God is triune – He is three persons, and yet one being (unity in diversity). Accordingly, as the image of God, man was made both male and female in order to reflect the unity in diversity that exists within the trinity. Maleness and femaleness is a critical component of man being made as God’s image.
Before we get started, let me just reiterate that my overall objective is that we would have a better understanding and appreciation of man being made in the image of God. And as we move along, we’re trying to arrive at a good working definition of what it means to be made in the image of God. Thus far, based upon last week’s material, we could say that to be made in the image of God is to reflect the righteousness of God as His representative upon the earth. But this is an incomplete definition. To add more depth to this definition we need to consider the identity of man.
The Identity of Man
Unity in Diversity in the image of God (maleness and femaleness)
We cannot fully appreciate the identity of man without a proper understanding of the concept of unity in diversity. The concept of unity in diversity is seen throughout the Bible in many ways. For instance, there is a rich diversity of life that is created in Genesis 1—plants, trees, fish, birds, livestock, creeping things, etc.—yet, each according to its own kind (unity in diversity). Likewise, we see unity in diversity within the church—one body, yet many members. We also see unity in diversity within the God-man Jesus Christ—one person, yet two natures. And in Gen. 1:26-27, we again see this theme of unity in diversity with respect to both God and man. However, the concept of unity in diversity in Gen. 1:26-27 doesn’t necessarily jump out at us, and can easily escape our attention if we’re not looking for it. So, let’s go ahead and read Gen. 1:26-27 while paying special attention to the idea of unity in diversity.
Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.
Notice with reference to God the use of both singular and plural personal pronouns. In verse 26, the plural pronouns “us” and “our” are used with reference to God. But then in verse 27, the singular pronouns “His” and “He” are used with reference to God. So, which is it? Is God singular or plural? He’s both! He’s triune—three persons, yet one being. He’s unity in diversity.
There is some debate over whether or not the plural pronouns (“us” and “our”) in verse 26 are meant to indicate the three persons of the Trinity, and I’m not going to get into the weeds of that debate. For my part, I firmly believe that the “us” and “our” of verse 26 are meant to point us to the 3 persons of the Trinity. One of the reasons I hold this view is because I believe this veiled reference to the Trinity is meant to give us insight into the identity of man. Man was made to reflect the unity in diversity of the Trinity; thus, like the Godhead, man is described using language that incorporates the idea of unified singularity and plurality. Look again at verse 27. “In the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” “Him” is a singular pronoun, and “them” is a plural pronoun. So, which is it? Is man singular or plural? He’s both! He’s unity in diversity, just like the God that he was made to resemble and represent. In Gen. 5:1-2, we see this reiterated after the fall:
When God created man, He made him (singular) in the likeness of God. Male and female He created them (plural), and He blessed them and named them (plural) Man (singular) when they were created.
It is very clearly from these two passages that there is a unity in diversity within man, and that maleness and femaleness are fundamentally part of what it means to be made in the image of God. It wasn’t just Adam that was made in the image of God, it was also Eve. In both places we find that God’s likeness and God’s image is reflected in man both as male and female.
The concept of maleness and femaleness, therefore, is highly relevant with regard to our understanding of man being made as God’s image. How so? How does the unity in diversity of man (as seen in maleness and femaleness) reflect God? And what does any of this have to do with man’s identity? To answer these questions, we’re going to consider three ways in which God has revealed Himself and has reflected His own being and character in maleness and femaleness, and most specifically in the union of a man and a woman within the bond of marriage.
The three ways in which He has revealed Himself are: (1) Relationality; (2) Equality; and (3) Authority.
God is a relational being. He’s not a solitary, impersonal monad. He’s a triune God. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit have forever been in fellowship, relating to one another and loving one another. Prior to creation, God was not alone. There has always existed within the Godhead interpersonal relationships, which has profound implications with regard to our understanding of human nature (anthropology) and human society (sociology). Living face-to-face in community with each other and having interpersonal relationships with one another is an essential part of our humanity, and distinguishes us as image-bearers. God is Persons in relationship, and that is exactly what we were made to be—persons in relationship—just like Him. The Trinity is a divine community; thus, as His unique image-bearers, we are intuitively communal; we are by nature social creatures. In fact, we find our identity in our relationships.
When we’re talking about identity, we’re talking about the relationships we look to for our security and our significance. This concept of identity having to do with relational security and significance is of immense importance. Our identity is inextricably linked to the relationships we look to for our security and significance. Because we’ve been made as image-bearers of God, we cannot help but find our identity (our security and our significance) in our relationships. The identity of man is bound up in his relationality. In fact, it’s for this reason that God said that it’s not good that man should be alone. (Gen. 2:18) When did God say this, before or after the fall? Before the fall, which means that loneliness is not a result of the fall. Loneliness was present even in the sinless, pristine, pre-fall world. One of the reasons why God had Adam name all of the animals was to make Adam acutely aware of the fact that he was missing something. This is plainly seen from the text of Gen. 2:18-20.
Then the LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him.” And out of the ground the LORD God formed every animal of the field and every bird of the sky, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called a living creature, that was its name. The man gave names to all the livestock, and to the birds of the sky, and to every animal of the field, but for Adam there was not found a helper suitable for him.
Commenting on these verses, Herman Bavinck writes:
[The] first man was not satisfied, not fulfilled. The cause is indicated to him by God Himself. It lies in his solitude. It is not good for the man that he should be alone. He is not so constituted; he was not created that way. His nature inclines to the social [i.e., relationality] — he wants company. He must be able to express himself, reveal himself, and give himself. He must be able to pour out his heart, to give form to his feelings. He must share his awarenesses with a being who can understand him and can feel and live along with him. Solitude is poverty, forsakenness, gradual pining and wasting away. How lonesome it is to be alone!1
As Adam was naming all of the animals, he undoubtedly thought to himself, “You know, there’s always two of each kind here—they’re different, yet the same kind. Where’s my different of the same kind? Where’s my complimentary companion?” This was one of the things that God wanted Adam to realize. He was prompting Adam to see his need for an interpersonal relationship with someone else of the same kind. This is why Adam, after naming all of the animals, exuberantly exclaimed upon being introduced to Eve, “At last [this implies that there was a real longing, a dissatisfaction], bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh!” (Gen. 2:23) “Now I can have a relationship with one of my own kind, with someone who is different and yet the same.”
In this way, we see that God made man male and female to reflect the unity in diversity and the relationality that is present within the Trinity. As a personal and relational God, it should make sense that God would make man a personal and relational creature. As a God of unity in diversity, it should make sense that God would not only make Adam, but someone like Adam, and yet different from Adam; someone that is the same as Adam in dignity, essence, and humanity, but at the same time not identical to Adam, not the same person as Adam. It should make sense that God would create a person that Adam can relate to and love in a way that reflects the relationality and love between the Father, the Son, and the Spirit.
Thus, man is a relational being because he was made to reflect the relationality of the Trinity. And of all human relationships, the one that most clearly reveals the deep unity in diversity that God Himself has within the Trinity, is the relationship of marriage between a man and a woman. This can be inferred from the way in which Jesus connects the creation of man as male and female in Gen. 1 with the covenant of marriage in Gen. 2. In both Matt. 19 and Mark 10, Jesus connects Gen. 1:27 (God made them male and female) with Gen. 2:24 (a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh). Jesus joins these two verses together as if no explanation were needed, as if the connection were natural and necessary. Thus, in the marriage relationship between a man and a woman we see the fullest expression or “mirroring” of the unity in diversity that exists within the Godhead. Richard Lints puts it this way:
In marriage, we have two persons who are united by a relationship into “one flesh.” Although different, they each belong to each other. Male and female are created as beings who offer something the other does not have. They find satisfaction in the intimacy of their union, which is made richer by virtue of their differences.2
When we look at marriage, we see that God instituted it to be the union of a man and a woman so as to reflect the unity in diversity within the Trinity. In order for marriage to properly reflect the Godhead, there has to be a distinction, a difference, a diversity within the unity. Thus, marriage must always be understood and defined as being the union of a man and a woman. Gen. 2:24 is key to understanding this. The man and the woman (diversity) become one flesh (unity). And this deep, intense unity goes far beyond the physical; it actually knits the souls of two image-bearers together. Over the course of a lifetime, marriage is a form of melding two spirits together into one; that’s the intent of it. Marriage is meant to maintain distinctiveness and diversity, but at the same time an intense unity, which thereby reflects God Himself.
Therefore, one of the ways in which God reflects His own being and character is in the maleness and femaleness of man, and most specifically in the union of a man and a woman within the bond of marriage. And this is perhaps the most significant way in which man is distinguished from the angels. Angels were all created at once; they do not beget their own race. There are no male-female distinctions among the angels, nor do the angels marry. In contrast to the angels, man was not created all at once; man begets his own race through the union of a male and a female. This has massive implications when it comes to the relationality of man in comparison to the angels. As Herman Bavinck points out:
[Angels] are not related by blood, and do not know such distinctions as father and mother, parents and children, brothers and sisters, therefore there is a whole world of relationships and connections, ideas and emotions, desires and duties of which the angels know nothing. They may be more powerful than men, but they are not so versatile. They stand in fewer relationships, and in riches and depth of the emotional life man is far superior to the angel…
Angels experience [God’s] power, and wisdom, and goodness, but human beings share in His eternal mercies. God is their Lord, but He is not their Father; Christ is their Head, but He is not their Reconciler and Savior; the Holy Spirit is their Sender and Guide but He never testifies with their spirit that they are children and heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ.3
This is weighty stuff brethren. There are no family ties that bind all of the angels together as there are with man, since angels neither marry nor are given in marriage. Thus, angels cannot fully appreciate or understand the husband-wife relationship, the father-mother relationship, the parent-child relationship, the sibling relationship, etc. because they do not generate their own race like we do. They were not made male and female and told to be fruitful and multiply.
Furthermore, angels cannot be partakers of the divine nature like we can because they cannot be joined to Christ in the way that we can. We can be partakers of the divine nature (2 Pet. 1:4) because we are joined to Him who has partaken of our nature! (Jn. 1:14; Phil. 2:6-8; Heb. 2:14) The angels cannot refer to Jesus as their elder brother because that is not their relationship to Him; it’s ours. The angels have not been given the Spirit of adoption because they have not been adopted; thus, they cannot call God “Father” in the same way that we can as adopted sons. They are not so near in their relationship to the Father as we are because they are not joined to the Son as we are. What honor and privilege we have being joined to Christ! “Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God!” (1 Jn. 3:1) As the image-bearer of God, man stands in an entirely different relationship to God than all other creatures, including the angels.
Thus, in the relationality of man we discover his unique identity, and in the maleness and femaleness of man—and especially in the union of a man and a woman in marriage—we are given a picture of the unity in diversity that exists within the Godhead.
Another way that maleness and femaleness is reflective of the character and being of God is equality. Just as the members of the Trinity are equal in their importance and in their existence as distinct persons, so men and women have been created by God to be equal in their importance and personhood. When God created man, He created both male and female equally in His likeness. Let’s take a moment to think about the implications of this.
If man was made to reflect God, and if man has been made both male and female, then God intended both maleness and femaleness to reveal something about Himself. So, what are some things that are generally inherit to maleness that are not necessarily as inherit to femaleness? And what are some things that are generally inherit to femaleness that are not necessarily as inherit to maleness? I’m obviously not talking about anatomy here. I’m talking about the ways in which men and women are wired—the different ways in which they approach relationships or problems; the different ways that they think and feel; the different ways in which they prioritize and view life; etc. If we were to analyze these differences, would we be able to conclude that one sex is better than the other? Or are they both together portraying a fuller picture of God Himself? I think God would have us understand that maleness and femaleness together give us the fullest picture of what He is like.
Please don’t misunderstand me here, I’m not at all suggesting that we are free to think of God as being a “she.” The point that I am making is that maleness and femaleness complement one another in displaying a more full-orbed view of who God is. As we have already noted, God said that it was not good that the man should be alone. It was not good that the man should be without the woman because without her there would be an insufficient full-orbed revelation of God’s character and being. To quote Wayne Grudem:
Men and women are made equally in God’s image, and both men and women reflect God’s character in their lives. This means that we should see aspects of God’s character in each other’s lives. If we lived in a society consisting of only Christian men or a society consisting of only Christian women, we would not gain as full a picture of the character of God as when we see both godly men and godly women in their complementary differences together reflecting the beauty of God’s character.4
The tenderness, the sensitivity, the gentleness and compassion that is generally inherent to femininity, and the strength, the courage, and the leadership that is generally inherent to masculinity— God is revealing something of Himself in both. Again, please don’t misunderstand me. I’m not saying that women do not or cannot display strength, courage, and leadership, nor am I saying that men do not or cannot display tenderness, sensitivity, gentleness and compassion. I’m speaking in generalities. All I’m trying to show is that there are things inherent to femininity and things inherent to masculinity that reveal to us the character of God, and that the fullness of God’s character is best reflected when maleness and femaleness are considered together.
We get a hint of this, I think, in Rom. 11:22, “Behold the goodness and the severity of God.” Here we have 2 very different aspects of God, yet they complement and even reinforce one another. Similarly, in Ex. 34:6-7 we read, “He is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin [compassionate], but who will by no means clear the guilty [confrontational].” Again, in Psalm 7:12-13 and Psalm 21:12, God is described as a warrior with instruments of war pointed at the wicked (very masculine language), but there are also Scriptures that liken God to a tender mother (Deut. 32:11- 12; Is.49:15; Is. 66:13). All of this suggests that the fullness of God’s character is best reflected when maleness and femaleness are considered together.
Now, this next thought should amaze you. It amazes me. Christ is the fullness of the Godhead bodily. As the God-man, Jesus displayed the fullest picture of the character of God; He manifested both masculinity and femininity in perfect balance and harmony at all times. In terms of His humanity, Christ revealed everything there was to reveal about God. Everything associated with maleness that reflects God’s character, and everything associated with femaleness that reflects God’s character was perfectly imaged in Christ, who is the exact imprint or representation of the divine nature. (Heb. 1:3) As the God- man, Christ was complete. He was not like the first Adam who needed a wife. In Christ there was no lack; He needed no compliment. The Lord Jesus has more tenderness and compassion than the most tender and compassionate woman who has ever lived, and He is stronger and more courageous than any other man who has ever lived.
Christ was confrontational and courageous, always standing for the truth no matter how much it might offend others (go and learn what this means, Matt. 9:13; have you not read, Matt. 12:3; don't you know that you have offended the Pharisees, Matt. 15:12). The most explosive confrontational moment is in Matt. 23 where He excoriates the scribes and pharisees:
Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel across sea and land to make a single proselyte, and when he becomes a proselyte, you make him twice as much a child of hell as yourselves…You serpents, you brood of vipers, how are you to escape being sentenced to hell?
But at the same time, He laments over Jerusalem. “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, …How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing!” This is a very motherly, compassionate, tender picture.
In the encounter with the rich young ruler we read that, “Jesus, looking at him, loved him, [there’s the tenderness and compassion] and said to him, ‘You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.’ Disheartened by the saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions [there’s the confrontational courage].”
He violently overturns tables, and chases the money changers out of the temple with a whip, but He also has compassion on the crowds—healing them and feeding them. He rebukes His disciples for their lack of faith and slowness to learn, but He also stoops down to wash their feet. He courageously suffers the wrath of God (why have you forsaken me), and yet still has the presence of mind to make sure that his earthly mother is not forsaken (Woman, behold your son [John]).
Again and again, we see courage and strength juxtaposed with tenderness and compassion. He was the perfect balance and manifestation of maleness and femaleness, which is why He is a savior that draws both men and women equally to Himself. He's not so rough and tumble masculine that He alienates women, but neither is He so gentle and tender that He would alienate men. He's neither too hard, nor too soft. As a man, I can come to Christ and know that I have a high priest who understands my temptations and struggles as a man. And women find the same when they come to Christ.
All that to say, in Christ we see perfect masculinity and femininity displayed, which gives us the most complete picture of the character of God, and indicates to us the equality of both men and women as image-bearers. Though the roles of men and women are different (as we shall see momentarily), nevertheless, men and women are made equally in God’s image, and both men and women reflect God’s character in their lives.
A third way that maleness and femaleness reflects the character and being of God is authority. Just as there is an authority structure within the Godhead, so there is an authority structure within mankind. Indeed, the authority structure within mankind is meant to reflect the authority structure within the Godhead.
On the surface of things, it might appear that we have a contradiction here. How can we talk about equality and then immediately turn around and talk about authority? Doesn’t the existence of an authority structure automatically make some people less significant or inferior compared to others? It’s easy for us to think this way. But it’s also wrong for us to think this way. This is how the world thinks of authority. But it’s not the way that we as Christians are to think of authority. Inequality of dignity is not inherent to an authority structure, for even within the Trinity there exists an authority structure, yet each person of the Trinity is equally dignified.
The Father sends the Son; the Son never sends the Father. (1 John 4:14) Similarly, the Father and the Son send the Holy Spirit; the Holy Spirit never sends the Father or the Son. (John 14:26; 15:26) Again, the Son submits to and testifies of the Father (John 5:19; 12:49), and the Spirit submits to and testifies of the Son. (John 15:26)
Clearly there is an authority structure within the Godhead, and yet there is no inequality or loss of dignity as a result. There is no friction or discord whatsoever within the Godhead, there is nothing but love between the persons of the Trinity. Whenever authority is being exercised within the Godhead there is at the same time love, encouragement, and support being shown. Though the Father commissioned the Son, throughout that commission we find the Father in communion with the Son— encouraging Him, supporting Him, and even audibly and publicly affirming Him. We see the same loving support and enabling power from the Holy Spirit.
The authority within the Trinity is always carried out in the interests of every person involved and with encouragement, love, and communion. And note well that this authority structure does not in any way diminish the essential equality of the three persons. Christ’s willing and cheerful submission to the Father has no bearing whatsoever on His dignity; He is no less God than the Father is God.
Thus, inequality of dignity is not inherent to an authority structure, for even within the Trinity there exists an authority structure, yet each person of the Trinity is equally dignified. And since man was made to reflect the relational character of the Trinity, it should come as no surprise that there are similar differences in roles and authority among human beings, even with respect to the most basic of all differences among human beings—the difference between male and female. And this is certainly what we find in the Biblical text with regard to marriage. Just as God the Father has authority over the Son, though the two are equal in deity, so in a marriage, the husband has authority over the wife, though they are equal in personhood.
- Notions of superiority or inferiority with respect to one’s sex are equally sinful.
Hopefully, if I was to ask you men here today if you’re happy to be a man you would heartily say, “Yes, I’m very glad to be a man.” Likewise, if I was to ask you women here today if you’re happy to be a woman, hopefully you would all heartily say, “Yes, I’m very glad to be a woman.” And that’s a good thing. It’s not prideful to be content with how God has made you; in fact, it’s right!
But we’re never to cross the line and go so far as to say, “As a man, I’m better than a woman.” Or vice versa, “As a woman, I’m better than a man.” Men, we are not to elevate our maleness over femaleness. Conversely, you women are not to elevate your femaleness over maleness. Women are not to view men through the lens of “toxic masculinity,” and neither are men to view women through the lens of “toxic femininity.” Adam and Eve were both cursed as a result of the fall. Thus, both sexes exhibit sinful toxicity toward one another.
Nevertheless, the fall has not completely destroyed the image of God in man; thus, there are still characteristics inherent to maleness that reflect God, and there are still characteristics inherent to femaleness that reflect God. Therefore, if we understand that men and women are equally made been in the likeness of God, and that there are things about maleness that reflect God as well as things about femaleness that reflect God, then how can we elevate one over the other?
Notions of inferiority or superiority with respect to one’s sex are equally sinful. Similarly…
- Discontentment with respect to one’s sex is
As we just observed in our previous application, it’s not prideful to be content with how God has made you; in fact, it’s right! If you’re a man, you should be happy and content to be a man, for this is good, and proper, and right. And if you’re a woman, you should likewise be happy and content. But our culture doesn’t hold to this. Our culture is vehemently rebelling against this. Our culture would have us believe that the categories of “maleness” and “femaleness” are irrelevant and insignificant and that such distinctions need not be maintained. Yet, we just learned that maleness and femaleness are fundamentally part of what it means to be made in the image of God; that one of the ways in which God reflects His own being and character is in the maleness and femaleness of man!
Notions of transgenderism and gender fluidity are blasphemous abominations because they completely undermine the maleness and femaleness distinctions of man that are meant to reflect the triune God that created man. When a man says, “I identify as a woman,” or a woman says, “I identify as a man,” in either case, they are declaring that they are discontent with the sex that God assigned to them. They are essentially saying to God, “You made a mistake, you didn’t create me the right way.” And note the concept of identity in the phrase, “I identify as.” They are looking to their sexuality to give them the relational security and significance that they lack; the security and significance that can only be found in a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
When a man says, “I identify as a woman,” or when a woman says, “I identify as a man,” they are committing idolatry because they are looking to their sexuality for their identity (their relational security and significance), rather than to God. Thus, when a man says, “my preferred pronouns are she and her,” or when a woman says, “my preferred pronouns are he and him,” they are declaring their idolatry. Moreover, they are bearing false witness against themselves. A man is not a woman, and a woman is not a man.
For these reasons, I refuse to affirm such delusions. I will not affirm a lie; I will not join someone in bearing false witness against themselves. Words matter because words are how truth is communicated; thus, I will not refer to a man as “she,” nor to a woman as “he.” I refuse to call Bruce Jenner, “Caitlyn,” or William Thomas, “Lia.” Bruce Jenner and William Thomas are bearing false witness against themselves and I will not affirm their idolatry.
“Yeah, but what if the law tells me that I have to affirm and even celebrate every person’s so-called ‘identity?’ What if my company puts policies in place where I could get fired if I don’t affirm someone’s gender?” In other words, what if I’m told that I must affirm that which is not only an utter distortion of reality (a flat out lie), but an utter blasphemy against God’s created social norm for mankind? To this I say, we must obey God rather than men. “Yeah, but I could lose my job.” Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness.
Who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is good? But even if you should suffer for righteousness' sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God's will, than for doing evil. (1 Pet. 3:13-17)
Brethren, it’s not loving to join your neighbor in bearing false witness against him/herself. Referring to a man as “she” or to a woman as “he” is an egregious lie. It’s affirming that person’s idolatry, and when you do it in front of others, it encourages others to affirm lies and to celebrate idolatry.
Notions of transgenderism and gender fluidity must be opposed. But we are always to do so lovingly and compassionately. We must always treat those who identify as transgender (or any other gender other than what they are) with dignity and respect, precisely because they bear the image of God.
- Husbands and wives should rejoice in the unity in diversity that God has built into their
Husbands, do you rejoice that you have a wife that compliments you? Wives, do you rejoice that you have a husband that compliments you?
This is a lovely thought to meditate on: although there are certain attributes that are generally inherent to maleness and femaleness, these attributes are communicable. I’ve learned how to be gentler and more compassionate and tender by observing my wife and by listening to her counsel, and she has learned how to be stronger and more courageous in the face of adversity as a result of my leadership. God is knitting our souls together in a wonderful way.
The longer I’m married, the more I see how God is using my wife to shape me, mold me, and conform me more and more into the image of Christ. He’s using her to sanctify me, and He’s using me to sanctify her. The mystery is that it is through our differences that we are being unified more and more as one flesh. It’s a beautiful mystery of unity in diversity.
- See how same-sex relationships radically distort the image of God in man as well as the authority structure within marriage.
As we observed earlier, male and female are created as beings who offer something the other does not have. And in marriage, they find satisfaction in the intimacy of their union, which is made richer by virtue of their differences. All of this is radically distorted by same-sex relationships. God made the woman to be a perfect help-mate and companion to man, and the two of them together are meant to reflect the unity in diversity within the trinity.
As was said earlier, in order for marriage to properly reflect the Godhead, there has to be a distinction, a difference, a diversity within the unity. There has to be maleness and femaleness; otherwise, the reflection of the unity in diversity within the Godhead is utterly corrupted. God did not design marriage to knit together the souls of two men or two women. This is a radical perversion of the picture that marriage was designed to display.
Furthermore, it totally subverts the authority structure within marriage. This becomes especially apparent when children are brought into the picture. When two men adopt a child, or when two women have a child (either through adoption or through artificial means), what is the message that is being sent? The message that is being sent is this: children don’t need the presence of a father and a mother. In other words, there is nothing unique that a mother brings to the table with respect to childrearing, nor is there anything unique that a father brings to the table with respect to childrearing; men and women are interchangeable parts when it comes to childrearing. Two men, two women, or a man and a woman—it makes absolutely no difference with regard to raising children. All we have to do is look at those communities where fatherlessness abounds to see the kind of damage that can result from this type of thinking. Children obviously need a father and a mother.
God put the authority structure within marriage for a reason, and when we disregard it and pervert it, the consequences are many, far reaching, and devastating.
- Where do you look for your identity?
If you are not a Christian, where do you find your security and your significance? Many people today look to their ethnic background for their identity, or they look to their sexual orientation for their identity. Where do you look for your identity?
As was pointed out last week, all men are born into this world with an identity crisis because of sin. All men spend their lives in search of security and significance. But apart from Christ, man can never find his true identity. We find our identity in the relationships that we look to for our security and significance, and the most important relationship of all, in terms of our identity, is our relationship to our Creator.
However, because of sin, all men are estranged from their Creator; they are alienated from God. In fact, it’s worse than this. We actually come into this world hating God, and God hating us! We are by nature children of His wrath! (Eph. 2:1-3) And unless our relationship to God is restored, we will spend our lives running around looking for fig leaves to cover the nakedness that we innately feel in our hearts, looking in all the wrong places for the relational security and significance that we intuitively know is lacking. God created us in His image, and we are only completed and fulfilled in our relationship to Him (and secondarily in our relationships with His people). We find our true identity in relation to Him.
How can we be brought back into fellowship with our Creator? How can we be reconciled to God and no longer at enmity with Him, and He with us? How can we have our identity restored? Only in Christ. As the perfect image-bearer, He has resolved our identity crisis.
When we come to Christ, we are given a new heart, a new identity. We are brought into new relationships. The Father adopts us, and the Spirit indwells us. And as the Holy Spirit conforms us more and more to the image of the Son, our identity as image-bearers is gradually restored.
Thus, our relationship to the Son is what restores our relationship with the Father, and that restoration process is being carried out by way of our relationship with the Holy Spirit. In other words, the restoration of our identity is intimately connected to our relationship with each person of the Godhead. Therefore, if you would have true security and significance, come to Christ. Believe and repent. Otherwise, you shall continue in your feelings of insecurity and insignificance, and your identity crisis will never be resolved.