“Did God really say?” Oh, those four dreadful words; the catalyst for the fall of man and the demise of our society today. After all, isn’t that how all deception begins- with the questioning of the word of God? It seems our rebellious hearts just can’t accept that God meant what He said. We have questioned everything from creation to women preaching in the church, and certainly everything pertaining to the family and sex. Somehow we’ve even come to the place of questioning the words of Genesis 1:27, “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.”
Male and female He created them. Two humans, two different sexes, biologically distinct to determine one from the other. And it pleased Him to do so. A few verses later we read, “And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good.” He made it so simple and so clear yet with a profound and amazing purpose. In verse 24 of Genesis chapter 2 we see the first glimpse of His purpose in this created order: “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.”
This covenant relationship required a male and a female and was the ultimate example of the union and fellowship of Christ with his bride, the church. In Ephesians chapter 5 the Apostle Paul quotes Genesis 2:24 and then states, “This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church,” (v.32). How awesome that marriage is a representation of this relationship; for Christ is represented by the man, and the church is represented by the woman. (Although not the focus of this post, this also underscores why biblical marriage can only be between one man and one woman.)
With the background of God’s purpose in the creation of biological males and females and His design for marriage, I would like to focus the remainder of this post on the gift of maleness and femaleness. As has been discussed, God created men and women with distinct biological differences, and these differences are their own unique gifts! It is a gift to have physical strength in order to work hard and to protect one’s family, just as it is a gift to bear and care for children. So often that previous statement is scoffed at as “outdated” and “sexist.” However, we cannot deny that our physical bodies were created with intentionality and purpose- and the above sentence is certainly a part of that purpose!
Even more than the purpose of our physical bodies is the gift of being a part of the aforementioned representation! I can only imagine the tremendous honor and privilege for men of knowing they are the head of their wife as Christ is head of the church. What a gift for men to submit to God as a spiritual leader and servant of his bride; what joy in the readiness to sacrificially lay down his life for her! And just as Christ is the defender and protector of his church, so the man is to be of his wife. This is the true gift of maleness!
Likewise, what a gift it is for women to serve their husbands in the same way the church is to serve Christ. As followers of Christ we are to joyfully place ourselves under submission to him because he has given us new life through his life, death, and resurrection. While the word submission can be a hard word to swallow for some, we must remember that we have no need to fear, for we are safe in submitting to Him. Our Savior has given himself up for us and does everything for his glory and our ultimate good. Our sanctification is the result of this submission. Similarly, in Christian marriage there is joy in submitting to and serving a man who loves his wife as Christ loved the church. The true gift of femaleness is to love and be loved in this way.
To be certain, though we are a redeemed people we are still in our flesh. Consequently, we will not carry out these roles in a perfect manner- yet God’s good purposes in creating two sexes and marriage still stands. We can therefore rejoice that we are fearfully and wonderfully made by our Creator, knowing that it is He who has chosen us to be male or female. Let us celebrate the gift He has given us by finding joy and satisfaction in the purpose of His creation.