“Humanity’s binary gender design as male and female reflects in some mysterious way the nature of God. While sharing a common humanity, the man and the woman are unique and complementary rather than identical.”
1. We were created male and female by divine design.
According to the Genesis creation account, God created humanity male and female (Gen 1:26–28). Maleness and femaleness are creational, not contractual. They are divinely instituted rather than socially defined. Thus our gender identity cannot simply be renegotiated the way in which we refinance a mortgage or reschedule an appointment. God created us, and we are his creatures, both men and women.
2. We were created male and female in God’s image.
Humanity’s binary gender design as male and female reflects in some mysterious way the nature of God. While sharing a common humanity, the man and the woman are unique and complementary rather than identical. This complementarity, in turn, reflects a facet of God’s own nature. God, too, is a unity within diversity (three in one, equal in personhood, distinct in role). This unity in diversity is beautifully reflected in human marriage, where the two become one flesh (Gen 2:24–25).
3. The man was created first and given the responsibility to lead.
Scripture teaches that first the man was created by a direct divine act of creation and given the responsibility to lead; subsequently, the woman was created by God from the man (Gen 2:5–9) and for the man (Gen 2:18–20). He is to subdue the earth and is given the name “Adam,” which also serves as the name of the entire human race. God calls the man to account and holds him responsible for the fall.
4. The man and the woman are partners in exercising dominion over God’s creation.
The man and the woman jointly receive God’s mandate to multiply and fill the earth, and to subdue it, exercising dominion. God creates the two as genuine partners, and this partnership envelops the man’s leadership and the woman’s support and participation in such a way that the two work in tandem, with complementarity. This genuine partnership can be fully reflected today where men exercise godly leadership without domination and encourage women’s robust participation within biblical boundaries.
5. Who we are as men and women defines the core of our existence, not merely its periphery.
Having been created male and female, we are husbands and wives, fathers and mothers, sons and daughters, brothers and sisters. Thus the way in which we live our lives is in and through our divinely created gender identities. These gender identities, in turn, are not merely superficial but run deep, affecting who we are as persons, family members, church members, and citizens. While the gospel extends to all of us, we do not cease to exist as men and women.
6. The fall distorted, corrupted, and confused who we are as men and women.
Men and women are meant to live out gender diversity in unity. The fall destroys this prospect. Male and/or female domination are some of the extremes resulting from fractured gender relationships. It is only those redeemed in Christ who can hope to recover and live out God’s intended design. We should remember that the ultimate problem is sin, not a faulty gender design or a corruption of a perfect original. That said, even in its fallen state humanity still displays glimpses of the divine design.