Do Genesis 1:27 and Galatians 3:28 Teach Transgenderism?
The level of biblical gymnastics needed to tell people the Bible affirms transgenderism is astonishing. This kind of heresy is not just false, it’s highly damaging.
The transgender issue doesn’t seem to be going away. No matter how many solid biological, logical, reasonable, rational, and otherwise concrete arguments are made against the idea that people are “born in the wrong body.” Somehow, there’s a tiny part of the population that really, really wants it to be true and they are doing everything they can to try and make it so.
It’s one thing to see the Boy Scouts cave to LGBT pressure to affirm transgenderism. While it’s disappointing, and an unnecessary decision that will speed up the demise of the Boy Scouts. It’s altogether different when people claiming to speak for God seek to convince others, from the Bible, to support transgenderism.
And yet, as a recent article highlights, such deceptive “bible teaching” is currently taking place.
A chaplain for Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas was speaking to a women’s group at a local church. The chaplain made what she believes is a biblical argument in favor of transgenderism. The chaplain said, according to the article, that Genesis 1:27 supports transgenderism because:
“‘God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them’…this passage says that God contains both male and female, and since we are all created in God’s image, we each have male and female within us.”
The chaplain went on to say that Galatians 3:28 also supports transgenderism because:
“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one.”
For those who have not spent much time studying the Bible and the context of these two verses, let’s take a closer look at them and see if they do in fact support transgenderism or not.
In the first verse, Genesis 1:27, is recorded the words of Scripture after the creation of man and woman. The first thing we need to notice is the use of the word “him” and “them” in this verse. The writer of Genesis first says that God decided to man (lit. “mankind,” Heb. adam). So first, God says that He intends to make mankind and will fashion mankind in the image of God. This means, simply that God decided to make mankind in the same image of God, as God’s imago dei (image bearer). In this, both male and female are the image bearers of God and were both made in God’s image.
However, in the next phrase, the writer of Genesis says that God will make them distinct, He will make them male and female. This is the reason for the use of the word “them” in this phrase. God is clearly communicating a distinction between male and female. He moves from creating “mankind” in his image to creating two distinct and equal creations: male and female.
The plain text reading of this verse is easy to understand. God made man and woman in His image. The textual gymnastics needed to move from the plain text understanding, as well as the literal meaning of the text, to saying that this verse means men and women each have “male and female” in them, is quite a leap.
The next verse, Galatians 3:28 is just as easy to understand. In this verse, Paul is seeking to unite people from different backgrounds under the banner of Christ. He is reminding his readers that regardless of their past, their background, their context, their culture, or any other external circumstance, in Christ, we are all one. However, you might not have picked that up because the, as the above-mentioned article states, the chaplain did not seems to have forgotten to finish Galatians 3:28 in her speech. She ended with “for you are all one,” and forgot the most critical part of that verse, which ties it all together: in Christ Jesus.
What is absolutely true is that in Christ Jesus there is no distinction; there is no inequality. People are not ranked in classes or categories. In Christ Jesus there is nothing that divides us. But, in Christ Jesus we still retain the aspects of our humanity that make us unique and distinct, such as our ethnicity, and our gender.
I find it fascinating that this chaplain would seek to interpret this verse in this way. If she is right, there is no such thing as African American, Australian, King, President, or anything else that defines us. Her conclusion would lead us to believe that all the physical externals that make us unique don’t really exist; they are just a cultural construct created by our surroundings. But interpreting this verse in this way not only ignores the plain text (and I would say common sense) understanding of the verse, it does tremendous violence to the text in a way that Paul never intended. As the article notes:
“If you apply the logic of her conclusion, Paul was not only eliminating sexual distinctions but ethnic and class distinctions as well. That would be odd for Paul, who later relies on his dual citizenship as both a Jew and a Roman in his appeal to Caesar (Acts 25) and who exhorts bondservants to obey their masters and masters to be good to their slaves (Ephesians 6). Clearly, Galatians 3:28 is not the literal elimination of every differentiating human characteristic. Rather, it is an acknowledgement of the reality of those differences. Paul’s point is not that differences don’t exist, but that they do exist but shouldn’t preclude Christians from fellowshipping together under the banner of the one ultimate characteristic they share: devotion to Christ.”
This sort of false Bible teaching is not just lamentable it’s dangerous. Twisting the Bible to fit your cultural idea is the worst way to approach the Bible. This is precisely how we have so many false religions in the world. The only proper way to approach the Bible is with a humble heart, seeking to know the truth as God revealed it, not as you want it. The humble will learn and understand the Bible and grow in God’s wisdom. Those who seek to bend the Bible to their perspective will make an enemy of God.