by Darrel Cline (darrelcline biblical-thinking.org)
Chapter # 1 Paragraph # 4 Study # 9 August 31, 2004 Lincolnton, N.C.
Thesis:Just as the truth about God is clearly revealed in the "manifest creation", so the truth about man is clearly revealed in the "manifest creation".
Introduction:We have been looking into God's reaction to man's deliberate rejection of Truth. We have seen that the reaction is fundamentally a "deliverance unto" the very thing that man turned to. Man turned, fundamentally, from "incorruption" (undiminished life) to "corruption" (the gradual disintegration of life). God, fundamentally, turned man over to the processes of corruption. The first description of those processes is called "uncleanness". This is anything and everything that promotes decay [the illustration is how physical uncleanness permits the spread of disease]. The second description of those processes is called "passions of dishonor". This is in the text we shall consider this evening. The third description of those processes is called "a reprobate mind". That issue in found in 1:28. In the second description of the processes of corruption (which is in the text before us this evening), we are confronted with the issue of "compelling appetites". The words are translated by the KJV as "vile affections" and by the NASB as "degrading passions". In the words we have a more specific description of the "uncleanness" into which man has been plunged. In pictorial language, man has been cast into a cess pool where the forces of corruption are rampant. Now, with this second description, some of the details of the characteristics of the cess pool are unveiled. In the cess pool of uncleanness, we find "degrading passions". What does this mean?
I. The Issue of "Degrading Passions".
A. The KJV translation and its "fault".
1. The translators of the KJV chose "vile affections".
a. The word behind "vile" is not that "potent".
1) It is used 7 times in the New Testament and only translated "vile" here.
2) It is not a difficult word: it means "dishonorable" in the sense that any who know what is "honorable" will put anything that is contrary to it on the list of negative values that "honor" avoids.
b. The translators were probably influenced by two factors...
1) The fact that sexual perversions of the kind addressed by Paul are identified in the Law as "abominations" to God.
2) The fact that the theological milieu of seventeenth century protestantism was very much "the angry God" mentality in which killing those who disagreed with you theologically was perfectly acceptable as an expression of the "holiness" of God.
a) This kind of milieu tends to "over translate" words that express the abominations.
b) This kind of milieu tends to ignore certain facts about abominations. See the study notes(055) on what is "abominable": The bottom line is this: "sex", driven by the body's hormonal state, is more powerful than man's "will" (he is, thus, enslaved) and this results in behavior that cannot be hidden over the long haul. The behavior is not mentioned in the list of the seven things God "hates" [Proverbs 6:17-19], which would be unusual if it took the place that most "straight" people give it. Thus, it is powerful, but the actions it produces are more "dishonorable" than "abominable"; though that is not to say that they are not abominable. It is interesting as to what is "abominable" to God in the Old Testament -- eating the flesh of a peace offering (Leviticus 7:18); anyone who eats of a "creeping thing" (Leviticus 11:43); sexual perversity, including homosexuality and bestiality (Leviticus 18); burning one's children in the sacrificial fires of Molech (Deuteronomy 12:31); serving other gods, such as Belial (Deuteronomy 13:14); sacrificing any animal that is not "whole" (Deuteronomy 17:1); divination, casting spells, witchcraft; wizardry; channeling, etc. (Deuteronomy 18:9-14); cross-dressing by either male or female (Deuteronomy 22:5); using money gained by prostitution or profit by a "dog" to pay tithes (Deuteronomy 23:18); remarrying a woman from whom one was divorced after she has been remarried and subsequently divorced or widowed (Deuteronomy 24:4); doing any kind of "unrighteousness" (Deuteronomy 25:16); making idols (Deuteronomy 27:15); etc. etc.
c) Man has always manifested a tendency to be "hard" on what he is not demonstrably guilty of and "soft" on what he permits himself the freedom to do even though it is ungodly [Note the rant regarding the favorite "sins" and the almost total silence regarding the issues of gluttony, birth control, democracy, covetousness, and status lust].
2. The translators simply passed on a strong prejudice, not an illuminating rendering of God's words.
B. The words of God simply tell us that God gave mankind over to strong desires that would expose man's foolishness so that his self-professed wisdom would become a basis for mockery.
1. The desires are powerful enough to overrule man's "common sense" or "free will" (both expressions are oxymorons when applied to man).
2. The result ("dishonor") is the exact opposite of what man seeks in "professing to be wise" [rather than high esteem, he becomes an object of ridicule].
II. The Reasons for God's Choice in Respect to Man's Sexuality.
A. Deviant sexual expression is invariably "contrary to life" [lesbianism, bestiality, and homosexuality are all incapable of producing life].
B. Deviant sexual expression is invariably "destructive to life" [sexual misconduct invariably leads to 'in the body' recompense in the forms of sterility, sexually transmitted diseases, and emotional distortions that make "life" impossible].
C. Sexual expression is ultimately impossible to hide and, thus, becomes extraordinarily "illustrative" [just as God's Truth is manifest in creation; man's "truth" is also made manifest in creation].
D. By the manifest contradiction of life, man becomes a laughing stock...he is dishonored by his own body.