We cannot understand human history apart from its conflicts, its revolts, its revolutions. This is true of world history, political history, social history, religious history, and undoubtedly any other kind of history. For good or for ill—and humanity’s long past has many examples of both—, we humans are revolutionaries, always primed for a conflict. But we are confused and inconsistent revolutionaries who sometimes revolt away from a great injustice and sometimes toward one. Today we are watching people all around us revolt away from justice, away from truth, away from common sense, away from the common good. The revolution rages around us and sometimes within us.
This is a social and sexual revolution and we have recently seen our courts and parliaments extend its front line to bathrooms and change rooms. In doing so they have declared a revolutionary new understanding of the essential human traits of sex and gender. These traits are not fixed but fluid, they tell us, not objectively assigned but personally defined. For that reason it is cruel, it is evil, it is unjust to demand that people use a bathroom or change room that does not fit their self-identity, their self-understanding. With a word, with a memo, with the bang of a gavel, they have opened wide the bathroom doors. They have declared that those who are good and just, those who truly care for others and who wish to be on the right side of this revolution, will agree to their terms. There appears to be no end in sight, no brakes to slow or stop the pace of this revolution. What was once unimaginable is now inevitable. These are uncertain, intimidating, exasperating times.
But, in a sense they are just the same old times. The sexual revolution here in the twenty-first century is not a new revolution, but a continuation of the one that has dominated humanity since our earliest days. This revolution began when a man made a choice to declare independence from God. He wanted to be autonomous, he wanted to make his own way in the world, to answer only to himself, to shake himself free from the oversight and accountability of his Creator. But more than that, he wanted to destroy that Creator, to escape his watchful eye, to stamp out the imprint of himself this Creator left on every human soul. For man knows he is guilty before this Creator. He can doubt it or deny it, but he can never fully shake it. To get out from under his guilt he must get out from under his Creator. To kill his guilt he must kill his Creator.
But he cannot. This Creator cannot be looked upon by human eyes or harmed by human hands. What, then, is man to do? He takes out his fury on the thing that is most like God and most precious to God. And here we see the true source, the true goal, of this revolution. There is nothing in the universe that more resembles God than humanity. Of all that exists, only humanity bears the image of God, the special imprint of the divine. So man, unable to strike at God, strikes at man. Some revolutions do this blatantly through wanton death, destruction, or genocide. Today’s revolutionary does this in a subtler way by striking at sex and gender—sex, the objective reality of being male or female, and gender, the associated roles and behaviors for each. He strikes at these because they lie so close to the image of God. If he can obscure these, he gets one step closer to obscuring God. If he can destroy these, he gets one step closer to destroying God.
God made humanity in his image and he displays his image in the creation and reality of male and female. One gender diminishes his image and no genders, three genders, or infinite genders distorts his image. Male and female he created them because male and female reveal him. We may not know all the intricacies and mysteries of this, but we know it is so. God reveals his image best through feminine females and masculine males, not through any form of self-definition or non-definition.
The sexual revolution strikes at the heart of man as a means of striking at the heart of God. In this way the sexual revolution is a movement of hate in the guise of love, a movement of destruction in the guise of justice. Of course we take refuge in the fact—the sweet, comforting fact—that this is God’s world and these are God’s times and we are God’s people. While we may not be able to see our way to the end of this revolution we know that God can, that God does, that God will. And even better, we know that God has his purposes in it, that he must be glorified in it.