by: Matt Moore
As I listened to Bruce Jenner recollect a lifelong struggle with his gender identity in his exclusive interview with Diane Sawyer, I experienced an array of emotions. I wasn't disgusted or enraged. Nor did I feel like I needed to jump on Facebook and join the conservative chorus of "Our culture is reprobate! The wrath of God is surely upon us! God doesn't make mistakes!" statuses. Sure, as a follower of Christ and a passionate proponent of Biblical truth I was and am definitely bothered by the fact that multitudes of easily persuaded people were listening to this message and many would be emotionally manipulated into affirming the confusion and brokenness of transgenderism. And yes, I was absolutely unnerved by the probability that the tremendous exposure of Jenner's message would fuel the already hot and heavy movement in our culture against God and his gospel.
But more than anything, I just felt sad. I felt sad for Bruce and for the many people like him. Having struggled with homosexual feelings for my entire life, I can empathize on some level with the unbearable weight Bruce carried on his shoulders as he secretly wrestled with feelings he both didn't understand and was deathly afraid to ever express to those he loved. Feeling utterly different than those around you and constantly fearing their rejection of you upon the possible discovery of your deepest, darkest secret is a miserable life to live. I hate that he endured this inward conflict alone for so long.
What struck me most painfully, though, was Bruce's perception and theology of the God who made him. Below is a quote from the first few minutes of the emotional interview.
"God's looking down, making little Bruce. He's looking down and he says, "Okay, what are we going to do with this one?" Make him a smart kid, very determined, and he gave me all these wonderful qualities. And then at the end when he's just finishing, he goes, "Wait a second, we gotta give him something. Everybody has stuff in their life that they have to deal with, what are we going to give him?" And God looks down and chuckles a bit and goes, "Hey let's give him the soul of a female and let's see how he deals with that."
I don't think it's possible that I could fully express in written words how much I sorrowfully loathe the fact that Jenner believes in a god of that nature. It grieves me that he believes God to be some unloving, sadistic ruler that finds delight in the suffering and emotional turmoil of his creation. This version of God - the one that makes people transgender, gay, etc. - is ironically described by the unbelieving world to be a god of "love." But how loving is the god that Bruce has described? In my opinion, that god sounds more like an abusive, dispassionate slave master than a loving Father. Thankfully, this deity that Jenner described in his interview on Friday night is not the true God, but a creation of his own misguided imagination.
The real God - the wholly good God of immeasurable love and kindness who has revealed himself throughout history and preserved that revelation in the Bible - did not create humanity to be plagued with things like gender identity issues, homosexual desires, addictive propensities, psychotic disorders, and so on. The true God doesn't recline back on his stupendous throne spending each day speculating over what unique torturous means he's going to throw into the lives of each person he creates to ensure they have something to "deal with", as Jenner phrased it. The Lord's creational intent for humanity was that we would be healthy, wholesome and joy-filled worshippers of God.
But it's obvious we are not these things. On the contrary, we are unhealthy, broken and joyless people who worship everything but God. Something has gone horribly wrong with us... and it's not God's fault.
Something our culture is insistent upon doing lately is giving God the credit that sin is due. The Lord created the first two people - our common father and mother - in absolute purity and perfection. They experienced no internal conflict with their created identity, no emotional turmoil, no corrupt desire, or anything else that is unfortunately characteristic of our normal human experience today.
But this heavenly bliss all ended - for all of us - the moment they bowed down to Satan's seductive temptations to distrust the goodness of their Maker and to pursue independence from him. When they bit into the fruit of death and sinned against The Lord, Adam and Eve's core nature shifted. They fell from their God - given purity and perfection and plummeted into the corruption and brokenness of rebellion. Their nature was no longer innocent, but sinful. They were no longer truly free to choose between good and evil, but were enslaved to evil. And their offspring - all of us - are born into this world in their likeness and image, sharing their corruption and brokenness.
Original sin is why people have gender identity issues, homosexual desires and every other fallen bent or propensity - not God. No, these feelings aren't chosen. If Bruce Jenner had a choice, I'm most positive that he would've never chosen to feel like a woman. If I had a choice I can promise you that I would've never chosen to be attracted to the same gender. But the un-chosen-ness of broken feelings doesn't mean God made Bruce, myself or anyone else that way. Sin is what makes us all that way, in one way or another.
I understand that some of my readers' feathers may be ruffled by my classification of gender identity and sexuality issues as broken fruit of evil human nature. But it's my presupposition that the only one with the knowledge and authority to define what is good and what is not is God himself, and I believe he's done that clearly and it's been recorded by chosen prophets and apostles and supernaturally preserved in what we know as the Bible.
To the non-Christian who may be angered by my biblical "obsessiveness," before you judge me ignorant, uneducated or a thoughtless blind-faither, please realize that we all come to the table with our own presuppositions. I presuppose that there is a God who communicates himself, and I believe that divine communication to be a collection of 66 books recorded by 40 different authors from different walks of life on three different continents over a period of 1500 years that is miraculously one big, fluid story with the same major themes: God is good and holy, man is evil and corrupt, God desires to save man and he does that in Jesus. On the other hand, the non-Christians of our day advocating for the legitimation of transgenderism and other issues presuppose that the knowledge of good and evil comes from... well, I don't know. From feelings? From popular opinion? From the present cultural consensus? At the risk of sounding arrogant, I would say that a Christian's God-centered presuppositions and beliefs regarding the Bible are grounded in far more logic, history and evidence than the ever-shifting beliefs of the unbelieving culture.
So from a Biblical perspective - which is what I believe to be the correct, realistic perspective - is it God's will for us to settle into our broken natures and feelings? It most definitely is not. Is it God's will that Bruce Jenner attempts to live his life as a woman? It most definitely is not. God's desire is that Bruce would come to him through the sin-atoning work of Jesus to be forgiven of his guilt and restored to the wholeness he's always wanted for Bruce (a process that begins in this life and is completed in the age to come).
As Russell Moore put it in his post a couple of days ago, "We don't need to fix what happened in our first birth; we need a new birth altogether."
This subject is a hefty one that warrants much more than a short blog post. I want to be clear that my intention here is not to give a comprehensive theological or psychological overview of gender identity issues, but to point out the Biblically basic fact that I fear many people in Christian culture are beginning to forget. God is not to blame for our fallen state. Sin is the fount from which our brokenness flows.
Matt Moore is a Christian blogger who was formerly engaged in a gay lifestyle. You can read more about him at www.moorematt.org.