When you think of God it’s hard not to think of a man in a long white beard just like when I say angel you’re likely thinking of a beautiful winged creature. Both of these are Greek images (i.e. Zeus, Nike of Samothrace). If historic Greek culture has influenced Christianity with such fundamental images, perhaps, the way we see women and men has also been influenced by the Greeks. It is a culture known for being very homosexually driven as the male body was the “ideal.” I don’t know who the marketers were for the Greeks, but they were geniuses. The male body is the “ideal,” how? Men are gross. No offence to me, but gross. Historic Greek culture has been incredibly influential in our modern life, so it would make sense that this male dominance idea has influenced the way we interpret the Bible. This makes sense to me because as we continue today, using the Bible and logic, there is a lot of evidence that suggests that men and women are created equally, but women are ultimately the dominant gender.
- Women are dangerous: A man’s physical strength can be scary, but let’s be honest, women are way more dangerous than men. There’s a reason some women say they don’t want to be friends with other women: They’re scary. Mess with the wrong guy and he’ll get in your face; he might even punch you, but whatever, bruises heal. Mess with the wrong woman and she will ruin your life. She will hold a grudge no matter what you do and give you dirty looks and digs until your soul is screaming. She might even slander you to all of her friends who will in turn slander you to their friends and like a social Amway, pyramid scheme your reputation has been destroyed.
- Running a Household: At one point, being in charge of the house was considered a worthy and valuable position. It is our modern culture that has demeaned it. At one point, a good wife was the best thing for a household because she did so much as described in Proverbs 31:10-31. A good woman is a force. She is the key to a successful home and, ultimately, a successful man.
- Male vs Female brains: Men’s brains tend to be better at singular tasks while women tend to be better at nurturing and thinking of many things at once, which is the kind of brain best suited for tending children, making clothes, cooking food, doing laundry, etc. This means they are at their best when there’s a smaller domain to run because otherwise it can be very overwhelming whereas men can be good in larger roles as they can focus on one thing at a time and move to the different areas as needed. It’s not to say women can’t do it just like it’s not that men can’t run a household; it just means we used to follow our natural strengths, which was more important before modern technologies and lifestyles made role reversals more practical.
- The ultimate purpose of life: Our culture constantly screws up the point of life. We get distracted by money, careers, impressing people, emotions, and comfort, but when people are on their deathbed who says, “I wish I worked more,” or “I wish I had bought more stuff”? If anything, people say they wish they had spent more time with family. In Biblical culture, that’s what women got to do. They got to be intimately connected to their families and run the house. They essentially lived the best life possible while men worked in the fields and fought wars that often led to things like gangrene, injuries, PTSD and death. Bond with your kids or have my arm cut off? Tough choice. Women were given the better deal.
- Procreation: Biblically, God created the world in order to have His own children; if we are made in His image, it makes sense that creating a family (whether birth, adoption, or just making intimate friends) will be engrained in us too. Women today have been taught to care more about careers than having a family, but this is ultimately a distraction from what our inherent minds are geared towards: creating families and leaving something behind. After we die, does anything else matter? There is nothing in this life that can be more valuable than the love we share and pass on. Plus, at one point children were your pension plan, which made procreation all the more important. This basically made women the banks who controlled the RRSPs.
- Maternity Used to Limit Leadership Potential: Outside of Western culture and modern medicine, giving birth is dangerous and has a high mortality rate. If the woman lives, she then needs time to recover and nurse her baby. This was especially true when there wasn’t formula and your only other option was another mother to nurse your child. This risk of death and distraction of kids made women a poor choice for leadership. It’s not to say they can’t do it; it just means they had another role. Fortunately, that’s changed and these aren’t factors holding women back the way they once did.
- Men are meant to protect and provide: A man wanting to be a protector and provider is a fairly accepted idea. Logically, who is more important: the person protecting and providing or the one being protected and provided for? By being given the protector-provider role, men take on the lesser position, which is why women get rescued first while the men drown.
- Men are Disposable: In cultures where childbearing is everyone’s goal for survival, women are super important while men are disposable. If this is the case, who do you send out to hunt where they can die from animal attacks? Who do you send to fight in war? Who do you make a Biblical prophet who will likely be hated and be at risk of death? Men get put in positions where they can readily die because they’re not as important.
- Physical Strength means Lesser: Physically, men are considered the stronger gender, which ultimately means they are meant to serve women. The stronger one serves because who’s in charge: The person moving the furniture or the one telling him where to put it? Men were created to do the manual labor while women, although capable of doing a lot themselves, are usually in the position of telling them what needs to be done.
- More stories about men in the Bible doesn’t mean superiority: Besides the classic female stories like Ruth, Esther, and Deborah (from Judges 4), the Bible is more focused on the lives of certain men, but this doesn’t mean men are superior. It really just means men screw up more, have different roles, and are more disposable. As far as screwing up, pick your main character and he screwed up somehow. Even King David, the man described as being after God’s own heart screwed up. He had an affair and then murdered the woman’s husband to hide it, he was an atrocious father whose one son raped a sister who was in turn murdered for his crime by another son, and then that murdering son was given David’s forgiveness only to have him form a coup and take over the kingdom from his father for a short term. On top of this, right before David died, he held a census that God punished him for by killing 70 000 Israelites. This last story is confusing unless you consider God’s rule about doing a census in Exodus 30:12: “When you take a census of the Israelites to count them, each one must pay the Lord a ransom for his life at the time he is counted. Then no plague will come on them when you number them.” God killing 70 000 people was essentially Him following through with His rules while demonstrating how little human life can mean, which follows how God could send a worldwide flood with Noah.
Please Note: The three women I mentioned, Ruth, Esther, and Deborah were all portrayed in a better light than most of the men in the Bible.
Men and women are created equally, but our roles are different. Next week will be the final part of this series as we will look at specific stories in the Bible that demonstrate the dominance of women over men.
This week may you see the strength and value of those who run a household.
Rev. Chad David, ChadDavid.ca, learning to love dumb people