(By Michael Brown) In an August 12 op-ed piece for the New York Times entitled “Is God Transgender?”, Rabbi Mark Sameth claims that “the Hebrew Bible, when read in its original language, offers a highly elastic view of gender” and that, “counter to everything we grew up believing, the God of Israel—the God of the three monotheistic, Abrahamic religions to which fully half the people on the planet today belong—was understood by its earliest worshipers to be a dual-gendered deity.” Are there any truths to these claims?
Certainly not. For Rabbi Sameth, these are issues of social concern and not merely theological abstractions, as he states explicitly at the outset of his article: “I’m a rabbi, and so I’m particularly saddened whenever religious arguments are brought in to defend social prejudices—as they often are in the discussion about transgender rights.” The real question, though, for Jews and Christians who look to the Hebrew Scriptures as God’s Word is very simple: What do the Scriptures teach? What is the explicit testimony of the Bible? CONTINUE