We can see from the earliest time of creation that God intended man and woman together to REFLECT his image. We see this in the creation story when in Gen 1:27 he states, "God created man in HIS IMAGE; in the divine image he created him; MALE AND FEMALE HE CREATED THEM".
What does this mean for us? Well, in order to understand this, we must take a look at who GOD is. The Father is the being from whom everything else proceeds. The Father’s knowledge and love for Himself, in Eternity, is the Word. This knowledge the Father has of Himself is complete and perfect, since God’s nature is all-knowing and perfect. The Word is the Son, and the Son, in time, is Jesus. The Son then being the perfect image of the Father, loves the Father completely back. This love is a complete self-giving love between the Father and the Son, where they hold nothing back. That love is so complete and perfect that another “person” is generated through it. That person, as we know, is the Holy Spirit. Thus, we see that when we say God is “love,” it is more than an abstract concept. God, within Himself, is love. He is Family, for he possesses fatherhood, sonship, and love. Thus, God is a life giving communion of persons, within Himself. Because God’s nature is eternal, this communion of persons is an eternal communion. Thus, there was never a time that God did not exist as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
From this understanding of the Holy Trinity, we can discern much about the nature of man, and more specifically about the nature of how man and woman are created in the image and likeness of God. Together, man and woman reflect the complete self-giving love of the Father for the Son, and the Son back to the Father. And just as the love of the complete self-giving love of the Father for the Son, and the Son for the Father, results in a life-giving communion of persons, so do we participate in this communion (to a lesser degree) in the sexual embrace of husband and wife. And God willing, new life is generate. Of course, this image is not perfect, for we are made in God's image, not vice versa. Thus, we don't want to infer too much from this. However, as with any physical sign or symbol, there is a reality to be gained by searching for understanding of it.
Moving on, we flip to Ephesians 5. Ephesians 5 compares the love of a man and his wife to that for Christ's love for the Church. This love is again, a complete and total self-giving. Christ lays down His very life for His bride, the Church. In the same way we must do so for our bride. So, we are to communicate marital love to our spouse through the sexual embrace, for this is where we most image the complete self-giving love of the Father to the Son, and vice-versa. So, what is the nature of this love? In communicating love to our spouse, we are "re-consummating" our marital vows. For we know that marriage is not a one-time event. The wedding is a one-time event, but for anyone who is married, they'll tell you that the "I do" we state at the altar continues daily. It must! Therefore, when we sexually embrace our spouse, we are re-communicating and re-consummating these marital vows.
What are these marital vows? Free, Total, Faithful and Fruitful! Love cannot be coerced. It must be free. Jesus lived these vows for His bride, the Church. Before the self-sacrificial loving act of laying His life down, Jesus stated, “No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord” (Jn 10:18)
Further, as the Father and the Son's love are complete for each other, so must each spouse's love be a total, self-giving to each other in image of the Trinity. Jesus also lived out this vow for His bride. He showed He held nothing back, by giving up His very life.
It must be faithful. Essentially, it is only to be shared between the spouses. We must not attempt to bring others into this relationship apart from God Almighty, and the two spouses. Essentially, no other partners! This seems pretty obvious. All throughout the OT, God’s relationship to His people is described as a “marriage.” God is said to be a “jealous God.” Therefore, He does not want to share our affections. Nor should anyone outside of the natural marriage of man and wife, compete for our affections. When Satan tried to tempt Jesus, He would not budge. He knew His mission was to die sinless. He was faithful to His Bride all the way to death.
Finally, we must be open to life. Again, the Father and the Son's love for each other is so complete that from it the Holy Spirit eternally proceeds. Thus, our love for our love must be no less. Therefore, when I attempt to re-consummate my vows through my sexuality, I must be open to all these vows. Anything less and I am communicating a lie. Now this may not be my subjective intent, but the objective reality is there all the same. Thus, in the same way I could not have sex with another person (violating the vow of “faithful”) and thereby declare that I have been “faithful” because I had sex with ONLY my partner MOST of the time, I cannot violate the vow of “fruitful” and declare that this is a proper approach to ordered sexuality, because I am open MOST of the time.
Again, we must define terms. When Jesus speaks of love, and thus when I speak of love, He is not merely speaking of a feeling of affection. He is not even speaking of merely a strong bond between two people. He is talking about an ACTION. Remember, He stated, “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends” (Jn 15:13). In other words, love in its purest form, is complete self-giving.
We must also then define three other terms. Objective, Subjective, and Relative. Objective is the standard which comes down upon us, that is not subject to our personal preferences or beliefs. It is what it is, as they say. Subjective is something particular to a given person, usually having to do with intent. Finally, relative is the specific situation.
When talking about the communication of love through the sexual act, we are not merely talking about the subjective (affection one feels for another) or the relative (a passionate situation that seems good). Rather, we are speaking of the objective communication of love. This can only be accomplished through the objective truth God has revealed to us, mainly through Himself. In conclusion, on this specific portion of my response, despite the fact that many who engage in the sexual act might have sincere feelings of affection for another (and thus communicating the subjective feelings of love), they are not communicating an objective truth (I am specifically referring to those who intentionally alter/contracept the nature of the sexual act including those afflicted with Same Sex Attraction Disorder). Rather they are communicating a lie, based on the inability to be “open to life.”
This brings us to the natural law. One may ask, "Why is homosexuality wrong?" Some might say, "Because the Bible says so!" However, a real thinker will not be satisfied with this answer. The thinker will want to know why the Bible says so, for God is not arbitrary in His law. All God does, comes from who God is. And we know God to be LOVE! Thus, everything that God does is love. Therefore, we must ask the question, why is homosexuality not loving in the way that God loves? Again, some might say, "Because it is unnatural!" But again, why is it unnatural? Their response might be, "because it is gross, or because two like organisms aren't complementary.” But again, this begs the question as to why? The ultimate answer lies in what we have already stated. That is, the reason homosexuality is "gross", "lacking in complementarity" or "unnatural" is because it denies a large part of what ordered sexuality is, PROCREATIVE! This is not to say that every sexual act must end in the creation of a new life. What it is to say is that we must never extrinisically add anything to the marital embrace that would intentionally alter it's nature.
Procreation is, without question, the primary end of our sexuality. There is no other purpose for which we actually NEED sex. Since the embrace between two members of the same sex can NEVER produce life, or claim to be open to procreation, the nature of the sexual act is altered and thus disordered.
Contraception between hetero couples has much the same effect. In sterilizing the act, we alter the nature of sex, making sex no longer selfless, but selfish. We make gratification the end in which we seek. That is about self, not the other. And whether or not both partners consent makes little difference. Two wrongs don't make a right! And two people using each other doesn't make a right either (remember, we’re speaking of the objective act, not the subjective intent). Therefore, in evaluating this disordered way of practicing our sexuality, we can identify the seed of the rise of our sexual sin's peak in the last century.
If that is not explicit enough, we can also look at the obvious. There is no complementarity of the genitalia of a man and a man, nor a woman and a woman. Man and woman were made for each other physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
Finally, this may lead to the question: Why would God create a being with a predisposition to do something that is clearly against His will?
First, it must be pointed out that there is not ONE replicated study linking a genetic predisposition to same sex attraction disorder.
Second, even if there was some genetic link, it would not prove anything. Our nature doesn’t merely speak to our body, but our purpose. As Christians, we believe our purpose is eternal communion with the Trinity in Heaven. Thus, despite the fact that we might be biologically predisposed to something, does not mean we are called to indulge it. The difference between human beings and animals is the fact that we possess an intellect. This intellect gives us the capacity to know right and wrong, and to regulate our passions. When we give ourselves over to our passions, in a very real way, we cease to be human. We join the lower animals.
Third, all people are created with a predisposition to sin. Some of us in some areas, some of us in others. That is part of living in a fallen world. Some people are created with a genetic predisposition to alcoholism (this has actually been confirmed by medical science). Yet, we would not tell them to indulge in this behavior. Why? Because it is an extremely destructive lifestyle materially, relationally, emotionally, and spiritually. The alcoholic, in this instance, is called to go beyond his “NATURE” and abstain. He does this via the superNATURAL grace infused in Him by the Holy Spirit. Much in the same way, those struggling with pornography, masturbation, lust and indeed same sex attraction, are called to not submit themselves to their passions, but rather be obedient to the will of God. God never gives you more than you can handle, and with any trial gives you the grace to stand up under it (1 Cor 10:13). It is not easy to constantly fight the same urges to sin, but we MUST do so. Jesus said, “And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple” (Lk 14:27).
Finally, while it is sinful to actively engage in any of these “lifestyles,” it is not necessarily sinful to have the predisposition to such desires. It is disordered as we saw above. This simply means that the action is not properly ordered to its ultimate purpose. However, it becomes sinful when we knowingly and willfully engage in said lifestyle contrary to the teachings of God.
In closing, my prayer for all mankind is that we come to a greater understanding and wisdom for the true meaning and purpose of sex. I pray that God give us all the grace we need to resist the strong temptations of this world and our flesh (sinful nature). I pray that we all come to see that the meaning of our sexuality sheds a little more light on who God is, and our very purpose here.
Regardless of agreement or disagreement on this issue, I pray for you and I love you. God bless!
P.S. We are called to a higher standard! The difference between legalism and liberty is that legalism seeks to get away with as much as they can, while the person seeking liberty seeks the freedom provided through a relationship with God at all costs to selfish pursuits. And the difference between true freedom and pseudo-freedom is in our understanding of what said freedom is ordered to. Thomas Aquinas taught freedom is for excellence. In other words, we are merely free so that we may choose good and virtue. Thomas of Ockham, on the other hand, taught freedom as most see it today. Ockham stressed the independence and autonomy of freedom as the supreme purpose. He did so because he rejected objective truth. Look where that’s led us.
If this sparks your interest, there are a couple of books I suggest: 1) Good News About Sex and Marriage 2) Theology of the Body for Beginners 3) Theology of the Body Explained- All three of these are written by Christopher West. 4) Theology of the Body 5) Love and Responsibility- These are written by Pope JPII, also known as Karol Woitijla. For a Protestant treatment on the issue, seek out 6) The Bible and Birth Control. Please feel free to respond and either ask questions or provide comments.