In our society today there is much confusion over what it means to be a woman. Motherhood has been diminished to “birthing people.” This has crept into the church with major discussions taking place about women pastors and the role of women in ministry. As we celebrate Mother’s Day, we need to stop and examine what God’s Word says about this important subject.
Two wrong answers
Within our society there are two prevailing views concerning women. Both of these views have their own “Christian” versions.
Feminism – The view is disguised as pro woman. However, its core tenant is that women must become like men in order to achieve value and worth. This principle of egalitarianism hates women being women. In this view a woman only has value if she seeks to be like a man. This is why this view is ok with men playing in women’s sports, using women’s restrooms, etc. It despises women as a separate and distinct category from men. Women are to enter the world of men as opposed to glorying in the fact that they are separate and distinct.
Misogyny – this view reduces women into “lesser than” men. In principle it is no different than feminism. It hates women. In this view, Biblical roles have less to do with God’s commands and more to do with a demeaning view of women. This view reduces women into nothing more than a womb, a cook, a laundromat, a dishwasher, etc. Women are to be valued for what they do for men and have no intrinsic value. A woman who is barren or single is considered less than a woman.
The Biblical view stands in stark contrast to these views.
Women bear the image of God
God is very clear that women are equal image bearers with men. Although men and women are not interchangeable, they are equal in value and worth with men as image bearers. Although God has created men and women differently, there is no distinction between men and women as image bearers of God. A woman is equally an image bearer as any man.
Women are not primarily sexual beings and definitively not objects. Women were not created for the sexual satisfaction of man. They were not created to meet men’s needs. They were created as image bearers of God.
Women were created to glorify God
Women were not created for a different purpose than men. They were created to glorify God. The focus of a woman’s life is the same as that as a man. They must live for God’s glory. The distinction comes about not in the “what” but in the “how.” Men and women have been created with complementary callings that glorify God in separate and distinct ways. As Paul points out in 1 Corinthians 11, the sameness and differentness of men and women reflect the Triune Godhead. Just as Jesus is equal to the Father, He is functionally different. So are men and women.
Women glorify God by being women
Eve glorified God just as much before her and Adam were wed as after they were wed. Hannah bore the image of God just as much while she was childless as she did after Samuel’s birth. Mary glorified God in her care for Elizabeth just as much as she did in her care for Jesus as a child. Jael glorified God just as much for her hospitality as she did in her killing of Sisera. Abigail glorified God just as much in her marriage to a fool as she did in her marriage to a king. Esther glorified God in her singleness just as much as she glorified God in her marriage to a pagan. Sarah glorified God just as much in her mothering of Isaac as she did in her barrenness. Ruth glorified God just as much in taking care of her mother-in-law as she did in giving birth to a son.
It is very important that we understand that being a woman is not about getting married and having babies. Being a woman is not about a career. Being a woman is so much more than housework. In fact, the Bible speaks of men sewing and washing dishes. Much of what we consider to be “biblical” femininity is nothing more than cultural.
Women glorify God by being women. Unfortunately, very little of our time and energy is spent in discovering what that even means. We are so busy hating women that we never spend our time glorying in what God has created a woman to be! Paul addresses this in Galatians 3:28. A traditional Jewish prayer from Paul’s day was, “Thank you, God, that I am not a Gentile, a woman, or a slave.” Paul destroys this mindset. Instead of fighting against the nonsense of our day, we need to paint a beautiful picture for the women and girls in our church of what it means to glorify God as a woman. Being a woman is something that is to be celebrated and embraced if that is what God has created you to be.
Women were created to be suitable helpers
So how does a woman glorify God? Adam was created to take dominion and fill the earth. This is how he was to glorify God, by making every square inch of planet earth reflect God’s glory. He was completely unable to do this task alone. God brought animals to help him in this task. However, no animal was perfectly suited to help him in the task God had given him. Therefore, God created woman. Eve was a helper perfectly suited to help Adam accomplish the task God had given him. Childbearing would be a massive part of this, but it was not the entirety of the help she would provide. As men take the leadership role in the Dominion Mandate, so women take the helper role. That is how they glorify God.
We must fight against any philosophy of this world that would entrap our minds into a wrong view of gender.
We must promote the beauty of womanhood and paint a beautiful picture of what it means to be a woman.
We must celebrate women for being women.
We must proclaim that the only way for a woman to be all that she was created to be is through Jesus Christ.