When God shakes a local assembly...
Rachael HillMemorial Website
Male and Female Created He Them
I. "In The Beginning..." Part I - Contrast
Then God said, "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule
over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over
every creeping thing that creeps on the earth." And God created man in His own image, in the image of
God He created him; male and female He created them.
- Genesis 1:26, 27
I sincerely believe that today's world view of man and woman is more than just seriously flawed; it is a counterfeit - a deception to keep us from what God originally intended and purposed. Both militant feminism and homosexuality are the more overt results of such deception. But there are many other grave misconceptions held by even sincere Christians who fail to understand God's pers-pective on His creating man and woman. How many thousands of young Christians have been deeply damaged, deeply scarred, and prevented from knowing the riches of God's marvelous plan for man and woman because of these misconceptions? Only our Lord knows.
Why did God create these two very similar yet incredibly and marvelously different creatures that we know as Man and Woman? Did He have a purpose in mind? If there is no apparent sexual difference in the eternal realm (see Luke 20:34-36), then why do we have such a thing now?
While it is not our burden in this limited work to do any kind of comprehensive study of the answers to these questions, we do want to lay some foundations and to establish some fundamental truths on which the single, or even newly married Christian can build.
It may not be apparent at first, but these questions are extremely important. If single Christians are going to have proper relation-ships with one another, they must have God's perspective on why He created them in the first place. And we presently have a serious problem: we have all been affected, to some degree or other, by the world's view of man and woman.
If we are going to consider issues that relate to God's purpose for man and woman, we must understand why He created man and woman in the first place. And it is only appropriate that we begin a discussion of God's purpose in creating man and woman where God begins it - in Genesis chapter one.
The first thing that we note is that God created man in His image, His likeness; somehow, man was to reflect God, to express what God was like. But how great was man's fall! Do we see God reflected in man today? or do we see more of God's enemy, Satan? It was not this way "in the beginning." God's plan was to be seen and manifest, and Man was to be His representative and His representation on earth. Man was to subdue all under his authority, and his very nature was to reflect the life , nature, and eventually the character of God Himself.
However, for man to fully reflect God's image, we find that one form of man was insufficient. It took two similar, but very different creatures. One was Man - the other was Woman. Somehow, here in the very beginning, we see that neither Man, alone, nor Woman, alone, reflected the image of God. Somehow, each reflected something of God that the other did not. To view only one, was, in a sense, to view only part, maybe only one half, of what God is.
In I Corinthians 15:46, referring to man and spiritual matters, it says, "the spiritual is not first, but the natural; then the spiritual." So it is with God's dealings with man. He begins with the natural and works toward the spiritual. The spiritual is the goal. The natural is the beginning. So let us begin by looking at these creatures, man and woman, from a purely outward and physical perspective. Please bear with me as I state the obvious, but to reach our objective, we must do just that.
Take any average man, any average woman, and stand them side by side, and it is clear even to the most oblivious of us that there is a tremendous difference between the two.
Generally, words we usually use to describe the man are larger, taller, stronger, more muscular, rougher, more angular, firmer, etc. The woman is smaller, shorter, weaker, less muscular, finer, more curved, softer, etc. Who can deny these differences? (Who would want to? We will see later.) These differences are the very things that make a man attracted to the woman and vice versa. It is an undeniable truth that the average man is not attracted to a woman with masculine traits (or other men) and the average woman is not attracted to a man with feminine traits (or other women).
Sexually, the man is the giver, the woman the receiver. In many areas, the man is the initiator, the woman the responder. (Not to say that some women don't initiate!) But the man sows, the woman bears the fruit. The woman "nurtures" by nature and has a body designed to nurture and feed. The man does not, indeed he cannot (on the physical level).
But the differences do not stop with the outward structure. Though the dominant world view has for years tried to declare that the differences between men and women was mostly societal and cultural, even science has had to admit that men and women are by nature different. It was a shock to today's dominant culture when TIME Magazine made recent discoveries of these differences their cover story! We quote: "WHY ARE MEN AND WOMEN DIFFERENT? - It isn't just the upbringing. New studies show they are born that way"! (January 20, 1992) Isn't it amazing how it takes science to convince the unbelieving world of what is obvious to any sensible person! Some of the issues TIME pointed out are:
As stated in this article, it is generally known by all who are not biased by contemporary, politically correct thought, that women in general are more concerned with relationships, feelings, communicating, harmony, and how people are treated. Men are generally more concerned with things, actions, goals, activity, building things, competition, etc. Women are generally more subjective in their viewpoints, men more objective. Women are more often guided by their feelings in making decisions, whereas men are more often guided by their thinking. Please note that we are not stating absolutes, for about 25% of the general population appears to cross these gender-based tendencies (according to Myers-Briggs research). These are not generalizations of culture or society, but observations of reality; they are differentiated traits of each sex. Recent scientific discoveries using M.R.I. has even proven that human male and female brains function completely differently when evaluating and making the same decisions!
Science has also proven that women have more "slow twitch" muscles, which are better for endurance. Men have more "fast twitch" muscles, which are better for bursts of speed and strength, but not for endurance. It is well known among runners that most women running marathons do not "hit the wall" as all men do, reaching a point of total collapse where only pure guts will carry you through. Women endure. Men are stronger, but only for a limited time.
In spite of all of today's claims for equality by the feminists, why is it that they never want to compete one-on-one with the men in sports? It's simple! They know they are different, weaker in strength - they know they can never compete with men in areas involving strength. God made the differences - to show what He is like.
So, what is it that is to be seen in man that is like God? Five fingers on a hand? Two legs and two feet? Perhaps. But there are more important things that God desired to be manifest in man. First of all, the words "image" and "likeness" concern the area of nature and attributes, not outward image. Although the outward is most visible, it is secondary. If this is so, then what are these things - the things that God primarily desires to manifest?
First we need to clarify the difference between image and character. Man, or Adam, had God's likeness, but he never had God's character. He was intended to eventually possess God's character by the means of first partaking of the Tree of Life, then receiving the life of God, and then having God's character developed in him. As he partook of the tree of knowledge instead of the Tree of Life, he rather took on the character of God's enemy - the character of SELF and independence from God. But since Calvary, it is the believer, receiving Christ's life, who has the opportunity to have God's character developed in him by the Holy Spirit.
So what are some of these spiritual character traits? Galatians 5:22 is a fairly descriptive view of what God had in mind:
... the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.
We also find other scriptures which give us a clue of what God was after, such as:
... God has not given us a spirit of timidity (fear - KJV), but of power and love and discipline (sound mind - KJV) - II Timothy 1:7
Suffer hardship with me as a good soldier of Christ Jesus - II Timothy 2:3
Be strong and courageous - Joshua 1:6
Be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might - Ephesians 6:10
We could look at many more passages like these, but maybe with these few we can begin to see something. Is it unreasonable to point out that in the Galatians passage, the traits noted strike us as being more feminine in nature? And that the traits in the following section are more masculine in nature? Now, lest some modernists attack us here, we must point out that what we are noting is an accepted perspective that has been held by mankind since history began. Only recently is this view being challenged.
When we think of such words as, "love, kindness, gentleness" etc., we immediately think of these as being wonderful attributes for a woman. But when applied to a man, we instinctively think of them as being somewhat effeminate. (Until we become believers, when we see that a real man is greatly lacking without these qualities.)
And what about the others being applied to a woman? "Strong; courageous; soldier". Do we not instinctively think of a man here? And when we see a woman of great muscular strength, like some of today's lady bodybuilders, do we not instinctively think, "is this what a woman is really to be?" Something in us recoils at this. It is not because of culture, or society, but it is innate in our beings.
Can we deny that by nature, a woman is more naturally "gentle", "kind", "patient", "faithful", etc.? We cannot unless we deceive ourselves. And can we deny that the man, the male, is more naturally "strong", "courageous", etc. It is really very simple. Contrary to what today's world would tell us, this is the way God made man and woman. And deep inside, instinctively, we know it. All the cultures and societies of history have known it. Even psychology accepts this.
So we see that God has indeed, by design, made man and woman radically different. And as the French say, "Vive la difference!"
So why did God create a man and a woman? The first reason is the principle of CONTRAST or OPPOSITES. In all of God's creation, He uses contrast and opposites to make things clear - light and dark, sun and moon, land and sea, mountain and valley, summer and winter, and we could go on for a long time with more. The nature of one accentuates and clarifies the perception of the other.
In fact, without contrast, we could see nothing! With no contrast, all would be the same, bland, alike. However, in God there is infinite diversity. It is contrast that allows us to differentiate between things. And the scriptures themselves tell us that contrast is a vehicle God uses to declare His purposes. For example, there is a phrase in Romans 2:18 and Philippians 1:10 which most accurately is translated,
we are "to distinguish the things that are different."
God makes things different to show us things we would not otherwise see. Another example is in I Corinthians 11:18 which makes the surprising statement that,
For there must also be factions (divisions) among you, in order that those who are approved may have become evident (manifest) among you.
It was only by contrast that God could reveal those that He had approved!
A well-recognized and respected, elder brother of our faith who has written many well-known books even suggests that one of the only reasons that God yet allows Satan so much latitude is so that He might more greatly display His mercy and grace and love - "where sin increased, grace abounded all the more." Rom. 5:20, 21. (Balanced in the next verse, to prevent a following thought of, "then let's sin more. . ." "Are we to continue in sin that grace might increase? May it never be!").
So God has placed in each of His creatures, the man and the woman, aspects of His image and nature not naturally found in the other.
Are we saying a man should not possess any "feminine" attributes? Or that a woman should not possess and "masculine" attributes? God forbid!
Indeed, we must point out that in the perfect Man, our Lord Jesus, all of these traits were found in perfect balance. Though He was indeed a man, a male, he possessed all the traits associated with femininity, yet without compromising His masculinity. He was "full of grace" (feminine) "and truth" (masculine). He showed pity and mercy (feminine) to the hurting, but wrath (masculine) toward those who misrepresented God. How could this be? Because our Lord Jesus is the perfect God-Man. And these characteristics are found in God Himself, in perfect balance. But in the rest of us, it takes both man and woman to reflect God's nature, traits, and image. One alone gives an imbalanced perspective of what God is really like. But, together, God has a vehicle for displaying to the world what He is like.
Now we must give our feminist friends this: religious man has been guilty of readily attributing to God His more masculine attributes and denying His more feminine attributes. For example, religious man is more apt to adopt God's nature of judgement than His nature of mercy. But the answer lies not in calling God a "she", but first in beholding in the person of the Lord Jesus all of the attributes of God, and then acknowledging that in the woman are found His attributes which are just as important as those found in the man.
Now, if it seems that all of this has been an exercise in declaring the obvious, please hang on. And hold on. . . to this point of CONTRAST or OPPOSITES. Later we will see why this truth is foundational important, and critical for us to reach our objective.
It may help if we ask a question: If contrast is so important to God's purpose for man and woman, what strategy would God's enemy use to defeat that purpose?
[It is not the intention of this little work to address today's trends of feminism or homosexuality. But it should be noted here that both of these are strong attacks in the spiritual realm upon God's original design of showing His characteristics by contrast in man and woman. The feminists do have a few points of truth, but pervert what God wants to be seen in the woman by wanting the female to adopt male traits. The homosexuals have no such basis, the spirit of homosexuality wanting to destroy the very foundations of God's plan for man and woman.]