We were made by God

A good place to start the discussion about men and women in the church is Genesis 1. Let’s look at a few verses:

“Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.” Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds of the air and all the creatures that move on the ground—everything that has the breath of life in it—I give every green plant for food.” And it was so.” (Genesis 1:26–30)

Don’t let the designation “man” confuse the question here; in these verses, the term refers to humankind. Verse 27 makes that clear: “God created man… male and female he created them.” I have heard people claim that the male alone was made in God’s image. This verse does not support that; Genesis 5 specifically says that the term “man” refers to male and female:

“When God created man, he made him in the likeness of God. He created them male and female and blessed them. And when they were created, he called them “man.’”” (Genesis 5:1–2)

What I do see here is that God’s intention was that there be two genders. This post isn’t designed to be about LGBTQ issues; if you feel you need to bring them up, that’s fine, but I won’t engage in that discussion at this time. Our being male or female is not an accident of evolution nor a coincidence of birth. It’s an essential part of God’s design.

When I was born, God put certain traits in me. I was born with abilities for some things and weaknesses in other areas. (Which explains why some girls were chosen before I was during elementary P.E. class)

I was also born male. I’m one of three children. Two girls and a boy. I don’t think it’s accident, nor chance that they are who they are and I am who I am.

I was talented academically. I wanted to be good at sports, but instead I was good at learning. I’m a natural ham. I can be shy in one-on-one conversations (and despise using the phone!), but I’m more than comfortable being the one in the spotlight. Hand me a telephone to call a stranger, and I freeze up. Hand me a microphone in front of ten thousand people, and I’m more than ready to speak.

These things are part of me. I see those talents as being something I was born with. They help in some ways and hinder in others. My gender is equally a part of me. God made me a certain way, and he looks at that as he presents ministry opportunities to me.

For me, that’s where the conversation begins. Not ends. But begins.

10 thoughts on “We were made by God

  1. Nick Gill

    This is an interesting challenge – sussing out intentionality of otherwise genetically-driven facets of our identities.

    How much of our genetic makeup is divinely-intended, and how much is the result of being born into a mortal realm still wracked with effects of the fall?

  2. Tim Archer Post author

    That can be difficult, Nick, but in this case, I think it’s hard to argue that being male or female has to do with the fall. Seems pretty clear that those distinctions existed before, both from Genesis 1 and Genesis 2.

  3. Nick Gill

    Indeed the concepts of maleness and femaleness derive from the original creation, but *my* sex wasn’t assigned then; it was assigned long after the fall, along with lots of other genetic traits. Including, for some, the internal or external parts of both male and female. The fall didn’t CREATE sex or gender but it certainly influences it on this side of the fall.

  4. Tim Archer Post author

    While sexual identity and gender identity may be confused this side of the fall, the fact remains that being male or female is something that has always been. It was ordained and planned by God. If my maleness can be accidental and somehow against God’s will, then all Christian talents are just as subject to being accidental or against God’s will.

    Either way, somehow claiming that gender is less of God’s plan than the ability to teach or preach ignores the fact that gender precedes the fall. That’s the main thrust of this post.

  5. Nick Gill

    “If my maleness can be accidental and somehow against God’s will, then all Christian talents are just as subject to being accidental or against God’s will.”

    Would you (could you) say the same thing if you were neither male not female?

  6. Nick Gill

    I know this gets a little beyond the scope of your post, but it will help clarify your understanding for me – are so-called “genetic mutations” conditions assigned by God?

  7. Tim Archer Post author

    I don’t have a good answer to that. I wish Jesus had answered the question more clearly in John 9, but he chose to only address that one situation. What is your thinking on physical defects and God’s providence?

  8. Nick Gill

    I agree with John 9 that they are opportunities for God’s glory to be seen as His people glorify Him through acts of service.

    I believe they are a result of the combination of two related things: distance from the tree of life combined with being born into a world of chaos and death. The farther we get from our original parents, without the protective and restorative power of the tree of life, the more degraded our genetic material gets. We see it in the aging process – our bodies age in part because the genetic material is copies of copies of copies of copies of the original genes that we were born with.

    I do not believe God in the Scriptures ever claims that He decides every trait that people are born with – so I’m not ready to defend the idea that God personally weaves the genetic code together that causes a person to experience excruciating pain every day of their short life. I think that’s the apologetic load we take on if we assert that God decides each person’s XX chromosomes, XY chromosomes, or an atypical chromosomal combination.

  9. Tim Archer Post author

    I definitely feel the tension between saying that God moves every molecule in our bodies (or dictates its movement) and saying that there is no divine direction in “knitting together” the people that we are. I have discovered no good resolution of that tension.

    That said, it’s interesting that many (not necessarily you) see their innate talents as something God gifted them with, while denying that possibility to their gender.

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