BIBLICAL TRUTHS ABOUT SEXUAL ORIENTATION AND GENDER
By Denise Kohlmeyer
Our American society is on a fast-track agenda to destroy the distinction between male and female distinctions and to redefine genders of their own design, the gamut of which includes between five and 107, depending on who you ask.
What’s a Christian to think or believe anymore? Some Christian individuals and entire denominations have gone the way of the left and liberalism, embracing this redefining of humanity in the name of acceptance, tolerance, and love. Yet, they do so at the peril of compromising God’s creational design.
What about you? Have you found yourself at a crossroads with these controversial constructs? Are you looking for solid Biblical evidence and truths on which to set your convictions, even if they’re contrary to current societal attitudes? If so, read on.
But first things first. Let’s bring some clarity by looking at the definitions of gender, sex, and sexual identity because they are not the same.
Gender and Sex
These two constructs have distinct definitions according to certain secular institutions, such as Planned Parenthood and the American Psychological Association (APA).
According to Planned Parenthood, a person’s sex is a “label.” At birth, we’re given by a medically trained professional the label of either “male” or “female,” which is included on our birth certificates. This label is objective, however, based solely on a person’s genitalia. Nothing else.
Gender, on the other hand, is more complex. “[Gender is] a social and legal status, a set of expectations from society about behaviors, characteristics, and thoughts,” purports Planned Parenthood. “Each culture has standards about how people should behave based on their gender. This is also generally male or female. But instead of being about body parts [genetalia], it’s more about how you’re expected to act, because of your sex.”
“Gender identity,” Planned Parenthood continues,” is how you feel inside and how you express your gender through clothing, behavior, and personal appearance. It’s a feeling that begins very early in life.”
In other words, according to Planned Parenthood, gender is entirely subjective. It’s a choice, based on one’s own personal preference and self-perception—really, based on their emotions on any given day or moment. And this self-perception, they say, can happen as early as two years old.
Gender can also be fluid. One can feel like a female on Tuesday, but on Thursday, they feel like a male. They can even feel “neutral” and not claim any gender whatsoever.
Many—even young children and teenagers—are taking extreme measures toward acting upon their self-imposed gender reassignment of male-to-female (MTF) or female-to-male (FTM): with professional help, they are utilizing feminizing/masculinizing hormone therapies and/or undergoing radical surgeries to alter their anatomies to fit with their new gender identities. These transitions, depending on the extent one is willing to go to, can take anywhere from several months to years to achieve.
But what about those persons born with physical defects regarding their gender—when it’s not a choice—where they have a mixture of male and female sexual organs? While Disorders of Sex Development (DSDs) are rare, they do happen, in which case medical intervention—not a sex-change operation—can usually correct.
This construct deals with how a person orients their emotional, romantic, and sexual feelings and attractions. Says APA on their website, “Sexuality encompasses all aspects of sexual behavior, including gender identity, orientation, attitudes, and activity.”
While most people’s feelings and attractions align with their biological sex (known as heterosexuals), a tiny percentage do not. Such persons are drawn emotionally, romantically, and sexually to those of the same sex (known as homosexuals) or even both sexes (known as bisexuals).
It gets even more complicated now that multiple sexualities are recognized by our society today: lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex, pansexual, two-spirited, and asexual. Hence, we get the acronym: LGBTQQIP2SAA. Or LGBTQ+.
And, again, like gender, sexual orientation can be fluid day to day, moment to moment: male to male, male to female, male to trans, etc.
Biblical Truths to Build a Firm Foundation
Does God have anything to say about all of this? Does He address these topics within Scripture? Some say He doesn’t because those terms aren’t explicitly stated, either in the original Hebrew of the Old Testament or the original Greek of the New Testament. Others say, however, that He does, through inference and commands against.
God clearly and unequivocally spells out his design for human sexuality in the opening chapter of Genesis. We read immediately in the creation narrative that God created two separate yet distinct genders. “So, God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them…And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good” (Genesis 1:27, 31). The one God created with the XY chromosome combination (male), the other with the XX chromosome combination (female). He did not then, nor does He now, create a third being using another chromosomal combination. God, after all, is a God of order and discipline, not of chaos, even in the areas of gender and sexuality.
Within these two biological makeups are our anatomical complementarianism, in that both genders are endowed with specific genitalia for the purpose of sexual pleasure and procreation within a monogamous marriage relationship. Meaning? This is God’s will for men and women: heterosexual attraction and sexual expression. Anything other than that God deems “unnatural” and finds it particularly offensive and abhorrent, going so far as to say that an “abomination” has been committed (Romans 1:26, Leviticus 18:22, 20:13).
[NOTE: People themselves are never referred to by God as “abominations;” it is the unholy, immoral act between homosexuals that is the “abomination.” Every human being is created by God and in His image. Therefore, believers should never refer to people as “abominations.”]
Of course, believers steeped in the creational narrative understand that the unregenerated, sin-sick soul is capable of choosing unrestrained, sexually sinful experiences and expressions, whether it is sex outside of marriage, adultery, polygamy, pornography, bestiality, incest, sexual abuse, pedophilia, prostitution, or unbiblical sexual expression and/or gender preferences. The unsaved are not and cannot apart from Christ adhere to God’s design; they will adhere to ones of their own making, as perverted and heinous as they may be.
Says Pastor John Piper, “Individual preference outweighs God. Most people feel they have weight in their own life. God, he doesn’t have any weight. For all practical purposes, he is inconsequential to our culture.”
And as our culture increasingly becomes more corrupt and compromised in its values, it’s imperative that believers hold God’s truths firm and fast on this topic. Compromise is not an option. We must graciously but firmly defend God’s sovereign creational design, even though it’s societally unpopular (deemed “homophobic”) and will—and has—incur hostility and vicious backlash.
Another supportive Scripture for God’s authoritative design is found in Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, where Paul lists those who will not “inherit the kingdom of heaven.” Homosexuals are specifically singled out, as are the sexually immoral (1 Corinthians 6:9). The reason is obvious: those who practice homosexuality are living in blatant denial of God’s will.
1 Corinthians 6:16 and Hebrews 13:4 further solidify God’s high regard for sexual and marital purity. “Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the boy, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body.” And, “Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous.”
Certain punishment awaits the sexually perverse, no matter the construct or expression.
However, there is hope for even them. Forgiveness and eternal life are available to the repentant homosexual or bisexual or transgender, as it is for anyone. Jesus died for them, as well. No sin is beyond the forgiveness of God.
And once redeemed, the once sexually perverse person can glorify God with their body because it has been bought by Him (1 Corinthians 6:20). With the help of the Holy Spirit, they can put off their old, sexual self and live in newness (Ephesians 4:22-24). And, though it may be difficult as they fight old temptations, they can learn to live in holy sexual wholeness, even if it means remaining abstinent.
All things are possible with God.
For more in-depth theological treatises on this topic, please read these exceptional essays by Andrew T. Walker and Christopher Yuan: “Gender and Sexuality” and “Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation.”