Male and Female - God's Plan

In today's society hairstyles, clothing, jewelry and oftentimes behaviour are suggestive of efforts to eradicate gender distinctions. We keep hearing and seeing the term "unisex".

This trend is of concern to thinking people because, in the judgement of many, it is a dominant cause of the ills of our time. Among these are broken and single family homes and absentee and/or non-functioning fathers. Children in such homes, all-too-frequently, in the absence of a male role model, grow up to be selfIsh, spoiled, lacking in self-discipline and unlikely to function properly as citizens and parents. Hence, the cycle repeats itself. Gender role confusion is also believed to contribute to the increasing incidence of abortions and homosexuality. The church is currently being weakened by the failure of men to exercise strong male leadership and the resulting tendency of women to challenge the concept. Thus society, the family, and the church are all being adversely affected by this problem.

What did God intend? There are those who hold that we cannot look to the Bible to determine this because, they claim, the writers of the scriptures were prejudiced by the culture of the time and hence tended to favour the oppression of women. Such an approach to scripture is unacceptable. It leaves man to judge what is cultural and what has continuing force on this and any other subject. Thus, the will of the infallible creator is being decided by His fallible creature. It smacks of Romans 1:22,23.

God made "male and female" in His image (Genesis 1: 27). Woman was created as a "help meet" (suitable helper) for man (Genesis 2: 18) and was intended to complement him in the marriage union (Genesis 2:24). This has led one writer to observe that woman was created after, from and for the sake of man.

The sometimes heard accusation that the Christian religion has been responsible for oppressive circumstances of women in the past is unfounded. Jesus, Paul and Christianity in general have been very much responsible for improvement in the lot of woman.

In the New Testament, Galatians 3:27, 28 clearly teaches that all people have equal access to salvation regardless of race, sex or status. This does not, however, override roles or functions uniquely and specifically defined in other scriptures. Differing roles do not make people superior, inferior or unequal.

There are two areas where God has seen fit to assign definitive roles to men and women (i.e. in the family and in the church). Both involve divinely instituted unions founded on love (i.e. the union of husband and wife in marriage [Ephesians 5:25-30] and the union of believers in Christ [1 Corinthians 13]).

When we examine 1 Corinthians 14:33-35, a response to a question unknown to us, we find women forbidden to speak in the public assembly of the church.

Although some, in their zeal to support changes, have taken the position that this restriction was given because of cultural circumstances of the time and thus does not apply to our times and culture, the "as also saith the law" of verse 34 and "take knowledge of the things I write unto you that they are commandments of the Lord" of verse 37 clearly refute such a position.

When we look at 1 Timothy 2: 11-14 where woman is forbidden to teach or have authority over man, it is even more obvious that the cultural argument cannot be applied. The reason given for this restriction goes beyond culture, back to the beginning.

Eugene Perry

Published in The Old Paths Archive