This is an issue that affects all of us whether we like it or not. Born-again believers all over this country have been greatly impacted by the issue of homosexuality on at least three levels: on a cultural level, on an ecclesiastical level, and on a personal level. Culturally, it is not difficult to see its impact. Three years ago this month, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that same-sex marriage be legalized and recognized in all 50 states. With enough liberal pressure, the justices ruled that the fundamental right to marry was guaranteed to same-sex couples. That event was a major milestone for the LGBTQ community, and it only fueled their fervent vigor for equality and acceptance. Although that particular day was of significant impact, it was not the first time the LGBTQ community has made waves. You may recall the Supreme Court case involving Masterpiece Cakeshop, for example. Thankfully the SCOTUS sided with him in that case but nonetheless, the majority of the LGBTQ community rallied against him. There are dozens of other similar examples of this. Although the LGBTQ community is an extreme minority, our culture promotes and accepts their lifestyle and views as though heterosexuality were the minority.
The issue also affects us on an ecclesiastical level. Many contemporary churches have changed their views on the issue and crumbled underneath the weight of liberalism. Countless prominent “Christian” leaders, authors, and musicians have broken with the hard-line position against homosexuality and gay marriage. Several books have been written by “pastors” and “theologians” defending the LGBTQ lifestyle and movement. Additionally, churches have been forced to confront the issue biblically and deal with the consequences.
And finally, the issue affects all of us on a personal level. This issue comes close to home for a lot of us. Most of us know at least one person in the LGBTQ community, whether they are family, friends, or just acquaintances.
The LGBTQ issue affects us all because it has had such great influence. And there are several reasons why the LGBTQ movement has had great influence. But for the sake of time and to prevent distraction, I won’t examine and review all of those reasons right now. But one of the main reasons this sexual revolution has gained such a following and has had powerful influence is due to the belief that your sexual orientation is entirely dependent on your genetic makeup. In other words, if you are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender, you were born that way. All of us have heard that argument before. The argument follows that, if you are born that way, then it cannot be wrong and you cannot help it. If someone can be born gay, then a fair society could not possibly condemn him or her as being unnatural or immoral.
LGBTQ activists, the liberal media, and several scientists and researchers have actively encouraged the idea that sexuality (other than heterosexuality) is genetic, inherited, and therefore unchangeable. This idea has been proposed for many years and people have vehemently sought scientific evidence to back up the idea that one can be born gay.
Of course, this claim is not biblical in any sense. But it is also logically inconsistent and the scientific “evidence” is incoherent (we will see why in a moment). Additionally, some have sought to counter this claim by saying that you are not born that way, but that it is a choice. Some say that such a lifestyle is a choice and has nothing to do with your birth. Well, that isn’t a sufficient rebuttal. Presenting only those two options in this debate creates the problem of a false dichotomy. Saying, “You are either born that way or it is a choice,” basically says its either/or and it leaves no room for another option which might explain it better. That would be like someone saying to me, “Are you stupid or just ignorant?” That is saying that those are the only two possible options. There is no option available where I could be smart.
But what does the Bible say about being born gay? Does it teach this? Does it teach something else? Is it a choice? Why are people with atypical sexual orientations the way that they are? Well, we will not go through the entire Bible on this subject, we will only focus on the subject of the origin of a such a sexuality. Let’s consider the answer in five parts.
First, what does the Bible say? The Bible says that all persons are born into this world with a natural inclination towards sin (Gen. 8:21; Job 15:14; Psalm 14:2-3; 51:5; 58:3; Prov. 22:15; Eccl. 9:3; Jer. 17:9; Romans 1:24-32; 5:12-14; Eph. 2:1-3). That is, we are bent towards committing sin. From the moment we are born, our desire and appetite is for sin and our hatred is for God. We will always choose evil over good. We are born with this inclination because of the entrance, curse, and corruption of sin since the Fall. Consider the words of Paul about human nature in Romans 1 and 5. In Romans 1, he teaches that our nature has been radically corrupted and we are born into the world with that corrupted nature. In Romans 5, Paul explains how this came to be. He says that through one man’s disobedience we all became sinners. Speaking of Adam, Paul explains that we are Adam’s children when we are born into the world. From birth we act like Adam – we sin like Adam. Over in the Old Testament, David states that it was in sin he was conceived (Psalm 51:5). And in Psalm 58 he states that the wicked are estranged from birth (58:3). There are statements like this in every book of the Bible, statements which describe our corrupted nature as sinners. And the thing about those statements is that they imply we are corrupted since birth. We do not become corrupted post-birth. We are corrupted from the very genesis of our existence!
Just because we are born sinners doesn’t make us morally exempt, it doesn’t mean we won’t be held responsible, and it doesn’t make it God’s fault. It also doesn’t mean that people are born with an inclination towards specific sins or immoral lifestyles, either. The Bible doesn’t say that we are born in specific sins, only that we are born in sin. We will inevitably commit specific sins, but we are not bound to one sin over another – we are simply bound to sin (in a general sense). Obviously we will yield ourselves to all sorts of specific sins and immoral lifestyles, but that is not where our problem begins. Our problem begins with having a corrupted and sinful nature. So then, according to Scripture, people are not born gay, people are born sinners. You are not born gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, or something else. People are born sinners and because of the internal and external influence of sin, some will be more inclined towards sexual immorality. Even if you were born with tendencies towards sexual immorality, that doesn’t make it right and doesn’t mean you should act on it. A person may have a greater susceptibility to homosexuality because of the internal and external influence of sin. Because of the desires of his corrupted heart, or the influence of his environment, or the temptations of the world.
Second, there are logical problems with the claim that people are born gay. It is logically problematic to claim that you are born gay. Of course, the reason for such a claim is to suggest that one must not be responsible for his or her homosexuality since it was a part of them since birth. There’s a serious problem in the implication of that claim. The implication is that you are morally exempt on the basis of genetics. In other words, it must not be wrong if it’s a part of who you are from birth. But genetics do not trump morality. If I have a genetic tendency to be an alcoholic, that doesn’t make it morally acceptable. Also, no one would consider it morally acceptable for a person to be extremely perverse or violent even if they did have a genetic disposition to do so. Even if you are born with a predisposition towards something, that doesn’t make it right. Genetic makeup does not nullify moral responsibility. If Scripture says it’s wrong, it’s wrong. Even if you were born that way doesn’t change the Bible’s teaching or objective morality.
Furthermore, the claim that you are born gay is also logically inconsistent. If you begin to apply that claim to other areas, it becomes easily recognizable that it doesn’t hold up. For example, if it is true that you are born gay, then how do you explain twins who have different sexual preferences? Their genetics are all the same, so why does one turn out gay and another turn out straight? Since they have identical genetics, they should always share the same sexual preference, according to those who make this claim. In other words, if you are born gay because of your genetics, then those twins should either both be heterosexual or homosexual. There is no room for one to be straight and another to be gay. They either have to both be straight or both be gay if their genetics are identical. And you can easily see that this is a problem. One may turn out heterosexual and the other not.
Another way to see the logical inconsistency of this claim is to apply it to other predispositions. What if a person is born with a genetic disposition towards the hatred of homosexuals? If it is a part of their genetics, it cannot be wrong, based on their claim. If genetics solely determine sexual preference, then there can be no sexuality which is wrong. Being sexually attracted to monkeys, family members, or even children should therefore be just as morally acceptable. Obviously same-sex attraction (or anything other than heterosexuality) is not in the same category as those examples – the point is, when you begin to apply that claim to other sexual desires, it crumbles. And if the claim applies only to same-sex attraction, then it is logically inconsistent and even biased.
Third, the scientific “proof” is incoherent and inconclusive. No matter how much research you conduct, there is no scientific proof for such a thing as a “gay gene.” There is no genetic evidence that people are born gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender. The studies that have been done are extremely surface-level observations, and not actual chemical-developmental studies. The studies they have done are on adults, who have lived homosexual lifestyles for a long period of time. Researchers think that it is some profound discovery that homosexuals have homosexual desires. The only way to get accurate proof would be to study a developing child in the womb and none have done so (because it’s inhumane and impossible). In one of the most massive studies of gay individuals, the leading researcher admitted that even if such genes were found, they would have a very small effect and being gay would depend largely on environment. How is that conclusive proof? Other researchers state that if one has the so-called “gay gene,” it doesn’t even guarantee he will have homosexual tendencies. If it only increases their chances, but doesn’t guarantee anything, then how is that conclusive proof? The claim that you are born gay also introduces problems for the theory of evolution. For the naturalists conducting these studies, who firmly believe in evolution, how is same-sex attraction beneficial for human survival? If it is part of genetic makeup, it is either a problem from which we have not evolved, or it is something our species has evolved into for its own good. That stings either way you go. If it’s a genetic problem, then it is our duty to find solutions to fix it. If it’s a genetic good, then you would have to explain how non-reproduction helps the survival of the human race.
Fourth, saying that it is a choice doesn’t exactly resolve the issue. Something else to consider is that being homosexual is not as simple as a decisive conscious choice. There are conscious choices involved, most certainly. But there is clearly not just one decisive choice. There is always a conscious choice involved when you act on your sin, but it is not as though a person decides on a particular date in time that they will become homosexual. There is no decisive moment in a person’s life when they become gay. One simply has a pattern of giving in to the sin of sexual immorality and the longer that pattern continues, that person becomes characterized by the sin they commit. A person who lies compulsively does not make an appointment to become a liar. They become a liar through the continual act of lying. There were conscious choices made in their telling of lies, but there was no one-time decisive choice whereby they became a liar at that very moment.
Fifth and finally, how should Christians approach the issue? We are often mistaken in thinking that heterosexuality is the answer to this issue, but it is not. The gospel of Jesus Christ is the answer because it is the power of God for salvation (Rom. 1:16). We need to be a friend to anyone in the LGBTQ community, and we need to love them. Admittedly, it is far easier to sit in the judge’s bench when it comes to this issue. And it is far more difficult to express sincere love and concern. But we must avoid critical, overbearing, and unloving judgment, and we must pursue loving such individuals. Of course, part of the way we love them is telling them the truth. We must tell them the truth about their spiritual condition, the truth about God’s holiness and wrath, and the truth about Jesus Christ and His accomplished work. We don’t have to try to change them, the gospel will do that (1 Cor. 6:11).
Those who believe they are true Christians while practicing and condoning homosexuality must be evangelized with the gospel as well, since they demonstrate unbelief by their actions (1 John 3:4-10). There’s a difference between struggling with it in order to overcome, and approving, condoning, or proposing it (Rom. 1:32). A person truly saved will make a decisive break with that behavior though he may still struggle with it. On the other hand, a person who is unrepentant is unsaved.
So, what does the Bible say about being born gay? All persons are born with a natural inclination towards sin, but this doesn’t make sin right or God’s fault. And persons are not born into specific sinful lifestyles, and even if they were, it doesn’t make it right. Additionally, there is no scientific evidence to support such a claim.
What Does the Bible Say? is a question and answer series which seeks biblical answers to pressing questions.
Brandon is the founder and main contributor to Brandon’s Desk, the blog with free Christian resources from his ministry. He is proud to be the pastor of the family of believers at Locust Grove Baptist Church in Murray, Kentucky. He and his wife Dakota live there with their dog, Susie.