Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonor their own bodies between themselves: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshiped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: and likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was to meet. --Romans 1:24-27
Within the past several years in the U. S. there has been a tendency by some psychologists and psychiatrists and religious leaders to classify homosexuality and lesbianism as normal behavior. The argument is frequently stated that nature has built into some people a sexual desire which is as naturally satisfied with members of the same sex as with members of the opposite sex. The passage above in Romans 1, as well as many other biblical passages obviously take an opposing point of view. Now scientific evidences are becoming available which demonstrate that the biblical position is strongly supported by the knowledge that we are gaining in science.
One of the most interesting studies in biochemistry is the study of pheromones. The word pheromones comes from a Greek word meaning a carrier of excitation. This is actually a chemical material which contains signals which can be interpreted by other members of the same species and which also is used by numerous insects to communicate one with another. Some pheromones have incredible power. A male gypsy moth, for example, can respond to fewer than a hundred molecules of the female's lure. One female, if she were to expel all of the molecules of the pheromones in her body could attract a billion males. Not all pheromones are sexually oriented. Worker ants will carry alive and struggling sisters or fellow ants out of the ant hill and dump them in a refuse heap if the original ants are doused with odors of decomposition. We all know that dogs use urine deposits to indicate signals, and research has shown that dogs can tell sex, age, social status, and the sexual readiness of another dog that has passed by the odor. This not only provides sexual stimuli but also acts as traffic signals, warning dogs of the safeness of the territory and how recently others could be interpreted as having passed by the area.
For a number of years research has been carried on concerning the possibility of pheromones in man. From a religious standpoint the question is simply whether or not God has built chemical stimuli into mankind which demonstrate a certain biological urge mechanism which is of significance in the way in which people behave. The human nose is equipped with some five million olfactory receptor cells which are so sensitive that in a liter of air a person can smell as little as one-four hundred billionth of a gram of certain chemicals such as those that make up rotten meat.
In 1971 Harvard psychologist, Martha McClintock, did a study of women's college dormitories to find out if any regularity in women's cycles might be found among women who live together in dormitory situations. She found that roommates and best friends had more closely timed menstrual cycles than women who were randomly matched and not influenced by similar diets, similar routines, and other environmental factors. Also found in McClintock's study was the provocative fact that college women who date men have shorter, more regular cycles than those who do not. The question remained open as to whether the proximity to men had an effect upon women's menstrual cycles.
Following up on this study, a scientist named Michael Russell did a study at San Francisco State University. He studied the effect of placing a few drops of underarm perspiration collected from anonymous donors under the nose of one group of women while another control group was dabbed under their nose with plain alcohol. All but one woman in the perspiration group experienced a dramatic shift in menstrual timing which conformed closely with the donor's monthly cycle, even though they had never met. It seemed that the perspiration carried a chemical cue that was picked up by the second woman.
Another interesting fact connected with this was revealed by John Baker in his book Race in which he pointed out that men have larger axillary scent glands than women do, which apparently acts as an underarm scent organ. The question then was whether men secreted chemicals which had effects upon women.
One of the more interesting modern experiments was carried on by a group of scientists headed by J. J. Cowley of Hatfield Polytechnic in Hertfordshire, England. Dr. Cowley and his researchers presented a large class of psychology students with information on 3 men and 3 women running for student government office. They asked the students to assess their candidate's personality traits and their potential effectiveness for the job. At the same time psychologists distributed paper surgical masks to all students, supposedly to hide their facial expressions while completing the questionnaire. Actually these masks were doused with chemicals to see if they could receive chemical signals.
One of the compounds used on the masks was a musky smelling natural steriod called androstenol which occurs in men's urine and perspiration levels twice as frequently as in women. The other scent was a mixture of simple acids found in the vaginal secretions of women. The face masks were also distributed so that one-third of the students wore blanks. This meant that one-third of the students received a chemical from males, one-third a chemical from females, and one-third no chemical at all. The results of the experiment were astounding. The men's reaction to the six candidates were seemingly unchanged by the subtle odors, but the women's feeling were decidedly amplified when assessing the male candidate's qualifications. When exposed to the male's signals they favored the more assertive candidate. When wearing the female's signals they favored the shy and more retiring types.
A number of other interesting facts take place in this area. Experiments have shown that infants can distinguish the scent of their mother's breast from that of a strange mother's by the age of six weeks. Studies have shown that adults are able to choose their own and their spouse's undershirts from others by smell, even though they were not aware of this before the experiment. Studies have also shown that adults are able to distinguish the sexes by the odor of their urine.
It is interesting to realize that we may reduce this communication by the amount of washing, use of deodorants, and other processes that are carried on, but it is a fascinating study.
What is the implication of all this work? Obviously we have been equipped by God with stimuli that are built into our body mechanisms. These stimuli are very definitely sexually oriented. To maintain that males sexually attracting males is normal for nature is a violation of the evidence. Obviously there are very definite opposites built into our biological systems. Men and women are not the same--they are different. This is not to say that there is superiority in one case or the other, but it is to say that to maintain that homosexuality and lesbianism are normal modes of human behavior is unsupported by the evidence and strongly opposed by it.
God has created man and woman with biological drives which can be chemically stimulated. The close identification of a man and a woman in marriage puts all of this in a healthy, creative, pleasurable, and rewarding context. No such balance and no such satisfaction can possibly occur when two individuals are sexually united in contradiction to their biological make-up and also in contradiction to God's Word. These new discoveries continue to support the biblical statements about the uniqueness of man and woman.
Those interested in reading a good source on this might want to read Janet Hopson's book Scent Signals; The Silent Language of Sex published by William Morrow.
--John N. Clayton
Back to Contents Does God Exist?, May/Jun97.