“But if two people love each other…” and what God says on the subject of love and lust

Preface

The battle of creation versus evolution defines our modern culture. These are two diametrically opposed beliefs systems about the world. One is based on God’s Word (the Bible) and the other is based on a materialistic (i.e., atheistic) view of the universe (no spiritual beings; everything is material and natural).

Usually when people hear about this war, they think about things like millions of years, natural selection, missing links, and the big bang. But how many people have stopped to consider how this war has infiltrated some of our most basic beliefs about such subjects as “love”? Even the issue of homosexual “love” is tied to this secular belief, but is it biblical love?

Introduction: Cultural Use of “Love”

One way that today’s culture tends to use the term “love” is in the context of homosexuality: “If two people love each other, then they should be able to get married.” Some people say they divorced because “they weren’t in love any more.” In fact, the word “love” is used all time in this secularized culture to mean many different things. But what is love really?

Some today evidently believe that love is a feeling when it comes to relationships such as engagements and marriage. And since feelings come and go, some believe love does too.

But biblical love is not a feeling. It is a choice that God makes (Deuteronomy 7:7, Ephesians 1:4), and we have to have a godly response in that love (consider responsive directives on how to love as given in 1 Corinthians 13:4–8 and examples set forth in Song of Solomon). In other words, love comes from God but we can embrace that love to its fullest only through a relationship with God by faith in Jesus Christ. This will be discussed more in a moment.

But in a materialistic notion—which is inherent to the secular humanistic belief system involving evolution, things like love, hate, honor, sadness, and so on are simply chemical reactions in the brain to stimulate your body to some survival advantage. So in a humanistic understanding, love is just chemicals responses, no different from hate.

In an evolutionist view, love is really meaningless. Secularists do love people (because the Bible is true), but there is no real meaning or basis for it in the evolutionist worldview. In that view, love is just chemical reactions in the body and is ultimately without meaning.

What Is Love?

Love is a biblical concept. Christ, who is God, is love and He is the very standard of love and the ultimate source of love (1 John 4:7–8). Love is not a feeling but something much deeper and much more rooted in the very Savior Himself. For love comes from God (e.g., Romans 5:5; Deuteronomy 30:6) since He is the absolute standard of love and for us to have love, it must have come from God.

Inherently, love is not material, since God is not material but is instead spiritual or non-material (John 4:24). Love transcends the material world, though God has made us to be able to interact with and show love. When God made man, He made us in His image (Genesis 1:26–27, Genesis 9:6). Take note of the significance here: man is made in the image of a loving God. This is why humans are capable of love in the first place. Rocks, don’t love, people do.[1]

God, Homosexuality, Love, and Lust

There are many kinds of love in the Bible (e.g., brotherly love, love between God and man, love between husband and wife, loving one’s enemies, etc.), but I want to address an issue in which a relationship in our culture between two people of the same sex (e.g., sodomy) is often called love (as in husband-and-wife type of love) but biblically is not love.

A common argument today is that if two men love each other or two women love each other in a romantic sense, they should be allowed to “marry” (i.e., homosexual “marriage”).[2] They want to marry because they are “in love.”[3] This is often hailed in the secular press as “progress” in the discussion of marriage. Such instances are actually digression in marriage (destruction of marriage), not progression (revelation of true marriage) by the way, since marriage is no longer definable in an absolute sense in the secular view.

Furthermore, marriage is a biblical concept as well. Christ, who is God, created the first marriage; He defines it as one man and one woman for life (Matthew 19:4–6; Genesis 1:27 and 2:18–24). Sadly, the secularists want to hijack “marriage” and make it their own (keep in mind that they must borrow from the Bible to say marriage even exists). But herein lies a problem.

In the secular evolutionary worldview, there is no basis for defining marriage. Since man is just an animal in the humanistic worldview, and in the animal world we can find the equivalent of rape, sex with multiple short-term partners, polygamy, cannibalism, as well as life-long commitment of a male and female and more, then all those social relationships can be valid for man. Some even seek to justify homosexual human behavior by claiming that even homosexual behavior is seen in the animal world.[4] But note, some animals are also cannibals. So animal behavior is certainly no basis for human behavior.

From a biblical perspective, the last place we would want to seek morality is by looking at cursed animals (Genesis 3:14) living in a sin-cursed world and broken world (Romans 8:22). Instead, God’s Word is the only source of perfect morality.

As noted before, in a secular worldview that includes materialism and evolution, love is ultimately meaningless. Some might say that love is meaningful to them as a way of showing affection, giving pleasure, or producing offspring. However, in the secular worldview, even the concept of “meaning” is not material and shouldn’t be used as though it were something tangible, so even that concept is borrowed from the Bible.

But really, love would be no different from hate, being merely a chemical reaction. So “love” in a secular worldview, could be anything and defined as anything, and hence arbitrary and meaningless. So why would anyone appeal to a secular worldview, if they really believe love and marriage exists? A secular worldview cannot make sense of love and marriage. Appealing to a secular worldview to build a case for the existence of love is self-refuting.

Marriage is a biblical institution as God created a man and a woman, which was the first marriage, in a literal Garden of Eden when reading Genesis in a straightforward and plain fashion.[5] Love comes from the God of the Bible. These are inherent to the biblical worldview but not a secular one. A biblical marriage is between two people—a man and a woman and covenantal with God.

Similarly, many homosexual “marriages” are between two people who are of the same sex, but why only two? Why not three or four (as some are actually doing)? Those who want to have homosexual “marriages” because they are in “love” are really borrowing from the Bible to even begin to make sense of “love” and “marriage.” But why do they only borrow some of the Bible (love and marriage) and reject or ignore the rest of the Bible (such as homosexuality being a sin and the need for repentance)?[6] If one were to be consistent, they should borrow the entire Bible, but by doing this, it introduces some big problems; here is a brief look at some of these inconsistencies.

Biblical View of Homosexuality

First, God’s Word repeatedly condemns homosexual behavior as serious sin (Genesis 19:4–7; Leviticus 18:1, 22; Leviticus 20:1, 13; Judges 19:22–25; Romans 1:22–32, 1 Corinthians 6:9–11; 1 Timothy 1:8–11, Jude 1:4–8). Scripture also says that those who are sexually immoral (which includes homosexuality) will not enter into heaven (Revelation 21:8; 22:15) and cannot be counted as the kingdom of God (1 Corinthians 6:9–10) unless they repent and turn from such sin as some did in the first century (1 Corinthians 6:11). So this is indeed a serious sin. But we must quickly add that Romans 1 and other passages cited also condemn many other sins too.

Marriage is Between a Man and a Woman

Second, the Bible repeatedly affirms marriage is between a man and a woman. This is affirmed throughout Scripture and is based on the fact that God made the first two humans as male and female and created the first marriage at the beginning. Jesus, who is God, made this clear in Matthew 19:4–5 and Mark 10:1–12, when he defended marriage by quoting Genesis 1 and 2 as literal history.[7] There are a number of examples in the Old Testament where people violated the created order and took multiple wives, but often in these instances, someone is not really loved in those relationships (e.g., Genesis 29:31, 2 Chronicles 11:21).

Lust, Not Love

Third, love is given from God. Don’t mistake how powerful this last point is. Love comes from God, and God opposes homosexuality, so how can homosexual love be the same love that God gives between a man and a woman?

God explains this further that these unnatural relations—between man and man or woman and woman—are not love, but instead are described in the Bible as “vile passions” and “burning in lust” for one another. These unnatural relations are a distortion and marring of love that is misperceived. Romans 1:24–28 states,

Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting;

This part of Romans is discussing judgment on those who have refused to give glory or be thankful to God. They suppressed the knowledge of God’s invisible attributes and eternal Godhead (as unmistakably seen though His creation per Psalm 97:6 and Romans 1:18–21), but instead they wanted to suppress this knowledge that is understood from creation.[8] So therefore, God gave them over to debased minds and unnatural lust.

Those involved in homosexual activities have been given over to a mind that cannot think properly until they repent and God may grant them understanding (2 Timothy 2:25–26). They cannot see the error of homosexuality nor can they properly assess what love really is so long as their minds are truly darkened, so they misunderstand their lust as a false perception of love.

This is the result of sin. Sin distorts the truth and tarnishes what love really is. As a result, the person is given over to vile passions that are lust, and the person is confused and thinks that lust is love. Such fleshly lusts are not love that comes from God the Father (1 John 2:15–16).

Oh how my heart breaks that such people have never experienced true love that comes from God and they are only left with such vile feelings that they mistake for love. My hope is to see people repent and turn to God and find out what true love really is through Jesus Christ who illuminates their understanding and draws them (John 1:9; John 12:32).

Conclusion

Many in our culture have been turned over to a tarnished view of love, and it is not just in the case of homosexuality but also those who say they no longer love their spouse or think other forms of sexual immorality are “love.” Since we are made in the image of God, we are capable of love, but people pervert their God-given love to their own detriment (Proverbs 17:19; Psalm 52:3–4; Micah 3:2).

Homosexual behavior is sin. As such, Christians should treat homosexual behavior as they treat other sins. They should lovingly show those who practice homosexual behavior that they are sinners who need to repent before an almighty, loving God.

Our hope is to see Christ lifted up (i.e., love God first and foremost; see John 14:21, 15:9–10 and Mark 12:30–31), and to see people humble themselves and repent of their sins, whether homosexuality or any other sins (Luke 13:3). For above all, we want to see people saved from sin to escape the snare they have been trapped in and therefore, experience true love that comes only from God so that they will love God and others in a proper manner (see John 14:21, John 15:9–10 and Mark 12:30–31). Then God may grant them knowledge of the truth (2 Timothy 2:25–26).

Cite this article: B Hodge, Biblical Authority Ministries, July 14, 2016, https://biblicalauthorityministries.wordpress.com/2016/07/14/but-if-two-people-love-each-other-and-what-god-says-on-the-subject-of-love-and-lust/.

[1] Pets, like dogs and cats, are not made in the image of a loving God. Pets can be trained to show affection, but that doesn’t mean it is true biblical love; keep in mind that your enemy, your employees, and your computer can be made to show affection, but that doesn’t mean they really love you.

[2] There are a number of examples in the Old Testament where people violated the created order and took multiple wives, but often in these instances, someone is not really loved in those relationships (e.g., Genesis 29:31, 2 Chronicles 11:21).

[3] These are not marriages in any biblical sense, but rather a secular contract with the government for tax purposes and so on. Sadly, this replaces God with the government. A biblical marriage is actually a covenant between a man and a woman and God since God is the one who ultimately unites them (Matthew 19:6, Mark 10:9).

[4] See item 5 in http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/2012/08/18/news-to-note-08182012.

[5] Genesis is written as a historical narrative so there is no reason to allegorize it.

[6] I suggest the underlying reason many people do this is because they have elevated their own thoughts and beliefs to supersede God. They have essentially viewed themselves as “the supreme god” and demoted the true, supreme God so they can be in a position to judge what they want to keep from God’s Word and reject what they don’t want. In the end, it is God’s Word that will judge every thought and action (e.g., John 12:48; Hebrews 4:13; 1 Peter 4:5), which is a reminder to all of us to repent of such things and hold to the authority of the Bible as absolute.

[7] The apostle Paul also taught that the marriage relationship of a man and a woman was to be a picture of Christ’s relationship to the church (Ephesians 5:22–32).

[8] “The world was created by the word of God (Gen. 1:3; John 1:3; Col. 1:16; Heb. 1:2) and thereby reflects the mind and character of God (Rom. 1:20). Man was created as the image of God (Gen. 1:16-27) and thus cannot escape the face of God. There is no environment where man can flee to escape the revelational presence of God (Ps. 19:1-4) and all people see His glory (Ps. 97:6).” Bahnsen, G., Always Ready, Covenant Media Press, Nacogdoches, TX, 1996, p. 38.

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“But if two people love each other…” and what God says on the subject of love and lust

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