To listen to the podcast on this topic CLICK HERE!
- NOTE ADDED: Dr. James White replied (SEE HERE) to this article but failed to notice that I copied and pasted a compatibilistic scholar’s article below (John Hendryx) and simply changed his references of “human desire/choice” to “homosexual desire/choice” in order to avoid the all too common accusation of misrepresentation. I gave notice of this at the bottom of the article, but apparently Dr. White failed to see this and thus he responded to Hendryx’s representation of how men come to desire and choose sinfully within the compatibilistic system as if he was responding to me. I pointed this out to Dr. White and he subsequently “blocked me” and refused to respond further. It can be embarrassing when you make this kind of error, I know because I’ve made similar mistakes, and I did not mean to offend Dr. White by pointing out his oversight, but what else can I do except explain that he is responding to someone else’s representation of compatibilism?
- Everything below this line is from John Hendryx with the substitution made only for application of homosexuality, so this is NOT my representation of Compatibilistic choices, it is their own scholar’s explanation.
Calvinists (compatibilists) deny that the Bible teaches that man has a free will. They believe, rather, that God ordains all things that come to pass, including the homosexual’s choices, yet the homosexual is still culpable for his choices.
Compatibilism, held to by most Calvinistic scholars, is a form of determinism and it should be noted that this position is no less deterministic than hard determinism.
This simply means that God’s predetermination and meticulous providence is “compatible” with voluntary choice. They do not believe homosexual’s choices are coerced …i.e. the gay man does not choose against what he wants or desires, yet no gay man ever makes choices contrary to God’s sovereign decree. What God determines will always come to pass according to this system, which would include the homosexual’s same sex desire and choice to act upon that desire.
According to compatibilism, a homosexual’s choices are exercised voluntarily but his desires, temptations and circumstances that bring about these sexual choices occur through divine determinism.
So, according to Calvinism (compatibilism) God determined and ordained that every homosexual activity will take place. Yet, homosexuals act voluntarily making the evil choice that brings it to pass, which means the sin is imputed to homosexuals for their wicked activities, and God remains blameless. In both of these cases, according to this view, it could be said that God ordains homosexual sin, sinlessly. No homosexual desire or act occurs apart from His sovereign good pleasure, according to the claims of this system.
Please understand that NEITHER compatibilism nor hard determinism affirms that any homosexual has a free will. Those who believe homosexuals have a free will are not compatibilists, but should, rather, be called “inconsistent.” The homosexual choices are their choices because they are voluntary, not coerced. Homosexuals do not choose sodomy contrary to their desires or natures, nor separately from God’s meticulous providence.
Furthermore, compatibilism is directly contrary to contra-causal free will. Therefore, a voluntary choice does not mean the homosexual had the ability to choose otherwise. Voluntary does mean, however, the ability of the gay man to choose what he most wants or desires according to his inborn disposition or inclination (which are likewise ordained by God).
According to compatibilism, the homosexual’s will is never free, in any sense, from God’s eternal decree. When compatibilists use such phrases as “compatibilistic freedom,” they are, more often than not, using it to mean ‘voluntary’ choice, but are not referring to freedom FROM God’s decree or absolute sovereignty.
- NOTE ADDED: Everything above this line is from John Hendryx, not me. But if you watch The Dividing Line Program you will notice that he belittles this representation as if it is from me rather than the compatiblistic scholar. I hope Dr. White will take the time to correct this misunderstanding because he titled the show with the phrase “Leighton Flowers reduces compatibilism to a shawdow of itself,” when this is NOT my representation above.
James White claims to be compatibilistic, yet in this podcast exchange he affirms contra-causal (libertarian) choice. He states,
“If I have a desire toward arrogance, if I have a desire toward boasting and I act upon those desires then I’m acting upon the desires of my heart and that is what I’m judged for! Since I am made in the image of God I do not have to act upon those things, that is what makes us human beings, over against just animals.” – James White
Thus, he fails to reply to Dr. Steven Gaines argument in consistent manner. Dr. White affirms compatiblistic choice, as defined above, but then he makes a statement that affirms contra-causal choice (the ability to refrain or not refrain from any given moral action). He must explain his inconsistency here.
To listen to the podcast on this topic CLICK HERE!
(Attention Calvinists: before making accusations of misrepresentation please read the article that this report is directly modeled after.)
We do not affirm this view. We believe mankind is response-able (able to respond) and thus able to refrain from sinful desires in response to God’s gracious truth.
32 thoughts on “God Made Me This Way! Did God Determine Homosexuality?”
A reasonable definition of free will is wholly consistent with a reasonable definition of determinism.
Based upon our past experience, our beliefs, our desires, our values, our feelings, and our reasons, we choose. What we choose becomes our will at that point in time. It is called “will” because it is the future we have chosen. If no one coerces us to do their will instead of our own, then we are free to follow our own will. That is what simple free will means. Nothing more. Nothing less.
Determinism is simply the logical result of cause and effect. We observe that things happen due to relevant causes, and that these causes each have their own relevant causes. In theory, everything that happens is “inevitable”.
What confuses people is that “inevitable” usually implies something “beyond our control”. But determinism must include all relevant causes. And our mental process of making choices is the relevant cause of a lot of what becomes inevitable. It could be as simple as having chocolate rather than vanilla, or it could be as significant as raising the temperature of the planet.
If a man stands with a gun in his hand and chooses to shoot someone, we may say that his feelings and reasons caused him to make that choice. But none of those feelings and reasons were sufficient to pull the trigger on their own. It was only through his choosing and acting upon that choice that the gun was fired. Without that choice and action, the gun would never have been fired. He, of his own free will, made the shot inevitable.
When defined correctly, both determinism and free will are phenomena that are observed objectively, and simultaneously, in our real world.
All other definitions may be dismissed.
Insightful post. I’m going to have to read it again when I’m not on my phone walking. Otherwise I’ll be determined to slam into a pole. 🙂
Personally, I don’t see a problem there. Human free choices are under the overarching creative decree of God. It is as if saying Judas and Jews involved in crucifixion of Jesus cannot be blamed because they were involved in implementing overall decree of God. We are all sinners from the Original Sin of Adam, hence homosexual tendencies are the result of that fall in Adam. But those who are truly regenerated in Christ are not expected to have any sinful desires as Bible teaches us.
Are you arguing that believers no longer have sinful desires?
Paul recommended marriage as the correct solution to sexual desire. Am I mistaken?
Yes, I believe that a truly regenerate man will not fall into sin as he is a new person in Christ and old has passed away. The question is whether that regeneration has actually occurred in us. That will only be known by the fruits.
It must be nice to already be sinless.
I still sin, but I’m forgiven.
I am not saying I am sinless. But I believe that Holy Spirit has the power to bring regeneration in any human being that He chooses. I don’t believe that Triune God is not able to accomplish what He wishes. That is what Bible teaches us. I constantly pray to God to bring in me that regeneration if that is His wish about me. Only the one who that is drawn by God can come to Him and everything happens to according to His plan. That is at least what I understand when I read the Bible
John Thomas, God wants you to have His regeneration, forgiveness and everlasting life! He will give you that new birth if your trust is only in His Son to save you from your sin! Make that commitment of trust to have Jesus not only remove your guilt for all your sin, but also your sinful habits themselves. When God the Father sees your heart of trust in His Son, Jesus, He will give you that new birth.
He is not looking for you to pray for regeneration… If you want to pray for something, pray that He will give you understanding and conviction of spirit to trust in Jesus! What a wonderful Savior! Read any of the four Gospels and see!
A handicap impairs someone’s ability to do what people are normally able to do. People can normally see colors, but some are born colorblind. People can normally hear, but some are born deaf.
A person is normally attracted to the opposite sex. This is nature’s way to encourage mating and offspring.
But the gay person’s mating attraction is to someone of the same sex. This impairs, but does not necessarily prevent, normal mating. Episcopal bishop Gene Robinson married, had two daughters with his wife, and only later chose to follow his natural desire. He was honest with his wife from the beginning and his new life partner was also loved by his ex-wife and daughters.
Like any other handicap, being gay is limited and specific. You probably would not know someone is gay until they tell you.
A caring community normally supports individuals with handicaps. We reject prejudices that some people may have about them. We try to imagine what it would be like to walk in their shoes. We admonish our children to not make fun of someone who is different from themselves. And, to the degree possible, we accommodate that person’s special needs.
I have long resisted using the term “marriage” for same-sex couples, preferring a different name, like “domestic partnership”. My concern is that, in the same fashion that Bishop Robinson was able to sustain a relationship that seemed unnatural to him, it is also possible for a heterosexual to find himself or herself in a long-term, same-sex relationship.
Emotional bonds are easily established with someone of either sex. The sex act itself requires little more than physical stimulation. The presumption that only homosexuals can be drawn into a same-sex relationship is likely false. So I still worry about the moral harm to a person drawn into a relationship that unnecessarily prevents him from having a normal family. Hopefully, that fear can be addressed in other ways.
It seems the time has come to call the commitment of two people to love and care for each other “marriage”, whether of the same or opposite sex.
Marriage arose in society as an ethical structure for mating, insuring that someone was responsible for the children and, historically, the dependent spouse. That’s why it always assumed an opposite-sex couple.
But marriage is also a pledge of sexual fidelity, emotional support, and sharing a home. These are the same for same-sex and opposite-sex couples. And people in such similar situations should not be treated so differently.
Marvin, Does it bother you that Robinson could not stay faithful to his “vows” to his same sex partner? Does it bother you that he committed adultery, according to Jesus, to break his marriage to his wife, and to leave his children to form that same-sex relationship? Does it bother you that he confirmed the words of Jesus that out of the heart come things like fornication, which includes same sex intimacy? Does it bother you that you have reinterpreted “love” to include disobedience to the commands of Christ and His apostles? I hope, Marvin, that you will prayerfully consider these questions and that these things will bother you, and that you will choose to repent and to trust Jesus! We always obey the words of the person we trust!
Frankly, Brian, I think Jesus would be on board with some form of same sex commitment similar to marriage. Paul might have some problem with it, but then again he said in Romans 14:14 “I know and am convinced by the Lord Jesus that there is nothing unclean of itself; but to him who considers anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean.”
And, as far as I know, Bishop Robinson never committed adultery while in either marriage. Nor did he deceive his wife about his feelings for men before they got married. Nor did he in any way abandon his two girls.
You seem to possess, or be possessed by, some unjustified prejudices.
Hi Marvin, I am assuming you believe Jesus’ words as recorded in the Gospels. Jesus said to divorce and remarry is committing adultery! And I have not known any children whose parents divorced that do not feel abandoned at some level, though I am glad to hear your implications that Robinson is still trying to influence his daughters’ lives for good.
His feelings for men are like an alcoholic’s feelings for alcohol. And one may even be born with a disposition or weakness for certain sins because of our sin nature. But Praise the Lord, His grace is sufficient to say no to the lusts of the flesh, and to fulfill His will for marriage, which is between a male and a female for life, according to Jesus’ teaching (Matt.19). Any other physical or emotional intimacy designed for marriage that is used outside of marriage is fornication and/or adultery, no matter how good it feels or how right society says it is. If you love Jesus, Marvin, you will keep His commandments even if you do not feel like it, or even if society says you shouldn’t, don’t you agree?
Marvin, you shouldn’t twist the meaning of Romans 14:14! Sex is not unclean in itself, but it can be used in an unclean way, when used in disobedience to God’s design. You know that is what Paul is saying! Sinful acts are always unclean, even though the tools used for sin are not unclean in and of themselves.
Actually, I think Paul was specifically referring to Jewish dietary rules. One of his challenges was to resolve these issues for the new Gentile converts.
Jesus, as far as I know, did not address homosexuality. Whether he understood it correctly or not is hard to tell. Paul had some kind of issue of desire, but it is never specified what the nature of his desire was.
Homosexuality has always been an issue for a small minority of people, probably 5%. It is a handicap to normal mating. People are normally attracted to the opposite sex. That is how God or Nature made them. But God or Nature is apparently less than perfect. So we generally cut people with handicaps some slack. We build ramps for people in wheelchairs. There are braille numbers beside the buttons in elevators for the blind. Etc.
Jesus would never tell us to stone the blind or the lame. Nor would he tell us to stone homosexuals. And if marriage is the correct way to have sex, then two homosexuals should be allowed to marry.
So I am assuming, Marvin, that Jesus is not yet your Lord! I hope you will give your life to Him to use it as He designed, in obedience to His commands, trusting Him to take away your guilt and habits of sin. You did not respond to my clear presentation of Jesus’ definition of marriage and adultery, nor of His condemnation of fornication, which included homosexual activity. Any word study of fornication in the NT will reveal that.
I can only assume that you have not yet been convinced of who Jesus really is and what He has really taught. I am praying that you will be enlightened more on these things. The authority for our morality must come from the God who made us and who is righteous, no matter how we feel about things or how our society defines things. I hope you will feel God’s love so strongly that you will want to obey Him no matter the cost! Jesus is God!
Been there, done that, moved forward, Brian. Jesus did not “define” marriage, except to add spiritual purity (not to look with lust in the heart) to the Pharisee’s hypocrisy.
Homosexuality would only be fornication outside of marriage. That’s why Bishop Robinson married his male partner as soon as the option became available. You, on the other hand, would have forced him to live in sin. Not his fault. Yours.
What Jesus really taught about law was in Matthew 22:37-40. (1) Love God. (2) Love your neighbor as you love yourself. (3) EVERY OTHER LAW SERVES THESE TWO.
The moral person seeks Good. And seeks it for others as he seeks it for himself. All moral codes (ethics, law, principle, commandment, etc) are morally judged by how well they serve the best good for everyone. And that includes those with sexual attraction handicaps.
I hope that your prayers open your heart, if not your mind.
Jesus defined marriage – Matt 19:4-5 “And He answered and said to them, “Have you not read that He who made [them] at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’?” Male and Female is what is necessary for husband and wife.
Jesus called adultery the act of divorce and remarriage – Luke 16:18 “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced from [her] husband commits adultery.” Robinson committed adultery to form that second intimacy if you think that second intimacy is really marriage, though there was no male and female in the second relationship, therefore no marriage was formed, but infidelity against the first marriage still happened. I say this hoping Robinson will reconcile with his wife and rebuild his marriage.
Jesus identified fornication as one of the sinful actions that starts in the heart – Matt 15:19-20a “For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies. These are [the things] which defile a man….” Since Robinson’s second relationship was not a biblical marriage, it involved disobedience to Jesus, called fornication. Jesus died for that sin, as well as for evil thoughts and all the rest of the sins I and others have committed. I rejoice is His grace that is available to me, you, and Robinson!
How to love and what “good” means is where we disagree, Marvin! Love without obedience to Jesus is not true love and there is not real “good” without that obedience to Jesus, wouldn’t you agree?
Apparently Jesus did not know as much about homosexual orientation as we do today. Judging Jesus by his heart, I would suggest that his position today would be different than it was then.
If you wish to stick with the Old Testament rules, about stoning homosexuals, I think you’ll find few Christians today will agree with you.
We might both agree that the ideal moral arrangement is a man and woman married. But I think we must also agree that two men in a long term loving relationship is morally better than either of them as a profligate.
Since Jesus was and is God, He is, and was, well aware of people justifying sin because it makes them feel good, or because it may be declared “good” by society. Those same abuses existed in His day, like today. While on earth He confirmed the OT law for the theocracy of Israel – Matt. 5:19, which included laws against homosexual behavior. Jesus did not go looking for those committing the capital crimes which that law listed, that also required two or three eyewitnesses before capital punishment could be carried out. He even told the woman caught in adultery, to “go and sin no more” because there were no other accusers to condemn her. But that does not mean He approved such sin, as the verses I quoted above indicate.
Christians are not under the theocracy of the Mosaic Law, but under the law of Christ for His church. So homosexual behavior today, like any other public sin, would only be disciplined by the church by its refusal of public membership to those unrepentant of such sin. The church, of course, should encourage each society where it exists to encourage the sanctity of marriage as God has created it, if they want their society to be blessed by Him. To promote fornication of any kind, including homosexual acts, will only bring forward the final collapse of a society by God, as history has clearly demonstrated. The sanctity of marriage is foundational to a healthy society.
I disagree with your position Brian.
1) It cannot possibly be a sin to love and care for the person you choose and who chooses you to be a partner in life.
2) The sexual attraction to someone of the same sex, rather than to the opposite sex, is a naturally occurring anomaly is some species that reproduce heterosexually. If God created both (a) sexual attraction and (b) gender, then He is either “imperfect” and created 5% of them with the wrong sexual attraction or He is “perfect” and intends that their handicap should be accommodated.
3) Perhaps the only words in the Bible that can be attributed directly to God are the Ten Commandments, written it is said by his own hand upon the stone tablets. Every other word is written by men. These men may be devout and well meaning. These men may feel and even claim that they speak for God. But they are men. And even Jesus himself was fully man, even if he was also fully God.
The best evidence of this is the Bible itself. You yourself have said “Christians are not under the theocracy of the Mosaic Law, but under the law of Christ for His church.”
Who are you to proclaim the Bible is complete, and not still being written?
Thank you again. Marvin, for kindly interacting. It is obvious that the authority of the Scriptures is not your authority for deciding the definition of love and for doing God’s will. Even if you start by just taking these books as an accurate record of Jesus’ words and His apostles, it would be hard to justify your definitions of love, marriage, and obedience to God as reflecting their teaching as I have shown. You are free to choose other authorities to follow for your life, but please to do link the authority of Jesus to your views when it obviously disagrees.
Yes, I do firmly believe these Bible books by God’s prophets and Jesus’ apostles are without error by divine inspiration (John 10:35, 2Tim 3:16-17). And yes, I do firmly believe there are NO MORE books being written of equal authority or for changing God’s will for today, because there are no more apostles. Paul taught that he was the last apostle, because he was the last one to see the risen Lord (1Cor. 15:8). Jesus’ commands for the church are the apostolic doctrines that will last in their authority until Jesus returns.
For your interest there is continued mounting proof that there is no genetic link to homosexuality. Here is a link recently posted – http://www.jewsnews.co.il/2015/03/08/eight-major-identical-twin-studies-prove-homosexuality-is-not-genetic I do think one can have a weakness in their soul for certain sins from their parents, genetically, if you wish. But God’s grace is sufficient to overcome each predisposition towards sinful activity, like alcoholism, and the sexual addiction like homosexuality, with which we may have been born.
We are probably at an impasse, Marvin, in our discussion because of our different sources of authority for our ethical decisions. You should feel free to have the last word, if you wish, or if you have further questions, I will certainly keep interacting with you.
Brian, when I use the term “love”, as when I said, “1) It cannot possibly be a sin to love and care for the person you choose and who chooses you to be a partner in life.” I am referring to agape love as described in 1 Corinthians 13 (NRSV).
I understand that you object to “a man satisfying the biological sexual urge with another man”, but that seems to me a reasonable and necessary accommodation to a handicap that causes one to be sexually drawn to the wrong sex.
As I understand it, the causes of homosexual orientation are not purely genetic, nor purely anything else, for that matter. If it were purely genetic, then you would expects twins sharing the same genes to be always straight or always gay. But that is not the case. However, it is true that homosexual orientation does appear more frequently in twins than in others. It is just not 100%.
Some research has shown that pre-natal conditions may contribute to the likelihood of being gay. Other research has shown a correlation between being a third or fourth son and being gay. I’m sure a simple lookup of “sexual orientation” in Wikipedia will apprise you of the research to date. But suffice it to say that modern science views homosexual orientation as real and as unchosen.
The behavior is always chosen of course. But any person’s sex drive is both real and significant, so it is not easily dismissed. In fact, that is why Paul recommends marriage.
You are probably correct that we are at an impasse. I could certainly be convinced that I am wrong given sufficient evidence. But I suspect you would be immune to evidence outside the Bible.
Leighton, I always appreciate your earnestness. But like so much of what I have read from you, this article misses the real point about the sovereignty of God and the responsibility of man. You’ll never figure it out walking down the path you are walking! God created every human being and we were all born with certain propensities and flesh patterns. Mine is not toward men, but toward the desire to have sex with women I’m not married to. I heard Todd Wagner of Watermark Church say the same thing about himself in one of his podcasts. The point is not what we were born with, the point is we are commanded to obey God regardless of what our inner desires are.
But of course Jesus said that we are all slaves of sin. Slaves. So homosexuals can make a decision about which person they are going to have sex with tonight or whom they are going to marry, but they are enslaved to sinful choices. The straight guy without Christ is also enslaved to sinful choices. That’s what Jesus meant. And as you know, we sin because we are born sinners by Nature. We don’t become sinners after we sin!
God could easily have caused a person who is now involved in a homosexual relationship to be born with no desires that way and no propensity to ever migrate in that direction, but that person would still be born a slave to sin and will be responsible to God on the last Day.
God says he creates the deatdeaf and the lame and catastrophes. You can look those up, I know. He is Sovereign over every molecule of the universe, and yet mysteriously he holds us all responsible for our choices. This is solidly through all scripture and we have to be comfortable with it.
“I form light and create darkness; I make well-being and create calamity; I am the LORD, who does all these things.” – – Isaiah 45:7
The article starts, “Dr. James White replied (SEE HERE) to this article but failed to notice…”
The “(SEE HERE)” link in the email is a dead end. The “(SEE HERE)” link in the Soteriology 101 article links to Dr. Flowers response to the James White critique. The link to the James White YouTube broadcast of his critique is:
You can pick up the discussion at about the 37 minute mark as White deals with other issues before getting around to Dr. Flowers. The YouTube video was streamed live on February 15, 2015
Same old vague verses “end from the beginning” “does all things” The Bible also says He “hates” people. Can He hate? Cant God-is-love hate?
We are to “hate” our parents. Right? You cannot have vague verses be clear and fairly clear verses be “metaphorical” just whenever you want.
Anyway, you missed the point of this pingback that James While (Calvinist hero) took Leighton to the woodshed for saying something…that was actually just a quote from another Calvinist hero.
All of this proves the statement I make often. Determinists theologize like everything is set and decided by God, but live like their decisions matter and change events.
We all live like the more of our son’s little league games we show up for…. the more hours we help him with homework…. the more time we spend in family fun night the better off our kids will do.
Our decisions matter. If it was all set, they wouldn’t.
FOH writes, “Determinists theologize like everything is set and decided by God, but live like their decisions matter and change events. ”
Calvinists live like God’s promises matter.