Margaret Thatcher with her husband Denis and twin children
Carol Thatcher and Mark Thatcher (source The Times)
Male domination has influenced many women to become part of the feminist movement. I can understand the frustration of many women around the world today and of the past (see Declaration of Sentiments from 1848). I stand with you on many issues but not all. I do not believe that the differences between men and women are obstacles but blessings. At first, this statement may upset some due to some misconceptions and without further explanation. I hope the following article will help to remove any confusion about my statement and to show how God created men and women complementary so that they would have mutual respect for their differences.
The misconception in our society is that equality is based upon sameness (i.e. I can do anything you can do!). When it comes to men and women this is not true, both have different weaknesses and strengths. For example, the women body is designed to give birth. Obviously, I haven’t experienced it for myself but I have witnessed my wife give birth to our two children. She was in labor for hours but she fought through it. Men can only stand there as support but nothing more.
But when it comes to overall strength, men are stronger than most women. I know some scrawny and weak men and I know some tough women but these are the few exceptions. Men are designed to have the greatest potential for upper body strength. Legs are probably more equal in potential strength between men and women. But the physical differences do not change the fact that they are both equal in worth and honor.
What about the intellect? My little girl is one smart cookie and her education will be just as challenging as our little boy. There are plenty of intelligent women that have just as much potential as any man. The cure for cancer could come from a woman just as much as a man.
What about roles? Roles are established all throughout society (i.e. marriage, work, school, church, and more). Some are based upon abilities and some are not. My view of roles is determined by the good pleasure of God, not my own ingenuity. God has used women in great ways to lead and witness for his glory (i.e. Deborah, Esther, and more). The roles God has had for men and women throughout history have not always been determined by abilities.
For example, church roles for men and women have nothing to do with abilities but with the design of God. The New Testament established its authority for church design upon the created order before the fall, not cultural trends (1 Tim 2:13 “For Adam was first formed, then Eve.”). Different roles in the church were not designed to prove that men are better equipped to lead but to resemble the helper role Eve was to fulfill for Adam in the garden. This may seem like an inferior role in the eyes of the world but don’t forget Jesus who served the Father and taught his disciples that a servant is the greatest in the kingdom of God (Luke 9:46, 22:24).
The same could be said for marriage, though I would say that childbearing and breast feeding was God’s way of helping women be the primary care taker for children. I believe men and women were given “primary duties” within the context of marriage but these can overlap from time to time. The wife of Proverbs 31 was very active in providing for the needs of the family through manual labor and commerce.
There is much more to be said but I must be brief for sake of time. I hope this article has removed any misnomer that you may have had against scripture and represented the beauty of womanhood in the eyes of God. I have come to appreciate women more as I grow in my knowledge of the scriptures. God loves women and so do I. Women and men are equal in worth and honor even if there are differences.
If you are interested in learning more about the biblical roles of men and women, I recommend that you read Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood.