Summary: God's design: Man is the head, woman is the helper
In just a little over two weeks, Mary and I will celebrate our 37th wedding anniversary. And when people ask me how we’ve stayed married that long, I tell them it is because I have learned the two most important words in the English language – “Yes Dear”. Obviously, I say that with tongue firmly planted in cheek. The real reason we’ve experienced nearly 37 years of a very fulfilling and enjoyable marriage relationship is that I have a wife who understands and lives her life based on a Biblical understanding of manhood and womanhood.
But, as I’m sure all of you have experienced in your relationships, both in and outside of marriage, it is not always easy to live according to God’s design for manhood and womanhood. Certainly our marriage, as good as it is, has not been perfect, primarily because of the times that I have failed to live up to God’s design and be the man that God designed me to be. Perhaps I’m the only one here who struggles to live according to God’s plan, but my guess is that all of us experience some difficulties when it comes to being the man or woman that God has designed us to be.
Certainly one reason it is so hard to live according to God’s design is that our culture not only fails to value that design, but actively works against it on so many fronts. Unfortunately, as I mentioned last week, the church is not immune to those pressures and I fear that even those who claim to be followers of Jesus and believe in the Bible have often been deceived about what it means to be a man or a woman from God’s perspective.
So this morning as we continue to learn more about God’s design for manhood and womanhood, we are going to deal with what is undoubtedly the most prevalent and damaging misconception about that design. In an attempt to fight back against many of the abuses that have been justified by a perversion of God’s design for men and women, some have suggested that the roles of men and women that we find so clearly defined in the Bible are a result of the fall of man described in Genesis 3.
That is why the foundation that we established last week is so important. That is why it was so critical for us to go back to the creation accounts in Genesis 1 and 2 to establish God’s original design for manhood and womanhood prior to sin entering the world.
So let’s take a few moments to review what we learned last week and then we’ll move on to Genesis 3 and see how sin perverted that design. Let’s begin with our bottom line from last week:
[Let people “fill in the blanks”]
Man and woman have equal worth…
Because man and woman were both created in the image of God, they both have equal worth in God’s eyes. At the same time, however, man and woman are not totally equal in every aspect of their existence. As we saw last week, the manner in which God created man and woman indicates that God gave them distinctive work. Men and women have different roles.
Unfortunately in our culture, we often tend to associate personal roles with personal worth. Because we pay people in certain professions more than we pay those in others, we tend to esteem certain jobs and roles above the others. I think that is one reason we’ve seen so much emphasis on “income inequality” in our country recently. In reality, the fact that we don’t all make the same amount of money is only a problem if we somehow use our salaries to measure our personal worth.
Had God wanted to, He could have easily created us all completely equal. He could have given us all the same physical abilities, the same intellect, the same circumstances in life. But God doesn’t do that. But the fact that we are not equal in those areas says nothing about our worth. The fact that I’m not capable of being an NFL football player or an NBA basketball player or a rocket scientist or a brain surgeon says nothing about my intrinsic worth. It just means that God designed me to be different than those who have those capabilities.
The same is true when it comes to our God-given roles as men and women. Our worth before God is not determined by our work, but rather by the fact that each of us – man and woman alike – has been created in the image of God.
Last week, we looked at some of the evidence we find in Genesis 1 and 2 that proves that the different work for man and woman was something that was established by God prior to the fall of man. I want to follow up on just one aspect of that evidence in a little more detail this morning. We’re going to look at two verses that will help us do that: