God Is Love

GOD IS LOVE. Oh, wait, only if you’re not on the list, that precious list of THOSE WHO CANNOT BE GOD’S CHILDREN. After all, an omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, all-loving God can’t be expected to love everyone, you know. He created everyone (Psalm 139?), but that doesn’t mean He loves you all, or that He forgives you all. That parental bond between creator and created does not, apparently, exist for God (even though He created that, too).

There are, it seems, two Gods – The God of classical theism (and also of Christianity), and the God of the Bible. The Bible was an attempt to explain a faith, to show how a group of people saw God. It is natural, then, that it should have been influenced by philosophical and social norms from the time. However, we are no longer living in Biblical times. Since then, our understanding of God, of Christianity, and of the Bible (and Biblical doctrines) has changed.

Christianity is a faith, a way of life, and it is absurd to expect it to be based purely in the past. Society has developed and changed, and caused our comprehension ofconcepts relating to religion and philosophy to change. Which would you prefer to worship – a God who does not appear to accept, love and forgive everybody; or a God who loves everyone? Change is natural, and indeed necessary for any religion which hopes to survive. Compare the Old Testament with the New Testament. The God of the Old Testament (‘I am a jealous God’ etc) seems very different to the God of the New Testament. This is due to development of understanding. When the Bible was written, having children was looked upon as very important (childless women were treated as very low in the social order). Homosexuals could not have children, and were therefore looked on with disgust and contempt. The people then had strict rules about most things, but why do people now only quote those Biblical laws and rules that refer to homosexuality, but not those referring to anything else?

Leviticus contains a law banning homosexual acts, but it also contains laws about wearing clothes made from two different kinds of yarn. If we can ignore some laws which are clearly out-dated, then surely we have the right to ignore others that are not only out of place in our more developed society, but also cause unnecessary suffering, guilt, and undermine the nature of God as we know understand Him. St. Paul seems to condemn homosexual acts, but was writing at a time when Christianity was in competition with the Roman way of life. The Romans did not condemn homosexuality, and St. Paul’s words could be seen as an attempt to distance Christianity from the Roman state religion and Roman social norms. It is natural to want to condemn a culture that condemns you and your beliefs. Some Biblical translations have St. Paul again condemning homosexuality in I Corinthians. This again would most likely be coloured by the attitude of the time (as well as the translators). He also made several comments about women and their status and role in society, which are no longer considered binding (due to development of thought about women and their “place”).

Apart from the examples mentioned previously, all of which can be explained with reference to the attitudes and norms of the past, the Bible does not say a lot more on the theme of homosexuality. However, it has plenty to say about god’s love and forgiveness. It stresses that He created every individual as they are (for a purpose?). Some Christians appear to forget this. Which part of your God-given personality will you strive to deny – your sexuality or your faith? Both make you who you are, both come from God. Logically, it makes no sense. Homosexuality is still love; the capacity to feel love for people and for God was given to us, supposedly, by God. How can loving someone of the same sex lessen your love for God, or your ability to do what is right, and choose the most loving response with reference to other people?

The Bible does not see homosexual relationships as being loving, but as the enactment of sexual desire. Giving in to lust was the sin, not loving someone who happens to have the same genitalia, regardless of their mind. Love and lust are two different things, and the Bible was against lust in all its forms (except as part of marriage). The media also perpetuates the many myths, lies and prejudices surounding homosexuality. Very rarely is it shown for what it is – two people connecting minds and bodies in love.

Christianity views marriage as the rightful place for procreation, not procreation as the rightful reason for marriage. The Bible says that the relationship involved in marriage should mirror that between Christ and the Church, and between a person and their body (love, nourishment, warmth). Marriage is more than the “justification” of sex and procreation. It is about two people uniting to help, love, comfort, protect and nourish each other. How can gender affect that?

We are all part of the body of Christ.