3

Many theologians have said that transgender people shouldn't pray that God would change their sex because God doesn't make mistakes. But, every petitionary prayer is based on the premise that you know better than God (e.g. you're poor, you judged that God didn't give you enough money in your life, so you ask for more; someone is an unbeliever, you judged that God made a poor decision in His divine election, so you pray that he or she be converted). Why does praying that your sex would be changes constitute going "too far"?

7
  • 4
    Can you provide a source about your premise (Many theologians)? I don't think I've heard of prayer as being the premise one knows better than God, can you provide some citation?
    – depperm
    Commented Sep 7, 2022 at 15:22
  • From Chabad.org: "Prayer is a form of madness. Tell me that it is rational to talk to the Force of Being as though this were your closest confidant. Tell me that it is not absurd to plead with this force to adjust reality more to your liking—as though you know better how to run the universe."
    – Fomalhaut
    Commented Sep 7, 2022 at 15:25
  • This sounds similar to the notion that you shouldn't pray to be healed of homosexual inclinations, which seems dubious. Some people suggest this because they believe it's incurable, but that sort of logic doesn't follow with any other kind of affliction from which one might pray for deliverance. Nothing is impossible with God.
    – jaredad7
    Commented Sep 7, 2022 at 15:28
  • 9
    If you want explanations of what chabad.org says, you should ask on Mi Yodeya instead.
    – curiousdannii
    Commented Sep 7, 2022 at 22:57
  • 1
    @AmatsukiLove: That quote doesn't fit with the premise of your question. I mean, that quote seems to take a position on all prayers, whereas your question seems to be about why prayers for sex-change would be a special case.
    – Nat
    Commented Sep 8, 2022 at 19:48

4 Answers 4

10

Question

You cite 2 examples of prayers that (according to you) are based on the premise that we know better than God:

  1. Because you're poor, you judged that God didn't give you enough money in your life, so you ask for more
  2. Because you're an unbeliever, you judged that God made a poor decision in His divine election, so you pray that you will be converted

So you ask why, on the same principle, shouldn't a transgender also pray to change their sex since God made a mistake?

Answer

In the first two examples, the premise "we know better than God" is wrong because

  • the corollary that God made a poor decision or made a mistake is not necessary
  • things are not set in stone, and God wants to be asked

Here are typical right bases for the first two requests:

  1. We are poor. But we also know that

    • Jesus wants us to pray for "our daily bread" (Matt 6:11)
    • Jesus teaches us to rely on God in faith for our needs, and to not worry that God neglects us, because God certainly cares for us more than the birds and the lilies in the field (Matt 6:25-34)

    so we pray in response.

  2. We are currently an unbeliever. But the right understanding of divine election is that

    • God wants everyone to be saved (1 Tim 2:4)
    • God takes into account our free will, and election is based on his foreknowledge of our free will
    • The elect become believers at different points in their life, and some experience fully the unbelieving stage and the struggle they face to become believer

    so not knowing the future and not knowing whether we are the elect we pray, because the praying itself is part of the experience of the elect.

Why the transgender prayer is "too far"?

The first two examples show we ask within the range of what God allows, but most Christians believe that sex reassignment surgery (SRS) is not allowed in most cases. They may recommend (if applicable) that the transgender pray for their gender dysphoria to be healed. This is STILL a currently controversial issue that should be approached with carefulness, compassion, and faithful Biblical interpretation. A recent book that does all 3 is Affirming God's Image: Addressing the Transgender Question with Science and Scripture (2019) by a Professor of Christian Ethics J. Alan Branch (Amazon link here, review here, critical review that dispute some of his Biblical interpretation here).

13
  • 5
    "the transgender should pray so their psyche matches with their biological sex", and if that's too hard, simply pray that one's dissonance should be resolved, leaving it to God what form that resolution should take.
    – Matthew
    Commented Sep 7, 2022 at 19:13
  • 2
    According to the last paragraph: this is a completely subjective determination by each individual Christian, with nothing to really back it up? Commented Sep 8, 2022 at 18:23
  • 3
    Can you square this with John 14:13-14 "13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it." (NIV)? That seems to suggest that there's no limit on what can be asked of God.
    – minnmass
    Commented Sep 8, 2022 at 20:48
  • 2
    @GratefulDiscipline The first two requests have Biblical references as to why you can pray for them. Whereas the reference that you can't pray for the last request is essentially "because Christians think so" - nothing to do with the Bible, or with God! Commented Sep 8, 2022 at 20:50
  • 1
    @user253751 I just want to reflect that there are multiple opinions among Christians because they interpret key Bible verses about gender / sexuality differently. The Bible is more clear in prohibiting same sex physical act than sex reassignment surgery (SRS) when there is a very good medical case. This is a CURRENT controversial issue. I edited the answer to add a book that advocate against SRS while cautioning Christians to be careful and compassionate with sufferers of gender dysphoria. Commented Sep 8, 2022 at 22:53
7

First, from a quote in your comment

"Tell me that it is rational to talk to the Force of Being as though this were your closest confidant"

No, wrong. God is not a 'force'. Yes, Jesus instructs us to pray to God indeed as a Father. Matthew 6:9 is

"this is how you should pray: ‘Our Father ..."

Back to your question.

"every petitionary prayer is based on the premise that you know better than God"

No, wrong. God already knows what you need. Matthew 6:8

"your Father knows what you need before you ask Him"

Every petitionary prayer ought to be based on the premise that God already knows what you need. You are granted things when you are based in Christ. See James 4:3,

"And when you do ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may squander it on your pleasures."

Otherwise, God would not be sending a blessing. So, now to the specific question,

"Why is praying to change your gender "too far"?"

Presumably, the theologians you are referring to believe 'gender reassignment surgery' and so on is sinful. As a scriptural example, if cross-dressing is sinful, wouldn't 'gender reassignment' surgery and exogenous hormones also be? So for these theologians, you are praying basically for God to be complicit in sin.

So, according to them, it is a wrong-headed attempt to get something that would make your life worse off. Instead, seek first the Kingdom and its righteousness, and all you need will be added to you, as in Matthew 6:33.

"But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you."

1
  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – Ken Graham
    Commented Sep 9, 2022 at 22:57
4

It's going too far to pray for a sex change,

"God gives it a body as He has designed, and to each kind of seed He gives its own body.", 1 Cor 15:38

back up some verses and get the context: our physical bodies are like seeds...meant to become something else than what is planted.

God has a purpose for the body you were born with, e.g. a man born blind at birth was for this reason per Jesus Christ,

"this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him.", Jn 9:3

Also,

"Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own", 1 Cor 6:19

The body's purpose is to house the Holy Spirit. Then, have the Holy Spirit transform your nature into God's image, or nature.

"until Christ is formed in you", Gal 4:19

Physical bodies are rather limited, but

"It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power.", 1 Cor 15:43

Our weaknesses are meant to drive us to God. None of our limits are His limits with us, though.

"out of weakness were made strong", Heb 11:34

Transforming our nature set us free from our fallen condition:

"you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.", 2 Pt 1:4

'Lust' is desire for anything we aren't qualified or meant to have (not just sexual in nature). Wanting to be something other than what God made you to be thwarts His plans with you:

  1. be transformed into His nature, thus set free from corruption
  2. have the most fulfillment in life, and
  3. have a personal relationship with God Himself

Also,

"He created them male and female", Gen 5:2

Non-binary or any other gender identification is contrary to God's Word, thus 1, 2 and 3 above would never happen.

NOTE: corrective surgery is OK. That makes the body given to you more functional. But, simply trying to become something other than what God made you is not yielding to the Holy Spirit's purpose. In fact, it is rebellion,

"But who are you, O man, to talk back to God? Shall what is formed say to Him who formed it, “Why did You make me like this?”", Rom 9:20

"“Woe to those who quarrel with their Maker, those who are nothing but potsherds among the potsherds on the ground. Does the clay say to the potter, ‘What are you making?’ Does your work say, ‘The potter has no hands’?", Isa 45:9

9
  • 2
    What if you identify as gender=non-binary, sex=male? Then you are male, not in contradiction of Gen 5:2, and also non-binary. Commented Sep 8, 2022 at 18:24
  • 3
    "God has a purpose for the body you were born with, e.g. a man born blind at birth" - is it too far for him to pray to see? Commented Sep 8, 2022 at 18:25
  • 1
    "He created them male and female" (intersex people?) sure - but "man and woman" is not (as has been socially clear for a long time) equivalent to "male and female". So, your argument is unclear to me, where you go from: "He created them male and female" to: "non-binary or any other gender identification is contrary to God's Word"
    – FShrike
    Commented Sep 8, 2022 at 19:18
  • @FShrike, it couldn't be more plain in scripture: there are two genders, male and female. "Man or woman" conveys the same idea.
    – Ben
    Commented Sep 9, 2022 at 1:23
  • @user253751, if one's sexual "identity" is different than their gender, it's a figment of one's imagination. A person's gender is reality regardless of who/what they identify as.
    – Ben
    Commented Sep 9, 2022 at 1:24
1

Good question,

Your concept of God's will is wrong and your concept of prayer is also, therefore, wrong.

Prayer is asking for "Your Kingdom come, Your will be done" as we see in "The Lord's Prayer" or "The Our Father". We are inviting His will to be done on Earth, and not just in Heaven, because right now His Kingdom is available but not implemented. His Will is not always being done. If I were poor, it's not because it's God's will. It's because sin entered the world through Adam and now the world is corrupted. In Revelation 21 and 22, as well as throughout the Gospels we see clearly what God's will is. Micah 4:4 implies that every man will own His own land in the Kingdom. This is an example of what the Bible says about there being no poverty in God's Kingdom. So the fact that there are currently people experiencing poverty shows that God's Will is not yet being fully performed. In God's Kingdom everyone will be given their own land and nobody will ever be allowed to take it from them or form a land owning aristocracy.

God's will happening on Earth depends in part on humans cooperating with Him willingly by inviting and accepting His Kingdom. At the end of the age He will, sadly, remove those who are bent on evil, but this is the exception not the rule. This is why we must engage in prayer. His will isn't going to happen unless we formally invite it to happen.

If you want to eliminate sickness and poverty, I'd start by praying for that aspect of His Kingdom to come and His Will to be done on Earth, just like it is in Heaven. Eventually God will probably give you practical ways to partner with Him in that venture in addition to pouring out supernatural power through the Holy Spirit.

Thankfully we are all on our way into modernism in the sense that we know that God does not promote ignorance or powerlessness as a way of life.

So if there are things that God CERTAINLY wants to happen but aren't happening right now, like there being no sickness (Psalm 103, Gospels) or poverty, how much more when it comes to things where there is greater flexibility, like how many strawberries are being grown on Earth.

I'm not a huge fan of strawberries, but if my daughter asks me for them I will immediately go buy some at the next opportunity to do so. God has made it, you can see in Genesis 1-2 and Psalms 115:16, that we are in charge. There are many things He will not do unless we ask.

When we ask for things that clearly violate His Will like for someone to be hurt in some way, He's not going to act on that prayer. It doesn't mean that you shouldn't bring it up to Him. Just be ready to have a dialogue where He helps you have a more informed and less ignorant view of the matter. He will speak to you things that are helpful to you understanding yourself, Him and the resources near you.

As to your specific question, God does not make mistakes. I recommend "Switch On Your Brain" by Caroline Leaf for scientific evidence that the Human Brain is the most powerful thing in the universe outside of God Himself. You are not a mistake at all. You are well designed and truly powerful. Feel free to DM me if you have further questions.

0

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .