Last week I wrote of a friend’s teenaged son who has come out as transgendered – born with all the male markers but identifying as a female. I suggested two “Christian” responses to that. First, a judgmental attitude is not acceptable because we are all broken people in every part of our lives. None of us lives out gender or relates to gender as God desires. I suggested, secondly, that we should agree that every broken part of our lives, must come under the authority of God. His will trumps my inclinations, desires and will. Obedience to God is really the Bible’s theme from Genesis to Revelation, from fall to restoration.
It has become popular to claim that gender is fluid or that gender is not binary (consisting of only two categories). It has also become a way of thinking that reality is not found in things themselves but is located in our minds. What we think is what we are. I am male if I feel or think I am. What my body says does not matter. We might go along with these ideas except for a foundational statement in the Bible. “So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them” (Genesis 1:27). Whatever the first people may have thought or felt God designed two genders and assigned maleness to Adam and femaleness to Eve. Among other distinctives Adam was created with certain body parts, genetics, and a specific part in making babies. Eve was given other parts, had the ability to grow and give birth to babies and had X chromosomes. These distinctives are part of what made Adam and Eve male and female.
More astounding yet, this verse tells us that the likeness and image of God is meant to be displayed through the prism of gender and the relation of the two genders to each other. That being so it is not a great leap in logic to say that if Satan hates, but cannot attack, God he will attack the image of God in us. Specifically, he will attack and confuse and deface gender. He will encourage males to look down on femaleness and females to hate maleness. He will do whatever he can to wreck gender and how genders relate to each other because God is displayed through that prism. This means that if we say that an “Adam” may or may not be male we are in revolt against God’s authority to define reality. We also join Satan’s assault on the image of God.
I don’t know why God permits our brokenness and then requires that we not live by it. But he does in very many ways. A Christian is a person who struggles as Adam and Eve did. We too want the fruit on the tree, so to speak, but we’ve been redeemed and empowered and made wise to trust and obey God. We know that living by his will leads to our highest good.