Is homosexuality something God despises over any other sin? Many Bible teachers use the story of Sodom and Gomorrah to show that God in fact hates this sin so much that he was willing to destroy two entire cities over it. But there's a rarely discussed background detail related to this story that makes clear the full scope of God's frustration with Sodom.
The story begins with two angels meeting Abraham’s nephew, Lot in the city of Sodom. He insisted that they stay at his home for the night. They had a great time! Until…. [cue sinister music]
“After the meal, as they were preparing to retire for the night, all the men of Sodom, young and old, came from all over the city and surrounded the house. They shouted to Lot, ‘Where are the men who came to spend the night with you? Bring them out so we can have sex with them… Then [the angels] blinded the men of Sodom so they couldn’t find the doorway. ‘Do you have any other relatives here in the city?’ the angels asked. ‘Get them out of this place—sons-in-law, sons, daughters, or anyone else. For we will destroy the city completely. The stench of the place has reached the Lord, and he has sent us to destroy it.’” (Genesis 19:4-5, 11-13) NLT
So here we have an entire city of men wanting to sleep with two angels. Suddenly God is going to destroy the city. Clearly God is so upset with their homosexuality that the entire city must go. That may be the impression we get from the account in Genesis, but that’s not the whole story. Ezekiel gives us more detail into what happened to Sodom.
“As surely as I live, says the Lord, Sodom and her daughters were never as wicked as you and your daughters. Sodom’s sins were pride, laziness, and gluttony, while the poor and needy suffered outside her door. She was proud and did loathsome things, so I wiped her out, as you have seen.” (Ezekiel 16:48-50) NLT
God was unhappy with Sodom for many reasons. As an entire city, they were doing things that made God unable to bear it any longer. While clearly homosexuality was on the list based on the account in Genesis, it wasn’t explicitly named on Ezekiel’s list at all. This doesn’t minimize or excuse the sin of homosexuality, but I think it does put it in its proper perspective. God hates all sin. While some sins have greater or more lasting consequences, no sin is excusable and no sin is irredeemable.
When you really examine what the Bible has to say about homosexuality, you find that there isn’t much ambiguity. Many Christians have looked at this lack of ambiguity and made the assumption that this sin is so bad that God won’t begin to have a relationship with someone until this sin is completely irradicated. Some have even questioned whether or not homosexuals can be saved at all. Why is that? In the next post, we’ll look at what the Bible has to say about homosexuality specifically and hopefully understand how this issue effects the church as well.