THE PASSAGE: "For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. Their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural, and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in their own persons the due penalty for their error" (Romans 1:26-27).
COMMENT: Metaphysically, this passage vividly describes a life in which the demands and distractions of the flesh become the only priority, and any spiritual purpose or awareness is resisted and denied. The consequences of this misplaced priority are severe. "They were filled with all manner of wickedness, evil, covetousness, malice" (Romans 1:29). One of those manners of wickedness, in Paul's evaluation, was homosexual behavior, which he saw as always licentious and thus a denial of God. Heterosexuals who live lives absorbed in lust and carnal pleasures would be equally condemned.
Obviously Paul would (perhaps grudgingly) acknowledge that heterosexuals could live committed, loving, sexually active lives and still be expressive of God consciousness. (He really preferred that everyone stay celibate.) He did not believe that homosexuals could live committed, loving, sexually active lives and still be expressive of God consciousness. Many people today would agree, because their impression of homosexual behavior is one of selfishness and licentiousness, totally focused on sexual gratification and totally absent any true sense of love or commitment. Are there homosexuals whose behavior would fit that description? Certainly. Are there heterosexuals whose behavior would fit that description? Certainly. They are choosing to disregard or deny the Presence, not just of God, but of a divine purpose to life. That choice will have consequences; their lives will be unhappy and unfulfilled—not because God is punishing them, but because they are refusing to allow the Love that God is to express in and through them and their relationships.
Not all heterosexuals are like that. And not all homosexuals are like that either. What separates us from God is not whom we choose to love, but a refusal to love at all—a refusal to be the Love of God in expression. Those who would use Paul's views as a blanket condemnation—of anyone!—need to let their eyes drop down the page an inch or two to the beginning of Romans 2: "Therefore, you have no excuse, O man, whoever you are, when you judge another; for in passing judgment upon him you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, are doing the very same things."
So metaphysically, the message of this passage—and the message of the entire Bible, really—is this: Put God First! If you do, everything else will fall into its proper place and your life will be a creative expression of divine love. If you don't—if you allow distractions of any sort to take on a higher priority than God in your life—the consequence of that negative choice will be a negative, fearful life experience.