Homosexuality, Science, and the 'Plain Sense' of Scripture

By David L. Balch | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 4
The Bible and Science on Sexuality

CHRISTINE E. GUDORF


The Bible and Science as Interpreted Sources

This paper examines the ethical status of biblical evaluations of homosexuality in the light of scientific research, both biological and social scientific. I would reiterate some of Dr. Jones's and Dr. Yarhouse's basic points on scientific research: (1) studies of homosexuality have defined terms such as "homosexuality," "heterosexuality," and "bisexuality" very differently; (2) representative samples of homosexual persons are difficult to obtain; (3) many studies have not been confirmed or replicated; and (4) science cannot decide the morality of homosexuality for the Christian churches because the moral status of homosexuality is not a scientific question. While largely concurring with Dr. Jones's and Dr. Yarhouse's treatment of scientific research, I will dispute their position regarding fundamental Christian teaching: God's standard for homosexual persons would continue to be the same as for all persons — chastity in marriage or celibacy outside of marriage.

My understanding of the status of the Bible as a resource for Christian ethics, stated baldly, has three aspects. First, the Bible is a (not the) primary resource for Christian ethics; to approach the Bible as the sole and absolute source of revelation is idolatry, the worship of a text rather than the one true living God who was definitively revealed in Jesus Christ and continues to be revealed in history. Second, the Bible always requires interpretation. The New Testament makes clear that Jesus himself was involved in debating the interpretation of the Old Testament. All texts are context-bound, because language itself is context-bound. Third, the interpretation of biblical texts must

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