A Spiritual View of Homosexuality
Perhaps you have heard the book written about Flatland by Edwin Abbott. In it there is a story of people living in a 2 dimensional space much like a piece of paper, while a 3 dimensional sphere is passed through their world. The 3 dimensional sphere appears as a line changing from short to long to short to them as it passes through their paper flat world. The 2 dimensional Flatland dwellers can only see the sphere at the point it intersects their plane. To them, it is clearly a line and not a sphere.
The spiritual realm is interwoven with our physical world and is preeminent. Like the metaphorical realm of the sphere, the spiritual realm is one that contains within it the lower dimensions. We see the spiritual realm’s at the point it intersects our physical one. The spiritual realm’s interactions with our world are mysterious, incomprehensible, and indescribable. We have trouble describing it in much the same way that Flatlanders seeing a sphere pass through their world as a line could not imagine nor describe a sphere.
This is the marvel of the Bible. It is in our 4 dimensional world (height, width, depth, time), describing a 5th dimension, that of the spiritual realm. Jesus clearly made reference to the separateness of His spiritual kingdom from the physical in this passage:
John 18:36 LEB Jesus replied, "My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would be fighting so that I would not be handed over to the Jews. But now my kingdom is not from here."
Paul also pointed out the existence of the separate but interrelated physical and spiritual realms in this passage:
Galatians 6:8 LEB “because the one who sows to his own flesh will reap corruption from the flesh, but the one who sows to the Spirit will reap eternal life from the Spirit.”
In the same manner that Flatlanders cannot see the sphere, but are limited to seeing the line, we also are limited by our human bodies to the 4 dimensions, and cannot see the spiritual realm. Yet, the Paul tells us that where we “sow”, or draw our strength from, will determine if we experience decay and corruption, or abundant and eternal life.
Spiritual Instruction Through Physical Example
Flatlanders have no concept of what 3 dimensions would be like, and do not have the capacity within themselves to comprehend a sphere. In the same manner, humans have no concept of what a spiritual dimension is like, and do not have the capacity within themselves to comprehend it. Paul points out this problem and its solution in the following passages:
1 Corinthians 2:9 LEB But just as it is written, "Things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard, and have not entered into the heart of man, all that God has prepared for those who love him."
1 Corinthians 2:12-13 LEB Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, in order that we may know the things freely given to us by God, (13) things which we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual things to spiritual people.
The Bible is inspired by God, and as such is written from the vantage point of the spiritual dimension. As we become spiritually aware, through entry of God’s spirit, the words in the Bible begin to crystallize or come into focus in our hearts and minds, and the spiritual realm begins to make sense. It is like the Flatlanders reading and learning about the 3rd dimension, and starting to comprehend what it is like.
One of the primary ways the Bible teaches us what this spiritual realm is like is through examples called types or shadows. Jesus used parables to give us examples what the spiritual realm is like. He used the terms “the kingdom of heaven is like…” dozens of times, and a great part of the Bible is written to reveal the spiritual realm using this means. (cf. Matthew 13, Mark 4) The Bible writers used physical examples to illustrate what spiritual reality is like. Like the example of “Sowing and Reaping”, they also compared the sowing of physical and spiritual seeds, compared spiritual light with physical light, spiritual darkness with physical darkness, spiritual blindness and leprosy to physical blindness and leprosy, spiritual life and death to physical life and death, and so on. In fact 1 Corinthians 10:6-14 indicates that most of the Old Testament was recorded so as to be an example to those of “on whom the end of the ages have come”. The Old Testament is a book of physical examples that illustrate spiritual realities.
The Example of Physical Union and Spiritual Union
One of these examples reveals the spiritual relationship of marriage between Christ and His Church with physical relationship of marriage between man and woman.
Ephesians 5:31-32 LEB "For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two will become one flesh." (32) (This mystery is great, but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church.)
2 Corinthians 11:2 LEB For I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy, because I promised you in marriage to one husband, to present you as a pure virgin to Christ.
Revelation 19:7-8 LEB Let us rejoice and be glad and give him the glory, because the wedding celebration of the Lamb has come, and his bride has prepared herself. (8) And it has been granted to her that she be dressed in bright, clean fine linen (for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints)."
In the Bible, the physical relationship of a man and woman is a type or shadow of Christ’s relationship with His bride, the church. Christ’s marriage with His bride is also the model for the physical marriage of man and woman.
A key aspect of this example is the life giving sexual joining of man and woman, and the life giving relationship between Christ and His bride. When a man and woman are sexually joined, they experience the ultimate in physical intimacy, pleasure, and joy. The entry of God’s word into the heart of man has the same attributes, and we experience spiritual intimacy, pleasure and joy.
The fundamental miracle of this relationship however is the conception of life. Through the physical union of a man and woman, life is conceived. This is a powerful dynamic example of what happens when we have an intimate relationship with Christ, spiritual life emerges from the relationship.
The life-giving example of a the joining of man and woman with conception of life in the context of marriage is a beautiful one showing the spiritual depth of the life giving relationship that Christ desires with His bride. Christ desires to come into us, and live in us intimately, and give birth to everlasting life.
In another aspect of this image, we see that it is “seed” that is the agent bringing life. The man’s seed enters the woman’s egg, and physical life comes forth. Likewise, Jesus plants His seed in us, (Luke 8:11 "… The seed is the word of God.) and spiritual life comes forth. The analogy of being “born again” is integral to this type. In the same way that the union and physical seed of a man into woman brings forth new physical birth, so too does the union between God and man through the “seed” of the word of God bring forth new spiritual birth. The spiritual birth is the second birth, hence, we are “born again”.
1 Peter 1:23 LEB … you have been born again, not from perishable seed but imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God.
This example of the physical union of a man and woman in its various facets is a powerful oft repeated example to us. It is a living parable of our relationship with Christ, an example designed and created by Him to reveal His nature to us. The conception of life coming from the joining of man and woman is a revelation of the spiritual life that comes from the joining of Christ with mankind.
Homosexual Relationship A Corrupt Type
Those who legitimize the homosexual relationship have replaced the example Christ gave us of a man and woman bringing life forth with that of man and man or woman and woman, which cannot produce life. It is a false image, an incorrect type or shadow of spiritual reality. Since it is God who gave us the example of marriage to show the facets and depth of His desire and the results of relationship with us, it is dishonorable to corrupt this image into one that cannot produce life. God’s very nature is that of giving life.
Homosexual advocates attempt to explain away the prohibition on homosexuality by attempting to legitimize it through adding love, commitment and faithfulness. But adding these things to the homosexual relationship does nothing to resolve the issue that the relationship cannot bear life, and the image or example it presents is of a Creator who cannot give life. It is the act itself that is corrupt. It replaces the illustration of a life-giving relationship with God one that is lifeless, thus presenting a false image of God.
The Due Penalty of Their Error
In Romans 1:27 we read of those who practice homosexuality "receiving in themselves the penalty that was necessary for their error". I would like to examine this in the context of the spiritual perspective of this article.
If we turn again to our metaphorical Flatlanders, their instruction book says that if they break the line, they will experience decay and corruption in their lives. But there are those Flatlanders who scoff at the book and decide to attempt to break the line into two lines anyway. When the sphere that they are mistaking for the line is breached, unintended consequences being pouring out of it, and they become sick. They will be looking at the line in perplexity; never realizing that the consequence they are experiencing is coming from another dimension, from a sphere and not a line. Unless they become 3 dimensionally aware, they may never connect their reality of their action with the reality of the consequence.
It is in a like manner that the “penalty necessary for their error” is manifested in our physical world. The spiritual realm is set up a certain way, just as the physical realm is. There is a physical “physics”, and there is a spiritual “physics”, so to speak. When the “Laws of Spiritual Physics” are broken, there are attendant consequences, just as there are when the “Laws of Physical Physics” are broken. In the same way that the Flatlanders reaped unintended consequences due to the error of acting as though the line was a line and not a sphere, we reap unintended consequences due to the error of acting as though there were only a physical realm and no spiritual realm.
When the Bible warns against immorality, including homosexuality, it is for our protection, not to ruin our fun. The preponderance of sexually transmitted diseases and broken hearts is a red flag for mankind that alerts us to the presence of spiritual “physics” that are exercising unseen influences from the spiritual realm in our physical realm. Like the Flatlanders who were perplexed at the consequence of breaking the line into two, and not understanding where the consequence is coming from, we also are perplexed at the consequence of immorality, and not understanding where the consequence is coming from. This is spiritual blindness of the sort illustrated by physical blindness. What is worse, we ignore the red flag that the consequence is waving in our faces. It is unfortunate that humanity is more in love with their sexual desires and activities of all sorts than hearing what God has to say about it, and we are reaping decay and corruption because of our inability to perceive the spiritual realm.
There is an interesting passage in Romans that states:
Romans 1:19-20 LEB because what can be known about God is evident among them, for God made it clear to them. (20) For from the creation of the world, his invisible attributes, both his eternal power and deity, are discerned clearly, being understood in the things created, so that they are without excuse.
That the sexual relationship between a man and woman in the context of marriage is life giving is clear. It is also clear that this is an example through which we can discern God’s invisible attribute of being a life giving Spirit who wishes entry into our very being.
1 Corinthians 15:45 LEB Thus also it is written, "The first man, Adam, became a living soul"; the last Adam (Jesus) became a life-giving spirit.
The red flag of disease resulting from immoral activity is clear as well. Our ignorance or rejection of the spiritual realm brings down on our heads decay and corruption. This passage reveals that given such clear types and examples, we really are without excuse. If the book says don’t hit your thumb with the hammer, and you scoff and rebel and hit your thumb with the hammer anyway, you are without excuse when you reap pain and suffering.
Homosexual behavior cannot be condoned; the examples and consequences illustrate the foolish nature of such a path. Yet, we must love those who through ignorance or rebellion are in the path of consequences coming from a place they know not where.
John 6:63 LEB The Spirit is the one who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life.
In closing, I would like to echo John’s words:
1 John 1:1-3 LEB What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and our hands have touched, concerning the word of life— (2) and the life was revealed, and we have seen and testify and announce to you the eternal life which was with the Father and was revealed to us— (3) what we have seen and heard, we announce to you also, in order that you also may have fellowship with us, and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ.