Some argue that same-sex attraction is brought about through socialization. Somebody acquires a personality or traits through their background (nurture), impacted by family, friends, school, work, and so on. Others would argue that same sex attraction is brought about because one is genetically predisposed (nature).[1] They may say, “I am born this way, it is not my fault, why should I be punished, or miss out on love, because of inheriting a genetic predisposition?” We will take on the science of such an issue herein but not as a scientist. Below is a brief article from WebMD News from Health Day by Randy Dotinga

Genetics of Homosexuality in Men

Researchers able to make accurate predictions 70 percent of time in study of twins

THURSDAY, Oct. 8, 2015 (HealthDay News) — Scientists are reporting that they’ve linked the way genes in certain regions of the human genome work to influence sexual orientation in males.

The findings don’t explain how such variations in the workings of these genetic regions might affect sexuality in one or both genders. But the authors of the new study say they’ve been able to use this information to successfully predict the sexual orientation of male identical twins 70 percent of the time, compared to the 50 percent that would be expected by chance.

Twins have the same genes, so something else — such as the way genes operate — may explain those who don’t have the same sexual orientation, the authors suggested.

“Sexual orientation seems to be determined very early in life,” said study lead author Tuck Ngun, a postdoctoral researcher at the David Geffen School of Medicine of the University of California, Los Angeles. “Based on these findings, we can say that environmental factors might play a role in sexual orientation.”

But he doesn’t mean the social environment in which we grow up, such as how we’re treated by our parents.

“Instead, we are referring to differences that the twins could have experienced in the womb,” Ngun explained.

Several past studies have linked sexual orientation to specific genetic regions, “but what’s still a mystery is the specific genes that are involved,” Ngun said. “Sexual attraction is a fundamental drive across all species but it is something that is poorly understood on the genetic level, particularly in humans.”

In the new study, researchers sought to better understand the links between how genes work — not just the existence of certain genes or genetic variations — and sexual orientation.

The investigators looked at identical twins because they share the same DNA. However, genes are also affected by the environment each twin experiences, so they’re not clones of each other in terms of how their bodies work, according to the researchers.

The researchers began with information on 140,000 genetic regions and narrowed them down to five regions that appear to have the ability to predict — 70 percent of the time — whether an identical male twin is gay or straight based on how genes in those regions work or “express” themselves.

The researchers reached that level of accuracy by seeing if they could predict sexual orientation in 10 pairs of male gay twins and 37 male pairs in which one twin is gay and the other is straight, the study said.

“We weren’t expecting 100 percent since we are only looking at a small part of the overall picture,” Ngun said.

The genetic regions in question play various roles in the body, Ngun explained, including affecting sexual attraction.

Qazi Rahman, a senior lecturer in cognitive neuropsychology at King’s College London in the United Kingdom, who studies sexual orientation, praised the study. While it’s small, the study’s design is strong, he said.

Rahman added that the study “tells us something about possible environmental differences — albeit biological differences in the environment — which might explain the sexual orientation of men who share the same genome.”

Some people in the LGBT community have expressed concern about research into the biological roots of sexual orientation because they fear it could be used to target gays and even abort fetuses who seem likely to not be heterosexual. “I am gay, so these questions have a lot of resonance with me on a personal level,” study lead author Ngun said.

“I do think we have to tread carefully because the potential for abuse is there. Although I think it’s highly unlikely that the findings of this particular research study would lead to a genetic test, future research could ultimately lead to something like that,” he added.

Society is going to have to work together, Ngun suggested, “to ensure research on sexual orientation is not misused.”

The study is scheduled to be presented Thursday at the annual meeting of the American Society of Human Genetics in Baltimore. Research presented at meetings hasn’t yet undergone peer review, and is generally considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.[2]

This author would argue that the science is irrelevant to the Christian faith. Let us err on the side of those who say that, for some it is genetic, and they are predisposed toward same-sex attraction. If we concede this, it does nothing to remove the Bible’s position on same-sex relationships. Remember, the Bible says that we are all mentally bent toward wickedness. What we should understand is that some lean toward different things in this mental bent and others lean heavily in other directions. By tentatively erring on this side of some being genetically predisposed, we can better help them, and better understand their struggles. Lastly, because we accept genetic predisposition, this does not exclude their gaining control over their body and mind, as well as they being able to take off the old person and put on the new person. Moreover, it does not exclude that many same-sex attraction cases are socialized.

Further, we could respond that the Bible does not address the genetic predisposition of same-sex attraction, but then again it does not deal with the mental issues of bipolar either. It is not a science textbook, nor is it a mental health guide. Thus, we should not look for it to resolve the specifics. However, it does address certain thinking and individual actions. Therefore, the Bible might not explicitly address the genetic, but it does address same-sex acts.

Another response might be that some have argued that addictive personalities are genetically predisposed (gambling, drugs, alcohol, intense opposite sex attraction, and pedophilia), as well as anger and rage are also viewed as genetic. Giving these ones the same benefit of the doubt as to the leanings being genetic, would we approve of a man that beats his wife, or another man that sexually abuses women, because they may be predisposed to those desires. Certainly not, we would send him to Christian counseling, and expect him to get control over his body and mind, by putting on the mind of Christ. Would we excuse a man who is genetically predisposed as a pedophile, who acts on his sexual desire for children? No, we would scream, lock him up and throw away the key. We would acknowledge that the wife beater and the pedophile struggle with these desires, and we would expect that they would not put themselves in an innocent appearing situations. Moreover, we would expect them through redemptive therapy by way of biblical counseling to get and maintain control over themselves. Remember, God feels the same way about homosexuality as the other above sins. We would expect that those with anger issues, those suffering from alcoholism, and those preferring child-sex (pedophile) would get control over themselves and avoid such unsavory activity. God’s Word expects the same from those who have same-sex attraction.

Again, the Bible does not directly disclose that same-sex attraction is genetic. However, it could be inferred from God’s curse of Canaan, (the forefather of the Canaanites), the grandson of Noah, who, it appears, sexually assaulted Noah when he was unconscious from alcohol. It can be inferred that we inherit leanings and dispositions. Certainly, we inherit sin, i.e., imperfection. (Rom. 5:12) In addition, the Bible does say that some of our imperfect traits are deeply ingrained. (2 Cor. 10:4-5) Therefore, if homosexuality is predisposed to some, this does not equate that “God made me this way.” It only means it is imperfection passed on like any other. Thus, the fault lies with Satan and Adam.

Thomas R. Schreiner hits the balance perfectly

Sons and Daughters of Adam

As noted earlier, the biblical prohibition on homosexuality is questioned, because we allegedly have knowledge about homosexuality that was not available to biblical writers. For instance, it is sometimes said that homosexuality is genetic, and biblical writers were not cognizant of this truth. It is not my purpose here to delve into the question of the genetic character of homosexuality. The scientific evidence supporting such a conclusion, however, is not compelling. Most studies yield the rather common sense conclusion that homosexuality is the result of both nature and nurture, and cannot be wholly explained by genetic factors.[3]

However, I do want to look at the perspective of the Scriptures, relative to so-called genetic characteristics. Even if some sins could be traced to our genetics, it would not exempt us from responsibility for such sins. The Scriptures teach that all human beings are born into this world as sons and daughters of Adam, and hence they are by nature children of wrath (Eph. 2:3). They are dead in trespasses in sins (Eph. 2:1, 5), and have no inclination to seek God or to do what is good (Rom. 3:10–11). We come into the world as those who are spiritually dead (Rom. 5:12, 15), so that death reigns over the whole human race (Rom. 5:17). Indeed, human beings are condemned by virtue of Adam’s sin (Rom. 5:16, 18). Such a radical view of sin in which we inherit a sinful nature from Adam means that sinful predispositions are part of our personalities from our inception. Hence, even if it were discovered that we are genetically predisposed to certain sinful behaviours like alcoholism or homosexuality, such discoveries would not eliminate our responsibility for our actions, nor would it suggest that such actions are no longer sinful. The Scriptures teach that we are born as sinners in Adam, while at the same time they insist we should not sin and are responsible for the sin we commit. We enter into the world as slaves of sin (Rom. 6:6, 17), but we are still morally blameworthy for capitulating to the sin that serves as our master.[4]

Below is a brief article from Probe Ministries by Sue Bohlin

Is Animal Homosexuality Proof that It’s Normal?

First of all, I would encourage her to ask with humility and softness (i.e., no edge in her voice) where she can find the studies that “prove” the prevalence of homosexuality in animals. People toss off assertions all the time (such as, “science has proven homosexuality is genetic”) but when we ask where the articles are, they don’t have an answer. They’re just parroting what they’ve heard.

Same-sex behavior DOES exist in the animal kingdom, for a number of reasons. Usually, it’s either playful antics, or dominance behavior to assert hierarchy. For one male to mount, or attempt to mount, another male is a very powerful way to communicate his higher position in the “pecking order” of the community. But if you bring in a female in heat, suddenly the male-male behavior is abandoned in favor of the female. Sometimes males mount other males in a type of practice before the females come into heat.

Secondly, I have read of same-sex attachments in animals, but the fact that they exist doesn’t make it normal any more than the fact that cystic fibrosis or diabetes exists makes those diseases normal. From a Christian perspective, we live in a fallen world, and that falleness extends to the entire creation on the planet. It would make sense that things would go wrong even among the animals. For instance, I understand that a hormonal imbalance can result in homosexual behavior in some animals. Here are links to a couple of articles concerning that. Note the naturalistic bias underlying them: “What is, is normal and natural and therefore to be embraced.”

http://www.noglstp.org/bulletin/1997spring.html

http://www.libchrist.com/other/homosexual/sheepandanimals.html )

Even from a godless evolutionary perspective, there is no benefit to homosexual behavior since those who engage in it do not reproduce, and from an evolutionary perspective, the only purpose in life is to make babies (the bottom line for the more scientific-sounding “survive and reproduce”).

I recently discovered an excellent article on the “animal homosexuality myth” at the NARTH (National Association for the Research and Treatment of Homosexuality) website. This article points out that we can find occurrences of “homosexuality,” cannibalism and infanticide in the animal kingdom, but the fact that these aberrant behaviors exist should not lead us to deduce that they are acceptable and normal HUMAN behaviors to engage in! www.narth.org/docs/animalmyth.html[5]

The Origin of Our Troubles

As we have evidenced repeatedly throughout this book, humanity’s troubles began with Satan, Adam, and Eve. Certainly, there is no direct responsibility of any of Adam’s offspring for Adam’s sin. Nevertheless, “just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned.” – Romans 5:12, ESV.

Our imperfection puts us at an apparent weakness. However, that does not mean that we are absolved of our responsibility. Jesus stated, “God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” (John 3:16, NASB) Paul wrote, “Since by a man came death, by a man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive.” – 1 Corinthians 15:21-22, NASB.

Jesus said of himself, “just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” (Matt. 20:28, NASB) Paul was extremely grateful for the ransom sacrifice of Jesus Christ. He wrote, “Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.” (Rom. 7:24, 25) The apostle John writes, “My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not commit a sin.[6] But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous one” – 1 John 2:1, UASV.

Philippians 4:13 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

Paul spoke from experience. He had been through the extremes: surplus and poverty. He knew how to weather the dangers of both. This was his secret. Greek and Roman religions had secret initiation rites. Some religions and philosophies prided themselves on secret knowledge. Paul had a different kind of secret. His secret was his reliance on Christ, a reliance gained through his Christian experience. Stoics relied on personal will to gain contentment. Paul did not claim such personal inner strength. His strength came from Jesus living in him. Paul was in Christ and thus content no matter what his circumstances.

J. Vernon McGee writes:

Whatever Christ has for you to do, He will supply the power. Whatever gift He gives you, He will give the power to exercise that gift. A gift is a manifestation of the Spirit of God in the life of the believer. As long as you function in Christ, you will have power. He certainly does not mean that he is putting into your hand unlimited power to do anything you want to do. Rather, He will give you the enablement to do all things in the context of His will for you (McGee, Thru the Bible, V:327–8).

The Christian life is not only difficult; it is also impossible unless we acquire the power to live it through Christ. To be sure, this truth does not come naturally to us but must be learned.[7]

Life is evidence that we must struggle with major hostile powers, as well as our own sinful tendencies and Satan’s efforts to move us off the path of salvation by getting us to stop obeying God. (1 Pet. 5:8) It is also very possible that our genes will affect us in one way or another. Nevertheless, we are certainly not helpless. True Christians have the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, as well their gift, the Bible, not to mention, the Christian congregation. – 1 Timothy 6:11-12; 1 John 2:1.

Review Questions

  • Is not homosexuality genetically predisposed? Explain.
  • How is Thomas R. Schreiner’s response to a genetic predisposition an absolutely balanced response?
  • Is animal homosexuality proof that it’s normal?
  • What is the origin of our troubles?
  • How can we do all things through him who strengthens us?

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[1] “A genetic predisposition (sometimes also called genetic susceptibility) is an increased likelihood of developing a particular disease based on a person’s genetic makeup. A genetic predisposition results from specific genetic variations that are often inherited from a parent.” – What does it mean to have a genetic predisposition to a .., http://ghr.nlm.nih.gov/handbook/mutationsanddisorders/predisposition (accessed April 16, 2016).

[2] Scientists Get Closer to Genetics of Homosexuality in Men, http://consumer.healthday.com/health-technology-information-18/genetics-news-334

[3] See, e.g., Stanton L. Jones & Mark A. Yarhouse, Homosexuality: The Use of Scientific Research in the Church’s Moral Debate (Downers Grove: InterVarsity, 2000); Jeffrey Satinover, Homosexuality and the Politics of Truth (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1996); Schmidt. Straight and Narrow?, 131–59; Gagnon, Homosexual Practice, 396–432.

[4] Thomas R. Schreiner, “A New Testament Perspective on Homosexuality,” Themelios 31, no. 3 (2006): 70–75.

[5] Is Animal Homosexuality Proof that It’s Normal?, https://www.probe.org/is-animal-homosexuality-proof-that-its-normal/ (accessed April 25, 2016).

[6] Gr., hamartete, a verb in the aorist subjunctive. According to A Grammar of New Testament Greek, by James H. Moulton, Vol. I, 1908, p. 109, “the Aorist has a ‘punctiliar’ action, that is, it regards action as a point: it represents the point of entrance . . . or that of completion . . . or it looks at a whole action simply as having occurred, without distinguishing any steps in its progress.”

[7] (Anders, Holman New Testament Commentary: vol. 8, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians 1999, 264)