Souls are Gendered: The Under Appreciated Gift of our Integrated and Integral Gender-Identity

Human Personhood is the crux of current controversies. From the universities to kids’ libraries, from sports teams to the Supreme Court, what a human is is left unspecified, even unanswered — unanswered except for the individual’s self-definition. How does the ‘real me’ on the inside (my ‘soul,’ my feelings, etc.) relate to the outer me (my ‘body,’ my ‘meat skeleton,’ etc.)? More specifically, how does one’s sense of gender relate to one’s ‘external’ self and even the world?

While existential tension between the ‘soul’ and ‘body’ proliferates, this paper argues that there are no actual mismatches. Souls are gendered, just as bodies are. Each person’s body-soul genderly corresponds — essentially integrated and functionally integral — since we are imago Dei and since there is embedded intentionality for humanity.

Beginning with personhood and culminated in purpose (and worship), this paper proceeds through six main points:

1. Each human, as imago Dei, is created as a body-and-soul, an integrated person. While touching on issues of physicalism, substance dualism, emergentism, etc., I will advocate a general substance dualism even though this is not the focus. The integrated and integral nature of the soul is.

2. The body-soul integration requires the soul’s coordinating and functional faculties.

3. The faculties of the soul coordinate all bodily expressions and manifestations, all dependent on the soul’s empowering and enabling.

4. The soul’s enabling is required for the proper telos of all bodily activities: eyesight and perceiving, tasting and digesting, willing and acting, even sexuality and gender.

5. Gender is essential. There are both overlap and uniquenesses between the two genders. The overlap is manifested commonly because of being imago Dei and uniquely in some ways as male or female. Taking the possibility of unrealized ‘second-order’ capacities into account, distinct and essential functionality does not manifest identical outcomes (i.e., a woman does not need to give birth to be a woman). And there is the exacerbation of the Fall.

6.In the already-not-yet of this Fallen world, we should be thankful and celebrate that we are engendered bodies — embodied souls — awaiting the Resurrection. As the Last Adam, Jesus’ gender endures. So shall ours.

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