Jon Noyes presents two perspectives on why both biological sex and gender are binary.
We’re told that biological sex shouldn’t determine our gender identity: Just because you’re born a male, doesn’t mean you have to identify as a man. We’re told that that male and female are not the only gender identities to choose from. The reasoning goes something like this: Because biological sex doesn’t determine gender identity, there are many possible gender identities for one to self-select, or you can select none of them. Major polls right now in the U.S. show that as many as half of all millennials believe gender exists on a spectrum that shouldn’t be limited to just male and female. But are these things true? No. And here’s why according to, first, Scripture and then according to science.
First, God made each one of us in his own image, and because of this, every human that has ever walked the planet has intrinsic value and is of infinite value and worth, and for this reason, Christians should be moved to speak on this issue with great compassion. Scripture is clear God created humanity as a male-female binary. God created man in his own image, and in the image of God he created him, male and female he created them. Jesus reinforces this in Matthew 19 when he says, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and for this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one?” Notice, first, Jesus quotes the male-female binary creation account from Genesis. Why? Because he believes it’s authoritative. If someone takes issue with this, they’re taking issue with Jesus. They’re not taking issue with you. This is what God says; this isn’t what I say. So, point them back to Jesus.
Second, Jesus affirms the duality and complementarity of the sexes. There are only two sexes, and they complement each other.
Third, Jesus requires male and female as a precondition for sex and marriage. Anything outside of this precondition of male and female is against God’s design for human beings. It’s actually against their telos—their purpose—as human beings.
Our gender identity should always follow our biological sex. God only acknowledges two gender identities: male and female. There’s no indication that our gender identity should differ from our biological sex at all. Whenever Scripture addresses crossing gender boundaries, it’s always negative, whether it be Deuteronomy 22:5 or 1 Corinthians 6:9–10. Scripture clearly teaches God created the male-female binary and always presumes you identify with the gender of your biological sex. Any departure from this goes against human design and prevents human flourishing.
So, what does science have to say? One of the main arguments offered in defense of the non-binary or gender-is-a-spectrum position is the idea of intersexuality. People are born with ambiguous genitalia. This argument claims sex can’t be binary if there are some individuals that have sexual anatomy that appears to fall somewhere between male and female. First, notice this condition affects not even 0.02 percent of the population. Not only is it rare, but it’s also an abnormal condition, meaning not the way things are supposed to be, which indicates that there’s a way things are supposed to be. We shouldn’t be bending the reality of the world around us to conform with the minority of an abnormal position.
According to atheist and evolutionary biologist Colin Wright, this argument flows “from the fundamental misunderstandings about the nature of biological sex, which is connected to the distinct types of gametes, sex cells, that an organism produces.” Males are the sex that produces small gametes. It’s their sperm. And females produce large gametes, ova. There are no intermediate gametes, which is why there’s no spectrum of biological sex. This is him, not me. Biological sex in humans is a binary system. Men can’t be women. Women can’t be men.
Second, human bodies are made for heterosexual sex. I don’t have time or, really, the desire to get into a full anatomy lesson here, but it’s clear that male and female sex organs not only fit together, but they function together in their shape, the fluids that they produce, the nerve endings, and so on. Sex organs are the only body parts that require another human being of the opposite sex to fulfill their ultimate function. A sex organ’s ultimate telos or ultimate function isn’t pleasure. Sex is pleasurable, yes, but that isn’t its function. The main function, the main purpose of it, is not pleasure. The culture is going to want to tell you that. That’s another lie. The main telos, the main purpose, of sex is reproduction. A sperm and an egg never actualize their full potential until they unite via heterosexual sex. This is the point Dave Chappelle made that got him in trouble with the cancel culture around him, when he said every human is born of a woman.
Science supports Scripture by showing that humans come in only two sexes: male and female. But there’s so much more going on here, guys. A transgender person is someone whose professed gender identity doesn’t match their biological sex. As a result, they want to be recognized according to their perceived gender. They might say something like, “I feel like a woman trapped in a man’s body.” Do you see what the problem is? There’s an attempt to bend reality to conform with the subjective desires of the individual. Well, some of you might say, “Who cares? Just call them what they want to be called.” And I hear that. I really do. But I’d argue that’s the unloving thing to do.
Our ideas about gender matter because ideas have consequences. Here’s just one. My main issue that I’ve been speaking on for the last almost three years has been suicide. Fifty-two percent of transgender young people in the U.S., college-age students, seriously contemplate suicide. That’s from a 2020 study. Some will say that this is because of bullying, hate speech, or not being accepted 100 percent. Some of that might be true, and as a Christian, if you claim the name of Jesus, you should never allow someone to be bullied. We should never participate in bullying. Remember, everyone is made in the image of God. We need to treat everyone with grace and love by avoiding dehumanizing speech and degrading insults. We never take part in those off-color jokes, whether they be about homosexuality, or transgender, or any LGBTQ issue. But part of loving someone is not only standing up for them, but standing up for the truth as we try to speak the truth to them.
When we choose to go against God’s design, we harm ourselves, and we ultimately harm others. We’re to “live not by lies,” but by the reality of who God has made us to be. In a recent article on this issue, Brett Kunkle from Maven pointed out that there are more and more people who are detransitioning. Many of them are sharing their stories, and then some are asking why so many people blindly encouraged them to take extreme and permanent steps to change their sex instead of challenging or warning them. Kunkle says, “They’re essentially asking, ‘Why didn’t people love me enough to tell me the truth?’” See, Christians, we have to stand firm on this issue. Christians have to stand up to the culture and love our neighbors enough to tell them the truth. It might lose us some friends, maybe even access to our social media accounts, but it’s worth it. The truth is always worth it, and that’s what we strive for: the truth.