In our modern day, people try to redefine themselves into cultural categories according to their feelings and the nurture of their society. When we don’t learn about our purpose for life, when we are not raised as disciples of Christ, we are left to invent ourselves without purpose. Without purpose, we will always define our own lives and existence according to our feelings and preferences. When we are concerned about our own preferences, the thoughts and feelings of others always take a back seat. As a consequence, we breed injustice and violence in society–and I think we can see this bear out when we observe the current way of things. Our narcissism breeds entitlement. Our entitlement breeds self-invention. Our self-invention raises us up. Our elevation lowers others. When we lower others, we think less of them, even dehumanizing them because they are different. When we dehumanize others, we breed injustice. Injustice breeds acceptable violence. Unchecked violence destroys nations and brings about suffering. Everything is connected, and it begins with us–the redefinition of self.
I want to begin with the most basic concept related to the issue of men and women today. I am assuming biblical authority on the issue. I am assuming that we were created the way we were created for a purpose. I am assuming that men and women do not have to change according to new cultural standards. You can just be you. The way you were created is purposeful and meaningful.
I want to begin in Genesis 1, the creation account of the world. I don’t want to cover every single detail of the text, here, but I do want to highlight a couple verses for the specific purpose of addressing biblical manhood and womanhood.
Then God said, “Let the earth bring forth living creatures after their kind: cattle and creeping things and beasts of the earth after their kind”; and it was so. God made the beasts of the earth after their kind, and the cattle after their kind, and everything that creeps on the ground after its kind; and God saw that it was good. Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” Then God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the surface of all the earth, and every tree which has fruit yielding seed; it shall be food for you; and to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the sky and to every thing that moves on the earth which has life, I have given every green plant for food”; and it was so. God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day (Genesis 1:24-31).
In the very first chapter of God’s story, on the sixth day of creation, God creates animals. Notice that He creates animals after their kinds. God also creates people. Notice that He creates people not according to their own kinds but according to His kind–in His image. This is the first difference we see between people and animals. Animals are created after their kinds, in their own images. People are created after God’s kind, in His image. Then, notice that God created them male and female–together composing the kind or image of God. God gives humankind, male and female together, a common purpose–be fruitful, multiply and fill the earth, rule over all creation on the earth.
Fill the earth
From a very young age, we recognize that babies come from mommies. Somehow the baby gets there. Even my son, who is five, has figured out that a daddy is required even though he doesn’t know exactly how that happens. It doesn’t take young men and young women that long to figure it out because their bodies start changing, and they start wanting to do things. God has placed within our nature the desire to multiply–or at least the desire to do what is necessary for multiplication. God created us sexual creatures from the beginning. Sex is good. It is a holy desire. Our sexuality is part of what makes us, man and woman together, the image of God.
God is creator. He created us according to His kind, to procreate. Just as He created people in His image, we have babies in our image. This reveals something about God by nature. He wants to fill His creation with His image. So, He creates His image to procreate and fill creation. We naturally desire to explore and map and dominate. Sometimes that manifests in some very sinful acts because we are not perfect like God is. But, nature reveals God. His invisible attributes have been seen through what He has made (cf. Romans 1:20), especially through His kind upon the earth.
So, we have this godly purpose to procreate. Yet, we are taught that sex is primarily about our pleasure. We even call it “making love,” even though love is not primarily a feeling or emotion. Because we don’t know what love is, we practice sexuality without purpose. We use it to prostitute ourselves in order to gain audiences, especially online and on social media. We use sex to sell merchandise to make us rich. We use sexuality as our primary source of pleasure. So, the corruption of sexuality begins way before we try to redefine gender or sex. It begins when we idolatrize our own feelings, which creates injustice way before we start talking about transitioning. If our purpose in creation is to fill the earth with the image of God through procreation, no wonder so many people today feel so unfulfilled in their gender or sex that they have to try to redefine it only to continue feeling unfulfilled in life. Gender dysphoria isn’t cured by any form of transitioning. People are denying their purpose. That’s why they feel they have no meaning or worth and have to keep changing and searching in order to find meaning. From the beginning, our purpose has been so clear.
Why two sexes? If God’s goal is simply to multiply His image, why not make an asexual sort of human race that doesn’t need sexuality at all? I suspect that God’s creation of male and female in His image results from His existence as Trinity. God is one essence existing in three persons. But, we don’t see that explicitly stated in Scripture for us. I do observe that God does much of what He does in order to humble us. We cannot boast in salvation because God is the one who saves. In the same way, we are not self-sufficient in this life. Men need women in order to have families. Women need men in order to bear children. I believe that God has intentionally designed us so that we cannot accomplish much on our own. We exist humbly because we need one another. We have to learn relationships. God is community, so we need community. God created us and related to us. Therefore, He created us in order to need to relate to one another. Marriage is the primary form of relationship on this earth, the first relationship between people there ever was, and the first institution ordained by God. Marriage is the picture of God on this earth–man and woman, together the kind or image of God.
Whereas defining our own sexuality encourages boasting and self-admiration and entitlement, recognition of a natural design breeds humility and the edification of others and putting others first. I believe we can observe this difference in traditional marriages and nuclear families today verses the new, cultural sexuality that has become so prevalent and harmful to society.
Our purpose also includes the rule of creation. I believe this rule to involve cultivation and stewardship. I believe it requires both men and women. In Genesis 1, we receive no difference in the roles of men and women as we rule over the earth. Our rule represents the sovereignty of God. We were created according to His kind. He rules the universe. In His likeness, we rule the earth. He orders the universe. In His likeness, we order the earth. He preserves the universe. In His likeness, we preserve the earth. He writes laws that govern the universe. We write laws that govern the earth. He fills the heavens. We fill the earth. We are like our creator, the cosmic gardener and good shepherd.
Our self-entitlement causes us to tend toward laziness. God has designed us to work for the good of all creation, to serve others in a way that benefits the whole earth.
Equality and natural sex
In this text, men and women are presented together without hierarchy of any kind as the image of God. If we are the kind or image of God, what are we not? We are not after our own kinds. The way that we were created removes every way in which we can boast. When we are seen, God is the focal point. He is exalted in our existence. We are humbled. Life is not about us being what we want to be. We find purpose according to God’s design. Men and women are equal under God. As soon as we begin redefining ourselves against God’s natural design for us according to His kind, we begin putting focus on us and elevating ourselves–actually creating inequality.
It is so funny to me how the world today makes a verbal claim to equality all while creating the very inequality it suppusedly hate by doing things that create inequality in society. It is nonsensical to fight for equality by glorifying any selfish intent of humankind. Since young people are often so gullible, that’s their target audience. But, I want us to think together about the current phenomenon. I want to think with understanding. There is no sense in trying to treat the symptoms. We need a cure, and the answer is not the sexual revolution that seems to only be exacerbating the societal problems we’ve had. We can’t create equality and justice by telling everyone that they have to change because their natural selves aren’t good enough. Instead, we return to God. We teach that He created us the way we are with a superintended purpose that is good for all humanity. You don’t have to change to be happy or blessed. You just need to know that you were fearfully and wonderfully made. You have innate purpose. You don’t have to suffer the world’s identity crisis.