The rapidity of gender disintegration has taken most people by surprise. How could what was so clear to people just twenty years ago now be mired in debate and confusion? How could a younger generation be so adamant in their wildly different view of men and women and relationships? And how is it that surgical destruction of genitals and monogendered relationships have become mainstream, along with the separations they cause?
Many times I hear people, who see the negative effects of these things uttering in shock, “Why is this happening?”
The causes of such revolutionary changes, whether good or bad, are going to be multiple. So I will answer the question on multiple levels. People of the past have summarized the Bible’s causes of evils in the world in three categories. I am on the side of seeing these current changes as overall harmful, so I find it helpful to answer in those categories. The headings they used were the World, the Flesh and the Devil.
Why is all this happening? It depends on the level at which we speak.
The intellectual and sociological systems that oppose God may be characterized as the World. Some of late have helpfully analyzed the ideological movements that gave rise to the way that people think now. Erudite offerings such as Nancy Pearcey’s, Love Thy Body (2018) or Carl Trueman’s, The Rise and Triumph of the Modern Self (2020) show these “worldly” reasons to have deep and long historical roots. Even the coming lawsuits, in which many put their hope, will not uproot these ideas.
The worldly causes also include the work of activists, who suppress one truth in order to exalt another. The deconstruction of gender began long ago, in the work of Michel Foucalt and gender theorists like Michael Warner. Many modern crusaders, grown from these academic seeds, honestly think that they are doing great good. Jesus predicted: Indeed, the hour is coming when whoever kills you will think he is offering service to God (John 16:2). So, they exalt equality to the destruction of distinction, non-conformity to the destruction of the call to love.
Above and around these reasons, there is the Flesh. For those looking for more spiritual causes, they may find them here. The great fall of humankind means that in every civilization certain fallen desires will come to prominence. In the case of transgenderism, there are complementary human realities that now find themselves in symbiosis. The patients have a real problem, but the problem is alienation from their bodies from the shame of the fall.
The aberrant desire to escape the shame by technological dress is met by doctors, acting for either fear or financial gain. Some doctors, unable or unwilling to do due diligence, may believe that they are doing good. But there are many in the medical establishment that are merely maximizing profit for their businesses. Follow the money in this now two billion dollar industry. A recent edition of the Morning Wire Program (2/19/2023) outlines how even conservative politicians work for trans-legislation because of their interest in pharmaceutical companies.
Yet there is more to the answer. Going up the power chain, one can discern the powers of the air. The great enemy of God and humanity, still with us, hates the Image of God in people. The mangling of the body, rendering minors permanently infertile, or obstructing of God-proclaiming intergendered relationship, are high on his list of his pass times.
One time a cross-dressing man, we’ll call him “Archie,” contacted me at his wit’s end. As he described his strange history to me and asked for my help, he made no bones about his demonic possession. Archie was definite that what lie behind his man-denying behavior was Satan, and he wanted an exorcism. I don’t tend to rush into these things. After further discussion and enacting appropriate safe-guards, I did as he wanted and today Archie is a changed man.
One might find this diagram depressing. All these circles of causes might seem overwhelming. Surely there is no stopping it. But, lest we forget, there is an even larger circle of meaning explaining what is going on. This one also includes all of these. We can call it, the God Circle.
According the Bible, Jesus Christ has ascended to reign over all things, and is reigning now (Ephesians 1:20-23, Romans 8:34, 1Peter 3:22). If that is so, God is doing something here, which encompasses all of this. His ultimate purpose is the reconciliation or destruction of all opposition and the renewing of all creation. So, why is this happening? Well, there are two groups Christ is engaging with out of concern for them: The church and the larger society in which they live.
In regard to the culture, Rom 1:21-32, The Giving Over explains what God does in a culture no longer thankful to Him, to which our cultural moment carries an eerie similarity.
But just as important, I think we can see Jesus Christ speaking to the church in this cultural moment. Recall how, one time in Jesus’ ministry when the crowds got too large, He gave His sermon in which He told people to “Eat my flesh” (John 6:51-68). After this, because of this hard saying, many left. This He seemed to do deliberately, say something true to nonetheless cause offence, so He could say to His disciples, “Do you want to go too? Do you want to follow me? Or not?” The same conversation is going on right now between the Western Church and her Lord. His question is, are you following Me? Or are you doing something else?
Why is all this happening? Whatever answer we prefer, we should make sure that our answer reckons with the outer circle.