Purpose, Gender, and Design
The Christian worldview understands God as the Creator of all things, including humans.
Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness…” (Genesis 1:26)
This word “man” isn’t referring to males only, but females also. God created people as male and female.
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. (Genesis 1:27)
After God finished designing and creating all things – including humans – he deemed it as very good.
And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. (Genesis 1:31)
In the midst of a culture that is gender-confused, these three verses bring solid gender-clarity. There are many things to be said, but I want to simply point out three truths that these verses bring to light. Firstly, every individual human is made in the image of the Triune God. Secondly, every human is made as either male or female. And thirdly, the design and creation of male and female is “very good.”
In the Image of God
Every single person, no matter who they are, where they are, what they are, or how they got here, is made in the image of the Triune God. In the simplest sense, this means that each human reflects something of the fullness of God. It’s difficult to comprehend that even the vilest person who has ever lived wasn’t exempt from reflecting something of God. However, it’s entirely true to say that someone can better reflect God than others. There’s a natural reflection that’s seen in our mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual abilities, but there’s a supernatural reflection that’s seen in someone who has the Spirit of God living in them.
What’s so profound about this simple truth is that it gives every human not only dignity, but purpose.
If I was made in the image of God, then it only makes sense that my purpose is to reflect him. The utter despair of purposelessness is destroyed when one realizes their incredible responsibility to reflect God. You are not a random thrown-together bunch of cells whose purpose is to live and die. You are an image-bearer of the Triune God.
Male and Female
Our present culture has opened up the idea that anyone can be anyone they want or feel to be. A man who wants to be or feels like they’re a woman, can go ahead and adjust their biological makeup to be that of a woman – and vice versa. Not only is transgenderism widely accepted, but there’s also the nonbinary movement that’s alive. Someone who defines themselves as neither male or female is nonbinary. These are just two examples of gender-confusion in our culture.
Now, you can see how radical the biblical truth is in the face of this issue. But you have to notice that it’s a theological issue. It will be a lot easier to believe that someone is made either male or female if you believe that God designed it that way. Gender is not so much a matter of feeling, but a matter of a God-given identity. You don’t become a male or a female (or some other gender) by digging deep inside yourself and figuring it out, but rather by simply receiving what God has given you from above and living that out.
Very Good Design
Consider this: the fact that God could rest after creating all things demonstrates his approval and happiness with it all. Truly, “God saw everything that he had made, and behold (Look!), it was very good.” The purpose that someone has to reflect God is a very good purpose and the design of a man or woman that someone has is a very good design.
In short, your purpose to reflect God as a man or a woman is very good. The moment you make your purpose something else (or deny your purpose altogether) and/or believe your gender to be opposite of your biological sex, you’re taking God’s very good design and distorting it. Do we distort other God-given gifts? Of course! But that doesn’t deemphasize the distortion of God’s good design on purpose and gender. We need to think critically and biblically on this so we can best model God’s good design on this earth.
As a final thought, there is much grace for those who’ve denied this good design. There is much grace for those who’ve wasted years believing they have no purpose. There is much grace to those who’ve customized their gender to be who they want or believe to be. There is much grace for all of us who’ve distorted and abused God’s good gifts to us – including our maleness or femaleness.
The life, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ makes the distorted sinner (all of us) a pure saint. No longer do we have to live this life thinking that we’re in charge – trying to make things right, but only failing time and again. Finally, we can rest in Christ, take hold of our purpose to reflect God, receive the good gift of our gender, and live in the reality of God’s very good design for us.