What is a biblical response to the notion that people are born gay?
That’s a difficult question and a lot of it depends on what we mean by that phrase. So, let’s take the person who says, “I was born gay,” and they mean they have some genetic causation for their attraction to people of the same sex. I would say we can look at the latest scientific literature, which does not strongly support that conclusion. In fact, the official language from the leading psychiatric or psychological associations will say that we don’t yet know of a definitive causation and that it’s probably some mix of nature and nurture. So any reports about a so-called “gay gene” are greatly exaggerated. So that’s one thing we could say.
We could also press a little further and say, “Well, perhaps there are issues of chemistry in the brain or there are things hard-wired in us that would make people more predisposed to being attracted to people of the same sex.” But even that doesn’t prove as much as we might think, because we’ve seen studies that suggest that people have a predisposition to alcoholism. Or we know that if men have higher levels of testosterone they may be more ambitious, they may be more athletic, they may also be more prone to promiscuity, maybe more prone to anger. So there are all sorts of ways we can understand our bodies. And we don’t want to have a kind of biological determinism that says, “How I act and how I feel is only the product of my genes or my chemistry or some hard-wiring in the brain."
So there is that way of answering the question. Then there’s the person who says “I was born gay” and may mean “I have these desires for persons of the same sex and I didn’t consciously choose them. I didn’t wake up in the morning and think ‘I want to be attracted to people of the same sex.’” In fact, maybe they have been praying and striving and looking for any way to change those desires.
To those people I want to say that it is true that usually these desires come unbidden. They're not consciously chosen. And so while we may need to repent of desires that are disordered, where the Bible seems to be most concerned is that we not lust in our heart and that we not act upon these desires.
Offering readers a valuable resource for thinking through a contentious issue, this timely book by award-winning author Kevin DeYoung summarizes the Bible’s teaching on homosexuality and responds to popular objections raised by Christians and non-Christians.
And then the final thing is to say that no matter how any of us are born, the Bible’s emphasis is that we can be born again a different way. There is certainly a measure of truth that we can only be who we are. That’s some good Christian theology. But what is often missing from the equation is that we have a new identity in Christ, which means we are new creations which means we act as “little Christs.” And so our whole identity is reshaped and reborn, and who we are and what we do is going to be entirely new. Which may mean for some persons new desires for people of the opposite sex, and for others who struggle with same-sex attraction it may mean a life long commitment to celibacy and mortification of the flesh and following Christ no matter the cost.
A thoughtful answer to a question that we all—sooner or later—may need to face, and how to honor Christ with our response.
This is an issue about which Christians should not be indifferent.
The Bible is somewhat ambiguous about orientation as such, only because that language is relatively new language. Here's what the Bible does say clearly.