The word “straight” and the acronym LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) seem to represent two different perspectives on preferred sexual expressions. But it runs much deeper than sex and how love is expressed or should be expressed.
If one accepts the Judeo/Christian version on the origin of human beings on this planet, then one can’t be or should not be other than “straight.”
The Bible presents the position that man was created by a Sovereign God and in the image and likeness of God. (Gen.1:26,27). Mankind is seen as the temple of God, a holy and sacred creation. “Be ye holy for I the Lord your God Am holy.” (Lev.19:2).
“Thou shalt not lie with mankind as with womankind… Neither shalt thou lie with any beast to defile thyself therewith.” (Lev. 18:23).
Every reputable manufacturer prepares a manual giving guidance and instructions on how best to care for the manufactured product in order to get the very best results for your investment.
God, as a reputable manufacturer of the best product in the world, (the human being and the human body) has given specific instructions on what and how the human body and mind and spirit should be used and cared for in order to achieve healthy and happy longevity. The scriptures preserve those instructions.
On the other hand, if one believes that human beings are here because of some cosmic accident or an evolutionary process spanning millions of years, the perspective is significantly different.
Such a human being, following the pagan-Greek -and Roman view of human origin, does not or chooses not to be guided by the Judeo/Christian and biblical view.
The pagan, secular humanism which flourished during the 15th and 16th centuries across Western Europe as a result of the renewed study of Greek and Roman literature and the influence such had on conditioning the minds of its students, resulted in a de-emphasis of God as Creator, Christ as Redeemer and man’s accountability to his Creator.
Instead, man and the study of man became the ultimate focus and purpose of life. The cherished thought which found expression from the lips of worshippers of Jehovah, was, “O Lord, my God, how great Thou art” was replaced with “what a wondrous thing is man; I am a man and nothing that is human seems alien to me.”
Reflecting on the words of Socrates, “Man, know thyself,” man tended to become something more: “the centre of interest, the norm of everything, the measure of the whole world.”
Without a moral code of conduct, the accepted posture was, “follow nature.” “Following nature meant a total obedience to natural instincts.”
The Corinthians had an argument, “the stomach was made for food and the food for stomach. Food and stomach naturally and inevitably go together. In precisely the same way, the body is made for its instincts; it is made for the sexual act and the sexual acts made for it; therefore, let the desires of the body have their sway.” The concept of morality became “altogether irrelevant”.
The ancient Greeks had a great fascination with the human body especially that of a very athletic and nude youthful male body. They reproduced such in sculpture.
In Corinth was the prevailing concept that the body was of no importance. One was free to do as he liked with it. The greatest fascination of an adult male was the body of a young male in the pink of health. The name Corinth was synonymous with debauchery and its reputation was known throughout the civilized world. In Corinth was the great temple of Aphrodite, the goddess of love. At that temple lived one thousand priestesses who were sacred prostitutes.
At one time, Plato had written that “same sex lovers were far more blessed than ordinary mortals.” Later, he changed his mind and contradicted his previous pronouncements. In his change of attitude he wrote, “Homosexual sex will be treated the same way as incest. It is something contrary to nature, and although there wouldn’t be laws against it, nevertheless a propaganda programme will encourage everyone to say that it is utterly unholy, odious to the gods and ugliest of ugly things.”
The most widespread and socially significant form of same sex sexual relations in ancient Greece was between an adult male and a pubescent or adolescent boy. This was known as padarasty.
Historians say that “Rome conquered Greece but Greece conquered Rome.” Rome adopted and added to their culture much of the social practices of Greece. Rome made provision for every form of sexual expression and perversion. Society, from top to bottom was riddled with unnatural vice.
Fourteen of the first 15 emperors of Rome practised “unnatural vice.” Nero, a Roman emperor chose as his wife Sporus, a boy whom he had castrated then married with a full marriage ceremony, took home in procession to his palace and lived with as wife. Seneca wrote, “Women were married to be divorced and to be married.”
Juvenal said of Rome, “No guilt or deed of lust is wanting since Roman poverty disappeared… Money, the nurse of debauchery and enervating riches sapped the sinews of the age with foul luxury.”
The New Testament theologian and scholar Paul came face to face with these prevailing vices and desires when he visited the churches in Corinth and Rome. He had to evaluate and advise on what was a part of societal practice and political preference.
In advising, he taught the Judeo principles as shared by the Old Testament prophet Moses and others.
To the Romans, he referred to “vile affections”; “women who changed the natural use into that which is against nature,” and “men burned in their lust one towards another, leaving the natural use of the women; men with men working that which is unseemly and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet.” (Rom.1:24-27).
Saint Paul concludes that because of these choices and the following of such unnatural desires, “God abandoned them to dishonorable passions.”
This pastor of the church at Corinth outlined to them a terrible catalogue of sins that is a grim commentary on the debauched civilization in which the Corinthian church was growing up.
1 Corinthians 6:9-11 records a list of practices very evident in the world and community in which Paul pastored. He reminded his church membership that some of them were caught up in some of these practices at some time in the past but something happened: “You have been washed; you have been consecrated; you have been put into a right relationship with God through the name of our Lord Jesus Christ and through the Spirit of our God.”
Indeed, human nature has not changed much since the time of Paul. Rome influenced much of Western Europe, including Britain. It was not selective in what DNA, cultivated or inherited tendencies it left behind.
The malady is the same today, and the recommended cure is the same. The power of Christ is still the same. No man can change himself but his Creator knows very well how to recreate him.
J.A. Froude the great historian said: “One lesson, and one lesson only, history may be said to repeat with distinctness, that the world is built somehow on moral foundations, that, in the long run, it is well with the good, and, in the long run, it will be ill with the wicked.”
(Everette Howell is a retired Seventh Day Adventist pastor)