Is Sexual Orientation Genetically Determined? (Part 2)

My last blog post addressed the question of whether or not sexual orientation is genetically determined.  The next section will answer the question, “If my same-sex desires are not genetically inherited, where did they come from and what do you expect me to do?”

The two prevailing theories concerning same-sex attraction in the scientific community are that it is either biological in origin or that it is environmental.  These two theories represent the nature/nurture dichotomy that psychologists and sociologists have been debating for centuries.  While it is true that our experiences help to shape who we are and what we desire, neither of these theories stand up to biblical scrutiny.  Both options point the individual away from himself to some outside cause that he or she had little to no control over.  It shifts the guilt and burden of responsibility away from the person to something else that can be blamed instead of taking accountability for one’s actions.  We only have ourselves to blame for our sins.

Paul Tripp has said many times that the greatest danger we face is to believe that our greatest problem is outside of us rather than inside of us.  All sinful desires come from the heart and flow out of rebellion and unbelief toward God.  As Jesus said, “For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander” (Matt 15:19).  The “heart” in Scripture describes our desires, will, and affections.  These things will always be ruled by something, the question is, who or what is ruling them.  If our greatest treasure is our own desire for pleasure, then our actions will reflect the deepest desires of our heart: “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matt 6:21).  But if Christ the Lord is ruling our heart, then our desire will be to honor him rather than live for ourselves.  That’s why Paul says, “because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (Rom 10:9).  God must dethrone the idols of our heart and reign supreme.

The cause of homosexual desires and actions is a heart of idolatry that worships creation rather than the creator.  Therefore God gives those who are lost over to the sinful desires of their hearts because they have rejected him.  As Paul says, “Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen. For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error” (Rom 1:24-27).  The cause of homosexuality is idolatry, not genetics or environmental factors.

Therefore there is hope for anyone who turns to Christ in faith and repentance because today is the day of salvation (2 Cor 6:2).  While we cannot change our skin-color or gender because they are genetically determined, sinful sexual orientations are worship disorders that can be fixed by God the Holy Spirit and that should give us hope.  The message that homosexual orientation is an unchangeable genetically determined attribute drives people to despair because they don’t believe they can ever change.  But Paul mentions that there were former practicing homosexuals in the church at Corinth when he says, “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality. . . . And such were some of you. 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” (1 Cor 6:9-11).  When we are saved, our struggles do not all go away, but God is transforming us through the process of making us like his Son Jesus.  As Russell Moore said during the ERLC conference on marriage and homosexuality, God has not promised to take away our temptations, but to walk with us in the midst of them (1 Cor 10:13).


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