The Definition of Woman: A Biblical Perspective on Gender and Creation

By  |  0 Comments
Spread the love

On March 22, 2023, Sen. Marsha Blackburn asked Supreme Court nominee Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson if she could, “provide a definition for the word woman?” Jackson replied no, she could not. Her answer reflected the climate of the culture. Jackson, understanding the times, knows the importance of the question. Her definition of a woman would reveal whether she validates the cultural view on the fluidity of sexual identity or God’s natural design of male and female.

The proliferation of debates over sexuality in American culture “are not primarily about sexual behavior … but the LGBTQ+ discussion is much deeper than that because it connects to matters of identity, of who we think we are at the most basic level and the problem is that expressive individualism, manifested as sexual identity, is the way the world shapes us all.”[1] Expressive individualism is a life philosophy that says, “the purpose of life is to find one’s deepest self and then express that to the world, forging that identity in ways that counter whatever family, friends, political affiliations, previous generations, or religious authorities might say.”[2] Meaning, we live in a culture that validates itself according to the standard of its desires and will criticizes anyone who does not agree with its definition of woman as intolerant.

The context in which the question is being asked is as important as the question itself. It is being asked of a nominee to the highest court of the country. Though Jackson would not answer the question, let’s answer the question here for those who may be questioning.

Creation glorifies God

Defining the word woman begins with understanding the context of her creation. God created the Earth and everything in it. His creation reflects His character, like a piece of art reflects the mind of the artist. The art piece glories the artist in that it embodies the essence of the artist. The psalmist says to God, “You have set your glory in the heavens” (Psa. 8:1, NIV). The night sky informs us about the nature of its Creator. God’s creation glorifies Him as it reflects His character. Thus, every creature glorifies God. But only one embodies the mystery of His image.

The Creation of Humanity

There was a time when the angels spoke about the human God created on Earth, no one needed to ask, which one, until God created another one. God made the second one different, literally. The first one He made from dirt and animated it with His breath. The second one He formed using the physical stuff of the first one. In creation, God ontologically binds the two. God designed the essence of second one in light of the essence of the first one, to complement and exist in tandem with the first one. They are not like the other animals God created. But they are distinct as the pair of their kind. However, while they are distinct, they exist within a mutualistic symbiotic relationship born out of the order and purpose of God’s design. Consequently, the first one could never fulfill the purpose of the second and vice versa, but both are necessary to activate God’s plan in His creation. Their symbiotic natures cannot be changed because their purpose imputed at creation is fixed, and good. Now, the angels needed to ask, which one? Male and female, He created them.

The Creation of the Woman

Besides obvious physical differences, the innate uniqueness of a woman from a man is admittedly a mystery. However, the mystery is not in her behavior or conversation, but in the innovation of her creation which advances God’s kingdom. She is not described as the cook or sex toy for her male counterpart, but as an ezer knegdow, a suitable partner. Though she could be those things and at times enjoy both designations, God labeled her primary role with a purpose, not a function. The manifestation of God’s glory in His female image can vary and seem atypical if we wrongly defined her.

Her biology corresponds to the purpose God breathe into her. We cannot demystify the mystery of a woman with a surgical knife. God still intricately weaves His purpose into every female body as she forms in her mother’s womb. “The absence of testosterone for a female baby shapes her brain development . . . The centers of her brain that control communication, observation, and processing of emotion are larger. Female infants are born hardwired for emotional connection.” [3] The design of the female brain affects her capacity for language, relationships, memory, as well as, bonding, nesting, and one’s connection to one’s own emotions,[4] making her distinct from her male counterpart. All of this occurs before she can be imprinted by gendered social norms.[5] The secret sauce of a woman’s creation comes from her Creator. Only God knows how to make a woman.

The Humanity-Made Woman

In 1955, the sexologist, John Money gave gender, originally a grammatical term, a new application. Gender became known as, “the range of characteristics pertaining to, and differentiating between, femininity and masculinity.”[6] Consequently, “gender identity is the personal sense of one’s own gender. Gender identity can correlate with a person’s assigned sex at birth or can differ from it.”[7] In essence, we repurposed a word and created a woman.

However, God created humanity with a binary sexuality, like God created humans with two arms and two legs. A person born with no legs and arms, though not the typical form of a human being does not create a new norm. In addition, the person is worth no less because of her deviant form, but a failure to acknowledge that it is a deformity instead of a new norm, is to reject the reality of the intended human form. The same happens with those who report sexual formations outside of the intended design. The definition of a fallen world presupposes missing limbs, broken brains, as well as deviant sexuality. And yet God’s standard for sexuality as binary is fixed and good.

While Jackson’s failure to define a woman shows the effects expressive individualism has had on America, the definition of a woman is not a legal term and not up for grabs. For those sincerely questioning their sexuality, the answer will not be found in a judgement by the highest court, but in a relationship with their Creator through Jesus Christ. Lastly, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, the first African American woman on the Supreme Court of the United States, need not worry about defining a woman, God already has.

[1] Trueman, Carl R. The Rise and Triumph of the Modern Self: Cultural Amnesia, Expressive Individualism, and the Road to Sexual Revolution, 390.

[2] The Gospel Coalition, “Expressive Individualism: What is it?”, accessed April 21, 2023.

[3] What is a woman? God’s intent for sex and gender, The Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, June 6, 2022, accessed March 25, 2023.

[4] Richard Lippa, Gender, Nature, and Nurture, 2nd ed. (Mahway, NJ and London: Lawrence Erlbaum, 2005), 100-102.

[5] National Institute of Health, “Sex differences in brain anatomy,” July 28, 2020, accessed April 18, 2023,

[6] HandWiki, “Gender”, accessed April 21, 2023.

[7] HandWiki, “Philosophy: Gender Identity,” accessed April 21, 2023.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *