Unnatural

 

Unnatural?

Richard Hollerman

We are living in unusual times when what is considered normal and natural has been turned upside down.  Many of us are shocked at the way society in America has degenerated increasingly over the past half century. There seems to be no end to the way Satan is turning right things upside down so that they become base and perverse and even sinful.

Unnatural may be defined as “contrary to the laws or course of nature” or “at variance with the character or nature of a person, animal, or plant” (Random House Webster’s College Dictionary). It is something that is perverted, something distorted, twisted, warped, and contorted.  It is opposed to what is sound, correct, natural, normal, good, and straight. 

But what really is unnatural in this fallen and perverse world? Let’s notice a number of areas of unnatural thinking and acting and see what Scripture has to say about it.

        1.   When a mother kills her unborn child, she is doing something unnatural.

All through history, mothers have been protective of their own children. They will starve themselves to feed and care for their offspring.  They will defend a child from predators and from those who would harm a son or daughter. But today is different. Today, in America, mothers (along with doctors, nurses, and fathers) have murdered some 56 million unborn babies since 1973 (numberofabortions.com/). This surely is an unnatural phenomenon.

Even more shocking is the number of abortions in the world, for some countries, such as China, India, Japan, and Russia kill more babies than the United States. There have been some 1,299,794, 999 abortions in the world since 1980! (numberofabortions.com/). That is about one billion, 300 million killings during these years! To think that a mother will actually kill (or have killed) her own defenseless child through the evil of abortion!

Paul said that in the last days, “difficult times will come” (2 Timothy 3:1). Among the characteristics of this would be that some would be “unloving” (v. 3, NASB). This has been translated as “heartless” (ESV), “without natural affection” (Rotherham), “lacking in love for kinsmen” (Williams), “hard-hearted” (Weymouth), “inhuman” (RSV), and callous (NEB).  Ralph Earle says that this comes from the Greek, astorgoi, and is “composed of alpha-negative and storge, ‘family affection’” (Word Meanings in the New Testament). It is also found in Romans 1:31 where it is translated as “unloving” (NASB), “heartless” (ESV, RSV), “without affection” (Weymouth) and “callous” (Moffat).

Surely a mother who chooses to kill or murder her helpless, defenseless little one is without the “natural affection” that mothers generally have. Yes, a baby can be a great responsibility, he can be a financial strain, he can require huge amounts of time and effort, but does this justify eliminating the child that God has given? “Behold, children are a gift of the LORD, the fruit of the womb is a reward” (Psalm 127:3). We know that conceiving a child can be considered an “accident” for the parents didn’t plan for the baby; but once the child is conceived, there is no turning back.

We also know that medical tests can demonstrate if the unborn baby has a mental or physical defect—sometimes great and life-altering—and the temptation is there to just do away with the “problem” by eliminating it. But in such sad cases, we must trust that God can even work through this tragedy for His glory (Romans 8:28).  Let’s just eliminate this unnatural despising of one’s own child. Another cause of an unwanted pregnancy would be sexual immorality. As we know, God does warn against the sin of unmarried sex and shows the eternal consequences (Romans 1:24-25; 1 Corinthians 6:9-10; Galatians 5:19-21; Revelation 21:8). And usually when a baby is conceived in this way, the “father” is absent, or the father deserts the mother, or the new unmarried parents are living in deplorable situations. As sad as this may be, we can’t justify murdering the innocent offspring of an immoral and selfish relationship. We must trust that God can use even this tragedy in His wise purposes. People must repent of this unnatural and cruel destruction of life in the womb.

        2.   A person who has a sexual relationship with someone of his or her own gender is acting in an unnatural way

Sadly, the sin of homosexuality has spread across America and in many other countries in Europe and elsewhere.  It is now reported that over 50 percent of the American public actually approve of homosexuality and go so far as to approve of sodomite “marriage” of people with the same gender. Less than a lifetime ago, this sin was considered abnormal and unnatural. It was rightly considered a perverted relationship since it was counter to the way the human body has been made by God our Creator (Genesis 1:26-27). People called the sinful perpetrators “queers” or “fags. Even today radical homosexuals call themselves “queer”! This designation could be appropriate inasmuch as the sin is against nature. “Sodomy” may be preferred since it was the traditional term for this sin, based on the sin that brought God’s judgment on Sodom in the Old Testament.

With the help of a humanistic educational system and the promotion of the grossly immoral propaganda of Hollywood, sodomy has become the “right” of anyone and even something applauded and to be celebrated by special days and parades. Liberal political forces, the Supreme Court, and liberal judges across the land have propelled immoral legislation through so that virtually any sexual aberration has become acceptable to an increasingly liberal public. Without the basis of God’s eternal Word and the decency of a Biblical morality, large numbers of the American public have been willing to consider the perversion of homosexuality (of both male and female) to be acceptable.

God has not been silent about His view of human sexuality. He created the sexual relationship in the very beginning and chose to limit this to a man and woman, a husband and wife (Genesis 2:18, 24; Matthew 19:6-8). We know that the city of Sodom was destroyed because of their raw homosexuality that God considered worthy of condemnation and fiery judgment (Genesis 19:1-16). Homosexuality was considered so unnatural and evil that God called it an “abomination” and declared the death penalty on anyone who would dare to involve themselves in this unnatural vice (Leviticus 18:22; 20:13; Deuteronomy 23:18).

In one of the most graphic and clear passages in God’s Word, Paul the apostle writes, “God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error” (Romans 1:26-27).

In this section, homosexuality involves “degrading passions” (dishonorable passions, ESV). Notice that God considers this sexual relationship to be “unnatural” whereas a man to woman relationship is “natural.” Homosexuals exchanged “natural relations for unnatural” (RSV). They “perverted the natural use of their bodies to the unnatural” (Twentieth Century). Homosexual acts are called “indecent” acts or “shameless” acts (ESV). We can see that the modern plunge into homosexual relations (whether male homosexuality or female lesbianism) is not a natural thing; it is a wicked perversion of God’s good gift of sexuality.

We can understand how God our Creator deems unrepentant homosexuality worthy of death—eternal spiritual death (Romans 1:32). Further, we can see why God says that if one refuses to repent of this sin, he cannot enter God’s eternal Kingdom (1 Corinthians 6:9-10).  Those guilty of homosexuality are guilty of porneia, a sin that will carry one to the lake of fire in hell (Revelation 21:8). Thankfully, we read that if homosexuals will repent, God will graciously wash them of this perverse sin, will sanctify or set them apart from sin to His will, and will justify or declare them righteous (1 Corinthians 6:11). Thanks be to God’s forgiving grace!

        3.   It is unnatural for parents to not care for and protect their children.

The examples of the irresponsibility of parents in this regard are varied and numerous.  A father and mother should naturally want to care for, provide for, teach, train, and raise their children for their physical and spiritual good. These helpless little ones are given to parents for they can’t fend for themselves. They need the loving care and protection of the parents who brought them into the world. Its natural for parents to shield their children from danger and provide a safe, secure, and edifying environment for their wellbeing.

The psalmist assumes that “a father has compassion on his children” (Psalm 103:13a). Paul says that a nursing mother “tenderly cares for her own children” (1 Thessalonians 2:7). He also says that a father will normally and naturally exhort, encourage, and implore “his own children” as he raises them in godliness (v. 11). Even discipline of the child is natural and needed, “for what son is there whom his father does not discipline?” (Hebrews 12:7). Society has generally also assumed that parents will raise their children well and have the children’s best interests in mind. Of course, much imperfection in this ideal would be found among unbelievers, but tender care has been the general rule.

So many factors are seen in the world that would show parental irresponsibility. Parents simply are not promoting the moral and spiritual welfare of their sons and daughters. Counselors tell us that many fathers and step-fathers sexually abuse their daughters.  Some say that as many as 40 percent of girls have been abused in some way during their childhood years!  Remember also that many fathers and mothers have physically abused their children. They slap, hit, push, and beat their dear children who should find a source of refuge in their parents.  Many children are also emotionally abused. Parents call their children derogatory names, degrade them because of perceived lack of academic success, scold them for not excelling in sports, and put them down because of their incompetence. 

In no way would we be negative to proper godly and wise discipline (cf. Proverbs 13:24; 19:18; 22:15; 23:13, 14; 29:15, 17), for parents need to discipline children that they may be benefitted. Proper discipline is for their children’s good (Hebrews 12:7-11). As Solomon said, “The rod and reproof give wisdom, but a child who gets his own way brings shame to his mother” (Proverbs 29:15). It is the abuse, the anger, the bitterness, the resentment, the belligerence, the unloving attitudes and actions that we must condemn.

The father and mother can abuse their children when they feed junk food to their children. What is a child to do? They have been brainwashed by the advertisements on TV that they should eat delicious but physically-harmful foods, then the parents also promote the same health-destroying fare.  When parents are unconcerned about nutrition and other aspects of good health, they will pass on this same pleasure-seeking, lust-driven, taste-controlled attitude to their children. They begin a vicious cycle of being controlled by taste rather than wise discernment. The outcome is that in all likelihood children will die a premature death because of the degenerative diseases that began when they were five or eight or ten years of age. And the same unhealthy eating will be passed on to their own children!

Parents can also abuse their children when they send the year old child to the child care center while the mother deserts the home to work in the secular market. The child is then abused further when he or she is sent to the pre-school or kindergarten classes in the worldly public school system. And, of course, this leads to twelve years of abuse when the world teaches, trains, and influences those children in the secular and humanistic state school system. They are trained in the religion of evolution, humanism, relativism, and all kinds of worldliness. We can see that massive abuse is promoted by parents who abdicate their responsibility to raise and train their own children.

        4.   A man is acting in an unnatural way when he dishonors and abuses his wife.

For centuries and maybe since creation, some men enjoy exercising their authority in a harsh and unloving way. They take pleasure in domineering over their weaker partner and taking advantage of her vulnerable position. Some wives have been virtual slaves in the marital relationship.  This is much less common in our day in America since the pendulum has swung in the other direction because of the ungodly feminist movement, but still some wives are treated with disrespect and dishonor. Sometimes physical, mental, emotional, and sexual abuse is involved.

Because some men are so dominated by their sinful passions and pride, they assume that they can take advantage of their wives with impunity.  They may hit or beat their wives, seeking to intimidate them in order to subjugate them. They may use disrespectful and bitter words to degrade them. They may deride them if they can’t cook well or don’t have the skills that women are thought to need. And some husbands, with minds and hearts perverted by sickening pornography, may put down the wife because of her lack of beauty, her not possessing a pleasing figure, or her inability to please the husband with her sexual performance. His selfishness and lust thus denigrates his wife and dishonors her special position.

Those men who abuse their wives in these ways are lacking in the basic virtues of love, kindness, gentleness, patience, and forbearance. Paul commands all of us, “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice” (Ephesians 4:31). Men are subject to the apostle’s admonishment, “Put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience” (Colossians 3:12). Does this describe you?

It is unnatural for a man to treat his wife in a demeaning and unloving way. God has made the man to naturally respond to his wife with kindness, tenderness, and compassion.  Paul commands, “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her” (Ephesians 5:25).  He goes on to say, “So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies” (v. 28). In another place, he adds, “Husbands, love your wives and do not be embittered against them” (Colossians 3:19). Yes, a wife may become obnoxious, insubmissive, disrespectful, and bitter, but none of this justifies a husband’s own ungodly behavior and bitter, resentful spirit.

Peter says it well: “You husbands . . . live with your wives in an understanding way, as with someone weaker, since she is a woman, and show her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered” (1 Peter 3:7). If husbands would heed Peter’s admonishment, there could be a revolution in the marriages of America! The husband should naturally love and care for his wife but, sadly, in most marriages, the husband falls woefully short of this ideal.

        5.   It is unnatural for a woman to assume the place and position of a man.

This is true in all spheres of life.  We know that the male-female roles have turned upside down in the past 150 years and especially during the past 100 years. The various women’s movements of the 1800s led to the women’s “liberation” (falsely called) in the twentieth century. Women overturned both Scripture and tradition when they seemed to throw off all yokes of femininity in the 1920s—the so-called “roaring twenties.” They began to cut their hair, began to dress more like men, and began to act in an independent and disrespectful way around men. In the 1940s, women went to the workplace and took the jobs that were earlier given to men—all for the massive war effort. By the 1950s, more women went to colleges and universities to the extent that more women seek higher education and graduate from colleges than do men in our own day!

The “feminist” movement of the 1960s along with the “sexual revolution” of that decade further degenerated women. As the decades went by, women became more and more masculine in their attitudes and behavior. They not only sought to dress like men but they seemed to reject their feminine role. They even began to speak with the same vulgarity that some men in the past adopted.

Today women assume that they are on the same level as men, they have the same education as men, they may pursue every occupation and profession as men, and they insist on rising to managerial status to prove their “competence” and “worthiness.” In our day women have so perverted their status as the “fairer sex” that they think they can use drugs, smoke cigarettes, use profane language, bare their bodies, engage in premarital sex, and go so far as to kill their unborn babies. Indeed, the female gender that once demanded our admiration and respect has degenerated to the same debased level as some debased men!

As far as the position of the woman, the Scriptures say quite clearly: “I want you to understand that Christ is the head of every man, and the man is the head of a woman, and God is the head of Christ” (1 Corinthians 12:3). This would show that the man is the “head” of the woman as a general principle.  God has created different positions or levels of authority. This included God the Father’s “headship” over Christ, Christ’s “headship” over the man, and the man’s “headship” over the woman. We must note that this has nothing to do with the intelligence, strength, or ability of the man or woman, but what is proper according to the mental and spiritual makeup of the man and woman in God’s plan and creative order. It doesn’t depend on culture, society, education, or geographical location. It is inherent in the makeup of the gender, according to the Creator’s wise design.

This goes back to the Garden of Eden, when God first created man (Adam) and then created the woman (Eve) from Adam’s side (Genesis 2:18-24; cf. 3:16). This principle of male headship continues to this day (see 1 Corinthians 11:8-9, 12). We are speaking here of what is natural, what is right, what is God-ordained and Scriptural, and not what is according to modern standards, current thinking, or what is politically correct and culturally proper!

Not only is it natural and right for the man to have authority, but this extends to the marital relationship where this headship is especially needed. Many Scriptures address this very subject that is denied, ridiculed, castigated, and just neglected in our day of radical feminism and egalitarian thinking.  In discussing the relationship between the husband and wife in a Christian marriage, Paul says, “Wives, be subject to your own husband, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body. But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their own husbands in everything” (Ephesians 5:22-24).

God’s inspired instructions here, given by Paul the apostle, are particularly hated and denounced by radical feminists as “chauvinistic garbage.” No, these are the words of the living God our Creator and we reject them to our own eternal detriment. Even though some religious leaders—especially women pastors and scholars—try to negate these instructions and insist that one can be a “liberated Christian” by rejecting them, what God inspired the apostles to write is still binding in our day whether feminists wish to receive them or not.

The same kind of instructions are scattered in other parts of Scripture. It is certainly true in the Old Testament, the Hebrew Scriptures. But notice what else we read in the New Testament. Colossians 3:18 says, “Wives, be subject to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.” We can deny this or blaspheme it, but we must admit that this is inspired counsel for our benefit. This is the “natural” way of doing things and relating to others. When a woman comes to understand this and willingly, submissively submits to this, she will be fulfilled and be at peace with herself and with God—and maybe also with her husband! Paul also writes, “A woman must quietly receive instruction with entire submissiveness. But I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man, but to remain quiet” (1 Timothy 2:11-12). Here the woman is to have “entire submissiveness” before the male teacher (especially her husband) and is not to “exercise authority” over a man. She is not to have authoritative roles in the assembly of saints. Paul anchors this not in first century culture or local customs, but in the creative order itself (see vv. 13-15). We continue to read that Christian women are to be “subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored” (Titus 2:5).

What about Christian women married to unbelieving husbands? This is particularly difficult sometimes and the relationship is filled with great strife and division. Jesus said that marriages and families will be divided because of the gospel and His claims of our total allegiance (cf. Matthew 10:21, 34-37; Mark 13:12; Luke 12:51-53; 21:16-17). However, sometimes a marriage to an unbeliever can be kept intact (cf. 1 Corinthians 7:12-16) and in such cases, the wife must assume her subordinate role. If she does, she may have the hope that her behavior and attitude may win the unbeliever to the Lord: “You wives, be submissive to your own husbands so that even if any of them are disobedient to the word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives, as they observe your chaste and respectful behavior” (1 Peter 3:1-2). It may be that the unsaved husband will see the changed behavior, the submissive spirit, the pure attitudes and the modest clothing of the wife and come to Christ Himself (cf. vv. 3-6).

We can see that in this matter of womanly submission, she is to fulfill her natural role as a woman by relating to her husband and all men in a certain manner. This will be nearly diametrically opposite to the modern attitude that women have. Instead of a woman acting like a man, dressing like a man, talking like a man, relating as a man, or doing anything in a masculine way, she will be content to be the woman that God created her to be. In this, she will find peace, joy, and contentment.

        6.   It is unnatural for a person to appear, speak, or behave in certain ways.

We know that someone may take the matter of being natural too far. Many of us prefer to eat certain foods, “natural” foods, for they may be more nutritious and health-promoting than junk foods. In other words, it is good to eat “food as grown” as much as possible instead of highly-processed, nutritionally-depleted foods. But here we are discussing something beyond this. After all, many people who eat “natural” foods violate the basic principles of God’s own natural ways!

For instance, Paul asks this basic question: “Does not even nature itself teach you that if a man has long hair, it is a dishonor to him, but if a woman has long hair, it is a glory to her? For her hair is given to her for a covering” (1 Corinthians 12:14-15).  “Nature” teaches us that the man should not have long hair, and, conversely, a woman should not have short hair. Is this principle ever violated in our day? Indeed it is! Many men have long hair and obviously millions of women have short hair! Isn’t this unnatural? The way we wear our hair can be natural—or unnatural.

It is natural and right for a woman (and a man) to dress modestly. “I want women to adorn themselves with proper clothing, modestly and discreetly, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly garments, but rather by means of good works, as is proper for women making a claim to godliness” (1 Timothy 2:9-10; cf. 1 Peter 3:3-4).  Clearly, most women flagrantly violate this instruction when they wear short skirts, short dresses, shorts, low necklines, form-fitting clothes, transparent clothes, sleeveless shirts, bathing suits of all kinds, and much more. When they reveal their bodies to the lustful gaze of the opposite sex (in our day, even their own gender!), they are violating the principles of God and are acting unnaturally. When men do the same, they are violating the same basic principles of the Lord. Each person’s body is meant for his or her own spouse—and no one else.

Is it natural for a man or woman to pierce their skin and wear a metal ring on their nose, their lip, their tongue, their eyebrow, their ear, or other parts of the body? Is it natural for them to tattoo words and pictures on their face, neck, arms, legs, back, or other parts of the body God has given to them? Is it natural for people to have green or purple hair, a painted face, painted lips, painted finger nails or toenails? Is it natural for a woman to wear shoes that will elevate their height by three inches while they harm their feet in the process?

We are acting in an unnatural way when we knowingly and deliberately do things that will harm ourselves and those whom we love. The use of tobacco is a prime example of this. Smoking is one of the most addictive and damaging practices in our day. It is the most easily preventable cause of death with hundreds of thousands of lives lost.  Smoking not only harms one’s own body but also the friends and family members who are affected by the second-hand smoke of the user.

We have come to the point that very few people are aware of what is happening in our world and how it violates the basic principles of the Lord found in Scripture. We are acting like pagans rather than God-fearing men and women. In fact, most people are pagans—those heathens who don’t know God and do what is right in their own eyes.  And when a certain segment of the population falls for this Satanic trap, many others will follow their example. All of this is unnatural and it perverts the good, right, and pure ways of the God of creation!

The Right Ways of the Lord

We have noticed many ways that people pervert the natural and right ways of God and violate basic principles of His written Word. Whether we are referring to a woman killing her baby, or two men having sexual acts with each other, or a man refusing to love and honor his wife, or a wife refusing to lovingly submit to her husband, people are falling into unnatural and perverse ways! Many people of the past had enough knowledge of God’s Word that they knew certain things were to be done and certain things were not to be done. However, today it would seem that nearly all restraints have been lifted and people are following the dictates of their own heart, regardless of what God says. Like Israel of old, they “walk in the way which is not good, following their own thoughts” (Isaiah 65:2b).

What about you and me? Do we find ourselves acting unnaturally? Are we violating the right ways of the Lord and instead following after the perverted ways of the world?  We are to keep ourselves “unstained by the world” (James 1:27). James charges some of his readers, “You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God” (4:4). God is serious in this and refuses to compromise His perfect way. Do you or I wish to be a friend of the world and follow the fallen ways of the world? Or will we live differently from the world by loving God with all of our heart and submitting to His Word in all things (1 John 2:15-17)? 

Now is the time for all of those who follow the Lord in the path of His will to determine that we will live holy and devoted lives before Him, for only those who are holy will one day see God (Hebrews 12:14; cf. Matthew 5:8). How will we choose? What will we do?  What will you do?  “Choose for yourselves today whom you will serve” (Joshua 24:15). Will it be the fallen and sinful ways of the world—or will it be our living, loving, and holy God? Only you can decide!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

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