Teleology and the Gospel

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Throughout this past summer, a common concern kept coming up while some brethren and I were handing out tracks and street preaching. The common concern expressed by those we witnessed to was whether or not homosexuality is really considered to be a sin. Without going into the Biblical passages which define the practice as an abomination (because, let’s face it, we all know better, and to prove the obvious is redundant in my view), I used a different approach when confronted with it: teleology.

Teleology, is the study of design and purpose in nature.

Whenever the topic of homosexuality came up, I presented the following illustration. It usually had a profound effect on the hearer, which generally went this way:

Me: Have you ever heard the term: “teleology”?

Hearer: No

Me: Let me ask you a question. Can a nail be driven by a screwdriver?

Hearer: Yes

Me: But, what’s a better tool?

Hearer: A hammer

Me: Why?

Hearer: It’s designed to drive a nail.

Me: What’s a screwdriver obviously designed for?

Hearer: To screw, a screw.

Me: Right. I can drive a nail with a screwdriver, and I can even drive a screw with a hammer. But, it’s better to hammer a nail with a hammer and it’s better to drive a screw with a screwdriver. When someone attempts to use the wrong tool for a job, one violates the design and purpose, or “teleology” of the tool. So, let me ask you a question: are human beings designed for homosexuality?

The answer I always got was, “No.”

I then explain that we are all designed for a purpose. We have a natural teleology, and when we violate our design, it’s called sin. I then go on to explain that we are not designed to steal, gossip, liter, cheat, the list goes on and on. I then ask whether or not the hearer has ever violated their teleology, or sinned. I’ve always gotten the same answer, “Yes.” I then explain who God is and what He did (the Gospel).

The point is, whenever we (Christians) are challenged with the validity of a particular sin, it’s really just an attempt to justify a wrong. Specific sins are just a symptom of a greater problem, and only Christ is the solution to that greater problem.

Colossians 4:5-6
“Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.”

Godspeed, to the brethren!

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9 thoughts on “Teleology and the Gospel”

  1. I think this a great way to look at this issue. However in reading Issaiah 11:6-9 it occurred to me that even though carnivores are designed to eat animals God’s perfect plan is for them to eat grass. This would argue that God does not always follow the teleos.

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    1. Well, God is immutable. Plus, I see that reference as a metaphor for what existence will be like after Christ’s second advent, and not an insight to as to what animals are supposed to eat. There are many who agree with you, but I am not convinced at this time. Even if you’re assessment is correct, the teleological approach was very effective on the street, which I had to share. Blessings…

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  2. Most would say that the human is not “designed” for anything, but rather evolved. This would then lead to a discussion of creationism vs evolution. Author – your method might work in some instances. However, remember that God is the one who saves, and who draws men and women to Himself. No argument by men will lead to salvation. Rather it is God Himself, and His Word.

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