In the Old Testament times we never find references to the destruction of Sodom being equated with homosexual acts. For these references we must look to the last centuries before Christ. By 50 AD we find the first time the sin of Sodom is associated with homosexual acts in general. Heterosexual and homosexual acts were traditional expressions of fertility worship in the Hellenistic world. Having been raised under the Holiness Laws, the Hebrews found these practices offensive. The crime of Sodom was pride. And it was inhospitality. The Hebrews were a nomad people in a dry, hostile environment. Weather and suspicious neighbours made hospitality a matter of survival. Being welcomed in a stranger's home or tent could mean the difference between life and death. Not only are there no references to homosexual acts when Scripture refers to Sodom, there are no references to Sodom when the Scriptures refer to homosexuality. Considering how often Sodom was used as an example of the result of wicked behaviour, it's apparent that biblical times did not see homosexual acts as the important lesson of the destruction of Sodom.
Scripture never condemns homosexual behaviour by itself. It is condemned when practicing idolatry or sacred prostitution. It is condemned when promoting promiscuity. It is condemned when forcing violent rape or seducing children. It is condemned when violating a guests' right to dignity as a male. The concept of the absolute dignity of the male was central to Hebrew values. In nomad societies, where life is hard and the tribe must always move with the needs of the herds, the male is always revered for his aggressiveness and dominance. These qualities are needed for protection and survival. The gods of these societies are always male, while agricultural, settled societies often have female as well as male gods. Also, the Hebrews understood procreation as being purely the doing of the male. The visible semen was the entire baby: the fertile seed. Females were understood only as incubators for this seed.
Never is the issue of homosexual behaviour between loving, homosexual partners addressed in Scripture. The reason is simple: biblical cultures did not have knowledge of homosexuality as a psychological identity. In biblical times homosexuality was known only by the acts people committed, not as a sexual personality. A person born heterosexual assumed homosexual acts to be something people did for dominance or in perversion of their inner identity.
In the creation stories of Genesis we find two different reasons for sex. The first reason is given in the writings of the Priestly tradition. In Genesis 1:27-28 we read: "So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it..." In this account, written about 550-500 BC, the purpose of sex is procreation, pure and simple. Mankind came forth, male and female, specifically for being fruitful and multiplying. The Old Testament's need for children (population and union with God) and Paul's letters teaching Stoic philosophy both rely on this reason for the creation of sex. And they rely on reserving sexual acts for this reason only. The second reason was written by the Yahwist author. Here a male is formed of clay and placed in the garden of Eden. "And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an helper meet for him." (Genesis 2:18) In this account, sex is created for companionship and to cure loneliness. This account was written about 950 BC, so is much older than the Priestly tradition found in Genesis 1.
In biblical terms, we can accept our sexuality as either for the purpose of procreation or for the purpose of mutual love and fulfilment. Most of us, of course, have always been glad it provides us with both. Most arguments against homosexuality revolve around the ‘seven texts of terror’: These are Genesis 19, Leviticus 18:22, Leviticus 20:13, Romans 1:26-27, 1 Timothy 1:9-10, 1 Corinthians, 6:9, and Jude 7.
GENESIS 19 is the story of Sodom. In a nutshell, two angels visit Lot and he treats them to dinner and convinces them to stay the night. Outside a group of men gather asking to "know" the men staying with Lot. Lot discourages the crowd by offering his daughters, telling the men they can do whatever they want to them. The daughters are refused. A tense evening ensues where the angels strike the men outside the door blind and in the morning Lot and his family escape unharmed. First, what is interpreted by conservative Christians as potential homosexual acts are not the worst crimes that occur that night. The fact that Lot offers his daughters to be gang raped by a mob of violent men is abhorrent and supports the idea that God considers women to be of the same worth as farm animals, definitely of less value than two strangers who have stopped by for a visit. Remember, Lot was considered a righteous man and the offering of his daughters for gang rape passes without Biblical comment, or the ruffling of angelic feathers. That conservative Christians use this passage to condemn loving, consensual same-sex relationships while they remain virtually oblivious to the crime of offering one's daughters to be gang raped by a violent mob speaks volumes about the upside-down world that harbours their priorities. Because this crime against humanity is completely overlooked, conservative Christians miss the fact that these men would have raped women, or men. They weren't particular. We see the mistaken notion that the rape of a male is more serious and damaging than the rape of a female. Rapists are rapists, not because of their sexual preference, but because they rape.
LEVITICUS 18:22: "Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination." LEVITICUS 20:13 "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." The author applied the Hebrew term shakab to the "thou shalt not lie with" sequence and mishkab to the "as with" woman sequence. Mishkab occurs 46 times in 44 verses, all in the books of Moses. Mishkab generally means "bed," Shakab occurs 213 times in 194 verses. In 52 instances (virtually all of the sexual instances) the term shakab is used to describe a sexual encounter typified by deceit or force, in other words, some type of rape. Shekab in Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13 means that a man shall not force, or in any way coerce, another man to have sex, in the way that a man is allowed to force sex upon his wife. In other words, man is not allowed to rape a man, it is an abomination. The story of Sodom supports this interpretation. Remember that the attempted rape of the men in Lot's house is seen as a horrible crime, whereas the attempted rape of his daughters passes without comment. Though the verses in Leviticus condemn the rape of a man, they say nothing about healthy, mutual, consensual relations between members of the same sex. These key verses in Leviticus 18 and 20 are also flanked by unambiguous references to idolatry.
ROMANS 1:26, 27: "For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet." This is the only ‘text of terror’ that throws women into the mix. Romans 1 is similar to the chapters in Leviticus in the sense that Paul's chidings are sandwiched between admonitions against idolatry. The people being spoken of are Christians who have turned from their beliefs and are worshipping an idol, "an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and four footed beasts, and creeping things." If it is assumed that these verses refer to all same sex relations then one is left to explain "the natural use of the woman." What is "the natural use of woman?" Is it to make babies? What of women who cannot, or do not, make babies? Have these also changed their "natural use?" Is it therefore a sin for a woman not to have babies? Is "the natural use of women" the extinguishment of the burning lust of men? Do women exist to quell the lust and violence of angry raping mobs? Do they exist to satiate the unfettered lust of men, whether willingly or not? Or do women exist to love and be loved? If this is the answer then the verses here have nothing to do with homosexually but with the dishonouring of bodies whether male or female, straight or gay.
1 TIMOTHY 1:9-10: "Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for men stealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine."
1 CORINTHIANS 6:9,10: "Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God." Effeminate translates the Greek term is malakos. The term malakos is used in a disdainful manner to describe the soft and delicate existence of those in the royal court. The surviving sense of the term malakos is the equivalent of a person born with a silver spoon, privileged, who doesn't have to work for, or merit, the benefits that accrue to him. The phrase "for them that defile themselves with mankind" is translated from the Greek term arsenokoites. This term appears two times in two verses, those listed above. The definition of the term is not clear. It is constructed from two words, arrhen, or arsen, meaning a male, a man, a child, or a man child (boy); and koite, meaning bed. Koite. Adding arseno to koites could mean hot male-on-male action as imagined by conservative Christians, or it could mean men who rape or exploit men, or men who rape boys.
JUDE 7: "Even as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire”. "Strange flesh" in this instance is translated from the Greek term heteros sarx, meaning "different flesh." If this doesn't mean angels then it must mean women, because a homo sexual doesn't "go after" hetero sex.
"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts." Isaiah 55.