On an episode of JRE, Joe Rogan asks Matt Walsh the following question (quote is not exact but the sense of the question has been extracted),
“Why does God make people gay in the first place if He did not want them to engage in gay sex?
If that’s like their fundamental attractiveness, if they are fundamentally attracted to other men, it seems like something God gave them. Why would you be attracted to the same sex if that was morally reprehensible… if that was against God’s will?
Why would He instil that lust and that desire…that feeling of being attracted and that feeling of being in love with the same sex
Why would God create gay people? has God created these people and do they have a choice?”
These are a lot of different questions packed into one and the phrasing contains some fundamentally wrong assumptions about God as well as a lack of understanding of Christian doctrinal beliefs.
This is not said to insult Joe, on the contrary, his willingness to engage in discussions with people he does not agree with is a rarity in this day and age, something for which he should be applauded. Moreover, he is not a Christian so should not be expected to understand what Christians believe.
We have to break this question down into chunks.
- Why does God make people gay in the first place if He did not want them to engage in gay sex?
The fundamental of the Christian faith which is the gospel works on the assumption that man, because of sin, is at loggerheads with God, His will and His purposes.
Adam, man’s progenitor, disobeyed God and as a result, both himself and his descendants stand in rebellion against God. This is the origin of sin, as Paul writes,
“Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned…”
As a result of this sin, man’s very nature is fundamentally changed and is in constant opposition to God’s will,
“Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God.” (Romans 8:7–8)
The very opposition to God’s will is what a man is in His natural state. All have one way or the other sinned and fallen short of God’s perfection,
“for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”
So the narrative is really not God making people a certain way and giving them urges against His will and then prohibiting them from acting on it, it is actually one of people naturally having urges that are contrary to God’s will due to their inherently sinful nature.
2. If that’s like their fundamental attractiveness, if they are fundamentally attracted to other men, it seems like something God gave them. Why would you be attracted to same sex if that was morally reprehensible… if that was against God’s will?
Again, Joe’s assumption here is wrong due to the falsity of the first premise of God making people gay. An understanding of Christian doctrine shows us that we do have some desires BECAUSE they are morally reprehensible. It is literally our nature.
A gay person is “fundamentally attracted” to persons of the same sex not because it is something God gave him but because it is just one manifestation of rebellion against God which is every man’s natural inclination.
People have all kinds of desires that are morally reprehensible which are clearly not God’s will. A paedophile desires to have sex with children, a serial killer desires to murder victims in a specific creative way, could the same question not be asked regarding why these strong desires exist if they are not God’s will?
The answer again follows from the response to the first part of the question, it would naturally follow that men’s desires would be against God’s will if they are by nature unable and unwilling to be subject to His laws (which are reflective of His will).
3. Why would He instil that lust and that desire…that feeling of being attracted and that feeling of being in love with the same sex?
Joe again builds on his false premise further, He then portrays the sinful inclinations of men as instilled in them by God. But what does scripture say about this?
“ Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed”
Everyone’s evil desires are his. They originate from the heart, as Jesus says,
“For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies”
Secondly, Joe Rogan misunderstands what love means, at least in a Christian sense. There is a reason the New Testament (and even the Bible as a whole) emphasizes love for neighbours (i.e. brotherly love) far more than it does love for a husband or a wife (i.e. romantic love).
In fact, “the feeling of being in love” is just not a Christian concept because love is a decision, not an emotion. That idea of “not being able to help yourself” or “falling helplessly in love” only happens in movies. If it happened in real life, all marriages would be doomed because what becomes of it when the husband or wife “falls helplessly in love” with a person who is not their spouse?
Now do not get this wrong, the point is not that falling in love is unbiblical, but rather the true love is what remains after the feeling of love (or of being in love) is gone. True love is that “decision” and “commitment” which is made everyday to continually honour and remain devoted to a chosen individual.
The love of God as shown in the gospels (which is the gold standard as far as Christian love is concerned) involved Him giving up His only Son. It involved His Son being beaten and tortured beyond comprehension. I can assure you the last thing on their minds was goosebumps and the feeling of being in love. But they were commited to the salvation of mankind and chose to stick to this path because of the love they had for men.
It would appear love is more sacrificial than romantic as even when talking about love between husband and wife, husbands are instructed to love their wives as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for it. A perpetual choosing to forego one’s preferences for the sake of another
But I digress…
If man is fallen, as we have established, then it follows that his definition of basic concepts and processing of emotions would be as dysfunctional as his very nature. It would be out of alignment with God, so what sinful man would call “love” might be genuine or might just be a sinful desire which a man wrongly interprets as love.
4. Why would God create gay people? has God created these people and do they have a choice?
This is not an “either-or” situation. They are not mutually exclusive. The Christian faith teaches that God has created people but the people God created have chosen to disobey Him,
As the Ecclesiast puts its,
“Truly, this only I have found:
That God made man upright,
But they have sought out many schemes”
Everything God created in the beginning including man was “very good” (Genesis 1:31) but sin came into the world once Adam rebelled.
Adam could only rebel because He had a choice to do so (which is what the tree of the knowledge of good and evil represented in the garden).
Just like Adam, every man has a choice. We can either give in to our wrong desires or we can ignore them. The very existence of laws in society is evidence that certain desires must be suppressed if we are to have law and order. This would be proof that not every desire felt would be a good thing, remember,
“knowing this: that the law is not made for a righteous person…”
(1 Timothy 1:9)
If every desire was good, the law (both human and divine) would be pointless. God did not give any laws or pattern of conduct to Adam before the fall because Adam’s desires were in alignment with God’s.
So do people with same sex attractions have a choice? Yes they do. Just as a married man has a choice to not pursue his desire to have an affair to honour his family. Proof of this is that there are Christians today who struggle with same sex attractions and have decided to remain celibate in order to honour God.
Now, the above has been streamlined to homosexual desires only because that is the theme of the article but in reality, this is applicable to all kinds of desires (greed, lust, envy). We all struggle with desires that are ungodly and homoerotic desire is only one strata or manifestation of this which occurs in some people but not in others.
What then? Is there any hope for gay people? or people in general who are so naturally sinful and in rebellion to God? Is there hope for a man who in his carnal mind stands in enmity towards God?
“And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled”
This is where Jesus Christ, the ultimate expression of God’s love comes into the picture. In the cross of Christ, we see the punishment for our rebellion and sin. In Christ’s resurrection from the dead, we see a restoration of the relationship between God and man after the enmity has been put to death on the cross Christ died on.
There can now be a new nature, as if any man is in Christ, he is a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:7). And with this new nature, new desires, God begins to work in those saved to do and will of His own good pleasure (Philippians 2:13).
In conclusion, far from desires being present because they are God-given, it is the fact that these desires are in contradiction to God’s will that necessitate the gospel which is the core of the Christian faith. If all our desires were God’s desires then what would God need to forgive us for? Why would there be need for reconciliation? And why would God only work His good desires in us after we have been reconciled?