So, what’s a woman good for anyway? (Part #3)
All I had to do is Google, “Biblical role of women in marriage,” and this gem was the top hit…
Introduction and summary: Submissive homemaker
1. Manager of the home, under the oversight of her husband. (The wife is the manager of the home, but the husband is the manager of the wife.)
2. Primary role revolves around the daily care of children, meal preparation and keeping the house clean and in order.
3. She is free to take on additional roles and responsibilities by getting a job. Such a job is optional, whereas for the husband, it is mandatory. Her optional choice to take on a job does not suddenly obligate the husband to take on part of the wife’s role of child care or keeping house.
III. “HELPER” Genesis 2:18 .
A. Yes, Man Needs Help, “It is not good that man should be alone”.
1. Purpose of woman’s creation? Bible reveals; is to help husband. Helper role lost, even ridiculed in modern marriages. Cf. Commercials.
2. Instead, women urged to actualize themselves, fulfill their own goals.
Not the Biblical picture. One is helper-One is helpee. Cf. Christ & Church.
3. In proper role, an unbeatable team. Out of role, inevitable problems. Just look at how well modern view has “solved” marriage problems???
B. Wives, resolve to pour life into living for him AS church lives for Christ, in spite of the fact that “modern” philosophy ridicules. God’s way works.
Welcome to the wonderful world of inspired exegetical thought and well substantiated hermeneutical method. I wish I could say this was an anomaly — but the next 5 were pretty much identical. But, hey, I could be ok with it. I could avoid wishing I had never used the name, “Christian,” or been associated with the Church if this were written by a batch of well intentioned church members with no theological training — except about 1/2 of them were proudly authored BY Reverends.
I’m sorry but a simple fact has to be stated: No Reverend ever gets out of graduate school without the ability to at least use software tools or books to properly work with the original languages and to know beyond a shadow of a doubt that the above is NOT what Scripture has to say about women. Or that it’s not even close.
So, before we get to what the original languages actually say — let’s start with the guy first:
For husbands: Eph 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.
What did Christ do? He gave all of Himself — then gave His life too…
The comparison of husband to Christ and the paralleling of the life of Christ to the call on husbands is so repetitious and blatantly stated that it’s unlikely to be much of a source of controversy. Even the most fundamentalist are quite willing to accept an earthly Trinity of God, Husband and Wife. Few, if any of them have any issue with the idea that the husband is called to be like Christ and most of us have heard far too many sermons to that effect — sermons that come to a dead stop right there.
So if the man has a parallel and model in Christ, who then is the parallel/model to the woman?
On the basis of two comments in Ephesians 5 and Colossians 3, some teachers would try to make an open and shut case that the woman is the parallel to the Church and, thus, should do whatever the man tells her to do. Problem is, it’s an out of context cherry picking of a tiny set of verses tied only to one author in the New Testament only that are about behaviours rather then identity anyway. Nowhere do we read, “Women love your husbands as the Church loved Christ.” (Seriously, look at our history, that would be a terrible deal for husbands…) And, also, it leaves that earthly trinity a little vacant…
So, let’s actually look at those original languages:
In the first chapters of Genesis it says that God created woman as a “helpmate,” (which some interpreters insist means that a woman should be subservient.) Yet the exact Hebrew word for “helpmate” or, “help meet,” is only used three ways in the Bible: for woman, once, in a metaphorical sense, for an ally of equal or greater military power sent as aid by God and for God Himself as it describes God’s relationship with Israel — none exactly a use that suggests subservience or inferiority.
“And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet (Meet actually = original term) for him.” (Genesis 2:18 – “…From where comes my help? My help comes from the Lord…”.) The older English term “meet”, meant “appropriate” or “corresponding to”.
The Hebrew for the first half (Help) is ×?×-×¨ ‘ezer (Strong’s 5828), as in ‘eben-ezer, ‘stone of help’ or Ezra ‘help’. It is a masculine noun, but used here of a woman. The possible root behind ‘ezer could have been either ‘-z-r “to rescue, save” (Ugaritic) and/or ‘g-z-r meaning “to be strong”. Just a quick glance at ‘ezer’s roughly 20 uses shows a repeated context and parallel terms for might or power — never of servitude or slavery. Because of this, commentators have suggested a new translation: “I will make a power/strength corresponding to/equal to man.” Unquestionably, this is about a relationship of equals. The last part of v.18 reads literally as “I will make him for him a helper as in front (kenegdĂ´) of him.”
The substantive, of the word kenegdĂ´ is neged. It means, “That which is conspicuous, in full view of, in front of.” When we dig further into the related noun, nagid, we find it means a ‘ruler’ or ‘prince’, and the related verb, nagad, means to, “Declare, tell, expound, reveal, announce.”
The depiction of the Holy Spirit in the New Testament with those qualities is rather consistent to say the least…
In a relatively modern (New Testament) reference to such, Jesus calls the Holy Spirit our helper (parakletos) (John 14:16, 26; 15:26; and 16:7, and 1 John 2:1). In a continuance of the OT parallelism, Paraclete is also a typological expression of the role of a wife and describes one who is called to one’s side. It also describes a power called to aid or rescue. (The New Testament word usually used to describe woman is helper.)
When we look at the Genesis story, we find that for Adam, “No suitable helper was found.” In other words, he was lonely, unfulfilled and in need of relational pleasure and intimacy. God’s solution was to, literally, “Take woman from the side of man.” He split Adam into two pieces and the one piece was now called to the side of the other — and still has the same place of esteem and calling in the New Testament. (The Hebrew words tsela`, tsal`ah; Aramaic `ala` designate the side or the flank – which translators then assume was the rib. They are only found in this strange and unique usage here.)
What is a woman the earthy reflection of and what model does she have? Paraclete. Yes, she, especially in marriage, is called to be the earthly personification of God the Holy Spirit. Women = God the Holy Spirit may not be literally stated but there is a constantly repeated parallelism held between the two with the same qualities ascribed to both that flows from Old Testament to New Testament without any sort of interruption. It simply can not be replaced on the basis of two metaphorical verses.
(When teachers try, they have to be doing so from some other agenda — usually one that actually ascribes responsibility for the fall to the woman and, thus, sees her as forever deserving of being less.)
The irony of the story of Genesis is that they were most definitely equal and one in EVERY way — even the fall. Adam had heard, directly from God, what not to eat. Eve had only heard such from Adam. Yes, Adam stood silent — while Eve, in her desire to be good, was deceived. Given Eve’s role as an earthly princess of declaration, exposition, revelation and announcement who would be along side of or even be ahead of Adam himself, his failure to speak profoundly facilitated her deception — but then, knowing better, he followed/was drawn by her feminine power into such. And, she has been blamed for seducing him ever since — when she was actually created for precisely that role…
What we ignore in such is that all of that chaos was fully put to right in Christ. Yet, so many still act like our sin was removed, but the woman’s power to speak, draw and seduce is still defiled. (And, actually, we’re not so sure about the sin either and pretty definite on, “Sit down, shut up and cover up…”)
Next, we really need to have a good look at what a full restoration of feminine power would look like — especially in the face of the joint efforts of society and Christianity at stripping it away.