Is There a Spiritual Aspect to Gender?

A big topic of discussion on many fronts recently has been about genders. The discussion focuses on the “what” of genders.  But what about the “why,” which can provide an essential perspective?

“Male and female” are immediately identified at the Bible’s first mention of the origin of humanity:

Genesis 1:26-27

Let Us make man in Our Image, according to Our Likeness
God created man in His own Image; in the Image of God He created him;
male and female He created them.

Genesis 5:1-2

In the day that God created man, He made him in the Likeness of God;
He created them male and female

These two genders are almost everywhere in nature.  Bugs have them.  Flowers and trees have them.  Animals have them.  This is something which should easily be merely assumed.  So why, when the human is described as being created in God’s Image and Likeness, are they emphasized?  Is this a mere listing of attributes (“Image and Likeness of God”; and “male and female”) or are they being linked?

In Genesis 2, as with no other species, the creations of the man and then of the woman are separate accounts, emphasizing that they are distinct although sharing the same nature (via the “rib”).  When verse 7 records “the LORD God … breathed into [the man’s] nostrils the breath of life,” again what is shared by no other species is that humans were meant to bear something from the depths of God Himself

They are to carry the Image and Likeness of God.  It must be noted that an Image, as in a reflection of a mirror or captured in a photograph, although the Original is readily recognizable, still is very limited because of the substance of the reflecting material.  As much as an Image can reveal, there is also far more which it can never reveal about the Original.  For this reason, God’s Image (especially the now fallen Image) does not *define* God – a mistake which can be seen, for example, in the mess exposed by the Greek and Roman “big human” gods.

Why two genders?  In the late nineteenth century, stereoscopes had two sets of lenses, one for the right eye and one for the left eye, through which a person looked at a double photograph with the right picture very slightly different from the left one. The result was to see the photograph’s subject in 3-D – an effect similar to today’s specially made 3-D movies when using glasses with a red lens on one side and a blue on the other.  Although a single eye can indeed manage very well in life, still two points of view provide something beyond that one eye’s limit to height and width: now *depth* is revealed.

The man and the woman are meant to be God’s stereoscope of His Image and Likeness.  There are deliberate differences between them, for example, the biology of the body is fit to a specific gender from conception: body shape, endocrine systems, procreation equipment, brain formation, to name a few.  Yes, there is obvious considerable overlap in what both can do, as when there are shared tasks such as nurturing the family.  Yet even there, gender differences are revealed as these tasks are performed: in terms of mental, physical, emotional, logical, and other perspectives.

The differences must be valued in that they are placed into the male and the female by God Himself, because it is through both points of view that He reveals Himself, His methods, concerns, interests, values and balance – important depth in regard to how the Image and Likeness of God is to be displayed to this universe.  In other words, there is a specific spiritual reason why human males with their masculinity and human females with their femininity exist.

St Paul makes a sad point about the current situation [I Corinthians 13:12 KJV]:

For now we see through a glass, darkly;
but then [at His Second Coming] face to face:
now I know in part;
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The image-mirror has been encrusted over by human rebellion.  Still, God is greater than that which tries to obscure His Image, so there are signs, hints, yearnings, traits, fulfillments, contentments which surface, pointing to His design placed into the genders.

This God-bestowed gift of masculine and feminine is why there has been of late such a vehement attack on human gender.  In this end time, Satan is desperately determined to destroy anything of significant value in the Lord’s creation, as, for example, in modern feminism’s baffling attempt to erase feminism in favor of a unisex masculinity.  As St Paul put it (Ephesians 6:12):

For we do not wrestle against [merely] flesh and blood,
but against principalities,
against powers,
against the rulers of the darkness of this age,
against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.

We need to be aware of this enemy, but also from where our power must come, the resurrected King over all (Colossians 2:15):

Having disarmed principalities and powers,
He made a public spectacle of them,
triumphing over them in [the cross and the subsequent resurrection].

When the Holy Spirit brings us closer to what is God’s original intent for male and female, our joy is to put aside annoyance at differences, and instead to discover and to celebrate how in them the Image of God is revealed in its depth to our families, our world, and the universe.


There is more on this in

IN THE IMAGE OF GOD: Male and Female He Created Them
James Lindemann



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