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22 September 2020

The Bible and what could be taken as transgender

I remember, many years ago, a simple pamphlet put out by the LGBT church, MCC. Its title was What the Bible says about Homosexuality or something like that. The inside pages were blank, because – despite irrational claims and bad translations – the bible does say nothing on the subject.

So, likewise, I could have left this article equally blank. However there are several verses therein that have been taken out of context and proposed as saying something about us. 

All translations from the King James Bible.




Genesis 1:27

“And God [Elohim אֱלֹהִים] created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.”

Fran Bennett comments: “God created humankind in the divine image … both male and female 

Fran Bennett


(Genesis 1:27). So God as Creator is both father and mother. God is both male and female. God is fully androgynous……God is therefore trans-gender if you will… “

This account inspired much speculation in Midrash and Kabalistic texts, many of which compared this created androgyne with that in Plato's Symposium

The word Elohim is plural and some read it as a group of gods, both male and female.

On the other hand, others argue that birth gender is here a fundamental given and such as the Evangelical Alliance argue that "the individual who claims ontologically to be a 'woman trapped in a man's body' (or vice versa) is fundamentally mistaken given the biblical assertion of the primacy of the physical."


Genesis 2: 21-2

Adam is created first, but needs a partner. 

“And the LORD God [YHWH יְהֹוָה ] caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.” 

This of course makes Adam a male mother. Traditionally Eve is taken to be the left side of the fusion, the same side as Parvati fused with Siva. This tradition was preserved through millenia and the fake circus hermaphrodites almost always put the female on their left.

As Jesus was considered the second Adam, as Adam was androgynous, so Jesus was also said to be androgynous.


Exodus 3.14

“And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM”. 

A perplexing verse in the Torah in that the word translated as ‘god’ is Elohim אֱלֹהִים , who here is taking the name Yahweh (YHWH יְהֹוָה ) a competing god name. The two god names have been used to separate the J-text from the E-text in the analysis of separate traditions in the Torah.

Anyway what we have here is an ycleptance, a self naming and naming being accepted by others. Such self naming is an important process during Transition when a new name is taken and accepted by others.

I am that I am” is the standard English translation of the name Yahweh. This resembles but is not the same as “I am what I am” as per Greta Garbo, Popeye, the Village People, a song in the musical version of La Cage aux Folles and a defiant cry from many who are queer.


Deuteronomy 22:5

“The woman shall not wear that which pertains to a man, neither shall a man put on a woman's garment, for all that do so are an abomination to the Lord your God.”

The odd thing is that this injunction comes right after a series of sensible advice about how farmers should help each other – mainly that strayed animals should be returned. This is then interrupted by the one-verse no-drag imperative, and then more sensible farming advice. This in turn is followed by some more how-to-dress imperatives, of which the major is verse 11

“Thou shalt not wear a garment of divers sorts, as of woollen and linen together”

which presumably would include cotton-polyester and most clothing on sale today.


Deuteronomy 23:1-3

“He that is wounded in the stones, or hath his privy member cut off, shall not enter into the congregation of the LORD. 

A bastard shall not enter into the congregation of the LORD; even to his tenth generation shall he not enter into the congregation of the LORD. 

An Ammonite or Moabite shall not enter into the congregation of the LORD; even to their tenth generation shall they not enter into the congregation of the LORD for ever.”

So, no transsexuals in the congregation then. Not to mention certain medical conditions that cis persons may be afflicted with.


2 Kings 9:30-36

A rebellious army commander, Jehu, having murdered his king, intends to kill the king's mother, Jezebel, who had stood up for religious diversity against the monolatrous Yahwists:

"And he lifted up his face to the window, and said, Who is on my side? who? And there looked out to him two or three eunuchs. And he said, Throw her down. So they threw her down: and some of her blood was sprinkled on the wall, and on the horses: and he trode her under foot." 

Jeffrey McCall identifies ‘eunuchs’ with LGBT persons. “The Lord spoke to my heart that eunuchs born that way are those who were set apart by God from the womb to minister to God. They are to continually minister to his heart, and He to them. They were set apart not to be touched by any other humans. They were not created for marriage and the typical family life.” See also Isiah 56:4-5 and Matthew 19:12. 


Isiaah 56:4-5

"For thus saith the LORD unto the eunuchs that keep my sabbaths, and choose the things that please me, and take hold of my covenant; Even unto them will I give in mine house and within my walls a place and a name better than of sons and of daughters: I will give them an everlasting name, that shall not be cut off."

However, compare Deuteronomy 23:1 above.


Matthew 6:6

The prologue to the Lord’s Prayer: “But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly”.

An invocation, particularly in Pentecostalism that queer persons should stay in the closet. This works only in the King James translation.


Matthew 19:12

“For there are some Eunuchs, which were so born from their mother's womb: and there are some eunuchs, which were made eunuchs of men: and there be eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it.”


Mark 9:47

“And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out: it is better for thee to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire”

This is the title of Calpernia Addams’ autobiography. 


I Corinthians 1:27-8

“But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; 

And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea”

The chosen text by Paula Nielsen to accompany her transition.


Galatians 3:28

“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

There is lots of controversy about the so-called Pauline epistles. More conservative believers accept 13 Pauline epistles; most scholars designate only 7 as authentic; more radical scholars see them all as being written by Marcion and his school. 

While some use this verse as a foundation for Christian Socialism, it is certainly not consistent with other verses attributed to Paul where slaves are told to obey their masters and preaching in church is reserved to male persons.

Certainly when Christians took power in the Roman Empire in the 4th century there was no move for either gender equality or for the abolition of slavery.


Bibliography:

  • Helen Savage. Changing Sex? Transsexuality and Christian Theology. University of Durham Phd, 2005. Online
  • Robert M Price. Holy Fable Volume I; The Old Testament Undistorted by Faith. Tellectual Press, 2017.
  • Richard Elliott Friedman. The Bible with Sources Revealed: A New View into the Five Books of Moses. Harper Collins, 2003.

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