Congratulations to James! You can read his essay below. James will be receiving a $4000 grand prize scholarship and an all-expense paid visit to The Master’s College.
Also, very honorable mention goes to the other top three finishers:
- Stephanie Rempel, California – 2nd Place, $2000 tuition scholarship
- Emily Matt, California – 3rd Place, $1000 tuition scholarship
Congratulations are also in order for all the students who demonstrated initiative and thoughtfulness in submitting an essay. For all their hard work, each entrant will be receiving a TMC t-shirt and a copy of the book Found: God’s Will by TMC president John MacArthur. To learn more about The Master’s College, go to masters.edu.
ESSAY QUESTION: Discuss from a biblical worldview God’s grand design and purpose for gender identity, and how you would defend biblical roles of men and women in our world today.
Gender Identity Contested: God’s Design vs. Man’s Deviance
by James Ingoldsby
Who is the Creator? Why did He form a universe where void once lingered—a universe so grand, yet so intricate? For what reason did this same Creator fashion man and woman to inhabit His already-splendid cosmos? He is God; the eternal, self-existent One who made us for His glory. How can we, the created, reject our role or doubt our purpose? “Will what is molded say to its molder, ‘Why have you made me like this?’”, Paul considers in Romans 9:21; “Has the potter no right over the clay?” (ESV). When faced with the world’s shifting perspectives on what it means to be male or female, Christians ought to consider the Creator’s awe-inspiring design and purpose for men and women and testify to this purpose with their lives.
God fashioned man and woman to jointly echo the Trinity’s attributes with their unique qualities. God immediately gave man a responsibility in the garden: “To work it and to keep it”(Genesis 2:15). Here God stamped the leader, called to guide physically, vocally, spiritually. Most importantly, God gave man the aptitude for sacrifice. Writer and professor Stuart Scott emphasizes that the man’s “leadership needs to have similar qualities as the shepherding done by God” (Scott, 121). Men show the Father’s leadership and initiative over the Son when they, likewise, shepherd their wives. Theologian Wayne Grudem states that “Just as God the Father has authority over the Son… the husband has authority over the wife” (Grudem, 459). In a complementary way, God made woman a helper to the man, implying that she is to come under her husband’s authority. This design displays Christ’s submission to the Father. “God created man in His own image” to show His nature’s goodness, and God’s compassionate and loving nature is depicted by women gently nurturing their children (Genesis 1:27). Amazingly, the God of the universe decided mankind should be like Him.
Thus, in creating male and female, God purposed to show the Gospel and reveal His glory. However, Paul says in Romans 3:23 that “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” entailing that His image-bearers can no longer honor their creator (ESV). But Jesus Christ, the Son of God, became a man, gave His life for the church, and took it back again so that believers may have eternal life with Him. Marriage pictures this reality: when a man gives up his life for his wife, he magnifies Christ’s sacrificial work for him, and when a woman submits to her husband, she shows the church’s faith in Christ for salvation. In sacrifice and submission, married believers can give glory to God in response to His promise of redemption.
Yet today, the world inexcusably twists God’s design for male and female genders because of their sin and misunderstanding of who God is. Rather than adhering to God’s instructions, they redefine marriage to fit their sinful wants. When men or women give into lust and impurity, they abuse the orderliness of marriage, allowing sinful passions to shape their thinking about male-female relationships. A prominent example of the world’s twisting of roles is seen in homosexuality. “If a man lies with a male as with a woman,” Leviticus 20:16 asserts, “both… have committed an abomination “(ESV). The Lord hates this sin because it mocks the Creator, as if His design were insufficient for His creation. As a result, “God gave them up to dishonorable passions” (Romans 1:24). The world’s pursuit of homosexuality, radical feminism, and pornography corrupts God’s design and mocks His image.
How should believers respond? To which court should they turn: God’s or the world’s? The believer must trust the sufficiency of God’s Word, God’s court of law, that is “sharper than any two-edged sword,” where God defines right and wrong (Hebrews 4:12). Who other than God Himself, the Creator, is worthy of defining male and female roles? So, holding Scripture high, the Christian should be a light, a noticeable example of God’s blueprint. Whether conversing with a friend who is struggling with purity or employed alongside a homosexual, all Christians can live out and share Biblical roles for the world to see.
God’s plan for His creation is clear: He displays His wisdom and creativity through men and women. Humanity is “fearfully and wonderfully made” in God’s image, and when male and female roles are respected, the plan for salvation is brightened, assuring believers of eternity and offering to the unredeemed hope of redemption (Psalm 139:14).
BibleGateway. Zondervan Corporation. n.d. Web. Jan. 2016
Grudem, Wayne. Systematic Theology. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 1994. Print.
Scott, Stuart. The Exemplary Husband. Bemidji, MN: Focus Publishing Inc., 2002. Print.