There is confusion regarding gender, no doubt about it. In this second post in our biblical masculinity series, I want to briefly consider why gender is both real and important.
It is becoming more popular to see gender as culturally conditioned or a matter of choice (this is illustrated by “pregnant men” and “children choosing their gender”. While we would have to admit that plumbing and chemicals can be manipulated by technology, we must beg the questions: Are these decisions simply negligible physical adjustments? Can I, a man, really choose to “become a woman” in the same way that I choose to become darker skinned or stronger or thinner? Or is there something to gender that—though it is deeply connected to the physical—has truth that transcends the physical and therefore defines and gives meaning to the physical?
I am asking if gender is transcendent. In other words, is there a “masculinity” that exists whether or not we agree with it, that is above culture and technology, that we must celebrate and submit to? Is there a “femininity” that is real and true, and given as a gift? Or is gender just another lifestyle flavor in this Baskin-Robbins world?
Gender Comes From God
The only One who inherently knows such things and can make such claims upon gender is the God who created it. And for our good and His glory, thankfully, He has spoken on the matter.
26 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.” 27 So God created man in his own image,?in the image of God he created him;? male and female he created them.
The glory of mankind is being made in the image of God. This at least means there are beauties and truths about God that shine forth and echo from mankind. And what’s so crazy and wonderful about mankind is that it includes these two amazing, same-but-different beings: male and female.
We must therefore conclude three things: there is something unique and wonderful about God that echoes forth 1) in being man, 2) in being woman, and 3) in man and woman being together. Male, female, and both together glorify eternal truths about God.
Gender is indeed transcendent because it comes from God who never changes and always has been and always will be radiating His perfections. Gender is real. Rejecting it is rebellion.
Gender Glorifies God
The highest, most powerful juncture in the meeting of the genders is marriage. Genesis 2, which focuses in on the glories and uniqueness of both male and female, climaxes with this beautiful picture:
“Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.”(Genesis 2:24-25)
But we must realize that this text is about much more than marriage. The apostle Paul, when quoting these very words from Genesis in his letter to the Ephesians, says “This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.” (Ephesians 5.32)
Gender and its combination is ultimately about the Gospel. Gender is real because it comes from God, and it is paramount because, chiefly, it teaches us what is of first importance (1 Corinthians 3-8): the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He is, indeed, the great husband of His church.
That’s the point.
Gender Is A Treasure
As Christians we need to understand, submit to, and celebrate God’s gift of gender because there is something beautiful and different in boys and girls, brothers and sisters, sons and daughters, dads and moms, husbands and wives. If we lose the meaning of gender, we lose some of that beauty and do ourselves harm. But more than that, in losing biblical understandings of gender, we lose truth about the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the nature of God Himself. That would be a steep price to pay.