We live in a culture and a time in history where there isn’t a lot of healthy conversation around gender roles and roles in marriage. And at first glance you can make the mistake of thinking that the Bible doesn’t have anything helpful to say to the modern man and woman, the modern husband and wife. We think, "Things have changed, we’ve evolved in our thinking, we’re empowered."
The truth is, the Bible has a lot to say about the ‘modern man and woman’ and without ears to hear we will be left wanting in our marriages. 'So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.' (Genesis 1:27)
Male & Female
Both male and female were created equally in God’s image. But did you notice that right off the bat we have clear distinction? One is male and one is female. It’s not just God created humans… He created two kinds of humans.
The question on the tables is, is there more than just physical differences in men and women? Is there more to maleness than the physical appearance? Is there more to femaleness than physical appearance?
If we look at the creation narrative we find that Adam was created in the image of God, he was created good, yet he was in need of a helper. Then the LORD God said, 'It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.' (Genesis 2:18)
What was this helper for? To cook for him? To clean for him? To make sure his fig leaves were ironed? Nope, he needed a helper to fulfill the mission that God called him too. More specifically, 'And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”' (Genesis 1:28)
Fulfill the mission
God wanted the earth filled with image bearers, that would take a male and a female to do so. When we think of helper we can think of it in two ways:
1. Daddy’s little helper. Dad can I help you fix that cabinet? Sure little one, hold these screws for me, don’t drop them, that’s a good buddy.
2. A helper who has something you need. Dad can you help me with my homework? I can only do that if I know something they don’t. Or more appropriately, 'God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble' (Psalm 46:1). God is not ashamed to be called our helper.
A wife is a helper, but we must understand that this is not a second-class role. She helps her husband fulfill God’s call to each and every married couple, namely, display the love of Jesus for His church to all who come into contact with them.
In the next post I will attempt to tackle the marital roles laid out in Ephesians 5:21- 33.