Blog, Gender

Is God a Feminist?

Feminism is “the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes.”[1] Regardless of your definition of Feminism, I think we can all agree the bottom line of feminism in our culture is equality for women. Now, this isn’t some left wing liberal propaganda (or right-wing propaganda, for that matter), but a look at Truth.

Let’s dig into scripture: “So God created mankind in his image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them” – Genesis 1:27. The NIV Life Application Study Bible comments on this verse saying “Neither man nor woman is made more in the image of God than the other. From the beginning, the Bible places both man and woman at the pinnacle of God’s creation. Neither sex is exalted, and neither is depreciated.” [2]

Genesis 2:21-23 says “So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and then closed up the place with flesh. Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man. The man said, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken out of man.”

I used to fight verses like the one above. Maybe you’re already frustrated, but don’t stop reading yet! I think I can lead you to have a better understanding- read on, friend. According to the NIV Life Application Study Bible, we can take the verses of Genesis 2:21-23 to mean “Man gives life to woman; woman gives life to the world. There is no room for thinking that one sex is superior to another.”[3]

Here is the big take away: Man and Woman are created EQUAL in purpose and value, DISTINCT in design and role.

Romans 2:11 says “For God does not show favoritism.” Yes, He created man with a zeal for protecting and fighting. Yes, He created women with the gift of giving birth and a sharp emotional intelligence. He created both men and women with equal value, important together and apart, with distinct, yet complementary characteristics.

Men can be strongly emotionally intelligent, and women can desire to protect. What I am trying to convey, though, is that our brains work a little differently.  Our creator formed us with a complementary design.

You may say, WAIT Cami, what about Genesis 2:18 which says “The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” I’ll dive into the question most asked after reading this verse.

Why would woman be called a helper? Isn’t that a little misogynistic?

Well, I want to explain the phrase “a helper suitable for him.” The phrase is ezer kenegdo in Hebrew. John and Stasi Eldredge of Ransomed Heart Ministries explain ezer kenegdo perfectly: “It means something far more powerful than just “helper”; it means “lifesaver.” The phrase is only used elsewhere of God, when you need him to come through for you desperately. “There is no one like the God of Jeshurun, who rides on the heavens to help you” (Deut. 33:26). Eve is a life giver; she is Adam’s ally.”[4]

Ezer kenegdo is a phrase ONLY used elsewhere in reference to God as a lifesaver, a helper, His Holy Spirit.

 The phrase ezer kenegdo is rooted in the word “power” or “strength.”

John Walton’s Genesis commentary states: “The word “helper” is common enough as a description of someone who comes to the aid of or provides a service for someone. It carries no implications regarding the relationship or relative status of the individuals involved. In fact, the noun form of the word found in this verse as used elsewhere refers almost exclusively to God as the One who helps his people. If we expand our investigation to verbal forms, we find a continuing predominance of God as the subject, though there are a handful of occurrences where people help people. In this latter category, we find people helping their neighbors or relatives (Isa. 41:6), people helping in a political alliance or coalition (Ezra 10:15), and military reinforcements (Josh. 10:42 Sam. 8:5). Nothing suggests a subservient status of the one helping; in fact, the opposite is more likely. Certainly “helper” cannot be understood as the opposite/complement of “leader.” ” [5]

Read more about the word Ezer Kenegdo at the links below:

 

But what about Ephesians 5:21-33? Ephesians 5 is a passage that makes many women angry- I’d like to teach you what I know about it to be true. Here’s the question women ask me the most, and my answer:

WHY on earth would God want me to submit to my husband?

Wait, did you read the whole passage or did you read verses 22- 23? God is requesting men and women to BOTH submit to one another. Why in the world does He require submission?  Well, let’s look at the NIV Life Application Study Bible commentary again:

“Submitting to another person is an often-misunderstood concept. It does not mean becoming a doormat… In a marriage relationship, both the husband and wife are called to submit. For the wife, this means willingly following her husband’s leadership in Christ. For the husband, it means putting aside his interests to care for his wife.”[6]

“Mutual submission preserves order and harmony in the family while it increases love and respect among family members.”[7]

So, submitting isn’t a form of misogyny, it’s a direction for harmony.

God is a feminist. Man and Woman are created EQUAL in purpose and value, DISTINCT in design and role. Friends, you are valued, man or woman. You are made in His image, created to do good work.

 

I’d love to chat. Send over an email to cami.joybyjesus@gmail.com if you’d like more clarity on a subject, have questions about scripture, or have suggestions for future posts.


Footnotes:

[1] “Feminism.” Merriam-Webster.com. Merriam-Webster, n.d. Web. 12 Dec. 2017.

[2] NIV Life Application Study Bible. (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2011) 6.

[3] NIV Life Application Study Bible. (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2011) 8.

[4] Ezer Kenegdo. RansomedHeart.Com. John & Stasi Eldredge, 06 Nov. 2016.

[5] John H. Walton, Genesis (The NIV Application Commentary) (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2001) 176.

[6] NIV Life Application Study Bible. (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2011) 1984.

[7] NIV Life Application Study Bible. (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2011) 1985.

Photo by Sabina Ciesielska

1 thought on “Is God a Feminist?

  1. Excellent read, I just passed this onto a friend who was doing some research on that. And he actually bought me lunch because I found it for him smile Therefore let me rephrase that: Thank you for lunch!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *