Is the AIDS epidemic God's judgment on the “gay liberation” movement?

While one should not speak dogmatically on such a sensitive issue as this without clear Scriptural warrant, it should at least be seriously evaluated in light of Biblical examples. The plague known as “AIDS” (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) is caused by a previously unknown virus and so is not explicitly mentioned in the Bible. It is rapidly (as of 1987) assuming epidemic proportions and is normally fatal, with no medical cure yet in sight. It may well become one of the greatest and most deadly plagues of all time if it is not stopped.

Since the disease originated among homosexuals, and has been largely spread by practicing homosexuals and intravenous drug users, it is not surprising that many Christians have regarded it as a divine judgment because of the rapid rise and societal acceptance of “gay liberation” and “chemical substance abuse” (to use the popular euphemisms for these grievous sins). It is now spreading even among promiscuous bisexuals and heterosexuals, and this also could be interpreted as a judgment from God on the sins of fornication and adultery.

At the same time, it is sadly true that a significant number of hemophiliacs, other blood recipients and even children have been stricken with the disease, even though they were not themselves guilty of these particular sins. It therefore may be inappropriate for Christians to make hasty pronouncements to this effect.

Nevertheless, God does control all things, especially matters of life and death. Jesus said that not even a sparrow "shall…fall on the ground without your Father" (Matthew 10:29), and science agrees that for every effect there must be an adequate cause. While sexual sins--even perversions--have been present in the world throughout history, it seems more than coincidence that the AIDS epidemic surfaced just at the time in history when homosexuality, sexual license and drug use had attained the widest use and highest degree of general social aceptance in all known history. There is obviously a cause-and-effect relation, whether or not it is a direct judgment from God.

The latter should at least be considered as a contingent possibility in light of the many Biblical examples of plagues sent by God in judgment on sins. One immediately thinks of the plagues on Egypt, for example, sent in the days of Moses (Exodus 9-11). There was the plague of “emerods” visited on the Philistines (I Samuel 5:6-12), as well as the plague that slew seventy thousand Israelites because of King David's sinful pride in authorizing a census of his human forces (II Samuel 24:10-15). There are many other such instances recorded in the Bible, and it is noteworthy that these plagues often affected the “innocent” as well as the guilty, as plagues visited upon the people for the sins of their leaders.

It is obvious also that the current plague of AIDS, whether or not it has any theological significance, could be completely stopped if people would simply obey God's laws concerning sexual relationships--that is, premarital chastity and marital fidelity. Under no circumstances does God condone (though He does forgive when there is true repentance) other types of sexual behavior--fornication, adultery, homosexuality, bestiality, etc.

That being true, it is doubly disturbing that the current hysteria over AIDS is not directed toward promoting the real remedy. Instead the emphasis is almost solely on spending great sums of money in search of an ever-more elusive cure, and on encouraging even greater sexual promiscuity by promoting wider use of protective devices which may or may not be effective.

If God has, indeed, been trying to speak to our ungodly generation, we are turning a deaf ear! People are determinded to live as they please despite the pleadings of a loving God. It is as though the Lord is saying again, as He did long ago: "Repent, and turn yourselves from all your transgressions; so iniquity shall not be your ruin…For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord God: wherefore turn yourselves, and live ye" (Ezekiel 18:30, 32).

Not only will the plague of AIDS grow worse if there is no repentance, but there may be other more severe plagues yet to come. At least we know that this principle will prevail in the coming Tribulation period. In that dreadful day to come, a succession of judgments will be visited by God on the Earth, seeking to call men to repentance.

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But instead of repenting, it is said that “the rest of the men which were not killed by these plagues yet repented not of the works of their hands,…Neither repented they of their murders (think of the awful wave of murder by abortion already engulfing the world), nor of their sorceries (a Greek word implying use of hallucinatory drugs), nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts (hardly anyone dares any more to walk the streets at night or leave doors unlocked)” (Revelation 16:10, 11).

Therefore, it is prophesied, God will send yet more plagues on this ungodly society of the future (but can it be much worse than ours?). Yet, even then, the frightful testimony is that “they gnawed their tongues for pain, and blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, and repented not of their deeds” (Revelation 16:10, 11).

We may not be able to conclude dogmatically that AIDS is a divine judgment, but Biblical parallels surely make it a subject worth serious consideration.

Excerpt from The Bible Has the Answer, by Henry Morris and Martin Clark, published by Master Books, 1987

Further reading

  • What about gays needs to change? Answer (It may not be what you think.)

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