Classic: Same-Sex Sexuality and the New Testament

February 28, 2017
Darrell L. Bock, Joseph D. Fantin, Jr Robert Chisholm, and Jay E. Smith

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Topic Time Codes

00:13
Homosexuality in the larger Greco-Roman culture
03:50
Paul’s transcultural message in Romans 1
10:07
Is there any doubt about what Paul describes in Romans 1:27?
12:03
The phrase natural sexual relations in Romans 1:26
17:20
Jewish, Greco-Roman and contemporary views of homosexuality
23:06
Active and passive terms for homosexual partners in 1 Corinthians 6:9
33:18
Paul’s message of hope in 1 Corinthians 6
34:11
What is the significance of 1 Timothy 1:10 in this discussion?
37:29
What is the significance of 1 Timothy 1:10 in this discussion?

Transcript

Darrell Bock:
Now you're making a point and this is where we're going next about well, in first-century Israel this is not going to be an issue that comes up. But if we go to the larger Greco-Roman world and we think about what's going on in Hellenistic culture around which the Christians, who of course early on were mainly Jewish, where they're coming from; what is the situation that we're dealing with in the larger Greco-Roman culture?
Joe Fantin:
Generally they would have viewed things quite a bit different. I think that's one of the problems that we actually have here. They would not have defined things as heterosexual, homosexual etcetera. They would have seen it much more as who the active person is. Who the passive person is in these types of things. Only certain people could be in those particular roles.
For example, and this would have differed to some extent in various places, first century, a Roman. A Roman male citizen could only be an active individual, whereas a woman really could only be a passive individual. For them to break those molds or break those roles, that would be very difficult and challenge really the whole structure of their society. In addition to women, you could have slaves, both men and women that could be passive. And most prominently and probably most difficult for us to really wrestle with is who could often be boys as well. Usually they wouldn't be citizens, especially in Rome; you would not have had that. But it would not have been uncommon. It would have been quite expected in many case. And if, go ahead.
Darrell Bock:
So this is going on and going on more or less regularly in certain pockets of the society. Is that a fair way to say it?
Joe Fantin:
Oh yeah. Yeah pretty much, if you're looking at a guy who's got a home with an attractive adolescent slave boy, chances are it would be likely, at least in your mind, that they were having some type of relation in that respect. This does actually intersect the Gospels a little bit.
Darrell Bock:
Okay.
Joe Fantin:
And it has been brought up with the Centurion who comes to Jesus with his slave to be healed. It is quite possible that there would have been a relationship there. Because Jesus does not condemn any activities they're doing it's sometimes suggested that he's actually affirming one of these same-sex relationships. I think that misses a bit of the point of what's actually going on, but you actually see this argument on occasion, that Jesus is more interested in what he's actually doing, more interested in the personality - or the welfare of the servant, etcetera.
Darrell Bock:
Interesting. So what we have in Hellenistic culture is not so much these kinds of hard line categories about what can be done, because almost anything's being done in some ways, is that -
Joe Fantin:
Certain things aren't. Again, I guess behind closed doors and nobody knows about them, sure everything can be going on. But this stuff is interrelated with the structure of society, with honor and shame culture. With the role of women and really a really low view of women in light of what we think of today in many cases. The patronage system. This idea of controlling individuals, this all is tied up; it's not a separate category of sexuality.
Darrell Bock:
So the status is more important and function is more important than gender, per say. Would that be fair to say?
Joe Fantin:
Right. Yes. Yeah.
Darrell Bock:
Okay. Now having said that and this - I set this up on purpose is talking about what's going on with Jews and Judaism and what's going on in Rome and the Greco Roman world, we come to Romans 1. Which is obviously probably the most discussed text in the New Testament on this topic.
A significant text in which Paul is engaged in why the nations are in need of the Gospel in a very generic kind of way. He'll turn his attention to the Jews in chapter 2. But in chapter 1 verse 18 down to the end of the chapter in verse 32, we're in the midst of a discussion about the state of the world among the nations and how they have exchanged the Creator for the creature, and are engaged in a life and in elements of lifestyle that show their distance from God.
It's very, very important that in all these discussions that having the presence of God and the honoring of God are very much in the background of all these passages. We do not live in a secularized world in which God is an optional player. He's very much present and how we interact with him is a part of this discussion.
Jay why don't you take us through these key verses in Romans and let me get them before people before we start. I'm going to get this on the iPad so I can read it and then we'll discuss these verses. I'm going to start in verse 24. "Therefore God gave them over in the desires of their hearts to impurity, to dishonor their bodies among themselves. They exchanged the truth of God for a lie and worshiped and served the creation rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen."
"For this reason" verse 26. "God gave them over to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged the natural sexual relations for unnatural ones, and likewise the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed in their passions for one another. Men committed shameless acts with men and received in themselves the due penalty for their error."
"And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what should not be done. They are filled with every kind of unrighteousness, wickedness, covetousness, malice. They are rife with envy, murder, strife, deceit, hostility. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, contrivers of all sorts of evil, disobedient to parents, senseless, covenant-breakers, heartless, ruthless." And we've gone on to read, because the point here is the entirety of the condition of sin in the nations. And then verse 32.
"Although they fully know God's righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but also approve of those who practice them." So that's our passage. What does it tell us?
Jay Smith:
Well the final section that you mention there tells you this is pretty serious because they're worthy of death. So this is not a casual offense or set of problems. So it's very serious and in some way mimics what was going on in the Old Testament when we had the capital offense. But, probably more to the point is up around verse 26. Here it looks like divine judgment for idolatry.
In verse 25 they exchange the truth of God for a lie and worshipped and served the creature rather than Creator, and therefore as a consequence or for this reason God gives them over to these degrading passions. Exchanging normal, if I can use the word normal, heterosexual relations for same-sex relations. So this is a part of the divine judgment for idolatry.
Darrell Bock:
So this becomes an illustration of one sin among many sins that leave the nations culpable before god.
Jay Smith:
Exactly.
Darrell Bock:
When we come to verse 32 and we say, "Those who practice such things deserve to die" it wouldn't be fair to say we're only talking about what's discussed in verse 27. We would be saying no, Paul's condemnation extends to the entirety of the list because in part he's building the case on why everyone needs to have their relationship with God restored, as opposed to only certain people who engage in certain particular practices. Would that be fair?
Jay Smith:
I think it would be fair. He does, it's a little expansive there when he talks about same-sex relations but I'm not sure one can probably make a big distinction in terms of one's ultimate culpability before God in terms of the other sins. You know malice, and gossip, and slanders, and haters, those are all, make one culpable. So I'm not sure you can list these sins as one more grievous than the other. They're all damning if you will. But anyway, the penalty I think would extend, that is of deserving death, would include the whole list all the way from verses 24 -
Darrell Bock:
And we're talking about a backdrop in which the deserving of death talks about being spiritually separated from God and having the need now to come into a restored life, which of course the rest of the book is about. And talking about how what Jesus has done and the sacrifice that he's done covers all these sins, can remove the guilt and the culpability before God and can bring us into a state where we're reconciled with God. Would that be fair?
Jay Smith:
Exactly right. Exactly right.
Darrell Bock:
Now let's go back up to the passage in question and say, are there any limitations on what's going on here? Or is - well let me ask one previous question. Is there any doubt about what's being described here?
Jay Smith:
I don't think so. I think there is a, some sort of a same-sex relation. Occasionally there's some talk that what Paul has in mind is some sort of a degrading or exploitive relationship, particularly with men with boys and that's what he's opposed to. But then when he talks about women with women, he seems to be, it's a broader category. It's not just an exploitive relationship with an adult male and an underage boy. It would certainly include that, but I don't think you can restrict it to that.
As soon as he starts talking, he brings women in - you can see that his purview is a little wider than just exploitive relationships. It is worth pointing out that women and women would have been a big taboo generally speaking. Now again it probably happened. There's some things out there, but generally the sources don't talk as much about it in a, not definitely not in the same way as you have it with men with adolescents and younger boys. But, so that would be right there something that probably most everyone would have agreed with at that point. Maybe that's a way of him getting into the argument. One of those things that people will accept.
Darrell Bock:
So he's starting with, in some ways, the most grievous category, or the one that everyone accepts as a taboo and then works his way to the places that might be more culturally debated.
Jay Smith:
Yeah because women with women would mean somebody would have to take a role of the man.
Darrell Bock:
So, I look at this passage in verse 26 where it says for the women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. That kind of removes any doubt about what it is that we're talking about. Is that fair to say in terms of we're dealing with same sex scenarios.
Jay Smith:
Yes. But I will say that some of the arguments that are brought up about this would be, well what is natural. Then it goes to this idea, yes it's true. It's natural for you who are attracted to women to be attracted to women. It would be unnatural for you to be attracted to a man.
But for somebody who is actually a male attracted to other males that's perfectly natural. Then with that type of a situation it would actually be unnatural for a guy with desires for other men to actually try to have relations with a woman in that case. I just find that's a little bit too complicated for a first century audience.
It does seem to be dealing with acts.
Robert Chisholm:
Can I ask a question, in those discussions and I'm going to be very delicate here. Does physical design, anatomical design enter into that discussion in terms what's natural and what isn't?
Joe Fantin:
To some extent yes. But it's actually quite fascinating and it's rather complicated too. We can make a distinction between sexuality, which is my desire for a specific person; and then gender identity, which is what I choose to be. So foreseeably I was going to say you, but let's just say a particular man could identify himself gender-wise as female. And that particular man may, if he's attracted to women, he is actually expressing lesbian desires. So it's very complicated. I just can't impose that type of a system upon the ancient world.
Darrell Bock:
What you're saying, just to be clear, is the way this conversation comes across in modern conversation about the situation has more, it's working with more categories and more ways to think about it from a psychological point of view, etcetera. And to think that that would be something that would enter into the mind of someone who's writing in the first century, who's writing about these things, is unlikely.
Joe Fantin:
There's some philosophical discourse going on with the way people were created and split apart and these desires actually happening. But, again you know, for that on a more common level would to me seem very difficult to sustain.
Darrell Bock:
Would it be fair to say that in the ancient world - this is a generalization, but we'll go for it and see what happens. Would it be fair to say that generally speaking ancients thought more concretely about some of these issues in the sense of the way in which we are physically designed is designed to be a picture of the way we're to think about the Creation?
Joe Fantin:
Yeah, as long as we keep it in that context that they aren't working off our paradigm. For them the active and passive is what's important. The roles are what's important. But again, concrete may seem to imply they weren't into as much abstract thought. But the way this is worded, women with women, men with men, they might not have been thinking specifically the acts as in the forefront. Maybe they were, but they also would have been thinking, well women with women, that breaks social convention. So, if that's what you mean by concrete, yes.
Darrell Bock:
Well actually no, that's not what I mean by concrete. What I'm suggesting is a very anatomical design. The idea that says that there are some people who are designed one way and some people who are designed another and so, I'm trying to do this delicately, the coupling reflects the oneness. In very concrete terms that's natural. That's designed.
Joe Fantin:
It breaks down though because, me as a citizen male, I can only be active. But a male slave can be passive.
Darrell Bock:
So in other words the function, you can think about functioning in a different role, but - one more question then. Was this seen, let's take right or wrong out of it and put it in another form. Was it seen to be a different kind of relating, if I can say it that way? Would there be a distinction made in what was going on or would it simply be taken on equal terms. Again remembering that we're talking about how Romans think about this.
Joe Fantin:
Definitely and that's probably worth bringing up.
Jay Smith:
Yes.
Joe Fantin:
On one hand you could be, again hypothetically, and again I want to make it clear that if you were going to talk about Athens four centuries earlier it would be slightly different if you talked about different things, but generally speaking, I'm trying to go with the first-century Roman idea; that you would go and as long as you were doing what your function and in the way you function that was acceptable. Trying to think how I would want to word that in another way.
Darrell Bock:
Let me take it this way. But a Jewish person looking at that, would they look at it the same way?
Joe Fantin:
No, and I think Paul's using the Jewish polemic here.
Jay Smith:
He's talking about the Creator and the creature. I mean, there's a divine intent here. There's a Genesis overlay, I think, to what Paul's doing.
Robert Chisholm:
Or Leviticus overlay.
Joe Fantin:
A Torah overlay.
Jay Smith:
When he talks about something being against nature I think it means, or in line with nature, it's in line with the Creator's intent. Genesis 2 kind of intent. Now a Roman might say that I have a underage boy and that he's the passive partner. That's not against nature the way we define it.
Joe Fantin:
Let me go back. I think I know what I want to answer now that question. A person could be, let's say he's a 20 year old and he's interested, or maybe 25 year old, interested in young boys, or going, let's say young adolescent type boys. But that does not preclude that he's gonna get married and have what we would consider relations, heterosexual relations from here on out. They seem to be able to separate maybe what's involved in marriage and what they're going to do and what a good citizen does and what maybe they do before marriage, etcetera.
Darrell Bock:
So the point here is, and we have spent a lot of time on this on purpose, not to park here but really get the cultural elements of what's going on. This is culturally very much a cross-cultural engagement to a certain degree. You've got something going on in Rome and in Hellenism on the one hand that is culturally structured one way. You've got something going on in the Jewish world and theologically that's constructed in a different way and you are seeing them run into each other in this passage. Is that a, would that be fair to say?
Joe Fantin:
Yeah. In fact I think that's why this is so important. This passage is so important for me. This is the one passage I think that really makes the point. Because it's easy when you're looking at something and everything's going one particular way in the culture for somebody to just affirm it and go on. It's hard to say whether or not there's a critique going on.
But in the Roman culture, men with other males was an accepted thing. So for Paul to actually be drawing upon this, he's not just taking some, oh I've just grown up as a heterosexual if you will, and I know everything else is wrong, like we might do today. He was in a culture that was dominated by this active-passive; males could be with males, etcetera in certain situations. Then he applies this test or a Jewish idea to this. We know Paul is not necessarily opposed to going against Jewish tradition in many things.
Darrell Bock:
That's right.
Joe Fantin:
But here he does affirm it. So to me this is a strong, strong evidence that what Paul's saying here, one it's kind of cultural. At least to a Roman audience, and gives it, I think, a lot more staying power if you will in this argument.
Darrell Bock:
So your point is that by appreciating the openness of the Roman culture and how free-wheeling it was, if I can say it this way, it actually makes more of this passage than if it were like, well this is - everyone without thinking and blinking says, oh yeah that's just unnatural.
Joe Fantin:
Yeah and to take an analogy with food. If Paul came from a Jewish background and he doesn't eat pork, he has no problem with saying we can eat various other things now. But if he took a passage and said, eating pork demonstrates that the Roman world is corrupt, it would seem to be that there's something important there. Because he knows that everybody can go and get pork.
Darrell Bock:
Just to drive the point home. The point that you're making in the end is that even though we're dealing with a cultural clash the point that Paul is making is designed to be transcultural. That he's dealing with something that from the standpoint of God applies to cultures no matter what and so this is part of the culpability that people have because they have this kind of approach to things.
Joe Fantin:
Yeah, and Paul's probably utilizing, you know he uses men and women here, uses the adjectives would probably go back to Genesis to allude there. He doesn't say husband and wife. He says male and female, and again that should echo at least in some reader's ears of that original creation -
Robert Chisholm:
If I can second what Joe said, I think I'll try to. I don't think Paul defines this idea of functioning according to nature or not according to nature culturally. He's defining that in terms of the Old Testament. In terms of Genesis. That determines what's contrary to nature and with nature.
Darrell Bock:
So according to Creation if you want to think of it that way.
Robert Chisholm:
Yes. And he also doesn't define it, which I think we do more commonly today, psychologically. Psychologically I am a woman caught in a man's body or something. I don't think Paul's defining functioning naturally in terms of psychological terms. Where we might say, well it's against my nature to play the role of a male, because I'm really a woman. I need - it's against nature for me to do that. I don't think Paul's thinking in terms of psychological categories. He's thinking in terms of creative categories and God's original intent. Not in terms of how I view my makeup or my gender identity or sexual identity.
Darrell Bock:
Okay I think we've worked our way through that passage. Let's go to the others. I'm going to pair a couple of passages because we're running long on time. The two passages I want to pair are 1 Corinthians 6:9 and then 1 Timothy 1:10. What these two passages share is they both discuss issues in relationship to the presentation of vice lists of one kind or another. I think we can pair them together and move in this kind of a way.
I would say after the Romans passage the second most cited text that we get in this discussion out of the New Testament is this 1 Corinthians 6:9 text. Again I will read it out of the NET Bible and starting with verse 9. "Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived! The sexually immoral, idolaters, adulterers, passive ..."
And I'm going to pull the word homosexual here. It says homosexual partners, but "... passive partners, and practicing partners ..." I'll read it that way, the active partner "...thieves, the greedy, drunkards, the verbally abusive, and swindlers will not inherit the kingdom of God. Some of you once lived this way. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God." And then it goes on.
Now we've got again a vice list. I think it's fascinating that we always find this discussion not in isolation but always tied to other conversations about other kinds of sin. And what we have here are two terms that I think we're going to have to talk about, malakos and arsenkoites. So we've got two words here, one of which translates, I want to be very literal, "soft" if you want to think of it that way. And the other of which literally is the combination of two words, male and bed. Just to show you the difference between the terms. I actually think that in this case, thinking literally about what the word pictures are helps you to understand sort of what the words are getting at.
In one case, in the picture of the soft I've got what is translated oftentimes as passive. The person who is not the active player. And in the other case we've got the active or the dominant figure that's being described.
So with that as the background what does this passage have to tell us, and you teach 1 Corinthians, Jay, so you get this one since we picked on Joe last time. And tell us what's going on here.
Jay Smith:
The first thing I would want to mention is what you'd said. You have another list. Interestingly I think for the third time in the list you get a very severe punishment or threat. He will not inherit the Kingdom of Heaven, or is it the Kingdom of God.
Joe Fantin:
Of God yeah.
Jay Smith:
But at any rate the point still stands. I mean violators, this is very serious. Part of the second thing I would say is this is in a list, oftentimes the discussion goes about inclination or psychological makeup. These terms are in a passage where there's a lot of behavioral active sort of phenomena. You're a drunkard, you're a covetor, you're vile, or you're a swindler. It's in a list of actions. I'm not sure Paul is really talking about some sort of psychological makeup of individuals.
Darrell Bock:
I think it's interesting that the word that comes before the two terms that we're discussing is the word adulterer. I know that in some of the blog exchanges I've had on this issue with people, who are defending same-sex lifestyle in one way or another, and they're making the psychological point, well I'm made this way or I have an inclination in this direction.
I like to make the point; well I may have an inclination that I'm quite capable of thinking about having sex with other women. I may have that inclination but that doesn't mean I act on that inclination and that I, or that that gives me the right to act on that inclination. This is a case where I think the nature of the list may help us think through what it is that's being dealt with in the Scripture. And what's being dealt with in the Scripture is playing out on the inclination or acting on the inclination as opposed to simply being in a certain place emotionally, or having a certain kind of proclivity. I think many of us have proclivities.
I think of Jesus' passages on the Sermon on the Mount where he talks about it's not adultery, it's lust that's the problem. Well that nails most of us. What he's showing is the standard that says the heart that is really aligned with God does so in a way that doesn't just simply say well I have this inclination so I have the right or the entitlement to go there. But it thinks through how I deal with inclinations that I may have. Joe, do you have anything you want to add to the 1 Corinthians 6 passage?
Joe Fantin:
Again I think it's real difficult to pinpoint what terms mean in these types of lists. Romans 1 is so much easier because there's description going on. But again, I think sometimes our translations will seem like they're coming again, from our modern perspective of hetero/homosexual breakup and they'll see passive with the malakos. Passive receptors to and then active on the other term. I just wanted to add a couple of things. One, I think from the ancient perspective it might be a little easier to see the soft translation. I like the effeminate translation because the Romans were very, very opposed to men who would do things that looked like a woman. That was very negative. And of course, that would include taking a passive role. But it was more than that.
Darrell Bock:
So this is a broad term is your point?
Joe Fantin:
Right. Right.
Darrell Bock:
Just like when we - the analogy I like to use here is the term "porne" is a broad term for sexual immorality. It can cover a lot of things, but it covers adultery. But it's more than that.
Jay Smith:
I might push back a little bit.
Darrell Bock:
Okay. Okay.
Joe Fantin:
Well let me finish here. But I also like this translation a little bit better too, because if you say passive homosexual, again passive same-sex partner, you're primarily talking about you know, younger people. Younger boys. Again boys about the start of adolescence to a little bit - up to - start of puberty up to adolescence.
Darrell Bock:
You're certainly including that group.
Joe Fantin:
That would be the - what you would be thinking of I would think normally when you're talking about this group of individuals and I just don't see, in that case as well as them really being able to have much to do in some of these cases. Especially if they were a slave boy or something like that. So a category that is primarily directed at a powerless group I find to be problematic. Again I think from the perspective of the ancient world that would have been a little bit more understandable, because they aren't making both those distinctions like we are.
Darrell Bock:
Jay?
Jay Smith:
Well yeah, I appreciate that. I'm just in being paired with the two terms, the malakos the soft and the arsenokoites, the man bedder, I tend to think them, it's likely in my thinking, they're being used together.
Joe Fantin:
They're paired?
Jay Smith:
They're paired. Now perhaps not, but I kind of favor some of the recent translations that will not define those two terms individually but will translate them something like men who have sex with men. They're not isolating the two terms.
Darrell Bock:
They're rendering both of them with that phrase?
Jay Smith:
Yeah.
Joe Fantin:
Again I see this as a natural homosexual heterosexual distinction way to translate it. Because we're coming from and that's the way we're viewing this thing. So yeah, naturally how do these fit and then it comes - and again I don't see that as valid in the ancient world. I will note that that other word is really difficult to translate. Men bedders. In fact, I just want to clarify because it's easy for us to be accused of an etymological fallacy or something here -
Darrell Bock:
Yes very much so.
Joe Fantin:
- you know, pitting it - "understand" has nothing to do with understand, has nothing to do with stand. Butter fly. But in this case I would like to defend the translation. Although it might be intentionally ambiguous that we don't know if it's active or passive by men bedders. We assume it's active, but it could be both ways. It's not a very commonly used word. It first appears around this time, some may even think it first appears by Paul, but again with limited data we don't know. But, in light of that limited data and in light of these types of terms, like man and bed bringing them together, I do think there is some justification for doing this type of thing methodologically despite the fact that I think we need to be careful and sensitive to issues of exegetical fallacies if you will.
Darrell Bock:
I think it's interesting to note that the NET Bible in translating this in particular has managed to put notes for each one of these terms. So, it shows you the nature of the issue. I think that it's important again to put this in the context of the larger point. This is part of a larger vice list in which many things are being mentioned. All of them are acts that are being sanctioned and critiqued and rebuked by Paul in this context.
Jay Smith:
And given hope for too. In verse 11 "... and such were some of you, but you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified ..."
Darrell Bock:
The whole point is that again, as we saw in Romans if we were to have read on in Romans, this can all be overcome and transformed and impacted by what it is that Jesus is able to do for us.
Okay, let's go to the first Timothy passage. 1 Timothy 1 and then we have one more passage after that. 1 Timothy in verse 10, and again we've got our terms here. Let me get this in context. It says in 1:8, "But we know that the law is good if someone uses it legitimately, realizing that law is not intended for a righteous person, but for lawless and rebellious people, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers..."
This has been rendered "sexually immoral people," the terms here and the term here that we've got is a fused term, if I can say it that way. Well, "sexually immoral people, practicing homosexuals, kidnappers, liars, perjurers - in fact, for any who live contrary to sound teaching. "
So we have the immoral in general to start off verse 10 and then we have our term coming back that we saw in 1 Corinthians 6:9, the second term of the two that we were talking about earlier when we had the soft and then whatever we do with the male bedders to keep the term fairly literal here.
Jay Smith:
You know, if I can jump in real quick, those are the two terms. I mean those two terms that have been combined here are the two terms used in the two Leviticus texts -
Joe Fantin:
In the Greek, yeah.
Jay Smith:
But they're separated in Leviticus. Now I say, of course Leviticus is written in Hebrew, but when it's translated -
Joe Fantin:
Translated into Greek.
Darrell Bock:
The Septuaginta, what we call the Septuaginta, the Greek Old Testament translation.
Jay Smith:
Which is an ancient translation, and it uses those two words separately. Both times it uses them in Leviticus 18 and it uses them both again in Leviticus 20. Then in the Corinthians text and then in the Timothy text they're combined. They're pulled together.
Darrell Bock:
So your point, I take it, is that it could well be that the term that we're getting here for the actions being described is alluding back to Leviticus 18 and Leviticus 20?
Jay Smith:
I think almost certainly.
Darrell Bock:
This seems to be - Paul likes to - Dr. Fantin over there is
Joe Fantin:
I'm not saying anything.
Jay Smith:
But Paul loves this section of Leviticus and he likes to use it and this, by most people's count this is the first time this one particular word's used. A lot of people propose and I think with some fairness that Paul's coined the term here. Coming out of Leviticus he's pulled these two terms together and coined a new phrase based on the use of it in Leviticus.
Darrell Bock:
And we see him using it in 1 Corinthians and then we see him using it in 1 Timothy and we will get into a podcast on who the author of 1 Timothy is - because some people would say well this isn't Paul. This is a school or whatever, but we're aware of that. There's no doubt that this is the same term being used in a fairly similar kind of way really in relationship to 1 Corinthians, whatever you're going to do with 1 Corinthians 6 is likely what you're going to do with 1 Timothy 1. We're in a vice list. We're in the same kind of situation. We're in a law righteousness contrast context, etcetera so we're doing much of the same things in the two passages. Fair?
Jay Smith:
Yeah, definitely.
Joe Fantin:
Okay.
Darrell Bock:
One more passage. This is outside of Paul. Now we're in Jude chapter 7. I guess it's appropriate to end up here in many ways because it takes us, by going to Jude we're going to go back to Sodom at the same time. So we get to kind of circle the wagons in our discussion. Jude 7 is in a context of which a list of sins that God has judged are being presented.
Verse 5, Jude. "Now I desire to remind you (even though you have been fully informed of these facts once for all) that Jesus, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, later destroyed those who did not believe. You also know angels who did not keep within their present domain but abandoned their own place of residence; he has kept in eternal chains in utter darkness, locked up for the judgment of the great Day."
That's the second sin, now we come to the Sodom and Gomorrah.
"So also Sodom and Gomorrah and the neighboring towns, since they indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural desire in a way similar to these angels, are now displayed as an example by suffering the punishment of eternal fire."
And the description here is actually rather generic in terms of the language that's use. So really all we're doing is alluding to Sodom and Gomorrah and basically saying, well whatever was wrong and what happened at Sodom and Gomorrah that's what God judged and dealt with. That was the situation when we discussed it that we said well this is actually a complicated situation. This is a forced rape situation and so it's not quite in the same category as some of these other passages that we've ended up talking about. Fair?
Jay Smith:
Yeah, I hate to say it but I kind of like the, what the Queen James does here, a little bit.
Darrell Bock:
Uh-huh?
Jay Smith:
Not necessarily the translation, but I see a similarity with what Hebrews does with some of the Old Testament passages. I don't think this is necessarily a grammatically historical discussion of the Genesis text like you would have done. But just as Hebrews notes that Abraham is going to offer Isaac but believes he's going to be resurrected, which you can't really get from the Hebrew text very well, I think here he uses just this other flesh.
Readers would know that these individuals were angels and therefore maybe what's - what they were looking back at was this relationship where almost species-crossing taking place here. I don't think the text itself is necessarily always been used in the same sex context anyway.
Darrell Bock:
So this is another one we've gone through passages and we've said well Genesis 9 really doesn't belong in the database in this discussion in many ways. The Genesis 19 operates on the edge because it's a particular kind of forced situation. Here Jude is just alluding back in a general way to that and he's using the cross-species development as a part of the equation, so that ends up being a complicated text as well.
When we boil it all down what we end up with are three or four central passages on this particular conversation, and that would be the Leviticus 18:22, the Leviticus 20:13, the Romans 1:26-32 and the 1 Corinthians 9 passages. Those are really the four texts out of the eight that relate to this conversation in a way where the other factors aren't so complicated that we can't know whether those texts relate to the conversation or not. Fair enough?
Joe Fantin:
Fair enough.
Darrell Bock:
Well gentlemen we've certainly spent some time in these texts and we hope that the walk through these passages has been helpful in using the backdrop of how someone coming at it from a completely different angle would engage the topic as being a helpful way to think about how to talk about these passages. We appreciate you all listening in with us and listening to the passage and we thank you for being at the table with us again. We hope to have you back soon. Thank you.

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