Here I record in full the post made (7/25/21 edit: Bill has since blocked me from accessing his Facebook) by Dr. William “Bill” Griffin for posterity, if for some reason it becomes buried on Facebook, or deleted. First, however, is my own introduction to his work I made on my Facebook wall.
My Facebook Introduction
Perhaps Facebook isn’t the place for this. Or maybe it should be. So much is thrown around in joviality and without thought for another. I came across one such instance of the latter.
I am a pretty calm, smiling, and fun-loving person. You cut me and I bleed confidence for days. It’s been a long road, but here I am. However, you fuck with my Community, my queer-kin, and you’re getting the horns.
This community–for which I burn with love, with whose deep-seated trauma I empathize and have personally experienced, whose persons have been subjected to everything from the smallest microaggressions (judging stares), to harassment (“fag,” “queer”) to outright physical violence (Bobby and Chance Hays’ beating at the hands of a violent mob in Springfield, MO), even murder (Matthew Shepard), of which many succumbed to suicide because of evangelical-hatred-turned-inward–for you, my Community, I write this defense, this retooling, this mockery.
This isn’t just some response to see who can be most theologically correct, exegetically adroit, or nimble with wit. This is about concrete persons, who some would rather “discuss,” or “analyze,” or deny housing and healthcare, though with “love.” Fuck that noise. My trans-kin are not political footballs, but human beings; not points in a culture war, but people.
We queers have found love and acceptance in our new tribe, something we NEVER experienced in conservative evangelicalism. My Rainbow Darlings, you have nothing but my acceptance and vigor.
While this coming series of posts on my blog was occasioned by William “Bill” Griffin, Ph.D. of Evangel University, it is not a response to him per se. Though I am asking him questions throughout the series, these are more rhetorical than expecting any response from him. He made his apologia for a fe/male binary; I don’t really expect him to read it, much less change his mind. This is for my friends who might still want to be religious, but think his way is the only way, and so walked away from it all because they couldn’t be all things to all people. They couldn’t be themselves and be accepted by god, or at least his kiddos. That makes total sense. I am one of those, though I flirt often with coming back. Here are some tools fashioned for you from my training, imperfect though they are; maybe they could help.
This is also for the curious Christian laity who don’t have all the answers, but also don’t think their leaders do either. This is for my trainers from Central Bible College, Assemblies of God Theological Seminary, and Missouri State University, if they might deign to see if I still have academic chops, or if I’m just some wild person bellowing in the void. This is for those without a voice, who don’t know any alternative voices exist.
It begins now.
Bill’s Initial Facebook Post
MALE AND FEMALE HE CREATED THEM
From creation, the Bible consistently distinguishes males from females. At the beginning, “God said, `Let us make humanity (Hebrew: ‘adam) in Our image, according to Our likeness. . .’, and God created humanity (‘adam) in His image, in the image of God He created him, male (zakar) and female (neqevah) He created them. And God said, `Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth. . .” (Genesis 1:26a, 27-28a).
The terms used here are the equivalents of the English “male” and “female”, according to biological gender. There is no hint that anything other than biological gender matters or is approved.
‘Adam typically means either “humanity/human” or the person Adam.
Zakar always means “male”, and never includes females. The origin of the word is unknown (and probably unrelated to the word “remember” in Hebrew which is spelled the same), but other Semitic languages have cognates which mean “male”. It is also used to determine which animals get sacrificed (and animals were frequently better off to be female!). [NIDOTTE 1:1106-1108]
Neqavah [neqabah] means “female”, and with its other uses clearly has the idea of female genitalia, for it is used elsewhere of a hole in something or a tunnel. [NIDOTTE 1:1106-1108]
‘Ish can imply male or person. In Psalm 1:1, “blessed is the man (‘ish) who” implies “those who” or “the person who” delights in Yahweh’s Holy Word. However, it frequently distinguishes a man from a woman (‘ishah). Geber means man.
‘Ishah only applies to women, and never to men. Both of those terms can mean “husband” and “wife” respectively.
1. As noted above, God created people male and female, not “pick your gender”.
2. The prohibition of homosexual activity in Leviticus 18:22 says “And you [masc.] shall not have intercourse with a male (zakar) as one has intercourse with a woman—it is an abomination.” Similarly, “And a man (‘ish) who has intercourse with a male (zakar) as one has intercourse with a woman (‘ishah), it is an abomination. . .” (Lev 18:13a). There is no question of love, commitment, or the ages of those involved. Rather, it describes the act. People in Old Testament times would have just understood this masculine prohibition to apply to women with women as well. However, in Romans 1:26-27, writing to a culture which might not have understood that the law applied to men and women, Paul makes it clear that the prohibition applies equally to women as to men.
3. Deuteronomy 22:5 prohibits a man (geber) from wearing a woman’s (‘ishah) clothing, and vice-versa, saying that it is an abomination. This applies to those who wish others to view them as the opposite of their birth gender.
The bottom line is this: If you are following society’s current “pick-your-gender” trends, don’t say that you got it from the Bible, don’t say that the Bible supports it, and don’t be surprised or shocked when Bible-believing Christians won’t use non-biological pronouns for people.
William P. Griffin, Ph.D. March 20, 2021