The news of Bruce Jenner’s transformation from Bruce to “Caitlyn” has dominated the news.
From the cover of Vanity Fair to interviews on news broadcasts to opinion articles both for and against the decision to change genders, the issue of gender identity has been a hot topic.
However, there is an inherent problem that is not being discussed very much: the basis of gender identity. Those who “identify” as a different gender are basing their identity on something they “feel” within themselves, while simultaneously being influenced by outside factors. For example, a man identifies as a woman and says it is the way he is. Then, society supports this by saying it is “courageous” and “brave” to come out and say that he is in fact a woman instead of a man.
But is our identity based solely on our feelings? Is who we are a construct of our own thoughts and desires — or is it something else?
God’s Creative Design
The book of Genesis makes it clear that God made man and with an intended purpose and He made them for one another (Gen. 1:2-31, 2:18-25). It would be foolish to suggest that God makes mistakes in His creative design. Therefore, one who believes that God exists must be willing to accept the fact that the biological make-up of every human being was created with a purpose. Those who are men were made to be men and those who are women were made to be women; all were created on purpose, for a purpose.
But for someone to say that he or she identifies as a different gender is to say that God made a mistake — and gave him or her the wrong anatomy. This reveals a deeper issue: Inherent in the gender identity debate is a presupposition that God is not supreme and/or is non-existent. If God is infinitely wise, then the gender identity debate is moot. Instead, to say that one identifies as something other than what he or she was created to be is to say that God’s creative design is either a farce or is wrong.
The Root of the Issue
What would drive a person to make this kind of implicit claim about God’s creative design? How could someone believe that altering his or her biological make-up in the name of “identity” is acceptable? The Apostle Paul gives us insight into this when he writes, “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. … Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen” (Rom. 1:18-25). Paul reveals that this kind of behavior is the result of the sin nature that is present in everyone. We are all sinful, and if left to ourselves will choose sin every time. However, for those who have put their faith in Jesus, God has given us a new heart and a new nature. But for those who have not followed Jesus, their natural state is to suppress the truth of God and instead choose unrighteousness, worshiping the created rather than the One who created all things.
Paul goes on and says, “For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error. And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done” (Romans 1:16-28). Paul reveals that the suppression of the truth and the choosing of that which is wrong over that which is right results in God allowing them to continue down the road of choosing sin, thus building up for themselves the just penalty for their actions.
This issue is exacerbated by a society that tells people to “follow their heart” and “do whatever makes you happy.” The Bible, though, says that the heart is “desperately wicked” (Jer. 17:9). Following your heart and your feelings apart from the inner renewal that can only be found in Jesus will lead to doing that which does not honor God. Otherwise, that which is unnatural and wrong will seem very natural and right — because one’s judgment is clouded by the acceptance of sin and the desire for that which is unrighteous.
The reality is that God’s design is right — and the altering of one’s gender is wrong. To say that one identifies as the opposite gender is to say that God was wrong in how He made us and that choosing that which God calls unnatural and sinful is instead natural and right. It is a complete reversal of that which God sees as good and righteous.
When engaging those who support decisions like the one Bruce Jenner recently made, we must love them while speaking the truth, understanding that without a basis in the truth, those who believe gender alteration is natural have no framework for any other belief. Approaching this issue from the truth of God’s Word is the only way to address the deeper issues that are at play here. We know that sin will be tolerated and accepted more and more as the days become more evil. However, we must continue to speak the truth in love to those who are perishing, so as to see them repent and come back to a right relationship with God.
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