|Bible Gender Study|
Since society’s prevailing understanding of gender and its implications is drawn mainly from culture and religion ( though I would dare to say that the two are effectually interchangeable), one that is a true Christian should seek a clearer comprehension of what the bible truly teaches on this subject as with any other concerning faith.
The purpose of this study is to aid and encourage the true Christian in studying and understanding many of the concepts pertaining to gender and human relationships, which, in my very limited and unqualified opinion, have not been adequately presented before. While I have had much eagerness to share these studies with any interested party with readiness, I hesitated mainly to recheck and retest the doctrine I was about to put forth, especially since it is apparently in direct challenge to what has been historically taught by the church as doctrine and continues to be viciously defended by most who may regard themselves as the faithful. For most people the question of gender is purely academic and the traditional explanations or lack thereof suffice, but there is a great number of those that are affected more profoundly by the realities of society’s understanding of gender and are, therefore, actively seeking, for themselves and society, a better understanding of the issue. A good example of this situation is the extremely inadequate explanation or guidance, if any, that one, inquiring about inter-sex in humans, would get from his or her church. It is not that the bible does not provide valid answers for these important questions, the problem lies in the approach that the churches and most Christians have toward scripture with respect to understanding issues in the physical realm. Since our native realm is the physical realm, we naturally default to it, and sadly so we it comes to how we understand scripture. Holy scripture is intended to convey truths of the spiritual realm using figures and examples from the physical realm, so it is hugely in error that raw scripture is applied directly to a physical realm issue or situation. Rather by prayer and keen study, comparing scripture with scripture, by the grace of God we are able to grasp the gist of many of the concepts of the spiritual realm that are represented in such a parabolic manner by Holy Scripture.
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How then, does this effort of understanding the spiritual concepts conveyed by scripture help with our issue that is squarely in the physical realm? Before developing the physical application, it is imperative to note that the intention of scripture is the spiritual application thereof. Christ Jesus and his redeeming work are centerpiece of all scripture. Finding Christ and his gospel of salvation in scripture should always be our primary target of bible study, and if, by the grace of God, we are able to see spiritual meaning of a verse, two or maybe a chapter, this is like finding a precious gem to true child of God. With this spiritual discernment in hand, we can now take a more critical look at the physical realm concepts, ideas or things and be better able to measure their true significance. Again, because our native realm is the physical one, we tend to attribute actuality to the physical realm and virtuality to the spiritual. Well, the opposite is true, God, in his mercy and condescending love, designed created the world with built in references to heavenly concepts, and realities. Furthermore, he gave us scripture that shows us how these references on earth point to realities in the spiritual realm. So, the substance is found in the spiritual realm while in the physical realm we find merely a reference or pointer to the reality. Let us take the concept of fatherhood, for example. In the physical realm the role of human fathers, when executed well, does share numerous similarities to that of a regenerate Christian’s heavenly Father. We can all readily name, love, protection, providence, authority and many other features of fatherhood that both realms, but realize that the earthly father, at best, is a pathetic reflection of the heavenly. While, in the design of the human experience, it pleased God to incorporate the concept of fatherhood, this fatherhood serves only as a pointer to the true fatherhood of God by adoption of those he elected to salvation before the foundation of the world. Ref: Ephesians Chapter 1 , Romans Chapter 8 . Yes, God is and has always been the father of those he intended to save, and has been even before the creation of this world. So what we learn from this example is, that we cannot define fatherhood by what we see and otherwise perceive in the physical realm, rather, scripture, by the Holy Spirit of God, can illustrate to us the true fatherhood of God.
Now once we realize the genuine item is not in our native realm, we can expect God to be a perfect father absolutely meeting and exceeding all aspects of fatherhood perpetually. In comparison the physical realm fathers serve the role temporarily, are a far cry from perfection and perform varyingly.
Remember we were trying to explain the case of the inter-sex in humans. This is not an effort to allude to the initial subject; rather we have to apply what we just learned from the fatherhood example to this case. We will first have to define gender in the spiritual realm, then come back and see what conclusions we can make from that insight into the spiritual. To be able to faithfully discuss these matters we will be relying solely on Holy Scripture. All references are in the King James Version. Free Online Bible is available for free at http://www.onlinebible.net/ .
Holy Scripture, just like its author, is unchanging and eternal and as students of it we must always seek a more perfect understanding of the intended teaching that will truly endure the test of scrutiny and time. For example, a literal understanding of Leviticus 11:7 may lead one to the conclusion that pork is in admissible as a food item, and likewise Deuteronomy 23:3 may seem to imply that once you are born an Ammonite or a Moabite there is simply no hope of your acceptance into the Christian fold. These conclusions would obviously be erroneous as evidenced by the salvation of Ruth the Moabitess in the Book of Ruth , and the assertion of the neutrality of all food and meat in 1 st Timothy 4: 1-5. These few examples among many should serve as a warning to us not to be too quick to decide what the intent of scripture is without rigorous and comprehensive comparative study of the text.
A few years ago I found that it was becoming increasingly difficult to justify the traditional Christian view of gender. By this I mean what gender ideas are held by the entire spectrum of “retail” Christianity from that of the so called conservative right to much of the more liberal organizations. As I was compelled to study on it became apparent that because we as humans have a physical point of reference, it is unnatural for us to visualize the reality that the gendered relationship between Christ and the true believers (where Christ is male and we are all female) is the actual and intended purpose of gender, and not that relationship between human spouses which is a mere shadow or example of the reality. Again, obviously, we tend to invert the reality to what is more palatable to us by judging that Scripture compares our real marriages to that union between Christ and his church in an effort to covey the intimacy involved. The truth is to the contrary; God, in his wisdom and mercy, created humans to have intimate relationships and marriages that vaguely and imperfectly resemble the true and perfect marriage that is between Christ and his Eternal Church. (It is important to note that there is no possibility of perfection in the physical realm with the exception of Christ Jesus who is the Image of God, Ref: 2Co 4:4).
The spiritual realm relationship between Christ and His bride the Eternal Church that is made up of all the elect is the pure Male-Female relationship and is the definition of gender, where Christ is Male and his bride Female. This spiritual relationship is absolute, immutable and unvarying. Please kindly note this relationship is not with the earthly congregations (your local church or organization) but with the spiritual entity comprised of those who have been redeemed by Christ from the beginning of creation. While it is possible that a member of a earthly congregation may also be a member of the Eternal Church, membership in the physical church is neither a requirement nor is it a facilitator with regard to membership in the spiritual.
WHAT DOES THE BIBLE SAY OF INTERSEX or HERMAPHRODITE CONDITIONS
The most notable observation we can make from the comparisons that we have made between the application of concepts in each of the respective realms is that in the spiritual realm there are no exceptions to the rule, we only see absolutes, no wavering, either Holy or Unholy, Clean or Unclean, Female or Male, no exception. It appears that the imperfect application of heavenly concepts in the physical realm is yet another huge mercy of God to us, lest we attribute qualities that only exist in the spiritual realm to our beggarly and limited physical realm. The point here is that the substance is only present in the spiritual realm while in the physical one there is absolutely none. To apply this observation to gender in the physical realm, we would have to say that God created humans gendered as a mercy to his elect (because gender in the physical realm serves as a pointer to heavenly realities), but this gender distinction in the physical realm does not have any innate spiritual significance. And since physical gender is merely a reference to the heavenly relationship, it cannot have physical significance either. (Yes, human husbands do not have any God given superiority over their wives, and vice versa. It is Jesus that has superiority over his bride, the eternal Church). Here we observe that gender, while it is a great mercy to the elect, it only serves as a huge snare to the natural human being who makes determination by sight and all other physical realm senses alone.
Having determined that physical realm gender is ultimately a non-issue to the true Christian, it must also follow that inter-sex in humans, like any other physical variation in humans (height, weight, race, etc), can only be of zero consequence. Inter-sex is simply normal human variation and should be treated as such. All human beings in the physical realm have the same precarious standing regardless of our real or perceived physical realm differences. Before Holy and Righteous God we all are unworthy and hopeless sinners by nature, this condition being only correctable in the spiritual realm only by the intervention of God on his terms. Ref: ROM 3:9- 31
What we learn is that there is no physical distinction among humans that can possibly have any spiritual merit. Attributing spiritual merit to physical qualities in humans is idolatrous at best because in doing so we misplace the Creator’s jealously guarded glory by ascribing it to the creature. With what have gathered here I suppose we probably should test more of these traditional views, especially those that are based on the transference of the aspects of the spiritual realm to the physical realm especially with regard to relationships to that between humans. As a matter of fact it was because of the question of intersex that my interest in studying gender was stirred. So what to many would have viewed as an undesirable condition, to me became a healthy challenge to my faith and understanding and upon lengthy study into the possible implications of intersex, the yield was the most comforting and God glorifying explanation that is summarized as follows;
Our conclusion here is in line with the great commandments because all glory and honor is attributed solely to God alone by not allowing for rank between sexes, and because we determine that all humans are equal we can love our neighbor as ourselves.
Due to the profound implications of our conclusions it is only proper that we show an abundance of sound scriptural justification of our position and we should also be able to illustrate the inadequacy of any other conclusion. We will be carefully examining the purported biblical basis of the traditional view and of any other that is brought forth to search out any other viable explanation.