What the Devil’s Attack on Gender is Really Attacking

Satan got Adam and Eve to doubt the truth and goodness of God. Today, in this “gender revolution”, Satan is attempting to trick all of us into doubting something deeper: the very image of God.

(photo: Bartolomé Esteban Murillo, “The Nativity” (c. 1665-1670))

No one can miss that there is a powerful cultural revolution happening around the nature of “gender”, and it seems to be taking place globally. One can hardly escape the news of it.

If you want to fall in line with the new gender orthodoxy, you must believe that one person’s gender is not what’s on their birth certificate but merely what that individual believes themselves to be. If you want to be a woman, you need only declare yourself one and tell people you’re really serious about it. You don’t need a doctor’s note. You don’t need anyone to certify that you’re a woman. You don’t need to change your wardrobe or have any surgery or hormone therapy if you choose not to. You just need to declare, “I’m a woman.” You can also change your gender as you feel. Remember, it’s all fluid.

The new gender orthodoxy holds that it would be a ghastly violation of your own rights and personal dignity to have anyone question you on the matter. Your personal belief is all that matters. You think, therefore you are. Everyone else must play along.

Therefore, according to this line of thinking, it’s increasingly wrong to use assumptive gender-based language in public. If you see a man, you shouldn’t assume he’s a man. Many major cultural pillars are demanding that each of us cease using gender-definite words. Just three current examples:

  • The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Public School District in North Carolina instructed their principals and school counselors this summer that using the terms “boys” and “girls” is frowned upon. (see slide #48) The generic “scholars” and “students” are preferred. A boy can go on overnight school trips with the girls if he self-identifies as a girl. (slide #46)  If any teachers are confused about what gender is and is not, the helpful Gender Unicorn stands ready to instruct them. (slide # 9)
  • Princeton University’s Human Resources Department has distributed official recommendations for the use of “gender inclusive” language in all official university business. One cannot be directed to “man” the reception desk. It must be “staffed.” He/she, him/her, man/woman are now four-letter words at Princeton. Will the Women’s Studies Department have to change their name to “Person’s Studies” and feminists be required to become “personists”? Yes, it gets confusing.
  • The State of Massachusetts has enacted new laws that carry punishments for government and private employers and employees who refuse to use a transgender-identified person’s preferred personal pronouns. Churches could be punished under law for not accommodating the wishes of transgender-identified people. Teaching the basic Judeo-Christian truth that God made humans as male and female could land any rabbi or minister in serious trouble.  

These are truly disturbing developments for our society and our children. But all Christians must recognize what is really going on here. They are most concerning not because they challenge traditional or historic social norms, nor because they can confuse and harm our children. They are most concerning not because they create unsafe spaces for women and children. It is not even that they violate the teaching of Scripture, although each of these concerns are incredibly serious and consequential. There is something more here.

A friend of mine provocatively asserted that Satan would make an excellent Sunday school teacher. This gets at why these developments are so serious. He meant that Satan has a profoundly keen understanding of the totality of God’s story. He knows what things represent, what’s of critical importance, and why they matter. He gets it. He just has a sinister heart toward them.

Thus, as a formidable opponent, Satan attacks those targets in God’s story that matter the most. As C.S. Lewis’ Screwtape constantly informs his student Wormwood, evil shouldn’t waste much time tempting us with the moderate stuff. He goes for the throat, seeking to attack the very nature and character of God Himself. In the Garden in the first days, Satan got Adam and Eve to doubt the truth and goodness of God. Today, in this gender revolution, Satan is attempting to trick all of us into doubting something deeper: the very image of God. How is this?

On the first page of our Bibles, we are told what it is in creation that singly bears the very image and likeness of God:

So God created man in his own image,
    in the image of God he created him;
    male and female he created them.

It is not just humanity that bears and shows forth the image of God in creation, but more specifically, male and female. There is something deeply divine and holy in distinct realities of being objective sex-differentiated. It’s not just biological but theological. When Satan gets us to go along with the lie that male and female are only things we feel about ourselves and nothing more, he well knows what he’s accomplishing. When he deceives an individual to join in on the lie, he knows what he’s gained. As those who love the Father and are committed to honoring Him, we should be every bit as insightful.

This is so much more than just the latest hot topic in the culture war.