Saturday, May 25, 2013


The Greek word used most commonly for sin in the Bible's New Testament (Matthew through Revelation) is "hamartia," which means "a missing of the mark," but what mark is in view when we are talking about sin? I believe the bull’s eye of this target is the perfect righteousness of God's character. All that is described as sinful in the Bible flies wide of or falls short of God's character. Thus I think it can be fairly said that sin is a sort of negative reflection of God. For example, adultery is a sin because God is faithful. Lying is a sin because God is truth. Fornication is a sin because God is covenantal. We would be wrong if we concluded that sin and virtue were arbitrarily assigned as though they were simply pulled from a hat. God's character is the anchor point to which these classifications are attached. Sin is sin because of who God is, and I have found it a rich and helpful area of study to meditate on sin in its inverse. So this brings me to a question that I have been pondering in light of recent headlines- Why is homosexuality a sin? or to put it another way- What is it in God’s character that homosexual conduct runs contrary to?*

I have some thoughts on the matter, but I am curious to hear what you think.

*As I write I am sensitive to the fact there may be some among my readership who do not accept my presupposition that homosexual conduct is inherently sinful. There are likely others who do not believe that such a thing as sin even exists; at least not as it has been traditionally defined. I suspect that some of my readers probably experience same-sex attraction, and there are others who think there’s nothing wrong with it. If you are such a person I am eager for you to understand that although we may not agree I would like to have an honest, respectful dialogue about these things. My intent is not to heap judgment on you or anyone else. Nor is it my intent to single out homosexuality to the exclusion of other sexual sins such as fornication or divorce, but rather to pose a question about which I am genuinely curious-  What is it in God's character that homosexuality represents a departure from? We were all born with a latent sex drive and, according to the Bible, a sin-nature also. This lethal cocktail means that most of us will eventually stray into some form of sexual sin, but I am grateful that God has made a way for sinners such as me to be forgiven and to know salvation. You too can know salvation. I hope you don’t sense a harsh, critical self-righteous spirit behind my words. I am a fellow struggler.

I am just hanging my shingle in the marketplace of ideas, but I want to be neighborly about it.


Anonymous said...

Your question intrigues me. I honestly don’t know what aspect of God’s character conflicts with homosexuality. However, I do believe that it is a sin.

God designed very specific boundaries for sex, as you have written about before. Sex is meant to be enjoyed only within marriage. With that same thought in mind, I believe God also intended sex to be between a man and a woman only. Homosexuality is a sin because it deviates from God’s perfect design.

I realize this is a hard topic. Homosexuals are sinners, but no more so than anyone else. They deserve to be treated with love and respect. I don’t get treated like an outcast because of my sins, so why should they? Is this a sin too big for God to forgive? Absolutely not.

Joshua Tate said...

I agree, anonymous.

Annie said...

I applaud your courage and sensitivity in approaching this topic, Josh. I believe it has much to do with the fact that God created us in His image- male and felmale,. As such He embodies both the male and female. And as true image bearers of His, we are only truly representing Him when we are that.
Now I'm gonna get down and real, and very much in my opinion. It's one of those things I've studied and thought about a lot because of loving and wanting what's true and right for so many homosexual friends and family members, but I really haven't refined my thoughts.
So here goes- the act of intercourse- which is inherent in the definition of homosexuality- is in a sense, a reflection of the divine wholeness of God. The beauty of giving and receiving in worship is in knowing that He is the giver of life and we are the receivers, the responders and in this we rejoice. This is further shown in the new testament as Christ is referred to as the bridegroom and we, the church are the bride. There is a completion- 2 become one, in the joining together of the 2, male and female . There is a fitting together of the one with the other, Creator and creature, Savior and saved. male and female. In arguing that it is natural, one is pointing out the fact that the organs fit together perfectly and naturally.
God wants us to open up to HIm, to worship Him, to receive HIm for who He is, and in turn wants to pour into us more of His beauty, power and love.
(This is, incidentally, why I believe we as a people need to learn to wait and receive more during our times of worship- but I digress.)
It is imperative, therefore that we not try to take on the Giver- God role- if that is not what we are. It is a breaking of our true image and will not be able to ultimately fill or satisfy. But worse ,it's a usurping of an identitiy that is not ours.
Marraige is the best image of God's design of completion for us as the bride of Christ. The Song of Solomon is a beautiful description of Christ's desire to love and pursue us His church. He is the male and we are the female in the divine order. And what He created man to be to his wife is to reflect what Christ is to the Church. Homosexuality is trying to join with an other that is the same. which is why it's a broken reflection of the desire God has to complete us in HIm.
I think the worst thing the Church at large has done is to throw stones at already hurting and broken fallen ones, and it is true that all sexual sin is sexual sin. But to relegate my homosexual loved ones in a state which I believe is depriving them of God's true identity and fulfillment for them is also a sin.
Homosexuality, all sexual brokenness is a sin because God's nature is to love His bride in purity and oneness- to complete us and fulfill us as only the Giver can to the given.

Josh Tate said...

Those are great thoughts, and well-put.

Annie said...

Thanks, I'm glad it made sense.