This is by far these days the most controversial topic in the world of Christianity. We have churches split on those that believe that men and women are equal in all respect and those that believe the opposite. There are women groups that are fighting for women’s rights with some men saying, it is unbiblical. Let’s get right into it. The first question we ask is:
1- Was a woman created subordinate to a man?
What does the bible say? Let’s see.
Genesis 1:27 (NIV)
So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.
So, we can see that when God created mankind, he created mankind in his own image. The word mankind refers to all humanity, both males and females. This is confirmed by the rest of the verse when it says, that God created them in his image and then it says again that both male and female, God created. So, three times in one verse is the statement that God created both male and female in his own image. So, now we know that in terms of creation, women were created in the same way as men were created and that is in the image of God.
Genesis 1:28 (NIV)
God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”
After God created male and female, God gave them an instruction. God did not give a male only the instruction but God gave then both an instruction to fill the earth, subdue it and rule over all other living creatures. This was an instruction given equally to both male and female.
Now, let’s look at the specifics of the creation of man and woman. Starting with the man.
Genesis 2:7 (NIV)
Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.
This is how a man was created.
Genesis 2:16-17 (NIV)
And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; 17 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.”
This is the command that was given to the man, his name, Adam.
After this, God said:
Genesis 2:18 (NIV)
The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”
Now, let’s examine this verse thoroughly. The word used here for good is a Hebrew word “tob”, a verb meaning to be happy, to please, to be loved, to be favored, to seem good, to be acceptable, to endure, to be valuable, to do well, to do right. So, in the context of this verse this word would mean that it is not a happy thing, it is not pleasing, it is not a loving thing, it is not fabourable, it is not acceptable, it is not right. Therefore one can read the verse like this, it is not fabourable or a right thing or pleasing for a man to be alone. It was not the man who saw it unpleasing or unfavorable or not right to be alone. The man never complained about being alone. It was God himself who saw that it was not pleasing or fabourable or right for a man to be alone.
God then said that he will make a suitable helper for him. The word used for suitable is the Hebrew word “neged”, a preposition indicating before, in front of, opposite or corresponding to. It literally means “according to the opposite of him.” Translations such as “suitable [for]”, “matching,” “corresponding to” all capture the idea. So clearly one can see that suitable here literally means that Eve was created as the opposite of Adam or as someone who corresponds to Adam or who matches Adam. All these words without a doubt indicate that Eve was created equal but opposite to Adam. It clearly and without a doubt show that Eve was not created subordinate to Adam. If something is opposite to another thing, it means that thing is equal in every way but just opposite. Light or dark, hot or cold, strong or weak, and so on.
The word helper means exactly that, a helper. This word in no way means subordinate. To help someone does not and cannot mean that you are subordinate to that person. God helps us all the time, does it mean that God is subordinate to us, no way! So the fact that Eve was created a helper, does not mean that she is subordinate.
So, if we now go back to the verse, we can now read the verse as: since God saw that it was not favourable or pleasing or right for Adam to be alone, he was going make an equal but opposite helper for him.
Genesis 2:22-25 (NIV)
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. 25 Adam and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.
After God decided that he will make an equal but opposite helper for Adam, God created a woman called Eve out of a man’s rib. Now, again, simply because a woman was created out of a man’s rib, does not mean that a woman is subordinate. The important thing to note here is in verse 24 where it says that a man and a woman will become one flesh. If the man and a woman are one flesh, then it is impossible for a man or a woman to be subordinate to each other. After all, they are one flesh.
So clearly from creation, a woman was created equal but opposite to a man. There is no evidence that a woman was created subordinate or inferior to a man.
What about this verse, what does this verse mean now? Well, wait for part 2 of the message to find out.
Genesis 3:16 (NET_FL)
To the woman he said,
“I will greatly increase a your labor pains; b
with pain you will give birth to children.
You will want to control your husband, c
but he will dominate d you.”