(From Chapter 2 of Strange Flesh: The Bible and Homosexuality by Steve Wells)
A note about the "strange flesh" of Jude 7Jude is a strange little “book” that is seldom read and seldom quoted. It consists of only 25 verses, three of which are of interest in the homosexuality debate.
And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day. Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire. Likewise also these filthy dreamers defile the flesh, despise dominion, and speak evil of dignities. Jude 6-8Chained-up runaway angels, Sodom and Gomorrahites, fornicaters, filthy dreamers, flesh defilers, and dominion despisers -- it’s hard to sort them all out, isn’t it?
And yet there is a certain commonality here. There are two incidents that seem to upset “Jude”1 in this passage, and both involve angel sex: God’s sons (angels?) impregnate human women in Genesis 6,2 and the men of Sodom demand to “know” Lot’s angelic visitors in Genesis 19. Both bothered God. A lot. In the first case, he destroyed everything that breathed with a flood; in the second, he stoned and burned to death everyone in two cities, and then tortured them forever “with the vengeance of eternal fire.”
So the moral of the story is this, I guess: Don’t have sex with angels. Maybe that’s what Jude meant by “going after strange flesh.”
Or maybe not. Maybe it’s all about homosexuality. Here’s the argument for that:
The key phrase in this passage is “giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh.” In it, the Greek word pornea is translated as “fornication” in the King James Bible, but it’s meaning would have been broader than that, and would have included all sexual misconduct.3 Robert Gagnon suggests that the sexual misconduct referred specifically to homosexual acts and the phrase “strange flesh” referred to the Sodomites’ “attempt to copulate with Lot’s angelic visitors.”4
And if the conservatives’ interpretation of this passage in Jude is correct, then those who “go after strange flesh” will suffer “the vengeance of eternal fire” (i.e., they will go to hell) for their homosexual acts.