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I am looking for Biblical evidence that homosexuality is a greater sin than adultery or divorce (for any reason other than adultery).

Prohibitions of "sexual immorality" could cover homosexuality, and I understand that Christian marriage is to be the joining of a man and woman as long as they live. I have also read Paul's warnings about men acting/dressing like women and vice versa, but these still don't seem to be outweighed by the passages relating to adultery.

Many Christians are opposed secular gay marriage but do not seem to oppose secular divorce that can set aside a Christian marriage for "no fault".

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closed as primarily opinion-based by Affable Geek, wax eagle Jul 16 '13 at 15:12

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

There's nothing sinful about being gay. There are admonitions against acting on that disposition. The distinction is important. I'm not sure how to interpret your question. –  Andrew Leach Jul 6 '13 at 12:06
As far as I know, I am well aware that some Christians are opposed to both no-fault divorce, abortion (for millenia), and same-sex marriage. I doubt they are treating any sexual sin as deserving more penalty than another, or at least I do not think they should. Assuming that you are an American, the U.S. probably has no-fault divorce, because that is part of civil law, not religious law. Separation of church and state operates due to the first amendment of the constitution, under freedom of religion. –  Double U Jul 6 '13 at 12:42
Who said either one was more wrong than the other? –  Narnian Jul 6 '13 at 20:23
Bear in mind that not all Christians regard homosexuality as any "worse" than any other sin. To a very large swath of Christianity, all sin is equal. See Can one sin be worse than another sin, or are all sins equal? I'd just like to point out that this question presupposes that the sin of homosexuality is worse, which is a questionable presupposition, and rules out answers from those that believe otherwise. –  David Stratton Jul 6 '13 at 20:56
May be this is off the mark though not off the topic. It just comes to my mind that some people justify gay marriages for reason that these two individual have intense love for each other and irrespective of whether they are compatible or capable of expressing this love in natural manner or not, they want to have an intimate and physical relationship in an unnatural way. Authorities also seem to be determined to recognise these relationships. –  Seek forgiveness Jul 10 '13 at 11:18

4 Answers 4

It is worth noting that while divorce was not part of God's original intent / design, for those who were determined to divorce, God made a provision (through Moses) for them to do that in a respectful way.

This is in stark contrast with homosexuality, which, throughout the entire Christian canon is characteristic of deep depravity (cf. Sodom, Rom. 1), and leads to the severest condemnation and judgment from God -- every time it is mentioned.

Sin is sin, but one is tolerated (cf. polygamy), and one is severely, consistently condemned (cf. idolatry.)

Regarding the alleged distinction between orientation and practice, we should probably consider Jesus' Sermon on the Mount, where He explicitly refutes such thinking and defines even perverse thoughts as sin.

So what is a "homosexually-oriented" person to do?

those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. -Galatians 5:24

we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ -2 Corinthians 10:5

Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. -Colossians 3:2

Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. -Philippians 4:8

...which, incidentally, is good advice in general for any such struggle with the flesh.

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First of all, if you are going to accept an answer from conservative biblical scholarship, you have to set aside the claim that Paul merely condemned "men acting/dressing like women." Romans 1:26-27 has been claimed to be addressing certain forms of sexual intercourse, not just dressing or acting like women. An additional point on this distinction is that homosexual orientation, per se, is not condemned in many theologically conservative treatments of the issue, as opposed to homosexual practice.

Here is one example of a theologically conservative group making a distinction between orientation and practice. The American Lutheran Church's 1980 Statement on Human Sexuality says:

We believe it appropriate to distinguish between homosexual orientation and homosexual behavior. Persons who do not practice their homosexual erotic preference do not violate our understanding of Christian sexual behavior.

Secondly, you are precisely correct that scripture holds divorce in higher disregard than homosexual practice. Those who hold it homosexual practice to be a greater outrage are relying on extrabiblical, perhaps cultural or personal, motivations. Jesus himself has great outrage at divorce.

Matthew 19: Some Pharisees came to him to test him. They asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?” “Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” “Why then,” they asked, “did Moses command that a man give his wife a certificate of divorce and send her away?” Jesus replied, “Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning. I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.”

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you are mistaken in that 1 Corinthians 6:9 lists effeminate which be men dressing or acting like women –  caseyr547 Jul 15 '13 at 5:36

Sin is like cyanide, it is deadly in small or large doses.

Sin is also defined as missing the mark. If you hit the mark, you get the prize. If you miss the mark, you miss the prize.

If you head into homosexual activity, you enter an addiction that causes you to miss out on something better. Genesis 1:27 states that God created man in His own image, male and female he created them. Therefore for every type of male DNA there must be somewhere a corresponding type of female DNA that is a compatible match for it. It is the enormity of the intended gift that determines the enormity of the sin that causes one to miss out.

Divorce and remarriage are allowed in some cases. Homosexuality is never approved. Adultery is also never approved.

All can be forgiven and restored through faith in Christ and the help of the Holy Spirit; deliverance can be instant but often it is long and difficult as in any case of addiction or allergic reaction. (addictions now are treated as allergies bringing on a strong and unusual response to stimuli that cause little or no response in others).

Hope this perspective helps.

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Mat 19:9 And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery.

Mar 10:11 And he saith unto them, Whosoever shall put away his wife, and marry another, committeth adultery against her. Mar 10:12 And if a woman shall put away her husband, and be married to another, she committeth adultery.

Mat 5:31 It hath been said, Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement: Mat 5:32 But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery.

Divorce is not a sin it becomes a sin when people remarry. You can divorce anyone for any reason biblically but you are liable for the fact that they may choose to remarry. Their remarriage would be adultery and you would have a part in it according to Mat 5:32. The person who marries the divorcee also commits adultery so now 2 or 3 people have sinned.

1Co 7:15 But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart. A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases: but God hath called us to peace.

In Word of Faith groups who take these scriptures literally when two believers divorce a staring contest ensues. The first person to remarry commits adultery against their ex which is justification for the other person to have divorced them, if they are not the party who initiated the divorce, clearing them with God to remarry (we might also say the unbelieving departed). We treat spousal physical abuse as the same as fornication. Since the two become one the spiritual intimacy never stops. Hitting a person after sex is the same as mistreating a person during intimacy which is rape and fornication. The only example of rape in the Bible followed this similar pattern 2 Samuel 13.

I'm Word of Faith and I know that in our group it used to be that it was very difficult for those who were divorced to be ministers (regardless of if they had initiated the divorce). In some of our circles they would no sooner have a divorced minister/deacon/teacher than a gay one. There are still churches who teach it that way in our group. They say serial monogamy disqualifies you from the ministry. If you are a minister a divorce can cost you your job and livelihood. If the divorce is messy even churches which accept divorcees will remove licences to minister. In some Christian circles it can cause you to be shunned by friends and family especially if the divorce is bad. So your idea that divorce is socially acceptable or makes you any less of a pariah for all groups of people is incorrect.

Mat 5:28 But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.

I do not know if from the Masters perspective if the adultery by remarriage is continuous. I hope for my parents sake it is not. They both participated in serial monogamy when they were younger. Regardless of how the Master views though who remarry we know how he views the rest of us and the prognoses is not any better. Without His Blood and the forgiveness of sins we all have had impure sexual thoughts (save those who by nature were not born sexual) and have committed adultery in our heart. Granted in most cases the fantasy did not become reality and the adultery stayed only in our heart. The difference between a sin in the heart and a sin in action is so trivial that it warranted no further discussion by the Master. So Christians who view those who are remarried and have committed adultery and we hope are not in continual adultery are in the same boat as those who have impure thoughts. They sinned they need to repent. Nothing about the sin is acceptable but it is in the past and cannot be corrected only avoided in the future. To ostracize those who are remarried (unless you view the remarried as a continual amount of adultery being no marriage at all) is to be hypocritical of the sins which we all have committed in the past.

So yeah divorce and adultery are a big deal to some of us still.

1Ti 1:9 Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, 1Ti 1:10 For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine;

Heb 2:18 For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted.

Now about homosexuality. Sexuality is a choice. No one ever rightly forces any one else to be sexual in any way. It is commonly said that homosexuality is a genetic trait and it might be I don't know. However most psychologist do not view sexuality as three separate classification straight, bi and gay instead modern psychology views sexual orientation as a continuum ranging from absolutely heterosexual to absolutely gay. (Gender identity is viewed as a separate problem than sexual orientation. So I will discuss effeminacy separately.) For a person who is anything less than absolutely straight in addition to the adulterous thoughts which they have they will be tempted with homosexuality. However being tempted is not sin as Christ Himself was tempted. Giving into the temptation is sin. Arousal can be caused by the brain in a conscious function or by the spinal column in a unconscious function. An individual can do absolutely nothing about their spinal column reaction to anything which warrants arousal however they can consciously choose to not allow that part of their body to control and lead them. They can avoid things which cause temptation and not allow the temptation to define them. You can by choice and after the Master's prescription be asexual.

So there are many people who experience homosexual thoughts or responses and that is not sin just like divorce itself is not a sin. Only those who give in to the thoughts, by action or meditation, enter into the sin of homosexuality.

While there is the question of whether remarriage is a single sin or multiple sins there is no question that all the acts of homosexuality are individual sins and that anyone who participates in a homosexual marriage or a like relationship is practicing homosexuality and because of 1Co 6:10 is not saved by most interpretations where as the person who has a single adulterous (or even homosexual) thought or even action is still saved (they should most assuredly repent).

I hope you now understand that remarriage is a big deal to some of us in some cases equal to homosexuality in punishment. That many more people deal with homosexuality than remarriage and that both are sins. Yet the acts of homosexuality are more greatly condemned because each act is an individual sin.

1Co 6:9 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, 1Co 6:10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.

1Co 11:14 Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him?

As an aside because homosexuality is often connected with gender identity: Gender identity is also important for a believer. Men wearing men's clothes and hairstyles and women wearing women's clothes and hairstyles. Men acting as men and women acting as women. Effeminacy is a sin which means violating gender identity. The Greek literally means uncertain affinity. However this does not mean that if you do not follow the norms for your gender in your society that you are effeminate, instead this means if you do not follow the norms for your gender as prescribed by the word then you are effeminate. It is true that a man or woman should not look or act like the opposite gender but the word defines how believers should act before our culture is allowed input into how we act. Believers are to walk in love as (God describes love) with both God and man. If in some societies that violates a gender identity in some fashion so be in it is necessary and not sin.

Rom 12:2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

We are not conformed to the world but to the will of God by the Word. Gender identities come from the word before they come from society. Just because someone curses you in a manner which accuses you of violating your gender identity doesn't make you effeminate by the standard of the Bible and does not mean that you have sinned.

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