– Challenging the traditional view of gender.
|Agreeably it may be quite difficult to define the traditional view per se, let alone establishing the rationale or justification for it, because, as with most widely held doctrines, there is quite some variation in what is held to be true and more so in the rationale offered in justification of it. I, however, believe that we should at least check out those that claim to be solidly based on scripture. We at this point have to concede that it is not possible for us to know or be exposed to all the pertinent doctrines in existence, and we humbly welcome any suggestions or alternatives for review, consideration and study.
The inadequacy of the traditional view is brought to light when we test the conclusions drawn for universal application. The mere existence of the intersexed condition presents a huge stumbling block to the traditional explanation of gender. In this study the definition of the traditional view will be significantly loose, and appropriately so since gender is almost universally misrepresented in Christendom. We will define the traditional view as any that attributes spiritual relevance to physical gender. This method of classification of course lumps together the regular traditionalist who asserts that the husband has superiority over his wife in a human marriage, and one that argues for spiritual superiority of either gender.
One common assertion is that GENDER AMBIGUITY IS RESULT OF THE ORIGINAL SIN?
Intersex is typically explained away by asserting that Adam and Eve were created perfect, sinless and in the image of God, but after the fall ( The test that Adam and Eve failed in the Garden of Eden) humans ceased to be perfect and thus we have ambiguous conditions like intersex. This assertion and any like it are simply wrong and cannot be biblically justified. In fact they arise out of mishandling scripture as illustrated below:
The fall of man exist only in Bible comments but not in the scripture text. Keener study reveals that Adam and Eve were tested and they failed horribly.
This test that was administered by God revealed the true sinful nature of both Adam and Eve, likewise the test of our Lord Jesus Christ that was administered by God ( Matthew 4: 1-11 ) superbly demonstrates his perfect and
Please observe that Christ had not eaten for 40 days when he came into his test, while Adam and Eve were permitted to eat freely except of the one tree.
This disparity in the setup of the test reminds us of the test between Elijah and the 400 prophets of Baal ( 1 Kings 18:20-40 ) which was physically lopsided in favor of the prophets of Baal but the eventual outcome clearly demonstrates the superiority of the side which God was on. Adam and Eve failed because they did not have what it takes to succeed in them, while on the other hand Jesus aced the test because only he has what it took. Holy scripture confirms this conclusion and validity of this contrast in
The notion of a lofty and perfect Adam is alien to Holy Scripture and is a product of the minds of humans. Adam and Eve failed but did not fall, because falling would suggest that they changed position or status from higher to lower. Rather, what we see taking place here is the true “natural” nature of our first parents being revealed for what it truly was by way of the test. Adam and Eve did not become sinners because they ate the forbidden fruit, the fact is that they ate it because they were sinners right from creation.
Adam and Eve were sinfully carrying along but their sins could not be counted against them until God commanded them ( made a law) regarding the tree. This law or commandment of God provided them means or empowerment to measure and reckon their sin against them. Naturally, soon after the law was given Adam and Eve surely broke it and thereby sinned and by so doing activated death.
It is important to recognize that what was true for Adam is and always has been true for his offspring ( including Eve who was made from his flesh & bone). We all have his sinful nature and the law of God serves to point this out very clearly and show our inadequacy and need for the regeneration that is brought about by salvation through the person and work Jesus Christ. The traditional assumption of a perfect Adam becomes very questionable with Holy scripture insisting that Adam and his offspring are earthy & natural being starkly contrasted to Jesus and his offspring ( by the regeneration of salvation) who are spiritual & heavenly.
The fact that this salvation program of God was enacted before the world was created further confirms that there was the necessity of salvation even before Adam and Even failed the test.. Ephesians 1: 3-5 “ 3 ¶ Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: 4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: 5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,” Scripture also insists that the payment for this salvation was made form the foundation of the world, so the suggestion that Adam and Eve were perfect and if they had not failed the test they would have remained so, makes the sacrifice of Christ nothing more than a contingency plan . Revelation 13: 8 “And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.” The bible goes further and asserts that there was no way Natural Adam & Eve (or anyone that does not go through the second birth ) can possibly be “perfect” or acceptable to God. 1 st Corinthians 15:50 “ Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.” God’s laws are always absolute and eternal, no exceptions. Suggestions that the Garden of Eden was a special situation cannot be borne out to be true by scripture. Adam and Eve were simply regular humans who sinned as we , their offspring , continually do. There just was no “Fall”. What we find is that there are two possible lineages; the failed one of Adam that only leads to death and the glorious one of Christ Jesus that guarantees eternal life. It is important to note that those who, by the grace of God, end up in the lineage of Christ actually began in the lineage of Adam but were saved from that reality by the intervention of God who killed Christ that we may not die. Adam & Eve’s inability to keep the law of God stemmed from their earthly (Non-Spiritual) nature, they were “flesh and blood” and this in itself disqualified them for the kingdom of God. 1 Corinthians 15:50 “Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption .”
With regard to the Image of God, we must let Holy Scripture define this concept for us;
Yes, God makes it very clear that it is Jesus Christ that is the Image of God. There is also only one definition offered by scripture regarding the condition of being made or conformed to the Image of God; Being created in the Image of God can only refer to the spiritual event of person being made like Christ. Though this event, for all of the elect of God, actually took place at creation, the believer will experience it beginning at the time of salvation and look forward to be fully conformed to Christ on the last day when we get our heavenly bodies.
Now that we see more clearly that the image of God pertains to Jesus Christ , we conclude that the account recorded in Genesis Chapter 1 verse 26-29 refers to the begetting of Christ and his line and not the creation of Adam and Eve.
Please realize that male in Genesis 1, verse 27 points to Christ and the female to those he came to save. Also notice that the blessing upon those that bear the image of God is unconditional. We are further reassured that those in the line of Adam do not bear the image of God in 1 Corinthians 15:47-49
Here the text insist that we as natural human beings we are in the image of earthy Adam and that upon resurrection those that are in Christ’s line will bear his image. Therefore we can conclude that being created in the image of God is an attribute that is exclusive to those that are in Christ and not a generic feature of all human beings .This is importantly for our study because we find Adam and Eve were not created in the image of God (at least as pertaining to their physical creation) and thus this disallows any argument that physical variations in humans (especially those that are viewed as undesirable or those that are not classified as normal) may be somehow attributed to the compromise of the image of God due to the original sin ( Such compromise, by the way, is impossible because Jesus Christ is the Image of God and cannot be in made less perfect anyway by the actions of humans ).
We can only conclude that there is no way the “original sin” brought about the emergence of gender ambiguity since Adam and Eve sinned because they had a sinful nature, which nature we share with them in the flesh. The condition of intersex is a normal one and that is intended by God to exist in the physical realm right from creation and is not the result of some accident, sin or otherwise unfortunate event.
WHAT ABOUT EUNUCHS?
One other argument tabled by some, especially those that seem to be offended by the prospect of intersexed persons being united in marriage, claims that intersexed Christians are called to celibacy.
The scripture verse cited in support of this position is Matthew Chapter 19 Verse 12-15:
“12 For there are some eunuchs, which were so born from their mother’s womb: and there are some eunuchs, which were made eunuchs of men: and there be eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it.
13 ¶ Then were there brought unto him little children, that he should put his hands on them, and pray: and the disciples rebuked them.
14 But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.
15 And he laid his hands on them, and departed thence.”
In the physical sense a eunuch is understood to be one that cannot reproduce, this is not always the case for those that are intersexed. Some intersexed people do procreate indeed, and on the other hand we do find fertility issues with some of those that do not have a intersex condition. Apparently we do not hear any recommendations or calls for the “unintesexed” infertile to abstain from sex and marriage.
We should remember that Holy Scripture applies universally because God is not a respecter of persons:
Scripture is clear that God does not differentiate people based on physical attributes. We humans on the other hand are quite taken by it all, gender, race, social standing, financial, political.etc. With regard to the eunuch / celibacy argument, the text of Matthew 19:12-15 lists the various “ eunuch” types by origin or causation of the condition and introduces us to the desirable type of eunuch, namely “the eunuch for the kingdom of heaven’s sake” . We do not find any recommendation pertaining to intersex and celibacy, no suggestion, not even a hint.
Now that we have discussed what Matthew 19:12-15 is not about, we should investigate what it is about. The purpose of one being a eunuch or of making a person a eunuch is principally to ensure that the person being made a eunuch does not have the will or capacity to establish their own lineage ( have offspring or children). The idea here is that when a person cannot seek to establish their own bloodline, they will be totally focused and dedicated to developing, establishing and defending the lineage of the person or entity whose eunuch they are without any conflict of interest or competing loyalty. We usually associate eunuchs with those that are biologically unable to conceive but may suggest that one that is rendered childless due to career, or any other pursuit is indeed a eunuch for that pursuit.
With regard to the eunuchs that have made themselves eunuch for the kingdom of God’s sake, mentioned in verse 12 of Matthew Chapter 19, this designation pertains to all true believers, which are born again in the bloodline of Christ. This group of people become eunuchs by virtue of the fact that they no longer seek to propagate their own name but rather that of their Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. They do not seek their own glory (or kingdom) but that of God, this is the reason believers are called the children of God. Upon salvation a true believe dies to the world and does not reckon himself or herself by the name of his or her earthly parents (usually father or some other ancestor) rather we reckon ourselves by the name of God because through salvation we become the children of God and join the bloodline of Jesus Christ.
As believers, we are involved in the expansion of God’s kingdom by being used of God to bring in more believers into the kingdom. The eunuch that has become a eunuch for the kingdom of God’s sake is a spiritual eunuch as opposed to the others that are physical eunuchs. Please note that to become a spiritual eunuch does not require you to be a physical eunuch, neither does that state of one not being a physical realm eunuch preclude him or her from being a spiritual realm eunuch. One’s physical realities do not determine their spiritual condition, thus there is simply no correlation between the condition of being a eunuch that is a eunuch for the kingdom of God’s sake and that of being a physical eunuch for any other reason.
While those that are in the flesh are obsessed with the futile goal of securing their place in history through offspring or achievement ( we are familiar with pet projects being referred to as “my baby”), the true believer, through the eyes of faith, casts his or her lots with the unseen and unlikely (in the eyes of the world) and shifts loyalty from the familiar, reasonable and physically quantitatable , to the physically unperceivable God that offers the promise of eternal life. The blessing of God is on the increase of those that are to be in his kingdom, those that seek to preserve and extend their own line are cursed and will drink the loss. It is unfortunate that this blessedness of the increase of the kingdom of God is misapplied to the generic procreation of humans in the physical realm. This misapplication has led to the stigmatization of those who for various reasons do not or cannot procreate in the physical realm.
The blessing we see pronounce in Genesis Chapter 1 Verse 28 goes out to Christ and his people and is not a generic blessing to all humans. As we discussed earlier, only those that are Christ’s are created in the image of God, verse 28 has this same group in focus.
We can be sure that these blessing pertain to Christ and by default his people because only He is given all dominion and power. The eighth Psalm leaves no doubt that Jesus Christ is in view in the 27 th Verse of Genesis. This true teaching is further reinforced in the book of Hebrews in the 2 nd Chapter where what is declared in the 8 th Psalm is attributed only to Christ Jesus.
We find that there are numerous problems with the traditional explanations and positions, chiefly because we find a historical and enduring practice of misapplying spiritual qualities and concepts to the physical realm. As pertaining to the physical and spiritual realms, they are distinct, separate and in opposition to one another. Not only is the physical realm limited in time and space, when compared to the spiritual, the spiritual realm is indeed an exceedingly superior realm. It is therefore very important that we do not interchange concepts, realities and expectations between these two, especially when it comes to physical realm items that represent or serve as a token of spiritual realities. These have been the historical stumbling blocks for those who have erred in doctrine and understanding. Consider the following examples; circumcision, animal sacrifices, dietary rules, baptism. All these and many more including gender continue to pose quite a challenge to grasp because they point to spiritual realities but are physically represented in our native realm.
Our study of the implications of Intersex on widely held doctrines has shown that most of the seemingly solid religious positions held are baseless and lack biblical validation. The intersex condition presents an excellent opportunity for gender study because one must eventually ask those that insist that the bible is only to be taken literally whether scripture applies only to those that do not fall into the intersex category. Do they mean to really say that scripture that is gender specific does not apply to those that are intersexed? Upon asking these questions we very soon realize that if indeed scripture applies to all across the board, and it does because God is not a respecter of persons, then keener study is necessary to determine exactly what God means by these gender specific verses.
The intersex condition in effect shines a bright light at the folly of granting spiritual merit to physical realm gender. In the next chapter we will study the gender specific verses and seek better edification as we attempt to discover the intended lesson.