Sunday, September 13, 2009

The Theology of Sex

Mokgadi Caster Semenya (born 7 January 1991) is a South African middle-distance runner and world champion.[1][2] Semenya won gold in the 800 metres at the 2009 World Championships in Athletics with a time of 1:55.45 in the final.
Following Semenya's victory at the 2009 World Championships, questions about her eligibility to compete as a woman in athletics events were raised.[2][3][4][5]

(Excerpt and photo taken from

Some of you have probably heard about the controversy surrounding Caster Semenya, the young South African runner who won gold at the 2009 World Championship game. The controversy surrounding her stems from the fact that her physical features are more male-like than female, and she has been accused of being a man, pretending to be a woman, in order to win the race. Authorities subjected her to gender testing, and today results determined that she has 3x more testosterone than an average female. How could this be? Apparently, her body makes more testosterone than the average female, and causes her to develop a male-like physical appearance. She is classifed in that little known gender category of intersex.

The topic of intersexuality is a very complex one, but intersex people can range from hermaphodites (people having both male and female organs) to chromosomal abnormalities, hormonal abnormalities and gender ambiguity. I have provided a link where this topic can be read about.

One of the reasons why I brought this topic up is to show how each one of us has both genders within us, but how those gender characteristics get separated, and determine whether we are male or female. Human gender can all be traced back to the garden of Eden. In the beginning it says that God made mankind into His image, both male and female (Genesis 1:26-27). Genesis 2 details how mankind was created:

7And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul...

18And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him...

21And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof;
22And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.
23And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.
24Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.
25And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.

Based on the above account, it would seem that the female sex is derived from the male. In verse 23 we see Adam declaring that Eve was taken out of the male. The Hebrew word translated man in verses 23 and 24 is the word iysh, which means male. In verses 7, 18,22, and 25 the word translated man is the Hebrew word adam, which means mankind, which is also the name of the first man! From this we can then conclude that the male was created with both male and female characteristics, from which God separated into male and female with the creation of Eve. Adam got the major male characteristics and Eve got the major female characteristics. As a matter of fact, medical science bears this out. Both male and female each have male and female hormones. Men have estrogen (a female hormone) and women have testosterone (a male hormone). The quantity of estrogen in men is low compared to women, and the quantity of testosterone in women is low when compared to men. Any upset in hormonal levels can have dramatic results. Men with high estrogen levels may appear more feminine, and women with high testosterone levels may appear more male-like. The changes however are not just hormonal, but also influences the development of the gonads as well. This can cause the development of both sex organs in one person, called hermaphroditism. Chromosomal anomalies such as reverse sex can come into play as well, as our sex chromosomes determines our gender. Here is another good article about the human sex genome
It will be interesting to see what the test results of gender testing will yield for Semenya, and how it will affect her ability to participate in sports in the future. We all need to remember that we all have male-female inside of us, and that our sex is determined by that which is most dominant in us. Let us continue to pray for her, and hope that a solution will be reached that is fair, and does not cause her any embarrassment and psychological distress.


Daughter of Wisdom said...

The male and female 'characteristics' of Adam does not mean he had both male and female organs. It means that although Adam was male, the raw material needed for sex differentiation into male or female was contained within him.

KHM said...

Poor woman. She will indeed be in my prayers.

Daughter of Wisdom said...

Hi KHM, welcome to my blog. I pray that you will be blessed, and yes, both you and your daughter looked beautiful, with and without makeup! :-)