I wouldn’t necessarily call myself an academic. I simply love bringing truth to the people. Every class is a challenge, but I love to learn. The beauty in life is we can learn from everyone around us. There are so many wise people full of depth, walking around. If we asked questions, we would get an education; for “as iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend”—Proverbs 27:17.
One of my classes presented this topic and so I present it to you: “Identify the roles that creation, the fall, and redemption have in the sexuality of men and women. Provide a theological response to those who believe that Christianity promotes mistreating women.”
Here was my response. What’s yours?
When God created man and woman, He created them in His image—Genesis 1:27. He said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness”—Genesis 1:26. There are different roles in the Trinity, yet they are all God. There are different roles regarding the sexuality of men and women and yet they are both called human; two humans with different characteristics. God created Adam first and saw that it was not good that he was alone. Adam was roaming with the animals in the garden and yet God noticed there was something missing in his life—a companion—Genesis 2:18. He then took a rib from Adam and created Eve and brought her to him—Genesis 2:22. “ ‘At last!’ Adam exclaimed. ‘She is part of my own flesh and bone! She will be called ‘woman’, because she was taken out of man”—Genesis 2:23.
The woman was brought to Adam as a helpmate; to come alongside and assist one in the fulfillment of life. From creation, the roles of sexuality were established as both husband and wife complemented each other with their differences. God is a relational God and in Ephesians 5 we see how He solidifies the different needs in each role of husband and wife with His commands: “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word”—Ephesians 5:25-26; and “wives, submit to your own husbands, as unto the Lord”—Ephesians 5:22, and “let the wife see that she respects her husband”—Ephesians 5:33. While prefacing all of these commands with “you will submit to one another out of reverence for Christ”—Ephesians 5:21.
So too, the role in sexuality in the Fall is witnessed in the actual act of sin but also in God’s deliverance of repercussions for that sin. The serpent sought out Eve, not Adam, and said, “Did God really say you must not eat any of the fruit in the garden”—Genesis 3:1? He questioned Eve’s knowledge of God by presenting a doubt to what God would have said. Eve responded, but then the serpent contradicted her response and spoke for God, “You won’t die. . .God knows your eyes will be opened when you eat it”—Genesis 3:4. Eve was in a vulnerable position and fell for the deceit of the enemy; she then fed her husband. 1 Timothy 2:13-15 says, “For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression. Nevertheless she will be saved in child bearing if they continue in faith, love, and holiness, with self-control.”
God questions Adam in regards to the sinful act—Genesis 3:9-12. Here the role of sexuality in the Fall is established as God addresses the one whom He called to be the leader of the family, first, and then He questions Eve—Genesis 3:13. The curse of the Fall upon both men and women distinguish the roles in sexuality in the Fall. They are different. They fit the gender. The woman will suffer in child bearing and have a desire to rule her husband who is her master; while the man will suffer with work and toil, providing—Genesis 3:16-17. It is the structure God established. These are the natural desires within each man and woman due to the curse of the Fall.
The role of redemption in the sexuality of men and women is witnessed in the church—the Bride of Christ. Men and women are equal heirs of grace—Ephesians 2:8; two different humans with equal standing. And thus, God never once promotes in Scripture, the mistreatment of women. Women, house a different role than the men but they are equal to the men in God’s eyes. Mistreatment signifies one is less important, thus deserving a sort of judgment. However, in Ephesians 5:1, the church is exhorted to imitate God; in Ephesians 5:2, the church is exhorted to walk in love as Christ also loved. And never once does God mistreat a woman in Scripture. In fact, 8 times in Scripture God says, “Be holy, for I am holy.” Holiness does not include mistreatment. Mistreatment stems from a lack of self-control; thus a lack of being filled with the Holy Spirit and the fruit that represents—Galatians 5:22-23. Jesus elevated women. He defended Mary when she was being mistreated by the disciples. He corrected the men, “Leave her alone”—Mark 14:6. In 1 Peter 3:7, husbands are commanded to dwell with their wife in understanding, giving honor to her as to the weaker vessel. When one honors another, they do not mistreat them. Honor embodies elevation, not degradation. As heirs together in the grace of life, a husband and wife walk with each other not over each other.