To reject the sex binary is ultimately to reject the Creator-creature distinction. Despising our binary sexuality, we exalt ourselves to the position of creator. We seek to author and determine our own lives, acknowledging only the limits of our own preferences. Yet in reality we are not on any sort of spectrum with God. He is God and we are not, and he sets the boundaries of our life, and marks out paths of righteousness for us to walk in.
God loves binaries. In creation, he separated light from darkness (Genesis 1:4), the waters above from the waters beneath (verse 7), the sea from the dry land (verse 10). We should be glad for each of these binaries. A cycle of day and night is better than endless dusk. “Water everywhere” is only good news for fish; the rest of us want “water on earth as it is in heaven.” And hiking and sailing are both better than wading through mud all the time.
The Gender Binary
The noblest of God’s binaries, though, is found in humanity. God crowned us with the honor of bearing his image, uniting a physical body and a rational soul (Genesis 1:26, 2:7). Then he split the man into “male and female” (1:27, 2:22), forming a greater whole through the union of the first man and woman, and through every subsequent union of a man who leaves his father and mother and holds fast to his wife (2:24).
God’s binaries ennoble both the pair and each part. As an illustration, consider the binary pair of an electrical cord and a wall socket: one cord might be better than another, but cords cannot be “better” than wall sockets. In the same way, who could say whether they prefer heaven or earth? Birds must nest in trees, and earthlings must gaze at the stars. No one prefers the land or the sea absolutely, but everyone appreciates the beauty of a coastline and the safety of a harbor. In the same way, men and women cannot be “better” than each other. One man might be a better man than another. A particular woman will excel a particular man in some particular respect. But men in general cannot be “better” or “worse” than women. Each is a good and indispensable part of an even better whole.
God’s binaries are about union, not division. The sex binary does not separate humanity into two halves, each going their own direction. Rather, it enables a deeper union than would be possible otherwise. Without the sex binary, each of us as individuals could go our own way as a full representation of the human species. In fact, though, no one person can actually represent the fullness of humanity, because no one possesses all the human sex characteristics or a functioning reproductive system. Only the union of a male and a female presents us with humanity itself, and not merely one or more humans. Individually, a man and a woman are just two people; together, they are a family, a race, perhaps the beginning of a royal line.
The Most Basic Binary
The binaries within creation illuminate the relationship between God and his creation. The “Creator-creature distinction” sounds like it is all about keeping God and creation apart, but it is actually about keeping them together.