Did God create gender?

In the last year, I have learned, with the help of Biologos, that evolution is true. Before that, I had never seriously looked into it, so I assumed that it was a “theory in crisis” or else just a theory with no proof.

Honestly, this has been a crisis of faith for me, but this post specifically is about just one aspect of this crisis: gender. If God did not directly create humanity, then how can we possibly say that God created gender: male and female? If God created the universe and the first life form, but then let evolution take over from there, how can we say that God created gender or that He cares what gender someone is?

If God did not create gender, then we can’t say that God created this or that person male or female.

Please help me sort this out. Believing in evolution has been one crisis of faith after another for me over the past year. It seems like a lot of what I was taught as a Christian is falling apart.




This is a bit of a hot topic these days…

Sexual reproduction (if that is what you mean by gender) is a very important evolutionary development and thus exactly the sort of thing where believers are likely to suspect divine involvement.

Gender social roles is another matter. In that there is good reason for Christians to believe the fall of man has distorted these roles somewhat. Certainly when “might makes right” has become a dominant philosophy in a society then equity in the relationship between the sexes doesn’t do very well either.

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Hi, Audrey - and even though it sounds like you’ve been lurking a while already (which is just fine!) - it’s good to hear from you!

One way I look at this is to revisit that word: “directly”. What does it even mean to insist that something isn’t created by God unless it’s directly created by God? Do we not believe that God provides sunshine and rain? And yet we also have no problems seeing that clouds provide rain. Does that make God’s involvement there indirect - and therefore somehow of diminished significance? I trust that you, like most any of us, would say ‘of course not!’ and we simply become acclimated to that spiritual language as a perfectly appropriate narrative right alongside all the ‘natural’ explanations that are also available.

Now that doesn’t completely address all the complexities you probably have in mind regarding gender. I’m only suggesting that just because we may be able to “talk science” about this or that, it doesn’t negate God’s status as creator. I suppose it gets dicey if any of us want to use our own categories that we’ve grown up with as the end-all, be-all application for everyone, and insist that there can be no other valid categories apart from whatever binary or heteronormative categories that I or you or any other one person is comfortable with. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t universal truths, but it is probably arrogant of me to think of my own traditions as the last word on such things.

It also seems to me that Jesus pokes at our standard categories too when he shared with his disciples (almost as an aside it seems) that there are Eunuchs of various sorts (these are not people who would have been considered ‘heteronormative’ in today’s parlance) and Christ recognizes that not everybody is able to accept this teaching, but let those do so who can … And Christ proceeds to say that they too have a place in the kingdom of God. (Matthew 19:12) So while it is a challenge, it would seem to me that those willing to wrestle with this, even to the point of acceptance, are in pretty good company here. But I’m not sure how I feel about all the things swirling around these issues today either. All I know is I’m called to love my neighbor. And when looking for where Jesus or Paul allowed for exceptions to those commands anywhere in scriptures, I come up dry. So it seems I’m obliged to have a probably permanent humility in place about what I know about it all or what my comfort zones are. Scriptures are always challenging me to open Heaven’s doors wider, never to slam them shut on people.

Others here know a lot more about specifics, so maybe you’ll get answers more to your specific points from them.



Gender is a human social construct. The creation of male and female mentioned in Genesis is talking about sex.

For both this question and others, my realization is that regardless of what it is in creation, God did it through his providence and will. We tend to artificially separate nature from God, when in fact God creates and sustains nature, so that whatever happens naturally is just as much from God as supernatural interventions would be. Gnosticism tends to cloud our thoughts in that respect as we lean towards separating the physical and spiritual.

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Hi Audrey – welcome to the forum. I’m sorry you’ve been experiencing some crises of faith during this journey. I can commiserate with that… it’s hard when the ground under your faith shifts and everything is up in the air.

Growing up, I often heard “God’s design” and ideas like “evolution by random chance” pitted against each other, as if it had to be only one extreme or the other. But I don’t think that’s the case. I think God can use any process to design something, and evolution does not have to be a completely “random” process just because it takes time, anymore than our spiritual sanctification does (as N. T. Wright has pointed out).

I don’t think I can add much to the responses you’ve gotten above on sex and gender, but appreciate the question and hope your search for answers helps you to gain perspective on what your faith’s foundation is.


Thank you all so much for caring and taking the time to respond @Laura @jpm @beaglelady @Mervin_Bitikofer @mitchellmckain. Each of your responses helped in its own way. Biologos is really helping me.

Some of you mentioned the idea that nature, and God’s intervention, don’t need to be a dichotomoty.

I read The Language of God by Francis Collins who founded this site (super great book), and he said that Intelligent Design, ID, has been disproved in the sense that irreducible complexity has been disproved. It turns out science is proving, with new examples all the time, that everything has developed step by step through a very slow evolutionary process.

This is such a worldview shift for me, who always grew up believing that God really did create Adam from the dust and Eve from Adam.

So as to the point some of you have made; that just because there is a natural process, doesn’t mean that God is not involved: this raises the question:

How do we discern whether something is an evolutionary accident that came from blind chance or whether it is something that God guided? This ties back into gender/sex. How do we know that God created that? Can’t it just be an evolutionary accident? We know that death and disease existed before humans; did those things come about accidentally? Or did God will them? It just seems that, when we say that nature and God are both working simultaneously–that these two things are not mutually exclusive–it becomes confusing trying to figure out how to separate evolution from God. They can’t always be in agreement, right?

Thanks for your help.

I’m not a scientist or a theologian. But it can definitely be a big paradigm shift to go from thinking God created everything and is actively controlling it all to realizing we have free will, and so do other animals. There are different ways to think of God being in our lives. How many times have you just chosen to do something, went to some place, did something, and just came across someone to share the gospel with? I think the Holy Spirit interacts with us but does not interfere with our free will.

I’m not sure why the gender thing is more of a battle than any of the other things as far as naturalism goes. For me I was unsure for a while because I never heard any convincing arguments. It was all just “ trust them and feelings “ and it just meant very little to me. I need evidence to come to a conclusion or rather I need it to really defend a position or change my mind.

In a nutshell this is what evidence convinced me about gender.

So we all basically start off as essentially females in the womb and several weeks later , somewhere under 2 months I believe, the Y chromosome is activated in the males and they begin developing testosterone. Up until then, morphologically we are all female. Then our genes begin to develop us into male or female. But at the same time we can’t just go off of genitalia because there are intersex people whose anatomy just is unclear, to the point even medical doctors are not always certain. I believe intersex people are mentioned in the Bible as eunuchs.

Matthew 19:12
New American Standard Bible
12 For there are eunuchs who were born that way from their mother’s womb; and there are eunuchs who were made eunuchs by people; and there are also eunuchs who made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. The one who is able to accept this, let him accept it.”

So it’s mostly clear what it means by eunuchs who were made that way or who made themselves that way. That’s men , or maybe even people in general, who have had some kind of surgery don’t to their privates. But it mentions those born that way and so logically it means someone born with non traditional genitalia. Which sounds like intersex. Jesus accepted them and so did the apostles. So if a mutation can occur to cause ambiguous anatomy then perhaps we can just go with chromosome which are typically XX for females and XY for men. But the issue is that we also have XXY , XXXY and maybe a few others. But then we could argue well if there is a Y then they must be make regardless of how many X there are but the issue with that is there are women who can naturally get pregnant and give birth who have XXXY chromosomes. So that means we have males and females with Y chromosomes and we have males and females with ambiguous biological sex.

This is further complicated by the fact that our body has around 24,000 genes, or at least protein coding genes and I’m not sure how many transcribing genes we and we have nucleotide bases of DNA: adenine (A), cytosine (C), guanine (G) and thymine (T) that makes up 60 something codons. I’m not sure how many ACGTs we have in our body but they say each person has several billion of them. There is a lot we still don’t know but I am guessing with billions in play, some errors can definitely affect us in ways that we may not know yet about gender other than the typical things you hear.

it is difficult to grasp that even “accidents”. “Coincidence” and “blind chance” can be God guided or at least God permitted through his providence. If you look at the Old Testament stories, particularly about the patriarchs, you often see them follow paths that perhaps God allowed even though other paths would have been wiser, yet God worked through them to achieve his will.
I think this area of trying to understand how God works through what we see as random events is really something I have trouble with also, so don’t feel alone in that. This issue is not only a concern in evolution, but also in healing, in answered prayer, in all the little things we attribute to God working in our lives, but others may see as chance. I then struggle with how to reconcile that with how God is in it when the bad things happen. When you get that figured out, write a book and let me know.
What are some the things you feel evolution and God are in conflict? Gender seems to be one I have no real concerns about, but perhaps you see it differently.


That’s still a big one for me and I see dust as a reference or picture of God giving life to determinate matter and it then becomes self-determining.

How God did it is absolutely secondary to the fact that he did do it.

John Walton has an excellent summary of the OT and I love how he covers some of the things that are not (or maybe less for others, but not for me) open to skepticism for a Christian evolutionist. The Spirit of God being present to Adam and Eve, the calling of Abraham and the covenants of redemption in the Old and New Testaments. I also love and I think Walton gets into this, is how so much of the redemption imagery in the Bible is a return to the garden.

Something else that has kind of got me, is that God choosing a lowly hominid descendant to bear his image, kind of fits with my previous views on election, “not many wise, and often from among the lowly and despised things of the world.” That’s why it probably didn’t sit well with some of God’s more exalted beings :wink:

Here is a link for the Walton lectures if you are interested:


The answers to this depend on two things

  1. The way we view Genesis as either literal or symbolic/metaphorical.
  2. How God created, if through evolution, more or less directed under the influence of Word and Spirit, or allowing the potentials within evolutionary change.

The two Genesis stories are independent but complementary and to me that is in a metaphorical mythical sense of explaining relationships as we know them to be. The Gen 1 mention of God creating humanity make and female points to the specially intended purpose of humanity to be communal beings in love with each other and expressing the divine nature. The Gen 2 is an independent story that has a different but complementary emphasis of male and female distinction, created again as intended to be in union and marriage, where their physical sexual union makes them as one.

The observation of science is that sexual differentiation took place early on in evolution as a means of genetic variability and exchange that gives certain benefits. Humans are just inheritors of this evolutionary development. However in humans this biological distinction includes emotional and psychological differences that can in turn lead to social differences. It is a big question of how much of this development was directly guided by God but even so we can still say that God’s intention of having humans as interactive social beings intended to grow towards each other in love and reflect the inter-trinitarian relationship of love.

I wonder when and how nakedness and shame became associated.

Andrey, I would say that God created gender, as male and female are the genders.

But God also created an imperfect world, or, alternatively, the world was corrupted by sin.

An imperfect world gives us many more opportunities to show God’s love to one another.

There are rare people with unusual chromosomes, such as XXY combinations which can result in a person being “both genders.”

I, too, was raised to reject evolution but came to see that evolution is the method God used to create this wonderous world.

Perhaps God uses the imperfections in people to help us learn to love one another and treat others well despite differences.

I am personally appalled that so many men are taking opportunities and awards that rightly belong to women, everything from a man being named “Woman of the Year” to women college swimmers denied recognition and scholarships by men swimming against them. This is male domination of women in a shameful way.

  • Personally, I’m kind of surprised that this thread has been allowed to remain Public as long as it has, … which is not a complaint but an expression of surprise and evidence of my own confusion about “forum policy”.
  • As someone else has pointed out, Sex and Gender are two different “animals”. It has been my impression that Public conversations about “Sex” here in the forum were permissible; conversations about “Gender” not so much. I would welcome Moderator clarification and guidance.
  • That said, I don’t know about anyone else, but I’d speak more freely about Gender in a Private thread.
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I think it’s extremely common for lay Christian’s and even theologians to point to the created order, Jesus’s comment on “in the beginning he made them male and female” also point to this. Many will also offer a theology of how men and women compliment one another. Eve was made as a companion for Adam by God. Some think the random, blind chance of evolution is just a bridge built way too far in light of that.

So I guess I would say is Jesus correct or not? Is the sanctity of marriage real? And does it tie into the created order as part of the providence and care of God? How do we specifically interpret what Jesus said?

One thing I notice on this forum is that many of us are all extremely adept at stating what we don’t believe. But what about what we do? What is the evolutionary alternative to Christian theology on gender and marriage? What do we make of Jesus’s own words?

I think a commentary on some scripture that accommodates evolution and common Christian ideology is what is needed. I think Genesis does teach the form and function of the world was created by God. If there is any inspiration or truth behind that then we need to deal with evolution and the proposed created order and Jesus’s appeal to it on marriage.


Terry, I think the difficulty in talking about gender and sexual issues it the way it can move away from the biologic and scientific realm and its effects on faith to becoming part of the culture war discussion, which we want to stay out of. Some of the posts may be tending that way so this makes this a good opportunity to remind posters to keep the conversation on topic, and not to stray into those areas.

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  • Well and good. I’ll say no more “publicly”, and share anything I do have to say “privately”.

What is wrong with chance? What can’t it be part of creation? I don’t believe that God pushes genes around. I wouldn’t have much faith if I though that God directly causes terrible genetic diseases with mutations or directly creates human guinea worms.

For me the difference is between seeing humanity as created as some kind of instrument God wants to use to accomplish his mission or humanity being chosen as a helper God wants to relate to in accomplishing his mission.

We learn things about biology from science, but they don’t tell us why those things have meaning beyond biology. So when I read Genesis say God created humanity, male and female, to be his image bearers and rule creation as his representatives, I don’t think it’s explaining what our biology is for, I think it is calling humanity, men and women equally, to relationship with God.

God doesn’t have a gender, so all humans no matter their gender, have the same capacity to be God’s image. We are embodied beings and for most of us our gendered bodies are an important part of our identity and significantly affect how we experience the world, so I think God relates to us as men or as women and reveals truth in the Bible in ways that may hit men differently than women.

I think it is mainly society that constructs gender roles though and then reads the Bible through their cultural lenses to see what they expect to see. There are definitely gendered commands and commentary in the Bible, but teasing out what was a directive to a particular culture/society in light of their gender roles and what is some kind of universal truth for all humanity is something Christians debate.


Jesus did teach to call Him Father.

New Revised Standard Version
Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.”