Have you gotten the message yet?
The message that your material body doesn’t actually matter.
This is the underlying message of the transgender movement.
Instead, the movement claims all that actually matters is whatever your immaterial mind wants to believe about your material body.
Everywhere you look from sports and theme parks, to doctors and celebrities, corporations and bathroom signs, even Supreme Court Justice nominees, the message is loud and clear. If your mental reality contradicts your physical reality, you can and should be encouraged to transition. In other words, your body doesn’t matter.
The way in which Christians respond to this cultural moment is critical. We must be adamant that the body matters and defend its importance from a biblical worldview.
In Genesis 1, we read that the eternal, all-powerful God established the foundations of creation on fixed, opposing realities – light and dark, land and sea, light for the day and light for the night, birds of air and fish of sea, male and female. These fixed, contrasting realities are purposeful.
We also see that God creates humans in his image (Genesis 1:26-28). They are created male and female, as material and immaterial beings (Genesis 2:7). Both embodied men and women possess dignity and purpose as God’s image-bearers. Dignity in that we were made for a relationship with our Creator. Purpose in living out the commands given by our Creator. Men and women are commanded to be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth, subdue it, and express dominion over the rest of creation. And we must be spiritual and physical, embodied beings to do so.
Tragically, our secular culture misconstrues and convolutes God’s good, creational intent. But when we live as dignified image-bearers carrying out our created purposes, we realize that the biblical worldview is not meant for limitation but liberation.
Currently, there is a distinct contradiction when comparing cultural messages about the body to Scripture. We see the fundamental realities of and requirements for a physical, bodily existence in the opening pages of Genesis. But when the body is cast aside by proponents of gender fluidity, it creates a comprehensive breakdown. Let’s play this out.
Gender doesn’t matter.
You and I are created in God’s image as either male or female, which means men and women bear equal dignity and worth as gendered human beings made in the imago Dei (Gen. 1:26-27). Gender is an essential, fixed aspect of human nature, and your bodily existence bears certain physical characteristics, physiological requirements, and structural features based on your gender. But if the body doesn’t matter…then gender doesn’t matter.
Marriage doesn’t matter.
One reason you are created with basic, physical, gendered, biological realities is to covenant together in marriage with a member of the opposite sex. This is part of God’s good design for all of humanity, a requisite of being fruitful in order to multiply (Gen. 1:28). While it doesn’t mean everyone will marry, it does mean marriage is purposeful and based on bodily realities. But if the body and gender don’t matter…then marriage doesn’t matter.
Procreation doesn’t matter.
You are a man or woman whose body bears purpose. One of those is procreation within the bounds of marriage. Multiplication in order to fill the earth. (*See disclaimer 1) Inherent in the physical, biological realities of your body is the ability to produce life by uniting with your spouse whose body has complementary physical, biological realities. God created his image-bearers to reproduce more image-bearers. But if the body, gender, and marriage don’t matter…then procreation doesn’t matter.
Family doesn’t matter.
An embodied man married to an embodied woman creates a family as they grow in number by reproducing embodied girls and boys. The family unit is purposeful, the man leading and the woman supporting, as they fill and subdue the earth (Gen 1:28). Men are natural protectors and providers whose bodies are generally characterized by a physical stature able to defend. Women are natural supporters and caretakers whose bodies are made to sustain and nurture life. (*See disclaimer 2) Again, God’s good design for family is based on physiological, bodily realities. But if the body, gender, marriage, and procreation don’t matter…then family doesn’t matter.
Society doesn’t matter.
As gendered, embodied men and women gather together with their families, societies arise. This reality reflects part of our purpose as God’s image-bearers – to multiply, fill the earth, and subdue it – and is based on the fact we are created, male and female. We are made as gendered beings with a biology relevant to our existence to procreate and perpetuate society because society is built and depends upon embodied humans. God’s creative activity and commands to his image-bearers are designed with a clear intention to populate his creation for his glory (Psalm 95:1-6). But if the body, gender, marriage, procreation, and family don’t matter…then society doesn’t matter.
You see, if the body is irrelevant, gender follows. If gender is malleable, marriage becomes insignificant. With marriage meaningless, procreation loses importance. Without procreation, families cease, and eventually societies. When we play out the claim that the body doesn’t matter, it is clear that ultimately, nothing matters.
So, what can believers do?
We must be up to date on pressing cultural issues and recognize when they contradict a biblical worldview. We need to know Scripture and be able to articulate God’s good design for his image-bearers. And we must be able to defend the faith with conviction and love for those who do not yet know our infinitely great, holy God and his gracious purposes for finite, sinful men and women.
*Disclaimer 1: Singleness is also purposeful. Most will be single at some point in their adult lives. If you’re in that season, fight for contentment and learn to pursue God’s purpose in your singleness. And just because you aren’t married now or don’t have children yet doesn’t mean you’re any less of an image-bearer. Not every married couple is able to have children, which is also something God directs according to his good and sovereign will.
*Disclaimer 2: Men are also supportive, and women are also strong. These are universal, human qualities and aren’t based on gender. My claim is simply that the natural tendency of most men is to defend, and the natural tendency of most women is to nurture. These tendencies inherent in our maleness and femaleness are God-given and intentional.