The Example of Sodom and Gomorrah
Perhaps the most well-known Bible story used by some in an attempt to show God’s disapproval of homosexuality is the account of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah (in Genesis 19). But not everyone agrees that that account is condemning homosexuality. For example, I recently read of one person’s opinion on the matter, and they evidently concluded that “other biblical references to Sodom say violation of Judaism’s strict hospitality codes, among other offenses, caused the city’s destruction by God, not same sex offenses.” Could such a conclusion be true?
The Bible student should immediately be able to see some holes in that argument: (1) those “strict hospitality codes” of Judaism (inferring the Law of Moses) did not come into existence until about 400 years after Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed by God; (2) the Law of Moses was only given to the Israelites (the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah, who predated Israel, were not Israelites); and (3) while it is true that Sodom and Gomorrah were known for various kinds of wickedness (Ezek. 16:48-50), Jude reveals that the primary reason for the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah was sexual perversion: “having given themselves over to sexual immorality and gone after strange flesh” (Jude 7). The expression “gone after strange flesh” is comparable to what Paul said was “against nature” (Rom. 1:26-27, which he defined as “men with men” and women with women).
Also consider Genesis 19:5, which says, “And they called to Lot and said to him, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us that we may know them carnally” (Gen. 19:5). To “know” in this sense means to have sexual relations with (compare to Gen. 4:1; Matt. 1:25). Simply put, the men of Sodom desired to have sexual relations with the men staying in Lot’s house.
Considering that in previous articles (in this series) we have already discovered that both the Old Testament (Lev. 18:22; 20:13) and the New Testament (Rom. 1:26-27; 1 Cor. 6:9-10) regard homosexuality as a sin, this article may seem a little redundant. However, because there is often an interest in the story of Sodom (especially with regard to the topic of homosexuality) I felt it worthwhile to discuss. I sincerely hope that this effort helps you in your quest to find God’s answer to the question, “Is homosexuality really a sin”?