Some Christians have argued that the recent Supreme Court decision overriding the decision of some states to maintain the traditional definition of marriage will bring God’s judgment upon America. Paul the Apostle would tend to differ. The Supreme Court decision was instead a formal, political, and, more importantly, a moral declaration of a judgment that has already begun.
As Paul began the great book of Romans, he declared that God’s wrath has been revealed against godlessness and unrighteousness (1:18). This godlessness comes about because unrighteous people suppress the truth. The truth that is suppressed is God’s revelation (1:19). Verse 20 tells us that God has revealed both His power and His nature through His creation. These “invisible attributes” have been available to mankind since creation. Instead of acknowledging God, however, some foolishly exchange God’s glory for idolatry (1:23), which Paul identifies as the worship of the creature rather than the Creator. Verse 24 begins with a “therefore.” This verse is the result of the preceding actions. Because people reject the truth which God has revealed to them and replace that truth with a lie, God has given them over to “uncleanness” or “sexual impurity.” Paul identifies this sexual impurity as homosexuality in verses 26-27. Paul does not refer to “men” and “women,” but to “males” and “females,” focusing his attention on sexual differentiations. In God’s definition of marriage in the creation account, the sexual differentiations are foundational. The emphasis of “gave them over” refers not to a natural result of man’s actions; instead it is the sovereign act of God. Paul also includes a string of other sinful activities in verses 29-30. Paul concludes this section with the final sin – not only do these people commit these sinful deeds, but they applaud others who commit them as well.
The Supreme Court decision has thus formalized in America what Paul declared is God’s judgment on a sinful people. This is not a recent problem. The rejection of God’s revelation in creation began in the 19th century. It gained momentum in the 20th century and continues into the current century. The truth of Genesis 1 is rejected by the broader scientific community, the US government, and the public school system. More importantly, however, it is increasingly rejected by evangelical Christianity. BioLogos argues for an old earth, but also for some engagement of God in the creative process. Its mission statement declares: “BioLogos invites the church and the world to see the harmony between science and biblical faith as we present an evolutionary understanding of God’s creation.” They further state that they uphold the inspiration and authority of Scripture, but also affirm billions of years of “evolutionary creation.” John Stott, an otherwise fairly conservative scholar but also representative of too many evangelicals, declares, “Not many Christians today find it necessary to defend the concept of a literal six-day creation, for the text does not demand it, and scientific discovery appears to contradict it. The biblical text presents itself not as a scientific treatise but as a highly stylized literary statement (deliberately framed in three pairs, the fourth ‘day’ corresponding to the first, the fifth to the second, and the sixth to the third). Moreover, the geological evidence for a gradual development over thousands of millions of years seems conclusive. . . . It is most unfortunate that some who debate this issue begin by assuming that the words ‘creation’ and ‘evolution’ are mutually exclusive.” John R.W. Stott, Understanding the Bible, 54-56. Theologian Millard Erickson in his Christian Theology argues eloquently that in the case of creation, general revelation supersedes special revelation. This is a telling admission. Nowhere else does he argue for the submission of special revelation to science, but for the creation process, Scripture is insufficient.
This rejection of the truth of creation is exacerbated by the loss of the absolute. With the loss of absolute truth in our society, only absolute power is left. Since our political system has determined that the Supreme Court has ultimate power, then all must bow to their declarations, whether they are biblical or not, whether they are Constitutional or not, or whether there is legal precedent or not. It makes no difference. They are the power, and they do what they please. This is the ultimate in postmodern politics, and this new political system will affect Bible believers, initially indirectly but soon directly.
The LBGT movement will not bring God’s judgement on America. According to Paul, it is the end result of God’s judgment on a nation that has already rejected the Creator, has replaced the worship of the Creator with that of the created, and has now officially approved and applauded sin. The only possible solution to this sinful state, the only solution that has ever been available for sin, is repentance. The hope of America does not lie in the right Republican candidate. It lies only in the Savior. Revival, not replacing our current President, is the hope of the believer.
Larry Oats serves as dean of Maranatha Baptist Seminary.
This article first appeared at Sunesis, the blog of Maranatha Baptist Seminary and is used by permission.