Well, here we are, the final post in this series. I hope that you have found this series educational, inspiring, thought provoking, and challenging. These are complex issues, matters that we must not ignore. One of the words I like to use to describe the Bible is courageous. We have a collection of sacred teachings from God that courageously explores all matters of life and eternity. If we are mandated by God to be His ambassadors (2 Corinthians 5:20), then we should be well prepared to address all manner of questions that are posed by a world that may be curious, suspicious, or even contentious. And there are few questions that are as pressing today as those relating to sexuality.
This final posting in the series is dealing with the complex question of how should Christians respond to the fact that children are born with chromosomal and genetic abnormalities that result in problems with hormones, genital formation, and puberty. Much of my reading came from various sources, some of which were: National Library of Medicine & National Institute of Health and Genetics Home Reference.
Let's cover some rudimentary facts about genetics. Every human cell contains 23 pairs of chromosomes so 46 total. And each chromosome contains hundreds to thousands of genes. Normally, one in each pair of chromosomes comes from one parent and the other in each pair of chromosomes comes from the other parent. 22 pairs are non-sexual but the 23rd pair is the sex chromosome. This is part of the genius of God...redundancy. If something is corrupted, the body can rely on the matching chromosome in the pair. Chances of genetic disorders are higher among close family members of an isolated population because there is a much higher chance of two abnormalities in the same pair. That's why that whole idea of kissing cousins being a bad idea is in fact a bad idea! I'm sure much of this explanation is an over-simplification but my efforts here are just to lay some groundwork, not teach extensively on genetics. Gender is determined when this 23rd pair known as the sex chromosome is paired as either an X from the mother and an X from the father resulting in a female or an X from the mother and a Y from the father resulting in a male. Therefore, to be a female this 23rd pair is XX and to be a male this 23rd pair is XY.
As Christians, we are creationists. Often the conversation about creationism occurs at a macro level regarding the earth and the universe...but it also occurs at a micro level and instructs our beliefs about humanity specifically. We know that Adam and Eve were genetically perfect because everything that God created in the beginning was perfect. Imperfection entered the world as a result of sin. Perfection can only be attained again in Heaven, never again in this earth. Jesus of course was perfect because His father is God. The imperfections that entered the world through sin includes chromosomal and genetic abnormalities. A person who does not believe in God can posture themselves in a way to argue that what we as creationists call an abnormality could in fact be an evolution event. Or at the very least, they may argue that natural selection has chosen this child to be unique.
This next statement is in no way intended to be insensitive or in any way devalue another person. Every person, regardless of whatever chromosome or genetic challenges they face are precious to me and most certainly to God. I say that because my view is that any chromosomal or genetic abnormality is an example of a flawed human condition. We are all flawed. We are all vulnerable. We are living in a natural world that was created perfect but is now imperfect. And we are vulnerable to those imperfections, especially when it comes to our biology. Every one of these conditions is appropriately described as an abnormality, disorder, condition, syndrome, and other medical terms that intend to convey a biological flaw. A biological flaw is not permission, never permission to devalue someone...not ever! But if in our efforts to value them as a person we ignore the reality of their situation, we create an environment that risks permissiveness. Advocates of LGBTQI point to these instances of chromosomal and genetic abnormalities as evidence that a person does not choose their sexual orientation thus making gender identification a personal choice. Make no mistake. A child born with an chromosomal or genetic abnormality that affects their sexuality is going to face many obstacle in life. The parents at birth have what seem to be impossible decisions to make. These children are going to need a lifetime of support as well as their families. But we are not helping our world or that family by trying to normalize their condition. And therein lies the problem with so much of society. There is a false sense of acceptance that comes from our attempts to normalize that which God calls broken. We are all broken. We all have varying degrees of brokenness. For some, that brokenness extends to their physical bodies, including chromosomal and genetic abnormalities.
Let's look a few together. Again, these are cursory explanations of what can be very complicated conditions. One is Klinefelter Syndrome. This results in a child being born with an extra X chromosome. So they are XXY instead of the normal XY. This can result in undersized male genitalia causing abnormally low levels of testosterone. This can lead to breast formation in boys during puberty as well as other complications during puberty. Another is Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome. This child is also born genetically male but is unable to respond to certain male sex hormones (androgens). They will have mostly female genitalia but signs of both. Surgery attempts to remove any signs of male genitalia and typically these children are raised female with no uterus and thus will be infertile. There is Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia which is further divided into classical (more severe) and non-classical. This occurs when the adrenal glands on top of the kidneys produce excessive androgens. This can cause ambiguous external genitalia, early onset puberty, pre-mature growth spurts that cause no growth later in life leading to small stature. This is just to name a few.
In my reading I also tried to find some solid data on statistics relating to frequency. I found such a wide range depending on the source that I didn't feel confident in any of the data. Except I was confident in this one conclusion, that all the data on all the chromosomal and genetic abnormalities could be clearly categorized as atypical, not normal. Do I think that in time the frequency of these instances could increase? Yes. The farther away time moves from Eden, the more imperfections such as chromosomal and genetic abnormalities will manifest. This again is why being a creationist is hope giving. I don't want this world and the human race as it is to continue on forever! The New Heaven and the New Earth awaits everyone who has made a vow of devotion to Jesus and there are no imperfections there!
If you are parent to a child who has one of these conditions, my encouragement to you is to seek help, get support, find a loving church community that is willing to walk with you on this journey! If you live in the Hampton Roads area...City Life will be such a church to you!