Thursday, April 22, 2004

A Christian View of Gender Formation 

by Dave
A recent Albert Mohler editorial gives a straightforward summary of the conservative Christian view of gender formation. He aims to "tell the truth about what God has revealed concerning human sexuality, gender, and marriage," which any LDS commentator would follow with a quote from the Proclamation. Instead, Mohler derives his equally conservative view from God's intention as expressed in Creation. He cites Genesis 1:27 ("male and female created he them") showing that God's "intention was clearly to create and establish two distinct but complementary genders or sexes." Heterosexuality is part of the created scheme, he continues, so homosexuality is a transgression against God's will (expressed in Creation).

By contrast, the LDS view is that "[g]ender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose." So our earthly gender is "natural" in the sense that it existed before our spirits were incarnated sometime between conception and birth. God's will is expressed in the matter only insofar as He matches spirits to bodies. The "matching spirits to bodies" process is problematic whether God makes the assignment or not, as was noted here recently. The Christian view avoids the problem by avoiding Preexistence; spirits are created somewhere between conception and birth.

Of course, the Christian view raises a different problem: if God does the creating, He seems to bear some responsibility for the plight of those who are physically or mentally disabled (also discussed here recently). And a liberal Christian might argue that if He created genders, He also created the psychological makeup that sometimes develops into homosexual attraction so it isn't necessarily against God's will. So the Christian view, rooted in creation, encounters difficult questions as quickly as the LDS view rooted in the gendered preexistence of spirits. But isn't it interesting to see conservative Christians, starting from an entirely different theological view of spirits and Creation, nevertheless end up with the same doctrinal view of homosexuality?
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