Confused on Gender
By Mark Roberts,
Recently there was some coverage of an ethics piece in the New York Times Magazine in which the author took great umbrage at gender reveal parties. How dare parents impose their ideas of gender upon the helpless child even before he or she is born! The column includes this gem: “Gender-reveal parties, where parents and guests learn a baby’s gender together, violate my values because they reaffirm society’s gender binarism and inadvertently perpetuate the stigma against non-binary genders.” Gender binarisim? Non-binary genders? Let’s spend a minute in Scripture to get our thinking straight and clear on this issue from God’s Word. The world is confused on gender. God’s people better not be!
The beginning place for this discussion is the very beginning. In Genesis 1:26-27 the Bible says “Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.’ So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.”
Principle 1: God created gender. Gender isn’t a manmade idea or something we dreamed up on our own. Gender distinctions and differences are rooted in anatomy and physiology. The very chromosomes of every cell in your body come from God. He made us that way. Gender is part of your created identity. There really isn’t any such thing as “non-binary genders” because God made two and only two: male and female.
Principle 2: Changing gender violates God’s plan for you and is wrong. That is not hard to see either. “A woman shall not wear a man’s garment, nor shall a man put on a woman’s cloak, for whoever does these things is an abomination to the Lord your God” (Deuteronomy 22:5). Of course, that is a passage from the Old Covenant, but it is instructive. At a time when everyone is wearing virtually the same garment (long robes) men and women were still to maintain gender differences. Men were to look like men, women to look like men (a principle that Paul draws on in 1 Corinthians 11:4-6 as well). The truth of this can be seen in Romans 1:26-27. “For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; 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 themselves the due penalty for their error.” It has been noted that just as nature teaches truth about God it teaches truth about us, about who we are, about what we should be and should choose, especially with our sexual identity.
Principle 3: You are owned by God, not yourself. Thus, the standard is God’s word, not what you want or what you feel. The psalmist says “I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well” (Psalm 139:14). God owns us by the right of creation. We are made to serve Him and must do so. How I feel about my identity, my sexuality, or who I am attracted to sexually, has nothing to do with anything. I must serve God.
Principle 4: Pseudo-science and the media can’t change Principles 1, 2, and 3. We are hearing more and more “I was born in the wrong body” or “I am a woman trapped in a man’s body.” There is talk of counseling and being freed to be who you are. This is all similar to the argument that homosexuality isn’t a behavior but an in-born trait. There is zero scientific evidence to support either assertion. There is nothing about trangenderism that is objectively or scientifically verifiable. It’s not a chromosomal abnormality or the result of a virus or bacteria. It is simply what some people want to do and be, so they present themselves in this way. But isn’t it fair to ask “why must this belief be accepted as normal and even celebrated?” If someone decides they are the Queen of England (“I just feel royal”) that false belief won’t get him or her into Buckingham Palace, will it? Further, if the mind and body aren’t in sync why do we alter the body surgically to fit what the mind wants to believe? Maybe we should treat the troubled mind? Remember, the Bible repeatedly warns us that what we feel is not a reliable guide (see Jeremiah 17:9).
All of this matters because in the Kingdom of God there are roles for men and roles for women. There are roles for boys and there are roles for girls. Those roles pertain to our marriages, our families, and our work together in the church. Those roles can’t be changed or altered based on the latest cultural fad that announces gender is an “imposed construct.” No, it’s not. It’s the way God made the world and the way He made us. Let us treat with love, compassion and care those who are confused on this issue as we continue to be “salt and light” in this dark world.
From Pressing On Magazine, Nov. 2018