Saturday, January 13, 2018

We Don't Need No Leviticus

So I recently encountered an apologist that dismissed the need to use Leviticus in condemning homosexuality because Jesus fulfilled the law. This was a way of getting around all the other stuff in the OT that Christians ignore.

Instead he declared that Romans 1: 26-27 and 1 Corinthians 9-10 condemn homosexuality and that's good enough for him.

Except both Romans and 1 Corinthians are written by Paul and we know that Paul often uses his own opinion because he tells us that himself.

Besides, Romans 1:26-27 refers to Pagans as explained in line 22 & 23 and no one is really sure what 1 Corinthians refers to.

Romans 1:22-23 "Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles." 

1 Corinthians 6:9-10 "Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God." 

The problem with this verse are the two words translated here as "men who have sex with men." This translation is from the NIV which also has a footnote which states definitively "The words men who have sex with men translate two Greek words that refer to the passive and active participants in homosexual acts."

Yeah, well, maybe. The two words are "malakos" and "arsenokoites." The KJV is actually better and translates these two words as "effeminate" and "abusers of themselves with mankind."

The NKJV is totally dishonest and translates them as "homosexuals," and in a footnote says "that is catamites" which are boy slaves kept for homosexual purposes, and "sodomites."

The NRSV translates them as "male prostitutes" and "sodomites."

So what do they really mean? "Malakos" literally means "soft" but there are examples of it being used to mean "effeminate" as well. Since Paul is listing people who aren't getting into the "kingdom of God" I suppose "effeminate would make more sense than "soft." But "effeminate" is not the same thing as homosexual.

The second word "arsenokoites" is a neologism. There is no evidence of it being used prior to 1 Corinthians and subsequent uses are usually when Paul is being referred to or sinful behavior is being listed. It's a compound word consisting of "male" and "bed" so literally a "male bed."

Since Paul was listing sinful behaviors once has to assume it's a behavior consisting of a male and a bed. But exactly what, no one really knows. Granted, that something related to homosexual sex is very possible, but you would think the All Knowing, All Powerful, Creator of Heaven and Earth could have come up with something a tiny bit clearer.

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