For the previous articles in this series please click on the links below.
Chapter one: Transgender: Hell bound or Holy?
Chapter two: Gender Optional?
Chapter four: The Straight Poop on “The Bathroom Wars”
The humble coffee cup. Were it self-aware enough to contemplate its purpose how would it go about filling in the blank in the sentence, “I am ____.”? Functionally it has two identifying features, it is designed to hold something and it is designed to be held by someone. It is designed to hold hot liquids like coffee and tea. There is no denying that you could eat your breakfast cereal out of it or even ice cream, but it’s not called a cereal cup. Various types of primates have appendages constructed in such a way that they would be able to safely handle a cup filled with hot coffee, but it would be an oddity and maybe even considered inhumane if, on your next trip to the zoo, you found the gorillas all sitting around sipping from steaming mugs. The cup was designed by humans for humans.
For the sake of this article I’m going to assume you and I were designed also, either by an act of special creation as described quite literally in Genesis approximately six to ten thousand years ago, or through a God directed version of cosmic evolution (a.k.a. Intelligent Design). I’m not going to make the case for these here, for the sake of brevity. I will, however, say that on Atheism any discussion of purpose is strictly unintelligible. An atheist can discern purpose in the construction and design of objects and people, but only by an act of sheer will not of logic because an atheistic universe is one that has come about quite by accident. Therefore the only purpose that could be seen in it would be nothing greater than nihilistic progress in the sense that things simply happen by blind chance and the ever slowing process of cause and effect until the universe eventually becomes inert and lifeless due to heat-death.
If, as I assume, we are designed then we, like the coffee cup, can not look solely within for what or who we are. What the transgender movement would call the “sense of self” maybe a set of feelings you genuinely have, but they must be compared to reality and the purposes for which we were created in order to align all things into a coherent identity. Thinking about identity this way cuts through all of the noise of the dozens of gender identities and talk of social constructs.
At the very beginning in Genesis 1:27 God says he made them “male and female”. So in the english translations at least we’re starting with an identification of biological sex. From that point onward the terms male and man are interchangeable as are female and woman when referring to humans. Only one of three conclusions can be drawn, either 1) God created male and female and the male immediately developed the social construct of manliness in order to oppress the female and all of creation going forward simultaneously drafting God into perpetuating the construct, 2) God himself set up the social construct of the gender binary because he was just so proud of Adam and his penis that he felt he should use it to rule the world by force, or 3) gender and sex are inextricably linked by the purposes for which we were created. Among these purposes would be procreation, pleasure, spiritually bonding of the already covenantally joined husband and wife, and the only enjoyable form aerobic or any other kind of exercise.
It should go without saying that we are more complicated than coffee cups. There can be a lot of factors to consider when discovering our identities. Sexual and gender identity are important components of an overall identity. In the broadest sense, however, we are not that different from the coffee cup. We were designed to hold something:
“Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own;” (1 Corinthians 6:9)
And we were made to be held by someone:
“Because you are my help, I sing in the shadow of your wings. I cling to you; your right hand upholds me.” (Psalm 63:7-8)
Only the misinformed or the arrogant can look within themselves and claim to know all they need to know about who and what they are. It is to ask the same question that every form of sin asks, the same question the serpent asked of Eve in the garden to instigate the first sin:
“Did God really say….?” (Genesis 3:1)
We can not discover our true identity until we answer that question rightly.