Male, Female, and the Image of God
When God created humanity to
reflect His image, He made
them male and female (Gen.
1:27). This implies something important
about human nature. The polarity of
male and female is essential to our
role as bearers of the divine image.
This is one reason God designed
marriage to be between a man and
a woman and why homosexuality is
described in Scripture as “shameful,”
“unnatural,” and a “perversion” (Rom.
1:26–27). Why would the Bible offer
such a strong denunciation for behavior
that many today would prefer to think
of as an expression of predetermined
The Bible describes homosexuality as a
distortion of God’s design for humanity.
Homosexual practice became a part
of human experience because fallen
humanity refused to acknowledge God
(Rom. 1:21). The tendency of today’s
culture to normalize homosexual
behavior and affirm same-sex marriage
is evidence that we have “exchanged
the truth about God for a lie, and
worshiped and served created things
rather than the Creator” (Rom. 1:25).
The polarity of human male and female
as a reflection of the divine image
implies something equally important
about God. He does not have a sexual
identity, but this does not mean that
gender is alien to Him. Although God
is neither male nor female, the cultural
roles of both sexes are used to describe
Him. God’s compassion is compared
to a nursing mother in Scripture (Isa.
49:15). He promises to comfort Israel
as a mother comforts her child (Isa.
66:13). At the same time, the Bible
predominantly uses male pronouns and
images to refer to God. Jesus taught
the church to address God as Father
(Matt. 6:9). This use of gender-specific
language to describe God dignifies
both sexes as bearers of the divine
image and tells us something about
Him that other words cannot.
The growing acceptance of same sex
unions is proof that our culture
continues to suppress the truth about
God and His design for humanity. But
the Scriptures offer this hope to all who
will recognize their sinfulness and turn
to Christ: “And that is what some of you
were. But you were washed, you were
sanctified, you were justified in the
name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by
the Spirit of our God” (1 Cor. 6:11).
FOR FURTHER STUDY
To learn more, read Sex and the iWorld: Rethinking Relationship Beyond an Age of Individualism by Dale S. Kuehne (Baker).
By John Koessler, Chair and Professor of Pastoral Studies
John Koessler serves as chair and professor in the division of applied theology and church ministry at the Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, Illinois. He is married to Jane and has two sons, Drew and Jarred. John is the author of The Radical Pursuit of Rest (InterVarsity), The Surprising Grace of Disappointment (Moody) and True Discipleship (Moody). John has written several other books and articles and serves as a contributing editor for Today in the Word.