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Volume 16, Issue 2: Thema

Life and Death of Homo Pervertens

Douglas Wilson

Sexual identity is right at the heart of what it means to be created in the image of God. "So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them" (Gen. 1:27). The fall of Adam and his race into sin and rebellion defaced this image but did not obliterate it. We can see this because shortly after the Flood, God commanded Noah to apply the death penalty to anyone who took the life of a man, precisely because man was created in the image of God. "Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man" (Gen. 9:6). No distinction is made between those who are regenerate and those who are not—the image of God in all men is to be respected, which means that there must be an image there to be respected.

And yet we know that the image of God in man was defaced by the Fall because God sent Christ into the world in order that this image might be restored. As the apostle Paul put it, "Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ" (Eph. 4:13). In Christ, we are growing up, back into our lost humanity. Only in Christ is it possible to do this. This is what salvation is—the restoration of the defaced Adamic image of God in the new and second Adam, our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore only two humanities exist: defaced or restored, lost or saved, goats or sheep, sexually bent or sexually whole.
Christians must recognize that outside of Christ, sexual perversions are the natural state of affairs. This is what the ruin of the imago Dei looks like—always has and always will. If sexual identity is at the heart of what the image of God means, and it is, and if we have defaced and vandalized that image, and we have, then it follows that apart from Christ we necessarily have sexual wreckage. In Christ, we have homo adorans, worshipping man. Apart from Christ, we have homo pervertens, man twisted. But man, when twisted, is turned aside from "male and female created he them."
As God is summoning the entire world into His inexorable and glorious salvation, which is nothing short of a new humanity, He is calling us away from the wreckage of sin, which is the only alternative to life in Him.
If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness (Eph. 4:21-24).
The former manner of life, the "conversation" of the old man, is a manner of life that is corrupt according to deceitful lusts. The old man here in Ephesians is the archtypical dirty old man. He wants to be as God, and the end of this incoherent aspiration is anal intercourse.
In contrast to this, we are instructed to be renewed in the spirits of our minds and to put on the new man, to grow up into this new humanity. This new man is created in righteousness and true holiness. This is the kind of righteousness and holiness which displaces our tangled lusts and twisted sexual affections. When Adam fell, the image of God, male and female, was defaced. When Adam was restored in Christ, the image of God, male and female, was restored.
Just as the image of God is being restored in those who are being saved, so it is being destroyed in those who are drifting toward the outer darkness. On the precipice of the abyss, there is no aristocracy, no nobility, no friends, no courage, no integrity. Another way of putting this is that everyone on the brink of damnation is pathetic—a gollum. This is not just true of the intellect, or the soul, or the heart. The whole man is saved in Christ, and the whole man is lost apart from Him. Mankind, male and female, is saved and restored in Christ. Mankind, male and female, is lost, turned, twisted and perverted outside of Christ. The twists and turns along the way can be many and various—sodomite and catamite, dyke and doll, one man with many women, one woman with many men, adults with children, or men with beasts—but all of these have one thing in common: they are desperately trying to erase what remains of the image of God within them, and they are resisting the restoration of that image in the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.
This is why the apostle Paul describes homosexuality as the tail end of a dead-end flight from the living God. Because men and women do not want to honor God as God, and do not want to give Him thanks, God gives them up to the corrosive effects of their corrupt lusts (Rom. 1:26-28). This is why it is so important for us to recognize that while all sins will incur the judgment of God (Matt. 12:36), there is a category of sin which in itself constitutes a judgment from God. When the sin is committed, the judgment has already arrived.
For example, the mouth of an adulterous women is a deep pit. The one who is abhorred of the Lord will fall there (Prov. 22:14). Such a sin does not just bring subsequent judgment—it is a judgment brought. Paul teaches the same thing with regard to homosexuality—it is not just a sin that will incur the wrath of God. It is the wrath of God. Because men will not repent of their ingratitude, and because they will not recognize the ultimate honor of the living God, He turns them over to lust after grotesqueries.
But all these scriptural truths have ramifications for Christians. We are considering how we should live as our nation is obviously coming under the judgment of God. What is happening to the United States is not because the homosexual activists have out-spent us, or out-organized us. It is happening because God is visiting a judgment upon us.
Too many Christians want a society of decent Leave It to Beaver family values without that society acknowledging the restoration of humanity in Christ. In short, they want something that cannot be. Nature abhors a vacuum. Despite the best of intentions, those Christian activists who want to chase homosexual marriage out of the public square without also acknowledging the lordship of Jesus Christ in that square are condemned to hopeless defeat after hopeless defeat. Further, those who want the ultimate lordship of Jesus Christ proclaimed in the public square without that same lordship being acknowledged first in Christian families and Christian churches are asking the world to lead the church to Christ, which is backwards.
Many Christian lobbyists for public purity have taken the stand that we need to keep our public house empty, swept and garnished (Matt. 12:43-45), and they want to follow it up with a constitutional amendment that will forever outlaw seven demons coming back worse than the first. This stand, obstinately persisted in, is worse than the objectives of the sodomite activists. We can explain why non-Christians do not want Christ to rule over us. But why would Christians fight for that?
In the face of such judgments, our only appropriate response is repentance. But even this needs to be explained further, because in the grip of American individualism, we have come to believe that repentance is something that takes place in the hidden recesses of our hearts. And to be sure, it begins there. But if it begins and ends there, it is not repentance at all but rather a comforting emotional idol. Consequently, we must say that the only appropriate response is public repentance. But what does public repentance look like exactly? And how can we publicly repent when we are on the verge of any such public repentance being declared to be a hate crime by the highest courts of our land? And the answer, of course, is that if the civil authority outlaws public repentance, then so much the worse for the civil authority. But if we are pressed to the point of civil disobedience (and we will be), the repentance for which we will risk everything must go to the root. The axe is to be laid at the root of the tree, not thrown up into the branches.
First, we must repent of how the American Church has trivialized the marriage between Christ and His bride, the Church, through how we blaspheme in our worship services. All across America, Christians will be signing petitions in favor of a constitutional amendment against homosexual marriage, and then they will return to worship services in which beach balls are batted around the sanctuary, trite ditties are endlessly sung, movie clips are shown instead of sermons, and the Lord's Supper is something that the older Christians remember having done years ago. And what these petition signers will not realize is that a country in which Christians worship the Triune God this way is a country which deserves the judgment of homosexual marriage. And so why are Christians trying to fight off a judgment we so richly deserve?
Second, we must repent of how Christian husbands have neglected to sacrifice biblically for their wives and children. Homosexual unions are a caricature of what a marriage should be—but perhaps we ought to be asking why, since God is the cartoonist, He has decided to draw these caricatures in the midst of this society.
Third, ministers must repent of their silent voices on this and all related subjects. From this time forward, the pulpits of America must be filled with holy demands for reformation of liturgy and worship, sound teaching on what marriage is and what it is for, and prophetic calls for the nation as a nation to repent—and as a nation to come to Jesus. Christ told us to disciple the nations, and that includes this one. As events are demonstrating, there is no third way. Either we will see reformation and glorious revival in the Church, such that the Church recovers her authoritative and prophetic voice, or we become the cities of the plain.
This entire situation is a textbook case that demonstrates that our politics need to be saved—but shows just as clearly that politics is no savior. Before we as Christians can call upon non-Christians to repent, we must repent first. We are on the brink of solemnizing all our sexual corruptions with the holy vows of marriage. Who will save us from this thing? Jesus? Will He save us from this if we refuse to call upon Him?
Why should He?

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