Transgender and transsexual persons
Were transgender people mentioned in the Bible?
There are two people in the Bible who were either:
- Transgender individuals, or
- The product of an additional special miracle that is not generally known and acknowledged by Christians -- including those Christians who believe that the Bible is God's word and, and thus inerrant (free of error).
1. God's creation of Adam and Eve in the Book of Genesis:
The creation of the first humans is described in the two Genesis creation stories in the first book of the Hebrew Scriptures/Old Testament. This is regarded as a factual story by most conservative Christians and as a religious myth by most liberal Christians.
- The first creation story is at Genesis 1:26-27, which describes God as speaking into existence a group of humans of unknown size -- both men and women:
"And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness ..."
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them." (King James Version). 1
- The second creation story is at Genesis 2:7 to 3:23:
- Verse 2:7 describes how God formed Adam from some dirt, and breathed the breath of life into his nostrils. This passage is the source of the traditional Jewish belief that a human fetus only becomes a fully human person when she or he has half-emerged from the mother's body.
- Verse 2:21 to 23 describes how God then took a bone ("tzela" in Hebrew) from Adam's body and made Eve, a woman, from it.
The word "tzela" is translated in all, or essentially all, English translations of the Bible as "rib." For centuries, medical students had been taught that this event caused all subsequently born male humans to have one fewer rib than women have. Apparently, medical teachers trusted the story in the Bible without bothering to actually counting a man's ribs.
However, Ziony Zevit, a Distinguished Professor of Biblical Literature and Northwest Semitic Languages at the Bel-Air, California, university, believes that Eve was not formed from one of Adam's rib; rather it was his baculum -- a bone found in the penis of many species of mammals. 2 That makes sense to some people, because male humans today are born with no baculum and with the full complement of ribs. "Tzela" is translated elsewhere multiple times in the Bible in situations where it refers to the "side" of something. A mammalian baculum would most conveniently be removed from the side of a human's penis.
Whether it was a rib or baculum, it would have contained a "Y" sex chromosome, very probably as a "XY" chromosome pair. That means that all cells in Eve's body would have also have contained "XY" chromosomes and Eve would have been a biological male. However, Eve is described as female and is discussed later in Genesis as having given birth to at least two boys. She must have also given birth to at least one girl; otherwise her sons would not have been able to commit incest and impregnated their sister(s) in order to produced the next generation. However, at the time that Genesis was written, females were considered so inferior to males that they were often not mentioned.
Yet, Eve is referred to as a woman throughout the Bible. This implies that one of two possibilities occurred:
- Eve was transgender. That is, she was a biological male with XY sex chromosomes who identified as a female. For her to give birth multiple times would then require a second miracle that is not mentioned in the Bible.
- Alternately, Eve was a biological female with XX sex chromosomes. That would have required an alternate second miracle, because Adam's rib, from which she was made, contained only XY chromosomes.
2. The virgin birth of Jesus:
Matthew 1 and Luke 1 mention that Mary, the mother of Jesus, was a virgin at the time that Jesus was conceived.
Virgin births actually happen in some species of animals. The process is called parthenogenesis, which means reproduction without fertilization. Since the female cannot supply "Y" sex chromosomes, the embryos are always female. Some species that are capable of parthenogenesis are pythons, whiptail lizards, Komodo dragons, bonnethead sharks, pit vipers, turkeys, chickens, etc. However, it is not possible in mammals. 3 It would require a miracle.
Sarah Silverman tweeted a message at Christmastime on 2015, saying:
"MERRY CHRISTMAS. Jesus was gender fluid." 4
The comment received more than 3,000 "likes."
The Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights was not impressed. They referred to her as a:
"... foul-mouthed, anti-Catholic bigot. ... Silverman’s perversions would be her own problem if she kept them to herself. But when she insists on shoving them in our faces—especially during some of the holiest times in our calendar -- Christians must be outspoken in their condemnation of her sick behavior." 5
Jesus is referred to as a man throughout the Bible, and as the Son of God. This implies that one of two possibilities occurred:
- Jesus was a male. This would have required a second miracle in addition to the miracle of the virgin birth, because Mary would not have had a "Y" chromosome with which to produce a male child.
- Alternately, Jesus may have been a transgender person, born as a genetic female who later identified as a male. This would have required a second miracle with regards to hair growth on his face. He was an orthodox Jew -- a religious faith that forbade males from shaving of cutting their beards. If he were a genetic female than he would not have been able to grow a beard and thus could not readily pass as male in that culture. It would have required a second miracle to produce a beard.
The only options that most Christians could accept is that Eve was a cisgender female and Jesus was a cisgender male. Cisgender individuals have a biological sex which corresponds to their gender identity later in life. This would require a second miracle for both people. Such additional miracles is not mentioned in the Bible.
The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above
essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.
- Genesis 1:27, from Bible Gateway at: https://www.biblegateway.com/
- Julie Wiener, "Was Eve Created From a Very Different Bone of Adam?," The Sisterhood, 2015-DEC-30, at: http://forward.com/
- Lydia Ramsey, "Virgin births really happen — here are the animals that prove it," Business Insider, 2015-SEP-12, at: http://www.businessinsider.com/
- Zach Johnson, "Sarah Silverman Defends "Jesus Is Gender Fluid" Tweet: "It's Funny, Beautiful and True That He Is All of Us," Eonline, 2015-DEC-30, at: http://www.eonline.com/
- "SARAH SILVERMAN’S CHRISTMAS GIFT," Catholic League, 2015-DEC-28, at: http://www.catholicleague.org/
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Copyright © Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Author: B.A. Robinson
Originally posted on: 2017-NOV-22