What is a woman?
Everyone seems to be asking this question, but who we look to for the answer matters greatly. We could look to the media, the world around us, or even the influencers of the day. But since God created women, He is the one who gets to have the final say on what a woman is. That is why I am walking us through a survey of Scripture for a biblical definition of womanhood. If you missed the introduction to this series, I highly encourage you to take a few moments to read that post here before going any further. Today, we are looking at what Scripture reveals a woman is physically.
A woman PHYSICALLY is an adult female made in the image of God.
One of the more modern arguments concerning gender is that the constraints of gender are man-made tools designed to oppress women and elevate men. This is not biblical or true. Gender is not a cultural construct that individuals are forced into. It is the design of our Creator and yet another aspect of His glory.
Only twenty-seven verses into the first book of the Bible, we read, “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them” (Genesis 1:27). Looking at the context, we can interpret the word “man” in this verse to mean mankind.
When God decided to create mankind for His glory and to best represent His image, He did not design one gender or three genders. He crafted them in two genders, male and female. This is important because, after forming Adam from the dust of the earth, breathing life into him, and then forming Eve from the flesh of Adam, the means by which more human beings are created is through the gift of reproduction. Scripture teaches us that God is involved in the creative act of every single life made in His image.
Christian author Paul Backholer defines being a woman this way: “A woman is an adult human female. Women possess two X chromosomes and are typically capable of conception, pregnancy and giving birth from puberty until menopause. Female anatomy differs completely from the male. A woman may undergo a hysterectomy and mastectomy, and yet her biological, genetic, hormonal and chromosomal sex is intact. She remains in every sense a woman.”
Notice that you cannot change your gender to match your feelings. Gender, like many aspects of our lives, is determined and fixed by God. Everything God does is by design. First, He determines in His sovereignty to make us. Then, as He knits us together with great intentionality, He purposefully fixes our gender in the womb. We see this in Psalm 139:13-14: “For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.”
Gender is God-ordained, and the masculinity of men and the femininity of women celebrate the full image of God. One of the beautiful displays of His character through women is seen in Isaiah 66:13: “As one whom his mother comforts, so I will comfort you; you shall be comforted in Jerusalem.” Isaiah is prophesying about God’s comfort over His people, and He could have chosen any analogy He wanted, but when God was looking for an analogy for the most nurturing, caring relationship between humans, He chose the love and nurturing care of a precious woman in the office of a mother.
Of course, we cannot end today without addressing the confusion that some feel surrounding gender. If you or someone you know has ever struggled with gender identity, the good news of the hope of Christ is that you are not alone in your confusion. But you must also know that God is not the author of confusion, and Satan’s primary strategy is to deceive. People can and do experience deep-seated confusion about many issues in life. And this, of course, can include gender identity.
Confusion happens when we stray from God’s Word. This statement is not meant to pick on anyone. When I stray from God’s Word in my own life, I find myself struggling with confusion, hypocrisy, and inconsistencies in my logic. Left to our own devices without the guidance of God’s Word, the human heart and mind do not do well or choose well. Any time we attempt to find our identity apart from God or do life apart from God, it leads to sin and confusion. I also believe we as Christ-followers need to remember that people become confused about all kinds of things. Confusion, however, does not mean they are beyond hope, restoration, and wholeness. The gospel offers this to everyone regardless of the complexity or uniqueness of their struggles.
When someone is wrestling with confusion in their life, we are to run to them with the grace of Jesus. Hating or hurting people who are struggling with gender confusion is a direct violation of the gospel. Of course, equally as damaging to the transgender community is affirming their efforts to find clarity by abandoning what God so clearly gave them, their biological gender. As humans, we do not need new bodies; we need new hearts. And God gives those out all the time.
There is not a person outside the reach of God’s grace and His love. But these things cannot be fully experienced without a right relationship with Jesus, and coming to Christ means we come under submission to His will and His Word. Yes, we can bring our questions, our gut-honest feelings, and our battered souls to Him. But we cannot ever justify that which is an affront to His creative work.
What would I say to the person who is deeply confused and struggling in this area? God did not make a mistake when He made you. He made you and your body in the same place, in the inward most parts of your mother’s womb. He has determined your identity as a human, made in His image with intrinsic value. You are not beyond His love, but He has determined and fixed your gender. Regardless of any feelings of confusion, you are to live according to the teachings of His Word and the gender He gave you for His glory. He loves you, and I pray you will trust He knows what is best for you.