Aside from the Scriptures that do discuss eunuchs, which include intersex people, the Scriptures that perhaps need most discussing are the ones that are silent on the matter, the Scriptures that seem to ignore them and cause us to scratch our heads.
Foremost among these Scriptures is Genesis 1:27, which Jesus himself quoted in Matthew 19 prior to discussing eunuchs.
"So God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them."How we grapple with the existence of intersex individuals in light of Genesis 1:27 will probably differ depending on our broader theological leanings. I take Creation and the Fall very seriously, at least in terms of systematic theology. They are central concepts to how I view creation, man, and sin today. Because of that, I believe there is a Life As It Should Be, and I believe that this is not it. I also believe that we are all Fallen, sinners from birth simply because we are human. I believe in complete depravity apart from the grace of God. I know not everyone shares these beliefs, but they are fundamental to me.
So the first question presented to us is: Before the Fall, when Creation was untarnished by sin, did God intend for all people to be either male or female?
Whew, that's a doozy of a question. And the answer depends a lot on how we read Genesis 1-3. Because the genres and authorial intentions of Genesis 1-3 are so hard to identify, many avoid making interpretations based on these first chapters of the Bible at all. But given the example of Jesus in Matthew 19, I'm not sure that's the best option. If Jesus uses Genesis 1-3 in his teachings about God's intent in "the beginning" (19:4-8), then I think God does intend for us to use Genesis 1-3 in a similar (though cautious!) manner.
My answer, based on Genesis, is that yes, before the Fall, God did intend for people to be either only male or only female. He intended for us to know Him fully, know each other fully, and know ourselves fully, and to experience perfect harmony on all counts. I don't think it's out of the realm of possibility that others could read Genesis differently, but as I attempt to place intersex people in Eden, my mind has to make bigger leaps than I think Scripture supports. (But I welcome those who might succeed in this regard since I have not been able to do so. Please feel free to share thoughts on this matter!)
And that leaves me with the stomach-wrenching conclusion that individuals who are intersex are inherently broken in regard to their sexual biology. This conclusion is not stomach-wrenching for me theologically. I believe that all people are broken, physically and otherwise, because of the Fall. It would be dishonest of me to exempt some people from the reality of sin in all of our lives. For me to believe that we are all broken means that I cannot or should not say, "Oh, except for those poor, innocent people; they're perfect just as they are." That would be insulting. To most nonChristians, I have found that the concept of being inherently broken is shocking. Many people I know live in a world that I find incomprehensible, a world driven by the believe that people are perfect just as they are. That, to me, takes a bigger leap of faith than to admit that you are broken.
I can imagine how horrible it must be to hear/feel that you are broken when the concept is new to you, especially when it regards a part of you that is so central to your identity. (That, however, is a BIG part of the problem that I will address soon!) And I know that there is a difference between acknowledging that we are all broken generally and pointing to certain characteristics of a person and saying, "Those parts of you in particular reveal brokenness." I see that. I have felt those accusations myself, even ones I still adamantly disagree with in regard to my giftings as a woman. And that is the part of this conversation that makes me uncomfortable.
But I do not believe that everyone else's brokenness is simply generalized. I believe it manifests itself in specific and uncomfortable ways for all of us. I've talked about my own specific brokenness in regard to fertility, for instance, and that is easier for me to point at. But it's hard for me to point at areas in others' lives, especially when I am unable to even pretend to understand their stories.
This is where I've landed. I feel uncomfortable continuing on until I sort out this conclusion with you all. If it helps, I still want to address the belief that God "knits us together in our mothers' wombs" in light of the reality that we are all born broken. I don't think enough Christians wrestle with that conundrum. But I don't want to continue on to that conversation without feedback about where things stand now.
So, have at it; give us your thoughts and feelings about my conclusions. But please, let's remember to be full of dignity, respect, and love for one another.
Next: Male and Female God Made (Most of) Them: Part 5
The final installments: Part 6