Change is one of the few constants in our society, and that’s not always bad. Change, in and of itself, truly isn’t the issue. Rather, the issue is what we are trying to change and why we are trying to change it. Furthermore, the bigger issue is whose efforts we are invalidating by pushing for our changes.
The change-du-jour is gender. It used to be sexuality, but that discussion has essentially been shut down. Now, we’re not discussing individuals coming out as homo- or bi-sexual. No, now, we are experiencing a shift toward a more fluid view of gender identity. Men are now free to transition into women and vice versa. Everything is now open for change. Nothing has permanence; nothing is immovable or inviolable.
Societal Constants: Change & Depravity
Change is a constant in our society.
Depravity, however, is the other constant.
Change, in and of itself, isn’t bad, but because humanity is “depraved” many of the changes we make end up being changes for the worse.
In case you don’t know, “depravity” refers to our spiritual brokenness. It implies that all of humanity has an inherent proclivity toward sin and rebellion against God. It’s that second issue that’s at the core. The first sin was born out of a desire to be autonomous, free of God’s supreme authority. Of course, in rejecting God’s authority, our first parents made the ultimate in destructive decisions, a decision that we have seconded with our rebellious behavior, intensifying the destructiveness of their first failing.
Identity From Authority
God created humanity to be bearers of His image, reflecting His glory. He gave us part of Himself as the basis of our identity, but not in the sense that we could take that piece of God and go off on our own, carefree. No, it’s a piece of Him that we hold and yet takes hold of us, a piece that must be kept in continual contact with the holy Whole of God, or it will eat away at us, reminding us that we are neither where nor who we were meant to be.
And so we begin searching for the “where” and the “who,” without God, of course.
We are a people with a hole in our soul, a hole only God can fill. In losing Him to our rebellion, we lost who we are, and, in the absence of our divinely-imparted identity, our depraved perspective will lead us to search, substituting the constancy and authority of God for the constancy and authority of self-determined change.
Who has the authority to establish identity and purpose? Isn’t it the Creator? When my daughter was younger, she would draw curious figures consisting mostly of bursts of color, swirling lines, and nothing that could be called “realism.” Looking at these drawings, I would rack my mind trying to determine what she had drawn, only to be wrong. How could I be wrong? While I only saw swirling doodles she saw an image of her own design, an image she created first in her heart before putting on paper. She was the creator; she had the authority to define the creation.
God has this authority over us: He has the responsibility and privilege of establishing our identity. This means that our identity and all that this entails has been established by God and, as such, is sacred to Him.
The Sacrilege of Post-Modern Relativism
Ravi Zacharias is probably my favorite Christian thinker, and he’s made the point I’m going to attempt to make far better than I ever could, so I’ll start with his words about the sacredness of our identity.1
“The reason we are against racism is because a person’s race is sacred. A person’s ethnicity is sacred. You cannot violate it. My race is sacred; your race is sacred; I dare not violate it. The reason we react against the issue of homosexuality the way we do is because sexuality is sacred. You cannot violate it. How do you treat one as sacred and desacrelize the other? Sex is a sacred gift of God. I can no longer justify an aberration of it in somebody else’s life than I can justify my own proclivities to go beyond my marital boundaries.
When God created mankind and womankind, it was His plan, not our plan. It is extraordinary what He said. He said, ‘It is not good for man to live alone.’ Well, man wasn’t living alone; God was with him. Why did He say that? He created the mystique and the majesty and the charm and the complimentary nature of womankind in a way that made it possible for her to meet his emotional needs that God, Himself, put only within her, outside himself, from himself, in her, in that complimentariness. It is a design by God.”
God ordained where we’d be born, what gender we’d be born, and so on and so forth. He created Man and set him above the rest of creation. Do you think that God needed to sit with Adam while all of the animals were paraded by before He realized that the man needed a companion? I don’t think so. I think He was trying to demonstrate this to reality to Adam and, by extension, us. Men need women—like everything else in the creation account, men and women are created in parallel: light and dark; earth and water; night and day.2 Women do not exist as another form of humanity but as a complementary opposite to the other form, men.
The idea that an individual can transition from one gender to another is sacrilegious. I don’t say that to be offensive or judgmental, merely to make my point that because God established an individual’s gender, initiating a change of that gender invalidates God’s original design for that person. For the atheist, this doesn’t mean much, which I understand. I’m not trying to convince anyone, but I am trying to explain the Christian perspective on transgender issues.
Now, beyond gender, let’s talk about race. As Dr. Zacharias’ quote above stated, our race was given to us by God. It is a sacred part of our identity, and this is why the Christian cannot abide racism. The only way I could see someone arguing for the right to transition ones racial identity from…I don’t know…being a white person to being a black person would be to argue that race didn’t become part of ones identity until after the fall.
But what if it didn’t?
What was Adam formed from? The dust, the dirt, the soil—dark-colored stuff. What was Eve formed from? A rib, a bone—a white-colored thing. Could it have been that Adam was dark-skinned, Eve light-skinned, with their race being divinely established from the beginning?3 Race is sacred, given to us at birth. Even if this idea about Adam and Eve were proved to be untrue, my point, in general, is still valid: God has known us from the very beginning—before that!—of our lives, and He ordained our very existence, which includes our race and gender.
What Gives Us the Right?
What gives Bruce the right to become Cailtyn?
What gives Rachel the right to become black?
I think they would say that they didn’t feel right in their own identities. I understand that. Truly. I’ve had my own identity issues, and sometimes, I still struggle with this. However, I would respond to these two that their discomfort in the gender or racial aspect of their identities has less to do with those factors and more to do with that starving spiritual component, that piece of the whole that screams to be reunited with God, that piece that brings the non-Christian so much discomfort.
I don’t want to be insensitive or rude to these two individuals, and I truly hesitated to even mention their names. In the end, I have done so because I needed to make this final point: our society has more or less closed the discussion on sexuality and is now being forced to consider the issue of transitioning gender identity. And then, only a few weeks after this new issue, we are faced with a newer issue, transitioning racial identity. I don’t want to get into dramatics, but this does beg the question: “What will we choose change next?”
We are broken and desperate to be returned to God, the One who made us and, therefore, has the right and responsibility to establish our identity, In our rebellion, we scramble and scrape to create our own identity. In our mad desire to be independent of all authority, we will tinker and change everything we think is within our power so that we might finally convince ourselves that we are in control.
Change is one of the few constants in our society, and depravity is the other.
God help us that we might be redeemed from our depravity, so that we might be changed by Him, restored to our original, divine identity.