Male & Female Beyond Sexual

male & female symbols

To be male or female is to be far more than “sexual.”

Male or female describes the kind of human we are.  It is a specific description of our physical and spiritual being.  It is also a vocation.  Our maleness or femaleness is a way for us to live with purpose and bring glory to God.  God did not create  male and female in the same way, at the same time, or for the same purpose.  The man is the steward and manager of creation.  It wasn’t good for man to be alone in this endeavor.  He looked at all the animals, but none was an appropriate companion.  Man needed someone who would complement him–someone who was like him in spirit, but different in function and purpose.  He needed a “helper.”  “I will make him a helper fit for him,” God declares (Gn. 2:18).  “Fit for him” (Hebrew: keneged) literally means “opposite him, facing him, in front of him, corresponding to him.”  The two types of human beings–male and female– are different in a multitude of ways.  One of those differences is sexual, but there are other compatible differences.

Both man and woman can think, reason, be creative, love, and communicate.  But evidence proves that we do these things differently.  As co-workers and stewards of this earth–young or old, single or married–our complementary differences serve well as we live in anticipation of Christ’s return.  Men and women are the

two eyes of the race, and the use of both is needed [for] a clear understanding of any problem of human interest . . . If, in viewing the human problems of life, we have the man’s view only, or the woman’s view only, we have not the true perspective.” (Mary Wood-Allen, M.D. in What A Young Woman Ought to Know)

There is more to male and female than “sexuality,” “sensuality,” or anything related to the intimacy of the sexual act.  Men and women, married or single, can relate to one another in completely non-sexual ways and, in doing so, use their thinking skills and talents for the good of society.

It is folly to think of every interaction of male and female as being sexual in nature.  What an abhorrent mess that would be!  Being male and female is not so much sexual as it is the partnering of our complementary differences to bring glory to Jesus Christ and affect the culture for good.

From The Failure of Sex Education in the Church:
Mistaken Identity, Compromised Purity (pp. 96-97)
by Linda Bartlett (Amazon)

Sexuality is Central to Being Human, Right?

backs of children

It is true, isn’t it, that sexuality is a central part of being human?

That’s what SIECUS (Sexuality Information and Education Council of the U.S.) says.  One of their core values is that “sexuality is a central part of being human.”  But what does God say?  Does He say that sexuality (understood as sexual desires and the ability to be sexually intimate) is a central part of being human?  If so, where does He say that?  And what does this  mean, specifically when speaking about children?

Animals and humans bear similarity in the fact that both continue their species sexually, not asexually like amoebas.  But should we be defined by the way we procreate?  Central to being human is our distinction from animals.  It is having the attributes of God.  Unlike animals, humans have the ability to reason; to be kind, faithful, patient, and just.  We derive knowledge of God’s will for creation.  In our vocations a male and female humans, we have opportunity to make use of our humanness in different yet compatible ways with glory to God.  Even in the Garden of Eden, God did not clothe Adam and Eve with sexuality or sensuality.  He clothed them with His glory.  If sexuality is central to being human (as defined by Kinsey and company), what happens when we can’t or don’t express sexual desires and needs?  Are we less human?  The present culture seems to demand sexual rights.  But is sexuality a right from God or a privilege and responsibility within the boundaries of marriage?

It would be cruel, don’t you think, if God were to identify even children as “sexual beings” but then tell us we cannot freely be the very thing He created us to be?  God wants us to be what He created us to be: holy people who live our daily lives as male and female not just in marriage, but in familial and social relationships, in school, at work, and in worship.  He created us to be relational people but, because He did not make sexuality central to being human, we can relate to one another in non-sexual ways.  We can be in all kinds of selfless relationships– parents and children, brothers and sisters, caring neighbors, co-workers–that draw attention to Jesus Christ.  Jesus Christ was fully human, but only in error would we identify Him as a “sexual being.”

Sin warped the image of God that we humans were created to bear.  But the moment a person trusts Christ, he or she begins to receive a new nature (2 Cor. 5:17).  Baptized, we are saints–or holy ones–set apart for God through the death and resurrection of Jesus.  Holiness–whether it is reckoned to us freely (justification) or begins to characterize us (sanctification), whether we are receiving it as a free gift or cooperating with God to bring it about within us–is central to being human.  We are “debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh” (Ro. 8:12), but to Christ in whom the fallen nature has no claim on us.

We might want to say, “I am a sexual being.  I can’t help being who I am!”  But in Christ, we are not obligated to obey impulses of the flesh or satisfy its desires.  Why?  Because Christians are sanctified.  Sanctification is the process by which God develops our new nature, enabling us to grow into more holiness (not sexiness) through time.  This is a continuous process with many victories and defeats as the new nature battles with the “old man” (Ro. 6:6) in which it presently resides.  In heaven, the new nature will be set free, not as a sexual being (understood as sexually active), but as a holy being in the perfectly restored image of God.

From The Failure of Sex Education in the Church:
Mistaken Identity, Compromised Purity, pp. 92-93
by Linda Bartlett (Amaz0n)