GENDER DOES MATTER

 

We’ve been exposed lately to a variety of people who matter: first it was “Black Lives Matter”, followed by “White Lives Matter, which morphed into “All Lives Matter”. Why limit this litany to people? I have a very dear aunt who lives for the neighbors’ cats. I’d love to make up a sign that reads “Cat Lives Matter’ and take a picture of her thrusting it in the air in an expression of vehement purpose.

I don’t want to stop there. Some time back I posted an article on my blog site entitled “Is God Genderless?” In that article I rebutted from Scripture the popular Christian misconception that gender doesn’t belong in heaven. One key point in that rebuttal was the misunderstanding of Jesus’ words in Matthew 22 that in our spiritual form we won’t marry each other, and of Paul’s words in Galatians 3 that in that form we won’t be male or female.

The source of this common misunderstanding of these Scriptural passages is the unjustified notion that since we won’t be marrying each other, heaven is genderless. Nothing could be further from the truth. Paul took pains to point out that in our spiritual form we’ll be components of a much greater entity, the Church, who will possess the feminine gender in her marriage to Jesus Christ. While we as components may not exercise gender, our aggregate, the Church, will, and, according to Romans 7:4, will bear fruit. As Paul claimed in Ephesians 5, the Church’s marriage will be anything but a trivial figure of speech. Given this relationship between Jesus and His Church, one would naturally assume that gender, in a meaningful sense, is a factor within the Godhead itself.

Recently I received a response to that blog, in which the respondent commented that gender within the Godhead, true or not, is not the most important issue with respect to God. Instead, he claimed, what really matters is that we worship Him in selfless nobility.

I agree with that. I, too, think that our feelings toward God should be noble. An important element of our worship in that respect should follow Jesus’ commandment in Matthew 22:

Thou shalt love the Lord, thy God, with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment.”

The key issue here is arriving at that point of noble expression of fervent love, which brings us back to the importance of gender within the Godhead. I contend that the only sure way to worship God as Jesus commanded in Matthew 22 is to perceive the Godhead in the context of Family, consisting of Father, Mother and Son. Only in that context does the truth of Genesis 1:26a and 27 shine forth:

“And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness . . . So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.”

The standard understanding of the Godhead is of three Personalities, each Member complete in Himself of all the qualities of Godhood. But it is that very perception of self-completion that contradicts the notion of God’s selflessness! For if God is complete in Himself, a complementary companion upon whom He can confer His love is not necessary, and God is free to enjoy the narcissistic understanding of His own unique and unsurpassed greatness. Having a complementary companion, on the other hand, would render Him incomplete in Himself, removing his status as All-in-All and endowing Him instead with the attribute of being First among those who love.

Is that second notion compatible with Scripture? I think it is, because Jesus spoke of His role during His incarnation as the perfect image of the Father. He presented Himself to us as incomplete, awaiting His future marriage to His Church, the complementary companion upon whom He will confer His wholehearted, unreserved love. As Jesus represented the Father in perfection, it must be assumed that the Father Himself has a Complementary Companion of His own with whom He can share His immense and beautiful love.

That understanding changes everything. No longer must we worship God as possessing a unique majesty; rather, we can worship Him as placing love above that majesty, demonstrating in perfection His selfless nobility and calling us to exhibit the same.

So here’s how I’d like you to visualize me: waving a sign that reads “God’s Gender Matters”.

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