In response to @TheBedKeeper comments of Romans 1 – Part III
Christianity, Current Affairs Jul 21, 2011
Thanks for your commenting on my 2nd post, and here are some points I would like to raise from your reply:
Hi again, and thank you for another thorough and thoughtful response.
I think we’re passing each other in regards to idol worship. While I agree Paul was referencing Leviticus when discussing Romans 1, we also have to keep our focus on the idol worship for a bit. Again, in Leviticus and in Romans, Paul’s language is very specific. In Leviticus, the phrase, “as with a woman” indicates once again that the men engaging in same gender expressions were at one time “with women,” (again married.)
In Leviticus 18:22, the word translated into English “as with a woman” in Amplified Bible is the Hebrew word (אִשָּׁה, ishshah, Strong 802) usually translated as “wife” in the KJV OT. Still, it also means “female” or “womankind” as in gender. So if you read it in context with the previous setting (זָכָר, zakar, Strong 2145, male as in gender), it is talking about a same-sex relationship. not with a married woman.
History and Google are replete with the idol worship practices of the Greco-Roman world. When Romans calls relations the women had as “unnatural” it is a reference to the fact that they were having sexual relations with animals, not each other. Notice how different Paul’s language is in describing the acts of the women and the acts of the men in Romans 1.
Paul tells us that these things came about, that a woman should lust after another woman, because God was angry at the human race because of its idolatry. Those who interpret this differently do not understand the force of the argument. For what is it to change the use of nature into a use which is contrary to nature, if not to take away the former and adopt the latter, so that the same part of the body should be used by each of the sexes in a way for which it was not intended? Therefore, if this is the part of the body which they think it is, how could they have changed the natural use of it if they had not had this use given to them by nature? This is why he said earlier that they had been handed over to uncleanness, even though he did not explain in detail what he meant by that. AMBROSIASTER, COMMENTARY ON PAUL’S EPISTLES.Bray, G. L., ed. (1998). Romans (pp. 46–47). InterVarsity Press.
Another confirmation of this comes from Acts 14 when Paul and Barnbas are in Lystra and heal a man. The people there immediately think Paul and Barnabas are Zeus and Hermes come to them from Mount Olympus in the form of human men. Notice the cult priest immediately goes and fetches “bulls and garlands” in order to worship Paul and Barnabas. Again, this is very different from 2 gay men engaged in expressions of love.
I don’t understand why you relate “bulls and garlands” and homosexuality? The passage in Acts 14 is based on the blindness of those pagan worshippers, as they are more eager to worship a human idol than the true living God.
As you noted, there are two simultaneous violations of the Ten Commandments being broken in both Leviticus and Romans, all “deserving of death” as Romans (and Leviticus 20) mention. There is nothing in the Ten Commandments that says, “thou shall not be gay.” However, there are mentions of “thou shall have no other gods before Me,” and “thou shall not commit adultery.”
What happened after God gave the Ten Commandments to Moses? That’s right, the Golden Calf (Exodus 3:20)! Which broke the first two commandments. What leads to the worshipping of an idol? A fertility cult orgy as the bull god Apis was the Egyptian god of fertility. (Exodus 3:26), which break the last four (or three) commandments. Although Moses didn’t go into details of the idol worship, I would say same-sex sexual activities will be part of it also… So just as in Romans written by Paul, the worst case of idolatry and unbelief can lead a person into an unnatural sinful lust between male and male, female and female… Can you claim that homosexuals didn’t break any of the Ten Commandments?
In order for a heterosexual married man to worship an idol, he would have to commit adultery on his wife in order to have sexual relations with a man as part of that idol worship. These, I contend, are what both Leviticus and Romans are referencing, especially in consideration of the specificity of both books regarding the sexual acts of the men in Romans, and the reference in Leviticus right next to bestiality and the sexual acts of the women in Romans.
Both books cover sexual acts with animals, adultery, and idol worship in adjacent verses. This provides the context for our understanding of whom the Scriptures reference. In Leviticus:
20Moreover, you shall not lie carnally with your neighbor’s wife, to defile yourself with her.
21You shall not give any of your children to pass through the fire and sacrifice them to Molech [the fire god], nor shall you profane the name of your God [by giving it to false gods]. I am the Lord.
22You shall not lie with a man as with a woman; it is an abomination.
23Neither shall you lie with any beast and defile yourself with it; neither shall any woman yield herself to a beast to lie with it; it is confusion, perversion, and degradedly carnal.
And in Romans:
23And by them the glory and majesty and excellence of the immortal God were exchanged for and represented by images, resembling mortal man and birds and beasts and reptiles.
24Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their [own] hearts to sexual impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves [abandoning them to the degrading power of sin],
25Because they exchanged the truth of God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, Who is blessed forever! Amen (so be it).
26For this reason God gave them over and abandoned them to vile affections and degrading passions. For their women exchanged their natural function for an unnatural and abnormal one,
27And the men also turned from natural relations with women and were set ablaze (burning out, consumed) with lust for one another–men committing shameful acts with men and suffering in their own [d]bodies and personalities the inevitable consequences and penalty of their wrong-doing and going astray, which was [their] fitting retribution.
The parallels, I believe you’ll agree, are striking. We see idolatry and adultery associated with men who were “with women,” had “use of the women,” and were lying with men “as with women.” To say that somehow this is a reference to loving expressions between people of the same gender in a marriage as ordained Paul in 1 Corinthians 7:8-9 for same gender couples, and yet *not* a condemnation of the idolatry mixed with adultery, misses the point of both Leviticus and Romans.
Again, based on the biblical argument I have presented here, your position does not hold. Also, in the passage you have mentioned in 1 Corinthians 7:8-9, Paul addresses males who desire a female, not a desire between the same sex. Otherwise, it will contradict what he asks Corinthians to do with sexually immoral people in 1 Cor 5:9, which includes fornicator (same-sex relationship, 1 Cor 5:11).
- Faith is the acknowledgment of the entire absence of all goodness in us, and the recognition of the cross as the substitute for all the want on our part. Faith saves, because it owns the complete salvation of another, and not because it contributes anything to that salvation.
- For we are not saved by believing in our own salvation, nor by believing anything whatsoever about ourselves. We are saved by what we believe about the Son of God and His righteousness. The gospel believed saves; not the believing in our own faith.
- The more one separates oneself from the canons of the Christian church, the further one distances oneself from the truth.
- George Leslie Mackay’s farewell address
- One hour spent under the cross, while the soul is thus elevated—thus abased—thus joyful—and thus sorrowful—is better than a thousand of earthly delights.
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