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Thursday Thoughts: Distinctions between Men and Women in Genesis 1-3

on November 21, 2013

business-people-groupI discussed here the obligations that men and women share in Genesis 1-3. Today, I will move on to the distinctions between men and women.

Today’s culture detests posts like this. It flies in the face of belief systems which endorse or allow for feminism, homosexuality, and the like. Why? Because a biblical view of manhood and womanhood requires a God who defines what manhood and womanhood is. To deny God’s definitions of man and woman is to be able to define manhood and womanhood for oneself. Thus, it is absolutely essential that every believer have a firm grasp of God’s definitions regarding this topic.

1. Man and women were created to be distinct.

  • God ordained their distinctions. Quite simply and clearly, God states that he created them as male and female.

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them (Genesis 1:27).

  •  Their order and method of creation was different.

Man was created first out of the ground.

Then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature (Gen 2:7).

Woman was created after and from the man.

So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. Then the man said, “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man” (Gen 2:21-23).

2. The woman was created to be man’s helper.

Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him” (Gen 2:18).

The woman was created to help the man. This helper role marks a difference between man and woman. As God brought all the animals to Adam to be named, Adam saw that each animal was a pair, male and female. Adam realized that there was no helper that was suitable for him. Thus, God made Eve to be his helper (Gen 2:18-25).

Women may cringe with the thought they are relegated with the duty to help men. In fact, Satan can use lies to prevent us from helping. For example. . .

    • Why should I help my husband?! He’s a creep!
    • My husband never encourages me, so why should I even try to help?
    • He gets so angry all the time, it’s ok to respond in anger as well, rather than help.
    • If I had this kind (insert description of the perfect husband you’re envisioning) of husband, I could be a good helper.

In the face of the lies that Satan, the world, and our own hearts tell us, there are several things to note about our God-given roles as helpers:

    • Helping is a {very} good thing.

After God created Adam and the rest of creation, he stated that “it was good” (Gen 1:10, 12, 18, 21, 25, 31).  God, however, saw something that was not good. It was not good that man was alone. As Adam named all the animals that were brought to them, he noticed that the animals were paired up. He also finally realized that there was not a “helper fit for him.” So, God decided to make one.

I believe that it is important to note that all women are created to be helpers. Clearly, not all women are married, but all women–including the unmarried, teens, and younger girls–need to learn how to help. We need to be ready to help our husbands, first of all, if married. But we all also need to help the male leadership in our churches. We need to help train the younger generation to be godly helpers. We need to help each other be godly helpers.

    • Helping is within a framework of equality.

The woman was created to be a helper fit for him. Unlike all the animals, the woman was the only one suitable for Adam. She was his equal in essence (i.e., created in God’s image; see also 1 Peter 3:7) but not equal in function/role.

    • Helping is a task that God models for us.

In case anyone feels that being a helper is a miniscule, subservient task, she should be encouraged that God is called a help multiple times in Scripture (cf. Ex 18:4; Deut 33:26, 29; Ps 33:20; 70:5; 115: 9-11; 146:5; Hos 13:9).

I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth (Psalm 121:1-2).

God is a ready help to send deliverance, be our shield and comfort in trouble. He is worthy of our trust because he is our helper. It should encourage and challenge our hearts to see the God of the universe helping us. We imitate God, in a sense, when we help the men in our lives.

{As a side note, some egalitarians (those who believe in the complete equality of the genders) twist God’s being our helper for their own purposes. They say that if God is our helper and the woman is the man’s helper, than woman is superior to and has authority over man. This, however, is faulty logic and denies the clear teaching of other passages, as will be noted in future posts.}

It is clear that God had a special role for women from their very creation. While a woman’s role is most often a subordinate role, it is a distinguished role in that it is the one designated by God. May we women glorify God and point others to Christ by obediently fulfilling the roles God has designed for us.

**The above is part of First Baptist Church of Rockford’s Ladies Bible Study on Biblical Womanhood.**

{On Thursdays, I share some thoughts about what God is teaching me in my various roles as a Christian, a woman, a wife, a mother, and a pastor’s wife.}


One response to “Thursday Thoughts: Distinctions between Men and Women in Genesis 1-3

  1. […] was discussed earlier, God created the woman to help the man. Paul also used this fact to argue for male leadership (1 […]

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