When Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, the candidate for Supreme Court Justice, was asked to define the word “woman,” she replied, “I can’t.”
Some folks are saying, “There’s no objective truth when it comes to gender.” Really? Let’s unwrap the science behind the question. Most importantly, let’s dive into what God’s Word says about His marvelous creation: male and female.
What makes a man a man?
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary says a man is “an adult male human being.” So, what’s a male? A male human has DNA with one X and one Y chromosome. He has the biological, psychological, hormonal, and physical characteristics which define a man from a scientific, medical, and spiritual perspective.
What makes a woman a woman?
A true woman has two X chromosomes and the biological, psychological, hormonal, and physical characteristics that medically and spiritually define a woman.
Biological differences between males and females
The chromosomal differences make men and women genetically distinct, which drives all the biological and physical differences. A Y-chromosome gene is the factor in all the developmental events in the womb and later during puberty that cause the male body and brain to develop male characteristics.
The average woman’s body is 26% body fat compared to 13% in males. Body fat provides a steady energy source for pregnant and breastfeeding women. A woman’s body fat is related to her menstrual cycle; if she has less than 22% body fat, she will usually stop menstruating regularly. If a woman is too thin to sustain a healthy pregnancy, she is generally unable to conceive.
Male fertility (producing sperm) begins in puberty, and a man continues producing sperm every day into old age. Female fertility (releasing ova or eggs) starts in puberty, but the development of ova happens in the womb. When a baby girl is born, she has about one million eggs in her ovaries and will not develop more. When she reaches puberty, her ovaries release one (sometimes two or three) ova each month until she reaches menopause.
Physical differences between males and females
The average man stands 5’10’’ tall, while the average woman is 5’4”. Men have heavier bones and greater muscle mass and lung capacity. Men have almost 50% more muscle in the upper body than women. Women have more muscle from the waist down, but even their lower bodies are only two-thirds as strong as men.
Men’s thyroid cartilage is enhanced, producing an Adam’s apple. A woman’s pelvic bones are larger and broader than a man’s, allowing for sustaining a pregnancy and for childbirth. The female sacrum (the triangular-shaped bone at the bottom of the spine) is shorter and wider than the male’s.
Male skulls are heavier with thicker bones than women’s. Women’s foreheads are more rounded, and men’s brows are more pronounced. Men’s eye sockets and jawline are more square, while women’s are rounded. These distinctive differences in male and female skulls and pelvis are crucial in determining gender in anthropology and forensic science.
The most obvious physical difference between men and women is their reproductive organs. Women have breasts for feeding their infants, ovaries for conception, and a womb to provide nurturing and protection until the developing child is ready for birth. Men have testicles and penises to impregnate their wives (and for pleasure for both).
Male vs female hormone cycle
Men and women have different sex-steroid hormones running through their bodies. Women have estrogen, progesterone, and lesser testosterone, and men have testosterone, androgens, and less estrogen. While a male child is in his mother’s womb, he experiences a surge of testosterone about halfway through gestation, which shapes his body parts and brain differently than a female fetus.
At puberty, both boys and girls experience hormone surges that trigger the development of secondary sex characteristics and the beginning of fertility. Women produce estradiol (estrogen) at a ratio of 1:1 estrogen to testosterone, but men have twenty times more testosterone. Both hormones have a profound effect on each gender’s appearance. Testosterone also affects men’s voices, making them deeper. Men have more androgen hormones, stimulating beards’ growth and body hair.
Hormones regulate women’s monthly menstrual cycles. Although men continuously produce sperm, their testosterone levels are elevated in the morning and seasonally during the spring and summer, giving them a stronger sex drive at those times.
Health differences between males and females
Men are more likely to have fatal diseases like heart disease and stroke. Women are more prone to illnesses that drastically affect their lifestyle but usually aren’t life-threatening.
Women’s elevated estrogen and lowered testosterone hormones decrease cardiovascular system diseases; thus, women live seven years longer than men on average. But they lose that advantage after menopause when their estrogen lowers and their testosterone rises. Both genders experience osteoporosis as estrogen decreases, but women fare worse because their bones are less dense.
Men are more likely to have type 2 diabetes, but women who have diabetes are more likely to have complications. Women are susceptible to depression and inflammatory diseases like arthritis.
Cognitive differences between male and female
Male and female brains have anatomical and volume differences. A 1998 study explored neural circuits that regulate specific behaviors. Dr. Shah, now a Stanford University professor, zeroed in on gender-related differences in raising children, sexual behaviors, and aggression. He said these characteristics were innate rather than learned.
In mouse studies, Dr. Shah discovered that disabling a specific gene profoundly affected a female mouse’s mothering instincts. These mouse moms were less likely to rescue wandering pups or defend their nests. Dr. Shah noted that female mice lost their sexual libido after modifying a different gene. Dr. Shah concluded that the brain has “modules” with neural/genetic paths that are affected by testosterone or the lack of it.
Overall, women shine in most verbal abilities and consistently test higher than men in reading comprehension, writing, fine motor coordination, and long-term memory. Men excel in working memory and visuospatial tasks like geometry. Women tend to navigate by landmarks (long-term memory). In contrast, men usually navigate by the direction and distance traveled (working memory and visuospatial). They can track moving objects better than women and aim better when shooting a gun or arrows.
This doesn’t mean that some women can’t be ace shooters or men can’t have excellent fine motor abilities. These are cognitive differences between large cohorts of men and women. Intriguingly, some of these differences appear in the first three months of life, implying a difference in brain function, not nurture and training.
Men have larger brains, but women have a larger hippocampus, the part of the brain involved in memory and learning.[i] A larger brain does not mean a higher IQ; both women and men have similar total IQs.
Psychological differences between males and females
Studies have revealed significant psychological differences between genders, driven by hormones and other biological factors, especially in areas like aggression, emotion, personality, and mental health.
In personality, women tend to be more agreeable, moral, warm, empathetic, and feelings-based, yet more prone to moodiness and anxiety. Men tend to be more assertive, emotionally calm, objective, and idea-driven, yet more inclined to egotism, anger, and violence.
In mental health, boys are more likely to have conduct disorders and four times more likely to have autism. Teens and men are more susceptible to antisocial disorders, substance abuse, and criminal behaviors. More women experience eating disorders, anxiety disorders, and mood disorders like depression. More women attempt suicide, but more men than women actually die from suicide.
What is assigned sex?
It’s a boy! It’s a girl! All mothers hear their doctor or midwife say one or the other when they give birth. Sex assignment is what the doctor or midwife who delivers a baby discerns is the child’s gender, based on objective, obvious medical evidence.
What is gender?
Gender is a word used to identify whether a person is male or female.
What is gender identity?
Is it only an assumption that a chicken laying eggs is a female? Some folks would say it depends on the chicken’s internal sense. Gender identity has everything to do with a person’s feelings about their gender and ignores science. For instance, they might be biologically female but feel more like a male, or maybe they will feel both male and female, or perhaps they will feel like they have no gender at all. But everyone else is supposed to refer to them by whatever pronoun best describes their “correct” gender, which might change periodically because gender identity is fluid, according to the absurd gender identity movement.
The founders of the gender identity movement felt that a baby’s gender identity was a blank slate, determined by how its parents brought it up. They felt that if a boy were dressed as a girl and given only girl toys to play with, the boy would identify as a girl. Gender expression refers to how a person behaves regarding their sense of what their gender identity is. For instance, a biological male might wear a dress and makeup, or a woman might wear a short haircut and men’s clothing.
Gender and society
Is gender a social construct? Can you choose your gender? Are there more than two genders?
LGBTQ activists have aggressively pushed the boundaries of sexuality and family in society in the past few decades. Anyone who holds a Biblical view of gender and sexuality is labeled “homophobic” and is often subjected to harsh persecution, even losing their jobs or business licenses.[ii] Some are even brought up on criminal charges for peacefully expressing facts based on objective science or refusing to promote the LGBTQ agenda.[iii]
These activists are dead-set on changing the fabric of society and altering people’s view of reality. Boys are now allowed to use the girls’ restrooms in public schools, and when a boy wearing a skirt raped a girl in the bathroom, her father was arrested for bringing it up at a school board meeting.[iv] Taco Bell and other family venues are hosting drag queens because that’s supposed to create a “safe space” for the LGBTQ crowd.[v]
Children are actively being groomed at school to question their gender identity (because maybe the doctor made a mistake when they were born). They are pressured to explore whether they might be gay or transgender.[vi] They are being encouraged by teachers and school psychologists, without their parents’ knowledge, to consider transgender procedures. Some prominent college professors are even saying pedophilia is okay and brainwashing their students to accept this horrible sin.[vii]
“Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness; Who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!” Isaiah 5:20
Gender dysphoria: Can a person be born with the wrong gender?
Can a man be trapped in a woman’s body? Can a person be both male and female at the same time? Or neither?
Merck Manual defines gender dysphoria as a psychiatric disorder that occurs:
“when the perceived mismatch between birth sex and felt gender identity causes someone significant distress . . . The distress is typically a combination of anxiety, depression, and irritability. People with severe gender dysphoria, previously referred to as transsexual people, may experience severe, disturbing, and long-standing symptoms and usually have a strong wish to change their body medically and/or surgically to make their body more closely align with their gender identity.”[viii]
No one is born with the wrong gender. God didn’t make a mistake. People with gender dysphoria have fallen prey to Satan’s lies encouraged by a fallen society.
Can you change your gender?
No. Taking hormones will cause some changes, and surgery will mutilate your body. But your DNA is always the same. Your chromosomes identified you as a male or female from the minute you were conceived, and they always will.
Children and teens are being gaslighted into believing they aren’t really who God created them to be. They are going through hormone “therapy” and horrifying and permanent mutilations, years before they are able to understand the consequences.
Puberty blockers can cause severe osteoporosis, and kids can suddenly start getting brittle bones and chronic pain. Blockers can make depression worse. Suicide rates are abnormally high among those who have fully transitioned,[ix] and the transgender community has a 41% attempted suicide rate. The FDA has not approved any puberty blockers for gender dysphoria, yet doctors are unethically using them off-label anyway, despite no long-term studies on their safety. Do these children and teens know that puberty-blockers can impact their brains’ executive functioning and cause long-term damage to spatial memory?[x] And is an adolescent mature enough to understand the issues and consider them?
Identifying as a different gender
Some folks say a man is anyone who identifies as a man and a woman is anyone who identifies as a woman. But to identify as something requires an objective understanding of what that something is. What do you mean when you say you’re a man or a woman?
To identify as something, a person must have the characteristics of that something. I can identify as the King of England, but that doesn’t mean I get to go live in Buckingham Palace. I can identify as an eleven-year-old, but that doesn’t mean I get a discount at the movie theater. Simply making a declaration means nothing unless I have the characteristics of who I’m declaring myself to be.
Sometimes people try to change their physical characteristics because they’re gender-confused, and they’ve bought into lies. If I were to walk into my doctor’s office and say, “I identify as a one-armed person, so I need you to cut off my arm,” what do you think my doctor would do? He’d look at my healthy arms and refer me for psychological treatment, where I would be diagnosed with apotemnophilia and go through cognitive-behavioral therapy. But if I were to walk into a doctor’s office and say, “I identify as a woman, so I need you to cut off my penis,” some doctors would do it because of woke gender-identity deception.
Identifying as a woman does not give a biological male the right to invade women’s bathrooms and locker rooms or, if incarcerated, go to a woman’s jail. That erodes women’s safety because a sexual predator could “identify” as a female to access women in vulnerable places. And that has happened![xi]
By the same token, a biological male identifying as a female to play in women’s sports is stealing women’s trophies and scholarships because even if they’re on hormone therapy, men still have larger hearts, larger skeletal systems, larger lungs, and stronger muscular systems. It’s not a level playing field for the real girls and women.
God’s view of male and female
“So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” (Genesis 1:27)
“He created them male and female, and he blessed them and called them ‘human.’” (Genesis 5:2)
Males and females are created in God’s image and blessed by Him. But God made it clear that males and females were separate and distinct components. John Piper explains, “He created male and female as a portrait of Christ’s covenant with his people, his commitment to the church . . . And the meaning of marriage is not known in its essence or fullness until we see it as a parable of Christ’s relationship to the church.”[xii]
A biblical view of having a sex change
“For You created my innermost parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb. I will give thanks to You because I am awesomely and wonderfully made.” (Psalm 139:13-14)
Since God created each of us as a male or a female, why would we want to mess with His awesome and wonderful creation? Isn’t that spitting in His eye? There is an evil spiritual dimension to gender dysphoria, and transgender individuals are victims of Satan’s lies.
Despite woke society’s views on gender, the Bible is clear on the sanctity of the body. We should not dishonor our bodies. Body mutilation is associated with idolatry (1 Kings 18:24-29) and demon possession (Mark 5:2-5). God says transgender behaviors like cross-dressing are detestable (Deuteronomy 22:5). Distorted sexual desires result from sin corrupting our human nature (Romans 1:18-32). We can only understand our true human identity when we walk in relationship with Christ and ultimately when we are gloriously resurrected.
The gender-identity movement divorces the psyche from the physical body. That is a grave sin against God’s creation because they are meant to be united in praise to God. “My soul longed and even yearned for the courtyards of the LORD; My heart and my flesh sing for joy to the living God” (Psalm 84:2).
God detests chaos, and His entire creation reflects order, structure, and intricate interrelation. The chaos that gender dysphoria and gender fluidity bring is not in line with God’s character. For people suffering from gender dysphoria, it’s not the body that’s imperfect; it’s the spirit and soul that need renewing.
If you or a loved one are experiencing the pain of gender dysphoria, embrace Christ! Trust in Him as Your Lord and Savior. Let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think (Romans 12:2). He will reorder your sexuality, so your psyche lines up with your body. Our God is a God of healing, and He will restore you to the person you were meant to be – in Him!
[i] Bruce Goldman, “Two minds: The cognitive differences between men and women,” Stanford Medicine, Spring 2017. https://stanmed.stanford.edu/2017spring/how-mens-and-womens-brains-are-different.html
[iv] Gregory Holt, “Father arrested at school board event says they tried covering up his daughter’s rape by man in girl’s bathroom,” Law Enforcement Today, October 13, 2021. https://www.lawenforcementtoday.com/father-arrested-says-school-tried-covering-up-his-daughters-rape/
[ix] Cecilia Dhejne, Paul Lichtenstein, Marcus Boman, et al. (2011), “Long-Term Follow-Up of Transsexual Persons Undergoing Sex Reassignment Surgery: Cohort Study in Sweden,” PLoS ONE, 6:1-8.