A best-selling Christian writer tells men that God gave dominion to Adam and his sons after him. This week I read a book by another evangelical in which the author said that God gave dominion to Adam and his descendants.
Wait. What? Adam and his sons? Adam and his descendants?
No. God gave dominion to the man and the woman.
And we shouldn’t have to risk getting labeled as radical feminists to point out that women rule and were made to do so. The first purpose we see for woman—we find it in the mind of God, even before we read the story about woman being created as a helper or told to multiply with her husband—is that God created humans, both man and woman, to rule over or subdue the earth. That is the ideal. Consider my source:
Genesis 1:26–27: And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
While we’re talking about bestselling authors, here’s another one. There’s a big idea floating about that God made men to be warriors and women to be rescued. The damsel in distress thing is super romantic. But it’s not biblical.
Consider the ideal wife in Proverbs 31—she is a woman of “valor.” That word is the same one used to describe David’s mighty men. In fact the entire text of Proverbs 31 is loaded with military terms. The biblical ideal is that woman is strong. She is not the pale, Elizabethan, dainty, helpless waif who’s a liability. She is a skilled partner in goodness, like Ruth working in the scorching sun and then hoisting bags of grain on her shoulders to go feed widowed Naomi. Ruth needed Boaz’s help, his partnership, but she was not passive or help-less in the process.
Moving to the New Testament we find men and women called to suit up with the armor of God and fight. Women need a cause as much as men do. And we have one!
Some might argue that since the fall things have changed. I would agree. But the ideal hasn’t. We don’t say it’s wrong to buy weed killer, even though weeds were part of the fall. And we don’t tell students learning Greek that they’re out of God’s will to take language courses because God confused languages at Babel. We’re to fight the effects of sin, not embrace them.
In the same way, we should embrace rather than re-craft the story about women having dominion in partnership with men–sisters and brothers shouldering the load together.
Women rule. And so do men. Together. Male and female. I am not at all suggesting women should act like guys or that they are superior to men. I’m saying women and men need to know who men and women were made to be and what God made them to do–and go do it!
A number of years ago my family stayed at Mt. Hood Lodge, which was built in the 1930s. A short film available in the room gave the history of the place. And I loved a story some of the old builders told. Apparently, when the men got pretty far along constructing it, they concluded something was missing—the influence of women. Up to a point the whole project had been a boy’s club. So they stopped and involved women in the process. And the end product, everyone later agreed enthusiastically, was much better for men and women having worked together.
My opera gloves are off to those guys. They came a long way, baby.