When the Bible speaks of evil desire it illustrates at least two important principles. First, the object or relationship that is craved (and/or practiced) is objectively evil. The thing for which the person pines is sinful in and of itself. Because a wicked man craves evil he shows no mercy to his neighbor (Prov. 21:10). Harshness, ruthlessness, insensitivity are his delight and goal, and he relates in such a way as to achieve them. The sexual behaviors of those who exchange the truth of God for a lie and follow the sinful [a synonym for evil] desires and shameful lusts of their hearts receive particular attention by St. Paul. He describes these practices as impure and degrading (Rom 1:24), unnatural and indecent (1:27), perversions and depravity (1:29). The wicked, enflamed by evil desire, even go so far as to re-label evil “good” (Isa. 5:20) and approve of others who practice it (Rom. 1:32). The homosexual act is so offensive to God that participants are worthy of death (Lev. 18:22; 20:13).
Second, the term points to a desire which in itself is evil. In this case, the craving itself rather than the object is the focus. God’s promise to Noah after the Flood was to never again curse the ground because of man even though “every inclination of his heart is evil from childhood” (Gen. 8:21). Moses argued against God’s plan to destroy the complaining Israelites saying that this act of genocide would look to the Egyptians like God led his people out into the desert “with evil intent” (Exod. 32:21). The wicked “delight in doing wrong and rejoice in the perverseness of evil” (Prov. 2:14); they “find pleasure in evil conduct” (Prov. 10:23). This delight or pleasure in evil is itself evil. Paul, describing those who by their own wickedness suppress the truth of God with wickedness, points out that they “invent ways of doing evil” (Rom. 1:30). There resides in the heart of those who have cultivated the sin nature, a devilish pleasure in planning and/or participating in evil. It is this deep-rooted craving for the forbidden, perverse, unlawful, lewd, proscribed, unnatural, sinful that actually prompts a person to be dragged away and enticed by temptation (Jas. 1:14). [God does not possess within his person this desire to do evil; evil is completely offensive to Him, and every desire of his Spirit is good (Jas. 1:13). There is no place in Him that calls evil good and good evil, not craves which is against the laws of His nature. Thus, Jesus could resist temptation easily because there was no deep-seated desire to do evil. Jesus never harbored a homosexual thought, nor pined after unnatural same-sex contact. There was no sin nature in Him!]
Thus, in God’s eyes, both the homosexual act/relationship and the desire for the homosexual act/relationship are evil. It is unbiblical to declare that only certain types of homosexual acts (such as pederasty, rape, prostitution, etc.) qualify as “inappropriate” and sinful. Gay theologians often make this passionate yet false case in defense of what they see as the modern and therefore appropriate nature of homosexual behavior, namely concensual, life-long monogamy. [Some more radical pro-homosexual writers even wish to sanctify anonymous sexual contact along with any homosexual activity considered desirable and pleasurable. Such is the lawless nature of homosexual desire.] In making a general condemnation of unnatural same-sex contact, the Biblical authors intended to cast a wide net drawing in every possible actual or imagined homosexual behavior. Homosexuality is objectively sinful. No aspect of it is pleasing to God. It does no good to defend one’s homosexual fantasies on the grounds of the personal pleasure derived, the “harmless” nature of the acts, the mutual agreement of the participants, the duration of the relationship, the capacity to put oneself out for another, the creativity and congeniality of the person with these desires or the prevalence in human society of homosexual activity. In other words, the personal desires and social context of homosexual behavior are irrelevant in explaining its immorality. No matter if every man on earth were to declare homosexual behavior “good”, that behavior would remain an abomination in the eyes of our Creator.
Furthermore, the desire for that which is declared sinful is also evil. God knows that the cravings at the heart of homosexuality are for a counterfeit, demonic experience to love, affection, friendship, acceptance and freedom. This is why He can have pity on the person with a homosexual problem: our Heavenly Father knows the person has been deceived and taken in bondage. Nonetheless, that pity does not excuse the continual cultivation and feeding of the desire for evil. This craving is a serious matter of the spirit in rebellion against the Creator, and must be seen as completely evil in nature. This craving is of an altogether different nature than the desire to love and serve the Lord. It was not part of Adam and Eve’s nature before the Fall in the Garden of Eden. It is not a counterpoint to the heterosexual nature incarnated in our first parents and blessed by the Creator in paradise. This evil desire for homosexual contact developed after Adam’s sin. The result of his sin was the passing on to every descendant an inherited nature that is in rebellion against God. This so-called sin nature is common to everyone. However, the evil desire of homosexuality is beyond this generic desire to resist God in pursuit of self-gratification. For while all humans are “prone to wander” from the God of love, not all entertain or follow that proneness to the same degree. Those who do follow the path of sin feed the sin nature, and over time find that that sin nature has tremendous power to corrupt desire, sense, will and body. The sinful nature, when indulged, becomes a ruthless master and the members of the body offered to it become slaves to sin (Rom. 6:13). The sin nature—a creation of Satan and Hell—desire evil, and the one who joins in with this sin nature will be taken over more and more by the same devilish desire for evil (Rom. 6:12).
Paul was most precise in his description of this evil desire as categorically different and other than the godly desire to do good (Rom 7:22-23). This desire to do evil wages war against the desire to do good in the regenerate heart. Each person must decide which desire to follow. Yet, even if by choosing evil the person become a veritable slave to sin (7:14b), the sin nature is not the true nature of the child of God. The apostle describes evil desire as “sin living in me” (7:17b, 20b), that is, in his “sinful nature” (7:18a). It is “another law at work in the members of my body” (7:22a,b). He refers to this evil desire in anthropomorphic terms, likening it to a human opponent who deceives (7:11a), wages war (7:23b), takes captive (7:23c), enslaves (7:14b), and executes (7:11b). Thus, homosexual desire is a demonic, evil desire that was devised by Satan and planted in the inherited sinful nature of those who open up to his suggestions. Homosexual desire, thus entertained and indulged, roots itself in the deepest recesses of the wounded heart, corrupting mind, will and body. Over time, it intensifies rather than diminishes. The frustrated person, clueless to the origins of this evil desire, reasons falsely that he/she was “born this way”. The demonic aspect of homosexual desire coupled with the neediness of the person who has joined with this evil desire, makes for a strong addiction and bondage. Tragically, those who do not rightly understand homosexuality are beguiled into accepting and embracing it. Sadly, they come to love the darkness rather than the light, unable to differentiate between the desires that seem to resonate from the bowels and groin, and the true desires of the transformed heart. These latter desires seem fleeting, hypocritical, not genuine and delusional to the person in bondage to Satan and sin.
Some people aggressively pursue evil, while others who do not initiate the pursuit feel helpless to resist when it presents itself. In spite of this difference, the same evil desire that is homosexuality is present. This desire to do evil results from any one of several conditions the individual is exposed to. What follows is by no means an exhaustive list of conditions in which Satan takes the opportunity to deceive the person into thinking that good is bad:
- authority figures who exhibit behavior which contradicts their teachings (hypocrisy)
- extreme rigidity, arbitrariness, legalism, strictness, or inappropriate punishment
- atmosphere that squelches desires or wants
- unending work with severely limited or no playtime
- continual severe scrutiny
- paying extra attention to the child with problems thereby causing the “good” child to be jealous or angry
- pressure to appear perfect or exemplary
- absence of encouragement or reward for being good
- overlooking or punishing good behavior but rewarding bad or dysfunctional behavior
- speaking admiringly and/or in praise of evil
- lack of permission to individuate and “be unique”
- lack of permission to protest or disagree with the “ruling opinion”
- failure to fight injustice, unfairness or abusiveness
- exposure to pornography, lewdness or vulgarity
- occult practices
- rejection or abandonment
- idolizing rebels, deviants, antiheroes or criminals
In each situation, the evil one spreads the lie that being good is a losing proposition, and that there is more to be gained by practicing ungodly behavior. Many hurt and frustrated individuals give place to this lie, and as they make their first ungodly choices, Satan brings some degree of gratification. This experience feels positive, and the person is enticed by the desire to feel that “good feeling” again. The ungodly behavior that produces this emotional “high” is the behavior the person will hold on to and practice again and again. By so doing, the person is giving access to Satan, who is the ruler of a kingdom of evil. His spirit is granted access into the mind and heart of the person practicing evil, and begins to influence the person’s will.
Yet there is hope is this description for the believer! God knows and discerns the Christian’s true, enduring redeemed nature from the tempter’s resident evil desires. He never identifies you as evil unless you are sold out to defending and practicing evil. He has plenteous mercy and unbounded love toward those who have been sold into sin by their own foolish joining in with temptation. He is more than ready and able to set the captive to evil desire free by the law of the Spirit of life through Christ Jesus (Rom 8:2)!
Though evil desire be rooted in buried emotions, twisted thoughts, a false concept of self and a false concept of God, the Lord stands as a mighty conqueror come to set the captive free and to destroy the works of the devil! But you must leave the enemy’s camp. You can no longer join in with evil desire or call evil good. You must choose to leave the fields of sin, declaring the fruits they produce poisonous and the scent thereof putrid. If you have homosexual desire, you cannot continue to identify with it as your own but must see it as a demonic desire which you opened to as a hurt, alienated child, and which you continue to join in with as an adult who has a childish reaction to pain.
God’s Opposition to Homosexuality Part 3
by Robert Schaeffer