An die Roemer, part 6: 1:26-32

1:26-32: Consequences of idolatry, or what God allowed under the punishment
διὰ τοῦτο παρέδωκεν αὐτοὺς ὁ θεὸς εἰς πάθη ἀτιμίας·
αἵ τε γὰρ θήλειαι αὐτῶν μετήλλαξαν τὴν φυσικὴν χρῆσιν εἰς τὴν παρὰ φύσιν, ὁμοίως τε καὶ οἱ ἄρρενες ἀφέντες τὴν φυσικὴν χρῆσιν τῆς θηλείας ἐξεκαύθησαν ἐν τῇ ὀρέξει αὐτῶν εἰς ἀλλήλους, ἄρρενες ἐν ἄρρεσιν τὴν ἀσχημοσύνην κατεργαζόμενοι καὶ τὴν ἀντιμισθίαν ἣν ἔδει τῆς πλάνης αὐτῶν ἐν ἑαυτοῖς ἀπολαμβάνοντες.

καὶ καθὼς οὐκ ἐδοκίμασαν τὸν θεὸν ἔχειν ἐν ἐπιγνώσει, παρέδωκεν αὐτοὺς ὁ θεὸς εἰς ἀδόκιμον νοῦν, ποιεῖν τὰ μὴ καθήκοντα, πεπληρωμένους πάσῃ ἀδικίᾳ πονηρίᾳ κακίᾳ πλεονεξίᾳ, μεστοὺς φθόνου φόνου ἔριδος δόλου κακοηθείας, ψιθυριστάς, καταλάλους, θεοστυγεῖς, ὑβριστάς, ὑπερηφάνους, ἀλαζόνας, ἐφευρετὰς κακῶν, γονεῦσιν ἀπειθεῖς, ἀσυνέτους, ἀσυνθέτους, ἀστόργους, ἀνελεήμονας· οἵτινες τὸ δικαίωμα τοῦ θεοῦ ἐπιγνόντες, ὅτι οἱ τὰ τοιαῦτα πράσσοντες ἄξιοι θανάτου εἰσίν, οὐ μόνον αὐτὰ ποιοῦσιν ἀλλὰ καὶ συνευδοκοῦσιν τοῖς πράσσουσιν.
Because of this, God gave them over to dishonorable passions; the females among them exchanged the natural 1:[function] for one contrary to nature, and likewise also the males, having abandoned the natural function of the females, were inflamed in their 2:[desires] toward one another, males doing shameful things with males, and receiving among themselves the recompense merited by their straying.

And just as they did not see fit to recognize God, God gave them over to an unfit mind, to do what is not fitting, having been filled with all unrighteousness, malice, evil, and greed; full of jealousy, murder, strife, trickery, and bad character; whisperers, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, haughty, braggarts, uncoverers of evil, disobedient to parents, unwise, unfaithful, uncaring, and merciless; who, recognizing God's just declaration, which is that those who do those things deserve death, not only do them themselves, but also are pleased with those who do them.
1: χρῆσις - use, and in the Greek (as also the Latin usus), this is both the utility/function of a thing, and a sexual metaphor for human intimacy. The combination of chresis and physis is interesting, because they aren't always aligned. Material is regularly used in ways that are not its nature. A tree is not naturally a boat, but its material, its ὕλη, may find usefulness in that form. But we're talking ritual impurity and the dishonor of created bodies, which is Levitical (and Pharisaical), not Hellenistic, morality. Perhaps an analogy to Mies is helpful to the phrase, Mies who found it repugnant that a material should be used in design to take the natural function of some other material, rather than respecting its own natural use. Steel is not wood, nor is concrete stone.
2: ὄρεξις - desire for/yearning after a thing, from ὀρέγω, to reach or grasp, to aspire or strive for something. Bauer-Danker says the noun only appears pejoratively in "our literature," in Democritus as well as the Judeo-Christian writers. Unseemly excess.
Ah, the vice list. Horrible vile things "they" do. And what is the sin? Failing to recognize God, or knowing God, to approve of God as God. Idolatry as the natural consequence. And as punishment for willful idolatry, for worship of bodies instead of God, a very particular kind of sexual excess to dishonor the body, "forsaking its natural use," subject to your own personal brand of evil -- and we go through all the kinds Paul and his team can conjure up. A list guaranteed to merit all of the disapproval the audience has to give. This is the crowning repugnance of the juridical parable. If they don't stand up as one body and volubly condemn such vile, impious unrighteousness and its obviously immoral consequences, they're deaf! Which means that Paul has them right in the palm of his hand, perfectly unprepared for the punchline.


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