Bible and Gender
Bible and Gender - How should we understand gender, marriage, and family? According to the Bible, gender is important to God. He created both male and female “in his image” (Genesis 1:27). So aspects of men and women equally reflect part of God’s nature. He is strong yet gentle, He defends and He nurtures, He is independent and social. In short, God is like both a good father and a good mother.
Furthermore, though the male was created first, and though men are physically stronger and often called to roles of religious, social, and economic leadership, in heaven marriage will disappear. There both men and women will become glorious angel-like beings. For that reason, even here on earth, men and women are to God of equal value (Galatians 3:26-29). Jesus showed mercy to repentant prostitutes (Luke 7:40-50; John 8:1-11) and even honored one (Mathew 26:13), but He was very harsh toward arrogant religious men (Matthew chapter 23).
Going back again to the beginning, God made one man and one woman. That was His intent for marriage and sexual relations. During the years that followed, some believing men like Abraham, Jacob, David, and Samson had more than one woman or wife. But that was not God’s intent, and such practices invariably involved trouble and sorrow. Jesus is very clear about all this (Matthew 19:3-12).
Being so basic to creation, marriage and family are two of God’s greatest gifts to us. The marriage bed is a wondrous and honorable thing (Hebrews 13:4), a near inexplicable physical and emotional unity where two become one in body and heart (Matthew 19:5-6). Another result, should God be so gracious, is the miraculous advent of children, new lives given to reflect, bless, and be blessed by the ones who brought them into being.
The world, damaged by sin, is not an easy place. For that reason, the great preacher tells how “two are better than one” (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12). Marriage was God’s plan before mankind fell into sin, and it remains His best answer now. Because it is so important, and because we sinful people are so easily tempted to destroy His great gift, to protect us, God has much to say about protecting marriage. His design of one man and one woman makes divorce unacceptable except in cases of infidelity (Matthew 5:31-32). Likewise, God forbids adultery (Exodus 20:14; Proverbs 6:32), homosexual relations (Leviticus 18:22, 20:13; Romans 1:26-27; 1 Corinthians 6:9) and bestiality (Exodus 22:19; Leviticus 18:23; Deuteronomy 27:21).
Bible and Gender - How should we understand gender, marriage, and family?
In conclusion, the Apostle Paul’s tremendous words tell us how the wonder of marriage points to still greater wonders.
“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church—for we are members of his body. ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.’ This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband” (Ephesians 5:25-33).
Compliments of Scott Munger, PhD, Biblica, All rights reserved in the original.
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