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Homosexuality–What Was The Sin of Sodom?

For the longest time the sin of Sodom was clearly connected clearly with homosexuality.  In the United States in particular we had laws against sodomy, which made homosexuality a crime.  Most people, if asked today, would say the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah was homosexual behavior.

However, this assumption has been challenged of late.  Bible scholars and students of the Bible have claimed that the sin of Sodom should not be linked with homosexuality.

The normal argument made against Sodom being an example of homosexual activity is that later Old Testament passages state a different reason for Sodom’s demise.  Although most of the later Old Testament usage of Sodom is to illustrate how God will destroy a sinful nation, there are a few passages that speak of the sin of Sodom.  One is Ezekiel 16:49, 50. It states that Sodom’s sin was pride and choosing not to take care of the poor and needy though they had the ability to do so.  Another is Jeremiah 23:14, which states their sin was adultery, lying, and not repenting.  A third is Isaiah 3:9, which states the sin is a lack of justice.  The argument made from these passages is that the sin of Sodom is not homosexuality, but rather injustice, specifically toward the poor.

This argument is sound; in as far as it goes.  It is sound to say that Sodom was involved in other sinful practices besides homosexuality.  It is also a good corrective to those who describe the sin of Sodom in a singular way.  It was not just one sin that Sodom was committing, but many.

However, the argument that homosexuality is not a part of the sinful equation in Sodom is lacking for a few reasons.  First, the Genesis account of Sodom.  The account of the men of the city (all the men) wanting to commit homosexual acts against the visiting angels (who appeared to them as men) is in Genesis to provide for us an illustration of the sin of Sodom.   It is showing why God is just in destroying this city.  We cannot get around the fact that the particular way chosen to illustrate Sodom’s sin was the desire to commit homosexual acts.

Second, in Ezekiel specific sins are mentioned and then a general term is used to describe Sodom’s sins.  The general term is “abominable things.”  This is the same word used to characterize homosexuality in Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13 (more on those verses in this post).  Thus, it is possible, and maybe even likely, that Ezekiel has homosexuality in mind.

Third, God’s revelation does not stop with the Hebrew Bible.  The New Testament also describes the sins of Sodom.  Two are important to our discussion (and will be looked at in more detail later).  They are 2 Peter 2:7, 8 and Jude 7.  In these verses the sin of Sodom is put in sexual terms.  And the idea of strange flesh in Jude 7 would refer to homosexual behavior.

Putting this all together, we have certain conclusions.  First, Sodom was not condemned for a single sin, but rather a plethora of sins.  Second, although the Old Testament does speak of other sins condemning Sodom, it does not mean that Sodom was not also condemned for homosexuality.  Third, the fact that the desire for homosexual relations was used in the Genesis account to illustrate Sodom’s sins cannot be overlooked.  Fourth, the New Testament (and if our space would have permitted Jewish literature) shows that Sodom was condemned in part because of homosexual behavior.

 

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25 Comments

  1. Thanks for the post, Wesley. In Romans 1, Paul describes what people become like when they turn away from God. In addition to homosexuality, this godlessness leads to “all manner of unrighteousness.” Sodom provides a graphic illustration of this condition.

    If we take the zine’s authors at their word, then homosexuality can be a problem for people who are otherwise trying to live moral and godly lives. Not everyone who struggles with homosexuality is also guilty of all the other sins of Sodom (or Romans 1). But that doesn’t mean that homosexuality is not still a sin, one against which the wrath of God has been revealed.

  2. Clearly what it all boils down to is those who commit these acts as well as others are preparing their hearts to become hard thus giving birth to a depraved mind. A depraved mind can be seen in the actions of the men of Sodom when the Angels of God arrived. There was no concern, care, nor causality for their actions, they were driven out of depravity. Being depraved one is without reasoning ability, logic is foreign to their thought and their actions are driven out of fleshly desire. All the things listed in the ascribed text will lead one to a depraved mind via they come from a Hard Heart (Matt 15:18,19). Solomon tells us what happens when we choose and develop a “Haughty Spirit” (Pro.16:18) which those in OT times as those today do. Excellent and even more so correct conclusion on your post.

  3. Wesley

    March 25, 2011 at 3:52 pm

    Thanks for adding to the discussion Eric and Timmy.

  4. Just a short note,,,,
    Speaking of depravity all you have to do is watch a homosexual prade down city streets!!!!!!!!!! Also I believe Paul in Ro. 1:… used the worst example of the sins of Sodom!!

    Thanks Dwayne

  5. clearly you are trying to weasel your way to “soften” the sin of homosexuals. Could it be that you are in league with them and perhaps are one in the closet?
    If you had read the Bible and know a little of history you would find that almost every city/state in history would be condemmed for “not doing enough for the needy…” as you so foolishly try to persuade others to your way of life. If God destroyed Sodom for that sin “not doing enough…” he would have had to destroy every city on earth.
    So something about that city waS DIFFERENT. What was different? The difference was that ALL the men of that city wanted to have sex with other MEN, kinda like a few places in California specifically

  6. Wesley

    March 28, 2011 at 2:45 pm

    Bud ris,

    I have no clue how you could read the article and come to the conclusion you did. But you have, so let me address it.

    I’m not trying to soften any sin. I’m trying to be honest with the text. Unless you want to claim that Ezekiel, Amos, and Isaiah softened the sin of homosexuality by pointing out the other sins that Sodom was guilty of, which also lead to its judgment, then you really can’t say I’m being soft on sin.

    I was clear that the Bible teaches that homosexuality was a reason why Sodom was destroyed. In fact it was the reason that God chose to highlight in Genesis 19. However, later Scripture also makes it clear that God destroyed it for other reasons as well. Sorry that you do not like what Scripture teaches on the subject.

    As to your comment on California. I think that to say that ALL men in a certain city in California are homosexual is very offensive to those Christian men who live in those areas. I am in agreement that depravity has strongholds in certain California cities, but your statement is just plain wrong.

    As to your accusation on my sexuality, I have no need to address such foolishness.

  7. Well Wesly, you see the problem is not that you did not “mention” that homosexual actions are the reason but only that is is only a “part of..” the reason. “We cannot get around the fact that the particular way chosen to illustrate Sodom’s sin was the desire to commit homosexual acts” is another attempt soften the terrible sinfulness of that act. You are still trying to change the mind of everyone to accept this as only another little infringement of God’s Word. Obviously if you have sinned in any way it is a sin. However, there are degrees of sin – as sin to death such as this sin.
    You are so much like so many others who know that reasonable people cannot accept a radical change in their belief system so you work to get them to accept small changes that won’t alarm them. Then – after many small changes the “leap” to full acceptance is not a leap, but only a baby step which won’t even be noticed anymore.
    Look, if you are as you say you are, there are some things you cannot negotiate on, and this is only one of them. But this one is probably much more dangerous than many others.
    Unfortunately you are like so many of your so called liberal friends who acknowledge their “faith” as a code word to show that you do not acknowledge God and Jesus Christ. Come on man! I much more respect a man who says what he really feels than a wiley sneaky serpent hypocritically taking advantage of those who do not know the truth.

  8. Wesley

    March 28, 2011 at 3:36 pm

    This might be the first time I’ve been called a liberal. Also I’m not trying to hide anything. My attempt is to go through all the texts that deal with the issue of homosexuality and then proclaim clearly what the Bible teaches. We are only in the beginning of this series (I would suggest you read the other stuff I have written).

    Here is your problem. You don’t want to deal with what Scripture actually says. I have not denied the sinfulness of homosexuality. I will show in my next post that God calls it an abomination. That being said Ezekiel, Amos, and Isaiah claim Sodom was destroyed for other reasons as well. I don’t know how affirming that is stating homosexuality is okay.

  9. Wesly you are right about my comment on ALL men of of a certain city in Ca was disrespectful. That comment was not fair, nor accurate/right. I think there would be more than 50 righteous men in any of these cities.
    I made the comment on your support of homosexual lifestyle because there is no middle ground. You are either for it or against it and you seem to be waffling on the fence. The same for abortion you either are for it or against it. None of this political “well I am personnaly against it…” stuff. What these people are saying is ” I wouldn’t do it myself, but if they want to murder babies that is their decision.” If these people had a spine they would say it is wrong to kill babies in the womb and fight to stop it.

    If you want to call yourself a Christian, don’t be like Joshua’s helpers who reported that their enemies were too big to fight. Did you ever find anywhere in the Bible where Jesus said ” I don’t believe in breaking any of the commandments, but who am I to judge what others believe and do???” Stand tall be a man. I do not THINK God wants men to compromise with evil.

  10. *bud ris

    “Obviously” there is a rapist in lincoln park. He’s climbing in your windows, he’s snacthin yo people up. So you all better hide your kids, hide your wife and hide yo husband because they raping everbody out here”

  11. Oh one more thing, I don’t mean to imply I am a better Christian, more knowledgeable, more wise, or more of anything or better than anyone when I talk about this. The only thing I put myself on a higher plane than many others is that I am honest in word and deed. I do not speak one way with one person and another way with another. I try to seek the truth and in my fallible way I do not sugar coat it, nor do I compromise with the truth. What is truth? I have changed my mind on a number of things in my 50+ years of professing Christ as my Saviour and can be persuaded to change if I can see it in God’s written word.

    So please forgive me if I come across as self-righteous, mean spirited, or other unloving or uncaring ways. I am persuaded that I must be blunt to get through to some people so I am often blunt when I should not be.

  12. Wesley

    March 28, 2011 at 4:44 pm

    I think calling someone a homosexual, who is happily married is more than blunt, it is sinful.

    I am not waffling. I have clearly stated the Creation and the story of Sodom both show homosexuality to be sinful. In later articles I will be looking at the two verses in Leviticus, Romans 1, 1 Corinthians, and other words and verses from the New Testament on this same subject.

    If you have read the series you would know that I’m writing to convince those who believe homosexuality is okay. Therefore I’m dealing with those arguments in a point-by-point fashion.

    I hope you will keep reading, but I also hope you will participate in the conversation in a better fashion and not jump to false conclusions.

  13. Anyone who tries to justify any sin by downplaying it, has ulterior motives. The “liberal”(too bad that tag is now applied to those who think like they do, since the “conservative” are always much more liberal than the liberal so called) has made Gay their truncheon of choice and do exactly like you are doing by hiding “gay” behind words that soften their actions till they can lull you into a ” who is it hurting” mode of thought. Just one more of those little sins.

    So you are married. I am happy for you. Unfortunately it is those “happily married” men who seem to be the ones who keep using subterfuge to make homosexual lifestyle more acceptable. Is it because they want something more out of life and are just not bold enough to get out of the closet until the rest of their group accepts the gay lifestyle as ok, so they work on making it acceptable in their insidious ways so as not to be exposed?

    By the way your statement ” If you have read the series you would know that I’m writing to convince those who believe homosexuality is okay. Therefore I’m dealing with those arguments in a point-by-point fashion.” leaves me guessing which way you will come down on this issue. If what you say is true, instead of trying to find vague questionable interpretive statements elsewhere in the Bible that lowers or equate the extent of homosexual lifestyle,s evil to such things as not serving the needy, you would be up front as say, without equivocation that the homosexual lifestyle is a blatant sin! Then if you want to talk about OTHER sins such as not helping the poor you would be free to do that also.

  14. Wesley

    March 28, 2011 at 5:32 pm

    Bud ris,

    This is starting to become a waste of time. Read the series when it is finished and you will see where I stand (as if you cannot so far). I think the Bible clearly teaches homosexuality is a sin. I have stated as much in several articles on this site.

    I have no ulterior motive. I am sorry that you have such a low view of preachers or teachers. My only goal is to share what the Scriptures teach.

    If you are still confused pleased read the next post in this series on homosexuality as an abomination.

  15. thank you. I think you might have something there about my feelings of low esteem for preachers and teachers. many are true and do their best, many are lackadaisical and don’t really believe what they should be teaching, and others are just trying to find a way to live without the sweat of their brow.
    I will try to read your entire series. If you are sincerely working to advance the cause of Christ I profusely apologize for misunderstanding your intentions. Still what I said about soft selling applies, albeit maybe yours are only good intentions.

  16. To bud ris

    What is going on here? First you attack and then you apologize and then you attack again. You can stand up for what you believe without being too blunt and rude (to put it mildly)! Your accusations of closet homosexuality are totally uncalled for!

    We are all supposed to be a light to lead others out of darkness. Your light isn’t shining very bright from your comments.

  17. Good Morning Sunshine

    You are probably right. But I am so sick of hearing supposed “religious” leaders who soft pedal sin, especially those who advocate for homosexual tolerance. There are different forms of light, not all of which are from God. Jesus is the true light “but if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the LIGHT that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!” If we have a light we need to turn up the brightness so that we can stand out from all the small fireflies that give off light. If I cannot discern your light from the phoshorescense light given off by the blatant anti-Christian standing next to you how do I know you are different? I gotta be honest with you sometimes I think satan’s eyes glows brighter than the light given off by many of us Christians.

    It is past time that Christians stand up for what is right. Because of preachers who tickle the ears, politicians who agree to anything to win elections, and lazy indifferent Christians the godless are beginning to rule this Nation. It is past time for soft spoken words that can be interpreted as anyone sees fit. It is time for believers to demand this evil as well as others such as abortion be stopped.
    I for one do not want to stand before God and explain to him how I was “really” against these things, but I didn’t want to offend them so I said or did nothing.
    We as Christians cannot blame politicians or evil doers for what we have let happen to America. All we had to do and all we have to do is stand up and vote. We even have stupid so-called ministers who have the gall to tell us that we need to separate our “religious” views from our “political” views when we go to the polls to vote for our leaders. God has given Americans the unique gift of being able to choose our leaders.
    So we have CHOSEN evil leaders to lead us. Just like Israel and the golden calf we build our own idols to worship. Why don’t we quit apologizing for being Christians and be proud of it.
    I am tired of so-called Christians telling their gay “friends” “ I personally don’t believe in this gay lifestyle, but this is American and the Constitution says you can do it” so I won’t interfere or even speak out against it. So now should you speak against it, the government throws you in jail for “hate” speech, your teachers in the schools are teaching your children that the homosexual lifestyle is genetically ordained and if you feel the urge to try it go for it. Your children see and hear you talking about not judging and being understanding of others choices so they interpret this as mom and dad thinks it’s ok so it must be right.
    Quit drawing lines in the sand that are erased everytime a new wave comes by. Carve your line in concrete. I am not talking about forcing anyone to do anything- except- forcing evil doers to do their evil deeds in private and not to display it openly on the street so that my kids are forced to watch it. True love does not giving everyone everything they want. It does not mean that you cannot deny giving a gun to a child. True love denies the child the gun to prevent harming the child. God gave us the ability

  18. OK allow me to enlighten all of you to the TRUTH—–#1–Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed for 3 REASONS—#1—Sodomy (HOMOSEXUALITY)–Man was made in Gods image—God said it is DETESTABLE and ABOMINABLE for man to Ly down with a man as with a woman—#2—ARROGANCE—–These sick SODOMITES would see POOR people STARVE TO DEATH IN THE STREETS AND DO NOTHING!!! IT is written–“TRUE EVIL IS SEEING SOMETHING WRONG AND DOING NOTHING!!!”—#3—The one reason that made GOD more ANGRY was the 3rd reason—The people in the city who were not Gay who supported such behavior made God even more FURIOUS!!! WHY???? Because how can the SODOMITES REPENT if they are SUPPORTED??? SOUND FAMILIAR??? This Country is doing the same thing and will bring down GODS” JUDGMENT!!!! If you are a CHRISTIAN you do not SUPPORT what GOD CONDEMNS, PERIOD!!!!I hope you do not have a depraved mind and can UNDERSTAND THIS POINT–and if it HURTS—-GOOD!!!

  19. Your dishonesty, or perhaps reckless reading of the passage in Genesis 19, prompts me to comment. If you were any sort of a Bible scholar you would first of all know that the people of Sodom were Canaanites whose pagan fertility cult worship involved cult prostitution … humans having sex with cult prostitutes who represented the pagan dieties that the Canaanites worshipped. Their worshipped involved being joined sexually with those pagan dieties in order to gain favor and abundant harvest. Genesis 19:4,5 relates CLEARLY who was outside of Lot’s house that night .. and it wasn’t just the males of the city …. included were also ALL of the women and the children .. every single person in Sodom was there. In Ezekiel 16:49,50 at the end of the list of sins for which Sodom was destroyed is the word “abominations”. The Hebrew word which was translated by the KJV translators as “abominations” is TOEBAH which speaks of abominations related to idolatry; not ZIMMAH which would have referred to abominations related to sexual sin. The only sexual sin that took place in the entire Sodom account was when Lot’s daughters (after the destruction of Sodom) got him drunk and had intercourse with him. There is no indication whatsoever that homosexuality was any part of why Sodom was destroyed. There is no need for dishonesty when attempting to prove one’s point.

  20. Wesley

    April 17, 2011 at 10:10 pm

    First off the ad hominem beginning to your argument is unneeded. You act as if you know that I have never heard what you are about to say. Good scholarship though is looking at the evidence and making a decision that best fits. I disagree completely that the problem in Genesis 19 is cultic prostitution. You have to read that into the text. I prefer to allow the text to guide itself and not force my opinions upon it. And 4 and 5 refers to men, not woman and children as you imply.

    Also lets keep going with your comment concerning the Hebrew. I’m going to assume you know Hebrew, but just made a mistake. The other options are that you do not know Hebrew (in which case you are just attempting to make yourself seem like an authority) or you know Hebrew and purposely were dishonest. I do know Hebrew. It is true that ZIMMAH can refer to sexual sins. It is also true that TOEBAH can refer to idolatry. What is not true is that TOEBAH only refers to idolatrous practices. It can also just refer to abominations in general. Therefore, just because the word TOEBAH is used in Ezekiel 16:49, 50 does not mean that it is referring to cultic sex.

    Finally, you did not deal with how Jude applies the sin of Sodom. He claims that went after strange flesh. He does not claim that the sin was idol worship, but rather the act itself of going after strange flesh.

    I know this argument you have made is popular, but it is eisegesis at its worst. You are forcing upon the text a background that you do not have to, in order to get around what is plainly taught in this section of Scripture. Let’s take the text at face value and not try to get around what it is plainly teaching. This is what I did in my post. I was not being dishonest with the text at all, instead I was allowing the text to speak. Sadly, you are attempting to hide the text by forcing upon it a context that you cannot prove.

  21. THE SIN OF SODOMY

    OLD TESTAMENT:

    ” Thou shalt not lie with mankind as with womankind.”

    ” If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.”

    NEW TESTAMENT:

    ” Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the Kingdom of GOD ? Be not deceived : neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate (men), nor abusers of themselves with mankind (sodomites),”

    ” And: such WERE SOME OF YOU: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the Name of the LORD JESUS, and by the Spirit of our GOD.”

    ” For I AM the LORD, and I change not,…..”

    ” In the beginning was the WORD, and the WORD was with GOD, and the WORD was GOD.”

    ” JESUS, the same yesterday, today and for ever..”

    “Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the LORD, and touch not the unclean thing, and I will receive you,”

    ” Having therefor these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from ALL filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of GOD.”

    ” Enter in at the strait gate; for wide is the gat, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:”

    ” Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto eternal life, AND FEW THERE BE THAT FIND IT.”

    ” Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.”

    __________________________________________________________________

    ” There is a path which no fowl knoweth, and which the vulture’s eye hath not seen”

    ” And an highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called The way of holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it; but it shall be for those: the wayfaring men, though fools, shall NOT err therein.”

    ” No lion shall be there, nor any ravenous beast shall go up thereon, it shall NOT be found there; but the REDEEMED shall walk there:’

    GOD SAVES US FROM OUR SINS, NOT IN THEM.

  22. Sodom sounds like San Francisco a city where sin is encouraged

  23. God doesn’t care who has sex with who, if God did..the animals wouldn’t have homosexual behavior. Gays are not hurting anyone, and they surely are not harming the planet. This is the human race’s greatest sin, destroying our planet. Just as Luke 17: 34 says: I tell you, in that night there shall be two men in one bed; the one shall be taken, and the other shall be left. Both laying in bed together, gay..one of God, one not. The women “grinding” together..in one book it says at the mill, the other it says they are just “grinding” and well, lesbians do this. Correct? Correct. One will be taken, the other not. A eunuch was baptized in the bible, and hear me out before thinking “well, well now..eunuchs are castrated.” Really? How is one BORN a eunuch, as the bible says would happen? In that day, a man born without a penis would be considered demonic and killed. They were born without the desire of a woman, that’s exactly what it means and the eunuch is depressed, the one baptized, and sad. A disciple comes along and asks why, he says, “Well, I don’t understand why I can’t be baptized.” The disciple baptizes him, and the eunuch goes on happily, skipping down the road. God says that even some eunuchs will have a better name in God’s kingdom than God’s elect, as long as they follow God. The entire bible is not complete truth, keep in mind that Paul started the churches, not Peter as Jesus commanded, and what did Paul do? He started the money collection at churches, and God specifically says that we cannot serve God and mammon both, it is impossible. So, all these churches collecting money? Satan’s minions, period. They mean well, they were taught by a government restricted school, told to only use certain verses. Read that bible, it will tell you all I just said but as the bible says, “leading my sheep blindly to slaughter” is what they are doing. Jesus’ Church is in the mind, Jesus being the Head of the Church. Jesus, when they came to get him to kill him..he was sitting with a NAKED MAN..who got up and ran, throwing a loin cloth or robe one, over himself. Jesus completely went against the government, and all societal values. God is NOT the one that hates gays..it is the liars that do.

  24. Wow, excellent discussion. The Lord has opened my eyes to other potential issues.
    1. It is now legal for same sexed individuals to get married. It is soon coming that my church will be forced to marry such individuals. Here is the problem: it is against the belief of my church. However, if my church refuses, then can loose their tax exemption status because they are now refusing to obey the law. I am not in agreement with same sexed couple marrying, but there is nothing I can do about it. However, when this new law now threatens my religious freedom, this is very unfair.
    2. My children will now be taught in schools that same sexed marriages are perfectly acceptable, something I do not agree with. Not so long from now, there will be a storybook about little Johnny having two dads, and it may even be fine for little Johnny to explore such same sexed relationships.
    3. The next stage will be that I am a bigot and will require some sort of social class to adjust my thinking.
    4. The next step will be socialism. Heck, children are already being forced to take dangerous vaccines.

    Note that Satan has deceived the whole world. Those that are deceived do not know it. If you believe that the Bible is the authoritative word of God, then you must agree that it is accurate. We are being made to believe that there is nothing wrong with homosexuality, and we are buying it. We are deceived. We should trust in God to be our guide and moral compass. If not, we are doomed!

  25. How is it that humans desire to altar what God has designed. The human organs
    dictate with common sense what the creator has proclaimed. The birds, animals, etc. all follow the dictates of the creator not only with male and female but the same birds together and the same animals together. Only humans have a problem
    called sin or doing your own things. Sex organs tell us the story of how men and women were designed for one another. Satan’s at tempt to destroy the family unit
    designed by the Almighty. We think that God will cut us a deal. Destruction is on the way which this time will be devastating and annihilation.

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