We are about to meet the 4th challenge we wrote about previously: putting our sexuality in the perspective of the whole Bible. Any discussion of human sexuality in its proper or improper expressions has to start with Creation. The aim of this post is to teach a positive and thorough (not exhaustive) view of male and female.
#1: All are made in God’s image:
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.”
Each human is made in the image of God, after His likeness. The Westminster Confession of Faith, chapter 4 states it this way:
After God had made all other creatures, He created man, male and female, with reasonable and immortal souls, endued with knowledge, righteousness and true holiness, after His own image…
The image of God is remained even after the Fall. Genesis 5:1, 9:5:
When God created man, He made him in the likeness of God. Male and female He created them and He blessed them and named them Man when they were created…Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in his own image.
The point here is not to dig into what defines the image of God. Other writers have aptly worked through that issue. What is germane here is that however we define the image of God in man, each human being has it.
#2: Each is either male or female.
27So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.
To be human is to image God; to image God is to be male and female. That is, male as male and female as female. Our sexuality—our maleness and femaleness—is not an accident of nature nor simply biological: sexual identity and function are part of God’s creation; His will for His image bearers.
- In other words, having been made female (or male), to live consistently as female (or male) is God’s will for female (or male) image-bearers.
The sex we were given at birth is God’s will for us; it is the means by which He will accomplish His will using us: me as a man, my wife as a woman. Indeed in verse 31, God called male and female, “very good.” For Adam to live as a man and Eve as a woman was “very good.”
Since our culture has rejected God and the church, it has rejected its origin story. Now, thanks to evolutionary theory, we are simply the result of mindless, random acts of chance: blobs of matter coalesced into man and woman. If that is true, then it doesn’t matter what we do with our bodies—we are male and female by accident so…live it up! And our souls (if they exist) don’t matter, either. All that matters is that we maximize our happiness because, in the end, who cares.
God cares because He made us male and female.
#3: God blessed them after He created them male and female.
28And God blessed them.
Being male and female is the blessed state. This is important: being male and female in the fallen world is sometimes very hard for people—there is such a thing as “gender dysphoria” and, while very rare, is real. Helping bring people back to realize celebrating created maleness and femaleness is the blessed state is an act of love and compassion.
Experiencing the blessedness of created maleness and femaleness is behind biblical commands to maintain the distinction between male and female. One place where this is stated is in Deuteronomy 22:5:
A woman shall not wear a man’s garment, nor shall a man put on a woman’s cloak, for whoever does these things is an abomination to the Lord your God.
To obscure the maleness and femaleness by our choice of clothing is to dim the blessedness of what God has created. This is very popular today among youth—especially young girls. They now wear clothing that resembles their brothers or fathers. In a previous post, we linked to that article about Gucci designers: they are committed to putting men in skirts. To try with clothing—or hormones and surgery—to obscure or hide created maleness and femaleness is not only an abomination it is not the state of blessedness.
Another place is 1 Corinthians 11:14-15
Does not nature itself teach you that if a man wears long hair it is a disgrace for him, but if a woman has long hair, it is her glory?
In that text, Paul is correcting a practice at Corinth that minimized maleness and femaleness—Paul even refers back to creation as the corrective.
What is very important in this point is the principle that God has never wanted men and women to obscure their maleness or femaleness with clothing and, by implication, our actions. Different cultures will define cultural expressions for men and women; these historic traditions had been well established. Nonetheless, the Bible doesn’t give dogmatic instruction on what constitutes male or female clothing simply that however we work out the principle, we cannot purposely obscure or hide the blessed states of maleness and femaleness.
#4: To be male and female is necessary for the work the Lord created us for:
28And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
This mandate was restated after the Fall with slight modification. Genesis 9:7:
And you, be fruitful and multiply, increase greatly on the earth and multiply in it.
Our created design was purposeful: God has specific work for us to do that requires we be male and female. It is especially obvious that to be fruitful and multiply and increase greatly requires the binary male-female. It is our design in order to image God and it is our design to accomplish God’s purposes for us.
#5: Paul highlights that this being made male and female was designed to display the complementarity between Christ and the church. That is, the created differences between man and woman and how we are designed to be together—this is illustrated graphically in marital sex–displays the relationship between Christ and the church.
From the very beginning of creation, God made us in such a way that the glory of the union of Christ and the church could be seen in the union of male and female—husband and wife. Ephesians 5:32:
This mystery [of marriage] is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.
God’s intent with creating male and female was ultimately so that the complementary relationship between Christ and the church could be seen. Christ would never trade places with the church; the church could never trade places with Christ. The Person of Christ and the Bride of Christ are not interchangeable: we could not be Him nor He us.
- In this way alone, we see all sexual deviation from maleness and femaleness is against nature and against redemption.
#6: There can be no interchangeability between male and female.
- For the accurate imaging of God our Creator, there must be male-as-male and female-as-female.
- For the experience of the created blessedness, there must be male-as-male and female-as-female.
- For the work that God has created us to do, there must be male-as-male and female-as-female.
- For the proper representation of Christ and the church, there must be male-as-male and female-as-female.