Same-Sex Love?

Question
Romans 1 is a text that speaks about sexual "lust," not sexual "love." Is it proper to assume that same-sex love (not lust) is allowed by the Bible?
Answer
In answering this question it is necessary to define some biblical terms from God's holy perspective and to understand God's definition of "love" in regards to couples (families). Biblical romantic love is expressed in Scripture as a union that can only exist between opposite sexes, resulting in a biblical family. When God looked for a mate for Adam, he did not find a suitable one from the animal kingdom, nor did he simply make Adam #2 for Adam #1. He made Eve, a person of the opposite sex (Gen. 2:18-25). John Frame, professor of Systematic Theology at Reformed Theological Seminary states:
The family begins when God creates man "male and female" (Gen. 1:27). Genesis 2:18-25 gives a longer account of the creation of woman, and makes it clear that the two sexes are designed for marriage (verses 24-25). The two are to "be fruitful and multiply" (Gen. 1:28) so as to fill and subdue the earth. So, the family is, first of all, the means God has given to carry out the cultural mandate. The cultural mandate cannot be carried out by one person alone, [nor may it be carried out by a "same sex love" ethic]. It requires the labors of many: families and families of families male and female. [wording and emphasis mine].
God has structured from the very beginning the context of biblical sexual and family love, therefore it is impossible for a homosexual relationship to be one of biblical love. Consequently, for this and other reasons, the Bible calls the homosexual relationship "unnatural" in Romans 1. The word "natural" never means "what is natural to me" in either Greek literature or the Bible [De Young, 1988). D. Patrick Ramsey, writing about Romans 1 states:
Furthermore, verse 27 says that the male leaves or abandons the "natural use of the female." This abandonment is not subjective or personal (one's personal sexual orientation); it is objective and generic (sexual function of the female). One reason God created man in two genders (male and female) was for the purpose of sexual satisfaction. The female was made for the male and the male for the female. Hence, Paul says that the husband's body belongs to the wife and the wife's body belongs to the husband (1 Cor. 7). Each is to find sexual fulfillment in the other. Consequently, when a male seeks sexual pleasure in another male, Paul says he leaves the created or "natural" use of the female. In short, according to Romans 1:26-27, homosexuality is not "normal" or "natural." Neither is it innocent or morally acceptable. It is unnatural and sinful.
Thus, biblically we understand that the same-sex love, or a homosexual relationship, is one that is sinful (lustful, not loving) by biblical standards. Romans 1:18-32 is very specific:
The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities his eternal power and divine nature have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles. Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator who is forever praised. Amen. Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion. Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done. They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Although they know God's righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.

As seen above, the general defense of homosexuality or same-sex love is also foreseen in Scripture (Rom. 1:28) since it is based in a depraved nature (as all sin is). One interested in defending the homosexual lifestyle is simply exchanging the truth of God for a lie (Rom. 1:25). Changing the terms or phrase (i.e. homosexuality to same-sex love) does not change the reality of the sin or its punishment in the present (disease, etc.) and in eternity. Homosexual relationships, or same-sex love, must be punished according to God's holy nature. However, there remains for the elect that have been enslaved by such relationship(s) a deliverance and rebirth in the beloved hands of the only Redeemer, the Lord Jesus Christ (Eph. 1:7; Col. 1:14; cf. John 3:1-8).

Reference

De Young, James, "The Meaning of 'Nature' In Romans 1 and its Implications for Biblical Proscriptions of Homosexual Behavior," JETS 31 (1988): 438.

Related Links:

Were Ruth and Naomi Lesbians?
Antinomianism and Homosexuality?
Is Passive Homosexuality Permitted in Scripture? - 1 Corinthians 6:9
The Queen James Bible?
No Cake for You?
Homosexuality and the Centurion's Servant?
Practicing Homosexuals Can Go to Heaven?
Homosexuality or Inhospitality? - Genesis 19:5
Was David a Homosexual? - 1 Samuel 18:1-4
Isaiah and Homosexuals? - Isaiah 56:3
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Answer by Dr. Joseph R. Nally, Jr.

Dr. Joseph R. Nally, Jr., D.D., M.Div. is the Theological Editor at Third Millennium Ministries (IIIM).