Does The “And” In “Male And Female” In Genesis 1:26,27 Mean Spectrum Or Binary?
In a Washington Post article entitled: “Where in the Bible does it say you can't be transgender? Nowhere,” the author states that she cannot find anywhere in the Bible where being a transgender is sinful (https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/acts-of-faith/wp/2016/08/26/where-in-the-bible-does-it-say-you-cant-be-transgender-nowhere/). For more on this question, see our article on “Is Transgenderism Sinful?” (http://www.thegospelofchrist.com/pages-studyaids/category/159/the-role-of-women/is-transgenderism-sinful.html)].
Here is what she wrote in part of her article: “In the absence of any verses in scripture that actually address transgender identities point to creation: God created Adam and Eve, male and female. But again, this requires a certain laziness in interpretation and is not consistent with the way that Christians interpret the rest of the Genesis account. Genesis 1:27 says: “So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” It's this interpretation of “and” between male and female that creates a foundation for understanding gender to be binary. But the “and” isn't meant to be binary. Genesis 1:1 says: “God created the heavens and the earth.” In reading this verse, Christians interpret that God created not just the sky and the ground but everything in between. The “and” encompasses a spectrum by pointing to the two ends of the spectrum. Similarly, scripture says God is the “alpha and omega,” the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet. That's not meant to say God is just those two letters. God is the entire alphabet, from alpha to omega and everything in between. Throughout scripture, Christians acknowledge that “and” represents a spectrum, not a binary.”
If we were to reconstruct this woman's syllogism, it would look something like this:
Major Premise: All verses in the Bible that display two items by using the word “and” are verses that teach a spectrum, not a binary.
Minor Premise: Genesis 1:26,27 are verses in the Bible that display two items by using the word “and.”
Conclusion: Therefore, Genesis 1:26,27 teaches a spectrum, not a binary.
What about Genesis 1:26,27? Is this teaching that a person can be both male and/or female when that person so chooses?
It is obvious that this woman is assuming what she is setting out to prove (begging the question). From the remote context in Genesis 1–3 and the overall context of the Bible (Matthew 19:1-12; Ephesians 5:22-33; Revelation 21:1,2,9; 22:17), we learn that God created and designed the male for the female and the female for the male within the context of a God-joined marriage. We also know that males and females are separate because of the roles that God has given to each of them (1 Peter 3:1-7; 1 Timothy 2:8-15; Titus 2:3-5; 1 Corinthians 14:34,35). We must recognize that we were made by our Creator for His glory and we ought to reflect that glory and honor by submitting ourselves to the God-given gender and role that He has divinely given to us.
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