Shortly after the beginning, Cain kills Abel. (Genesis 4:8) In light of this, God sees it fit to create a new moral rule for all of humanity.

  1. "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." (Luke 6:31)

Many thousands of years later, a Prussian philosopher by the name of Immanuel Kant realized that this is not enough. He realized that people would misinterpret this rule to mean that as long as I am not directly affecting others, I can do as I please (non-aggression principle). So in order to remove irrational, ungeneralizable behavior such as drug usage, Immanuel Kant created an addendum to God's rule.

  1. "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." (Luke 6:31)
  2. "Treat yourself as you would have others treat themselves."

Now let's suppose that some new alien technology falls from the sky that makes complete and perfect biological sex change possible: you step into the portal, and you emerge a perfect, biologically-complete version of the opposite sex. Most Christian theologians would conclude that you are forbidden from using such technology.

So what's the third rule?

The gender-changing alien technology doesn't violate Rule #1 (nobody is harmed, unless you consider any kind of self-change to be "harm") and it doesn't violate Rule #2 (society would be a lot more fluid, but ultimately, the human race could continue to procreate if e.g. a gay man chose to turn into a woman, so it's not self-destructive in the way ununiversalizable behavior like drug usage would be).

So there must be a third hidden, unspoken rule of morality that Jesus and everybody else missed. What is that rule?

  • I have voted to close this question as it is off-topic on several levels.
    – Nigel J
    Commented May 4, 2023 at 6:53
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    Most Christian theologians would conclude that you are forbidden from using such technology. - That's the claim on which this question hinges. Can you back it up? Such a backup would immediately also scope the question, as surely that would have to refer to some denomination's teachings. Also, why the alien technology? To exclude arguments that operations would be bodily harm?
    – kutschkem
    Commented May 4, 2023 at 7:48
  • @kutschkem "Also, why the alien technology? To exclude arguments that operations would be bodily harm?" Yes. The most common conservative argument against sex change is that the laws of biology forbid it so you're just mutilating yourself. So in this philosophical hypothetical, to remove that objection, we assume the existence of alien technology from Star Trek, Doctor Who, or The Golden Oecumene Trilogy from John C. Wright that is capable of effecting perfect, seamless reengineering.
    – Fomalhaut
    Commented May 4, 2023 at 8:20
  • "Most Christian theologians would conclude that you are forbidden from using such technology. - That's the claim on which this question hinges. Can you back it up? " Most pastors say things like "Why would you want to change your sex? Don't you realize God doesn't make mistakes?" to transgender Christians, implying that there is some undiscovered moral principle making such goals malum in se.
    – Fomalhaut
    Commented May 4, 2023 at 8:49
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    @nigel I think you're probably right - I think someone here informed me that Kant isn't exactly a Christian philosopher even if he was some sort of a Christian minister
    – Peter Turner
    Commented May 4, 2023 at 14:10

4 Answers 4


There is nothing hypothetical about what is already happening. There are now treatments, practices and efforts that aim to change a person's sexual orientation, their gender identity and/or gender expression. No need to invoke Kant or Star Trek. There are, however, principles involved that a few million people world-wide are either unaware of, or trying to cover over.

One is that some people are, indeed, being harmed by current efforts. [Your Rule #1.] Youngsters who are vulnerable due to autism, depression, gender dysphoria and other problems have been encouraged to take puberty blockers. Of more than 1,000 going through the now-closed-down Tavistock clinic in England, 97.5 percent of those children seeking sex changes were in that vulnerable group. (See the new book "Time to Think" by BBC journalist Hannah Barnes.)

A conference on the ethical questions relating to Gender Dysphoria is to be held in Glasgow, Scotland, on 27 May. One speaker is Ms. Stella O'Malley, a psychotherapist and author who works extensively with people who have been impacted by gender-related distress. She founded the Gender Dysphoria Support Network ( http://www.genderdysphoriasupportnetwork.com ) Read her March 2023 book What Your Teen is Trying to Tell You, if you want to discover what kind of harm is already being done.

What does 'Society being a lot more fluid' even mean? [Your Rule #2] Society being broken apart is what is going on more and more these days, mainly due to self-centered individualism. Christians are to be centered on God, not self, and God's way for society is to be loving, considerate, helpful, and standing firm on godly principles. This binds Christians together, in love, and enables them to reach out lovingly to non-Christians, even though they might disagree with them on some topics. To disagree is not to quarrel. But Society being presented predominantly with one loud point of view that seeks to drown out disagreeing voices by taking away their right to freedom of speech and thought is what breaks society up.

This subject is too vast to go into properly here, but the essential Christian moral principles involved in weighing up whether gender change is right or wrong are:

What defines our identity? Our own feelings and desires, and/or how other people view us? Or - as Christians experience - our identity in Christ; being made new in him, as one of God's beloved children, irrespective of any ideas or feelings we have about our physicality?

What does our Creator say about being born as either a male, or a female? What does it mean when he states that we are made in his image?

What is going on when some people in society are trying to use gender identity issues to make God-believing people frightened to even speak out in public if they disagree with the current trend to experiment (mainly on young people) regarding sexual matters? Why does current efforts at legislation risk criminalising medical practitioners who express a professional opinion that it may not be in a patient's best interest to undergo or undertake gender reassignment? Christians believe in freedom of speech and freedom of thought. That is a moral principle that is in danger of being trampled on by attempts to legislate against those who disagree with current efforts. This has been fully exposed in written legal advice from Aidan O'Neill KC in December 2022. See The Christian Institute website; http://www.christian.org.uk the.ci/CTopinion

Christians long to reach out, in love, openly, to those struggling with these issues. This is not any kind of 'therapy'. This is just natural concern for young people (in particular) who are being pressured by peers and strangers to go for treatment that could be irreversible, and regretted some years down the road.

  • I liked (aorist) this answer because it challenges some of the points brought up in the OP.
    – Fomalhaut
    Commented May 5, 2023 at 3:49
  • As for "what does 'society being a lot more fluid' mean"... it means that it isn't going to be temporally bounded in time. A society where everyone is gay, barring reproductive technology, is going to be bounded in time, because eventually humanity will go extinct. A society where people can perfectly and completely change their biological sex will not be bounded in time, because there's nothing preventing these sex-changed people from continuing to reproduce (because the technology is perfect). Any thoughts?
    – Fomalhaut
    Commented May 5, 2023 at 3:54
  • @Lisramic Thank you. The idea of something becoming more fluid denotes, to me, a change from a more solid state to one that merges, flows into something else and causes both to be watered down. Morphs, perhaps. I think all society in every age and into the future will always be bounded by time and space, until 'the last day' when everything in the universe will change - a concept graphically portrayed in the Book of Revelation. And, as there is no such thing as 'perfect technology', I'm not optimistic, in the way you might be! Thanks again.
    – Anne
    Commented May 5, 2023 at 11:52

Dante placed one such person in the 8th circle of hell (albeit the 2nd bolgia) because he was a basically a magician and Chesterton wrote something to the same effect in an essay on psychology saying that the psychologists were doing all these things "as if we were witches".

There is no technological advancement that can actually change a persons sex and gender is a modern construct based on other bad prussian philosophy (see Matt Fradd's interview with Jason Evert )

So, I don't know what the 3rd moral principle is, but Kant obviously wouldn't think it's tenable that we could all be witches.

On the other hand, Kant was a few hundred years to early to learn about personalism and the super abundant application of the golden rule that St. John Paul II referred to in Love and Responsibility as the Personalistic Norm. "A Person is a good toward which the only acceptable attitude is love".

Even Barbie movies get this, you have to love yourself for who you are which is how God made you. The same principle that prohibits drug use, because it denudes the natural God-given senses, is at play here. You are using your body as a canvas for creating something new. But "I am not my own" as St. Kateri said (at least I think she said that, the quote is hanging above my daughter's door).

Loving yourself or loving your neighbor means wanting what is good for them. If it is an disordered desire to change ones body, then you should not want other people to do it.

Another good principle at work here was in the infinitude of creation the saints refer to the soul with the female gender pronouns. It's not by accident. But St. Augustine (in City of God) says we'll be men or women after the resurrection, we won't be utterly conformed to Christ's body - and not even women will have beards like Our Lord (I'm so glad he cleared that up). Changing sex on a molecular level would be tantamount to playing God, which, to circle back to the first point on witchcraft, is still verboten.

  • "There is no technological advancement that can actually change a persons sex"... this sounds suspiciously like a Citation Needed. Yes, it requires rewriting DNA / fiddling with every cell in the body. But saying that no such technology could ever be possible seems like a very bold claim.
    – Matthew
    Commented May 4, 2023 at 14:32
  • "you have to love yourself for who you are"... but 'who we are' is sinful, and I doubt you are arguing that we should love that we are sinful.
    – Matthew
    Commented May 4, 2023 at 14:34
  • @Matthew I only meant that to show we're clearly dealing with hypotheticals and platitudes
    – Peter Turner
    Commented May 4, 2023 at 14:39
  • Why is "being who you choose to be" considered witchcraft? Is it witchcraft when e.g. an Englishman chooses to be a new ethnicity (American) even though that goes against his biological heritage, like the founders of the United States did?
    – Fomalhaut
    Commented May 4, 2023 at 19:54
  • 1
    @lis I'm sorry, but that analogy doesn't work for me - I only can abide computer and food analogies.
    – Peter Turner
    Commented May 4, 2023 at 21:03

I personally don't know about any "third moral principle that forbids gender change," but I do know about the first rule at Genesis 1:27, "And God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; MALE AND FEMALE He created them." Jesus reiterated this binding rule at Matthew 19:4, "Have you not read, that He who created them from the beginning made them MALE AND FEMALE."

You also made this statement: "The gender-changing alien technology doesn't violate Rule #1 (nobody is harmed," Really! I highly suggest you read Romans 1:26-32. Here, I will highlight some of the verses. Romans 1:26, "For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural."

How! "men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts." Vs28, "God gave them up to a depraved mind, to do things which are not proper." Vs30, "slanders, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventers of evil, DISOBEDIENT TO PARENTS."

Can you please explain to me how all of this is "NOT" hurting anyone else? And btw, other verses that talk about this issue can be found at (Genesis 9:20-27, Genesis 19:1-11, Leviticus 18:22, 20:13. Also, 1 Corinthians 6:9-10; and 1 Timothy 1:10. "Malum in se" indeed!

  • "Can you please explain to me how all of this is 'NOT' hurting anyone else?" The behavior Paul is talking about in Romans 1 is about the misuse of creation, not about the reengineering of creation.
    – Fomalhaut
    Commented May 5, 2023 at 5:26
  • 2
    @Lisramic Is not the creature reengineering itself a misuse of creation? Commented May 5, 2023 at 12:23
  • 1
    @MikeBorden Good question. I don't know. Abraham was commanded to reengineer himself by circumcising himself. (Genesis 17:23-24) Was he committing a sin?
    – Fomalhaut
    Commented May 6, 2023 at 21:59
  • @Lisramic To do as God commands is not sin. I can't say I've ever heard circumcision referred to as reengineering. :) Is God commanding anyone to alter their gender? Commented May 7, 2023 at 12:11
  • @MikeBorden Rabbi Akiva, near contemporary of Jesus, gave the example of circumcision to a Roman for showing that God wants man to further perfect His creation. It wasn't an arbitrary quote from the Bible.
    – Fomalhaut
    Commented May 7, 2023 at 18:02

“Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, - Matthew 19:4

The only 'principle' necessary to refuse alien gender changing technology is:

“‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and him only shall you serve.’” - Luke 4:8b

Such worship and obedient service requires utmost respect for God's created order and trust in God's sovereignty over circumstance. Such worship and obedient service enjoins us to "Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds,  for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing."

I cannot imagine the difficulty involved, the emotional turmoil that must be part and parcel of feeling trapped in the wrong body but taking steps to change one's outward gender is not an act of faithful worship and service unto God.

  • 2
    I think the question boils down to - what makes changing the gender different from healing a disease, for example. Jesus healed a man born blind. I think simply saying "accept the circumstances you were born with" does not seem enough to answer the question, if God also actively creates circumstances whose purpose it is to be changed. This answer can get better. Also, this answer has the same problem as the question - namely lacking sources.
    – kutschkem
    Commented May 4, 2023 at 13:48
  • @kutschkem "what makes changing the gender different from healing a disease?" Blindness or disease are a result of sin...gender is not. When sin and death and all the curse creation groans under are removed, gender shall remain. I have added a second source quote. Commented May 5, 2023 at 12:18

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