Design and Deception
A bizarre tale has been splashed across various news outlets in the last few days. A woman used spray-on Gorilla Glue to fix her hair. She had run out of hairspray. The Gorilla Glue spray seemed to be similar enough to hairspray (to her). The end result, however, was disastrous: her hair has turned into a helmet of glue. And there seems to be no simple way to free her from it. The manufacturers of the product extended their sympathies. Alongside the sympathies, however, they resolutely stated that their product should be used only in the ways that they have prescribed on their packaging.
This episode serves as a reminder to all of us that the intentions of a creator matter. In the mind of a creator, all elements of the created artifact have a purpose. Indeed, objects are created for a particular purpose. In many cases, the purposes of the object and the object itself are inseparable. Sure, some things have any number of physical similarities with other things, but that doesn’t make them interchangeable when it comes to purpose and action. For this reason, one product is often unable to substitute for another. As we see in this hair affair, to use something for actions other than the intended purpose will often bring regret, aggravation, and destruction.
Designers Fashion Designer Fashions
We cannot forget that behind every product is a designer who has intentionally designed it. In the mind of the designer, the form and the function of the product are intricately intertwined. Aesthetic beauty and success of action are equally necessary for a good product. These two poles are always in play in the mind of a designer. Whether dresses or boots, makeup or hairspray, curtains or throwpillows–all designers attempt to marry form with function, without sacrificing one iota of either one in the process.
The Scriptures portray God as the ultimate Designer. He is a Potter at His wheel (Isaiah 64:8), a Sculptor who works in dust and bone (Genesis 2:7,22), a Tailor who stitches in the womb (Psalm 139:13), and a Garden Planner who grafts branches of diverse trees together for beauty and function (Romans 11:17-24). His wisdom is unparalleled, His power unrivaled. His creativity unequaled, His knowledge beyond compare. What He has fashioned, He has fashioned well. Indeed, perfectly well! Each of His creations have beauty in their form. Every nature documentary repeats this refrain, and all of the viewers agree. We marvel at the moving imagery that passes before our eyes on the Discovery Channel, don’t we?
In addition to beauty of form, every creation of God also has a purpose. The same nature documentaries continually comment on the usefulness of each creature within the entire ecosystem. Film narrators often describe the ways that various parts of each creature, plant, or system benefit the whole of the organism or habitat. Whether the pincers of a crab, or the leaves of a deciduous tree under the sun, each component of the creation exists for a reason and has an impact on the world around it.
Just like Gorilla Glue and hairspray, and oak leaves and crab claws, we are creations with not only beauty, but purpose. Our purpose was in the mind of God as He fashioned us. Our very existence is directed toward the goals of bringing God glory (Isaiah 43:7) and seeking Him (Acts 17:24-27). We are, therefore, worshipers by design, and that worship encompasses all areas of our lives. It even extends to our sexuality and gender.
When God fashioned humanity as a gendered race, He designed our bodies to physically fit together and work together in order to bring about more human life. His intention for gender and sex should be recognized, embraced, and heeded. God, in His infinite wisdom, decided that it was not good for His male human creation to be alone. He fashioned a helper suitable (Genesis 2:18) for the man and we know her as woman. God’s design for man and woman is that would join together and create new families (Genesis 2:24).
Everything needed for the furtherance of the human race and the raising of subsequent generations of people is found within God’s good gift of manhood and womanhood and the sexual union that takes place between the two. Yet our culture strains with so much human energy and defiance in order to cast God’s prototype into the trash bin and replace it with a manmade fabrication.
Replace and Rebrand
In place of the chastity God prescribed, our culture promotes sexual license. ‘Til-death-do-us-part has also been sent to the curb and no-fault divorce has become the expectation for half of us. Pornography tells the viewer that what is seen on the screen is better than what is found between the sheets of the marriage bed, though God tells us to flee from such wickedness. Homosexuality asserts itself as an equal with God’s heterosexual design from Genesis. And now, recently thrust upon the public stage, male says he can be female and vice versa, though God has left no room for such irrational statements in His design of man and woman. Supporters of transgender philosophy are even inventing pronouns and rewriting history to signal their devotion to the cause.
These voices have risen up and claimed to offer a new viewpoint for the benefit of society. They say that to stick with the Creator’s original design for humanity, gender, sex, and family is to be narrow-minded. Living according to God’s design, they claim, inhibits the flourishing of humanity. However, the novel and vociferous rebranders simply do not have history, or nature for that matter, on their side.
In the Pudding
Every one of the above-mentioned sexual and familial liberties unwinds the fabric of our lives and society. The consequences of premarital sex place great pressures on unwed mothers, straining both finances and relationships. The mental and physical memories of previous liaisons build shaky foundations for future commitments. Pornography limits a partner’s ability to selflessly love a future spouse, promotes the objectification of God’s image bearers, and increases frustration in intimacy. Homosexual relationships silently declare that one gender is not needed in society. They fail to show children how half of humanity works emotionally and relationally. Transgenderism, in its denial of significant differences between male and female, destroys all semblance of truth outside the mind of the individual. Incontrovertible physiological differences were included by our all-wise Creator so that we can know for sure that the threshold between the genders is never able to be crossed by mere mental determination.
Is society better off because of our sexual libertinism? Have we not reaped what we have sown? We have determined to chart our own course and have lost our way.
Blueprints and Compasses
All sailors and hikers know that understanding and following one’s compass will guide one safely home. Every builder knows that following one’s blueprint will yield the best structure. To cast aside these helpful constraints would spell disaster for a construction project or journey. Rather, the builder, the sailor, and the hiker see these guiding boundaries as good. Better than good, in fact! They give rise to life and true freedom.
And so it is with God’s prescription for people. We behold that He made us male and female. It is clear that our bodies fit together, not only in physical contours, but also in purpose. The male and the female are needed for the next generation to arise. Our consciences confirm that the marriage bed is intended to be pure. Children raised in homes are growing in fertile soil for healthy self-concepts. They see both halves of humanity, male and female, working together in unity and they draw strength from the loving bond they observe. They get a picture of how they want their own adult lives to play out and they learn the habits that will help them achieve the goal of a Golden Anniversary and a legacy to even their grandchildren.
God’s wonderful designs of male and female, marital love and faithfulness, and sperm and egg are infinitely more beautiful and more effective than any invented distortions mankind could propose. We are foolish to believe that we can ignore the labeling on the package. To adopt divorce as the norm, to embrace homosexual marriages as on equal footing with heterosexual ones, and to claim that a woman can become a man by merely asserting themselves is societal suicide. It is like using Gorilla Glue products in place of hairspray. It will only yield regret, aggravation, and destruction.
Instead, let us align our lives, our worldviews, and our public policies with the tried and true purposes of our Creator. As we behold His very good creations of human bodies, gender, and family life, may we agree with Him that it is not only good, but that it is best. And let us graciously and ardently advocate for His best in our own lives, marriages, families, and communities.