So what does that mean? We don’t have to look far in scripture to find the beginning of an answer: Genesis 1:27 says, “God created man in his own image”… Now read the rest of the sentence: “in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” The first way that the Bible tells us we “image” God in creation is through our sex: male and female.
Unfortunately, the description ends there. We’re told that we are made to be male and female, and then it’s left up to us to infer what that means… a wrestling match with truth, reality, experience and scripture that we all must engage in if we want to fully live out our calling to be God’s image in this world.
To be clear, I don’t think this is optional. I think men have a responsibility to search out what it means to reflect masculinity, and then strive to live it out. And women have a responsibility to do the same with femininity. Of course, some of this we do naturally, without even thinking about it. But there are also ways that we have to work at it.
So, how do we discover what gender is really about? Theologians have divided the ways we can know what’s true into two different categories: “special revelation” (Scripture) and “general revelation” (what we see things God has made). i.e., we can know about God’s glory because of what the Bible says, or we can know about it by looking at the night sky.
Care Bears basking in “general revelation”.
Ok, no, seriously, how about this? I mean, seriously, every time I see pictures like this I’m just like, “How is that real?”. God is out of control.
The Bible tells us some things about what it means to be masculine or feminine… but honestly, I don’t think it’s all that clearly stated. So a lot of what we can learn about sexuality has to come from looking at how God has created men and women (general revelation), and then checking it against scripture for contradictions.
(Calvin asserts the authority of himself as a form of General Revelation.)
I’m going to spend the next however-many posts exploring this issue, and some key thoughts that have been impressed upon me as I’ve meditated on it.
Get ready for some controversy!