For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.The unkillable debate regarding the appropriateness of what is called homosexual marriage tends to try to go on in a non-theological strain, with occasional debates amongst Christians about what the Bible says about it. But the What the Bible says question tends to just be about whether the Bible condones or prohibits homosexual relationships. This post is an attempt to circumvent historical studies suggesting that this passages does not mean that the Bible prohibits homoexual behavior, and then to elucidate what the reasoning behind that prohibition seems to be.
Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them. (Romans 1:18-32)
The prohibition is in verses 26-27 "For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error." So, to circumvent the questionable historical studies, read: "For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another" and assume whatever you like about how such relations went at the time. What does Paul actually appear concerned with here? It is set up as a switch, not from one style of relating to another, but from heterosexual partners to homosexual partners. They gave up A and adopted B and the only difference Paul notes between the two is homo/heterosexuality.
So, then, what is the logic? The preceding two verses, 24-25 "Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen." That is, because they switched from worshiping the Creator to the creature, God gave them up to switch from heterosexuality to homosexuality. How does that work?
Among theologians, there is what is called the Creator/creature divide, based on passages like this one. The point made by it is that God is a completely different sort of being from us. Creatures are contingent, and have their existence in a completely different way from a necessary being, i.e., God, the Creator.
In God's relationship with his people, of in Christ's relationship with the Church, there is a relation between two fundamentally different kinds of beings. There is the Creator in relationship with the creature. And marriage images this. On that basis, I think we can understand what happens here. When we give up the recognition that our lives are lived in relation to an utterly other being, we will tend to give up the idea that marriage should be between fundamentally different sorts of human beings.
I think we can see this happen in other places, too. As we become more inclusive, and more willing to say that people can get to God through a variety of means, we should expect polygamy, because it makes God out to be a polygamist.
Now, one might argue that this connection is silly, because most people do not explicitly draw any connection between their views on God and their relationship to him, and marriage. What I am suggesting is that we do not need to be explicit about this connection for it to do its work. We are designed so that our views about our relationship to God and our views of marriage will affect each other. This may be part of why it is so easy for romance songs to go too far and sound like worship of the beloved.
If we conceive of the greatest, most important relationship possible along certain lines, we will be inclined to seek to develop our greatest, most important earthly relationship along similar lines. It will necessarily provide the template for what that kind of relationship is like.