I decided to post this here on Queer Look at the Bible because of the potentially theologic implications and scriptural basis of the underlying argument.
First, I’d encourage anyone to read both Earl’s post, and then all of the comments, for this is a really rich discussion. and then, after reading that, read through my comments. and then lastly, post a reply here or on Earl’s blog or both.
It is easy to think of Christian Thought as an oxymoron when you read any number of far right religious blogs, and then I find something like Earl’s blog and I fall in love, all over again with Religion, Theology, and all that comes with it. I think one of the reasons I have struggled getting my podcast going again is that I have lost some of the passion and curiosity that first stole my heart as I dug into religious issues, images and meaning more than a dozen years ago. So, to me this is such a gift for me!
Earl tears apart a basic religious justification against transgenders and the process of sex-changes, and succintly articulates a number of the issues involved in sorting this through. As he put it:
After all, if God has specifically and omnipotently designed each person then changing oneâ€™s divinely-designated gender may be understood as, ultimately, oneâ€™s dissatisfaction with God.
While some of his commenters don’t like his use of the idea of birth defects to illustrate his reasoning, it made perfect sense to me. He writes:
If birth defects exist as a part of nature, why then is gender a non-negotiable?
In other words, those who claim that each person is created exactly as God intended, and therefore, no alteration should be needed- that argument falls apart when you think of birth defects. Birth defects are natural occurring as part of nature.
I’m with Earl, but there is a scriptural basis for the non-negotiation of gender. Genesis:
26 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, [a] and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”
27 So God created man in his own image,Â in the image of God he created him;Â male and female he created them.
28 God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”
A strict adherence to scripture suggests that everyone falls into one of these 2 categories, even though we know that there are individuals born with both male and female sex organs, as well as individuals whose bodies are clearly one or the other, but for whom their sense of their gender does not align with their body. Frankly, I’ve always been suspicious of this passage where it says: “…man in our image, in our likenes” I never understood where the “our” came from.
Aside from that, however, this issue revolves on the purpose and connection of gender, and sex. What we are learning about these from Science suggests they are more complex than once thought.
One of the things this brings up for me, is the connection between exploring what it means for God to be the creator who creates in God’s own image, and what it means for us as human beings, to understand God based upon how we see ourselves.