In the garden, Satan said to Eve, “Did God really say?” This question caused Eve to doubt the truth of God. Since then, every human being has, at one time or another, believed their way is better than God’s. This rejection of God’s truth is expressed in many ways in our culture, including in the confusion over what it means to be a human being.
In Love Thy Body, Nancy Pearcey explains that our culture has separated truth into two realms: an upper story and a lower story. In the lower story are facts. Facts have mostly to do with science and things that can be empirically tested. People believe things in the lower story are true for everyone (objective). The upper story contains values. Values have to do primarily with morality and theology and are believed to be a matter of personal opinion (relative or subjective).
This divide has had a profound impact on our understanding of what it means to be a human being. Pearcey says,
The concept of the human being has likewise been fragmented into an upper and lower story. Secular thought today assumes a body/person split, with the body defined in the “fact” realm by empirical science (lower story) and the person defined in the “values” realm as the basis for rights (upper story).
There’s been a separation of the body and the person. For example, activists argue that biology has nothing to do with gender identity. The rationale is that our bodies are nothing more than a product of the blind, physical forces of evolution. Therefore, our bodies have no transcendent purpose. This leads to the idea that our bodies should be brought into alignment with our minds, never the other way around.
This is important to understand because this position produces a very low view of the human body. We can, according to this view, use the body in whatever way we want. We can mutilate it or even kill it, as is the case with abortion and physician-assisted suicide.
We see this clearly when it comes to sexual ethics. Males and females are the biological and physiological counterparts to each other. The human reproductive system is designed to require the opposite reproductive system to realize its main function and purpose. However, trans and gay activists deny our bodies have been purposefully designed and would have us believe our biological sex should have no say in how we live our lives morally. This is a profoundly disrespectful way to view the body, denying the reality that the body is a fundamental part of who we are.
The damage caused by this view is evidenced by the grief expressed by trans men and women who surgically alter themselves only to regret the decision years later and the increased rates of depression, alcohol and drug abuse, and suicide among the LGBTQ+ crowd.
We should, instead, be taking our moral cues in this area from our bodies, living in harmony with the purpose for which we’ve been made. Our call is to honor our bodies and live in accordance with the Creator’s design and his high view of human dignity. We will always be more fulfilled when we conform our lives to the true story of reality.
In response to our culture’s view, we need to argue for objective truths about the body, show the Christian ethic is the better ethic, and continue to make the argument in the public square that human beings have value in themselves. It’s the Christian who has the higher view of human worth. “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works” (Eph. 2:10). Human beings are part of God’s perfect creation and are intrinsically valuable.
As Pearcey notes, gay rights activist Camille Paglia has said, “We have absolute claim to our bodies and may do with them as we see fit.” That is not the true story of reality. We are not our own and therefore are not free to do whatever we want with our own bodies. We bear the image of another; this image is what gives us transcendent value and dignity. The ownership of that image belongs to God.
Since we bear the image of another, we’re not free to decide for ourselves what’s best for ourselves. We should live consistently with the character of the one we portray. As we do, we become more human, not less. Remember, Jesus is the epitome of what humanness is, and Satan is the father of lies.