When a Christian makes any claim about sexual relationships by appealing to the Bible or to their view of nature as proof that their idea of sexuality is the right one, what we’re really dealing with boils down to the Naturalistic Fallacy. In Part I of this series, we’ve already seen that myriad sexual expressions and gender identities exist in Nature. If a person believes God created all these things, then the 15 all-female species of Whiptail Lizard that reproduce asexually must have been part of His plan.
By extension, the religious must concede either that being a lesbian is alright, or that … I don’t know, Satan is misleading small reptiles into lives of sin. Which seems more likely?
Now let’s take a second look at scripture and see if we can get to the bottom of Jesus’ own sexual identity with all this information fresh in our minds.
So God created mankind in his own image,
in the image of God he created them;
male and female he created them.
On a second, more informed reading, it would appear that male and female are both included in the image of God, since in the image of God he created “them”. If this is true, then according to the Bible, God is not one gender or the other, but both. And since we have a trinity to deal with, at first glance that’s not terribly problematic. But then we read this:
In the beginning was the Word,
and the Word was with God,
and the Word was God.
Verse 14 continues:
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
The “Word”, in Greek, is the feminine noun Sophia, meaning Wisdom. It’s right there in the text. God is the Father, the Son, and the Spirit, but one of these is personified as female. Now think for a moment: Who or what, according to the majority of Christendom, is The Word?
One could argue that in this instance directly, and slightly less directly in Genesis, Jesus is represented in the original Greek and Hebrew not with a gender neutral term, and not with a masculine noun, but in the feminine with the gender specific term “Sophia”.
But Jesus was a man, right?
Maybe, maybe not. Or more compellingly, maybe he was both. Historically, many intersex people live as one gender or the other, and in some cultures (though quite rarely historically speaking), openly as both. We shouldn’t be fooled by an unsophisticated translation of the text because the Bible is clear in its original meaning: Jesus is referred to as male throughout the gospels, but it is clear there is a feminine element explicitly stated more than once.
It’s quite possible if the historical person of Jesus did, in fact, exist, he lived as a man and simply hid this fact to escape persecution. This may also explain the undeniably enormous gap in his personal history, with the gospel narratives jumping from his birth, to one scene when he (or she) was twelve in the temple, then cutting directly to Jesus’ ministry.
Maybe it was during those years Jesus was making his sexual identity decision. Conservatives shouldn’t be bothered by this, since so many seem to think being gay is just as much of a choice as dying your hair blue or wearing this or that tie on Sunday. Why wouldn’t Jesus have had to decide about his sexual identity like the rest of us?
And if you think about it, how else could God create male and female in his image unless male and female were part of God’s collective image in the first place? If God were all man with not a feminine bit about him, then we’d all be men as well. That’s simple logic.
This is one way we can imagine Christians in the twenty-first century attempting to avoid hypocricy going forward. As gender equality becomes more and more prevalent, they’ll just reinterpret their holy scriptures once again and cast themselves on the right side of history, like they’ve done with racial segregation and women’s rights within living memory. (All in all, this once again supports my argument that the best proof against religious belief is often a more thorough examination of the beliefs themselves.)
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Now if you’re still convinced that, despite all the evidence in the natural world and in the original Hebrew and Greek of the Bible itself, that modern day conservatives are right and that for humans, homosexuality is a sin; stay tuned for Part III of this series: The New Revised “Unchanging” Word of God on Homosexuality.
The truth may just blow your mind.