Christian Ethics Teachings in Relation to Homosexuality

Marriage signifies Christ’s union with people. This apparently is one of the definitions of marriage in a Christian context. Christian marriage is holy and represents God’s promise to reunite with his people. From this definition, marriage should provide people with an opportunity to praise and serve God through their union to be one. Other people in the secular world consider marriage as an amalgamation between two people with a view of enjoying life pleasures together. This completely contradicts the Christian marriage described in the Bible. From a Christian perspective of marriage, it dates back to the times of Genesis. This is the beginning of the world according to the Bible. At this time, God decided to give Adam a helper to help him continue serving God in the Garden of Eden. This clearly shows God’s purpose for marriage. The purpose was to bring two people, male and female, together for them to work together in order to glorify God. According to Rogers, this in turn will bring Christian marriages the joy and blessing God has purposed for Christians.[1] Thus, a Christian marriage is against same sex marriage in the form of homosexuality.

The helper that God created for Adam was Eve, a woman; this represents the union God intended for people to have in a Christian context. People, including some Christians have a different opinion of marriage and the helper God intended to give a man. People in the modern world accept same sex marriages as a part of marriage. Marriage, according to the Christian definition, is God ordained, and as such ought to be holy and conducted in a holy way. For marriage to pass the test of holiness, couples should ensure utmost faithfulness in their union and support each other at all times.[2] However, this is not the case in modern secular marriages. Couples do not offer each other the support required in their union. Many couples in modern marriages fail to uphold honesty and faithfulness to each other. This is a reason for high divorce among couples in a modern world. This goes against the definition of a Christian marriage.

The Biblical stance on marriage is that Christian marriage is for the purpose of procreation and raising families. This is against what many people perceive marriage to be. All over the world, there is the general thought that marriage is for sexual pleasure and personal fulfilment. Many people today get into marriage with the idea they will be happy once married. Modern sexual approaches cause the liberal views and have greatly contributed to this thought about marriages. This is also the reason many people are cohabiting in the modern world. To them marriage serves just one sole purpose, sexual pleasure and satisfaction. When God created Eve, he told both Adam and Eve to venture out into the world, multiply, and fill the earth. Many have misinterpreted this statement, and as a result, people engage in sexual relations outside marriage. God intended marriage to serve as an institution that will raise children in the way that He pleases. To others marriage solely serves the purpose of companionship and as a result, they choose to live together, but have no children. This contradicts the Christian definition of marriage.[3]

Christian marriage represents God’s eternal love to human kind. God’s love surpasses all and is permanent. This is what Christian marriage is all about, permanence. From a Christian perspective, marriage should be a permanent union between a man and a woman. This relationship should stand against until the end of time. Other people do not uphold this definition of marriage and have created a room for separation and divorce. [4] Christian marriage does not make provisions for this; the only factor that should separate couples in a Christian marriage is death. In the secular world, marriage is a union between two people who are of the same gender or the opposite gender that has no guarantee of lasting forever. This provides the freedom to change partners through divorce or separation. Many families are breaking up because a large number of people are adopting this definition of marriage that contradicts Christian marriage.

The Holy Bible talks about sexuality and homosexuality; there are verses mainly in Genesis, Leviticus, Romans and Samuel that speak about this sensitive issue.[5] The Bible though not directly opposes same gender sexual relationship in the book of Genesis. Genesis speaks of God creating a woman from a man’s rib. When Adam wakes up from his sleep, he finds Eve, the woman who God has created for him. He appreciates her. Later God tells them to multiply and fill the earth. This part of the Bible implies that God is only happy with relationship between a man and a woman since this is the form of relationship capable to fulfil his command of filling the earth. Homosexual relationships do not support God’s will to reproduce. This is one of the reasons for the Bible rejecting such form of relationships. Eve was a woman, which is a suggestion in the Bible that God intended the all-sexual relationships ought to be only between a man and a woman. Other animals uphold this, but humans argue against it. Liberals argue that God in Genesis said He created a man in His personal image and as such, the man has a right to decide which form of relationship to uphold. They argue that since a man takes God’s form, a human being has freedom of choice to choose the form of sexual relationship that best pleases him or her.

Still in the book of Genesis, many Bible conservatives argue that God created a woman for Adam because he intended sexual relationships to be between the individuals who complemented each other both anatomically and emotionally. Same sex marriages do not allow for anatomical compliment since the parties involved are of the same gender.[6] Since going against the Bible contributes to sin, homosexuality is a sin according to the Bible. The books of Romans and Corinthians lump homosexuality together with other sexual sins such as adultery. This makes it a sinful act before God. God did not intend people to show their emotions and passion for each other in any other context, especially outside a marriage between a man and a woman. Liberal Christians and other people, who believe that the sole determiner of wrong and good is God, agree that homosexuality and any other sexual activity outside marriage is wrong and contrary to the Bible.

The Bible’s stance on sexual activity is that all forms of sexual activity are for marriage. Several verses in the Bible support this, with some especially in Romans and Corinthians condemning all forms of sexual activities and terming them as sin, which will deny entry into the kingdom of God to such people. The Bible describes sex as a holy mystery, which God has reserved to married couples. The Bible clearly spells out that a man and a woman shall leave their parents and unite as one to form their family. Those with a conservative view towards the Bible argue that in Genesis the Bible gives the right to reproduce to these who choose to marry. This is not direct, but since the earlier verses suggest that God created a man and a woman to procreate and fill the earth, then it is possible to state that the Bible objects any form of sexual activity outside marriage and also against homosexuality relationships. [7] The Bible’s hint at opposition to homosexual activity whether inside or outside marriage is evident. This is can be exhumed in Genesis where after two angels visited Lot, the Sodomites found the angels from God appealing, and God cursed Sodom and Gomorrah for their sexual impurity. If the Bible was to support homosexual activities, then, the writer of the verse would not have used the terms a man and a woman explicitly. Those with liberal views suggest otherwise since they argue that the Bible is only against sexual activity outside marriage, but does not specify that homosexual activities among married gay people are wrong. They believe it would be erroneous for God to punish homosexuals who engage in sexual activities while in marriage, and continue to serve God in all other aspects of their relationships. They further argue that it is wrong to isolate homosexual activities since the Bible does not only mention homosexual activities, but also mentions other sins. In summary, the Bible does not support any form of sexual activity outside marriage.

Christian views on homosexuality vary with some groups supporting homosexuality and conservative Christians are greatly opposed to it. The conservative Christians believe homosexuals disapprove God’s decision to create Eve, a woman, for Adam instead of another Adam. They support their arguments with verses mostly in Genesis that show the origin of human kind. Disapproving God makes homosexuality a wrong and sinful practice that according to conservative Christians ought not to happen. On the other hand, there are liberal Christians who question the motive behind marriage whether a gay marriage or a straight couple marriage. This group argues that it is not right to disapprove all gay marriages since some of these relationships have true and unending love between the partners. This is one of the pillars of true Christianity to love each other eternally as Christ loves humans. [8] They further argue that some marriages between people of the opposite sex fail to uphold the values of honesty and faithfulness, which are important for every Christian marriage. Despite their differences, both these Christian groups agree that the Bible condemns all sexual activities outside marriage. According to Christianity, Christian ethics teaches that full sexual relationships ought to take place within marriage. This means that whether a relationship is between two people of the similar gender or not, the parties involved should reserve any form of sexual activity until they get married.

Liberal Christians and other liberal minds believe that marriage and all other aspects of life should change with the changing society.[9] For this reason, they support gay marriages since current times provide that each and every person has the right and freedom to make their own decisions. Some liberals believe that homosexuals have genes that make them gay. Liberal Christians also believe that it is best to interpret the Bible with the existing society. They believe God’s word should adjust with the changing times. They also hold the idea that those Bible writers failed to recognise homosexual relationships and as a result, some only wrote against these relationships. On the other hand, conservatives, both Christians and none Christians believe that it is against the rules of nature and God to have any other form of relationship besides normal relationships between a man and a woman. Despite all the variations in opinions, all these groups agree that uncontrolled sexual behaviour especially outside marriages can be disastrous and should not exist in the society. While Christians uphold that any form of sexual behaviour outside marriage is wrong, other groups may fail to agree, but either way they either support or condemn homosexuality.

As much as some Christians oppose homosexual relationships, a large number still agree it is unfair to discriminate against these groups. Even other non-religious groups opposed to homosexuality still agree that it wrong to discriminate against gays since they are humans like others. However, conservative people feel that gays can change this form of behaviour.[10] Contrary to their views, liberal minds believe that as a human being it is impossible to control emotions and the person one chooses to love. They argue that as much as almost all the relationships in the Bible are between men and women, Jesus told his disciples to love their neighbours in the same measure as they love themselves. They argue that if Jesus were in the modern society, He would be happy for the committed gay relationships, as opposed to straight sex oriented couples who have built their relationships on deceit and for all the wrong reasons. In simple terms, Christians and other individuals around the world form their opinions about homosexuality depending on their faith and beliefs. They argue differently, but in some opinions, they agree. Many people believe that sexual activities are reserved for married couples.

The Roman Catholic stance on homosexuality is that it is not right and orderly in the sense that it is evil. Conservative Roman Catholics argue that homosexuality fails to acknowledge the purpose of sexual activity as God intended it. Homosexuality is sinful and immoral according to Roman Catholic beliefs. This is because homosexual relationships fail to meet both the uniting and procreation roles of a marriage according to the Bible. The church does not limit these teachings on homosexuality only, but also on other sinful sexual activities such as sodomy and adultery. The Roman Catholics state that homosexuality is a conservative approach and the church believes that the only correct and right relationships before the eyes of God are male-female relationships. The Church of England has held that homosexual marriages are wrong and sinful. Its sentiments resemble those of the Roman Catholics.[11]

Baptist church, the Methodist and the Anglican churches are on the verge of breaking because of different opinions regarding same sex marriages. The Methodist church of Britain is yet to take a definitive stance on homosexuality. This church does not denounce discrimination against homosexuals, and affirms homosexuals’ participation in the ministry. However, this church no longer blesses same-sex marriages. Meanwhile, the United States Methodist church does not support inclusion of homosexuals in church activities such as sacraments. However, this church clearly states that homosexuality is against its teachings, and as a result it prohibits homosexuals to be ordained as church ministers.[12]

Another church divided on the issue of homosexuality is the Anglican Church. This church, being a protestant church, has a good number of liberal minds. They believe since God created everything, He also created homosexuals the way they are; they believe that all those verses and Biblical quotes that condemn homosexuality are archaic and biased. Their stance on the issue of homosexuality is that there is no way God can create a homosexual then accuse His own creation of sinning. They agree that the Bible condemns sinful acts among homosexual activities and others such as adultery. Liberals argument is that no human has the capability to know what is right and wrong in the Bible, and this is not a justified means to discriminate against homosexuals or to terms them as sinners.[13]

On the other hand, extreme Anglican conservatives argue that the practice of homosexuality is wrong according to the Bible. They argue that homosexuals make a personal choice to be who they are since humans have the ability to control their desires. They believe such relationships are because of dysfunctional relationships and a corrupt world. Their stance on homosexuals is that they are perverts and are skilled to use politics and media to move their immoral activities to the limelight. To them homosexuality is the worst form of a sexual sin. In the Bible, they clearly state it is God’s word, which is unquestionable and since the Bible opposes homosexuality they strongly stand by this.[14]

Christian teachings and ethics do not support sexual activities outside marriage. This is the stance of many churches and other religious groups in society. Issues of homosexuality create a large division among Christians, with some supporting and other opposing this form of relationships. As a theoretical reflection, it is essential to assess the truth in these teachings. This is using the theological principle of “not yet”, which states that Christ exhibited his love for humanity sacrificing Himself for people’s sin. In a similar manner, people should show their love through sacrificing sexual pleasures and activities outside marriage until they get married. This way couples will remain faithful to Christian teachings, which besides stating it is unethical to have sexual activities before marriage urge people to have unending love for each other in relationships. [15]This is what Christ emphasised on; true love that surpasses all kinds of love. Corrupt worldly ideas continue to carry Christians away from their stance on sexual activities before marriage.

My view on sexual activities before marriage is that no sexual activity should occur prior to marriage. The Bible does not support such activities through the Biblical stories told in it. As a strong Christian faithful, my views on sexual activities outside marriage are that they are sinful acts, which displease God. On the issue of homosexuality, I believe that no human ought to judge another’s activities and choices. I am of the view that God forgives all sins; no sin is greater than others. This means that even homosexuality is a sin that God can forgive, and all humans are sinners of different sins. Therefore, discriminating against them is not justifiable. As humans, we should agree and leave conflicting issues that only God can give solution to, the way they are. However, as much as it is not right to discriminate against homosexuals it is essential to realise that it is a sin from a Biblical perspective because this practice goes against the rules of nature and does not meet the goals of marriage as God intended it. God purposed marriage to be a holy institution in which two people of different gender would unite. These two people ought to help one another to serve God in their different capacities. Another reason why God created marriage is to procreate and fill the earth. Critics argue this is possible even in homosexual families, but it is not possible biologically. Therefore, it does not serve as a strong justification for homosexuality in my view.

In conclusion, God created sex and reserved it for married people. This makes any form of sexual activity outside marriage a sinful act, which Christians should refrain from to serve God in their marriages and relationships as it should be. The issue of gay marriages is a controversial issue that has resulted in a great unending debate, both in churches and the entire universe. The Bible, which is a Christians` guide, opposes this, and some Christians follow suit. The liberal ones argue one should interpret the Bible according to the present time. The debate is not ending any time soon, but if the Bible is right, then homosexuality is a sin.

Bibliography

Ash Christopher, Marriage and Sex in the Service of God, (IVP, 2003).

Boswell James, Christianity, Social Tolerance and Homosexuality, (Chicago University Press, 1980).

Bradshaw Timothy, (ed.), Which is the Way Forward? Christian Voices on Homosexuality and the Church, (Hodder & Stoughton, 1997).

Coleman Peter, (ed. Michael Langford), ‘Christian Attitudes to Marriage: From Ancient Times to the Third Millennium’, SCM, (2004) .

Doe Michael,’ Seeking the Truth in Love: the Church and Homosexuality’, DLT, (2000).

Dormor Duncan and Morris Jeremy (Eds.), An Acceptable Sacrifice? Homosexuality and the Church, (SPCK, 2007).

John Jeffrey, ‘Permanent, Faithful, and Stable: Christian Same-Sex Partnerships’, Affirming Catholicism, (1993).

McCarthy David Matzo, ‘Becoming One Flesh: Marriage, Remarriage and Sex’, in The Blackwell Companion to Christian Ethics, (Blackwell, 2004), chapter 21.

Paul II John. ‘On the Original Unity of Man and Woman’, 9 November 1979, <http://www. Vatican.va/holy_father/john_paul_ii/audiences/catechesis_genesis/documents/hf_jii_aud _19791107_enht>

Rogers Eugene F., ed., Theology and Sexuality, (Blackwell, 2002) .

[1]Eugene F. Rogers, ed., Theology and Sexuality, (Blackwell, 2002)

[2][2]David Matzko McCarthy, ‘Becoming One Flesh: Marriage, Remarriage and Sex’, in The Blackwell Companion to Christian Ethics, (Blackwell, 2004), chapter 21

[3]John Paul II. ‘On the Original Unity of Man and Woman’, 9, November 1979, <http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/john_paul_ii/audiences/catechesis_genesis/documents/hf_jii_aud_19791107_en.html>

[4]Jeffrey John, ‘Permanent, Faithful, and Stable: Christian Same-Sex Partnerships’, Affirming Catholicism, (1993)

[5]Timothy Bradshaw (ed.), The Way Forward? Christian Voices on Homosexuality and the Church, (Hodder & Stoughton, 1997)

[6]Timothy Bradshaw (ed.), The Way Forward? Christian Voices on Homosexuality and the Church, (Hodder & Stoughton, 1997)

[7]Peter Coleman, (ed. Michael Langford), ‘Christian Attitudes to Marriage: From Ancient Times to the Third Millennium’, SCM, (2004)

[8]Michael Doe,’ Seeking the Truth in Love: the Church and Homosexuality’, DLT, (2000)

[9]James Boswell, Christianity, Social Tolerance and Homosexuality, (Chicago University Press, 1980)

[10]Peter Coleman, (2004)

[11]Timothy Bradshaw (ed.), The Way Forward? Christian Voices on Homosexuality and the Church, (Hodder & Stoughton, 1997)

[12]Ibid

[13]Duncan Dormor and Jeremy Morris (eds.), An Acceptable Sacrifice? Homosexuality and the Church, (SPCK, 2007)

[14]Ibid

[15]David Matzo McCarthy, ‘Becoming One Flesh: Marriage, Remarriage and Sex’, in The Blackwell Companion to Christian Ethics, (Blackwell, 2004), chapter 21