question and response

Sex, Gender and the Bible

On Sunday night, Nicole and I had the great opportunity to be a part of a small group teaching from the newly released – Prayer: A Small Group Curriculum. I had a great time.

I received a follow up email from Nelson, a member of the group, from a conversation that we had that evening. He had some questions as a follow up from watching a few videos on YouTube. They are:

I listened to several minutes of each video and my sense is that the main topic being raised here is that of intersexuality and the way that gender is addressed in the Bible.

This is a topic around which I do not profess to have expertise, but I will do my best to respond to the topic. I believe that gender in the Bible is identified as male and female. I do not believe that there is any reference to the possibility of intersexuality. This may be partly a result of the scientific worldview at the time – not having any idea about chromosome arrangements.

I believe that God created humans as male and female. What does this mean for those who experience intersexuality or are transgender? God loves each person – no qualifications. As a Christian, I am called to show God’s love to others, to help others on their journey of discipleship and to receive help in my journey. I am called to perfect love of God and neighbor.

I recognize that I did not nearly address this topic comprehensively. This is a subject around which I continue to think, grow and learn. What do you think?

By Andrew Conard

Christian, husband, son, brother, homeowner

7 replies on “Sex, Gender and the Bible”

This quickly gets into questions about the meanings of words. When you affirm that God created humans male and female, what does it mean to be male and female?

Is this a matter of anatomy?
Genetic code?

Science indicates that there individuals who do not fit neatly into any pair of boxes (male and female) that you create using these three standards. There are people born with more than one set of parts or “ambiguous” parts. There are people without a simple XY or XX genetic code. There are people who identify with a different gender than their anatomy or genetic code would indicate. There are people who don’t identify with either or whose identification changes over time.

I applaud you for trying to sort this out in a loving way. It is not simple.

Couldn’t it be simple?

Aren’t we the ones who complicate genetic abnormalities like XO, Kleinfelter’s and AIS? The smarter we become, the more we discover and create theories, postulates, classes, orders and layers, etc. But don’t our discoveries lead us to begin over-thinking these situations?

I don’t think God created categories. We did.

Andrew said it well that we are “called to perfect love of God and neighbor.”

Hey Andrew! Thanks for the blog message. If you send me your email, I’ll definitely get you a copy of my book… and also, if you’ll explain to me how I can change my FeedBurner feed, I will certainly do it… I’m not sure how it got that way in the first place… ugh… 🙂

I agree Andrew – and want to remind all of us that our calling is not primarily to an ethic of Love…but one of Holy Love. The qualifier is important because what we call love in modern society tends to be a type of sentimental permissivism that in no way approximates the kind of love Jesus called each of us to exhibit. The most loving thing we can say in many of these situations is, ” Your sins are forgivin, Go and sin no more”

Interesting videos – for me the question of intersexuality and the church is one of identity. For most of us our sexual characteristics and our gender orientation seem to be in harmony.

For us the search for identity within the pages of scripture becomes a non-issue, are we the King David, tempted towards adultery? Do we find expression of our passion with our spouses in the words of Solomon? Intersexuality in some ways reveals that we are skipping a step.

For those whose sexual organs are ambiguous, the task of finding identity within the Bible becomes much more complicated. Whose story do you relate to when one of the most basic identifiers we can have is “up in the air”?

Andrew’s points are excellent, yet I wonder if by merely identifying such persons as beloved children of God is in some way depriving them of the richer experiences we’ve had in our own searches for relational identity within the Bible.

jmeunier – I think all three of the categories that you address could be included in my original assertion of God’s creation in Male and Female.

NCK – I think that you may be right, however I do think that there is value in thinking about these things – to a point though. You raise a good question about God creating categories… I will have to think about it some more and may post later on this topic. Thanks!

chuckinisrael – Thanks for the making the distinction between love and holy love. There is an important difference. I do find difficulty at times discerning between the two.

Ben – Identity. This is one of my favorite topics of Christian understanding and I did not think to include it here. I think that you are right on. What other ways of identifying with the God’s story as told in scripture do you think may be helpful?

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