One of the responses that people have towards the practice of homosexuality is that it’s unnatural. These people say things like, “Animals aren’t gay, so that proves that it’s not how God made people.” When I was growing up, this was a very common statement. I think I’ve even heard it preached from the pulpit of a few churches and have heard it stated by many Christians.
As a heterosexual male, it’s easy to understand why other heterosexuals would find this argument convincing. Since homosexuality isn’t natural to us, it’s easy to think we’ve got the high ground in the argument. However, if you really think through the implications of this idea, you’ll find that its got some serious problems.
First off, there are plenty of things that I do or don’t do that many other people consider “natural.” For example, I hate broccoli. I can’t eat it. If you put cheese on it, you’ve ruined my cheese. But many other people love that veggie and it seems very natural to them to eat it.
As you can see, that argument about what’s considered “natural” doesn’t really work unless you are the one determining what is “natural” (which I assure I am not trying to do!).
Yet these are the types of objections that Christians give towards homosexuality and time and time again, I find myself shaking my head. It’s kind of like how Christians used to spend a lot of time trying to debate whether or not people are born gay. To suggest to evangelicals that people were predisposed to homosexuality was to pander to culture and to concede ground to the “liberals.” Yet again, that’s silly. In fact, related to both of these issues, the Feindberg’s wrote,
“Homosexuality is the result of a variety of causes, none of which decisively determines sexual preference. There may be some biological factors which either predispose or contribute to homosexuality, and the home environment is also a significant factor. Still, in cases where all of these elements are present, one will not necessarily become a homosexual.” (Ethics for a Brave New World, 189)
I’d take the Feindberg’s statement one step further. The same is probably true about heterosexuality. There’s plenty that shapes us into heterosexuals me thinks.
Here’s are the two main reason why I won’t use the example of “nature” or “creation” in my argument against homosexuality.
(1) As many sociologists have indicated, the practice of homosexuality is found in the “animal world” (nature). In fact, according to one study, this practice is found among 1500 species (Wikipedia has some references here). On top of this, most will acknowledge that there’s a ontological difference between human beings created in the image of God and all of the creatures on earth. That shouldn’t be an excuse to ignore earth care, but is certainly something to be aware of.
(2) Creation is broken. I’m surprised that this generally conceded Christian doctrine isn’t more influential in our thinking on human sexuality in general. Sure, God’s “invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world” (Rom. 1:20), the apostle Paul also wrote that creation is under God’s curse, which is why all of creation is eager for the consummation of redemption (Rom. 8:20-23).
So next time you hear someone say, “Nature proves that homosexuality isn’t natural,” remind them that this is overlooks both the evidence around us as well as ignores what Scripture says regarding our broken humanity. Or, as the Reformed Tradition likes to remind us: man is radically depraved. Our sinful nature affects everything.
Thankfully, the power of the gospel, by the Holy Spirit, can equally affect and influence everything. So there’s a lot of hope.
Luke is a pastor-theologian living in northern California, serving as a co-lead pastor with his life, Dawn, at the Red Bluff Vineyard. Father of five amazing kids, when Luke isn’t hanging with his family, reading or writing theology, he moonlights as a fly fishing guide for Confluence Outfitters. He blogs regularly at LukeGeraty.com and regularly contributes to his YouTube channel.