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Paul and homosexuality - Essay Example

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While Hays' approach is more direct under which he establishes whether or not the Bible is speaking against homosexual behavior in Romans I and its significance in the modern context, Martin is more concerned with the question of whether the scholars dealing with this particular aspect are as objective as they claim, or are in fact looking at it from a firmly heterosexist perspective.

In order to fulfill his object, Martin has chosen to analyze the above-mentioned article by Hays. For the purposes of our comparison between the articles therefore, we would note the stated issues that Martin finds with Hays' article. We would then scrutinize how effectively Martin is able to present his counter-arguments to determine whether he has the more convincing interpretation of Romans, or whether Hays' interpretation is better argued and supported by evidence.

The issues which Martin lays out against Hays' article are : “1) the claim that the etiology of homosexuality, according to Paul, lies in the corruption of universal human nature that occurred in the fall; 2) the assumption that Paul is differentiating homosexual desire from heterosexual desire in Romans I ascribing the former to the fall and the latter to pristine creation; and 3) the importation of a modern concept of acts “contrary to nature” when explaining Paul's term para physin”.
Dealing with the first point of the etiology of homosexuality, we scrutinize the argument presented by each scholar. Hays asserts that “depravities follow from the radical rebellion of the creature against the creator”, that is, all of humankind has fallen in God's eyes by refusing to recognize Him as the Creator and thus arousing His wrath. Hays also contends that God's wrath "takes the ironic form of allowing them the freedom to have their own way", and that "idolatry debases both the worshiper and the idol".

Thus, Hays says that homosexuality is the symptom of mankind's fall, their refusal to accept God as their true creator and that " Paul's choice of homosexuality as an illustration of human depravity is not merely random: it serves his rhetorical purposes by providing a vivid image of humanity's primal rejection of the sovereignty of God the creator". To support his claim, Hays brings in the references of Genesis, where "the complementarity of male and female is given theological grounding in God's creative activity". The Gen 2:18-24 is quoted, where man and woman are intended to "become one flesh".

1)b. Etiology of Homosexuality: Martin

Martin interprets the origins of homosexuality in much more specific terms, and takes the references of homosexuality in the Jewish tradition of Paul's time, and relates homosexuality to the origin of idolatry and polytheism "at some point after the time of Adam: rabbinic sources variously ascribe the invention of idolatry to Kenan, Enosh(son of Seth) or the people of Enosh's generation", especially amongst the Gentiles and he supports his interpretation by using the example of the book of Jubilees. He contends that : "the scenario Paul sketches in Romans I has to do with the invention of idolatry and its consequences, and not with the fall of Adam. In Romans I, Paul refers not to Adam or "he", a single person, but to "they"."

Both scholars recognize that Paul has, through the clever use of rhetoric in 2:1, chastised both the Jews and the Gentiles where they are "equally condemned under the judgment of a righteous God"(Hays). In the same spirit, Martin says, "He condemns first the Gentiles, and then turns his attention to Jews". But Martin and Hays use this argument to ...Show more


Romans I in the new Testament has been the subject of much discussion and debate in the present times regarding Paul's stand on homosexuality…
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Paul and homosexuality essay example
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