Why We're Gendered Beings...
Theological Reflections on Sexual Identity
By Rev. Gary W. Deddo, Ph.D.
Over the past thirty years or so unrest and discussion on the nature of sexuality
has boiled over into outright confrontation and polarization. The moral dimension
of the sexual revolution has not been resolved even if in practice the movement
away from traditional patterns has slowed. This is especially evident in the
conflict over the moral status of homosexuality.
My own inclination over the years has been to serve as a reconciler, to attempt
to demonstrate compassion and seek for a thoroughly Christian understanding
of sexuality in general and homosexuality in particular which would minister
the grace of God to all his people while remaining faithful to the Biblical
word and witness. I felt compelled to avoid self-righteousness at the expense
of humility and to avoid improperly magnifying sin by doing so at the expense
of the diminishment of Gods grace. It seemed to me that what was needed was
a biblical and Christ-centered approach to sinners as well as a Biblical and
Christian definition of sin.
My most recent round of reflection upon the subject of human sexuality has
been propelled not by a personal preoccupation with the subject (I would rather
avoid controversy) but by the exigencies of pastoral care for persons struggling
with these issues, by seemingly unavoidable debate and confrontation on the
secular university campuses where I and colleagues minister, and by ministerial
membership in the PCUSA and by invitations to study and make presentations
Each of the several phases of concerted reflection traversed throughout my
life and ministry has been fruitful. However, during these last seven years
my thoughts and convictions have crystallized in a way unanticipated. The insights
and conclusions I have most recently come to, while not inconsistent with my
former thoughts, are much more incisive. While illuminating a clear path for
true compassion, they require an acute response which raises the potential
for increased conflict. The strongest case for the benefit of the person who
identifies him/herself as homosexual turns out to constitute a potent case
against regarding homosexual behavior as morally right and homosexual orientation
as leading toward life and light.
Let me outline the key elements which lead to these conclusions.
It seems to me that what had been lacking in my own reflection and in the
literature in general were two things: a comprehensive context within which
to frame the question and the proper formulation of the question.
The discernment of the right use of sexual relations only becomes clear when
formed within the context of a comprehensive understanding of Gods purposes
for our being gendered persons. Interpreting the commands of God outside of
a grasp of Gods purposes constitutes interpreting them out of context. Unfortunately,
most discussions have focused on those particular texts which give commandment
regarding sexual behavior. Such a restricted focus has hindered comprehension
of those very commandments and has failed to provide clarity in the debate.
Consequently, much of my time and research has concentrated on the attempt
to grasp the reason, the divinely given purpose, for our being gendered beings
in the first place.
Secondly, the proper question to ask within this debate is whether or not
homosexual relations are to be regarded as moral and spiritual equivalents
to heterosexual marriage. The claim that they are morally and spiritually equivalent
constitutes the deepest challenge to the traditional biblical understanding.
An approach which calls for comparison will bring out the true nature and meaning
of each. The question of moral equivalence cannot be answered except in terms
of the more comprehensive question of the purpose for our being gendered beings
Why are We Gendered Beings?
The answer to the question as to why we are gendered beings must be gathered
up from the whole biblical testimony. We must begin in Genesis, but we cannot
end there, for the meaning of our being gendered beings is a deep mystery not
easily discerned. The whole counsel of Scripture is required to begin to grasp
the spiritual meaning of our being gendered beings.
"According to the Image of God". We will gather together several
clues beginning with the Genesis accounts found in chapters one and two. First
of all, the creation of a two gendered humanity is directly associated with
being created "according to [the] image" of God. Many have concluded
that the text indicates that masculinity and femininity are essential conditions
for the purpose of reflecting or bearing witness to God. That aside, we must
certainly conclude that it is very good that we are gendered beings since all
of creation was good and the creation of humanity is said to be very good.
In Genesis 2, the differentiation of humanity into male and female is a matter
of great rejoicing. Furthermore, it is the deliberate act of God in light of
God's own judgment that humanity alone, singular, is "not good." It
requires no stretch of the theological imagination to say that humanity must
have been created gendered for the glory of God. One cannot conclude, even
on the basis of Genesis accounts alone, that we are gendered beings for no
good reason at all. The question is how does our being gendered contribute
to the glory of God? And surely, if this is the right question, there can be
no basis for concluding that gender has nothing to do with being created according
to the image of God since being a true image would certainly bring glory to
God. So we can formulate the proper question from two angles: How can our being
gendered beings contribute to the glory of God? And/or, how can our being gendered
beings be a reflection of the image of God?
"Not good to be alone." Light on the goodness of being gendered
is shed most brightly in Genesis 2. There we see the creation of gender in
connection with God's own recognition of the problem of aloneness. After
the numerous refrains of "it was good," we are surprisingly told "It
is not good for man to be alone." The fact that there were other animals,
plants and the physical surroundings near and far were no answer to Adams
solitude. Adam lived in the presence of these things and even God was with
him. However, their difference from him still left Adam alone in a very significant
way. It was of such a concern that God taught Adam to recognize this deficiency
and prepared him for Gods own resolution. Woman with man was the answer to
human aloneness. Fellowship, of the good kind God intends, takes its highest
form in the bi-polarity of man and woman. True human togetherness requires
persons who are the same "human, yet who are decidedly different, other,
distinct, not the same" gendered. If woman were other but not human, man
would remain alone as he was with the animals. The otherness would be too great.
If she was not the opposite gender, but human, then she (it?) would not be
a true other. She would have been too identical. Gender, then, is the good
differentiation within humanity which provides the basis for a true fellowship:
a unity and togetherness of those who are differentiated and other.
In Genesis 2, gendered fellowship and communion, the product of God's
own intentions, is declared good, and so must somehow glorify God, that is,
reflect God's own goodness. Given the clarity of Genesis 2, there can
be no theological objection to seeing a close connection between the gendered
nature of humanity and our being created according to the image of God in Genesis
We can conclude, then, in a preliminary fashion that being gendered is good
because it provides a basis for humanity as men and women to reflect our being
created according to the image of God and so a basis for glorifying God. The
conclusion raises other questions. In what way does gender serve as a basis
for imaging/glorifying? Can the connection be discerned as well as affirmed?
The Life Partner. The Genesis account not only shows the origin of the gendered
nature of humanity but also the outworking of that fellowship between them.
They are partners working together. Woman is a companion , 'meet' or 'fit' or 'right,' for
man. They are complements one to another. Being gendered provides a basis for
their being complementary. Each brings to the relationship what the other does
not have. If the other were identical, there would be no need for the other,
no need and no possibility for complement, for a true partnership.
On the basis of this good complementary fellowship, they are given tasks to
accomplish together. It seems that they have one calling in two forms. First
they are to care for the earth, the plant life and the animal life. They are
to do so in such a way as to see to it that life leads to greater life, that
it is multiplied and so fills the earth.
Also, they are to be a channel of life themselves, by means of procreation.
Their life together is to give rise to yet other lives (offspring) which in
turn may also be fruitful and join them in overseeing the life of the earth.
The otherness of their gender yet their unity in humanity provide the basis
for their being channels of life itself by way of procreation.
In this twofold way, the genderedness of their being provides an essential
basis for them to accomplish the purposes of God for there to be abundant life-giving
life. Humanity glorifies God and images God in that God's gives, preserves,
and perfects life and God has provided humanity a basis for its very own participation
in that good purpose. Being gendered is essential to that basis because it
is essential to the partnership in caring for the earth and for procreation.
The Covenant of Marriage. There is yet another dimension of fellowship and
communion which has its ground in the genderedness of humanity. Their relationship
is to be a permanent one of covenant, of leaving all others and cleaving one
to another. Their lives are to be joined permanently in covenant love. The
gendered nature of human being allows for there to be a human reflection of
God's own faithfulness and love for humanity. Covenant love of man and
woman is a reflection of God's own love and so is also a medium for the
glorification of God. In the Genesis account, being gendered is essential to
this goodness as well.
In summary we can say, the goodness of gender which images and glorifies God,
as depicted in Genesis, is essential to human communion, which overcomes aloneness,
is central to partnership in care-taking of the earth, is vital for procreation,
and grounds the human reflection of God's own covenant love in marriage.
Although we have made some progress, there is more to be said about why we're
gendered beings on the basis of the rest of the testimony of Scripture. That
story seems to fill out and deepen those insights that gender is good and essential
to humanity's creation in the image of God and for the purpose of glorifying
God's Covenant with his People. Let's continue by considering
how the covenant love of man and woman reflects the very nature of Gods covenant
relationship with His people. God has entered into an irrevocable covenant
relationship with his people. What role does the gendered nature of humanity
play in depicting this? Human marriage may reflect or image a faithful, irrevocable
togetherness in covenant love. But it also embodies a differentiation, a non-interchangeability,
and a true interdependence. It embodies the same truth of God's covenant
love for humanity. God is not humanity, humanity is not God. Humanity cannot
give God what God can give humanity. They are utterly different, completely
non-interchangeable, yet there is a unity and communion between God and his
people. The bi-polarity of man and woman glorifies the transcendent difference
yet immanent (and incarnate) togetherness of God with his people. The difference
images the fact that we are not God and never will be. The covenant love images
that the difference in no way threatens the togetherness of God and humanity.
Humanity is destined for communion with God.
In this light, we can see why throughout the Biblical witness the goodness
and glory of the marriage of man and woman is emphasized and celebrated exclusively.
This is most notably demonstrated in the Song of Songs, in the book of Hosea
and in the Epistle to the Ephesians. On the one hand, the biblical authors
liken the marriage of man and woman to God's own relationship with humanity.
On the other, they compare human adultery and prostitution to the unfaithfulness
of people towards God. This comparison constitutes a major theme especially
in Isaiah, Ezekiel, and in St. Johns Revelation. Clearly, the relations between
men and women are intended uniquely to bear witness to the love of God for
his people. Being gendered plays an essential part in reflecting the goodness
and glory of the difference yet togetherness of God with his people in faithful
What role in glorifying God does gender play in the less personal and more
functional aspects of the partnership of man and woman? The tasks they were
given called for them to work as companions, complementing one another.
This too reflects in a different dimension Gods relation with his people and
world. God created and gave life but humanity was to tend that creation in
such a way that life led to greater life. There is a complementary partnership
between humanity and God. Humanity cannot create life out of nothing, yet we
can participate and be a channel of blessing and care for life. God and humanity
are in no way identical or interchangeable, yet they are true partners together,
each contributing to the task at hand of making life abundant. The gendered
nature of their partnership in caring for creation reflects the partnership
of God with humanity in giving created life.
But there is yet a deeper partnership between God and humanity which leads
to the deepest source of life. Israel was to be the covenant partner of God
bringing salvation to all the nations. Israel was not the origin of that salvation,
needing the grace and forgiveness of God itself. Yet she was chosen for a specific
task of being the channel of blessing. Each partner, God and Israel, brings
what it has. But they are not interchangeable. The gendered nature of humanity
and partnership reflects the inextinguishable differentiation of God and humanity
in salvation, and yet their partnership in bringing that salvation to all peoples.
Christ and the Church. The same is true for the Church. In partnership with
Christ, we are the ambassadors of reconciliation. We are members of the Body
of Christ, yet we are decidedly not the Head. Thus the gendered complementary
nature of humanity is also reflected in the non-marital cooperation of the
different members of the Body who are not interchangeable yet who are needful
of each other." The eye cannot say to the foot, 'I have no need
Procreation. Finally, by means of procreation humanity has the possibility
of reflecting in its life the true nature of the covenant of God with his people.
We cannot originate human life nor redeemed life in Christ, yet humans can
participate in Gods gift of giving birth to new biological life through procreation.
God alone creates but we procreate. Human procreation requires two genders
because only in this way can it fulfill the purpose of reflecting the true
partnership of God with humanity in giving biological life. God only is the
ultimate source of life. Humanity remains utterly impotent in this regard,
yet God involves humanity nevertheless, in its own way, in the giving of biological
In Jesus Christ. The relation of man and woman bears witness to the glory
of God even more ultimately as it is expressed in Jesus Christ. It is in his
own person where we have embodied the covenant relationship between God and
humanity, in the meeting of the divine and human natures in his one Person
without confusion, without separation. In Jesus, the divinity of the Son is
not exchanged for the humanity, neither is the humanity swallowed up, nor do
they become mixed so as to be neither. In Jesus, we are united to God so that
all that is ours has also become his and all that is his is shared with us
in power of the Holy Spirit. This is why the Apostle Paul indicates that the
glory and mystery of marriage bears witness to Christ and his Church. Thus,
in the Revelation of John, we see the preparation for the marriage of the Lamb
of God to his Bride, the people of God. The difference and unity of God and
humanity in Christ are glorified and reflected in the marriage of man and woman.
The differentiation is essential in each relationship.
We also read in the New Testament that Christ is the image of God according
to which we are being renewed. We, then, were created out of the pattern
of the pre-incarnate Word of God. As humanity we were created to image (by
means of our being male and female) the Image, that is, the Word or Son of
God. We were created to be images of the Image, Jesus Christ. What we have
said above demonstrates how that might be. We were created to mirror in our
relationships the relationship which God has with us in Christ. In Christ,
we have the oneness and otherness of God and man in covenant partnership for
the purpose of giving redemption to all of life, humanity and creation. This
can be most simply and profoundly imaged in the marital/covenantal relationship
of man and woman. It is here that there is a unity and differentiation, a togetherness
and an otherness, which is a covenantal partnership in love which gives life.
Jesus sums it up. "As I have loved you, so you ought to love one another." Our
love is intended to be a faithful reflection of God's love for all of
us. The gift of marriage is a calling which has a purpose of bearing a unique
witness to God's love. Being gendered is essential to this unique witness.
In the Triune Life. For those who can follow, there is yet a deeper mystery
of our being gendered beings that we can trace out in Jesus Christ. The love
which Christ has for us is a reflection of the Heavenly Fathers love for him. "As
the Father has loved me so I have loved you." Jesus indicates that these
two relations are comparable, are analogous. We in our relations are to embody
a glorious witness to the triune relations in God. In Jesus, not only do we
have revealed the covenantal relationship of holy love between God and his
people, but also the revelation of love between the Father and the Son. In
Jesus conception, birth, obedience, sacrifice, resurrection, ascension, and
eternal reign with the Father, we see the eternal love of the Father and Son
lived out before us, in perfect unity of being, will, and act. What is equally
clear is the maintenance of their unconfused and differentiated personhood.
The Father and Son are eternally one, yet eternally distinguished in a holy
and eternal love bonded in the Holy Spirit. They can neither be fused nor separated,
confused or interchanged.
So, the original unity and difference, togetherness and otherness, out of
which we were created was that of the Triune relations. Humanity was created
as man and woman ultimately to reflect the glory of the divine Triunity of
Father and Son in the Spirit. Being created according to the image of God means
being created in such a way that we in our relations might image the Son's
relation to the Father in the Spirit. The gendered nature of humanity is designed
expressly for glorifying God's own triune nature. This is ultimately
why, then, "God said, 'Let us make humankind according to our image
and after our likeness' So God created mankind according to his
own image, after the image of God he created them, male and female he created
them" (Genesis 1:26,27).
Why were we created gendered beings? We were given gender as a gift to be
used to glorify God in the relationship between men and women by reflecting
the unity and difference, the togetherness and otherness, the complementary
covenant partnership between the Heavenly Father and Son, and reflecting the
covenantal redemptive relationship of God with his people in Christ. We are
gendered beings in order to glorify the Triune Savior God through our right
covenantal relationships one with the other. This is the spiritual meaning
and significance of gender.
Seen in this light, the various insights, given throughout Scripture and finally
revealed in Christ, coalesce. Within this context of the divine purpose for
being gendered beings, it is perfectly coherent as to why, first of all, so
many of the Biblical commands have to do with sexual behavior. The relationship
between the sexes is a sacred trust with a good and glorious God-given purpose.
It is to bear witness to Gods own internal and external love. The content
of those commands (mostly in the negative, "thou shall not...") are
designed to preserve that purpose, to prevent the denigration of that relationship
to the point that it could no longer be used to glorify God. It is no wonder
then that when sexual involvement is used as an illustration, the heterosexual
marital relationship is the sole image used to speak of Gods relation with
his people throughout Scripture. This image provides the positive vision of
how we may glorify God by means of our gender.
Are homosexual and heterosexual covenantal relationships morally and spiritually
Now, within this comprehensive context we may properly raise our question
regarding homosexual unions. Can sexual relations within a homosexual union
be regarded as being equally capable of fulfilling the divine purpose for our
being created gendered beings as the marital union? Can it image and glorify
In the God and creature relationship? Clearly, a homosexual union cannot glorify
God in the same way that a marital union does. Relations between persons of
the same gender cannot image in their sexual attraction or in any sexual behavior
 the differentiation essential to the marital relations of a man and woman.
The differentiation of God and humanity and the differentiation of the Heavenly
Father and Son, cannot be represented in homosexual sexual relations as it
is in heterosexual marital sexual relations. Homosexual relations, rather,
bear witness to the sameness of the partners or at least the irrelevance of
the difference of the partners and so cannot give proper glory to God at all
in and through their gender.
In fact, it bears false witness to the fellowship and communion we have with
God and to the nature of the Triune love. If we pose the question, Just what
purpose does gender play in homosexual relations? the answer is none. Gender
is irrelevant for homosexual relationship. Gender serves no spiritual purpose
at all. It is reduced to physiological fact with no personal meaning. Strictly
speaking the relationship is actually de-sexualized. Genderedness plays no
part. The sex act is strictly reduced to a pleasure act. Since no moral, spiritual
meaning is assigned to gender itself in the act, the behavior between two of
the same gender, although involving the sex organs, carries within it no sexual
meaning. Indeed it cannot, because gender can be meaningful only in relation
to its polar opposite.
The Moral-Spiritual Meaning of Gender. Furthermore, if gender has a personal
moral/spiritual meaning, then to disregard the spiritual meaning of the gender
of the other is to depersonalize the other. It is to reduce a spiritually significant
aspect of their personhood to an accident of their physiology. Homosexuality
then de-sexualizes and depersonalizes the partner by regarding their gender
as morally and spiritual irrelevant. The sexual dimension of the relationship
is rendered a spiritually meaningless act. The act is referred to as sexual
only because the organs used are called sex organs. The act itself, however,
is at best a-sexual.
Of course, if the gender of another is morally/spiritually irrelevant, this
means that moral considerations don't apply to that dimension of the
relationship. In homosexual sexual relations, the sexual dimension of the relationship
then has no moral value, it is at best a-moral. Thus a moral, spiritual, and
personal dimension of the relationship has been demoralized and depersonalized.
This same discrepancy can be seen when a comparison is made between homosexual
and heterosexual marriage on the basis of other dimensions of relationship
brought out in the Genesis account.
The Complementary Aspect. In terms of partnership and covenant love, homosexual
union cannot represent the identical complementarity. In a homosexual union,
the gender/sexuality of each one has nothing different to offer to each other
in covenant love nor to their joint tasks. In terms of gender, they need nothing
that they do not have themselves and they bring nothing to their calling that
the other cannot provide. This relation cannot be considered an equal substitute
for a relation with someone of the opposite gender. Whatever otherness they
offer, and there inevitably will be some, that otherness cannot be one of gender.
The complementary nature of gender will play no part in their covenant love
nor in their covenant service.
Indeed, if humanity is a co-humanity, constituted as male and female, a key
to masculinity can be found only in right relationship with femininity, and
vice versa. The meaning of gender can only be known in light of its opposite.
Men and women to be truly who they are, must be in right relationship one with
another. This bears witness to the fact that humanity as a whole cannot find
its true identity except in right reconciled relationship with God, a relationship
which only God can provide. Humanity cannot be itself by itself. It requires
communion with Another.
Thus, it would follow, as we find in the Genesis account, that when one remains
with ones own kind, the problem of aloneness remains. Adams aloneness could
only be dealt with fully through covenant communion with woman. Loneliness
is resolved only when one is with one who is truly other. Unity is at heart,
community. The homosexual relation if regarded as an equivalent, however, indicates
that aloneness can just as well be resolved with ones own kind. Thus, men
and women can then be regarded as interchangeable. Thus, it indicates that
there is no real need of one gender for the other. A homosexual union bears
[false] witness that each gender is sufficient unto itself.
Such an orientation, then, cannot bear witness to the fact that humanity cannot
fulfill itself by itself, but must have communion with its polar opposite,
God. Homosexual relation, because it gives no spiritual value to the other
gender in its sexual dimension betrays the God-given purpose for being gendered
beings. They cannot bear witness either to the dependence of humanity upon
God nor to the interdependence of man and woman. It certainly cannot bear
witness to the reconciling purposes of God for men with women which the Apostle
Paul announced. It suggests that such reconciliation is unnecessary and
perhaps might be impossible to achieve.
How exactly the interdependence of men and women affect their working together
in creation cannot be explored in depth here and ongoing research on this area
could provide some insight. We can assume that even in such seemingly gender
neutral areas of common work, men and women each have something unique to offer
in and through their right relationship. This should rule out any strict competition
between the sexes. Their service is to be a cooperative one. However, where
the masculine or feminine are regarded as self-sufficient, the relations between
the sexes can only devolve to competition rather than contribute to a complementary
partnership. Such relations will be characterized by wrestling for power, envy,
jealously and gender-pride even if directed towards service.
Such relationships cannot bear witness to the true partnership of men and
women in relationship as did Adam and Eve in their original state. They cannot
bear witness to mankinds partnership with God in the care of the creation.
Rather it indicates either an autonomy of God and humanity so that a given
responsibility is entirely one or the other's or that there is essentially
a competition between God and mankind for control of the creation. An asymmetrical
complementary partnership is ruled out from the start.
Fruitfulness. Finally, homosexual unions cannot bear witness to the fruitfulness
that can only come from the relation of man and woman. The same-sex union is
sterile in terms of procreation. It cannot bear witness to Gods overabundant
and creative relationship to creation. It cannot represent the outgoing and
life-giving love of God reaching out to that which is utterly different from
himself. It can only represent a fruitless love which cannot itself give life
to another. The sexual dimension of such relationships represents futility
and sterility not creativity and fruitfulness. Such a relationship cannot fulfill
the God-given purposes to image the God of Creation and Life, biological and
Thus, on numerous essential counts homosexual union cannot be regarded as
the spiritual and moral equivalent of marital union between a man and a woman.
They cannot fulfill Gods purposes for us to use our gender to bear witness
to the unity and difference, the covenant partnership, the true nature of fellowship
in service, or the life-giving fruitfulness of right relationship. It cannot
bear faithful witness to the relationship between God and humanity in Christ
or between the heavenly Father and Son. If fact, the homosexual union constitutes
a betrayal of that purpose, bearing witness to its opposite: signaling rather
that there is no need for a bi-polar opposite either in the realm of human
relations or in relationship of humankind with God or within the Godhead.
This is a stark and even perhaps shocking conclusion regarding the true nature
of homosexual unions. I think so myself. But it is a conclusion which is consonant
with the whole testimony of Gods purposes for our being gendered beings and
the commandments which reinforce that divinely given purpose.
Where do we go from here? It seems to me that, given the spiritual/moral purpose
for our being gendered beings, much is at stake for all parties concerned if
we fail to use our sexuality properly. Not only will there be confusion on
the human plane, but a false witness will be presented which distorts the true
testimony to the character of God, Gods relationship with humanity and the
Triune relations themselves. It constitutes a denial of Jesus Christ because
it is a repudiation of the purpose for us to bear witness with our gender to
who Jesus Christ is, that is, to his true relationship with us and his relationship
with the Heavenly Father in the Spirit. It is a distortion of our humanity
and of Christ's divinity.
This means that rather than being regarded as just another minor disagreement
in the Church, discernment of the truth in this issue is crucial. What is at
stake is the loss of the essential purpose for our being gendered beings. The
result of this loss will be a de-personalization, a dehumanization, and demoralization
of life. Homosexual unions obscure and deny that purpose. Thus, the promotion
of such relations as an equivalent substitute for heterosexual marriage should
not be easily assented to for the sake of the witness of the church and for
the sake of those individuals who may be deceived and harmed by it. But an
even more ultimate concern is that such relations obscure the glory of God
These conclusions do not mean that we may violate biblical commands regarding
our compassionate approach to sinners. We must offer the word of compassion
and comfort, forgiveness and grace to all with the patience required of Job,
or even Jonah, and embodied in the life of Jesus. Yet, we must speak the truth
in love for the sake of rightly representing Jesus Christ himself and his relationship
to us and our relationship to others in Him. All confrontations with the truth
must be done with the grace and patience of Jesus Christ, who nevertheless,
always had a clear word. "Go in peace and sin no more."
We trust that these theological reflections contribute to an increase of compassion
for the lost, and for those who need healing, whether homosexual or heterosexual,
and that we all might use our sexuality as a means for glorifying God in our
relationships and repent to receive forgiveness and renewal when we fail.
Let us press on to the high calling of Jesus Christ to bear witness to him
in and through the gift of our being gendered beings.
1. Some have restricted the meaning of the image of God to the gendered nature
of humanity. Others have said there is no association with gender here, but
rather it is connected with dominion and care-taking. It seems to me that they
are not mutually exclusive interpretations. In fact, being created according
to the image necessarily involves both dimensions, for they are intrinsically
interrelated. For humanity to be fruitful, to multiply and to care for the
earth and its fruitfulness requires them to be gendered beings, that is, to
be involved in procreation.
2. The Hebrew is best rendered "a complement who stands face to face
over against him."
3. This foreshadows the nature of the Church being constituted by differing
members of Christ's Body in Romans 12, Ephesians 4, and I Cor. 12.
4. .Ephesians 5.
5. Colossians 1:15 and 3:10.
6. It should be noted, in passing, that all Biblical concern for improper
mixing: of gender in homosexual activity, in bestiality or in cross-dressing,
and all the laws which reinforce the differentiation of the sexes, are meant
to maintain the proper independence and yet togetherness of the sexes. This
might even be what is behind such prohibitions such as mixing flax and wool.
The differentiations which God has built into creation are good and have been
created for the purpose of giving God glory. The confusion of the distinction
can only signal a confusion of man with God, creation with Creator, and Heavenly
Father with Son. This means ultimately the misrepresentation of love itself.
7. What is in question here is whether, in a relationship between persons
of the same gender, the element of sexual/erotic attraction and any genital/sexual
behavior which might aim to fulfill or arouse such desires, can be regarded
as fulfilling or violating the God-given purpose of being sexual/gendered beings.
Relations between persons of the same gender which are not established or maintained
in any part for the purpose of arousing or fulfilling sexual attraction or
engaging in sexual/genital behavior (even if some of those feelings might be
occasionally present but are neither acted upon nor are justified) are not
in question. Non-erotic feelings and expression of affection between persons
of the same gender are not being questioned here, even though there is a possibility
that they to might possibly be occasion for the arousal and expression of erotic
feelings and behavior.
8. This is not to deny that there could be other dimensions of that homosexual
relationship which might be a faithful reflection of God's own loving
or that other non-sexual dimensions of non-marital relations between persons
of the same or different sexes could not be truly loving. They may be equivalent
in all these other ways. But this is not what is in question, either Biblically
or in the debates. What is being questioned is the sexual behavior within the
relationship, not the total relationship. The question is whether or not the
sexual dimension is being used faithfully, whether or not the gift of gender
is itself being used in a way which glorifies God. The rightness of other dimensions
of the relationship does not cancel the wrong of another dimension.
This line of argument does not mean that gender is entirely irrelevant to
other non-sexual dimensions of a relationship. The complementary nature of
gender seems to affect all dimensions of human relationship to some extent.
However we are not concerned here about what is faithful or not in those non-sexual
dimensions of complementarity.
9. It could be argued that such a relationship is at least better than auto-eroticism.
I would have to agree. Homosexual relations at least involve another person,
and giving another intimate physical pleasure. However, this observation does
not render homosexual relations any more faithful than we have suggested. It
just demonstrates that one could fall even further away from Gods ultimate
purposes for our being gendered beings into auto-eroticism.
10. It could be argued that care, concern, warmth, support, understanding,
closeness and love characterize many homosexual relations. I would concede
that, of course, such characteristics could also be involved in such a relationship.
The point is that although these may also be present, they are operative despite
the sexual dimension of the relationship, and dont in the least alter the
moral/spiritual meaninglessness of any behavior involving the sex organs or
the erotic feelings which desire such involvement. Any true meaningful love
between persons of the same sex should not and need not involve sexual feelings
or behavior. Any true love would be entirely independent of erotic feelings
or sexual involvement. The presence of true love does not justify all forms
of interaction, especially that which has no moral or spiritual meaning and
involves a significant aspect of that persons personhood.
11. Thus homosexuality should not be regarded as an ally for moderate feminists
or for those concerned about racism. Homosexuality represents the claim that
one only needs ones own kind. Men only need men, women only need women. Thus
any call for reconciliation, cooperation or call to change ones attitudes about
the other are terminally undermined. Homosexuality stands for the idolization
of ones own gender. To apply this analogously to race, it means that each race
is fully self sufficient in itself. This is tantamount to idolizing race and
can provide no foundation for a call to reconciliation or cooperation. Homosexuality
certainly cannot bear witness to the reconciliation of men and women (or by
analogy of the various races) in Jesus Christ but only announce the irrelevance
and non-necessity and impossibility of any true reconciliation. In deed homosexual
unions may be justly regarded as a betrayal of the opposite gender and a defection
to ones own gender. It is thus a denial of the Gospel of Reconciliation.
12. Galatians 3:28.
13. It could be argued that Gays and Lesbians want to share their love, and
thats why many want to adopt children, and should be allowed to. Again, it
is better for their hope not to be self-centered and to desire to share life
with others. However, such adoptions cannot justify the fruitlessness and purposelessness
of their sexual involvement. Adoption amounts to a cover-up and a delusion.
It attempts to say that those of the same gender can foster new life. But this
can be true only ex post facto, after the fact. No human being has come into
life through the relationship of two of the same gender. An adopted child would
be living in the midst of a lie. It would appear that two of the same gender
were sufficient for being parents. However, this is not the truth. Thus homosexual
parenting obscures the truth rather than bears witness to the truth. It takes
a man and a woman to give new life, even if that life is subsequently parented
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