How can we best respond to the issue of gender identity while maintaining a faithful view of Scripture?


Thank you for being here. My question is in reference to God and identity. I recently read an article, and had almost the same discussion with a friend online. It is around sexual identity. I am not clear on how to respond as he came from a very conservative background and has done “due diligence” withe scriptures. I know that one can take a high view or low view of scripture. I guess what I’m wondering is how one gets there. And how to response specifically to the gender issue.

Dear Kim,

Thank you for your very thoughtful question.

Very often people make the argument that the Bible is outdated. Nonetheless, it is interesting to see how issues that humans faced then are issues that we continue to face even today. St. Paul would have been very aware of homosexuality in Greek culture and literature when he was writing the epistles.

Even otherwise, the Bible offers us a framework, to understand what God expects of us. And what God expects is good for our overall well-being. The author of the blog is right when he says that in many ancient cultures, it appears as though women were bought as property. But, that clearly is an abuse of what God intended. The author of Genesis gives us a framework to think about relationships. For instance, a woman is described as having the same essence of man (Genesis 2:23). The writer of Genesis also hints that this relationship is unique, special and significant (Genesis 2:24).

Further, marriage was intended to complement each other at all levels of human existence between two individuals who become one. If you follow the Genesis narrative, the entire process of creation has two complementary parts coming together. For instance, heaven and earth, sea and dry land and ultimately male and female. The intention is for two complementary parts to come together as one to fulfill some higher purpose. All of this ultimately culminating with Jesus and the Church; where Jesus being different yet pledges himself to humanity.

It is this sense of oneness “ehad” that the Bible describes “God,” in whose image we are made, and “marriage.” This sense of oneness is not possible in same-sex relationships. This is not to say that homosexuals cannot have deep and meaningful relationships. But marriage is not merely an emotional, cultural or racial union it is, in the biblical sense, and also very important, physical. This physical aspect has an additional purpose, even from the standpoint of view of evolution, to multiply and bear fruit.

Sexuality, indeed, is a wonderful gift from God and we accept it with gratitude. I also believe that homosexuals are loved and treasured by God, and John 3:16 stands testament to the fact that God loves us all. Our identity ultimately rests in the fact that we are loved by God.

In that case, it seems rather unfair to limit our entire identity to our sexuality. Just as it will seem unfair to limit my entire identity to my choice of meat. Jesus in the New Testament renews our identity by inviting us to die to ourselves (Mark 8:34) so that we may resurrect a renewed self. This is a call to every Christian.

I hope this helps you along your journey as you continue to reflect on these issues.


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