Facebook recently decided to let people configure their profile with an available list of any number of genders. For them to publish a master list of the available options would obviously be way too confining, but one estimate puts the available options at 58 or so. One example is cisgender, a word for someone who, for the most part, identifies with the gender they were assigned at birth. And they also have genderqueer, for example, but they don’t have demiguy, and one only wonders when the hatred will stop.
If your inclination is to think the world has gone crazy, you are right. But it is crazy with a logic to it. There are reasons for the pomosexual revolt. There are hidden drivers, and if you understand them, you will understand the central features of what is happening. Here are some of the key principles.
1. You become like what you worship. There are many places in Scripture where this principle is laid down, but I will cite only two. The first is negative, having to do with idolatry. “Their idols are silver and gold, The work of men’s hands. They have mouths, but they speak not: Eyes have they, but they see not: They have ears, but they hear not: Noses have they, but they smell not: They have hands, but they handle not: Feet have they, but they walk not: Neither speak they through their throat. They that make them are like unto them; So is every one that trusteth in them” (Psalm 115:4–8). If you give yourself to the manufacture of idols that cannot see, cannot hear, cannot smell, cannot handle, cannot walk, and cannot speak, you are actually engaged in the process of becoming like a block of wood yourself. Adam’s rebellion wrecked our humanity, but there was still some of the image of God left. Idolatry is corrosive of that remaining humanity, perpetuating and accelerating the downward spiral. But the same principle applies to the restoration of the gospel, applying to those who have been brought by the Spirit into the worship of God the Father in the name of Jesus Christ. “And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit” (2 Cor. 3:18, ESV).
2. The fundamental cultural choices are always a matter of “not whether, but which.” This connects to the first principle because all cultures will necessarily have an collective object of worship. Neutrality is an impossibility. As Dylan put it, in one of his lucid songs, “you gotta serve somebody.” It may be the devil, or it may be the Lord, but you are going to go the way he says.
So the inescapable concept works this way. It is not whether we will impose a morality, but rather which morality we will impose. It is not whether our culture will have a God, but rather which God we will have. It is not whether we will have a shared, central organizing principle of ultimate value, but rather which shared, central organizing principle we will have.
We are seeing the effects of the transition from one principle to another on almost a daily basis. It is not a changing of the guards, it is a changing of the gods.
3. But nature just kind of is. I once saw a great t-shirt that said, “Gravity. It’s not just a good idea, it’s the law.” Reality, as it turns out, is not optional. Now by nature, I am not referring to anything that has autonomous or independent authority apart from its Creator — the Lord Jesus (John 1:3; Heb. 1:2; Col. 1:16). There is not a solitary atom in the created order of things that did not come off the lathe in the shop of the Lord Jesus.
When He made it, He made a particular universe, not another one, and He fixed the order of how things would go. He divided Heaven and earth, He divided the sea and dry land, and He divided night and day. At the pinnacle of His creation, He set up the ultimate distinction between male and female as a way of portraying the image of God in great glory (Gen. 1:27). After God painted the cosmos, He signed His name at the bottom — and a great deal of energy is being expended to get that signature off of there.
4. The unbelievers have an alternative story. They have a different account of nature. They believe that ultimate reality is infinitely malleable. Hydrogen is a gas that can take virtually any form. It all blew out of the Big Bang, and then over time turned into everything else. There is no fixity in the very nature of things, no givenness. It wasn’t given, it just happened. And if we can steer or direct these atoms in motion such that they wind up anywhere else, who should care? If everything changes, what’s the big deal with sex changes? They are conforming to their notion of ultimate reality, just as we are conforming to our understanding of ultimate reality. Their ultimate reality is matter in motion. Our ultimate reality is fatherhood (Eph. 3:15).
5. This means that the pomosexual account of the world and the believing account of the world are on a collision course. The two views of the nature of reality are mutually exclusive. They could be made consistent with one another if Christians dropped all claims about the cosmos, and the lordship of Christ over it, and retreated to the cozy spot of their faith community’s core values, or something equally treacley. But as long as Christians affirm creatio ex nihilo, and affirm that Jesus made the world, and that He has embedded His will in that natural world, and revealed His will in the Holy Bible, we will remain on that collision course. So long as we stand faithful, we are in the process of becoming enemies of the human race. We are talking about their version of the human race, of course, and we might as well admit it cheerfully. We are enemies of that vision.
6. Sometimes crime and punishment are identical. Some sins implode, collapsing in on themselves. “Some men’s sins are open beforehand, going before to judgment; and some men they follow after” (1 Tim. 5:24). Some sins are revealed for what they were at the Day of Judgment, with the sin having been committed in time and in history, and the judgment falling later (Rev. 20:12-13; Rom. 2:6). Men will in fact be judged at the end of history. But some sins are also judged in the midst of history. If a man secretly embezzles money from his boss, he might not ever get caught in the course of his lifetime. But if he becomes a meth addict, judgments start to fall hot and heavy right now, and we don’t have to wait until the Last Day for those consequences to start happening. God is not mocked. A man reaps what he sows — but some crops ripen quickly. Some crops ripen now.
In Romans 1, we are taught that homosexuality is not a sin that brings about a penalty later. Those who go this direction receive “in themselves” the penalty of their error. Those who rush headlong into this sin are doing so because they are under the judgment of God already. The wrath of God is manifested in how He gives them up. America is not behaving in a way that will incur the future judgment of God. Rather, America behaved at some point in the past in such a way that we are under the judgment of God now.
And judgments are lifted when men repent. That’s how it works. That’s the only way it works.
7. A necessary hostility exists between the two visions of humanity. God established the antithesis between the seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent at the beginning of our history (Gen. 3:15), and this is the way it necessarily is. We believe that 58 genders is bizarre, the kind of thing that only an intellectual could believe. They find it strange when we refuse to plunge into the same flood of dissipation with them. “With respect to this they are surprised when you do not join them in the same flood of debauchery, and they malign you;” (1 Peter 4:4, ESV). Idolaters don’t know what they are doing, but they still like what they are doing. They rejoice in the work of their hands (Acts 7:41). Not only so, but they are mortally offended when we do not join right in.
So, in sum, worship is central, and shapes what we are becoming. The political ramifications of this law of worship are given to us in an inescapable choice — not whether, but which. One of the reasons we must choose rightly is that nature – the way things actually are — is fixed in its place by the Word of God. “For he spake, and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast” (Ps. 33:9). But unbelievers don’t believe that the words of Almighty God created anything, much less with the result that they made everything “stand fast.” This means that two mutually exclusive views of reality are contending for the same public space. As we conduct this battle, we must remember that our adversaries are rotting away from the inside out. If we win, they lose. If they win, then they lose forever and ever. So we must contend with them, but in a way that offers them a standing amnesty at any time. Every last human being that God has recruited for His new humanity was drawn from the ranks of that disintegrating and wrecked humanity, and God intends to do a lot more of that before He is done. But this love that we have for our enemies does not erase the fact that they are our enemies. The hostility embedded in the antithesis is there necessarily. It was appointed by the words of the Lord.