Sunday, 20 July 2014


If the tale of Sodom and Gomorrah leaves a lot of room for interpretation about sexuality and sin, it would seem that the book of Leviticus does not. Leviticus 20:13 reads: “If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination. They shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.” The problem here is a typical one. The Bible wasn’t written in English, and “abomination” is not a very solid translation.

The original Hebrew word is toevah, which means something that is considered ritually unclean for Jewish people. Therefore, it’s just as much an abomination as other ritually unclean activities that Leviticus speaks against, ranging from getting a haircut to eating pork to wearing clothes with mixed fibers. Avoiding homosexuality, then, served the same social function that avoiding pork did: It helped foster Jewish identity by encouraging them to avoid doing something that other cultures and other people did.
Thankfully for believers, Paul makes it very clear that the sacrifice of Jesus means that individuals do not have to abide by every single rule in the Book of Laws, which is good for any Christians who like to eat sausage. The difficulty comes when Christians must decide which of the old laws they will follow and which they will not. It’s certainly a gray area.
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