A Biblical Argument For Transsexuality?

I normally avoid talking about this issue, just simply because I think there are issues of greater importance to write about. However, recently,  a Facebook friend sent me a link to a blog post in a direct message arguing from The Bible the legitimacy of the gender fluidity movement and he asked me to write up a response to it, so I said that I would. When I started reading the article, I was quite taken aback. I had never even heard of anyone trying to argue from scripture that a man could become a woman or vice versa, and that this was totally normal, and God is totally okay with it. So, I read the article, and here is my response.

First, "Starchild" as the article's author goes by, starts off the blog post with just a list of Bible verses with initially no commentary behind them, but he or she does expound upon her interpretations on them later, throughout the blog post. Those passages being Genesis 1:27, Galatians 3:28, Deuteronomy 23:1, Isaiah 56:3-5, Matthew 19:21, and Acts 8:35-38.

Starchild starts out by candidly admitting that the issue of transsexuality is never explicitly stated in scripture, however, says that "there are a few concepts in the Scripture which indirectly address the idea of people of unusual Gender conditions and how we are to relate to them within the church." In other words, his/her point is that while The Bible doesn't directly address the issue, there is circumstantial evidence to make a judgment about the issue. This approach isn't something I would object to, as I have done the same regarding people sinning ad infinitum in Hell as well the evidence that infants go to Heaven when they die (see my book A Hellacious Doctrine: A Defense Of The Biblical Doctrine Of Hell). The problem I have is that I don't think the circumstantial scriptural case for transsexuality is even the least bit plausible. Let's examine Starchild's arguments.

The Argument From Eunuchs 

So the author of the article makes a connection between Transgenders and eunuchs. He/she points out (accurately) that eunuchs were a type of people who pagan cultures that surrounded Israel frequently used as slaves or for pagan sacrifices. There was an exclusion of eunuchs from the covenant worship, the reasons most likely being the importance of both maleness in ancient Israel, and to the importance of family and procreation. Isaiah 56, however, prophesied that this exclusion would eventually pass away once the new reign of Yahweh arrived. The author writes "In the new realm the covenant people will not be limited to just those who are clearly male or female, but will also include those who fall in between. The issue for these people of unusually gender condition is not what their gender is, but whether they keep YAHWEH's sabbath, choose the things that please YAHWEH, and abide by the covenant. In other words the same thing that applies to persons of clear male or female gender."

Starchild then points out Jesus' commentary on the people known as Eunuchs. Jesus said "For there are eunuchs who were born that way, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by others--and there are those who choose to live like eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. The one who can accept this should accept it." (Matthew 19:12).

Jesus points out 3 categories of people (1) People born Eunuchs, (2) People made Eunuchs by men, and (3) People who chose to be Eunuchs of their own free will. What conclusion does Starchild draw from this? "Whatever Jesus meant by this third category of eunuch, his teaching should cause us to have an open mind toward people with a different gender choice than what is considered normal."

There is one fatal flaw with this entire section of the article: A Eunuch And A Transgender person are not the same types of person! As GotQuestions.org explains "The eunuchs of the Bible were usually castrated males or those incapable of reproduction due to a birth defect. A eunuch could also be someone who performed work typical of eunuchs, although he remained perfectly capable of having sex—i.e., “eunuch” in some cases was simply a title. The purpose of intentional castration was to induce impotence and remove sexuality. It was a common practice in ancient times for rulers to castrate some of their servants and/or advisers in order to subdue and pacify them. It was especially common to castrate men who tended the royal harem. Queen Esther’s eunuchs are mentioned in Esther 4:4."(underlined emphases mine).

A eunuch is simply a castrated male, a person incapable of sexual reproduction due to a birth defect, or someone who just performed work Eunuchs usually did, making "Eunuch" merely a title, like "janitor". A eunuch is not necessarily someone who identifies as the opposite gender. Now, given what Starchild said in the earlier part of his/her article, he/she seemed to be implying that the reason some people became eunuchs was to get as close as possible to transforming into the opposite gender as they could in their time and culture. This is my interpretation based on these words: "In many times and places people who have been Transgendered have used the category of the eunuch as a way for them to transition as much as they could within their society. So it is not a far stretch to see a continuity between eunuchs and Transsexuals." However, notice how this is merely an assertion. Starchild provides no historical documentation to back up this claim that transgendered people often took it upon themselves to become eunuchs as the ANE (ancient near eastern) equivalent of a sex change. He/she just simply says that that is the case. But how do we know he or she's right? Are there historical documents backing this idea up that date from those time periods? Perhaps archeologists have uncovered a document called "Confessions Of A Eunuch" where one eunuch said that this is why he became a eunuch? Where are the sources? Where's the documentation?

But let's suppose that after the publication of this blog post, Starchild responds with the kind of documentation I demand. What would follow from that? Would it follow that all eunuchs were in Cognito transexuals? Certainly not, and I don't think Starchild is arguing that. I don't think Starchild even would argue for that. Would it follow that it's natural to think you're a woman when you are biologically a man? Would it follow that God is okay with you undergoing intensive surgery to change your gender? I don't think so. This whole "Argument From Eunuchs" is just terrible. Even if it were the case that some transgenders thousands of years ago castrated themselves "to transition as much as they could within their society", many eunuchs, perhaps even most eunuchs would have different motivations. As Jesus said, some people were forced to be eunuchs, and some were born that way. They didn't have a motivation become eunuchs at all. It was hoisted upon them. Additionally, some "became eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of Heaven." 

And remember what the definition of a Eunuch is: It is
(1) A Castrated male
(2) Someone who did work typically assigned to the person above.
(3) Someone who was incapable of reproduction because of either castration or a birth defect.

Some dudes back in the day may, in fact, have had their balls cut off because that was the closest thing to a sex change surgery they could get to, but in all probability, not all of the Eunuchs were that way. And given the high probability that not all people who became eunuchs, became so out of transsexual motivations, I don't think one can make the inference that Jesus was implicitly condoning transsexuality in Matthew 19:12.

2: Developing True Self 

Starchild went on to mention that when transsexuals come out of transsexuals in their churches, they are told not to have sex change surgery, but to remain as they are. Passages about denying oneself and of picking up one's cross and following Jesus are used to argue the trans person into remaining as his biological sex. They tell the trans person that they are being selfish in investing so much time and effort into their own needs "without a Christlike concern for those in their lives who have depended on them being the gender they thought they were."

Starchild goes on to mention how this self-denial theology has been used against so many other people and so many other areas, such as homosexuality, drama, music, literature, sports, video games, etc. and essentially argues that carrying the self-denial theology to its logical conclusion, you essentially remove any sort of fun and enjoyment from life. You also remove variety and richness from the human experience.

Now, I will admit that the theology of self-denial has been abused. It's absurd to think that you're being unChristlike if you indulge in a minor amount of recreation such as going to the theater, or playing or watching sports. I don't believe God intended life to consist of all work and no play. But there's a difference between denying yourself of morally neutral pleasures and denying yourself sinful pleasures. I may opt not to deny myself of evening Doctor Who episodes, but I will opt to deny myself of pornography and pre-marital sex (Matthew 5:28, Hebrews 13:4). I may not opt to abstain from playing Pokemon Silver this fall, but I will choose to deny my life under threat of persecution. This is what Jesus meant when he said: "He who seeks to save his life will lose it and he who loses his life for my sake will find it" (Matthew 16:25). Just look at the context of the verse. 

If it can be established that it is sinful to have a sex-change operation, then it would follow that self-denial theology would apply in this case. Is it sinful to have a sex change operation? I won't argue for that either way in this subheader, but all I'm saying here is that if it is (and some Christians would argue that it is), then the issue is totally unlike watching Monday Night Football. I am arguing here that "it is wrong to seek the development of your true self and a life of fulfillment and happiness" if you do not do it in accordance with God's will and God's word. If the gender fluidity ideology is in conflict with the word of God (and ergo the will of God), then it would follow that Christ does call us to resist it. Whether it does or not, I will leave an open question in this article.

Many former non-Christians have attested to how they sought fulfillment and pleasure apart from a relationship with Christ, apart from the will of Christ, but how it was only through Christ that true fulfillment was found. We need to discern whether or not it is God's will that a person with Gender Dysphoria has a sex change operation.

Restored To Rightness 

In this subheader, Starchild wrote "Transsexuals, in seeing that the relationship between their persons and their bodies is incongruent and in seeking to create a congruency where one didn't exist before, are in a real sense fulfilling the mandate of Genesis is a way that people without Gender Issues are not capable of doing. Transssexuals are people who are able to continue the task of creation and to take up the task of subduing the earth to make it fruitful within their own bodies. In a real sense, then, Transsexuals have a direct and powerful connection to the creation as creatures made in the image of God, for this connection is within their own beings!"

Does Starchild believe that God is all-powerful and all knowing? If he or she does, then wouldn't it follow that God foreknew that a person would experience discontent if born as a particular gender? If God knew "If Samuel is born a man, he would experience gender dysphoria and he would have to surgically change his gender in order to find true happiness in life", then why did God choose to create Samuel as a man? Why not just make him a Samantha from the outset? Did God bungle things up when knitting Sam together in his mother's womb (Psalm 139:13)? Do we serve a God who makes mistakes? Basically, what gender dysphoria does is implicitly accuse God of making an error. "I'm a woman trapped in a man's body. God was supposed to give me a woman's body, but He gave me a female soul and a male body instead." What a divine blunder!

Where am I going with this? As a Maximally Great Being, God is not capable of making mistakes. Gender Fluidity Philosophy logically entails that God bungled things up when creating people, putting male souls in female bodies and vice versa. I'm hoping He didn't put any human souls in animal bodies. I'd hate to think that one of God's image bearers is running around trapped as a Gorilla for all his days. If God could bungle things up regarding gender, one might have grounds for thinking he could bungle things regarding one's very species! But this is absurd. God, as a perfect being, does not and cannot make the mistake of putting souls in the wrong shells. What this means is that if Samuel is not born as a Samantha, then he was never meant to be a Samantha. He was meant to be a Samuel. What follows from this is that there is no actual incongruence between persons and their bodies. There is only a perceived incongruence created by the person's own mind. This isn't to say that a person consciously chose to have Gender Dysphoria, but it is to say that the mind created this issue in a similar way that peoples' minds created the issue of schizophrenia or OCD.

Moreover, it's interesting how when God created Adam and Eve, he never asked them what gender they identified as. "Adam, do you identify as a man? Because if you don't, I'm gonna have to make another partner for Eve here because she needs a man to mate with." God knew what He had created. He knew that He had created Adam and Eve as a male and a female respectively. He never asked them what they identified as because one's gender is determined by one's biology, not one's choice or feelings.

Now, one is apt to accuse me of committing an argument from silence. However, arguments from silence aren't logically fallacious if one has good reasons to expect silence not to be there. For example, if my cousin told my mother that last weekend when I went to the movie theater, I met Tim Allen, Tom Hanks, and Tom Cruise. We saw a movie together, and then went out and ate pizza together at Little Ceasars'. If someone told my mother that, what would she say? She would likely say "That's ridiculous" and my cousin said "Why don't you believe me?" and my mother said "Because he never told me about this. Surely if he met these 3 major celebrities and spent the day with them, he would have told me about it. Moreover, he would have taken selfies and showed them to me. Since he did not do those things, that gives me grounds to doubt your claims." Now, my mother's response is an argument from silence, but she didn't commit a fallacy. Why? Because she had good grounds for believing that if something that unusual happened to me, I would have said something about it. There's an expectation for silence to exist.

Likewise, if God considered the feelings/choice of humans regarding their genders, we would expect to see God ask the first humans what they identified as in the Genesis creation account. There's an expectation for silence to not be there on the premise that the gender fluidity philosophy is true.

If God doesn't take your feelings about your gender into account, then can it really be argued that God agrees that those with Gender Dysphoria have an actual incongruence between their bodies and persons rather than a perceived incongruence? I think the answer to that is "no".

"Male and female, He created them." - Genesis 1:27

Moreover, I would like to point out that in actual, real world results, sex change has proven to not solve the problem of the "incongruence between persons and their bodies". There have been studies that have shown that there's a high rate of suicide in people with Gender Dysphoria after they had sex change surgery! The suicide rate is twenty times higher than the general public after the surgery! As one article on The Guardian said "There is no conclusive evidence that sex change operations improve the lives of transsexuals, with many people remaining severely distressed and even suicidal after the operation, according to a medical review conducted exclusively for Guardian Weekend tomorrow. The review of more than 100 international medical studies of post-operative transsexuals by the University of Birmingham's aggressive research intelligence facility (Arif) found no robust scientific evidence that gender reassignment surgery is clinically effective." 2

So, even if there was an incongruence between one's body and one's person, sex change operation is not necessarily going to bring the fulfillment and happiness that people with Gender Dysphoria are seeking.

All that I've said in response to this subheader would also apply to what came after, and in the rest of the article. While it may be that some peoples' gender discontent evaporates post-surgery, there are many cases where that isn't the case.

See also this article, where Dr. McHugh says they've stopped doing reassignment surgeries at his clinic because they just weren't churning out happy people. --> https://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/michael-w-chapman/johns-hopkins-psychiatrist-transgender-mental-disorder-sex-change

Conclusion 

I was underwhelmed, to say the least, by the arguments from this Whosoever.com article. The scriptural arguments for transsexuality were very unpersuasive. If one wants to make an argument for the legitimacy of Gender Fluidity, I don't think The Bible is a good place to turn. Maybe science or philosophy will be on your side or maybe they won't, but trying to make a case from The Bible will result in severely strained exegesis.


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Footnotes 

1: GotQuestions.org, "What Is A Eunuch In The Bible? What Does The Bible Say About Eunuchs?" -- https://www.gotquestions.org/eunuch-eunuchs.html

2: The Guardian, "Sex Change Not Effective Says Researchers", July 30th, 2004 -- https://www.theguardian.com/society/2004/jul/30/health.mentalhealth



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