What is a Woman?
During the month of August, I planned on one brain surgery and actually wound up squeezing in two. That meant I was recovering a lot. I was a lot less mobile than I usually am. That lack of mobility meant I watched way more television than I ever watch. I’m sure I watched more TV in August than I will have watched the rest of the year combined by far. One of the things that Lauren and I watched together one evening is a documentary that’s made a big splash out there. It’s called “What is a Woman?” And in the documentary, Matt Walsh travels around the country, and he talks to experts about this transgender world. We’re in this LGBTQ+ world, and you’ve got in the transgender revolution, you’ve got men who want to be women, and you’ve got women who are saying, men can be women, and in that transgender world, the question that Walsh wanted to ask is what is a woman? So he went around, and he asked all these experts, women, college professors and sociologists and social workers and pediatricians, he asked psychologists, he asked protesters who were walking in the street, and the amazing thing about the documentary, which just confounded me, as I watched it, are these experts in gender studies, these experts who are prescribing medication in an attempt to turn men into women or boys into girls, these so-called experts were completely and universally unable to answer what a woman is. The reason that’s of interest to me on the podcast is because we want to think biblically about the issues that are out there. When you’ve got experts, when you’ve got a culture that can’t explain what a woman is, you’ve got a culture that is separated from the fabric of creation. Genesis 1:27 says, “God created man in His own image, and the image of God, He created him, male and female, He created them.” Endemic to our creation, as people, is that we are male or female. That is a reality. It is absolutely basic to being created. That means if you’re going to understand creation if you’re going to understand human beings, basic to that understanding is understanding the difference between a man and a woman.
As I watched that documentary, and as I have thought about it and talked to people about it, it actually occurred to me that a lot of people struggle with the answer. I’m not talking about the people on the documentary; I’m talking about people listening to this podcast. If you’re pressed, what is a woman? It seems to be a little bit harder to answer that question now than it used to be. I say it used to be; it didn’t feel like it used to be hard. We used to just think we knew. We just thought, hey, I know what a man and a woman are. We actually never thought about it. We could tell by looking I think about being a little boy growing up in the 1980s, and this was not a big thought piece. It was just like I could tell by looking at that boy that he was a boy. I could tell by looking at that girl that she was a girl. It’s not that way anymore. It’s not that way anymore because our thinking in a secular culture is confused. We don’t want to admit the truth about the basic fundamental nature of manhood and womanhood. And so we confuse our thinking. And then it’s also hard to tell because the presentation of many is deceptive. In a transgender world, you do have men that present themselves as women, and you do have women that present themselves as men, and so you cannot in every situation take it for granted that because this person looks like a woman that they actually are because this person looks like a man that he or she actually is. What is a woman is harder to answer than it used to be, and you can’t always assume that you can tell just by looking.
What God’s Word Says
So what is a woman? For people like me, and like many of you who share the assumption that the Bible is the Word of God and that God makes people as men and women, what is the difference? What is a woman? Well, we could give a fairly obvious answer; we could say, a woman is an adult, human female. Well, that’s true, as far as it goes. But it’s also a fairly circular argument. What is a woman? It’s an adult human female. Okay, well, then, what is an adult human female? Well, it’s a woman. We could say that men have XY chromosomes folded into their DNA. And women have XX chromosomes folded into their DNA. That is a technical, scientific, and true answer. It’s also radical. Every cell in my body, as a man, is stamped with XY. You can’t change all of the cells in my body and change my cellular structure from being a man to being a woman. If you’re listening to this and you’re a woman, every cell in your body is stamped with XX. it is at the core of who you are at a cellular level. So it’s true. It’s radical. It’s also fairly technical, and it’s going to be irrelevant on the street when we’re looking at people when we’re having these conversations. As true as it is, I think we could give a more basic answer.
So here is my most basic answer. What is a woman? A woman is an adult human being with a reproductive system designed for motherhood. That’s what a woman is. A woman is an adult human being with a reproductive system designed for motherhood. That means that a man is an adult human being with a reproductive system designed for fatherhood. Look, there are kids who listen to this podcast, so I’m not going to go into more detail than that. But if you want to know who a woman is, a woman is an adult human being who’s designed to be a mom, and a man is an adult human being who’s designed to be a dad. You can tell it in the reproductive system. Now, a couple of things about that it’s going to lead to secondary sex characteristics. When we talk about secondary sex characteristics, we’re talking about physical realities that point to manhood or womanhood that aren’t related to the reproductive system. So men have greater bone density than women, larger bone structure, we have Adam’s apples and facial hair. Women tend to be of smaller stature, they tend to have wider hips, and all sorts of things are different at a secondary level. All of those things matter and point to the reality that each cell in our body is stamped with either XY or XX. I also want to be clear that in a fallen world, there are going to be imperfections with these reproductive systems. Not every man is going to be able, for all sorts of biological reasons, to be a dad. Same thing with moms. We’re not saying that in a fallen world, all of this works perfectly. But we are saying that even in a fallen world, you can’t choose what your biological design is. So what is a woman? It’s an adult human being with a reproductive system designed for motherhood. And that means a man is an adult human being with a reproductive system designed for fatherhood. It really is that obvious, and today, it really is that radical.