It seems to me that much of the debate about homosexuality boils down to one basic theological question: the question of creationism versus evolution.
Most Christians now accept evolution as the scientific explanation of life. They do not believe that God literally made everything in six days. God created the world, they say, but he created it through evolution. But if they use expressions like ‘the divinely ordained order of creation’, or ‘God’s plan for human life’, they are actually creationists at heart.
Evolution is not just a way of explaining how we human beings ‘came from apes’. If we take its implications seriously, it is a fundamental fact about the nature of the universe, the way things are. There is no fixed order. The whole universe evolves: it always has and it always will.
If there is a creator God, we can only say that he is an experimenter. His experiment with dinosaurs seemed to work for a few million years, but proved non-viable in the long run. He is currently experimenting with human beings of various kinds: lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and lots of other variations. Experience, not abstract theory, will tell us whether the experiments work or not.
This kind of perception of God is in fact reflected in parts of the Bible. Even in Genesis we are told that when God saw the way human beings were behaving he regretted that he had created them and decided to destroy them with a flood. Just one man, Noah, seemed to be an exception to the general sinfulness of humanity, so God arranged for him and his family to survive. Then, after the flood was over, he regretted what he had done and resolved never to destroy the world with a flood again. But the subsequent story of Noah and his descendants shows that in any case sparing him and his family wasn’t such a bright idea as it had seemed! The Bible itself seems to suggest that there is no fixed ‘divine plan’: God keeps experimenting, and sometimes gets it wrong.
To base our morality on experience rather than ‘law’ or ‘revelation’ does not mean throwing all morality to the winds. Nor does it mean, as some people put it, turning our backs on God’s way and choosing our own. The God presented in the Bible may be unpredictable at times and even changeable, but through the many-sided conversation of the Bible another view emerges and comes to its full-blown expression in the message of the New Testament: a God who is pure, universal love. Guided by our faith in this kind of God we try in all the dilemmas of life to find the most loving solution. We can never be a hundred percent sure that we have found the right solution. In fact there is no ‘right’ solution, only the best solution as it appears at the time.
Science advances by experiment leading to theory and theory being tested by further experiment. If this reflects the way the universe is, then our understanding of God and of morality has to proceed in the same way.