Christian theology of gender

Albrecht Dürer, Adam and Eve, 1504, Engraving
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Thinking theologically about gender and biological sexEdit

Gender is part of the human experience but not the essence of personhood. According to anthropocentric versions of Christian theology, the core of what it means to be a person is to be "made in the image of God." (Genesis 1:27) Some claim God created Adam and Eve to be male and female respectively, yet God Adam in one Genesis account first, and only created Eve later. When people conceptually designate gender distinctions then they become observable in their world and may come to have significant consequences for them and in their wider culture. 'Original Sin' damaged both the reality of gender and our understanding of it according to fundamentalist Christians. It should be noted here that there is no concept of original sin in Judaism. And many contemporary Christians, such as Fr. Matthew Fox and others, now focus on “Original Blessing”. A Christian Theology of gender forms the basis for some people’s ethics (how we treat people), some people’s identity (and we understand ourselves) and some people’s religious theology and practice (the Incarnation and gender roles). It is therefore important for some to think carefully and clearly about what gender is and to confirm that their thinking is both Scriptural and Reformed.


Category Explanation Experience Expression Exceptions
Gender Sociological category Masculine, Feminine, Intersex and Non-Binary Gender Roles and gender traits Today there are too many gender-identities to list
Biological Sex Empirically observable aspects Primary and secondary sexual characteristics (chromosomes, bone structure, sexual organs etc) Average traits across current and historical populations Ambiguous secondary characteristics or unusual combinations of primary and secondary sexual characteristics

Thinking Theologically about GenderEdit

Gender as a sociological category in ScriptureEdit

Comment about the existence of categories in Scripture (an example of other categories) The primary text for gender as a category

Masculinity and Femininity as they are observed in ScriptureEdit

Comment about Masculinity and Femininity

  • sample verse of a man exhibiting masculinie traits
  • sample verse of a woman exhibiting feminine traits

Descriptions of Masculinity and Femininity in ScriptureEdit

A comment about when prescriptive versus descriptive

Observation that all verses are descriptive before they are prescriptive
Observation that there are degrees and aspects of prescriptiveness

Comment about prooftexts as representative of a larger idea Comment about the place of a prooftext in the larger narrative of Scripture Genesis 1-3 as a primary prooftext for gender

Gender Roles and Gender traits as they are observed in ScriptureEdit

Comment defining gender roles Comment defining gender attributes - with a note about their variety and cultural expression

  • sample verse of a man in a gender role
  • sample verse of a woman in a gender role
  • sample verse of male gender traits
  • sample verse of female gender traits

Descriptions of Gender Roles and Gender traits in ScriptureEdit

A comment about Gender roles in the family and church, with a note about the controversy around gender roles outside the church A comment that the these are starting points and not complete guides and a note about giving of principles as opposed to complete descriptions

  • primary verse for male-female gender roles in the family
  • primary verse for male-female gender roles in the church

A comment about how to reason for gender roles outside these two and the associated difficulties for this type of reasoning

Non-conformist experiences and expressions observed in ScriptureEdit

  • Sample verse of Non-conformist experiences
  • Sample verse of Non-conformist expressions

A comment about how they are a) part of the descriptions of experience b)illustrative of the consequences of 'Original Sin'

Descriptions of Non-conformist experiences and expressionsEdit

A comment about celibacy now and gender roles A comment about conversion and Non-conformist experiences experience and expressions A comment about the value of human experience A comment about Union with Christ as the starting point for identity

  • Primary verse for the value of human experience
  • Primary verse for Union with Christ as the starting point for identity

Arguments from essence versus arguments from exceptionsEdit

A comment about how exceptions are real and useful for double checking main argument A comment about the logical problems of making exceptions the rules for everything A comment about the importance of essence, and having an essential definition for gender

Thinking Theologically about Biological SexEdit

Epistomological and Metaphysical realismEdit

Brief survey of Primary and secondary sexual characteristicsEdit

Brief survey of verage traits across current and historical populationsEdit



  • Ethics
  • Identity
  • Sexuality
  • The Incarnation