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The Natural Function


For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error. —Romans 12:26–27

In their efforts to promote their agenda, advocates of homosexuality have gone to incredible lengths to convince us that homosexuality is as natural as heterosexuality. It should surprise no one that most simply write off the Scriptural prohibitions as part of the larger fiction of the Bible. We should expect that. Harder to believe are the claims of those who attempt to manipulate Scripture to support their claims, and normalize homosexuality within the church. Addressing one of the more audacious examples of this Scripture-twisting, John MacArthur writes:

John MacArthur. . . homosexual advocates argue that Paul is speaking [in Romans 1:26–27] of an individual’s sexual orientation (rather than the created order) when he uses the term “nature.” Thus, for homosexuals, “their relationships cannot be described as ‘unnatural’, since they are perfectly natural to them” [it is alleged by some that Paul is not condemning homosexuality, but homosexual acts committed by heterosexuals]. However, such far-fetched interpretations are easily refuted (both from the context in Romans and from the way kata physin [natural] and para physin [unnatural] were used in ancient times). Moreover, the thought of “sexual orientation” would have been completely foreign to Paul, and represents an anachronistic attempt to read modern conventions into the biblical text.
So then, we have no liberty to interpret the noun “nature” as meaning “my” nature, or the adjective “natural” as meaning “what seems natural to me”. On the contrary, physis (“natural”) means God’s created order. To act “against nature” means to violate the order which God has established, whereas to act “according to nature” means to behave “in accordance with the intention of the Creator”. Moreover, the intention of the Creator means his original intention. What this was Genesis tells us and Jesus confirmed. . . . God created humankind male and female; God instituted marriage as a heterosexual union; and what God has thus united, we have no liberty to separate. [Stott, Romans 78. Internal citation from C. E. B. Cranfield, A Critical and Exegelical Commentary on the Epistle to the Romans (Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 1975) 1:125.]
—John MacArthur, “God’s Word on Homosexuality,” The Master’s Seminary Journal (Fall 2008): 167–168.


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