I’m posting this for personal notation, as well as for a reference point to the benefit of a few people that have asked me about this topic in recent times…
The Bible has a lot to say about equality among men and women. The problem for us 20-21st Century people is that many of us don’t know how to study cultural context, and we are also unfamiliar with the Author of the word of God. And the more unfamiliar we are with an author or creator of any work, the more we will misinterpret anything he or she is trying to get across in every expression. So, hopefully the following will help in that familiarization, as well as pulling points that can be otherwise very easy to miss, in order to bring out the heart of God and His purposed equality on all levels, including and particularly among genders.
As shared in the video embedded on this blog (at the bottom of ‘Resources’ page), women are called to submit to their husbands, but so are men to their wives. And the men are called to even a greater level of submission and sacrifice, paralleled to that of Christ to His bride! (See 1 Peter 3:1-8, Ephesians 5:22-33.)
Another interesting to note is that both Adam and Eve were responsible for sin entering mankind. Eve did eat of the fruit first, but notice—read Genesis 3:1-8 carefully—you’ll see that their eyes weren’t opened and they weren’t found in sinful state until Adam ate! God made Adam a spiritual covering for his wife, that even in her weakness, he had the responsibility of protecting her and their relationship. Obviously, he failed to do this, and while both were held responsible, the man was the one with arguably greater accountability.
One other very interesting note, while I’m on my little roll here, is that male domination was a consequence of sin, NOT God’s intended purpose or desire—He did not do this. His original design was coequality in the garden. One primary evidence of this was the creation of Eve as a “helper suitable for him” (Genesis 2:20). The original Hebrew word for ‘helper’ is used 21 times in the Old Testament. In the other 20 instances, it is used to refer to either God or a very strong army to help a weaker people. This word expresses a greater strength or capacity in the helper than the one being helped. However, one slight difference in the Genesis 2:20 usage is a very small Hebrew modifier word that signifies coequality among the helper and the one being helped. So God essentially gives great credential to women in this companionship with men, while expressing His clear coequality between the two.
In our modern English, male-dominantly skewed vantage point, we may tend to think of a little maid with a cooking apron and babies in each arm. That couldn’t be further from God’s heart, and diction in this passage.
Ever since sin entered the picture, God has been proactive throughout the rest of history working to bring full redemption of men and women, to cleanse them from sin, as well as restore His originally designed order, as it was in the garden of Eden…which certainly includes man and woman as co-equal partners together and in their world, sharing equally all things. Incidentally, God began His proactive work even before the Fall (1 Peter 1:19-20, Hebrews 9 esp. vv24-28).
God’s ultimate expression of this redemption, Christ’s death and resurrection, consummates this work as a finished, once and for all point of redemption, by which we are saved from sin and brought back into equality with each other. So equality has always been His idea, His way. This is perhaps best summed up in Galatians 3:28, where it says, because of Jesus’ sacrifice, which shows us God’s entire heart all along, “There is no longer Jew nor Gentile, man nor woman, slave nor free, but all are one in Christ Jesus.” This expresses unity and equality among cultural, gender and socioeconomic backgrounds. In other words, in every aspect of life, there is to be no inequality whatsoever. Not in God’s ways, not in His kingdom, not in His people.
Excellent scriptural reference for biblical equality: