God would never create a lion

Photo by Bj Pearce on Unsplash

A scene in the animated movie Madagascar hit me like a ton of bricks. The lion’s best friends from the zoo were a hippo, a zebra, and a giraffe. They escaped their posh prison only to find themselves shipwrecked on the island of Madagascar. After a few days of finding no steaks to eat, the lion’s hunger grew. His true nature began to reveal itself as his eyes beheld giant slabs of meat in place of his friends.

The moment of truth came when he sank his teeth into his zebra buddy’s hide. His eyes grew wide in astonishment when he realized what he had done. “I’m a monster!” he cried out, hands on his head as all of his friends fled into the wilderness.

During this scene, this juvenile melodramatic comedy instantly transformed into a powerful message; one that could only be seen by those who had experienced that same moment. For me, that moment came when I realized I was transgender.

Some people don’t believe in the concept of gender: that one’s brain sex could be different from one’s body sex. Some people believe this is because God “created them male and female” (Genesis 1:27, 5:2). He didn’t create anything different. It’s written right there in His book! They believe this despite the reality of physical intersex people.

I suspect the primary reason for holding to such dogma is rooted in the view that it implies either God made a mistake or His Word isn’t true. God would never do such a thing; create a freak of nature. And certainly He wouldn’t create one who He intended or foreknew to be a Christian.

No, God would never create a lion. Lions eat peaceful herbivores. How could a good, loving God do such a thing? I would rather believe they don’t exist, or that they can be trained to be herbivores. Yes, just like the sharks in Finding Nemo.

This sort of thinking, that any uncomfortable or non-normative reality must be denied or fixed, causes so much self-loathing in the transgender (and the broader LGBTQ+) community. Most people are raised to accept only norms and to mistrust or hate anything different. Once a person begins to discover they exist outside of those boundaries, they learn to hate what they are.

The lion was raised in a bubble that hid his nature. A journey of self-discovery revealed a core part of who he was. It was ugly because it was foreign and it crossed the boundaries of acceptable social behavior.

“But,” one might argue, “one day the lion and the lamb will lie down together:”

The wolf will live with the lamb,
the leopard will lie down with the goat,
the calf and the lion and the yearling together;
and a little child will lead them.

Isaiah 11:6, NIV

I would reply that in that same day there will be no gender:

At the resurrection people will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven.

Matthew 22:30, NIV

There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

Galatians 3:28, NIV

Is it tempting for a lion to eat a calf? Is it tempting for a transgender person to transition? No, it is not, because temptation implies sin. It is no more sinful for a transgender person to conform their physical reality to their nature than it is for a lion to eat a helpless herbivore.

Though the vision of eternity excludes those things, that does not mean they are wrong in the present, even if they do make us uncomfortable. Believe it or not, God would and does create lions and there is nothing wrong with them.

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