Prominent Controversy: Sodom’s Dirty Secrets

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What happened that night when the men of Sodom confronted Lot? How does the Bible characterize Sodom?

Image courtesy of nongpimmy at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of nongpimmy at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Do Sodom and Gomorrah exemplify the sin of homosexuality? Has the homosexuality community interpreted the Bible correctly? Should you accept the LGBTQ(1) version?

Though many attempt to reconcile homosexuality with the Bible, such efforts fail. You cannot reconcile truth with error.

The battle to legitimize homosexuality began with an all-out attack upon the Biblical record of Sodom. This assault changed the story of homosexuality in Sodom to lack of hospitality in Sodom. Homosexuals misinterpret other references to Sodom similarly.

When LGBTQ cannot alter the clear meaning of a Biblical text that refers to homosexuality, they simply reject it as irrelevant to the issue. In essence, they remove any passage of Scripture that remotely describes the sinfulness of homosexuality.

These misinterpretations and denials developed into an accepted error. They form the foundation of the homosexual movement. The LGBTQ community believes that the Bible legitimizes their behavior.

In fact, many professing evangelicals accept and promote these errors, too. Consequently, it appears that the Bible not only fails to condemn homosexuality, it actually permits it.

These questions deserve a response. The Bible provides ample confirmation of God’s attitude toward homosexuality. In particular, the Bible describes what occurred that night in Sodom. It makes it an example throughout all of Scripture. A comparison of Bible texts confirms the Bible’s stance on Sodom and homosexuality, which contradicts the version promoted by the LGBTQ community.

Roots of Homosexuality

The proper understanding of the events in Sodom actually begins many chapters before the record of Sodom in Genesis 19. It begins before the flood as recorded in Genesis 6. As God viewed the world before the flood, He described mankind’s wickedness and the total corruption of humanity. (2)

This awful wickedness included the full range of sexual immorality: fornication, incest, and homosexuality, even homosexual marriage. (4) The practice of homosexuality predates the flood.

After the flood, the Bible records another homosexual event. After Noah and his family departed from the Ark, Noah planted a vineyard. He drank too much of the fruit of the vine and became drunk.

The wickedness of Ham ensued. Ham uncovered the nakedness of his father, whom Ham saw lying drunk on the floor of his tent. (4) This description sounds innocent. But, when Ham saw his father, it literally means that he gazed with satisfaction upon his nakedness. (5) His look occurred with purpose and intent, not accidentally or harmlessly. (6)

When the Bible says that Ham uncovered the nakedness of his father, it describes sexual immorality. (7) Rabbinic exegesis of this passage indicates that Ham’s gaze turned into homosexual rape of his father. (8)

After the incident between Ham and Noah, Ham delightedly told his brothers what he had done. With great care, his brothers covered their father without observing his nakedness.

After Noah awoke from his drunkenness, he learned of Ham’s behavior toward him. Then, because of Ham’s wicked act, Noah cursed Ham’s son, Canaan. (9)

Homosexuality In Sodom

The effects of Ham’s wicked act upon Noah and Noah’s curse upon Canaan do not appear until Genesis 13. This chapter records the split between Abram and his nephew Lot. Abram gave Lot the first choice of land, which allowed Lot to separate from Abram and to take his family and herds to a new location. Lot chose the Plain of Jordan and moved his family toward Sodom in the Plain of Jordan.

The Canaanites, Canaan’s offspring, occupied Sodom. (10) Genesis 13.13 describes the people of Sodom as “…wicked and sinners before the Lord exceedingly.”

Adam Clarke, in his commentary upon this passage, said that it describes persons breaking the established order of things, openly before God. Radically evil, they sought satisfaction in sensual gratification with depraved, shameless, out of order passions. (11)

Not long after Abram and Lot separated, God appeared to Abram in the form of three persons. As the three men rose up to depart, they told Abram of their plan to visit Sodom. They told him that they had heard the outcry of Sodom, because of their grievous sin. (12)

In fact, the practice of homosexuality permeated the Canaanite peoples long before the record of Sodom. Canaan’s offspring, the Canaanites, became noted for their sexual perversions, including homosexuality.

The Mesopotamian, Middle Assyrian, and Hittite peoples (descendents of Canaan) openly practiced homosexuality in those days. Eventually, this wicked practice became commonplace in Grecian and Roman cultures. (13)

Two of the three men who visited Abram continued on their way to visit Sodom, knowing its wickedness. At Lot’s insistence, they did not stay out in the city square at night as planned, but went into Lot’s house. The men of Sodom came to Lot and demanded that he release the men to them in order that they might know them.

The two men protected Lot by sending blindness upon the men of the city. In the morning, the two men dragged Lot, his wife, and his two daughters out of the city and then destroyed it. (14)

In contradiction to the LGBTQ version of these events, the Bible clearly depicts the homosexual wickedness of Sodom, which began many years previously. This passage contains several key elements that require explanation.

The context in the Bible and nonBiblical records delineate the homosexual behavior of Sodom. A proper understanding begins with the meanings of key words in the text.

  • Key Words: The men of the city

The LGBTQ community has diminished the emphasis of this phrase. They describe it merely as a delegation of men who came to see Lot. Yet, the text clearly states “…all of the men of the city, including young and old, from every part of the city, came to Lot’s house.” (15)

They did not come to Lot’s house to welcome his guests into the city nor to interrogate them. All of the men of the city came with one purpose: to have homosexual sex with Lot’s two visitors.

  • Key Words: Know

The intent of the men of the city comes clear with the proper use of the word know. This word has different functions in the Bible. Therefore, the context of its use provides insight to its meaning within the text.

The context for the meaning of this word in this text begins early in Genesis. On three previous occasions, it appears as a euphemism for sexual intercourse. (16)

In the immediate context, the conversation between Lot and the men of the city show that Lot understood their meaning as sexual intercourse. He called their demands wicked. Further, he offered his virgin daughters to them in an immoral attempt to satisfy their sexual desires. When he did, he described them as virgins who had not known man. (17)

Lot did not misunderstand the men’s demands as a request for an interview with his guests. Nor does understanding of the text hinge upon the failed interpretation of inhospitality by the men of Sodom. Lot understood their evil, sexual demands and rejected them, hoping he could persuade them to satisfy their passions upon his daughters.

The wicked behavior identified with Sodom and the surrounding peoples confirms this interpretation. Even Egyptian texts and traditions use know to describe sexual intercourse. (18) The LGBTQ community fails in its attempt to distort the true meaning of this term to support their agenda.

Key Passages In Reference To Sodom

The Bible offers numerous references to this occasion and confirms its homosexual application. A brief review of these passages will verify it. Many passages use it as an example of how God detests wickedness and judges it. Sodom provides a vivid illustration.

  • Isaiah 1.1-9, 3.8-9, 13.19, Jeremiah 23.14, Zephaniah 2.8-11, etc.

From these and other references, the LGBTQ community attempts to interpret them as itemized lists of the sins of Sodom other than homosexuality. They attempt to bypass the descriptions that identify homosexuality as the sin of Sodom. However, these references simply list the sins of Israel and warn it of impending judgment as God brought to Sodom.

  • Ezekiel 16.48-56

In particular, the homosexual community uses this verse as their trump verse. It does list the sins of Sodom. The last sin in the list, abomination, does not serve as a summary of the previous list of sins. A singular noun, it identifies a separate sin in addition to those previously listed. The Bible calls homosexual behavior an abomination, describing it as sexually perverse behavior. In this text, abomination describes Sodom’s sin of homosexuality. (19)

  • 2 Peter 2.1-8

Peter refers directly to the wickedness of Sodom and God’s judgment upon it. Here he calls the inhabitants “wicked” with “filthy conversation,” and their acts “unlawful deeds.”

In verses 1-3, Peter warns his readers about false prophets and teachers. In the next five verses, he identifies three specific examples of God’s judgment upon those who followed the sinful ways of false leaders, the last one Sodom and its sister city Gomorrah.

The “filthy conversation” of the people of Sodom does not refer to their speech habits. It means their manner of life, “…(the) sensual conduct of the wicked.” (ESV) Their behavior lacked moral restraint, and they practiced sexual licentiousness. (20)

Peter’s description does not call their lawlessness as “lusts for angels.” The men of Sodom experienced defiling desires and sexual lusts for Lot’s visitors. (21)

  • Jude 1.7

Jude mentions Sodom in his warning of judgment upon the wicked. He described their sin as “fornication” and going after “strange flesh.”

The word “fornication” describes sexual immorality of any type and kind, including, incest, bestiality, and homosexuality. (22)

The phrase “strange flesh” does not refer to angels. It describes the practice of unnatural uses. They did not content themselves with sexual intercourse with their wives or other men’s wives. The men of Sodom sought perverted homosexual sex. (23)

Summary

Contrary to popular error, Sodom exemplifies the sin of homosexuality. When all of the men of Sodom attacked Lot’s house, they demanded that he release his two visitors to them so that they could indulge their homosexual passions.

In other texts, the Bible reverberates this same understanding of those events. The LGBTQ community and many professing evangelicals misinterpret the Bible’s declarations of Sodom’s wickedness. Christ followers must reject the homosexual community’s Biblical interpretation of their behavior and accept God’s explanation of their sinfulness.

God made provision for sinners like you and me. He gave His son, Jesus Christ, as a substitute for sinners. Jesus took the punishment that people like you and I deserve.

His resurrection completed the task that God sent Him to fulfill on behalf of sinners. Jesus Christ will reconcile to God every sinner who turns from self-trust and trusts Christ as his/her substitute.

God gives new life to those who come to Him through faith in Jesus Christ. For those who come to Him, He washes away the sin and guilt of their past regardless of its wickedness, forgives their sin, and makes them new creatures.

I recall the day that I first trusted Christ. He truly made me a new creature, and I know many others with the same testimony. If you have never trusted Christ in this way, I pray that God by His Holy Spirit will bring you to experience it today.

References

  1. LGBTQ: lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning
  2. Genesis 6.5-12.
  3. Wold, Donald J. Out Of Order: Homosexuality In The Bible And The Ancient Near East. Baker Books, Grand Rapids, MI 49516; 1998; p. 66-76.
  4. Genesis 9.20-22.
  5. QuickVerse 10 Bible Software. WORDsearch, Corp. “The Genesis Record.”
  6. Leupold, H. C. Exposition of Genesis. DeWard Publishing Company, Ltd., Chillicothe, OH 45601; 2010. p. 214-215.
  7. QuickVerse. “Wilmington’s Guide To The Bible” @ Genesis 9.20f.
  8. p. 66-76.
  9. Genesis 9.24-27.
  10. Genesis 13.7.
  11. QuickVerse. “Adam Clarke’s Commentary Upon The Old Testament” @ Genesis 13.13.
  12. Genesis 18.16-21.
  13. Wenham, Gordon. “The Old Testament Attitude to Homosexuality.” Expository Times102 (1991):L 259-363.
  14. Genesis 19.1-25.
  15. Genesis 19.4.
  16. Genesis 4.1, 17, 25.
  17. Genesis 19.5-8.
  18. p. 77-89.
  19. Leviticus 18.22; 20.13; Gagnon, Robert A. J. “Why We Know That The Story Of Sodom Indicts Homosexual Practice Per Se.” Available at this link: http://www.robgagnon.net/homosex7thDayAdvArticleSodom.htm Accessed online at 6/25/15.
  20. Logos Bible Software. “Louw and Nida” @ “sensual.”
  21. Gagnon
  22. Logos Bible Software. “Louw and Nida” @ “immorality.” Also “New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology” @ “immorality.”
  23. Logos Bible Software. “Word Pictures” @ “unnatural.” Also “Louw and Nida” @ “unnatural.”

© Thomas P Hill. Website: www.masterministries.org.