If you spend time with 20 and 30 year olds, you realize one of the most important topics on their minds, understandably, is dating and marriage. Young men and women are eager to discover gender differences, awakening powerfully in them; to understand and interact with the opposite sex in ways that please God and nurture their own maturity. It is a very exciting time in life, and their questions are healthy and God-given. Yet a powerful industry has developed to address gender in ways that are at odds with the biblical account.
According to Jackson Katz (author of The Macho Paradox: Why Some Men Hurt Women and How All Men Can Help), secular culture depicts male action heroes as muscular, forceful and dominant, while females are imaged as frail beauties, dependent on dominant males. Look at Barbie or female heroes in Disney movies for example. Sadly, the same message on gender appears in much Christian literature. Here women are depicted as captivating, waiting for rescue by Mr. Wild-at-Heart, who longs to fight battles and rescue beauties.
How different is the Genesis story! What are the first words out of Adam’s mouth when he meets Eve? Adam does not proclaim his difference from Eve, but his likeness to her. With joy Adam exclaims, “‘This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman’, for she was taken out of man.’ For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.” (Genesis 2:23-24, TNIV) The Bible emphasizes not the difference between Adam and Eve but their oneness of substance; they share the same bones and flesh, foreshadowing their union as man and wife.
Adam’s aloneness (the only “not good” in a perfect world) is met not by a weak, waif-like, dependent creature, but by Eve whom God created as a “helper corresponding to him” in Genesis 2:18, NASB. (See Man and Woman in Biblical Unity). A corresponding help, or ezer kenegdo in Hebrew, not only emphasizes Eve’s likeness to Adam, but also her strength! Eve is a vigorous and strong help or ezer. This word is used in the Old Testament 21 times, 16 of which refers to God’s help. Psalm 121:1-2 reads, “I lift up my eyes to the mountains—where does my help come from? My help (ezer) comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.” Adam was not waiting for a frail beauty to rescue. His aloneness was met by a strong help, a partner, found only in Eve, who like Adam was created in God’s image for the shared dominion of Eden!
Friends, join CBE in declaring the good news of Scripture, which celebrates not the frailty and dependence of women, but their strength in working beside men, building Christ’s kingdom!