Eye care

Friday, June 17, 2022 – AlbertMohler.com – Albert Mohler

Next, I’m going to turn to a question from a young man, a teenager, his name is Noah, and he tells me he’s 14 years old. He’s been listening to The Briefing for two years. God bless you, Noah. That really encourages me. He says he has a question, “I was wondering if you could answer, how do Christians uphold Christian doctrines with an intersex child?” Well, that’s a huge question. It’s a very specific question. It’s a very informed question for a 14 year old to ask. First of all, what are we talking about here? The word intersex is a fairly recent word, but it’s a word that refers to a spectrum of physical and physiological phenomena. Now that’s the only way I know to put it. It has to do with the fact that human beings are normatively male or female. And that’s why for the vast, vast majority of human beings, as soon as the baby is born, whoever is holding the baby is able to say, “It’s a boy or it’s a girl.” Simple, fast observation, clarifying just about everything.

But, one of the realities we have to face is that in a fallen world, there are sometimes genetic abnormalities. Now these days, it is often considered a bit politically incorrect to speak about anything outside the norm. As a matter of fact, we often talk about the fact that what a lot of people are trying to do in the moral revolution is make the un-normal or abnormal and can never be normal, normative. But now let’s step back from moral behavior because we’re not talking here about moral behavior. We’re talking about a physical fact, a physiological reality, an anatomical reality. And we have to face the fact that in a fallen world, even as there are termites, and there are tumors, there are also genetic abnormalities. And so that means that in a very small percentage of human births, the baby is born with what is sometimes described as an ambiguous sex. That is to say, there might be part of this and part of that, or there might be very little of this and very little of that. But the point is, there is some question.

Now there can be an abnormality, even in the reproductive organs that is not rightly described as intersex, but is just some other form of abnormality. But there is this particular and frankly, extremely rare abnormality that means that the person who holds the baby for the very first time looks at the baby is not able to say, clearly, this is a boy, or this is a girl.

Now, one of the things we have to note is that as you think about biblical theology, and I’ll speak to you specifically Noah, as you think about the Bible. The Bible tells us that God’s perfect plan, as we see in the Garden of Eden, as we see with Adam and Eve, is for human beings to be either male or female, that’s just really clear. And the entire reproductive success and the obedience to the reproductive command that God gives us, depends upon men being men and women being women. But we also understand the inner fallen world, there are children who are born without the normal limbs. There are children who are born without normal eyes. There are children who are born in all kinds of ways that almost immediately invisibly and sometimes less visibly, indicate a genetic abnormality.

But what we shouldn’t do is one of two things, both of which are errors. First of all, it would be to blame that child or consider that child somehow less made in the image of God, or even somehow less welcome in the human community than any other child. That would be sin because this child, every single child is God’s gift. But the second error would be saying, “Okay, the birth of this child and our observation of this child means there really is no category of male or female or man, or woman or boy or girl.” That would be a similar, you might say an equal and opposite response.

But you ask a specific question and this is an impressive way you ask it, how do Christians uphold Christian doctrines with an intersex child? Well, the same way we would uphold any other doctrine with any other child. Here is what God’s word says. Every single one of us in our own way falls short of God’s expectation, even in creation of every one of us. Because Adam, when he was made was not made to die. There’s a sense in which then every single one of us has a genetic abnormality for one thing, compared with Adam and Eve, as they were originally made, we have a genetic encoding to die, which they did not have. That death is a result to the fall. The scripture makes that very clear. There are other results of the fall and that includes cancer, it includes viruses. Boy, we’ve been talking about viruses. It includes all kinds of physical phenomena. It also includes great white sharks that somehow go after human flesh.

It has to do with all kinds of things that will go bump in the night and some of them will hurt us. It has to do with the fact that when you are no longer 14, but you are my age, you look in the mirror and things aren’t getting better. And yes, sometimes it means that our care and concern as we are called to be faithful to Christ, is to welcome into the human community and yes, into our families and yes, into our churches, those who are going to struggle with one kind of genetic abnormality or another. It would be dishonesty to say, “This doesn’t matter.” It would be fundamental unfaithfulness to say, we do not celebrate this human being. We do not celebrate this one whom God has given us.

So I do think you’re asking a little bit more Noah, and I want to be faithful to that. When it comes to the challenge of intersex children, it often falls to Christian parents to do the very best they can possibly do to make the life of that child as normal as possible. That might require some surgery cosmetic or otherwise. It might require some very difficult decisions. Noah, I respect the way you ask the question. It will require Christian parents, I think often, to have to seek the counsel of other Christians who will pray with them and help to think with them about how rightly to raise this precious, infinitely worthy child, in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. Again, I want to thank this 14 year old for his question. I’m not sure I can handle too many 14 year olds asking questions like this.

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