After reading or listening to a good Christian message, I sometimes check out the YouTube and/or Facebook comments, then I regret doing so. If it is anything to do with homosexuality, then what always happens is someone just throws it out: “It’s an abomination, it’s the worst sin of all, God hates it more than anything else” - something like that.
Then you get the other extreme, the pro-gay activist stance: In the Mosaic law, shellfish and shrimps are also an abomination, and no one bothers about that any more.
So what are we to think? Is being gay really worse than anything else?
First of all, there is more than one Hebrew word, perhaps 3 or 4, which some Bible translations render as abomination.
If we start with the LGBTQ+ issue, then we need to examine two Biblical passages: “You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination. (Leviticus 18:22 – ESVUK) and “If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall surely be put to death; their blood is upon them. (Leviticus 20:13). In both verses here, the Hebrew word is tó‘éváh
So what about shellfish? Still in Leviticus: “Everything in the waters that has not fins and scales is detestable (KJV: an abomination) to you.” Leviticus 11:12) (In a similar vein, certain birds and insects are also called such – verses 13-20). In these passages the Hebrew word is sheqetz (שֶׁקֶץ).
There is a well known expression, which is also relevant here, which is the “abomination of desolation” mentioned in the book of Daniel and also quoted by Jesus. The Hebrew word here is shiqqútz (שִׁקּוּץ), a word related to the previous one, having the same three root letters.
Incidentally, the Greek Septuagint version (LXX) renders all three words identically: bdelügma (βδέλυγμα), as does the New Testament, which is not very helpful, but anyway...
However, this means that we have no reason to confuse abominable sexual sin with an abominable prawn cocktail, because a totally different word is used. The words sheqetz/shiqqútz generally refer to ceremonial, ritual uncleanness, such as forbidden foods, but sometimes to sinful actions too, such as idol worship or sorcery. But what about the other word? Does it only apply to homosexuality? Not at all!
In Leviticus 18, all kinds of sexual sins are listed, as are the punishments for them in Leviticus 20, such as sexual intercourse with a close relative, or an animal, or with a women during her monthly period. Burning their children to the god Molech is also on the list.
The reason for this is also given: “Do not make yourselves unclean by any of these things, for by all these the nations I am driving out before you have become unclean, and the land became unclean, so that I punished its iniquity, and the land vomited out its inhabitants. But you shall keep my statutes and my rules and do none of these abominations, either the native or the stranger who sojourns among you (for the people of the land, who were before you, did all of these abominations, so that the land became unclean), lest the land vomit you out when you make it unclean, as it vomited out the nation that was before you. For everyone who does any of these abominations, the persons who do them shall be cut off from among their people.” (Leviticus 18:24-29).
So all those sins which are listed in this chapter are called abominations (tó‘éváh). It was because of these sins that God condemned the peoples living in Canaan, so the prohibitions do not only apply to Israel if God judged Gentiles for committing them, and we are not just talking about ceremonial uncleanness here.
However, there is a passage which is not found in the books of the law, but it does apply to Israel: “There are six things that the Lord hates, seven that are an abomination to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers.” (Proverbs 6:16-19). The word for abomination here is tó‘éváh (actually tó‘évót - plural), but there is nothing here about sexual sins, or even idol worship, though reference to lying is made twice. These abominations are matters of a moral nature, and are still regarded as sins under the new covenant. (The great thing being that there is always grace, and the opportunity for repentance!)
So, if we ask what the most abominable sin is, and what God hates more than anything, it appears that lying would be pretty much on the top of the list. And maybe that is understandable, after all, Satan is the father of lies (John 8:44), and if someone preaches a false gospel, they are not only abominable, but also accursed (anathema – Galatians 1:8-9). All liars have their portion in the lake that burns with fire and sulphur (Revelation 21:8).
In summary, therefore, gay sex, although it does exclude someone from the kingdom of God, is not the worst sin after all. This is just asserted by cis-gendered heterosexuals who are projecting their own emotional reactions onto God, but the Bible does not support this idea. Far more damaging morally are lying, slander, hatred, pride, causing divisions, and most of all, the preaching of a false gospel.