- What does it mean to be male or female?
- What is the difference between biological sex and gender?
- Can I switch genders?
- How many genders are there?
- What do I say when my neighbor’s six-year-old tells me to now call him Sally instead of Billy because he’s now a girl?
These are questions almost no one had trouble answering a decade ago. Maleness and femaleness have been the basis and foundation of our anthropology and of every ongoing civilization and society. With a simple look around one can see that human society doesn’t exist without male and female, without the institution of the family. We can even easily see the necessity of male and female in the animal kingdom, and yet modern man seems to be confused about which bathroom to use.
Thankfully, Scripture is not silent on the transgender issue. As we learn in the creation account,
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.
That’s quite simple and straightforward. Jesus even quotes that text in Matthew 19 and Mark 10. So what’s the problem? Why do so many people, Christians included, struggle with these issues? Well, we’re told that believing Genesis 1:27 is unloving, even hateful. We’re told that gender has nothing to do with biology, but psychology; that it’s fluid and dynamic, and that we have to submit to whatever gender, or lack thereof, someone says they now identify as. If we don’t play along in this make-believe scenario and use whatever pronouns someone suddenly adopts, we might cause offense, damage relationships, or could possibly lose our job.
So it’s important to understand why the Church confesses the God-given institution of marriage as the union between one biological man and one biological woman. It’s not that Christians are just traditionalists, sentimentally committed to some idyllic past, nor are we moralists, trying to go around correcting everyone’s behavior. This has nothing to do with blue or pink, or the 1950s stereotypical associations of men and women. Rather, the way we understand gender, and marriage, and family are directly tied to the saving Gospel of Christ Jesus.
First of all, our God is not non-binary. This is difficult to discuss because the word “non-binary” itself is pregnant with political agenda. Some may think God is non-binary because both man and woman are created in the image of God. Quite true, and nothing else bears the image of God in creation. We confess both man and woman to have equal value before God. But “equal” does not mean “same.” In fact, before Eve was created, Adam being alone was the first thing “not good” (Gen. 2:18) about creation. Only with his wife could man be complete. In this way, the Genesis account upholds marriage as the pinnacle of creation.
More than that, there are many instances in Scripture where God is described using maternal language or imagery. In Deuteronomy 32, for example, He is compared to a mother eagle, and in Hosea 13, He’s compared to a mother bear robbed of her cubs. In Isaiah 42, God cries out like a woman in childbirth, and in Isaiah 66 we hear God promise to comfort Jerusalem as a mother comforts her child. In Matthew 23 and Luke 13 Jesus compares Himself to a mother hen gathering her chicks. This fits with what we know about creation because both man and woman reflect the image of God. And yet, our Father in heaven still chooses to be called “Father,” instead of “Mother,” and Jesus became a man, not a woman.
In fact, because of the incarnation — Jesus taking on the human flesh of a male from the womb of a female — our Lord now has a male body and will have a male body for all of eternity. And just as Christ cannot be separated from His male body, so too our humanity cannot be separated from our bodies. You were created biologically male or female. It is a Christian heresy to believe that you are who you are on the inside only, that you are spirit and not body. It’s call Gnosticism. This has allowed many to think that only the spirit matters, but you will not find that teaching in Scripture.
Rather, your God-given humanity is made up of both your spirit and your biological body. When your body dies, your spirit lives on and goes to be with Christ until His return on the Last Day. At that time, your spirit in heaven will be reunited with your resurrected body for eternity. You will always be either male or female. That is your identity whether you like it or not.
To reject the gift of your maleness or femaleness is deeply contrary to the way God has ordered His creation, and it is sinful. It turns your desires, emotions, will, and thoughts into the creator of your own reality, and forces those around you to submit to the reality of your choosing. But it is a lie. One that is dangerous to both individuals and society.
Gender dysphoria use to be considered a mental illness. Like anorexia, gender dysphoria is a false belief about one’s body. It is a delusion of the mind that cannot be fixed by changing the body. However, no one would suggest that we should “love” individuals who suffer from anorexia by putting them on a weight loss diet simply because they feel overweight. No matter how much the person thinks that would be the loving thing to do, it would be far from it. So too, we should not embrace the trans-movement. Especially when we consider that, like anorexia, gender dysphoria is a mental illness that can be contagious in that it is learned, not to mention the extremely high suicide rate for transgender individuals, 40 percent!
We have allowed this modern, anti-biblical, gender theory narrative to negatively influence our society and our children, destabilizing the institution of family and marriage, to which there is no end. For every human society in history has been built upon the foundation of the family. Now that marriage is torn down as an institution given by God for the union of one man and one woman for the procreation of children and mutual support of one anther, the flood gate are opened for anything. Why not allow any sort of self-identity? Where does the erosion of society end?
I’ll tell you where. It ends at the cross.
Not just because it is at the cross where our sins are paid in full, be they the sins of transgenderism or the sins of quietism in the face of transgenderism. That atonement is of course the center of our Faith. But not to be overlooked is the fact that at the cross is where Jesus, the Bridegroom, forever joins Himself to His bride, the Church.
Although the Bridegroom/Bride imagery is found throughout the Old Testament, most notably in Hosea, the New Testament makes it clear for us that this imagery is fulfilled in Jesus’ relationship with the Church.
John the Baptist introduces Jesus as the Bridegroom in John 3:29. At the cross, Jesus serves as the greater Adam, bearing the sins of the world and sleeping the deep sleep of death for the creation of His Bride. Just as Eve was created from Adam’s side, Jesus’ side is rent by the centurion spear, releasing the blood and water for Baptism and the Eucharist, the means by which the Church is created. St. Paul explicitly makes this connection when says, “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish” (Eph. 5:25-27). And the Kingdom of Heaven is routinely referred to as the marriage feast: “Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb” (Rev. 19:9).
At its core, Christianity is a gendered faith. It is our identity as the Church to uphold the goodness of our gendered creation, and we do so out of love for those who disagree.
Some try to argue that what a person feels internally shouldn’t bother us. They suggest we should mind our own business. But that’s not an accurate representation of what’s happening. Instead, we are being asked to conform to what someone else feels on the inside. We’re being asked to believe what someone else believes.
Each individual is cherished in the eyes of God, so much so that He sent His Son to die for everyone, transgender or not. That love is embodied through us and our interactions with others. But that does not mean that I will play along with a lie. I realize that many people believe they are a different gender than their biological one, and they believe it genuinely. That, however, is a creed I cannot confess. I cannot confess to any creed that is contrary to Christianity, of which Transgenderism certainly is. My conscience is bound to this Faith, and my conscience will not allow me to call someone by different pronouns than the one’s given by God. That’s not being hateful. That’s believing God’s truth over societies lie.
I leave you with the transcript of a wonderful interview from 2017 on Transgenderism. Dr. Michelle Cretella, is a pediatrician and Executive Director of the American College of Pediatricians (ACPeds) as well as a Past President of ACPeds. It’s worth your time.