How could God punish homosexuals? Homosexuality is not a choice” – Argument from many homosexual apologists.
I will start by agreeing on this: I do not believe people should be punished for acts they did not choose.
Some gay apologists try to change the Christian opinion on gay sexuality by telling us the Bible was translated wrong all these years. My problem lies in what they try to change the meaning to. A side effect of the understanding in much of gay apologetic material, is that God rejects child (boy) rape victims for being victims.
Here are the verses they re-interpret, with the Greek words they dispute un-translated:
Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor [malakos], nor [arsenokoitai], nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God. (1 Cor 6:9-11)
Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, for [pornoi], for [arsenokoitai ], for manstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine; (1 Ti 1:9-10)
Arsenokoitai is translated in most Bibles with words like homosexuals or sodomites . Therefore, gay apologists will obviously try and tell us it means something else. One of their favorite answers is to call it a rapist of slaves or children. Here is the teaching from one of the first search results found in Google, a page with the title “Bible abuse directed at homosexuals”:
When paired with arsenokoitai, malakos seems to refer to a person that is a victim of sex with men – a slave, a prostitute, a catamite, a victim of rape – someone perhaps drawn into temple sexual rituals, and not necessarily male. With this word Paul is referring to the victim of sexual (and financial?) coercion, whether pederasty, pedophilia, rape, or forced prostitution. And if malakos indicated an underage male prostitute, the following arsenokoites would mean the one who forced himself on the youth. This would apply to heterosexual gay-for-pay prostitutes as well, as it would in any case where a male was subjected to forced sexual activity. – Bible Abuse Directed at Homosexuals
According to them, malakos – meaning soft when used as a pronoun, but used as a noun here- mean a child slave kept for sexual purposes, and arsenokoittai is the pervert who uses a boy prostitute. But the problem with that understanding, in my eyes, is that it claims a victim of rape will not inherit the kingdom of God.
1 Ti 1:10 likewise contain arsenekoitai, in this case preceded by pornoi (translated as whoremonger, adulterers, fornicators, immoral persons or immoral persons, depending on the Bible translation). In this case, some gay apologists translate pornoi as the victim with no choice in the matter, the arsenokoitai as the user of the kidnapped slave, and manstealer as the person who kidnapped him. Here is one example:
From the repeated pairs or triads made up of synonyms or near synonyms, one might expect that whoremongers, “malakoi arsenokoitai,” and menstealers are interconnected with a common theme — just like the other pairs and triads in the list… Cannon suggests:
- “pornoi” refers to an enslaved male prostitute.
- “arsenokoitai” refers to a man who forces sex on an enslaved male prostitute
- “andrapodistes” refers to a person who kidnaps and enslaves people
– From “Same gender sexual behavior in the Christian Scriptures: The “clobber passages”
Should I really believe that the victim is on the same level as his kidnapper and his abuser, and should be mentioned with them in a sin list? I don’t.
Now, some of the very people who tell us “How could God punish homosexuals? Homosexuality is not a choice”, tell us God will punish people for things that are not a choice. But not the gays. Other people. And not always other people either. At least some gays were sexually abused as children.
Compared to that, the common Christian belief that God will punish people not for being homosexual, but for homosexual intercourse (but of course, it can be repented and forgiven by Christ), looks positively benign to me. Please note that I am not teaching you how you should understand the Bible on this. I am no Bible translater. I am only rejecting one suggested meaning as incompatible with the character of the Christian God, in my view.
As long as gay apologists claim the Christian God is so unjust that he will reject people for being rape victims, I have to conclude that gay apologetics obviously cannot be right about this. Re-interpreting the Bible responsibly is one thing. Believing God excludes people from the Kingdom for the crimes of another is not.
PS: Here I ask New Testament scholar and Bible translator Craig Blomberg in two comments on how that should be understood, and he answers.