Part one: God’s Word and trans origins
To answer the title question, I will provide a straightforward reading of the Holy Bible. I am a traditional Christian who reads Scripture as it has been read since antiquity. Everything I present is not an interpretation but what the Holy Bible states, and the conclusions I reach are both theologically sound and scientifically responsible. Those who read Scripture with a different lens might see differently, and those who use other texts likely will arrive at different answers. I will gladly discuss any disagreement.
I use descriptors—normal and abnormal—which bother many people. I use these only to differentiate between the very good initial creation of God and the fallen creation after Adam’s disobedience. Never will I use “normal” to advance anyone or “abnormal” to put down anyone. It will be vital to retain this so that my conclusions might be given a fair hearing.
Finally, since I am transgender let the reader remember that I am always speaking both of and to myself. I am not pointing a finger at someone different from me as if to say, “See, you’re less than me; I’m better than you,” or, “You are detestable in God’s eyes.” I am a Christian, who served eighteen years as a minister, who is dealing with being transgender, endeavoring to understand and abide by God’s Word as I strive in this world.
The Bible does not discuss transgender, as it does not cover every specific situation in life, but provides enough information for us to form accurate conclusions as to God’s action and our response.
1. God created the world and saw that it was “very good” (Genesis 1:31).
By “very good,” we understand that God created all things to work properly, according to the pattern set by Him. Basic logic informs us that weather disturbances, war, disease, famine, death, and so on, are not “good.” We know when things are “very good” and when they are not—good food versus spoiled, good health versus ill, good government versus oppression.
2. When God created Adam and Eve, he created them to live and told them that disobedience would result in death (Genesis 2:9, 17).
Genesis 1:27 tells us that God created man in His image. Genesis 5:1 reminds us that God created humans in His image, then verse 3 says, “When Adam had lived 130 years, he had a son in his own likeness, in his own image.” Note the change: Adam’s children were born in Adam’s image, the image of a fallen, fractured, dying person. Because of Adam’s disobedience and God’s penalty, no human conceived by a man and a woman would ever be born in God’s image.
3. What is God’s image?
God’s image speaks of His many attributes. Some of the basics are that He is eternal, all-powerful, all-present, all-knowing, sinless, creative, and a relational being (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit). While we retain aspects of His image—e.g., our ability to create, that we form families—we see, as with our being relational, that while we retain this we are not able to practice relationships which are perfectly holy and sinless. This failure displays our fallen, fractured nature.
To summarize thus far, because God’s image is perfect, holy, and eternal He could not have created anything that pertains to humans which is not perfect, holy, and eternal. He is a God of the living not the dead (Mark 12:27), and we all are heading toward death. Also, because God made all things good, He could not make anything which is not good.
4. Why do we have to receive Adam’s image when we are conceived?
As the sperm and egg provide the DNA for the baby, so the spiritual condition of the parents provides the spiritual condition for the baby; the baby receives its total being from its parents because it is the product of its parents. Because Adam and Eve now were mortal and prone to every wrong thing that might come into being they could only produce fallen, fractured people who cannot not suffer a multitude of tragedies and diseases and the like, and ultimately die.
The term “original sin” refers to the inheritance we receive from Adam’s disobedience. In this discussion, I prefer not to use the word “sin” because it leads people automatically to think of a willful act of disobedience. Yet, so much of what we experience in the world is not our personal disobedience but harmful things done to us—e.g., the likely culprit behind my gender dysphoria being medicine my mother was prescribed which disrupted my endocrine system. Thus, instead of “sin,” I prefer to use the terms “fallen” and “fractured,” which better encompass everything that we do and occurs which is not “good.”
5. The origins of diseases and anomalies.
The first generations of humans lived hundreds of years. It has been postulated that since there existed no harmful germs or genetic mutations and so forth immediately after the Fall of Adam, it took time for these to occur and diseases to come into existence. I find this to be a worthy hypothesis.
So, while my reading of many books on the topic of transgender inform me that transgender has existed for a long time, I do not believe it existed from the beginning, nor did it exist very early in the lives of humankind. I will not guess as to when it entered, but it did, and a long time ago.
6. When God created humans, He made males and females (Genesis 1:27).
Adam’s disobedience created the state which is our world—fractured and filled with disorder. (Genesis 3:18: Weeds!) The possibility now existed for every manner of disturbance inside and out. Regarding humans, this would include irregularities in the transference of DNA and the existence of mutations. Cells could act in ways not created to act, with all manner of illnesses the result, both inherited from our parents and contracted from the world.
Regarding chromosomal abnormalities, we know of many. This page provides much information on the subject: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_genetic_disorders.
Words like “abnormality” and “disorder” are in direct contrast to “normal” and “order,” and in direct contrast to God’s nature, whom Scripture declares to be a God of peace and not disorder (1 Corinthians 14:33). “Peace” and “order” certainly are synonymous.
Anyone may choose to disagree with me regarding my reading of the Holy Bible, but please find it instructive that the secular world and the medical community agrees that chromosomal variations are not normal, just as it is not normal to grow tumors, or to get Muscular Dystrophy, or even to catch a cold.
While I have had people in my life who have Down Syndrome, autism, spina bifida, and cerebral palsy—people whom I adore—if we cannot agree that these are conditions with which no one would prefer to be born, then all discussion will come to an end. If Down Syndrome, autism, spina bifida, cerebral palsy, and too many more conditions are called “normal,” then we would have to call it “normal” to be born a person with any of the various intersex conditions, including those of the sex organs (e.g., ambiguous genitalia), and of the chromosomes and hormones (e.g., androgen insensitivity syndrome). If we call it “good” to be affected by any of these things, the word “good” loses its meaning and Scripture’s account of how God created the world becomes useless.
God’s Word clearly describes that He created the world and human beings “very good,” and that the disobedience of Adam, which brought death, brought everything that pertains to dying and a multitude of maladies which contribute to it.
When we adhere to what the Holy Bible has told us, we cannot assert that God created transgender people. Yet, we have transgender people, so where do we go from here? Since the Lord has told us His will, especially that we love Him and our neighbor, we have the basic answer. In part two of this essay I will thoroughly address, “Now how shall we live?”
This essay was prompted by this article — https://jessicastevenstaylor.wordpress.com/2016/02/01/why-trans-people-exist-a-christian-perspective/ — in which the argument was made that since God does not make mistakes He had to have made transgender people. The article uses no Scripture—not the Holy Bible or any other religion’s sacred text—and therefore neither provides no definition for God nor cites any references for the positions taken. I was tagged on the article on Facebook and posted my disagreement. Some folks wanted more information from me, which prompted this examination.