May 8, 2019

“Sex: Maleness & Femaleness”

Excerpt from Biblical Sexuality & The 21st Century by Rev. Jayson Graves,M.MFT

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“God created man is own image. In the image of God he created him. Male and female He created them.” – Genesis 1:27

Let’s explore this again from another angle, shall we? Scripturally, sex here is really more about what we ARE created as more than what we do. We use sex to talk about an action or behavior all the time. We use it in ways to describe other things that don’t always seem to match that creative intent and the same is true with identity. We talk about identity in ways that don’t always hold water when we create our own man-made criteria for what makes an identity. This gets back to the words we use and when we use them. As followers of Jesus, we can talk in a way that’s salt and light with a culture and not be a stumbling block, but when we are together we should practice talking in ways that are accurate.

A linguist from last century Henry Watson Fowler, regarded as one of the expert linguists of his time, said, “the definition of the word gender pertains to its grammar related meaning.” He said, “Gender is a grammatical term only.” It’s related to grammar or the way we speak. “To talk of persons of the masculine or feminine gender, meaning the male and female sex is either a jocularity, (something that’s permissible or not according to context) or a blunder (mistake).”

So somebody who was an expert on speech thought that when we use the word gender to talk about people it’s a mistake. Yet we do all time. I just read something online the other day written by a famous theologian talking about “our gender.” Personally, it makes me cringe a bit because when we as The Body take terms that the culture has create and functionally hijacked the meaning around them then we’re in effect supporting a distortion of truth and a blurring of meaning. We’re inadvertently supporting a distortion that can often lead to deception.

When applied to sex and sexual identity, the argument for the word gender is an example of what’s known as “an inductive fallacy of hasty generalization” or an “invalid syllogism.” (Wikipedia reference: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Informal_fallacy) In logical terms, a hasty generalization says that if X is true for A and X is true for B then X is true for C, D, E and F, etc. Applied to the argument of using gender to replace sex, here’s what that sounds like: “Gender can be used to describe maleness and gender can be used to describe femaleness. So then, gender can be used to describe virtually anything to which one wishes to apply the term.” So, the use of the word gender in place of sex creates limitless possibilities for something that was originally meant to mean one thing expressed in two possible forms. However, at last count, there are well over 1000 different and distinct forms of ‘gender expression’ as misapplied to sex and identity.

Beyond the logical issue, this problem of misapplication of gender to the concept of sex and sexual identity to begin with, only serves to confuse: there’s a foundational and fundamental induction in this reasoning because again, ‘gender’ only properly supplies meaning to words, not people. But the thief came “to steal kill and destroy.” If he can steal meaning, if he can the kill communication, if he can destroy concise clarity he’ll do it. This is one of the ways he does these things today with the word gender. But our identity is ultimately about who we are as male and female. It’s not based on what we want to do or don’t want to do with our maleness or our femaleness.

“Haven’t you read, he replied, that at the beginning the Creator made them male and female?” – Matthew 19:4

Seems pretty simple, right? Left to our devices, we as humans will find a way to complicate things. God didn’t say ‘haven’t you heard that at the beginning the Creator made them over 1000 different genders.’ So with God’s sexual identity, there really are only female and male people not even things like homosexuals or even heterosexuals, biblically speaking. Biblically there is only sexuality. There isn’t heterosexuality and there’s no such thing as homosexuality, biblically. And not because they didn’t have those things happening back then either.

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