Scientists and advocates of same-sex sexual and marital relationships are making much of recently observed homosexual behavior in animals, and some are suggesting that it proves that homosexuality is genetically rooted and natural (or at least not unnatural) for both animals and human beings. As Al Mohler explains,
The political implications of the issue are clear—those pushing for the normalization of homosexuality want to be able to point to research that would prove the normality of homosexuality in nature.
To draw this conclusion, however, would be a mistake. For it fails to evaluate this homosexual behavior in light of a biblical hamartiology. As Mohler reminds us, we can’t derive what’s natural—or more importantly, what God requires of us—from nature, for the simple reason that the effects of Adam’s sin extend beyond the human race.
The world we know is a world that shows all the effects of human sin and the curse of God’s judgment on that sin. Though the glory of God shines through even its fallen state, nature now imperfectly displays the glory of God. Because of the curse, the world around us now reveals and contains innumerable elements that are “natural,” but not normative. Illnesses and earthquakes are natural, but not normative.
Evidence of homosexual behaviors among animals is just another reminder that we live in a fallen world—one in which every dimension of creation bears evidence of the Fall. This new research points all the way back to Genesis 3.
Efforts to claim a genetic basis for homosexuality are rooted in the assumption that our genes tell us what God’s intention for us is. In a fallen world, that is a faulty assumption. Only the Word of God can tell us what God’s intention is. We cannot derive our sexual morality from a laboratory—much less from observations of an albatross colony.
“What animals do—what’s perceived to be ‘natural’—seems to carry a strange moral potency,” suggests Jon Mooallem. That is understandable, given the highly contested battles over sexuality that mark our times. Indeed, the Apostle Paul warns us that homosexual behavior is indeed “against nature.” [Romans 1:26-27] But we did not gain that insight by observing albatrosses. We have that knowledge because God spoke it to us in his Word.
What does Scripture teach about the effects of the Fall on the created order outside of human beings?
- God cursed all animals because of the serpant’s sin (Ge 3:14). The first part of the curse is directed toward the serpent. God cursed the serpent explicitly, but there is also an implicit curse on “all livestock” (כָּל־הַבְּהֵמָ֔ה) and “all beasts of the field” (כֹּ֖ל חַיַּ֣ת הַשָּׂדֶ֑ה); the serpent is cursed above or more than (מִן) the other animals. Whatever the precise details of this curse, it’s not unreasonable that it includes unnatural behavior, including unnatural sexual behavior.
- The whole creation was affected by the Fall (Ro 8:19–23). The creation, including its animals, is in “bondage to corruption [φθορᾶς]” (21). Though animals do not sin, the effects of sin may be observed in animal behavior.
- Death entered the (animal?) world after the Fall. There is no indication that death existed before the Fall—at least not for humans and animals. To the contrary, we are told that “death [came into the world] through sin” (Ro 5:12; 6:23). It’s possible that this applies to human beings only, but it seems unlikely without any evidence to the contrary. God’s clothing Adam and Eve with animal skins (עֹ֖ור) is the first recorded animal death (Ge 3:21). All that God created was “very good” (Ge 1:31), and there is no hint in Scripture that death—even of animals—is a good thing.
- There were (perhaps) no carnivorous animals before the fall. This is an inference based on (1) the belief that death did not exist prior to the Fall, (2) the texts that suggest animals will one day live at peace with one another—a restoration of their original state (Is 11:6–7; 65:25; cf. Ho 2:18)—and (3) the fact that Adam could not die and apparently lived in harmony with creation. Martin Luther opines, “Who has any doubt that before sin, inasmuch as man had the dominion over all the beasts of the earth, there was harmony not only among men but also between the dumb animals and men” (Works, 2:74)? Animals eating other animals (or human beings) may not have been God’s original design. Luther continues, “Although the first chapter [of Genesis] proves clearly that those wild beasts were created with the rest, yet their natures were changed because of sin, so that now after the Fall those which would have been the most peaceful and harmless are wild and harmful.”
It seems right, then, to conclude that homosexual behavior in animals is just as much a result of the Fall as homosexual (and sinful heterosexual) behavior is in human beings.
HT: Tim Challies