Opinion

Patriarchy: a result of the fall

I am pro-women, in every sense of the statement. I am pro-women working outside of the home. I am pro-women being mothers and doctors, at the same time. I am pro-women earning equal pay. I am pro-women receiving the health care they need. I am pro-women being educated and owning property and voting (things that may be taken for granted in this country but have yet to be realized for many of our sisters elsewhere in the world).

I am pro-women using the gifts and talents they have to further the work of the Kingdom, whether that be in the nursery or behind the pulpit. I am pro-women participating in their marriages as partners, not subordinates. I believe that men and women should be responsible for their own thoughts, and that the objectification of a human can happen no matter what gender that person is or what they happen to be wearing.

Said more explicitly, I am for the ordination of women in the church and I am for egalitarian marriage models and I don’t think modesty means high school girls wearing extra large t-shirts over their two-pieces at summer camp.

My radical assertion is that Jesus is pro-women, too.

Really, this shouldn’t be very radical to us at all. At its truest and most God-honoring, ours is a belief system that upholds the dignity and worth of women.

Our God created us all in his own image. He created the man, but the man was incomplete. So he created the woman. In Genesis 2:18, the writer describes the woman as an ezer kenegdo. We translate this into the English “helper.” But that’s not quite accurate. A more true rendering is “strength” or “power.” Therefore, perhaps a better translation of Genesis 2:18 is, “I will make a power [or strength] corresponding to man.”

In Genesis 2:23, Adam says, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken out of man.” The idiomatic sense of this phrase “bone of my bones” is very close to “one of us” or “our equal.”

In the paradise that was the garden, the woman and the man worked together, walked together, ate together in harmony and mutuality. There was no hierarchy in the first family. God’s original, perfect design for us is equality.

The hierarchy that now exists is a symptom and effect of the fall. God speaks to Eve in Genesis 3:16b, saying that, “Your desire will be for your husband and he will rule over you.” See, this subjugation of the woman wasn’t how God planned it for us. Satan marred the original design, and patriarchy is the result.

This is really only the half of it, and I’ll say more next month. About Jesus, Paul, the church and what this means for us.

But until then, John Brown, I present these questions to us: Do we believe that the curse was a prescription or a prediction? Are men and women destined to be forever at odds because of the fall, or did Jesus come to reverse the curse, allowing us to live into our full, God-ordained potential? Are we bound for a continuation of sin, or are we a redeemed people in the process of returning to our garden selves?