There existed a philosophical idea in the ancient world which took many forms which we call today, “Gnosticism.” It came from the Greeks and was basically the idea that the world was made up of two things—spirit and matter—spirit being good and matter being bad or at least not as good as spirit. In fact, this idea so permeated Greek and later Hellenistic culture that one might say that it saturated the air people breathed. Applied to man, this idea gave birth to the notion that the soul of man is good and the body bad. Salvation in philosophical terms meant the soul’s escape from the “prison house” of the body often through ascetic behavior and ultimately death. This understanding even came into some Christian thinking. This is admittedly a simplistic description of ancient Gnosticism, but I hope it will suffice for this brief essay.
Though Christianity was impacted by this line of thought, particularly in monasticism, the Church as a whole rejected the idea. God made the world and proclaimed it good according to Genesis 1. There is no radical division between man’s body and his soul; man is a unitary being made up of body and soul. For starters, man was created an embodied being; second, our Lord assumed a body in his Incarnation; and, third, every man’s body shall rise from the dust at the resurrection on the last day. For these biblical and theological reasons, the Church rejected Gnosticism as a philosophical base upon which to build theology.
Now what has this to do with transgenderism? At the heart of transgenderism is the insistence that one’s body and one’s soul do not line up. The transgendered person claims that he is really a woman (or she is really a man) and must therefore change his or her body to match the person within. It goes without saying that according to this understanding, the human person is not a unitary being of body and soul but a soul for which the body is incidental, the body being that which the soul wears as a garment and which may be changed according to the soul’s determination. This betrays the very essence of Gnostic thought—which is to say that transgenderism both as idea and behavior is incapable of being reconciled with Christianity.
Moreover, I would go so far as to say (and have argued elsewhere) that not only transgenderism but any and all same-sex sexual behavior manifests to some degree Gnostic thought as such behavior must incorporate some form and adopt some means of aping the opposite sex; that is, one partner must play the role of the sex that he or she is not. Thus, churches that condone such behavior under the rubric of love understand neither love nor what the Church has taught down through the centuries, nor even care. Such churches openly manifest their heretical hues and their calls for peace are utterly disingenuous, and churches which cling to the word of God and hold “mere Christianity” too dear to part with will ignore these deceitful attempts to assimilate them into what is nothing less than pagan syncretism.