The Genesis accounts of creation provide two distinct understandings of the creative God. The first, in chapter 1-2:4, with its orderly rhythm, suggests a creator God in complete control – a God whose artistic vision is perfectly executed with exacting detail and mastery over materials. This God manages the entire process without outside help or input, leading some scholars to posit a God with a distinctly masculine energy.
The second Genesis account found in chapter 2:5-25, on the other hand, can be read as portraying a less controlling, more collaborative God – one scholars describe as more feminine in energy. In the second account, God gives some freedom to the creative medium being created when, “out of the ground the Lord God formed every animal of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name.” [emphasis mine] In the second account, God’s creature plays a role in creating. The process is collaborative, and the participation of the medium valued. God lets go of total control and allows for the surprise and novelty that the medium’s participation brings.
The gender binary of male/female energy works against my image of a blended God, but taken together, both depictions of God are equally creative and necessary for our understanding of creation. Neither total control nor total chaos would adequately capture the God of the biblical account nor the God of human experience. What I appreciate in the blending of the two depictions, is a God who makes room for us while continuing to hold the entire creative undertaking in a loving embrace.
Laying the doctrine of creation alongside today’s Transgender Day of Remembrance, has been mind-stretching and surprising for me in many ways. While a Reformed understanding of creation rightly acknowledges human dependence on God for this life, the scriptural witness depicts, alongside our dependence, a kenotic God who makes space, not only for the creature to come into being, but space to invite some measure of participation in the process – yikes! and wow! God trusts us enough to make room for us. As creatures made in the image of God, humanity is further called to imitate God’s humble act of space making and hospitality towards the created order – whatever the creative variations might be and however far outside our limited understanding.
Transgender people of God, like all God’s children, are participating in God’s ongoing collaborative and creative process. They hold in their mind, bodies and spirits a creative middle place that is “both/and” and neither. They incarnate, in their very persons, a creative process that is at one and the same time reformed and reforming, if you will. They remain, at their core, the child of God that God created them to be, even as they may be transformed and transforming externally. Transgender persons remind us that God’s creative endeavor is always in process – in us and in the good creation. Could a collaborative understanding of creation make room in our hearts and minds, not only for a God beyond our knowing and expectation but also for children of God beyond our human limitations?
I believe God’s invites each of us to collaborative creation – an invitation that opens up our own possibility as well as possibilities across the human spectrum. As we acknowledge Transgender Day of Remembrance today and every November 20th, I pray that God’s invitation to collaborate in creation encourages us to make room for all the people of God in all of their creative diversity.