I hesitate to even start down this road, because it’s like cleaning my walk-in closet. If I ever start, who knows if I will ever get to the end. This is why my closet remains unclean (I’ve made my peace with it). But at the insistence of many friends and worse yet, my husband, I’m taking a stab at this seemingly insurmountable subject. I don’t want to make it a career, though, so let’s just agree about one thing up-front:
There is no way we’re going to exhaust the topic, nor examine every relevant Scripture. We’d be blogging and commenting ’til Kingdom come, and quite, frankly, we all had better live biblical feminitiy than discuss it.
That said, I’ll try to just start off with a bite-sized chunk at a time.
Everything starts, as my professor Dr. James Johnson reminds us often, back in the beginning. And male-female relations, like all social dichotomies, are no different. We could begin our examination of biblical womanhood in Genesis chapters 2 and 3. We would see that woman was created for a specific purpose (companionship and help for her husband, 2:18), and of a unique material (man himself, 2:22), and of noticeable quality (“very good,” 1: 27-31).
We could discuss the deception, the sin, and the curse that changed all of humanity and male-female relationships in particular (3:16) forever. We would then notice that sin changed these relationships even before the curse, noting Adam’s reference to his wife in verse twelve.
But that would make us wonder further back at the root of this relational problem: did it really happen somewhere between verses 1 and 6? What made Eve pressure her husband to do that which he knew was forbidden, assuming he made at least a token mental (if not verbal) protest? And why did he do what he clearly understood was wrong?
Verse seven seals their relational fate: their innocence is shattered forever. Gone are the days of frolicking together in Eden, blissfully working together side-by-side. They run and hide from God, and perhaps even each other. Human conflict is born. Literally. Eve gives birth to the first murderer.
But we won’t start our examination of biblical womanhood there. That is too depressing a place to start, even if it does shed light on why it is so hard to put our fingers on who we are.
It’s because we are not who we were created to be. But we shall be, when we shall see Him as He is. (I Jn 3:2)