Understanding Gender

Posted by on Jun 1, 2013 in Blog: Doing sex God’s way

Understanding Gender

I recently watched a television program where they discussed aspects of gender. As a sexologist, I cringed at the sheer confusion and ignorance expressed in the comments of the august panellists. For the next few weeks, I will provide an overview of gender.

Hopefully, this will provide you, my reader a language to address this complex and sadly contentious area.

In Genesis 1:26-27 we read “Then God said, ‘Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.’ So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.”

Man and woman, Adam and Eve, were both created embodied beings in the image of God. However they were different in one way – they were man and woman. In the garden of Eden; Adam was the perfect male. His biology was unequivocally male; he identified himself as a male and behaved as a male. His sexual attraction was to Eve – a female. Similarly for Evee was woman to his man. Masculinity and Femininity, male and female were complementary – clearly defined and understood. This was created goodness. Gods pattern for God’s purpose.

The deepest problem of our lives, whether it is in gender or any other area of our life, is turning away from God’s pattern for our sexuality and our lives. This – which Christians call the fall, affects the totality of what it means to be human. All the different aspects of our gender – of being male or female – are susceptible to the consequences of the fall.

So today we see the display of variance in anatomy and physiology, but also in identity and erotic behaviour.

The categories of gender:

There are four aspects to gender – to being male or female.

Biological Sex: forms a foundation but is not the whole story.

Gender Role: Men act masculine and females act feminine.  This is partly culturally determined.  As Christians, we would also assert a Biblical-Evangelical-Christian framework for gender roles.

Gender identity: has to do with a person’s core identity – who you deeply know yourself to be – as either male or female.

Sexual orientation has to do with whom a person is sexually attracted to.

There is a peace and contentment within us when these four aspects of gender are in congruence according to the created pattern.

I will explore each of these separately over the next few weeks. Next week – Biology.