Tag Archives: sexuality and gender in the Bible

LGBT+ and the Bible

Since many people today are struggling to understand the Bible’s teachings in relation to LGBT+, I recently did some further study on this in consultation with some highly regard spiritual and academic leaders in the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Having said that, the reflections that follow are my own and represent my current understanding on an issue that seems settled to many, yet is very unsettled to many others. I begin with a summary of I consider the biblical ideal on sexuality and gender. To believe in Jesus Christ is to believe in the whole Judeo-Christian Bible (Luke 24:44-45; John 5:39-40), including both Old (Hebrew Bible) and New (Greek Bible) Testaments. Our understanding of the biblical ideal must be grounded in biblical principles while at the same time considering the realities of today’s broken world.

The biblical teaching on sexuality and gender originates in the story of creation (Genesis 1-3). God created everything and everyone, and that creation was “very good” (Gen 1:31). In that context, the biblical ideal on gender is expressed in Genesis 1:26-27 for the whole human race. Human beings were created in the image of God. Being in the image of God expresses the extremely high value all human beings have in God’s sight. In Genesis 1, the image of God is introduced in the context of male and female, God’s original ideal regarding gender. God’s ideal on sexuality is expressed in Genesis 2:24 as occurring in the context of a lifelong marital relationship between a man and a woman. From the creation perspective, sexual relationships outside of such lifelong male/female partnerships fall short of God’s ideal.

These biblical ideals are not arbitrary decrees. They come from a loving Creator who desires our best good as human beings (John 10:10). Sexuality brings out the best (love, care, commitment– cf. SoS 4:1-16) and the worst (lust, indifference, exploitation– cf. 2 Sam 11:1-27; 13:1-33) in human beings. So expressions of sexuality outside the ideal can lead to destructive consequences. Without the stable foundation of a loving and intact family, children often grow up confused, alienated, and angry. A husband and wife, whose child is a living embodiment of their longstanding oneness, are the ideal guardians to which that child can be entrusted. Promiscuity of all kinds violates the ideal and results in consequences that can be clearly seen in society today. So the Seventh-day Adventist Church is on solid biblical grounds in opposing promiscuity of all kinds.

The biblical principles on gender and sexuality are re-affirmed by Jesus in Matthew 19:4-6 (ESV—cf. Mark 10:6-9). In response to a question about divorce, Jesus said: “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female (referring to Genesis 1:27), and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’ (quoting Genesis 2:24)?” In this statement, Jesus re-affirms the Genesis ideal for both gender and sexuality. The ideal, therefore, is not limited to the beginning of human history, it continues to be valid for the ongoing Christian community. Sexuality brings out the best in human beings when expressed in the context of loving, trusting relationships that grow deeper and deeper over a lifetime.

But that is not all the Bible has to say about this issue. Stay tuned.