ROMANS 1 and 2
A Biblical condemnation of 
the sin of judging homosexuals and homosexual acts.

For hundreds of years people have been told that Romans 1
condemns homosexuality and homosexual acts.

They are wrong.

When you actually read Romans I, you find that it actually says 
something completely different from what you would expect. 
Nowhere in this passage is there condemnation of homosexuality 
and homosexual acts. 

The verbiage used in translations of the original text of Romans 1 
use the most emotion laden words to describe the homosexual acts. 
Some scholars claim that these translations themselves are in error, 
and the descriptions of the sexual acts actually simply referred to 
them as "uncommon", with no judgmental connotations applied to them. 
In any case, the words were supplied by Paul, a human being with 
human failings. If Paul disapproved of homosexuality, that is no 
proof that God did as well. 

In fact, this passage contains an action of God's which directly 
contradicts that opinion. If the way the words are placed in the 
Bible contradict the meaning the person *meant* to give those words, 
then we have an example of divine inspiration superceding the man's 
intent. Romans I and II perhaps gives us the first confirmed example 
of this happening. You can, of course, assume that this is merely a 
coincidence. However, the idea of the Bible being filled with "mere 
coincidences" flies in the face of the idea of divine inspiration. 

The key passages as translated (Roman Catholic version) read: 
Therefore, God handed them over to degrading passions, Their females 
exchanged natural relations for the unnatural, and the males 
likewise gave up natural relations with females and burned with lust 
for one another. Males did shameful things with males and thus 
received in their own persons the due penalty for their perversity. 

This is the only reference to homosexual acts in Romans 1.

Take a detailed look at those passages.  

"Therefore," in other words, *because* of their various sins, "God handed 
them over to degrading passions," in other words he changed them by giving 
them passions they did *not have before which the recipients interpreted as 
degrading. "Their females exchanged natural relations for the unnatural," 
in other words they gave up what was natural for them, heterosexuality (and 
they *must* have been heterosexuals) and took on homosexuality, which was 
unnatural for them, and this was a direct result of God's actions. "and the 
males likewise gave up natural relations with females and burned with lust 
for one another." In the same way, these heterosexual males were changed so 
that they lost their normal heterosexual orientation and gained a very powerful 
homosexual one. This was a *change* from what they were before (heterosexual), 
and was a direct result of God's actions. "Males did shameful things with males" 
In other words, as a result of the changes God made in them, they did things 
that made them ashamed. These were things they had condemned in others 
(see Romans 2) "and thus received in their own persons the due penalty for 
their perversity." In other words, this is their *punishment*, not a sin for
which they were being punished. And not only that, but it was the due and 
proper punishment. Why was this the proper punishment? That is described 
clearly in Romans II. "Therefore, you are without excuse, every one of you 
who passes judgment. For by the standard by which you judge another you condemn 
yourself, since you, the judge, do the very same things." In other words, these 
people are doing the same things for which they condemned and judged others -- 
their homosexual acts. God had changed their orientation to homosexual as their
due punishment, so that they could see for themselves just how wrong their 
judgmental actions had been. 

No matter how hard anyone tries to twist the words, the fact is that these 
people were changed by God into homosexuals. They were heterosexuals before. 
God took action to change them. They were homosexuals afterwards. They 
*CHANGED*. The Bible is *absolutely* clear on this point. 

The Bible also shows that a punishment from God that results in an 
emotional change to the person and results in different actions, even if 
the person involved is ashamed of those actions, does *not* make those
actions sinful.  You can see that in Genesis.  

When Adam and Eve ate of the forbidden fruit, they underwent a 
significant emotional change, just as the men in Romans underwent a 
significant emotional change.  They became ashamed of their nakedness.  
And God *knew* that they had eaten the forbidden fruit because they were 
ashamed.  God had created this fruit and it's properties knowing that it 
would cause anyone who ate it to become ashamed of their nakedness.  
This was a direct result of the sin of Adam and Eve, just as turning into 
homosexuals resulted from the sins of the men and women in Romans.  And 
God *knew* what would happen as a result.  The shame was so compelling 
that Adam and Eve engaged in actions directly related to that shame -- 
they covered their nakedness and hid.  The homosexual feelings were so 
compelling to the men and women in Romans that they engaged in the 
homosexual acts that they had previously so despised.  Even though the 
shame of Adam and Eve and the resulting actions were a result of sinning 
and disobeying God, the shame of nakedness and the action of clothing 
oneself are *not* sins.  Just as the homosexual orientation and the 
homosexual acts of the men and women in Romans are not sins.  

Romans 1 does show people being punished for multiple sins. The 
punishment was to have their sexual orientation changed by God to a 
homosexual orientation. The description makes this clear, even though 
the concept of a sexual "orientation" was not known in those days. God 
actually is shown here creating homosexuals. "Their females exchanged 
natural relations for the unnatural, and the males likewise gave up 
natural relations with females and burned with lust for one another." 
They *changed* from what they were before. They were not homosexuals 
before the punishment applied by God. They were changed from what was 
natural for them. If they had been homosexuals and derided heterosexual 
acts, they would have changed to heterosexuals, since heterosexual acts 
were unnatural for homosexuals. And he compelled those people to engage 
in homosexual acts. "Burning with lust" does not leave much room for choice. 

This action was taken by God himself. This is not a small thing. It 
raises some very interesting questions. Does God sin or lead people into 
sin? In many religions, the answer would obviously be yes. The gods of 
the Greeks, the Romans, and the Vikings were all gods with very big faults. 
It would not be surprising that they would sin or lead others into sin. 
The Christian god is different. God does not sin. God does not lead others 
into sin. God transformed people into homosexuals and compelled them to 
commit homosexual acts by causing them to "burn with lust" for other men. 
Therefore homosexuality cannot be a sin, and homosexual acts cannot be a 

So why did God specifically turn these people into homosexuals? For the 
answer, the text must be put in context. The answer is right there, 
immediately following those passages that mention this action, in 
Romans 2: "Therefore, you are without excuse, every one of you who passes 
judgment. For by the standard by which you judge another you condemn 
yourself, since you, the judge, do the very same things. We know that 
the judgment of God on those who do such things is true. Do you suppose, 
then, you who judge those who engage in such things and yet you do them 
yourself, that you will escape the judgment of God? Or do you hold his 
priceless kindness, forbearance, and patience in low esteem, unaware that 
the kindness of God would lead you to repentance? By your stubbornness 
and impenitent heart, you are storing up wrath and revelation and the 
just judgment of God, who will repay everyone according to his works: 
eternal life to those who seek glory, honor and immortality through 
perseverance in good works, but wrath and fury to those who selfishly 
disobey the truth and obey wickedness. Yes, affliction and distress will 
come upon every human being who does evil, Jew first and then Greek. 
But there will be glory, honor, and peace for everyone who does good, 
Jew first and then Greek. There is no partiality with God."

Notice the key word "Therefore" at the beginning of the sentence, 
showing that this is a continuation of the previous passage, not a 
totally new thought. Paul may not have meant for these passages to 
be read in conjunction with each other, but it is not an accident that 
they are placed in the Bible this way. God is getting across a message 
about these people. They are being judged by their own standard. God 
tells them that they are now doing the same thing over which they had 
passed judgment, engaging in homosexual acts. They are stubborn, 
judgmental, and impenitent, refusing to give up the gospel of hate. 
This also explains why the words are so emotional.  They are pointing 
out how these people felt about what was happening to them. 

This is the ultimate sin. The sin for which God punished them while 
they were still alive. They were trying to usurp God's privilege to 
judge. They were guilty of the sin of passing judgment on homosexuals 
in the name of God. Hell is different for each person. For these 
people, becoming what they had attacked and judged was the appropriate 
punishment. God applied that punishment.  It was appropriate poetic justice. 

Romans 1 and 2 in combination is the ultimate condemnation of the practice 
of passing judgment on others for their sexuality and homosexual acts.

Copyright March 25, 2000, by John Shannonhouse.  All rights reserved, 
except that free distribution via any medium is permitted as long as 
author's credit is given and no profit is involved.