Biblical Gender Identity




Biblical Gender Identity


Site: Jayden12.com Rock Gender Identity

DISCLAIMER: This is a mature topic only intended for people who've at least begun puberty. If you are less than 13 years old then I pray you don't have any reason to concern yourself with this yet, and you should ask a trustworthy adult before reading this.




Introduction
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In the beginning Satan asked Eve "did God really say?" (Genesis 3:1) and we still ask each other that same question today. God made us in His image (Genesis 1:26) and we desperately want to return the favor (if not take his place). The concept of "be holy because I am holy" is expressed in both the Old and New Testaments (Leviticus 19:2, 1 Peter 1:15-16) and the whole world today seems to struggle tremendously with this. So this page is dedicated to making sure we're clear on what God's word says about gender identity, because what God says is important (Ephesians 5:17).

As a technicality, here are some definitions from dictionary.com. Gender is "either the male or female division of a species, especially as differentiated by social and cultural roles and behavior." Sex is "either the male or female division of a species, especially as differentiated with reference to the reproductive functions." Arguably the most obvious element in gender identity is inter-gender relations, including and especially the biological activity of procreation, and the leisure activity that involves the same action. When the word "sex" is used to describe this action, it's not being used as a verb but rather as an idiom. (The idiom is what most of us think of when we hear this term, and is the version of this word used in this page.)

In the beginning God clearly & distinctly made the first two humans as male or female (Genesis 1:27). Still today, everyone is born with either a chromosome pair XX (female) or XY (male) and they have unique, God given features as a result (Psalm 139:13). Granted a small fraction of people are exceptions to this, such as a single X or XXY (medically referred to as a disease) but this is the result of a fallen world (Isaiah 24:20, Romans 8:22) and generalizations aren't obligated to cover rare exceptions. More to the point is, not everyone is given clear role models while growing up, and the human psyche is a complex thing, therefore we can sometimes form distorted perceptions of our own gender and the role of sexual activity in our lives. ("Gender Dysphoria" is a condition when we misalign our "gender" from our natural born, genetically assigned "sex".) But just because we can doesn't mean we may or should, and definitely doesn't mean we should enact laws inventing rights for those who do. A better response is to make sure everyone has healthy role models and just as important (if not more) is to make sure everyone understands and appreciates what God has already told us. Just because millions of people are confused on this topic doesn't make it complicated. It means those people aren't clear on (or disapprove of) the opinion of their creator.

So then, the first question is: when is the activity of sex allowed or even encouraged, from a Biblical perspective? Here is a fairly exhaustive list of the references:
  • Genesis 1:27-28  hub
  • Genesis 2:24-25  hub
  • Genesis 9:1  hub
  • Exodus 21:10  hub
  • Proverbs 5:18-19  hub
  • Song of Solomon 4:8-5:1  hub
  • Malachi 2:15  hub
  • 1 Corinthians 7:1-5  hub
  • 1 Corinthians 7:8-9  hub
Apparently the only place sex is meant to fit into life is inside the closed relationship of a husband and wife, most notably for (but clearly not limited to) procreation. In other words, sex is a consecration of marriage, not the other way around. Anything else was understood in Biblical times to be "sexual immorality."

There is no reason to believe that humanity nor morality have "evolved" thereby making anything that was immoral in the past be more permissible now. Below are some pages that explore the direct and indirect Bible passages that were intended to head off each of these common ways that many cultures over the centuries have excused themselves (Hebrews 4:12, 2 Peter 3:5). To a non-believer, this whole concept is basically moot. The first priority for a non-believer is that God loves them (John 3:16). Once we acknowledge that, then we need to care about what God cares about, and we have an obligation to all who would come after us and look up to us (1 Corinthians 5:9-13, 1 Timothy 4:12). As believers in God, followers of Jesus Christ, we should care about what God cares about and do what He asks (Matthew 7:21). It's not just that He wants us to avoid "crossing the line" of sin, He wants us to be holy (Ephesians 5:3, 1 Thessalonians 4:3-8). We all have a tendency to justify our own opinions and actions (Proverbs 16:2) so besides the "anything else" mentioned above, let's be clear on the varieties of "sexual immorality" the Bible specifically warns us against.




Cross Dressing, Transvestite, & Transgender




Our gender (characterized by social and cultural roles and behavior) is intended to be firmly grounded in our sex (characterized by our genes which dictate our reproductive functions and are solidified long before we're born). Deviation from this is deviation from God's will.

Direct
  • Deuteronomy 22:5  hub
Notice the tone of this lone direct reference. Whether we're reading from the original Hebrew (link) or any translation, the wording is clear. Sometimes God says "don't do that". Other times He says "don't do that, it's disgusting." Sometimes He says "I hate it when you do that." And rarely does He say "I hate you when you do that." There are degrees of "don't" and this activity falls on the bad end of the spectrum.1 One response might be "but there's only one reference in the whole Bible! It's never reinforced." A response to that could be "Yeah, that's right, the only reference is extremely negative and it's clear enough it didn't need to be revisited." Further, this is not a random quote from some obscure Bible character. Moses, Israel's greatest leader (Matthew 23:2, Luke 9:30, Luke 16:29), fit this into his greatest sermon (the book of Deuteronomy). The only response Jesus gave Satan in their only recorded head-on confrontation was to quote Deuteronomy 3 times (Matthew 4:1-11).

Indirect
  • Leviticus 19:11  hub
  • 1 Corinthians 6:19-20  hub
  • 1 Corinthians 11:4-5  hub
  • 1 Corinthians 11:14-15  hub
  • 1 Corinthians 14:40  hub
That first verse points out that God disapproves of deception. If God gave you an XY chromosome and you want the world to think you have XX, then that's lying at best, or worse, telling the world that God gave you the wrong sex (it's unwise to try to correct God, as Job found out). The later 4 are New Testament validation that gender distinction is important and, according to Paul, founded in nature (independent of individual or cultural opinion, preference, or tendency). Also, consider how cross dressing gets a foot in the door towards homosexuality. God doesn't want us to be confused with our identity, it's supposed to be easy (Deuteronomy 30:11-14), and cross dressing adds unnecessary complication.

Notice God doesn't micromanage our cultural norms, but he does dictate our biological sex, and He doesn't approve when we confuse the issue. God created them male and female (Genesis 1:27, Genesis 5:1-2). Gender identity is God's domain, gender roles are man's (though man should always respect his creator).

Related, having surgery to change your body features doesn't change your genes. If God disapproves of switching clothes then it's not a stretch to think He disapproves of surgery to switch organs, or otherwise adopting a gender that's misaligned to our genes. That said, there are the thoughts that pop into our brain, the thoughts we dwell on, and our actions. God doesn't condemn us just because we had an idea, it's what we do with that idea (Genesis 4:7). For those who struggle with sin (this or otherwise) then I sympathize, it's not fun. But we must rise to the challenge, make choices to architect our environment to be a healthy influence, find good role models who make it easier, and sometimes even break loose from our bad role models (1 Corinthians 15:33). Society owes everyone good role models, but when it fails don't let that be an excuse for resentment (nor sin), because the world is what we make of it. Seek good role models and avoid bad ones, even if you have to go out of your way (Romans 12:9).

As a side note, if we take this literally then we can't even allow actors to wear the costume of opposite gender characters. Acting is understood to be fiction, and isn't the point here. When we take this seriously (as opposed to literally) we can make the distinction that acting is a tolerable exception to this because it's fake. Same for children pretending to be grownups. This concept is intended for reality, not the world of fiction. Similarly, this isn't a question of whether the jeans that girl's wearing came from the men's or women's department. When we ask why God said what He did above in DT 22:5, in the context of God's character it's pretty clear He doesn't care about our fashion style, rather He cares when we appear to be the opposite gender than He created us with, with the intent to deceive.

What's permanent is fundamentally different than what's superficial. Getting a sex change is inadvisable from a Biblical perspective, coping with your God given sex is advisable. But if a person has bothered to make the switch, it's not productive for the rest of us to worry about how they were born. There's a huge difference between spending thousands of dollars and undergoing serious permanent surgery to change your biological sex, and simply saying you identify with the opposite gender than your genitals would indicate. (As a technicality, remember even surgery to change organs doesn't change the genes in the DNA in every cell in your body. DNA can be used to tell if you were designed by God to be male or female regardless of what's been done to your organs and hormones).

That said, when people want to use a bathroom the golden rule should apply. Jesus gave us this in Matthew 7:12/​Luke 6:31. A simple and elegant solution should be whatever sex we can easily prove should be the bathroom we may use. (Bathrooms are not a matter of gender but of sex. They are supposed to be segregated by sex, not by gender/​race/​marital status/​etc.) I'm not saying we should have to prove anything to anyone, but this concept would eliminate a lot of subjective debate, and doesn't rely on carrying a government document around.

Footnotes
  1. For example of this perceived (not explicit) spectrum, consider these sample verses:
    • Leviticus 20:20  hub (bad: dishonor, no children)
    • Leviticus 20:17  hub (worse: disgrace, excommunication)
    • Leviticus 20:14  hub (worst: devious, immediate execution)




Prostitution




While it's found in most cultures, prostitution isn't mistakenly debated or confused as acceptable in most of them, so there's little commentary I need to give. Here are the passages.
  • Leviticus 19:29  hub
  • Leviticus 21:9  hub
  • Deuteronomy 23:17-18  hub
  • Numbers 15:39  hub
  • 1 Corinthians 6:12-20  hub
That said, there are two more important verses to read. Like many sins, this is not unforgivable. God loved/​loves us when we were sinners and took the punishment for us (Romans 5:8) if we accept Him. One evidence of our decision to accept Him is repentance (Jeremiah 31:19, Matthew 4:17, Acts 3:19, Acts 26:20, 2 Corinthians 7:10, 1 John 1:9). But if we don't repent, then that's a different story (Matthew 11:20-24, Romans 2:5).
  • Matthew 21:31-32   hub
  • Hebrews 11:31  hub
By the way, when God says don't covet in the 10th commandment (Exodus 20:17), don't think it's ok to force covetous thoughts on someone else, or taunt others with things that would make them be covetous. This is why women are instructed to be modest (1 Timothy 2:9-10). Because even though Peter has a point when he calls wives the weaker partner (1 Peter 3:7) one way women are (generally) stronger than men is coveting. Ladies, please don't contribute to male failures by flaunting your body. This goes for every area of life, whether you're at church, at school, at work, on TV, on a jog, or travelling in between these places. Related, if you use sexual attraction (lust) to sell anything (in the form of a monetary purchase or a swayed decision), whether you're selling your own body or picking out stock photography to use for a marketing campaign, then either you're sinning or in serious danger of sinning (Luke 17:1-2).




Living Together Without Marriage




The first two words God ever said to us (humanity) are recorded in Genesis 1:28. He said "be fruitful." While this should make a lot of people happy, there are certain ways to go about this that are proven to work well, and other ways that... well... not so much. Be it an axiom or maxim, living together is synonymous with having sex without first marrying (which can technically be called fornication). A person who's never had sex is a virgin. Here are the direct references where God, in His word, warns us of His expectations of our purity.

Direct
  • Exodus 22:16-17  hub
    • Notice in the original law1 that as soon as a man had sex with a woman he was commanded to marry her. This is not to say that "two wrongs make a right" (note that sex is a benefit of marriage, not the other way around) but to minimize the effects of the sin.2 Also notice that even if the girl's father thought the boy was a loser, and didn't let them marry, the boy still had to pay a fine.3 Both of these details were obviously intended to drive home the point of how significant sexual relations are, and specifically how it's only meant to be in a context of marriage.
  • Deuteronomy 22:28-29  hub
    • If you want to point out the technicality that forced rape is way different than consensual cohabitation, then keep in mind this was written a few thousand years ago. In the culture this was written, no self respecting woman would be caught dead having sex before marriage (Judges 11:36-40, 2 Samuel 13:11-13). Because the men in that culture were very particular about marrying virgins (Leviticus 21:13, Deuteronomy 22:13-19, Judges 21:11-12) so sex before marriage meant condemnation for life that the only man who'd ever want her again would be a man seeking a prostitute (Leviticus 19:29). Cohabitation requires two consenting parties, so there was no need to specifically condemn the activity, it was adequate to just condemn rape. It wasn't until the New Testament and Christianity spread to the gentiles (non-Jews) that scripture needed to address consenting parties (fornication).
  • 1 Corinthians 7:8-9  hub
    • Living together is essentially pretending to be married (taking the benefits of marriage without the responsibility & commitment) and implicitly says "I don't trust you enough to marry you first." This is a mixed signal because the fact that they're having sex implies a level of intimacy that is reserved for marriage (Exodus 21:10, 1 Corinthians 7:3). We aren't supposed to do that to another human being: we aren't supposed to tell them we love4 them in order to get in bed with them (1 Corinthians 13:4-8). This would be living a lie, or as Revelation 22:15 puts it, living in "falsehood," and giving in to lust, rather than honoring our Creator. For those who reply that their parents divorced and their partner's parents divorced and all their friends divorced and divorce is expensive, etc., then consider my spinoff, Family in the Bible, here.
  • Hebrews 13:4  hub
    • Saying "marriage bed" here is as clear as it gets without using the graphic phrase "don't have sex outside of marriage." It's not an attempt to be cryptic, vague, or spiritual. Compare to when we get sick. If we worked in the same company, on the same team, and we were in a meeting together, and I'm calling in to the meeting from home because I'm sick and possibly contagious, and you ask how I'm feeling. I could tell everyone on the phone "I have diarrhea," or I could say "I'm on the B.R.A.T. diet." the later is so much more gentle, polite, and less graphic of an answer, but they both mean exactly the same thing. That's what the author of Hebrews was doing here.
Indirect
  • Genesis 4:7  hub
  • Deuteronomy 21:10-14  hub
  • Psalm 119:9  hub
  • Proverbs 4:14-15  hub
  • Proverbs 6:27  hub
  • Proverbs 16:2  hub
  • Song of Solomon 2:7  hub
  • Song of Solomon 8:6-7  hub
  • Jeremiah 17:9  hub
  • 1 Corinthians 6:9  hub
  • Revelation 22:15  hub
Surely this is bad for at least five reasons:
  1. In the modern western world marriages are initiated by love but in the grand scheme they are (should be) more about commitment than they are about love. Sex before marriage undermines the absolute commitment of marriage (instills the "try it before you buy it" mentality) which irrevocably taints the presence of unconditional love which was intended to be fully present.
  2. It is a bad example for your inevitable children and/​or all other children (people) in your lives.
  3. It encourages child conception outside of an absolutely committed marriage and allows for the parents to easily separate thereby (a) destroying the family unit that God designed5 and (b) damaging the parent/​child relationship that is intended to model the God/​human relationship. These problems give children a desire to say "if God could not keep my parents together then he cannot do anything for me either".
  4. It is especially a bad witness to non believers if believers do this because it allows a non believer the opportunity to say "your morality is no better than mine so your God must be no better than mine" (Romans 2:24).
  5. At its highest level and at its core, this idea is dangerously close to a belief (whether active or passive) that "yeah, God may have said marriage first is the best way, but I am willing to bet my life (and yours) that I can do it better, or at least different, and still end up just as good." (Ezekiel 36:23)
If we want to talk about economic exceptions, then granted maybe there are a few examples where it may be temporarily justifiable to live together. But most people use this as an excuse rather than a last resort. We should also be clear this exception only applies to so few people they could be measured in PPM (people per million) not percent of the population. And sex by any definition should never be entertained outside of marriage. (This includes one night stands, date nights, fornication, fooling around, etc.) Finally, I sincerely hope all marriages last a lifetime, no matter how they start off, because that is the way God created it (Matthew 19:4-6, Mark 10:6-9). But regardless of what we want to believe, this practice is no less dangerous than playing with fire (Proverbs 6:27).

Here's a great quote from Erwin McManus, pastor of a couple thousand twenty- and thirty-somethings in Los Angeles. This was part of his 2007 sermon series titled 'Romance Unwrapped':
"The way you can circumvent the process is you can start having sex. Because having sex gives you the false perception that you've now moved to intimacy. It gives the woman a sense of intimacy and it give the guy a way out of intimacy. But... once you start having sex before marriage the level of intimacy, true intimacy that you have, is pretty much as far as you're going to go no matter how long you're together and even if you marry. Because you basically have stunted the relationship at that level of intimacy. And so what's going on here is that a lot of you are pretending to move toward real relationship by having sex. And when people ask me who could you marry, I tell them marry the person you can talk to all night without ever needing to have sex to have intimacy."
Bible Stories
  • Numbers 25:1-13
    • Arguably the trick here is more verse 2 than verse 1, but God knows the reason verse 2 happened was because of verse 1. This happened to the poor old Israelites, same thing happened to rich man Solomon (1 Kings 11:1-6), to King Ahab (1 Kings 16:29-33), and it can still happen to us today. That's why God warned us many times, including Exodus 34:15-16 and Deuteronomy 6:10-15. There wasn't an explicit "command" to quote from this story, but we can see (a) God ordered some executions and (b) when an execution was done it was rewarded. This doesn't mean we should execute people on our own volition, but this principle again reminds us of the significance of sex and how we shouldn't take it lightly (as our culture has decided to). It's not like He's being the neighborhood bully when He says this. God provides us everything (Acts 17:24-31, Revelation 4:11), He just wants the credit He deserves, and He gets ticked when we give that credit to anything else (Isaiah 42:8).
  • 2 Samuel 13:1-22
    • At first this story may seem really weird. I remember wondering why Amnon hated Tamar after getting what he wanted. But my conclusion is he used sex to gratify his fantasies, and he found out the hard way that real life can never live up. As great as sex is, if we fantasize about it then it can't possibly live up to our expectations, because God gave us very creative imaginations. And this is about more than gratifying our fantasies. It's also about pleasing the other person, and in Ammon's case he found out it's just not fulfilling when it's used as a personal gratification rather than an expression of fully committed, bidirectional, exclusive, love. And remember, the primary purpose of sex is to make it fun to start a family so that we can fulfill God's command in Genesis 1:28, and then to be a reward for maintaining that family as the prophet reminded us in Malachi 2:15. Even in marriage, it's dangerous to expect sex to truly fulfill our fantasies. Also, just because super models are (generally speaking) strikingly more attractive than (for example) cafeteria workers, that doesn't mean that sex with a model will be better than another person. It just doesn't work that way6. At best it would be marginally better. This is supposed to be a good thing, so that we can all enjoy it, not just the genetically gifted, but that ruins our fantasies. So be warned about the expectations you put on this one singular activity. Guys, don't think that dumping this girlfriend (who's reasonably attractive) for that girl (who's more attractive) will necessarily result in more happiness. Look more than skin deep or suffer the disappointments (1 Samuel 16:7).
Footnotes
  1. FYI, this chapter (Exodus 22) comes only two chapters after the 10 commandments were given (Exodus 20:1-17).
  2. Requiring a man to marry the woman he seduced was an ancient form of "social security" safety net. Because no one else was going to marry the non-virgin, and therefore no one else was ever going to take care of her. So he was required to by law.
  3. The fine was about $250 in today's market value. Americans are used to this side of the Scientific Revolution where everyone makes more than a dollar a day. If you made a dollar a day then this fine would be over half a year's income. Not cheap. Not to be taken lightly.
  4. What does "love" mean? Here's another great quote from Erwin McManus, this time from his 2006 series on Life's Toughest Questions:
    "I am amazed at how we've just given up on love. We've just flat replaced love with sex... Now I know that we just came out of a generation where everyone pretty much blew their marriage. And so we just give up on the reality of love in the context of commitment, and so it's easier just to live together, to never actually break the commitment because you never actually make the commitment. But what's happening is you're confusing what love is all about. In the scriptures there are at least three different layers of love. There's this filao (friendship) love, there's this agape (God unconditional) love, and then there's this eros (erotic) love. And what's happened is we've lost the ability to make genuine loving friendships and so we're very lonely people. We're disconnected from God so we don't even know the essence of agape love, and so all we're left with is erotic love and we go 'well now this is love.' And so the easiest thing to do is to have endless one night stands or to just start having sex because at least that way you feel like you're experiencing intimacy."
  5. In case you haven't thought this through, let's look at some of the consequences of families that break apart. After you read this, ask yourself, is risking this worth it?
    • Children never again get to enjoy a Christmas spent at just one house (without feeling guilty for leaving the other house out).
    • Every week for the rest of your life wishing you could spend more time with your kids because your ex-spouse has custody for some (or all) of the days of the week.
    • Having to waste hours of your life (sometimes hours in a single week) coordinating and cooperating which holidays you get to see your kids. This is made even more fun when that person you're required by law to coordinate with hates you.
    • ...
  6. At least, not in real life. When you're being a voyeur, as Hollywood enjoys making us, that's when genetics & shape make a substantial difference.




Adultery




This is about as non-controversial of a topic as we can get (I don't hear this being defended in our culture by anyone except those who stand to profit financially from other people doing it) but since it's such a problem for us hypocrites I thought I'd list the verses just so we're crystal clear.
  • Exodus 20:14  hub & Deuteronomy 5:18  hub
  • Leviticus 18:20  hub
  • Leviticus 20:10  hub
  • Deuteronomy 22:22-29  hub
  • 2 Samuel 12:10  hub
  • Proverbs 5:1-23  hub
  • Proverbs 6:26-35  hub
  • Matthew 5:27-30  hub
  • Matthew 15:19  hub & Mark 7:21-23  hub
  • Matthew 19:18  hub
  • Mark 10:11-12  hub & Luke 16:18  hub
  • Romans 13:9  hub
  • 1 Timothy 3:2  hub
  • 1 Timothy 3:12  hub
  • Titus 1:6  hub
  • Hebrews 13:4  hub
Consider these situations where people (even very powerful people) almost did indecent things but God intervened first.
  • Genesis 12:10-20
  • Genesis 20:1-18
  • Genesis 26:6-11
Notice God didn't have to argue that adultery was wrong. They knew it already. God didn't even have to use the word, He just said "she's married" and we can imagine the look on Abimelek's face. While these stories may seem strange at face value, they teach us a valuable lesson that our culture has caused us to overlook. In early days there was a universally accepted agreement (commonly accepted by many cultures that really didn't care what each other thought) that marriage was sacred. That opinion came from somewhere. It came from God, specifically through Adam and Eve as recorded (or at least alluded to) in Genesis 2:24-25.

Let's take another perspective now. Exodus 20:14 is the 7th of the 10 Commandments. The 10th says "don't covet your neighbor's wife" (Exodus 20:17). According to dictionary.com, "covet" means "to desire wrongfully, inordinately, or without due regard for the rights of others." In other words, the 10th commandment is saying don't even think about doing what's forbidden in the previous 9. When we dive into this concept, there's what occurs to us (pops into our heads) and then there's what we allow our minds to dwell on. Paul points out that we can take our thoughts, which God knows are always selfish (Genesis 6:5, Jeremiah 17:9), and consciously force them to align with God (Colossians 3:5, 2 Corinthians 10:5). Paul's not saying this is a onetime activity and then for the rest of our lives our consciences will be clear. It's a lifelong commitment to focus our thoughts on righteousness, holiness even (1 John 2:16). Besides the fact that this is "every man's battle," even Paul may have struggled with this (2 Corinthians 12:7-9) so we shouldn't be surprised when we do too. A key point here is there's an important difference between the presence of desire in our soul and how we allow that to manifest itself (Genesis 4:7). Having a temptation is one thing (we all have them) acting on it (in even the smallest way) is another.

Adultery has an added bonus in that it's breaking a promise. Marriage is more about commitment than love. The feeling of love ebbs and flows because life is a roller coaster, not a monorail. But our commitment to each other shouldn't fluctuate. Marriage by definition is a promise and a commitment, arguably the most significant commitment of our lives. Therefore adultery can be considered the ultimate failure of an individual in their life because marriage is the foundation of strong, healthy families (Psalm 11:3) and ruins everything (including their spouse's trust, their kid's trust, and their qualifications as a respectable role model to society, just as a start). For those of you screaming "why?!" at your laptop or phone right now, here's why: Because marriage is the most important commitment in your life and the foundation of society, and committing adultery is scoffing in the face of the people you've publicly pledged your life to, for the sake of a brief, forbidden, self gratifying, selfish moment of indulgence. If this is the way you treat the most significant, most meaningful relationship in your life, what signal does that send to everyone else who you ever again make any form of promise or commitment to? By definition if we commit adultery we are publicly humiliating our family. May this always be taboo. Now, this side of the cross, even if a person fails in this regard doesn't mean we are commanded to divorce and shun that person. We are all fallen people (Psalm 143:2, Romans 3:10) and the condition of the heart is critically important when deciding what to do after a failure. The topics of forgiveness and repentance are incredibly important and deserve entire books.

From a whole other perspective, it's only a little different if a person is driven to adultery. Sometimes a wife can feel like a single parent because her husband puts all of his energy into his job and leaves none for his family. This is an easy trap for a man to get in, for many reasons (including 2 Thessalonians 3:10). That doesn't make adultery any more acceptable, but does mean both are to blame, not just the one caught in the act. Because husbands are commanded to love their wives (Exodus 21:10, Ephesians 5:33, Colossians 3:19) and negligence of this is very serious (Malachi 2:13-15). A spouse can't avoid the penalties of adultery or divorce by simply "checking out" of the relationship, but skipping the formality of either of these sins. A couple dealing with this problem is in a desperately sad situation and needs outside help.

Similarly, if a couple acts like a married couple for a significant time and then one of you just gets bored and decides to sleep around, that's not really better just because you never technically got married. In the eyes of the law it's very different, but to God this is still adultery (Exodus 22:16, Mark 10:6-9).

Lastly, there's a related concept here that should be mentioned. Jesus essentially said that pornography is no better than adultery (Matthew 5:27-28).




Divorce




This is a sensitive topic because it is difficult to tell from afar if a person has divorce in their life because of their own callousness (and I've known some deceptive people who used divorce as a weapon) or because they were essentially a victim. So I bring this up with timidity.

Direct
  • Deuteronomy 24:1-4  hub
  • Malachi 2:13-16  hub
  • Matthew 5:31-32  hub
  • Matthew 19:3-12  hub & Mark 10:2-12  hub
  • Luke 16:18  hub
  • Romans 7:1-3  hub
  • 1 Corinthians 7:10-17  hub
Indirect
  • Deuteronomy 22:13-19  hub
  • Deuteronomy 22:28-29  hub
  • Ecclesiastes 4:12  hub
  • Ezra 10:10-12  hub & Nehemiah 13:23-30  hub
  • Proverbs 6:32  hub
Please note there are some important twists to this topic, details that completely change the direction of a conversation we might be in depending on the/​your specific scenario. Notice these commands are about the choice of divorce. If your spouse bailed on you, then the scorn God has for divorce isn't meant for you. And notice it never says when we should get divorced. It simply says when it's tolerated (and when it's not). That said, this is an abomination with few specific exceptions. That is why it is so important to make good choices up front, and that is one of many reasons why it is so important to know what God has already told us.




Polygamy




The original design was one man and one woman. No other option is offered to us, we made up all the rest. Any time there is instruction about marriage it's clearly patterned after the Genesis 1:27-28 & Genesis 2:24-25 model (one male and one female) despite however many examples there are of people who deviate. However, it's true there is no explicit command on the number of wives a man may have. We can make many inferences from these indirect verses, but since they're all indirect, there's room for debate.
  • Exodus 21:10  hub
    • The presence of the unqualified word "if" implies it is at least acceptable.
  • Deuteronomy 17:17  hub
    • There's a big difference between "must not take many" and "must not have more than one." And it's not a stretch to think a higher standard could be set for the leaders than for the rest.
  • Deuteronomy 21:15-17  hub
    • Here polygamy is mentioned nonchalantly. And it doesn't say "at most two," it just says "if he has two."
  • Deuteronomy 25:5-10  hub
    • Notice it does not say "after he dies then the next brother in line should marry her, unless he's already married, in which case the second next brother should marry her."
  • 2 Samuel 12:7-8  hub
    • Nathan is relaying that God would have given David even more wives if David had just asked (rather than going about it the way he did with Bathsheba). He already had a bunch at the time.
  • 1 Kings 11:3-4  hub
    • While this blames Solomon's straying from God on his wives, notice it doesn't explicitly say it's because he had more than one. As if they all were great honorable Jews and he just couldn't handle the volume. His wives turned to other gods and their straying leaked into his heart too. Like a sexually transmitted disease, which can be contracted when we are with one or many partners.
  • Matthew 19:8-9  hub
    • Notice that Jesus doesn't specifically say to have only one wife. He just says if you divorce for any reason (but the one valid reason) then you may not marry anyone else. There's no mention of a numerical limit here. For example, if we take this literally then if a man has three wives and divorces one then he's expected to be content for the rest of his life with (at most) the other two he already has. This isn't necessarily to say in the positive that polygamy is good or even acceptable, it's saying divorce is negative, serious, and even has a penalty.
The following passages are from the writing of Paul. God's word must be taken seriously, but we must be very careful not to read into the scriptures what we want to find. Even though Paul uses a singular term here, he's not explicitly saying a man should only have one wife, nor does he specifically say a man should not have more than one. He's saying sex is reserved for a husband and a wife. Even a polygamous man can be said to have "a wife." If there didn't happen to be any polygamists in the churches he was writing to then it would make sense that it would not have come up.
  • 1 Corinthians 7:2-16  hub
  • Ephesians 5:23  hub
  • Ephesians 5:28  hub
  • 1 Timothy 3:2-4  hub
  • 1 Timothy 3:12  hub
To be clear, all I'm saying is God, in His word, doesn't seem to have a really strong opinion on this. He's not one to dance around topics, and if He really cared I don't think He'd have waited until Paul came around to say so. (Based on genealogical records, Jesus and Paul probably both walked the Earth about 4,000 years after creation week.) God isn't in the business of dictating our every decision (Luke 12:14). He does care how we treat each other though (Matthew 22:34-40, Mark 12:28-34) and don't forget the way He designed it was one man and one woman (Genesis 2:24), anything else we made up on our own.

This perspective doesn't mean it's "right" for a man to have more than one wife. It just means the Bible doesn't forbid it (like it does other things). Still, American, European, Asian, and many other societies have long since decided it's not appropriate, and they aren't obligated to get that opinion from the Bible. There were a couple stories in the Bible where this worked fine for the guy and crummy for the girl, namely Jacob, Rachel, & Leah (Genesis 29:30-30:3) and Elkanah, Hannah, & Peninnah (1 Samuel 1:2-8). The first guy to do this was Lamech (Genesis 4:19), Abraham took a second wife only at his original wife's insistence (Genesis 16:1-5), and then of course there was Solomon (1 Kings 11:3).

That being said, here's the best conclusion I've found to reconcile the difference we find in the Old and New Testaments. Notice how Pharaoh and Abimalech (leaders of nations back in Genesis 12, 20, & 26) had many wives, but the kings of Babylon (Ester 1) and Judea (Luke 1:5, Mark 6:17) only had one. Though Xerxes did have more than his share of compulsory one night stands (Ester 2:2-4). Babylon was far bigger than either of the aforementioned nations and surely the King of Babylon would have been able to support as many wives as he wanted, so what's the change? Even the jerks who came up with Xerxes "nomination" process assumed the end result should be only one queen. Clearly the culture (even pagan culture) had changed for reasons other than Jewish/​Israelite law. Besides the obvious simple male greed and disrespect of females, perhaps polygamy was another early form of Social Security safety net (similar to how a rapist was required to marry his victim since he had just ruined the girl's chances of ever getting married to anyone else, Exodus 22:16-17, Leviticus 21:13). The idea here is that the balance of men & women in the world is typically about even, but in ancient days war didn't involve ammunition & missiles but only men. Killing off all the men of your enemy and sparing the women was normal, allowing the female population to stay noticeably higher than the male. That was a very patriarchal society and most women weren't allowed to provide for themselves, so they needed someone, at least anyone, to take care of them. The alternatives were prostitution, slavery, or starvation. So while not ideal, polygamy could be seen as a "lesser of two evils," hence the lack of divine criticism (and even endorsement). But by the time of the Jewish exile, the situation had basically changed enough (and how much more so now, after the Scientific Revolution) it's easy to rationalize that polygamy is a deprecated practice.





Homosexuality




Since this is arguably the most controversial of all these gender identity topics, please read these scripture passages first, then I'll make a few points. This page is not about me telling you my opinion but rather is about us taking an honest look at what God has said, and a brief attempt to explore why and what it means.

Direct
  • Leviticus 18:22  hub
  • Leviticus 20:13  hub
  • Romans 1:26-27  hub
  • 1 Corinthians 6:9-10  hub
  • 1 Timothy 1:9-10  hub
  1. If we take God's word seriously then we have to conclude that homosexuality is a sin. As described in God's word, all sin rooted in choice. Therefore by definition homosexuality is a choice, so it deserves no protection and no benefits. Like any sin, some people are more tempted by it than others, but we must all repress any urge to sin and acknowledge that any thought or activity is wrong. The only reason for rebuking this topic so harshly is people have excused and defended it so strongly. But while it's very important to call sin what it is, we should be equally as concerned with helping/​encouraging people who burn with desire (James 5:19-20).
  2. Nobody deserves persecution (not even homosexuals) and all people need protection (even homosexuals) from evil (in its many forms). Remember, this is not an unforgivable sin and these people need to be treated with love just like anyone else (Jude 1:22-23). We must also be careful how we handle sins we do not personally struggle with, lest our motives and intentions be misinterpreted. But fewer people will misinterpret love than condemnation, and the Holy Spirit can take care of convicting any sinner. (Galatians 6:1,10)
  3. There is an important comparison to make between homosexuality and adultery. In the 10th Commandment, God tells us not to covet any married woman (Exodus 20:17). (And it's not a stretch to say men shouldn't "covet" any girl or woman.) God's not an evil fascist dictator, He's a loving, disciplining father (Deuteronomy 8:5, Proverbs 3:11-12, Proverbs 13:24, Hebrews 12:9-12) with an incomprehensibly strong grasp on right and wrong (Ezekiel 18:20-28). So while He's saying in the 10th Commandment, "don't even think about it," the point isn't instant condemnation to hell just because we had a thought. The point is don't dwell on it, don't entertain this kind of thinking (Genesis 4:7). Notice the language in these passages: "don't have sexual relations," "committed shameful acts," "who have sex," and "for those practicing." The same scorn and condemnation falls from God on a man who "has adultery," "commits adultery," or "practices adultery" (Exodus 20:14, Leviticus 20:10). And to make sure we don't even get close to "crossing the line," He not only forbids us from doing these things, He also says "don't even think about it."
  4. Taking God's word literally would mean we have to kill all homosexuals and all adulterers. Taking God's word seriously gives us a little room to say that Jesus paid the price for all our sins (John 3:16, Romans 5:8, 1 John 2:1) and that while the death penalty has been commuted, the nature of the words "detestable, shameful, unnatural, wrongdoer," and the phrase "not for the righteous" may not be overlooked. The theme of hating evil is clearly repeated in scripture (Proverbs 8:13, Amos 5:15, Romans 12:9, 1 John 3:8) and there's no reason to believe the definition of evil (read: sin) should be altered as society changes.
  5. Don't be identified by who you have sex with. A happily married couple with healthy relationships (both together and with a broader community) could have sex on average once or twice a week (about a hundred times a year) which means spending maybe an hour a week naked together (and awake). When there are 168 hours in a week (112 waking hours) what a small, small fraction of our lives to be defining our identity by. A man shouldn't associate feelings for any woman, besides the one he's already married to, with his core identity (adulterer, fornicator, rapist). And neither should a man who happens to have feelings for other men (homosexual) and we shouldn't let anyone else label us that way either. It's not healthy for ourselves nor our society. By the way, our culture is quick to claim people who defend Biblical worldviews have homophobia, or a fear/​hatred of homosexuals. This is an unwarranted extrapolation and assumes standards must at all times come with emotions. Conversely, people who are supportive of homosexual choices demonstrate homophilia.
Indirect
  • Genesis 19:5-7  hub
  • Deuteronomy 22:5  hub
  • Judges 19:22-24  hub
  • 2 Peter 2:6-8  hub
  • Jude 1:7  hub
God, through the prophets, reinforces the righteousness of the destruction of Sodom & Gomorrah multiple times (Isaiah 3:9, Ezekiel 16:53-58). Jesus confirms the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 18:20-21) was specifically that of homosexuality when he affirmed that as soon as Lot left, the towns were destroyed (Luke 17:29, Genesis 19:23-25). What Lot recognized as wicked was what was wicked, not any other random sin we can excuse (Genesis 19:5-7).

Jude uses a choice word. Perversion (according to Google) is "the alteration of something from its original course, meaning, or state to a distortion or corruption of what was first intended." All of these examples of sexual immorality can fit this description (including cross dressing, prostitution, living together, adultery, divorce, homosexuality, incest, bestiality, and masturbation). Note the word "perversion" has a specific, informative meaning and is not being used as a derogatory term. God invented the concept of "love the sinner, hate the sin" long before we recognized it. (God's embracing this concept was demonstrated in His reaction to our sins as early as in Genesis 3 & 4.)

Sadly, some people who don't approve of homosexuality are excessively violent in their opinion. And some of those people simply have an opinion with no basis for it other than neophobia (the fear or dislike of anything unfamiliar). But to a God fearing, Bible believing Christian, this is the opposite of fear and the opposite of hate. It's an honest belief that God knows best, all people have value, and every individual and all of society will be better when aligned with their Creator. Jesus explicitly said in Matthew 5:19 and Mark 9:42 not to disregard God's opinions, and not to teach kids to either. We neither want our kids to be dragged away from God nor do we want our neighbors. Those who are violent in their opinions are forgetting the character of God (for example Philippians 2:3-4) but God's people can do some dumb things. Because all people do dumb things. Don't blame God for his followers. They upset Him long before they upset you (Ezekiel 36:22-23). Neither violence nor sin deserve defense.

All sin is choice no matter how a government classifies it. This makes for annoying dilemmas when the law conflicts with our morals. (Morals are the study or application of right and wrong from an absolute or spiritual perspective, ethics are the same study from a relative or social/​cultural perspective.) When push comes to shove, we should always obey God's laws over man's (Daniel 6:13, Acts 5:29) but not every disagreement means we have to rebel (Romans 13:1-2, 1 Peter 2:13-15). Most of us don't even agree with everything our own church does, much less our government. The trick is to be respectful (of both our neighbors, our leaders, and our laws) without compromising our beliefs. The people who advocate for sexual liberty and same-sex marriage have played heavily the "civil rights" card. They want the public to believe that calling homosexuality a sin, or defining marriage as between a single man and woman, is no different than racial or gender discrimination. The most famous person in American civil rights history was Martin Luther King, Jr. Because of this, many pro-homosexual people have tried to say MLK would have been on their side to elevate sexual orientation to a protected & honored status in government literature. But let's look at one of his most famous quotes, written from a Birmingham Jail:

There are two types of laws: just and unjust. I would be the first to advocate obeying just laws. One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws. I would agree with St. Augustine that "an unjust law is no law at all." Now, what is the difference between the two? How does one determine whether a law is just or unjust? A just law is a man made code that squares with the moral law or the law of God. An unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law. To put it in the terms of St. Thomas Aquinas: An unjust law is a human law that is not rooted in eternal law and natural law. (full quote)

There is a huge difference between (a) discriminating against a person because my ancestors crossed an ocean to arbitrarily pick up their ancestors and haul them back across the ocean to be a slave, or they just look like someone who's ancestors might have been treated that way, and (b) telling people they shouldn't choose to do what God declared wrong. This is a great example of how the issue of homosexuality isn't really about sexual orientation after all. This is about whether we have a Creator and (equally important) whether we're accountable to His standards/​expectations. Because it's a symptom and not a cause, arguments directly about homosexuality have little chance for success. This is one of many reasons why knowing and understanding our Creator, as revealed in the Bible, is vitally important.

To end on a somewhat affirmative note, it may be a strange idea to some, but just because same gender attraction is a sin does not mean two men or two women cannot be better friends than some married couples. And that is fine. However, it should not be used as an excuse to either (1) pervert the concept of marriage nor (2) tolerate sexual immorality.




Incest




Another form of immorality God explicitly described was having sex with your own family members, which in English we call incest.

Direct
  • Leviticus 18:6-19  hub
  • Leviticus 20:11-12  hub
  • Leviticus 20:17-21  hub
  • Deuteronomy 27:20  hub
  • Deuteronomy 27:22-23  hub
  • 1 Corinthians 5:1  hub
NIV and NLT use the expression "don't have sexual relations with", but when we look at the original Hebrew (Interlinear Bible) God was being even more strict. He really said don't even "uncover their nakedness," and KJV and many other translations express it this way (Bible Hub). Once we are clear on these verses, then the trick is what Jesus called the most important commandment in the entire Law of Moses: we are supposed to love our neighbor as ourself. (Which is really Leviticus 19:18, quoted 8 times in the New Testament.) Clearly all this is strong evidence that pornography, while not named in the Bible, is sinful (the printing press, much less photography and photographic reproduction, hadn't been invented yet). This is reinforced by Jesus's paraphrasing in Matthew 5:27-28. Then Paul throws in the sinker with 1 Timothy 5:1-2, advising us to treat all younger women as sisters, all younger men as brothers, explicitly closing the circle that the concepts of incest are meant to be taken seriously (more broadly than just literally).

This is yet another good example of a topic where God does not beat around the bush. He gets right to it and says what He means very explicitly, leaving very little wiggle room. But just because God told Moses to inform the Israelites that it's wrong doesn't mean everyone in the Bible was a good role model, especially before the law was delivered.

[Bad] Examples
  • Genesis 9:20-27  hub
  • Genesis 19:30-36  hub
  • Genesis 20:12  hub
  • Exodus 6:20  hub
  • 2 Samuel 13:1-22  hub




Animals




Having sex with an animal is referred to as bestiality. Four out of four references in the Bible are harsh.
  • Exodus 22:19  hub
  • Leviticus 18:23  hub
  • Leviticus 20:15-16  hub
  • Deuteronomy 27:21  hub
Further, it is more implicitly mentioned in a fifth place.
  • Genesis 2:20  hub
Thankfully this is one perversion that is neither common nor lobbied for in any culture I know of, nor an active problem. But if Satan is using the Bible as a guide then we need to expect it to show it's proverbial face sooner or later. Can you imagine people lobbying Congress to pass a law that allows a man to marry a dog? Or more specifically, a law that protects a man from being told "no" if he wants to force a hospital to allow his dog into his hospital room, or to force a restaurant to allow his dog to dine at a table with him regardless of the impact on the people around him? (Note, passing laws to protect any sexual immorality are just as ridiculous when we recognize the nature of sexual immorality.) If we start with the Bible as our guide, we'll know not to tolerate this behavior, even if we get labeled "intolerant". (Note the keyword is "behavior". We shouldn't tolerate the behavior nor condone the thoughts that lead to the behavior. But people, individuals, should always be treated with love and respect.) Granted, this is arguably not a strict gender identity issue, but I'm trying to cover all the bases here.




Self Stimulation




Unlike the aforementioned topics, this one has zero direct references, so we must be careful to minimize our own bias. The technical term here is masturbation, and neither the word nor the action is described anywhere in the Bible. This absence doesn't make it good, nor does it automatically make it bad. Self stimulation is a good example of a topic where God isn't specifically trying to micromanage our lives (despite how much He's seen as doing so by non-believers who don't know Him well).

Despite the total lack of direct references, there are some theological principles to keep in mind, as well as a very practical one. The practical problem with self stimulation is it sets us up for disappointment later, for two reasons. First, any heterosexual partner (preferably only your current husband or wife) has never experienced what it's like to have your reproductive organs. Second, they're not telepathic. They may have read a book or watched a movie or been told by a friend or practiced on you enough to know basically how your erogenous zones work, but they've never experienced it. When you pleasure yourself, you know exactly what, how, where, and when to do it. It's highly unlikely your partner will be able to live up to that, so it's recommendable not to engage in activities that will cause you to have unrealistic expectations for your partner. But that logic could be argued against or ignored, so let's get back to scripture.
  • 1 Corinthians 6:12-13  hub
  • 1 Corinthians 6:18-20  hub
  • 2 Timothy 2:22  hub

  • Matthew 5:28-30  hub
  • Romans 6:12-14  hub
  • 1 Thessalonians 4:3-5  hub
  • 1 Peter 2:11  hub

  • Romans 8:5-6  hub
  • 1 Corinthians 9:27  hub
  • 1 Corinthians 10:31  hub
  • 2 Corinthians 10:5  hub
  • Galatians 5:13  hub
  • Galatians 5:16  hub
  • Colossians 3:5  hub
  • 2 Timothy 1:7  hub
  • James 1:14-15  hub

  • 1 Corinthians 7:1-5  hub
  • 1 Corinthians 7:8-9  hub
It's not my authority nor my intent to call something right or wrong if God didn't. But clearly there are better things to do and think about than gratifying ourselves. Even if for arguments sake we say that this practice is acceptable, then at best it's like dancing. Dancing as a category is fine. But it's easy to agree there are certain kinds of dancing that are more risqué than others because they are choreographed specifically to lead to adulterous or fornication thoughts. So dancing is sometimes fine, sometimes not. This topic could easily be described similarly. Remember that scripture describes sexual relations as exclusively appropriate in a heterosexual marriage and then logically implies that everything else is sexual immorality. So be very careful to avoid the slippery slope. Also remember the wisest man who ever lived made a great point in Song of Solomon 8:4. While he specifically addresses females, the concept certainly applies to both genders.




Abortion, Birth Control, and Contraception




Abortion, birth control, and contraception are not "sexual immorality" in the strictest sense, but they are too often performed/​used directly because of it. Contraception is the prevention of pregnancy from happening in the first place, as opposed to birth control which is concerned with terminating a recent conception. Abortion is the termination of a more mature human life that birth control can't. God is very clear that we shouldn't kill the innocent and should protect the defenseless. The word "abortion" is not technically found in the Bible but clear instruction is given about life and death (rather, murder). If we read the 32 references to conceive, conceived, and conception, we see strong indications that human life (in this case let's define life as the assignment of a spiritual soul to a biological body) begins at conception, not birth nor some other arbitrary time before or after that. Here are some great verses that explain our Creator's perspective on this:
  • Exodus 20:13  hub
  • Exodus 21:22-25  hub
  • Isaiah 46:3  hub
  • Isaiah 49:1  hub
  • Isaiah 49:5  hub
  • Jeremiah 1:5  hub
  • Zechariah 12:1  hub
  • Luke 1:13-15  hub
  • Luke 1:39-44  hub
Clearly John the Baptiser was chosen by God before he was even born. And Isaiah and Jeremiah, two of the major prophets, were specifically chosen by God before they were born. And then there's the judge/​prophet Samuel, who was also chosen and conceived under unusual circumstances (1 Samuel 1:11).

God is pro-babies. Remember the first thing He's recorded as saying directly to us is "be fruitful" (Genesis 1:28). When the main reason people choose to abort their own children is because they wanted to have sex but didn't want any long term consequences, it's not a stretch to think abortion is pretty counterproductive to God's original intention for us. For some of us, our preferred lifestyle is more important than God's will. That makes it basically an idol. If our lifestyle is so important to us then a better choice than abortion would be abstinence. Besides the obvious second commandment against idols (Exodus 20:4-6), notice all these verses that severely frown on child sacrifice:
  • Exodus 1:15-21  hub
  • Leviticus 18:21  hub
  • Leviticus 20:1-5  hub
  • Deuteronomy 12:31  hub
  • Deuteronomy 18:10-12  hub
  • 2 Kings 17:17  hub
  • 2 Kings 21:6  hub
  • Psalm 106:37-38  hub
  • Jeremiah 32:35  hub
  • Ezekiel 16:20  hub
  • Micah 6:7-8  hub
Clearly abortion is wrong and the child, if unwanted, should instead be carried to term and given up for adoption. Since life begins at conception, abortion results in human death, we are commanded not to kill children (people) for our own convenience, and abortion is a choice, abortion must be a sin. The method/​style/​condition of impregnation is not a factor worthy of consideration. Raped girls who get pregnant from a jerk should not commit more sin against her own baby because of the father's sin. Whether the father was her husband, a consensual one night stand, or a rapist, it's the mothers baby just the same, and that person was given life by God at conception. The solution here is not abortion, it's ending/​avoiding rape. If you really want to do something about that, help stop rape, help prepare girls for awareness and self defense, and teach boys to protect girls rather than prey on them. Don't promote/​increase tolerance for murder. Rape brings pain and suffering no matter what. Don't add to it with death. And don't appeal to twisted logic that the baby would be better off dead than raised by a single mom. Give the baby up for adoption, there are plenty of couples who would love the kid. It's horrid to think a person is better off murdered by their biological family than given a chance at a good life being raised by an adoptive family. In the USA, the demand for adoptable babies is much higher than the supply. Consider these verses about the fatherless, and notice how common a theme it is for God throughout the entire Bible. Plus, abortion didn't exist until a couple thousand years after all this was written, so referencing the fatherless or orphan means about the same thing.
  • Exodus 22:22-24  hub
  • Psalm 82:3-4  hub
  • Isaiah 1:16-17  hub
  • Jeremiah 7:5-7  hub
  • Jeremiah 22:3  hub
  • Zechariah 7:8-10  hub
  • Malachi 3:5  hub
  • James 1:27  hub
As contrast, notice the language in Mark 10:13-16. Pay attention to what Jesus is quoted as saying explicitly, plus the body language and the emotion the biographer captured. This is God's attitude to our children. Why would our size, age, location, or level of dependency change that?

Also note that abortion is completely different from:
  • miscarriages
  • surgically extracting ectopic pregnancies
  • contraception
None of these 3 are sin. Miscarriages are essentially accidents and outside our control, unless induced by our choices, including controlled substance abuse. When an embryo implants in the fallopian tube rather than travelling all the way to the uterus, it's chances of survival are (for all practical purposes) zero. If the medical technology is available then there's no reason to allow the mother to suffer and die with the embryo. Contraception (for a married couple) is neither good nor bad, because it's preventative. An adult is fully human, so is a child, an infant, a baby, a fetus, an embryo, and a zygote. Unjoined sperm and eggs are only half human and don't deserve full respect. (Though I'm not saying they can be disrespected, I'm just saying there's a distinction between a sperm or egg and an adult that can't be made between a zygote and an adult.)

Birth control (including the morning after pill) deserves the same scorn as abortion. Some people believe married couples should have as many kids as possible because they think there is a "pool" of souls who get born arbitrarily to whoever gets pregnant first, but there is no scriptural basis for this, and Acts 17:26 may even contradict this. Contraception, birth control pills, or any other medication for any woman just for hormone control is not really a Biblically defined moral issue, so long as it's not used as an excuse for sex outside of marriage.

Note that abortion, like all sin, is about choice. As Abraham Lincoln said, "no one has the right to choose to do what is wrong." Accidents happen all the time, and that isn't the point here. It's when we exercise the choice to do what God has told us not to (Genesis 4:7). Especially when we set an example for others, teach others to copy us, and/​or are unrepentant. Some people want to believe that embryonic stem cells hold the key to medicine. Christopher Reeve (the actor who in 1978 played Superman then later was paralyzed) was arguably the most famous. The reason embryonic stem cells are wrong for us to use is where they come from. They come from embryos, and the only way to get them is to end a life. Choosing to use (disassemble) an embryo (a defenseless baby) for medical research is no less wrong than abortion for all the same reasons above. There's nothing wrong with using adult stem cells, they've got enough to spare.

This page is not to condemn or even criticize someone who's already made the choice to have an abortion or use birth control. This page is meant to make it clear for those who are in the process of deciding and those who may someday find themselves able to relate to this issue closer than they ever expected they'd have to, so you can know what God's Word says ahead of time, and your choice can be very clear. As is the case with all sin, if it has already been done then it cannot be undone. But we can repent (reverse our opinion) and encourage others of this truth so that they do not make the same mistake. (See related quote here for relationship to feminism.)




Conclusions
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After reading all these definitions of sexual immorality that God has provided us, we must wonder how different our society would look if we actually took God's opinion seriously? After Moses died and Joshua took his place as the leader of Israel, God spoke to Joshua in a famous chapter and said "be strong and courageous" 4 times. In that same chapter God says "meditate on [My word] day and night, so that you will be careful to follow it all" (Joshua 1:7-8). The purpose of this page isn't to talk about the whole law though, it's focusing on what God has said that relates to gender identity. If you prefer to simply believe that Jesus paid it all (Isaiah 53:4-5, Galatians 3:13-18) so this side of the cross no sin is worth spending this much effort avoiding, or you claim Leviticus 20:26 that says the law was specifically to make the Israelites stand out from their neighbors, then consider one more concept. In the book of Acts, the apostles were presented with what seemed a dilemma. Non-Jews were becoming believers in Christ but were understandably not excited about the Jewish ritual of circumcision (given to the Jews by God Himself as a command in Genesis 17:10). When you read the story in chapter 15, you see it caused quite a stir. The apostles and elders met, including Peter (the one whom Jesus renames in Matthew 16:18), James (maternal brother of Jesus: Matthew 13:55, Galatians 1:19), and Paul (whose writings became half the New Testament). Their conclusion was exceptionally short. Of the whole Law, they summarized in Acts 15:28-29 to avoid 4 things, one of which was sexual immorality. In all of scripture there is no other conclusion that has a more impressive human endorsement list.

Mr. Seinfeld was once asked which episode was his favorite of his 9-season-running TV show? He replied that was like asking a person which breath of air was your favorite. Whichever breath gets us to the next breath is arguably our favorite. Many of the shows we see on TV and in the movies would have us believe that having sex is truly satisfying. But I'm afraid that's a lie. Compare it to a super awesome dessert after dinner. There's no such thing as a desert that satisfies for more than a short time. We always want more. In fact, the better it is, the more we want more. Praise God that sex is an experience that is meant to be repeated over and over, like breathing and eating (and back rubs). This can definitely be annoying when we just can't get it out of our mind, but it's not very surprising considering the first thing God said to us was to multiply and fill the earth (Genesis 1:28). However people are not things to be consumed, nor are we things to be arbitrarily experienced. We are people, made in the image of God (Genesis 1:26). Sex is a one of kind reward for a one of a kind relationship. The best way to make sex deeply meaningful (and sometimes just as important, the best way to keep it coming) is the way God designed it. If we take our Bible seriously then that way is inside an airtight, heterosexual, until death do you part marriage.

Marriage advice
  • Genesis 2:18  hub
  • Exodus 20:17  hub
  • Deuteronomy 24:5  hub
  • Proverbs 18:22  hub
  • Ecclesiastes 9:9  hub
  • Galatians 5:22-23  hub
  • 1 Corinthians 7:1-5  hub
  • Ephesians 5:22-33  hub
  • Ephesians 6:4  hub
  • Colossians 3:18-21  hub
  • Hebrews 13:4  hub
  • 1 Peter 3:1-7  hub
Marriage is about commitment and dedication, which is why the "try it before you buy it" approach stunts or even condemns the relationship for most couples. While American (and other) cultures look down on arranged marriages or the idea of "learning to love" your spouse over time, there is an important detail to acknowledge. The paradigm of love-initiated marriages seems to have forgotten something arranged marriages have not. They've forgotten that marriage is a life-long alliance, with significant political, economic, and social implications. Too many people marry because that's the natural progression of their dating relationship, which too often only began because of physical attraction. But are you really ready to dedicate your life to this other person, to put them first, to help them achieve their life goals, to go to holidays at their parent's house, to "do" Christmas the way they did it, to support (or at least put up with) their political ideals, to dump all your discretionary income (or more) into their hobbies? It's not just about having sex and someone to keep you company at dinner. Oh yeah, and when you have kids, your life (as you know it) is supposed to be over, because it's that much work to raise good kids (Malachi 2:15). You're only supposed to give up your own childhood and focus on raising another human when your own childhood is over (when you're ready). There's no exact age for this, some are ready in their late teens, others need more time to mature. Our age isn't the point, our character and maturity are (and age is a reasonable baseline/​starting point). However, there's a reason that girls experience puberty on average between the ages of 10 and 14 and boys between 12 and 16. This is when we're biologically able to start having families of our own (and is a function of gender identity), therefore it's not a stretch to think our society should prepare us to be mentally ready (mature enough) too (a function of gender roles).

Pam Stenzel points out "opposites might attract when it comes to personality but never when it comes to character... You have to be what you want, and that's how you'll get it." So if you're single, who should you look for to marry? One short answer is someone who has prioritized making themself right with God above gratifying their own desires. Here is a fairly exhaustive list of ways God's word specifically tells each gender to behave. Notice how short these lists are. Remember God isn't a micromanager and we're supposed to know all we need to know intuitively (Genesis 4:7a) but since our culture has encouraged us to forget or dismiss, it's helpful to have these reminders. If your intuition contradicts the Bible then be humble and trust God (Malachi 3:10).

Instructions for male character (girls: look for this, guys: live and model it)
  • Exodus 34:23-24  hub
  • Deuteronomy 17:17  hub  (Luke 12:13-24)
  • 1 Samuel 16:7  hub
  • Proverbs 31:23  hub
  • 2 Corinthians 6:14-16  hub
  • 1 Timothy 2:8  hub
  • 1 Timothy 3:1-15  hub
  • 1 Timothy 5:1-2  hub
  • Titus 1:6-9  hub
  • Titus 2:2  hub
  • Titus 2:6  hub
  • 1 Peter 5:1-5  hub
Instructions for female character (guys: look for this, girls: live and model it)
  • 1 Samuel 16:7  hub
  • Proverbs 11:22  hub
  • Proverbs 12:4  hub
  • Proverbs 14:1  hub
  • Proverbs 31:10  hub
  • Proverbs 31:30  hub (related: Isaiah 40:6-8  hub, James 1:10-11  hub, & 1 Peter 1:24  hub)
  • 2 Corinthians 6:14-16  hub
  • 1 Timothy 2:9-15  hub
  • 1 Timothy 3:11  hub
  • 1 Timothy 5:1-2  hub
  • Titus 2:3-5  hub
Why are these lists for males & females so short if the Bible is so long? Because the whole rest of the Bible is written to everyone. These verses were just those that are super specific to gender identity. There are hundreds, perhaps thousands of verses with lots more good character advice for us. A couple of the more famous I can't resist listing are:
  • Genesis 4:7  hub
  • Proverbs 1:7  hub
  • Micah 6:8  hub
  • Matthew 7:12  hub
  • 2 Thessalonians 3:10  hub
And then there's a few passages that don't exactly fit into the categories of sexual immorality we've reviewed, but are worthy of including here, just to make sure we're clear on what God has already told us.
  • Leviticus 15:16-18  hub & Deuteronomy 23:10-11  hub
  • Leviticus 19:20-21  hub
  • Job 31:1  hub
  • Amos 2:7  hub
  • Malachi 2:11-12  hub
  • Galatians 5:19-21  hub
Two more topics not described in detail on this page are concubines and rape. I mention rape in the "living together without being married" and "abortion" sections above, and clearly it's bad. Even more so than adultry, rape is a topic that doesn't need me to explain why. A concubines is a concept that doesn't really exist in my culuture so (a) I lack perspective to discuss this topic in detail, and (b) it doesn't demand explanation at this time.

The human psyche is an incredibly complex thing, and it's when we're stuck with or choose poor role models that we can form distorted perceptions of our own gender and the role of sexual activity in our lives. But just because we can doesn't mean we may or should, and definitely doesn't mean we should enact laws inventing rights for those who do. A better response is to make sure everyone has healthy role models and just as important (if not more) is to make sure everyone understands and appreciates what God has already told us (Galatians 6:7-10). This is not about documenting reasons to hate people, nor outlining justification to persecute them or otherwise be rude. This is about respecting the stated opinions of our Creator. (Remember, the first four recorded words Satan said to humanity were "did God really say...?" and when we listened to him, the whole world was cursed.)

For those who identify with Jesus we have an obligation to care about what God cares about, and we should take seriously what He's told us in His word. The foundation for all our beliefs (morals) should begin with the Bible, and only when the Bible doesn't address a topic may we make up our own opinions. And even then, we always need to be aligned with what it does say. When we simply look at scripture it's clear we should base our gender identity on our biological sex. Exactly how the sexes behave is not God's point because He isn't a micromanager. His point is love should be a central theme in all we do, and our good character (not to mention faith) is at the core of His concern for our thoughts and actions. And there's an important detail that our life isn't about us, it's supposed to glorify our Creator. But all too often we end up disgracing Him (Leviticus 19:12, Ezekiel 36:22-23, Romans 2:24).

Remember, be holy
  • Matthew 5:14  hub
  • Matthew 7:21-23  hub
  • Romans 6:11-14  hub
  • Romans 12:1  hub
  • 1 Corinthians 3:16-17  hub
  • 1 Corinthians 5:9-13  hub
  • 1 Corinthians 6:20  hub
  • 1 Corinthians 10:31  hub
  • Ephesians 5:3  hub
  • 1 Thessalonians 4:3-8  hub
  • 1 Peter 4:3  hub
  • 1 John 3:8-10  hub
It's important to obey God whether we understand all his reasoning or not (Isaiah 55:8-9) for He will hold us accountable (Deuteronomy 29:29). And even though marriage can be traced back to Genesis 2, it's not a command.

Being Single
  • Song of Solomon 3:5  hub
  • Isaiah 54:5  hub
  • Isaiah 56:4-5  hub
  • Matthew 19:12  hub
  • Matthew 22:29-30  hub
  • Mark 12:25  hub
  • 1 Corinthians 7  hub
  • Revelation 14:4  hub
If you've already blown it, then here's a general recommendation of what you need to do. Read your Bible and strengthen your relationship with God. If you're not married, stop having sex ever again until after you are married. If you're living together without kids, then prove to the world your commitment to God by moving out and living separately until after you're married. If you're living together with kids, then get married to set an example for those kids. BE the good role model from now on. (You don't need an expensive wedding, the marriage is more important than the wedding.) If your parents were in your position and you were in your kid's position, what would you want your parents to do? (Answer, you'd want your parents to do whatever would result in the most wholeness, the most stability, and the most togetherness for you the child.) Everyone knows everyone fails. We all fail sometime. (Honestly we all fail a lot.) The trick is how we handle that. Do we admit we've failed and own up to it, or do we pretend our choices were fine and other people failed? In the end, God told us about sexual immorality long before you ever committed it. So before you sinned against someone else you sinned against God. You need to repent to Him first, then make amends (as much as you can) with the people you've affected. If you lust for things (people) that God has condemned, then refer back to Joshua 1:7-8 and meditate on God's word (either read it yourself or keep rereading this webpage as your mantra). Pray to God (He's really there and He cares about us) and ask for His help. And of course, seek out good earthly role models who will help you and not cause you to stumble.

From the opposite perspective, it's worth noting that sexual immorality doesn't really exist inside an airtight heterosexual marriage. Our culture is permeated with toxic immorality. Oddly enough, we've divorced sex from marriage, and as a result some of us grow up idolizing sex, and some of us cope by shutting down and demonizing any sexual activity beyond baby making. Both are extremes and neither optimal nor necessary. There are no Biblical constraints on what a husband and wife may do together. The only inferable restriction is both parties must be willing, and beyond that our imagination and our stamina are the only limits. (And a word of caution, our stamina falls short significantly sooner than our imagination. Very annoying, but true.)

If you think this page was reasonably well written and want to read more, check out my other Biblical Worldview pages on interpreting the Bible Literally, or my Creation versus Evolution FAQ.


http://rock.jayden12.com/gender-identity.php
Last Modified: Friday, March 24, 2017

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