Friday, June 12, 2009

Why does the Bible Prohibit Homosex?

Alice C. Linsley

Dennis Prager believes that the Bible has "moral use" and while I agree with that, I would argue that moral guidance is NOT the primary purpose of the Bible. Prager writes, " If one chooses which of the Bible's moral injunctions to take seriously (and the Bible states its prohibition of homosexuality not only as a law, but as a value --- "it is an abomination"), of what moral use is the Bible?"

The Bible's primary purpose is to point to the Holy Trinity, the essence of which can't be separated from Reality. Specifically, the Bible is about the Promised Son of God from beginning to end. This is what makes it unique among sacred texts. There are many sacred texts that provide moral direction, but none that bear consistent witness to the Son of God coming in the flesh, dying, rising and ascending to the Father. The Bible's morality only makes sense as it is derived from the Bible's Christology.

To express this another way, the Bible's purpose is superior to the purpose of other sacred texts because it describes Reality rather than proscribes immorality. The Biblical view of homosex is not shaped by Jewish morality since the prohibition existed long before Jewishness is recognized. Judaism developed out of the Afro-Asiatic worldview of Abraham's people. This worldview is binary in every aspect. It maintains the binary distinctions (not dualism) of heaven and earth, Creator and creature, east-west, night-day, life-death, purity-defilement, male-female, etc. It discourages any act (such as homosex) which blurs the distinctions that represent the fixed order of creation.

Homosex is regarded as impure because it defies the fixed order of creation into which God's Son entered as the long-sought Savior and King.

According to Prager, the biblical prohibiton against homosex is a moral prohibition. He has written:

The Hebrew Bible, in particular the Torah (The Five Books of Moses), has done more to civilize the world than any other book or idea in history. It is the Hebrew Bible that gave humanity such ideas as a universal, moral, loving God; ethical obligations to this God; the need for history to move forward to moral and spiritual redemption; the belief that history has meaning; and the notion that human freedom and social justice are the divinely desired states for all people. It gave the world the Ten Commandments, ethical monotheism, and the concept of holiness (the goal of raising human beings from the animal-like to the God-like). Therefore, when this Bible makes strong moral proclamations, I listen with great respect. And regarding male homosexuality --- female homosexuality is not mentioned --- this Bible speaks in such clear and direct language that one does not have to be a religious fundamentalist in order to be influenced by its views. All that is necessary is to consider oneself a serious Jew or Christian.

Jews or Christians who take the Bible's views on homosexuality seriously are not obligated to prove that they are not fundamentalists or literalists, let alone bigots (though, of course, people have used the Bible to defend bigotry). Rather, those who claim homosexuality is compatible with Judaism or Christianity bear the burden of proof to reconcile this view with their Bible. Given the unambiguous nature of the biblical attitude toward homosexuality, however, such a reconciliation is not possible. All that is possible is to declare: "I am aware that the Bible condemns homosexuality, and I consider the Bible wrong." That would be an intellectually honest approach. But this approach leads to another problem. If one chooses which of the Bible's moral injunctions to take seriously (and the Bible states its prohibition of homosexuality not only as a law, but as a value --- "it is an abomination"), of what moral use is the Bible?

Advocates of the religious acceptance of homosexuality respond that while the Bible is morally advanced in some areas, it is morally regressive in others. Its condemnation of homosexuality is one example, and the Torah's permitting slavery is another. Far from being immoral, however, the Torah's prohibition of homosexuality was a major part of its liberation (1) of the human being from the bonds of unrestrained sexuality and (2) of women from being peripheral to men's lives. As for slavery, while the Bible declares homosexuality wrong, it never declares slavery good.

Those who advocate religious acceptance of homosexuality also argue that the Bible prescribes the death penalty for a multitude of sins, including such seemingly inconsequential acts as gathering wood on the Sabbath. Thus, the fact that the Torah declares homosexuality a capital offense may mean that homosexuality is no more grave an offense than some violation of the Sabbath. And since we no longer condemn people who violate the Sabbath, why continue to condemn people who engage in homosexual acts?

Read it all here.

There is much of merit in Mr. Prager's argument, but I disagree with his assumption that the biblical prohibition against homosex springs from a high Jewish morality. His assumption takes homosex and the Bible out of context. The Bible reflects the Afro-Asiatic worldview which is strictly binary. The binary distinctions of night-day, male-female, heaven-earth, etc. are based on the observation of a divinely fixed order in creation. All actions or attitudes that defy the fixed order of creation represent rebellion against the Creator. The Bible prohibits homosex because it represents rebellion against God's order in creation. In this respect sexuality can't be compared to human institutions such as law, government, and slavery.

Prager also writes, "Judaism's restricting of sexual behavior was one of the essential elements that enabled society to progress." This is partially true. Judaism emerged out of the older Afro-Asiatic worldview and specifically the worldview of the Horite priests who were Abraham's ancestors. They provided the binary framework that Jews used to determine ethical and moral boundaries, but the idea that prohibition of homosex is foremost a moral teaching is incorrect. It became a moral issue relatively late in history. In Abraham's time, homosexuality was viewed as rebellion against God's fixed order of creation. This places homosex in the same category as onanism, beastiality, boiling a kid in its mother's milk, and mixing different fibers. Eve's sin was a violation of the order of creation. She who was created to enjoy a unique relationship with the Creator and with her husband, exchanged her natural nobility for subjugation to a serpent, a far from noble creature. Any act that defies the order God established in creation is rebellion against the Creator. Rulers among Abraham's people took great effort to avoid setting themselves up as equal to the Creator, whose emblem was the Sun. This is why they placed their wives in separate households on a north-south axis. Lamech alone (Gen. 4) set himself up as the Creator by placing his wives on an east-west axis.

Homosex is prohibited by the Bible because it was regarded as impure. Impurity resulted from violations of the divinely established order. Being made in the image of the Creator, humans were to enjoy the purity of the Son of God. Only the pure in heart can recieve HIM. That the whole world needs the Savior is evident by the fact that the world is unable to receive HIM. HE came into the world which HE made and the world did not recognize HIM because the world lives under a great delusion that blinds us from Reality. That way is death. Moral behavior can't deliver from death. Only the long awaited Son of God, who is one with the Father and the Spirit, can deliver from delusion and death.

The Jews turned the Hebrew Scriptures into a moral law code when they insisted that the pivotal event of their history was the Exodus and the Giving of the Law. This made it easier to feel good about themselves. By obeying a set of laws they were able to regard themselves as righteous. But none is righteousness through the Law. Salvation comes only through the Righteous Son of God, the Author of Life and the Ground of Reality.

Related essay, go here to discover the real pivotal event of biblical history.

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