In the very first book of the Bible, we read the story of how God first created all things. When it comes to the part about how God created humankind, we read that the original human had both male and female existing within the same body, and that this gender-full human was “made in the image of God.”
What do I mean? Well, in Genesis we’re told that God created mankind in God’s own image. But, later, when no suitable helper is found for this first human, God induces a deep sleep and then separates this human into two equal halves. This tells us that the first human was originally both male and female in one.
This also tells us that God is not identified any more as “male” than as “female.” Because, since both the male and female aspects of humanity were existing in the very first human all at once, and since mankind was created in the image of God, then that image was neither one or the other.
It was both all at once.
This reminds me of a quote from Aristophanes, the great playwright in ancient Athens [446 to 386 B.C.E.] who once said:
“Love is born into every human being; it calls back the halves of our original nature together; it tries to make one out of two and heal the wound of human nature. Each of us, then, is a “matching half” of a human whole…and each of us is always seeking the half that matches him.”
God is Love and if every human being was created in this image of Divine Love, then both halves of our original nature are Godlike.
As I’ve said in a previous article, the scripture in Genesis that says “God made them male and female” is no more binary than to say – as Genesis does previous to this – “God made the day and the night.” Because we know that the Day is not one single thing. The day can be early sunrise, or high noon, or sunset, or anything in between.
So, Day and Night are no more binary than Male and Female.
Our perspectives may need to shift to see this truth, but it is the truth, nonetheless.
So, humanity is not a binary of Male and Female because Male and Female are not binary concepts in and of themselves. We know from biology that there is a wide spectrum of sexual identity and gender – a total of 6 main categories according to both science and – oddly enough – Ancient Jewish understanding as revealed in the Midrash, the Talmud, the Torah, and other Rabbinic writings.
We are all filled with an internal swirl and spectrum of male and female and everything in between. No one is fully “Male” or “Female” for example. Biologists have admitted that almost every single person on this earth is a genetically unique individual with no exact biological category.
One scientist provided an insightful quote regarding this wide-ranging spectrum of human biology so I wanted to share it here.
Warning, it’s a bit long so if you want to just read the bold highlights to shorten the read you’ll get the gist of it here:
“As we’ve gotten to know more and more about signaling and brains and hormones and started to pay more attention to the outliers where standard stuff just didn’t seem to work, we discovered that [our old models] aren’t that great….”
“As you start to look at the effects of TCDD [Tetrachlorodibenzo-P-dioxin] on animals, you start to realize the 2-bin [simplified binary] model doesn’t predict your results well….Where the TCDD was ‘randomly’ turning some boys into girls but then some girls into boys, now you can see there’s a subgroup of what you’d call ‘female’ that responds like the ‘male’…”
“What’s important here is that you haven’t mislabeled males as females. These are functional females who can do all the usual female things like gestate babies. But they respond to this one endocrine disruptor in a “male” way.”
“So, you add two new categories – call them ‘Male2’ and ‘Female2’ – and go on. You’ve got 4 sexes now…but then you remember you’ve got those XY people that gestate babies…and XX people with a penis and ovaries…so now you’ve got ‘Intersex1” and “Intersex2’ because all these groups respond differently with signaling and brains when you get into the weeds…If we go back to the histogram plot, we can keep breaking down your biological sex into smaller and smaller differences in brain areas, hormone levels, signaling differences, genetic variances.”
“There’s nothing stopping us from binning EVERY INDIVIDUAL into their own bin. Technically this wouldn’t be ‘Infinite Sexes’ but 7.4 billion sexes is functionally close for our brains…”
“…The thing to remember here is that we’re not inventing sexes here. Sex has ALWAYS been on this curve. We were just using really big bins and now we’re realizing that that’s not representative of biology [and] it’s inhibiting our understanding of medicine and biology.”
Simply put, human beings are complicated. We’re not binary. No one is merely “Male” or “Female.”
Everyone exists on a spectrum of some kind.
But, this should come as no surprise to those who understand that we were created in the image of God and that God is not binary either. God is gender-full, not gender-less.
And, guess what? So are we!
Keith Giles is the best-selling author of the Jesus Un series. He has appeared on CNN, USA Today, BuzzFeed, and John Fugelsang’s “Tell Me Everything.” His latest book, SOLA MYSTERIUM: Celebrating the Beautiful Uncertainty of Everything is available now on Amazon in paperback and on Kindle.