Why You Should Believe Gender is Real if You Are a Christian

Nearly all Christians have a firm belief that humanity is made up of male and female, based on what they read in Genesis 1:27. “…male and female [God] created them.”  But what about the concept of gender? Here they are fuzzy. Masculinity and Femininity are hard to define, and passing through Western schools is liable to convince you that these terms of gender are a social construct. That is, it isn’t anything real or created by God. It is just a set of conventions to which a certain culture has conditioned people to conform. Pants or skirts. Nothing, really. So it is unimportant to being a man or a woman.

Several inquirers have asked me, why talk about gender when the Bible just talks about maleness-femaleness? One even expressed suspicion about my teaching in that I used the word, “gender.”


There are several problems going on here. The first is assuming that the “male and female” in Genesis 1:27 means what we usually mean by “male and female,” that is the biological differences in our bodies. But it is easy to see that this is not so, by reading what the WHOLE verse actually says:

So God created man in his own image,

in the image of God he created him;

male and female he created them.

The most important thing to get in reading this is that being made “male and female” comes from being made in the image of God. Maleness and Femaleness are not arbitrary or optional fixtures of our person, like indoor plumbing for a Jacuzzi, but they are part and parcel of bearing God’s image.


Okay? Now remember this. Apart and aside from the Incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ, God does not have a physical body. So our female- and maleness, coming from God, must mean something more than our physical differences, nice as they are (and they really are nice). This is what the Apostle Paul is getting in saying that both man and woman are (literally) “out of” God (1Corinthians 11:12).


What more than our physical bodies is meant by the Bible’s maleness/femaleness? Well you might choose a different word to describe it, but I find gender to be a perfectly good one. Our masculinity and femininity, or our genders, reflect God’s internal Triune glory, and the relationships between the two show us the love in the very Trinity of the Most High. Our bodies express our gendered souls, and are the sign of them.


Now we must get to work as Christians defining femininity and masculinity differently than our culture does.  But this is not hard to do either, because the Bible tells us.


But to find out, you must first believe in gender as what it is, God’s gift to usher us into the love in Themself: A gift. An identity. A calling. Believe in it.

Do you have trouble with the word, “gender”?





  1. Chris Sharp

    I don’t have a problem with the word “gender”. It implies differences in: thought process, strengths and weaknesses, emotional and hormonal makeup, intended roles, physiology, a design…
    The Asian cultures have the Yin and Yang that have the masculine and feminine creating completeness.
    The concept of shalom is one of wholeness/completeness… as God, in all of His parts, and the comunion within the Trinity is complete.

    Eastern cultures do not seem to have a problem with this concept of gender distinction.
    The problem seems to be in the west where intellectualism and Godlessness are encouraged.

  2. David Mingle

    As you point out, I think it is important for us to be able to clearly define what is meant by the terms “masculine” and “feminine”. It has been that these are more culturally defined for us than the terms “male” and “female” we see in the Bible.

    So, in our culture, my understanding is that masculine is typically seen as some variation of the handsome yet rugged male who is physically muscular, intellectually capable (though not a “nerd”), who has an appropriately deep and strong voice and who is into things like monster trucks and contact sports. A male who is in tune with his emotions, who is artistically expressive, and who is physically “softer” is seen as effeminate (a term that is pejorative in this context) and thus not a full representation of maleness.

    Then “feminine” is seen as a woman who is refined, dainty, physically beautiful, and emotional though still intellectually capable. A female who likes contact sports, likes to climb trees or who is into body building is labeled as a “tomboy” who doesn’t fit into the feminine mold.

    If this is how our culture defines masculinity and femininity, then perhaps those definitions are contributing factors to people’s gender confusion when they don’t, or don’t want to, conform to purely societal constructs about who they should be.

    So, is masculine and feminine the same as male and female? If so, we need to redefine the former terms.

    1. Thank you for your thoughts, David. I think that you are exactly right–we need to redefine the terms and not just adopt what our current culture says. The Bible helps us to do that. I find it helpful to distinguish between male/female, the physical sexual differences that we might share with the animals and masculine/feminine, which is part and parcel of the gift of being made in God’s image. The physical is a sign of the invisible gift that becomes known in relationships.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *