Feedback archiveFeedback 2020

Did God make Adam ‘half-female’?

Published: 23 May 2020 (GMT+10)

T.L. from the United States writes:


I was in a debate with a friend of mine about the creation of gender. She stated that Adam could not have been created first because women have two X chromosomes. She goes on to address the X deactivation in women, saying that this only occurs because both X chromosomes are the same making it a “female” chromosome in both men and women (she also said that the master “switch” in males is them “switching” from the “default”). She goes on to say that men are “half female” and women are “fully female”, making them superior in that they bare life. She also said males are pretty much useless and that we can see this in other life (bees, the infrequency of male lions, “all female” lizards, etc). So my questions are, is the first X chromosome a “female” chromosome, even in men? And does this mean that God made Adam “half female”(as my friend puts it)?

CMI’s Shaun Doyle responds:

Dear T.,

Thanks for writing in.

No, the X chromosome isn’t a ‘female’ chromosome. Everyone needs it. And no, males (including Adam) are not ‘half female’.

First, your friend is wrong on the science. The idea that female is the ‘default’ embryological condition is now known to be false.1 This idea was based on a few studies in the mid-20th century, and it was thought to be reinforced in the early 1990s by the discovery of the SRY gene, a gene on the Y chromosome which plays a crucial role in testis development. Because of this, female sexual development was thought to proceed as a ‘default’ in the absence of SRY.

However, subsequent research overturned this idea. For instance, the absence of SRY isn’t enough to build a functioning ovary; two X chromosomes are needed. Women with only one X chromosome almost always have ovary dysfunction, and the vast majority are infertile. And those (very) few that can conceive and carry a pregnancy to term are at much higher risk of complications both during and after pregnancy.2

Moreover, some genes, if their products are present in high enough concentrations, can stop male development even when SRY is present. For instance, the NROB1 gene on the short arm of the X chromosome codes for a protein named DAX1. This protein plays an important role in the development of the adrenals, hypothalamus, pituitary, and gonads. The protein is also involved in maintaining hormone production in these glands after they are formed.3 People who have XY chromosomes, but have a duplication of the NROB1 gene, produce enough DAX1 to inhibit the products of SRY. This stops male development completely and the person develops female characteristics.4 This is not merely the taking over of a default; this is an abnormality that overrides the normal development of an XY person.

Furthermore, ovaries and testes require ongoing maintenance throughout life. Researchers found that the gene FOXL2 (on the long arm of chromosome 3) suppresses SOX9 (a gene crucial for male development that is found on the long arm of chromosome 17), which prevents certain cells in the ovary from differentiating differently into ‘testis-like’ cells.5 Similarly, the DMRT1 gene (found on the end of chromosome 9) suppresses certain genes involved in ovarian development. 6 If both require ongoing maintenance, then there is no ‘default’ gonad, whether the testis or the ovary. Many of the tools used for building and maintaining both ovaries and testes are found in the genome outside the “sex” chromosomes.

Together, this shows that proper female development is an active process, and it isn’t simply the ‘default’ path an embryo takes. Instead, during development, a set of cells migrates to the outside of the embryo and hangs out on the allantois. At the appropriate time, they chain up and do a conga line, enter the embryo, find the developing gonads, enter them, and get to work. Before these cells arrive, there is no sexual differentiation. As

“Unlike most developing organs in the embryo that follow a single developmental track, the gonad forms with the potential to develop as one of two alternative organs, an ovary or a testis. For this reason, the gonad primordium is called ‘the bipotential gonad’.”7

Second, your friend is wrong on theology. Think about it: the all-powerful God couldn’t have created Adam first because of sex chromosomes? Since when is God limited by sex chromosomes in the gender he makes first?

At any rate, from a genetic standpoint, it seems much simpler to make Eve from Adam (as per Genesis 2). Why? All God would have to do to make Eve from Adam’s side is to erase the Y chromosomes in the cells taken from Adam’s body and duplicate the one X chromosome already present (Eve, the rib, and modern genetics). On the other hand, if God created Eve first, he would’ve had to form a Y chromosome de novo to make Adam from Eve. (This is like what God probably did in miraculously creating Jesus’ zygote—i.e. He took one of Mary’s eggs (and the haploid genome in it) and created a second haploid genome within the egg with a brand new Y chromosome.) Of course, neither of these ‘methods’ of creating one gender from the other is a problem for God, since he’s all-powerful.

Third, a woman’s two X chromosomes are not identical (with the possible exception of Eve), since one is inherited from each parent. And one of the pair is deactivated early in embryological development, because only one is needed for gene expression. Having both active would create an excess of many gene products and would lead to all sorts of problems. Nevertheless, as mentioned above and in the linked article, since single-X females are mostly infertile, the presence of a second X chromosome is important for normal female sexual development.

Fourth, comparing us to the rest of the animal kingdom is irrelevant, since sexual differentiation varies across animals. Some can even change their sex in response to environmental conditions (and of course be completely reproductively viable). For example, while some reptiles and fish can perform parthenogenesis (where the females produce young without fertilization from a male), it is generally uncommon and just a ‘fallback’ option in the absence or dearth of males (see ‘Asexual’ lizards and pioneer plants and The weird, wonderfully-designed sawfish). Nor can humans naturally perform parthenogenesis (Was the Virgin Birth non-miraculous?; and should Christians bother with atheists?). Birds’ sexual chromosomes are the opposite of humans (male birds are ZZ, females are ZW), and platypuses have a system that is unlike anything else.

So, men can’t be written off as ‘defective females’ either scientifically or theologically (Are women genetically superior to men?). Nor can women, obviously. We are both made in the image of God (Genesis 1:27) and are thus able to be co-heirs of the grace of life (1 Peter 3:7). Both sexes are equally valuable to God.

Kind regards,
Shaun Doyle
Creation Ministries International

References and notes

  1. The Genetics of sex determination: Rethinking concepts and theories, genderedinnovations.stanford.edu, accessed 26 March 2020. The following few paragraphs basically summarize the scientific material here. Return to text.
  2. Bondy, C., Turner Syndrome; in: Carrell, D. and Peterson, C. (eds.), Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility: Integrating Modern Clinical and Laboratory Practice, Springer, New York, pp. 307–324, 2010. Return to text.
  3. NR0B1 gene, ghr.nlm.nih.gov/gene/NR0B1, March 2015. Return to text.
  4. Sekido, R. and Lovell-Badge, R., Sex determination and SRY: Down to a wink and a nudge? Trends in Genetics 25(1):19–29, 2009. Return to text.
  5. Uhlenhaut, N., Jakob, S., Anlag, K., Eisenberger, T., Sekido, R., Kress, J., Treier, A., Klugmann, C., Klasen, C., Holter, N., Riethmacher, D., Schütz, G., Cooney, A., Lovell-Badge, R., and Treier, M., Somatic sex reprogramming of adult ovaries to testes by FOXL2 ablation, Cell 139(6):1130–1142, 2009. Return to text.
  6. Herpin, A. and Schartl, M., Sex determination: switch and suppress, Current Biology 21(17):R656–R659, 2011. Return to text.
  7. Kim, Y. and Capel, B., Balancing the bipotential gonad between alternative organ fates: A new perspective on an old problem, Developmental Dynamics 235(9):2292–2300, 2006; p. 2292. Return to text.

Readers’ comments

Paul E.
I think it's a little ironic that this person is suggesting women are superior to men. If she wants to look at it that way, and base superiority upon physical matter alone then she should consider this, That Adam had both the X and Y chromosome, in other words the entire range. Eve who was taken from his side, who was smaller and weaker, had only the Y chromosome, meaning a miracle was necessary to preserve her existence. That miracle was that God duplicated the Y chromosome which made up for the lack of the X chromosome. In other words, women lack half of the chromosome system, and have physically less of it, but instead they have their one half (x) duplicated.

This does not make women inferior, because equality is not purely based upon physical matter. Someone can be physically less (ie smaller for example), but still be equal by their inherent and invisible human dignity which is given to them by God. This equality is invisible, and not material, but it is real nevertheless.

Men and women are equal, tell your friend that, but remind them that there is no scientific evidence for such equality because it is a spiritual reality. We must have faith to know that we are equal. Without God and the spiritual domain, there is no basis for equality, and if your supposedly atheist friend wants to rudely insist that one sex is superior to the other, then they will have to conclude that men are superior.
C G.
I have seen this logic (supposed logic) popping up everywhere. This is being taught as fact and is being a tool to encourage people to identify as transgender, or to become their true “divine” nature. The mystical Kabbalah books , and Satanic books also teach this , that both Adam and even Jesus were both male and female, and that we must embrace our dual- nature so that we can be back in perfect harmony with creation and can become as Gods. This teaching is getting so prevalent, it is one of the few topics I felt I needed to sit down with my children to discuss. It’s not a fringe idea anymore unfortunately.
Jean P.
The explanation by Prof. Wilder-Smith, which you must have in your archives, explains this perfectly.
When God made Adam He put him into a deep sleep and removed a rib.
From the blood in the rib He took a Y chromosome and unpeeled the covered leg of it to make the X.
He then developed this into Eve.
Dianne W.
"Birds sexual chromosomes are the opposite of humans (male birds are ZZ, females are ZW), and platypuses have a system that is unlike anything else."

What are the different sex determination systems in the genomes of living things? How do evolutionists explain the existence of these different systems? Is there any general pattern according to either their Linnaean classification or phylogenetic classification? If so, how common are exceptions, such as that of the platypus, and how do evolutionists explain them? My guess is that the reality is very difficult for them to explain and that they either offer weak just-so stories or hand wave the problems away. I personally think that God created different sex determination systems to resist evolutionary explanations and therefore expect that any phylogenetic general pattern that exists will have numerous evolution-defying exceptions, but would like to know what CMI's take is on all this.
Shaun Doyle
From my brief look into the topic, there are some general patterns (e.g. the ones mentioned in the article), but the picture is so diverse in reptiles, amphibians, and fish that evolutionists have to posit the independent evolution of similar sex determination systems multiple times. So yes, it's a difficult picture to explain from an evolutionary perspective.
Robert P.
Adam being half female and female being the 'default' setting is just more Cultural Marxist garbage, that attempts to create a supposed Marxist dialectic between the sexes, rising up against "evil male patriarchy". The oppressors and the oppressed. As with other aspects of Culttural Marxism, it merely destroys ('deconstructs') historical Christian society. It is AntiChrist.
Jordan C.
Shaun, this article is excellent! A thorough rebuttal to this "female default" silliness using solid science. By explaining the genetic processes involved in humans, much of which genetically, is independent of sex chromosomes and contrasting human genetics with other organisms that use alternative genetic methods for sex development, not only further displaces the "female default" argument but it also adds a wrench in the gears of "common" ancestry as well. On theological grounds, the female default proposal is baseless non-sense. The God who spoke the universe into existence, flooded the entire world, brought the Egyptian empire to its knees, parted the sea, gave birth to a virgin, and raised our Lord Jesus from death, can create whatever He chooses as "default", from dust!
Gian Carlo B.
That woman was obviously a feminist brainwashed by the feminist theory. I wasn't surprised at the consequent follow ups of her logic (or rather illogic). Also her reason for superiority is complete petitio principii trash heap: if women can bear life, how would they do so if males are 'useless'? Furthermore she must be kidding herself, if she even read evolutionary psychology research she would know that female superiority or even the male one is a myth, so even in that area the male-female complement is affirmed, despite the evolutionary undertones. The rest has already been addressed by Doyle. It's annoyingly disappointing how people like this even exist from the Body of Christ. It says a lot about the Church in the West currently.
Philip S.
Thanks - it lead me to this quote from an article in the 'Middle East Fertility Society Journal'
Volume 16, Issue 2, June 2011, Pages 114-120, regarding Dinosaurs extinction because of differing GSD (Genetic Sex Determination) to birds etc (not I believe most of it, of course!)...............: "While the precise environmental effects of the great impact event of 65 million years ago are open to debate, it is not contested that profound global environmental changes occurred that led to the extinction of dinosaurs (20). Yet this global “K-T” event 65 million years ago, when the dinosaurs went extinct, did not cause the mass extinction of mammals, birds, fruit-flies, frogs, or snakes (Fig. 6). We suggest the reason for this could be that changes in global temperature would have had a more pronounced extinction effect on TSD-dependent animals than on animals using GSD (2). However, we must answer why alligators, crocodiles, and turtles (which are also TSD [temperature-dependent sex determination: Ed.] animals) survived the K-T event even though dinosaurs and pterodactyls did not, and how this theory might be tested"
Lassi P.
The argument T.L's friend used was not only scientifically and theologically invalid. It was logically absurd. I think that the weird pseudo logic that the friend used was precisely what stunned T.L. It's happened to me a few times. An opponent makes an argument which uses such exotic logic that I get the feeling that I just don't understand his/her ingenious argument. If one makes a big enough blunder in logic, they won't get caught up with it. It's akin to making big enough lie.
Courtney K.
I agree with this article - no gender is more or less superior to the other. I believe there is no sexual differentiation, no specific gender default, because humanity was created. The man was then formed/distinguished from human creation. The Septuagint translates the formation of Adam as anthropos, which is significant because "the Hebrew word for man as male is ish and the Greek word for man as male is andros. The words used here (adam and anthropos) are gender inclusive and literally mean "person" or "human." Genesis 1 & 2 refer to the creation of the human species, not to man as male." How was woman formed? Not from his feet, or from his head, but his side, because woman was formed as a ezer kenegdo, "help meet" or "suitable helper." No suitable helper was found because no animal can be counterpart to a human. The word kenegdo means parallel, corresponding to, counterpart to - basically matching/equal to. Ezer doesn't mean a subservient assistant. The word is used twice for women and 14 times to refer to God, for example, Psalm 54:4, and is from a root meaning strength or power (source: Katherine C. Bushnell, Barbara Collins, Gay Anderson and Pat Joyce). Neither gender is "defective" or less important; both are needed for each other, just as God intended.
Geoff C. W.
What an extraordirary lot of nonsense from this 'friend'.
To begin with, since 'gender' is a grammatical term (I know... it's been hijacked along with other words), it may have been first used when God said: 'Let there be light'. The word 'light' may have had gender.
As for men being useless, I guess there wouldn't be any in the life of this woman, so the likelihood is that her genes will be removed from the gene pool... hopefully.
How twisted the human mind can become when the lies of the enemy of this world are unquestioningly adopted, or are adopted due to bias. So glad there are people like you Shaun who can set the record straight for those who will listen.
Philip P.
If that doesn't answer the question nothing will. A most comprehensive answer Shaun
Terry D P.
The biggest problem for evolutionists is, in my view, to explain how the complex symbiotic male-female reproduction system of humans (or of any species) could have randomly evolved from a single cell.

Comments are automatically closed 14 days after publication.