What about hermaphrodites?

by Matt Slick

A hermaphrodite is a person who possesses the sexual organs of both male and female.  The Bible does not address hermaphroditism.  Therefore, it is difficult to ascertain doctrinally the Lord's position about them.  Nevertheless, what are we to make of hermaphrodites?

God's intention of the genders is that those born males act like males and those born females act like females.  But, in rare instances, there are babies born with the sexual organs of both sexes.  Why is this?   First of all, sin is in the world and it sometimes takes its tolls on our bodies resulting in various deformities.  Nevertheless, in the case of hermaphroditism, the identity of the individual is still intended by God to be one or the other.  After all, God would not make someone in contradiction to His created order and purpose.  This means the hermaphrodite, thought physically ambiguous, does possess an identity of one or the other.  It would seem best, then, to let the hermaphrodite grow and decide with which gender to side since he/she would know his/her own identity internally.  If surgery is elected to make the decision permanent by altering the body to represent one or the other gender, then that seems like a reasonable choice to make.

Second, it appears that most, if not all, hermaphrodites have a definite side they take as they develop since there is an internal genetic (XX, XY) dominance even though there is an external ambiguity.  It is the internal genetic dominance that determines male and female -- even though sometimes mutations occur that leave both sexual organs.  In some cases, there are hermaphrodites who are distinctly male in appearance yet have female sexual organs.  There are also those who appear decidedly feminine in physical appearance yet possess male sexual organs.  Either way, the genetic dominance is the gender and the person will manifest that dominance as he or she matures.


About The Author

Matt Slick is the President and Founder of the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry.