Are People Born Homosexual?

Paul Dean
Paul Dean
2012 23 Jan

With the politicization of the homosexual agenda there is the oft repeated assertion that there is a genetic link to homosexuality. The thought is that if people believe that homosexuality is genetically determined then they will be more favorable to changing not only laws but even religious teaching concerning homosexuality. What is most concerning about that tactic is that some Christians have softened their teaching on the sinfulness of homosexuality. In other words, it’s working. Beyond that, there are “persons in the pews” and even conservative pastors who seem concerned about genetic links, real or imagined, and who further seem confused as to a biblical response. How then should Christians think about this issue?

First, according to leading epidemiologists, when they isolate a breast cancer gene for example, that gene does not guarantee breast cancer. It simply means that an individual is at greater risk for breast cancer statistically. In other words, more people with a particular gene or gene mutation got breast cancer than persons without that particular gene or gene mutation. But there are other factors that play into whether or not one will get breast cancer including environment, lifestyle choices, and more.

When it comes to homosexuality, these same epidemiologists put that issue in the category of behavior; and there are many factors involved in determining one's behavior including environment, moral values, and perhaps genetics. But one cannot isolate a gay gene in the same way one can isolate a breast cancer gene. Again, the experts tell us that while genetic factors, among others, may be involved in homosexuality, there is no such thing as a gay gene.

Second, Christians should not be alarmed that there may be genetic factors connected to homosexual desire. On the contrary, based upon the teaching of Scripture, we should expect that to be the case. Don’t misunderstand: homosexuality is sin. But think for a moment; human beings are totally depraved. Total Depravity does not mean that human beings are as sinful as they could be. Rather, it means that human beings have been affected by sin in every aspect of their being, including their genetic makeup. The Psalmist affirms, “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin my mother conceived me” (51:5). And again, “The wicked are estranged from the womb: they go astray as soon as they are born, speaking lies” (58:3). Paul says that we are born dead in trespasses and sin (Eph. 2:1-3) and that we inherit a sinful nature from our parents (Rom. 5:12-21; 1 Cor. 15:21-22). If we inherit a sinful nature from our parents, then genetics are involved.

Think further: some people are inclined more than others to lie; some to steal; some to anger; some to drunkenness; and so forth. Some have an inclination to heterosexual promiscuity while some will struggle with homosexual desire. If the epidemiologists ultimately conclude that some may be predisposed to homosexuality, remember that genetics is not the only factor involved in what is a behavioral choice. Biology does not determine destiny. But also realize that we Christians should in no way be surprised or alarmed if genetics is a factor.

Third, the real issue has to do with what God says is right or wrong. Just because someone likes the taste of beer more than someone else doesn’t mean he gets a pass on being a drunkard. That’s sin. Just because someone may be more of a risk taker than someone who would play it safe every time doesn’t mean he gets a pass on gambling his family’s provision away. That’s sin. And just because someone may have a homosexual desire doesn’t mean he gets a pass on acting out on that desire. That’s sin.

The Bible is very clear on two things when it comes to homosexuality. The first thing is that it is sin and must be forsaken. Paul himself is incredulous that “persons in the pews” and conservative pastors would be confused. He asks, “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Cor. 6:9-10). The second thing is that God gives grace and power to overcome homosexuality just like He gives grace and power to overcome other sins. After telling the Corinthians that the unrighteous, including homosexuals, will not inherit the kingdom of God, Paul told them, “And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God” (1 Cor. 6:11). We have the responsibility to turn from our sinfulness and the million different ways that sinfulness manifests itself in our lives; and through the power of the gospel and the new birth we have the ability to do so.

We need not be concerned or confused; we have the answers to these things in the Scriptures. Let the Scriptures be our authority for faith and practice and we’ll never go wrong.

For a more extensive treatment of genetics and a biblical worldview, see my article here. For an analysis of genetics and ethical issues see my article here.

Dr. Paul Dean invites you to discover more about the role of government, the role of the church, and the role of the market  ... and develop a Christian worldview. Dr. Dean is a pastor, cultural commentator, and author. Please visit