Thursday, February 19, 2009

The Equality of Men and Women

If God created man and woman equal at the beginning, at what point in time did this change to make “women lower than men”? And, why did God do this?

First, a comment about the unique creation of woman. Prior to the fall, God himself concluded it was not good for the male to be alone. While the animals and other creatures had been created in pairs, the Lord allowed Adam to come to the self-realization that he needed fellowship, friendship, and intimacy from a creature corresponding to himself. Thus God made him a helper. This does not mean that women are inferior to men or that they are designed merely to be assistants to men. The word helper may more accurately mean a strength or a power, and thus women are comparable to men. Often God himself is designated by the term helper or strength (see, for example, Psalm 33:20). God, therefore, made woman for the man as his equal and his match as a partner in life. She was taken from one of the man’s ribs, probably to show an interdependence. She was dependent on the man; men are dependent upon a woman to give birth to them. Some observe that the earliest language of Mesopotamia, Sumerian, has a word for rib that also means life.

The first question with regard to the consequence of the woman’s choice to sin is, “What do labor pains have to do with sin (Genesis 3:16)?” Perhaps nothing. The conception and birth of children would remain a blessing from God (Genesis 1:28). The emphasis here may be on the sorrow of raising children in a sin-tainted world, rather than on the pain of childbearing itself. However, some believe the consequences of sin ruined creation not only by introducing pain into childbirth but by opening the world to all sorrow, pain and illness.

The second question with regard to Genesis 3:16 is, “What is meant by, ‘Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you’?” Some see this as a warning that women will turn (from God) to their husbands, who, in turn, will rule over them. Others see desire as a source of conflict between husbands and wives, just as sin desires to dominate and control (Genesis 4:7). Finally, others argue that the woman’s sexual attraction for the man, and his headship rule over her, will become intimate aspects of her life in which she experiences trouble and anguish rather than unalloyed joy and blessing.
–NIV Study Bible and The Quest Study Bible

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