I was having a conversation with my husband, in which he made a joking comment about how I would turn the Christian world upside down with my point of view on a woman’s place in the world and in her family. By this, he is referring to my stance on how women are not to be treated as subservient to men, but to be equals.
What must be understood about this, is that when I say “equals” I actually mean exactly that. I don’t mean above, or below, I mean alongside, next to, or together if you will. Equals. Why? Let me tell you… when the Lord created Adam, it didn’t take long to see that he was lonely, so the Lord decided to create woman, to be his helper. He did not take a bone from Adam’s foot to create Eve to be tread upon like a doormat. He did not take a bone from Adam’s skull so that Eve could rule over him. The Lord took a bone from Adam’s ribcage, so that Eve would walk through life alongside him. Notice the word “helper” here. The bible does not say “servant” in regards to Eve. Never once does it refer to Eve as beneath Adam in the Lord’s eyes.
Now, I need you to understand this, because it’s important, and in fact crucial to your understanding of my point; The bible was inspired by God, but written by man – or humans, if you will, so as not to dump on the males of our species, because that is not my goal nor my desire here – and it was written in a PATRIARCHAL CULTURE. In other words, it was written at such a time in history that women were considered the weaker sex and were treated more like servants than like equals on a pretty regular basis. In fact, women were often treated quite badly, and I am sad to say there are still places and people who still subscribe to that way of thinking. Not cool.
However… as a bible scholar and Religious Studies major, I have done a good bit of research on the topic of a woman’s role in life, and let me tell you, we are anything BUT subservient! Female rulers have played a huge part in history, and often in very positive ways. Queen Elizabeth I for one, brought a war-torn, financially unstable kingdom into the greatest military and financially stable status they’d ever seen. So much so, that her reign is referred to as The Golden Age. Elizabeth refused to be treated as lesser just because she happened to be born female. By the way, she is my personal favorite female historical figure.
Another wonderful example is Deborah from the book of Judges, who was a prophet, and leader of the nation of Israel at that time. Deborah is referred to as “The Mother of Israel”, and lead the Israelites into battle against the Canaanite army, defeating them quite smartly. So what did you see there? A woman – who was married, by the way – became the leader of a nation, a military force to be reckoned with, a prophet, and the fourth judge of Israel. She was one tough chick! Does that sound subservient to you? Me either!
So let’s talk about subservient vs. submissive for a minute, because too many people get those two mixed up, and they are very different! In respect to the biblical use of wives being submissive to their husbands, we are talking about the family being a body, and the husband being the head of that body, and generally speaking, a body should only have one head. Submission to ones husband can be defined as, “a commitment to lift up your husband, encourage him, and be his helpmate through life. ”
As a Christian woman, I firmly believe in giving our husbands their place as head of the family, valuing their contributions & hard work for the greater good of the family body. That said, I fully expect to be treated with the same respect from my husband, valued for my contributions and given the same consideration for my thoughts, feelings, and opinions as he is. Why? Because we are equals. We are also equals in our intelligence, both having an IQ of 130, which kind of adds a bit of credibility to the whole equal thing, in my opinion. Anyway…..
Subservient: “Prepared to obey others unquestioningly. Less important, subordinate, serving as a means to an end. Servant or slave.”
Ladies and gentlemen, no man, woman or child deserves to be slave to anyone, regardless of sex, color, creed, race, or religion. I will be subservient to no one, and neither should you!
Genesis 2:18-24 NIV
18 The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”
19 Now the Lord God had formed out of the ground all the wild animals and all the birds in the sky. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. 20 So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds in the sky and all the wild animals.
But for Adam no suitable helper was found. 21 So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and then closed up the place with flesh. 22 Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.
23 The man said,
“This is now bone of my bones
and flesh of my flesh;
she shall be called ‘woman,’
for she was taken out of man.”
24 That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.
C.A. Bennett – Writer