Even if the Pro-Gay Theology Avengers were to succeed in traveling back in time to prevent the word “homosexuals” from entering the Bible, it wouldn’t change the Bible’s teaching on marriage, homosexuality, and sexual ethics. Scripture would still tell us that Jesus’ design for marriage requires a man and a woman for the creation of a one-flesh union, and both Old and New Testaments teach that homosexual sex is sin.
Multiverse movies are all the rage these days. Spiderman, Avengers, The Flash…everyone wants to go back in time, correct a mistake in the past, and then live in a new “corrected” timeline that is free of the perceived defect.
What if the pro-gay theology advocates of the film 1946: The Mistranslation That Shifted Culture were able to harness that same power? If they could go back in time, what changes would they make, and what kind of ripple effect would that have on the new universe they created? Specifically, how would their timeline’s changes affect the Bible’s teaching on marriage, homosexuality, and sexual ethics?
The film 1946 claims the translation team of the 1946 RSV Bible wrongly translated the Greek word arsenokoitai as “homosexuals” in the Bible (specifically, in 1 Cor. 6:9 and 1 Tim. 1:10). As a result, they claim, the mistaken translation inappropriately influenced future English versions of the Bible to also include the word “homosexuals,” which has led to homophobia and persecution of the LGBT community.
Imagine, then, that the makers of the film 1946 contact Tony Stark and Marvel’s Avengers and borrow their time machine. They assemble their own intrepid team, the Pro-Gay Theology Avengers, travel back in time, and show up at the RSV translation team’s meeting to prevent the committee from translating arsenokoitai as “homosexuals.” If they were to succeed, what would the new timeline of history look like? Specifically, if the word “homosexuals” never occurred in any Bible verse, what changes would result in the new future? What would the Bible’s teaching on marriage, homosexuality, and sexual ethics look like today?
Here’s what would change: Nothing.
There would be no difference in the Bible’s teaching on marriage, homosexuality, or biblical sexual ethics. Of course, some things in the universe would be different. Obviously, even making a tiny change in history would cause a ripple effect in the future. Biblical sexual ethics, however, wouldn’t change. There would be no new permissions and no new prohibitions. The Pro-Gay Theology Avengers would return to the present moment disappointed because their position would remain hermeneutically unjustifiable even after removing the word “homosexuals” from the Bible.
Here’s how I know. Even if you erased 1 Corinthians 6:9 and 1 Timothy 1:10 (the two verses that contain arsenokoitai) from the Bible, two biblical teachings would remain unchanged: 1) Scripture’s teaching on sex and marriage and 2) Old and New Testament teaching that homosexual sex is sin.
The Bible would still teach what sex and marriage should look like. Shortly after the creation event, God made humanity as “male and female” (Gen. 1:26) and outlined his blueprint for sex and marriage, explaining that “a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh” (Gen. 2:24). It’s worth noting that only a man and a woman (not two men, two women, or any other grouping) are described in Scripture as being able to create a one-flesh union. God “blessed them; and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply’” (Gen. 1:27–28).
Jesus also endorsed this view in the New Testament when he quoted both passages:
Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate. (Matt. 19:4–6)
Jesus cited the Genesis creation account of sex and marriage because he believed it’s still authoritative. His view can be summarized as one man, with one woman, becoming one flesh, for one lifetime.
The Bible’s (and Jesus’) teaching on sex and marriage alone disqualifies homosexual sex as an option. Even if there were not a single passage referring to homosexuality in Scripture, it would still be evident that homosexual sex is sin simply because it deviates from the Bible’s positive teaching on sex and marriage. We know, however, that Scripture also addresses prohibited sex acts, one being homosexual sex.
The Bible would still teach that homosexual sex is sin in both Old and New Testaments.