This is Part 1 of a series of posts answering a multi-part question asked of me on another blog. Read my introductory post to the series here.
Question #1: Is there a God ordained difference between men and women?
Let us search the Scriptures and see if we can find a textual basis for insisting that God ordained that men and women be different.
In Genesis 1:27 we are told that God created men and women in His own image.
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.
The Hebrew word translated as “image” literally means we are a resemblance, a representative figure of God. It comes from a root word meaning to shade, or shadow. We, men and women jointly, are God’s representatives on earth, we are supposed to resemble Him. And it takes both genders together to do so. Both genders are image bearers of God and of equal value. One gender is not “better” than the other, or of more importance or value than the other. They are equal in value and essence. In a way very similar to how the three members of the Trinity are all equal, yet distinct.
In Genesis 2 we are given the story of the creation of man and woman in greater detail. Here we are told that it was not good for man to be alone and that God created woman to be a helper for him.
The the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” ~ Genesis 2:18
The helper that God creates in verse 22 is woman. The english word “helper” sometimes bears the connotation of being inferior or subordinate in some way. Yet God is often described as our helper throughout Scripture and we should not consider God to be subordinate to man. The Hebrew term here does not suggest that the woman is in any way inferior to man. She is the one who does for us what we cannot do for ourselves. She makes it possible for mankind to fulfill the commission God gave to “Be fruitful and multiply.” in Genesis 1:28. Without women, that task is impossible.
But it’s more than just reproduction that is in sight here. The woman is a helper “fit for him” Scripture tell us. The Hebrew here literally means “according to the opposite of him.” In other words, the woman is the perfect match for the man, not only physically, but also mentally, emotionally, and in every other way imaginable. She is to be our “indispensable companion” as one commentator put it. And logically, men are to be the same for women. No one gender can do without the other and function at full capacity. We were created to compliment one another, to work together as a unit, to complete one another.
Here Ecclesiates 4:9 might aptly be applied.
Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil.
Since God created the genders to compliment one another, to complete one another, it is obvious that we are not the same. There must be differences. To claim that men and women are exactly the same in all ways except anatomy, is more insulting to women than to claim otherwise. If that claim is made, then the sole reason women were created would be for reproduction. I do not think that is what Scripture has said, and to make such a claim would be an insult to every woman. Reproductive differences are important, and ordained by God, but that is not the sole reason for God’s creation of the female gender.
In my next post, I’ll take a look at question #2: What does it mean to be a man?