Author Jonathan Noyes
Published on 03/04/2024
Sexuality and Gender

Four Reasons Why Biblical Anthropology Matters

Christianity offers a high view of human value and purpose. Jon Noyes explains how this should impact the way we interact with others, especially friends and family who identify as LGBTQ+.


When we respond to the critics and to the people with whom we disagree with a proper and right view of humanity, we do a number of things, the first of which is we rebuke arrogant condemners.

People are special, regardless of what they believe about God. This is important. As Christians, we should keep this in mind. Sin is our enemy, not LGBTQ+ people. LGBTQ+ people are made in the image of God, and they’re not our enemy. Our battle is a battle of ideas, and when we respond with a proper biblical anthropology, this becomes clear and we can engage others in a way that’s productive. Not only do we offer them the view that they are worthy—worthy of our time and love and dignity—but also, we don’t need to get heated, because we understand they’re made in the image of God but they’re also broken. They’re walking around in darkness, according to what Paul says, and they’re going to bump into things. That’s what people do when it’s dark inside. They bump into things. So, it’s up to us to help them when they bump into things—to help them understand, perhaps, why they can’t see clearly.

So, first, when we respond with a proper and right biblical anthropology, it rebukes the arrogant condemners. Next, the second thing it does is it avoids a common and incorrect diagnosis. People are made in the image of God, but people are broken. So, people are valuable, but people are broken, and sometimes, when we get into conversations, we don’t do so from a proper and right Christian perspective on the issue about this brokenness. We offer incorrect diagnoses. Like, we’ll say, “Oh. All this stuff is a mental illness,” or, “It’s because so and so was abused by his mother or there was an absent father.” These things might have to do with why people are same-sex attracted or why people are gay or a lesbian or why they do the things that they do, but that’s not the sole reason. Sin is the reason. It’s because people are made in the image of God but they’re broken.

People are broken, and sometimes, because of the false diagnosis that we offer, we try to look for understanding where understanding doesn’t exist. We place blame and guilt on parents, for example. The parents think, “What did I do wrong?” And I don’t think that’s right. I think that what we need to do is we need to offer a better way. We point them to the fact that we’re all broken. We’re all in need of rescue. We’re all in a pit, and we can’t get out on our own. Then, remind people that perfect parenting doesn’t guarantee perfect children. I don’t know about you guys, but I try my best to be a perfect parent. I know I’m not, and I’m definitely not producing perfect children. If you’re the mom or the dad of a gay or a lesbian or trans child, it’s not your fault. Sin is the problem, and Jesus is the answer. The answer isn’t better parenting. Jesus is the answer. Jesus came as the only answer to sin, no matter how good of a parent you are.

The third thing that offering a proper anthropology does is it affirms repentance and rejects sinful acts and desires. So, people are made in the image of God. People are valuable. People are broken. But people can be rescued. And I think that this is how we can move toward things. We need to call people to repentance. And this is why things like the Side B Christian movement are completely unhelpful. These are the folks that would identify as gay Christians. They’re saying that they’re not acting on their desires. They have the desires, but they just don’t act on them. But, while they might be resisting the desires, I don’t hear them say anything about the need to repent of the desires. There’s a difference between desires and temptations. Desires, wrongly ordered, are sinful. Temptations aren’t. Jesus was tempted, remember, and Jesus never sinned, but Jesus didn’t have wrongly ordered desires. So, as Christians, we need to help people move into a time of repentance and move away in the opposite direction of those sinful desires.

We never identify with our sin. It never makes sense to me to identify with our sin. We identify with the new man in Christ. When Christ is asked, “What must I do to be saved?” he says, “You must be born again.” So, the old man is dead. The old man is put to death. We identify with the new man in Christ, not the dead man that’s been put to death. We identify as Christians alone.

The fourth thing that a proper and right anthropology does is it offers a response to one of the major objections, “What if you’re born this way?” I think that the imago Dei–a proper and right biblical anthropology—answers this question. It answers the born gay question because even if you are born gay—which there’s no evidence for right now—what do you have to do to be saved? You have to be born again. This is the message that we need to be sharing with the LGBTQ+ community.

In many ways, we’re going to be called “exclusivists” or “bigoted” or “narrow-minded,” and in certain ways, we are. We are narrow in that our claim is exclusive, but we’re not narrow-minded, and we’re not bigoted, because the message is actually a universal message. It’s a message for everyone. Everyone must be born again, not just those people over there with those types of sins. We all have to be born again. But it starts with a proper view of humanity—with anthropology—the image of God.

You’re valuable and unique just because you’re made in the image of God. So, you’re special, but you’re broken, and not only are you broken, but you’re in need of a rescue, and that rescue has been offered through Christ, but you have to be born again. You see, our sexuality has a higher purpose than merely our own desires. This is what, I think, a lot of people lean into. When I have conversations with my friends who disagree on this issue, they’re leaning into their desires, but we aren’t the sum of our desires. Thank God. We are made in the image of God. This is why anthropology matters. Biblical anthropology offers a higher view because our sexuality has a higher purpose than merely our own pursuit of pleasure or desires. Every part of us was created primarily to radiate and testify to the glory of God. That includes our sexuality.