Galatians 3:28

ArdhanarisvaraArdhanarisvara, an androgynous being who actually has nothing whatsoever to do with the Bible, but which is a thematic public domain image to use.

Galatians 3:28 contains a very interesting turn of phrase, which doesn’t receive nearly enough attention by religious scholars interested in gender issues:

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond[slave] nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. (King James Version)

But it should be noted that in some translations the text is slightly different:

There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. (New International Version)

Some scholars believe that the use of “and” in “male and female” implies that when you believe in Jesus gender is transcended – not necessarily eliminated, but it no longer becomes important. Others say that it strictly means we will become genderless in Christ. At a minimum the text tells us that regardless of our differences we are all the same in oneness with Jesus. (Childs) Others have waved their hands at it and declared it only means there is no need to cross-dress in heaven, which seems like a somewhat odd lesson to be contained within the Bible. (Savage)

The most conventional interpretation is probably that this passage doesn’t mean that sex disappears, it means that sex doesn’t impact how God views us. And yet this is often presented alongside the argument that our sex was “ordained,” which begs the question of the true importance of sex.

Return to Religion, Faith, and the Transgender Person

References

Childs, James M. “Transsexualism: Some Theological and Ethical Perspectives” Dialog: A Journal of Theology 48.1 (Spring, 2009): 30-31.

Savage, Helen “Changing Sex? : Transsexuality and Christian Theology” Durham Theses, Durham University, 2006. Diss, Department of Theology and Religion, University of Durham.

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