Of course, it’s only a tiny fraction of what actually goes on with sexual reproduction. Just pick up an anatomy or biology textbook, or a book on pregnancy, and you quickly realise there are a crazy number of interconnections that are infinitely interdependent.
Sex is the perfect example of inconceivable irreducible complexity and design.
According to evolutionary theory, all of it ultimately happened by chance. Sex just came to be through a series of random processes, over long periods of time, without any overarching purpose. However, they just focus on the smaller questions such as the usefulness of splitting the genome between a male and a female, or how certain behaviours developed, or single-cell sexual reproduction.
What they don’t tackle is how sexual complexity originated step-by-step over hundreds of millions of years. In fact, when you actually consider the magnitude of the situation, 540 million years—the conventional date for the start of complex life—doesn’t seem like nearly enough time.
After all, it’s not just humans we’re talking about. It’s millions of species of extinct and living animals that have been, and still are, engaging in sexual reproduction. Each process is almost as complex as that between two humans, although each is also extremely different.
Insects, fish, reptiles, birds, mammals—there are hundreds of thousands of variations of sexual reproduction. From mating rituals to copulation to pregnancy to birth, the complexity just multiples as you examine the diversity of life.
Furthermore, it appears from the fossil record that sea-dwelling trilobites (now extinct) were also male and female. Trilobites are found at the lowest levels of the fossil record, occurring during the Cambrian explosion. In other words, male and female creatures just appear as male and female.
So how did the division of sexes come to be? The question of which came first during this long development, the male or the female, is an impossible question: don’t you have to have both to have offspring?
The truth is that sexual dimorphism—different, unique characteristics between males and females—is also a hard thing to explain from an evolutionary origins perspective. Sure, it’s easy to recognise the benefits of separating and recombining genomes, but how did all the trillions of uniquely integrated processes and parts and systems in all the different species first originate? And why do they all work so well?
Talking about sexual reproduction in cells doesn’t really address the problem. It’s like saying you’ve explained football by pointing to a few blades of grass; everyone knows there’s a lot more going on. If it’s impossible for us even to understand all the aspects of sex, it’s clearly impossible for it to have evolved in a slow, step wise fashion.
Instead, when you stop and think about it, Genesis provides a far better explanation. The immediate, fiat creation by God in a short span of time (just a few days) is a far better reason for all the incredibly complex aspects of sex.
But it’s not just that. Genesis also explains the purpose behind sex. And it’s a lot more amazing than most people realise.
A Divinely Human Experience
Ultimately, sex is about the joyful pleasure of personal relationships.
In this case, the sexual marital relationship between a man and a woman mirrors the spiritual marital relationship between Christ and the church. Paul explains it from Genesis, saying: “‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.” (Eph 5:31-32)
Genesis explains why there is sexual dimorphism in people. We are made in God’s image to reflect His attributes and show forth the divine/human relationship as male and female: “in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” (Gen 1:27)
In other words, the man is to Christ as the woman is to the church. Paul explains: “For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church” and “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.” (Eph 5:23,25)
Genesis explains why sex is placed within the structure of marriage. The covenant bond between a man and a woman reflects the covenant bond between Christ and His bride. (Rev 21:2)
Genesis also explains why sex is considered a wonderful, spiritual experience by many people. Unlike evolutionary theory—which sees sex as just a higher animal function—the Bible sees sex as an incredible gift from God, uniquely given to man to show forth His image. In fact, there are numerous Christians who have had spiritual experiences that rival or surpass what they have felt having sex.
Genesis explains why sex has an essential moral nature to it that everyone intrinsically understands. It’s why adultery is considered wrong in almost all cultures, Christian or not. It’s also why those who have had adultery committed against them always feel betrayed. The prophet Jeremiah observes that adultery is the same as idolatry (Jer 3:9), and mirrors the emotions of God when man betrays Him on a spiritual level.
In fact, almost all the sexual sins of our society can be traced back to spiritual issues.
Homosexuality emerges in a society as the result of worshipping the creature instead of the Creator (Rom 1:25-27); it mirrors man worshipping himself rather than worshipping Christ. This looks more like ‘the wife is the head of the wife as the church is the head of the church.’ Created similarities replace created differences.
As well, attempts to change gender are ultimately doomed to failure. The essential sexual dimorphism embedded in every part of the creation points to the essential distinctions between God and man. Just as man cannot truly become God, so too, a woman cannot truly become a man, nor a man a woman. In each of us, our maleness or femaleness is unchangeably stamped on over 50 trillion of our cells.
It is not until we understand the nature of sex, with all its power and complexity and importance, that we can begin to understand its significance both to God and to ourselves.
Talking about Sex
I realise many Christians avoid talking about sex and even get uncomfortable when it comes up. Few have heard it discussed openly in their churches or families.
Considering what’s going on in our culture, that probably needs to change. Sex is one of the essential parts of God’s creation, something only He could create in order to show forth His glory. If He dedicated an entire book of the Bible to it (The Song of Songs), it’s something we should strive to understand from a Biblical perspective.
After all, God put a deep fascination within us toward sex because He wants us to get a sense of the complex relationship He has with us. It’s no coincidence that the Bible begins with a marriage and ends with a marriage.
So when evolution comes up next, start talking about sex, it will lead to a very interesting and unexpected conversation.