What does God say about gender?
WHAT DOES GOD SAY ABOUT GENDER? (GEN 1:26-28)
1: Gender confusion - Who am I?
2: What does God say about gender
3: What hope do I have?
what does god say about gender
Do a search on the internet on gender identity, or what makes someone male or female and you’ll encounter a storm of massive proportions. Our society is no longer sure on what it means to be a male or a female, or whether it is even right to identify such distinctions.
· On January 30, 2017, a landmark decision was announced by the Boy Scouts of America (BSA). The decision was that the BSA would now “accept and register youth in the Cub and Boy Scout programs based on the gender identity indicated on the application.” This is a revolutionary change. For the last century, the BSA, like single-sex schools, colleges, and other gender-specific organizations, has determined eligibility for its programs based on an applicant’s birth certificate. Needless to say, it only admitted biological males. But no longer. “Trans-boys” (that is, biological females who identify as boys) can now join the BSA. The change, however, is far from isolated. It is simply one of numerous similar developments taking place across the Western world as part of, what many are rightly calling, “The Transgender Revolution.”and a revolution it certainly is – and its only beginning.
· “The idea that a person’s sex is determined by their anatomy at birth is not true, and we’ve known that it’s not true for decades,” said Dr. Joshua D. Safer, an endocrinologist and executive director of the Center for Transgender Medicine and Surgery at Mount Sinai Health System in New York… But exactly what does determine gender identity — a person’s powerful, core knowledge of who they are — is not so clear…. (Times Magazine report Oct 2018)
· McHugh, the former chief of psychiatry at Johns Hopkins Hospital and arguably one of the leading psychiatrists in the world, and Mayer, a biostatistician and epidemiologist state in a 143 page report produced in The Atlantis. “The scientific definition of biological sex is, for almost all human beings, clear, binary, and stable, reflecting an underlying biological reality that is not contradicted by exceptions to sex-typical behavior, and cannot be altered by surgery or social conditioning. (Stated by Joe Carter, erlc.com, What Science has to say about sexuality and gender)
· Leading doctors, scientists, and researches in every field are giving such starkly different views about what makes someone male or female and whether it is even valid to talk in terms of those categories. I think it is safe to say that the objectivity of the scientific method is not winning the day.
· Tumblr, for example, currently lists 114 different gender options.
We live in a world of gender confusion, and it’s only going to get worse.
Where is this all coming from?
Gender Confusion: who am I?
3 paradigm shifts in the way people think of themselves
1: From social to individual identity.
o Application form
o Age, nationality, race, gender, family, individual
o All of these are used to discriminate, distinguish us from each other.
o We as S. Africans understand the dangers of discrimination, but there can be both positive and negative forms of discrimination.
o This is how our brains assimilate and understand information – we understand the particular in the light of the general, object in the light of the scene, the exception in the light of the norm, the paragraph in the light of the chapter and the book, the event in the light of the storyline.
o We cannot properly understand anything specific and particular without relating it to broader categories and classes – this is logic 101.
o Picture – too close up to see…cellphone. It’s a communication device, it’s a portable communiation device, it’s a wirless portable comm device. How do I distinguish it from a walkie talkie? Until you can answer that, you don’t really understand what a cellphone is.
o If I present you with an object and you don’t know what it is, how do you begin to understand this new object? You relate it to broader categories that you already know and distinguish it from those….
· When we can no longer define and distinguish the major categories of nationality, race, gender and family – we have lost the context within which to answer the question, Who am I.
· Radical individualism says – I want to be an individual and don’t want to be defined or understood in the light of any of the normal social constructs – I don’t want to be put into any boxes or categories – which makes it almost impossible for me to understand who I am.
From 2 kinds of gender to an infinite range
· Male and female was understood as two polar opposites, the positive and the negative of the same thing, the front and back of the same coin.
· To understand what a male is, you have to compare and contrast it to a female.
· That was complicated enough when there were only 2 categories.
· Now, maleness and femaleness are being viewed as two ends of a spectrum. There is not only black and white, but all the shades of colour in between, there is not only morning and evening, but dawn and dusk and midday and all the graduations of time in between.
· You don’t have to be one or the other, you can be any combination of man and women.
· Again, you can sympathise with this perspective. A man and a woman are not 2 completely different things. Much of our anatomy we share in common. Most of the character traits that we would associate with masculinity, possibly strength, decisiveness, logic and leadership – are also present in women and most of the traits that we would associate with femininity, possibly gentleness, empathy, emotion and beauty – are also present in men. So when we talk about men and distinct form women, we are not talking about a set of traits that are present in the one and absent in the other, but the prominence of those traits.
· Masculinity and femininity are very plastic in humans and vary a lot even among the genders – some men are stronger than others, some men are more emotional and others more logical and some women are stronger than some men.
· So you can sympathise with the point – but the question still remains – are there 2 genders with overlapping traits and variety within each, or a continuous spectrum of genders with male and female being the 2 extremes?
From Biology to Psychology
· Which introduces the third major paradigm shift which underpins the gender revolution. The shift from objective biology, to subjective experience.
Am I a man or a woman, a male or a female?
· Chromosomes (XY) or (XX)
· Hormones (androgen/ estrogen)
· External/ Internal reproductive organs
· Less than 2 in 10 000 or 0,02% of people have a significant discrepancy in one or more of these sex markers.
· Distinguish between sex and gender.
· Who do I identify as? My biology might be one thing, but my psychology may be another – which is more real, realiable or true? Am I defined by my biology or by my psychology, by how you think of me, or by how I think of me?
· Objective “Who am I” has been replaced by subjective “Who do I want to be?” Not trying to discover what is inherently and objectively built into my biology as much as express what I believe I should be.
· Again, we can sympathize with this. Should our genes determine our destiny?
· Adopted kids – black Africans in biology but white Westerners in their thinking. What are they? Get a new label – coconuts – brown on the outside and white on the inside.
· What underpins this is existentialism – reality is what I make it. There is no objective truth to be discovered – reality is whatever I make it, whatever I want it to be. This might be true for you, but your truth is not my truth.
· Who am I was determined by the objective
· You blue sky is not my blue sky – who’s to say that the sky is not green?
Gender confusion is part of a bigger picture of complete confusion about everything. Who I am, what life is about, what I exist for, what makes like meaningful, what gives me identify and meaning?
In the absence of any larger framework to fit ourselves into, any objective standard of truth or reality to relate to – we live in a universe of one, where my feelings, by beliefs, my desires, my happiness becomes the ultimate standard of truth, the ultimate measure of meaning and reality.
If it feels good, do it, if it feels right enjoy it, if it works for you – that’s all that matters. In other words, we set ourselves up as our own functional gods and we rule the universe according to our own rules, by our own standards, for our own glory and pleasure – and nothing and nobody should be allowed to stop us.
That’s the train that our society has jumped on and it leads to the complete deconstruction of society as we know it.
BIBLCIAL CLARITY: Who does God say I am? (gen 1-3)
So I want to turn for the next few minutes to God and His Word. To the one objective standard which we are given to make sense of our lives and our world and see what God’s Word says about these paradigm shifts, what God says about gender, what would our creator say if we asked Him the question, “Who am I?”
· Gen 1:1 -We are creature not creator - creatures
· Gen 1:26 We are image-bearers not animals – worshippers
· Gen 1:27 We have binary sexes (0,1). – Complementary sexes (1:28 = be fruitful and multiply – together we complement one another)
· 2:7 We are body and soul, physical and spiritual – Spiritual
· 2:15-18 We understand truth/reality rather than create it – Reasoning
· 2:18-25 We are male and female - Social
o Equal in dignity and worth
o Distinct in origin and role
o Our gender is an expression of our sex, our function of our form.
o Forms the basis of family, reproduction, organizing of our society
· 3:1-9 Morally corrupt
o You will be like God
o Your desires are paramount, worship self
o You can create your own truth, determine your own destiny
o Role reversal.
· The temptation was an attack on human identity at every level. It was man’s attempt to turn his back on everything he is and be everything he is not.
o Been our modus operandi ever since…
o Gender confusion is the product of confusion in general – about who we are and why we are here, where truth comes from and how to measure and understand it.
o Gender confusion is coming from Gender rebellion. It is part of the fallen, sinful human nature. Not put it in a special class.
Gender dysphoria – defined as the distress that comes from being uncertain or confused about one’s gender. Comes from human-disphoria – distress about what it means to be a human being. Don’t want to take our cue from God, from society, from anyone else about who I am….which leaves us on very shaky and subjective grounds.
o We are victims, we are suffers, we are perpetrators, we are culpable. There is a pain associated with sin, and there is a culpability.
CHRISTIAN HOPE: how Can I be renewed? (rom 1-3)
· Rom 1:18 – we have a moral bent to want to suppress the truth, to not want to face the facts as they are.
· Rom 1:19-20 – The facts are clearly perceived – but we have never been objective about the facts when it comes to God.
· The human body contains a variety of complex systems and organs that together allow us to breathe involuntarily; our hearts beat autonomously pumping blood throughout our circulatory system. Our brain and nervous system are more powerful and complex than any computer made by man, and yet one of the most impressive organs in the human body and a sure sign for design is the human eye. The anatomy and inner-machinations of the eye’s functions are extremely complicated and require a vast system of chemical reactions and interaction with the nervous system in order to produce the spectrum of color we see and how we perceive the world around us”
· 1:19 Deep down, we know the truth
· 1:20 As we look at the beauty and order and creativity of the world we know the truth.
· Deep down we know that there are only 2 sexes and we can see clearly in the created world that there are 2 sexes in every kind of animal. It’s so obvious that there is no continual spectrum of genders – but we don’t want to accept the testimony of our conscience or our science.
· 1:21-23 – Our whole way of thinking becomes completely futule – ridiculous. 114 types of gender!
· 1:23 we have a worship problem- we don’t want to worship God, don’t want God to be God, don’t want to accept that God exists and we are accountable to Him. We don’t want to accept our sin and that God is rightly fully of wrath because of how we have messed up His creation and how we mess up one another and ourselves….
· Truth is objective but we are very subjective about truth – we are bent on justifying our own desires, choices, preferences.
· Example: Ask 2 kids about what happened to cause the fight and you will get 2 very different versions of the truth….
· 1:24-27 – So God leaves us to our corruption, to become increasingly corrupt and to reap the consequences of that corruption.
· There is no greater pain and confusion – than being confused about who I am, enslaved to passions that I feel are abnormal.
· 1:29-31 sin of every kind.
· 1:32 = we justify and praise those who commit this sins, and pursue this folly and give in to these passions – until society claps their hands and praises us for them and the only really wicked people are those who shake their heads and say – that is sinful and wrong and corrupt.
Do not judge (Rom 2:1-3)
We should not be pointing fingers – as if those weird people are worse and I am somehow not prone to the same corruption.
· I am totally corrupt – I cannot help or change myself
· I am also corrupt – I am no different, or better
· I am wilfully corrupt – I cannot justify myself
· God has put us in this position – not to leave us hopeless – but to allow us to understand our need for a savior.
Repent and turn to Christ (Rom 3:21-24)
Repentance = we turn away from our sin. Stop justifying it, relabelling it, ignoring it.
Turn to God = we were made for Him, for relationship with Him, to know Him, find our identity, worth and satisfaction in relationship to Him.
Take by faith out of myself, my own ability to understand and change myself – instead entrust myself to God in Christ – His divine ability to justify and change me.
Conclusion: A new Creation
2 Cor 5:15 “
· To be accepted by God is more important than being accepted by family, society, or even self….
· God accepts those who accept Him for who He is, and His Son as the only Saviour for sin.
· God’s acceptance doesn’t leave us as we are, but transforms us into who He created us to be.