip Hop is to exist for the chief reason of glorifying God. Not that that is the only reason for its existence, but it is the chief reason. All things find their chief reason of existing in the glorification of God.

So when rappers are rapping about sin and promoting it, there is a clear instance of something being used for the wrong reason, for that which it was not created for. Hip Hop and man both. So then, when rappers promote killing people, doing drugs, getting drunk, committing fornication, adultery, idolatry, etc, they are engaging in complete and total rebellion against the Almighty Creator God of the Universe. They are taking a creative art, and are promoting sin with it. They are taking an air plane and using it as a weapon. Hip Hop is beautiful, and creative, and God honoring, but it is not meant to be used in the manner in which it is most popularly used today.

The promotion of sin with rap, though it has gone on for such a long time now that it almost seems inseparable, is a misuse of an art form that was created to demonstrate beauty. It is hard to paint a masterpiece when you’re painting with feces. But if that is all you know, if that is all you have been exposed to, it is easy to think that crap looks and sounds good. And this is the very reason Hip Hop needs to be redeemed and reformed. People think that feces is the best thing going on, and they have no idea that God has more to offer them then they could ever imagine. God is more beautiful and glorious than we could ever imagine, and He wants us to experience Him. Not just as spectators, but to become one with Him and to be like Him, so that we become beautiful, and reflect once again the Image of God in which we were created.

People need to have their perceptions challenged and changed, and by the grace of God, and the power of the Holy Spirit, this will happen. Hip Hoppers, just like everybody else are called to repentance, and to restoration. Those who refuse to repent, align themselves with the tree that bore no fruit, and had no reason to exist. They will find themselves living a life of worthlessness, and their only reason for existing in the end, is to add fuel to the fire.