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What does the Bible say about being intersex?
Thank you for contacting us with your question, which is quite an important one. Although the Bible does not deal directly with this issue, we must try to apply Biblical principles fairly and honestly.
To define the term, 'Intersex' means that a person has, or appears to have, both male and female physical characteristics. A friend of mine was classified as a boy by the midwife who delivered her, and for the first three days of her life, her mother believed her to be a boy. Then it was realised that she was a girl, and she has been married for many years and has children. For her, the confusion did not last long.
There are people who have male internal organs and female-seeming external organs, or vice versa, and some have grown up classified as belonging to the wrong gender. These days, doctors have quite sophisticated ways of assessing such cases, but they still have to be handled with sensitivity and care. The Bible makes it clear that the fundamental rule by which we should live is based on love.
Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. (Romans 13:8)
Christians recognise that being intersex places great stress on a person and that the intersex person, like every other individual, was made in the image of God and has infinite value.
God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. (Genesis 1:27)
Every human being is made in the image of God and yet is also born deeply flawed, physically, emotionally and morally. The Bible says that this is because human sin placed the world under a curse. That which God intended to bless became cursed. This is the origin of every physical problem that human beings face, as well as our moral and emotional problems. God told Adam,
"Because you have listened to the voice of your wife
and have eaten of the tree
of which I commanded you,
‘You shall not eat of it,’
cursed is the ground because of you;
in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life."
We all share in this curse in one way or another. Jesus, God's Son, died for us and rose again and broke the curse of sin and death.
Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree” (Galatians 3:13)
However, this fallen world will remain fallen until we human beings are delivered from it. Paul wrote about this.
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. (Romans 8:18-23)
So we have to accept that for all of us, whether physically or spiritually, imperfections exist from birth and must be dealt with. The test of our love is whether we will treat people with care, sensitivity and love and do what is necessary to nurture and support them while they discover their true identity. Like everyone else, they need to know Jesus Christ as their Saviour and Lord. It is in Him that we find true meaning and identity, for time and eternity.
Those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ. (Romans 5:17)
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:23)
In summary, people can find a fulfilling life in Christ, whatever their difficulties and limitations, according to the Bible, because God gives our lives eternal significance. This is not to minimise the difficulties of life, which are very real, but it is to say that God alone can really give them meaning and an eternal reward, as Paul points out in the passage from Romans 8 quoted above.
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*All Scripture references are taken From The English Standard Version of the Holy Bible unless stated otherwise
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