(Part 1 of a series on understanding the gender issue with Christian truth and clarity)
Each of us are increasingly being required to confess that male and female are not what humanity has always known they are. In polite company, we are now forced to agree (or at least not voice any disagreement) that any man’s claim to be a woman makes him every bit the woman our own mother or sisters are. No one can even question the claim. The individual’s entirely subjective claim of “womanhood” overrides all biological facts and need not be authenticated by any science because science cannot do so.
And this man must be respectfully addressed and treated as a legitimate “woman” in every facet of public life. To refuse is “to do violence” against the person, a charge that is as serious as it is manipulative. This social development means each of us must agree that the Emperor’s New Clothes are fabulous. But we must all refuse to live by lies and deception.
We are also required to believe that being “non-binary” and “gender-queer” – being neither male nor female – are not the wholly made-up things that they are. The fact is, they are politically constructed illusions based on a new and fundamentally anti-human ideology. For to be human is to be male or female. Full stop. There is no third, fourth, or thirtieth option. Anything else exists solely in the complexity of the human imagination.
The best evidence of this fact is those making up the new categories cannot even agree on what to call them. They are just making it up as they go along. As Dr. Albert Mohler has properly stated, “the rejection of creation order here is also the rejection of vocabulary intelligibility.”
No one should be compelled to play along with this, even under the false guise of compassion.
The Christian Response
Most Christians have two primary reactions to the “trans” issue and the larger gender redefinition movement today.
One is fearful confusion. The revolutionaries know this new belief is emotionally unsettling and disorienting and they intend this. The other reaction is a hope it will just go away so we won’t have to engage it. Both reactions are understandable. Both are wrong.
It is vital that Christians appreciate the spiritual significance at the root of the sex/gender issue.
When we do, we realize this is more than just the latest dust-up in the culture war. It is not something we can just ignore or hope will go away. It has a much larger core to it and requires confrontation with equal measures truth and grace.
Christians cannot avoid this revolutionary effort to confuse the meaning of sex and gender for a very substantial reason: It is an attack on the very image and goodness of God. This might seem like a dramatic overstatement, but if we properly understand the first thing God tells us about Himself in scripture, we see that it is not.
And if God’s very image and goodness are open to question, then so is the entirety of Scripture. See the great danger at play here?
God’s First Statement About Himself
In the first chapter of the first book of Scripture (Genesis 1:26), God declares He wanted to create something wholly unique in the world that reveals His own image and likeness. God tells us this something is humanity created in God’s goodness as male and female.
So God created [mankind] in His own image,
in the image of God He created him;
male and female He created them.
We must appreciate what is being explained here.
The first time we read about what humanity is as male and female, it is not strictly in the context of Adam and Eve and a garden, per se. That comes in Genesis chapter 2.
The first mention of the human male and female is clearly in relation to the image and likeness of God. And the first mention of God’s image and likeness are clearly in relation to humanity as male and female. This is no minor coincidence, to be sure.
And it cannot be missed by anyone who wants to fully appreciate the truth of this important text.
God is telling us that His own image and human male and female have an extremely important and mysterious inter-relationship. The latter, and only the latter, reveals the former in creation. This is the first thing Scripture teaches us about human male and female and it is unspeakably profound.
This also means that human male and female, as God intentionally created them, are profoundly good. God does not make a mistake in His creation of them. Ever. To say He does directly questions both the goodness and image of God. Make no mistake. Satan fully understands the implications of this attack. So must every Christian.
Human Male and Female Are the Unique Image and Likeness of God in Creation
So what we know from the start is that these two things – human male and female – are the specifically designed and created part of God’s profound creation that uniquely bare His very image and likeness. No other part of creation, as phenomenal and profound as it is, does this. Not the sun. Not the endless stars. Not the vast oceans. Nor the majestic mountain ranges or complex plants, flowers, and glorious wildlife. Not even the entirety and mystery of the universe itself share this honor. The singular image and likeness of God in creation are the human male and female.
This is the first fact of a Judeo-Christian theology and anthropology – a profound mystery. We don’t know HOW it is true because God is God and humanity is humanity. But we know THAT it is true because God told us from the beginning and Jesus later affirmed it in the gospels of Matthew and Mark.
Is it any surprise Satan is attacking the truth of human male and female with abandon?
We Must Know This…
So, whenever we are talking about human male and female, the Judeo-Christian understanding is that we are first and most fundamentally talking about God’s image and likeness in creation. Every Christian must understand this fact and its implication for the present age.
It means that when we celebrate and protect the ideals of human male and female in all their wonder, we are celebrating and protecting the very image and goodness of God in the created order.
Conversely, when we dimmish, redefine, question, or attack the ideal of human male and female, we are indeed challenging the very image and goodness of God in the created order. This is clear.
Christians must have the eyes to see and ears to hear the spiritual and practical implications of what is happening here with this contemporary effort to bring confusion about what it means to be male and female in the world today. It is why no Christian can avoid or hope this issue will just go away. It is nothing less than Satan whispering in the ears of our generation … and to our children,
“God is wrong. Male and female are not His divine image. They can be whatever you want them to be. And God is certainly not good in giving you your male or female body. You will only be happy when you cast off what He has given you. Be true to yourself!”
This is not so different from Satan’s original lie in the Garden.
If you don’t think the present gender revolution is a battle over divine reality, try dissenting from it and see what happens. Public disagreement is not allowed. You will be canceled. You could lose your livelihood. You will be called vile names and be assigned the worst of intentions. But you are simply recognizing nature as it is. This is why Christians cannot ignore this issue or hope it will just go away.
The enemy is serious here. God’s people must be doubly serious and answer these lies with loving truth.
How to Respond to “Trans” and Gender Ideology? Simple: Live Not by Lies
What Does it Mean to Be Trans Anyway?
When Transgender Issues Enter Your World: How Christians Can Respond with Compassion, Courage and Truth
Photo from Shutterstock.