Question: How does one reconcile the apparent contradiction that God, who is love, condemns homosexuality, even when two people of the same gender genuinely love each other? And what if that same couple love God as well? Who are we to judge?
There are many who read this question for whom the answer seems so straightforward they can’t imagine how anyone could be confused. They would say something like: “God says homosexuality is sin, end of subject.” However, many others reading this are saying something like: “Finally, someone has the courage to ask what I’ve been wanting to ask for so long!” In either case, I hope you will read on, because even if you are not asking this question, you know people who are—but who may be to afraid to ask out loud. And there are too many Christians afraid to answer the question out loud.
There are several components to the question above: The love of God, human love, the nature of homosexuality, passing judgment on others, etc. I cannot possibly answer all of these interrelated questions in one 500 word blog. So this will be the first of a multi-part response. I know as I post each blog some readers will be saying, “Yeah, but what about…” —because I have to approach this piecemeal, not as a whole. Please be patient, and try to see each blog post as one incomplete part of a larger whole.
I have used 200 words already just introducing this topic. Therefore, for this week’s blog post, the 500 word limit I attempt to impose on myself for your easier reading begins now:
God is love.
1 John 4:8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.
Love is the very essence of God’s nature. It is not so much what He feels, or even what He does, it is who God is. That is very different from human love. Human love at its most superficial reflects how we feel, and that feeling is fleeting, inconsistent. God’s love is constant, unchanging. Human love at its highest chooses to be loving even when not being loved in return— something also achieved with great inconsistency. God always loves, and always acts in love, because He is love itself—unselfish, self-sacrificing, always seeking the welfare of those who need His love.
Obviously, then, true love must be measured against the highest, perfect standard, which is God. The goal of true love is not for God to love like us, but for us to love as He does. So when John says, Whoever does not love does not know God, God is the standard: whoever does not love [i.e., as God loves] does not know God.
So how do we love as God loves? Jesus gives us the answer:
John 14:15 If you love me, you will obey what I command.
To disobey God is to selfishly choose what we want rather than lovingly choose to live as He designed us to live. We did not design ourselves. We are created with a carefully crafted design and purpose by a God whose very nature is love. We are designed to be like Him:
Gen. 1:27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.
God designed human sexuality as a union between male and female, and that union is designed to be a mirror image of Himself.
Gen. 2:18 The LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”
Gen. 2:22-24 Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man. The man said, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken out of man.” For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.
The “suitable helper,” according to God’s perfect design, was not male to male or female to female, but the union between a man and a woman who share a similar essence, but who have been intentionally separated by God into two genders. It is part of God’s design for human beings that we find our truest self by becoming united with our “other half.” For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.