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The Bible on Gender Reassignment

Posted by Matt Postiff April 2, 2016 on Matt Postiff's Blog under Society  Bible Texts 

A few days ago, I received the following question:

Where does the Bible condemn someone surgically becoming another gender?

The question arises because there is no Biblical text that clearly says "thou shalt not" to gender reassignment. But it would be a woefully inadequate argument to use that fact in favor of reassignment, for there are many particular behaviors that are not specifically called out by the Bible as sin which are in fact sin. It is obvious to genuine Christians that certain behaviors are outside of the realm of righteousness. The works of the sinful nature of man are obvious (Galatians 5:19-21).

For instance, ingesting cocaine is not forbidden specifically by the Bible. But the fact that it is illegal in our country, coupled with the witness of Scripture to not be under the control of some substance, makes it unacceptable (Romans 13:1, 1 Cor. 6:12, Ephesians 5:18).

So why no gender reassignment according to the Bible?

1. Gender reassignment rejects the created order. God created basically all species of animals with male and female counterparts, according to their kind, with ability to reproduce in pairs. Don't hold me to scientific specificity here; I know about inter-sex and morphs and asexual reproduction in microscopic living things and hermaphrodites and the like. My point is that God created humans as male and female (Genesis 1:27, 5:2). There are therefore only two sexes.

2. Gender reassignment violates the principle of not mutilating the human body. Leviticus 19:28 prohibits cuttings and tattoos (see also Leviticus 21:5, Deut. 14:1). Such activities were associated with pagan idolatrous religious practices, including mourning rituals (1 Kings 18:28). Admittedly, these are all Old Testament references. Elsewhere I have written on the issue of the applicability of the Mosaic Law to modern issues. The reason for this is that the body is a gift from God and is to be respected as such. The body is made in the image of God and that conveys dignity to it.

3. Gender reassignment rejects God's choice for the individual's sex and gender. To change gender is to effectively thumb your nose at God, rejecting His authority over your life. Jesus is Lord (Romans 10:9-10); that means He is the boss. It is not your will, but God's will that carries the day. Related to this is the Bible's teaching on how we should be content and not dissatisfied. Gender reassignment indicates a deep-seated discontentment with God's choice of one's sex/gender (Hebrews 13:5, 1 Timothy 6:8, Philippians 4:11, Luke 3:14).

4. Gender reassignment "did not come into God's mind" in the sense of Jeremiah 32:35. It is a thing so outside of the realm of right and proper that it is an abomination to God. It was not considered by human societies until the twentieth century when medical technology had advanced to a point where such things could be done.

5. Finally, an argument from lesser to greater. The Scriptures prohibit cross-dressing. See Deuteronomy 22:5:

"A woman shall not wear anything that pertains to a man, nor shall a man put on a woman's garment, for all who do so are an abomination to the LORD your God. (NKJV)

Since Scripture prohibits the lesser—putting on of the clothing of the opposite gender—it is very reasonable to assume that God prohibits permanently changing from a man to a woman or the reverse (if that were actually possible).

6. Gender follows sex. There are, as with everything in this world, things that can break from this simple and normative pattern. Christians are not surprised at the confusion about gender and sex that exists in our society. That confusion is just another evidence of how deeply the fall of mankind into sin has affected our minds and bodies (Ephesians 4:18, Romans 1:21-28).

And now, why does gender reassignment go awry according to science and reason?

7. Gender reassignment is not the same as fixing a birth defect. If a person is born as a boy, that is a gift from God, not a birth defect or a deviation from the proper gender of the child. Any feelings of deviation in gender are that--feelings--and can be helped by acknowledging the Biblical truth of God's creation, sin, the fall, and redemption. A birth defect such as club feet or fused fingers or hypoplastic left heart syndrome are deviations from the normal and correct anatomy. To fix them is to alleviate pain and suffering. To reassign gender is to fix a problem that is not a problem. It takes the normal and makes it abnormal.

8. Gender reassignment is not the same as cosmetic surgery. A facelift or tummy tuck or fixing varicose veins is like fixing a birth defect: it is fixing something that has deviated from its normal or proper design. Changing a person's external and internal sexual organs from their normal anatomy to something abnormal is a totally different kind of thing.

9. You cannot change your X and Y chromosomes. They are replicated in every one of the 37.2 trillion cells in your body, if you are average size. Well, except for your red blood cells which have no nucleus, or your sperm or eggs which only have the 23 chromosomes instead of the full complement of 46. The point is that the same genetic material is replicated trillions of times throughout your body, although only parts of it are active in certain cells depending on their type. A few cosmetic changes and hormonal treatments will not change the fact that trillions of cells contain either XX or XY, and those remain the same throughout the person's lifetime. While the external appearance may be made to look like the opposite sex, every cell in the body cries out the birth sex of the person.

Please don't bother with the worn out argument that I hate you if you have had a reassignment surgery, or are pondering one, or are of an opposite view than I am. I am telling you what the BIBLE says about gender reassignment. And I believe the Bible is right because it comes from God. But I am not a hater. For more on that, read here.


An Article on Hermaphrodites

I spoke on this topic on April 3, 2016

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