Fred J Foster
The modern couple (man and woman) has an advantage that my generation did not have. The sonogram has been invented. Today, one of the highly awaited times in a pregnancy is when the fetus has grown in the mother to the size it can be determined whether this woman is to give birth to a male or female. “Do you know yet whether it’s a boy or girl?” This is the oft’ asked question. Everyone, including the parents, wants to know whether a son or daughter is to be born.
The distinction whether a person is to be a man or woman is known even before birth. From the moment the child is born, it will be treated accordingly as either a boy or girl. Society even has established different colors: blue for the boy and pink for the girl. Rooms or nurseries are decorated in blues or pinks. Oftentimes, cowboy hats and boots for a boy or dolls and doll houses for a girl are readied for the new little one.
Society itself, schools, shopping areas, and workplaces, make available restroom facilities and dressing areas for this difference. In shopping houses there will be the men’s department and then the women’s department. You will find places for men’s shoes and the women’s. Everywhere a person goes, this distinction is made.
I grew up with a sister just younger than I. One of the first things I learned from my mother was that my sister was a girl, and I was a boy. There were certain places on her I was not to hit or touch because she was a girl, and I was a boy. She could be hurt like I could not, and my sister was taught the same about me. This did not hurt me psychologically in my relationship with girls or women, but it was teaching me that there is a difference, and those difference must be respected.
I have been to many countries of the world on several continents, and though the cultural differences were there, the distinction between the sexes was very evident.
This is an absolute, and it is non-negotiable. It can’t be changed. A man is a man, and a woman is a woman. God put it together this way from the beginning.
God gave man a woman. “So God created man in his own image…” (Gen. 1:27). Having at last settled all the preliminaries of creating the heavens and the earth, then all the other creatures upon the earth, He came to the last thing. It seemed this was what He had longed to do. The last would be different, not just flesh, but something akin to Heaven as well. He would create man. Not like any other creature, but he would be made in the likeness of God.
God placed man over all the earth, but something was missing; man needed a help meet. God created man out of the earth, but this would be different. It would be distinctive. He created the woman out of the man. He made her of a rib out of the side of Adam. She was not made out of his head to rule over him, nor out of his feet to be walked on by him, but from next to his heart that he might love her, and from under his arm that he might protect her. Someone said, “Thank God it was Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve.” I say, “Yes, God knew what He was doing.”
Adam was to be her husband, leader, protector, provider, and lover. They were to replenish the earth. He was also to be her spiritual leader. She was to be of the same nature and of the same rank of beings, one to co-habit with him and be always at hand, and one he could look upon with pleasure and delight. Each was to be a help, one to the other. When God co-joins a man and a woman, wonderful, delightful things can come from that union. What a drab place the earth and the existence of man would be without women.
A Woman’s World
A woman can give things to man’s existence that nothing else can.
1. Women bring love and emotion to a relationship.
Someone said, “There’s nothing like the love of a woman.” Someone else said, “Man rules more with his head, but woman rules more with her heart.” In observation I think generally that is true. A woman shows her emotions more often and lets her heart get ahead of her head. That brings a perspective into play that helps a man see things more clearly, I believe.
2. Women offer parental balance.
My wife Pat and I have four children: three sons and one daughter. I have always said she offers the children something I do not have the ability to give. As the one who gave birth to each of them and nurtured them in childhood, she has a motherly love to give that, as a man, I do not have the capacity. There’s something about the tenderness of a mother’s touch that is the most different of anything in the world. I have much to offer the children, but I can’t match her there. God made women for a different purpose than a man, and she brings something very beautiful into his life.
One of the great emphases of the scripture is that God has always made a distinction between man and woman. It seems in his characterizing of each, He wants men to be men and women to be women. That’s why He made them as He did in the first place.
1. Women’s Distinctions
(a) The ability to conceive and give birth to a child.
(b) The qualities of being very feminine.
(c) The biological makeup of the features including bone structure, slightness of build, muscle structure, lack of strength of a man.
2. Biblical Distinctions
Woman’s Subjection to the Man
“Unto the woman he said. . . thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee” (Gen. 3:16). and the head of the woman is the man. . . ” (1 Cor. 11:3).
“Your women. . . they are commanded to be in obedience, as also saith the law” (1 Cor. 14:34).
“Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord” (Eph. 5:22).
“Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection” (1 Tim. 2:11).
“Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands. . .” (1 Pet. 3:1).
In these scriptures we see in “God’s creation and in the present order of things, the husband is the head of the family. God made him physically stronger than the woman in order to protect her. He ought to recognize his position as protector and show it overtly, and she ought to recognize her protector and abide under his care. God is responsible for the difference in the makeup of male and female. `For who maketh thee to differ from another? And what hast thou that thou didst not receive? Now if thou didst receive it, why doest thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it’ (1 Cor. 4:7). No man should at any time endeavor in any way to diminish the difference between the two, either in physical or emotional constitution, appearance, or function of life.”‘
In Christ men and women are equal.
We know the Bible teaches the equality of men and women in Jesus Christ. In Him there are no distinctions in the salvation that He gives to one and all, male or female.
“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female, for ye are all one in Christ Jesus” (Gal. 3:28).
Paul and Peter both have spoken to women the truth of the Christian marriage. Christ has set them free from the wages of sin, just as He has men, and in God’s eyes they are equal. God still has his distinctions and the Apostles have given guidelines to both women and men. They speak of the dangers that are present and warn that they might misuse this newfound freedom and take it beyond the limitations God has placed. He has always made the distinction between man and woman here on Earth and teaches that both have their own distinct places in their roles as Christians.
Equal but Different
Men and women stand on equal footing spiritually in their walk with God. Their faith in the Lord’s ability in all things physical, material or spiritual, and in their prayer lives that may be equal one to another, but still they are created different physically and emotionally. The Bible is very definite about this and teaches both men and women to walk accordingly.
Differences that are Readily Seen
1. Men are not superior in anything, but to function properly there must be a head: and the head of the woman is the man (1 Cor.11:3). The man fills this role of leadership.
2. Maintaining the distinction of the hair: “. . . if a man have long hair it is a shame unto him” (1 Cor. 11:14).
“But f a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her, for her hair is given her for a covering” (1 Cor. 11:15).
3. Adhere to the mode of dress that characterizes one’s sex: “The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman’s garment, for all that do so are abomination unto the Lord thy God” (Deut. 22:5). The word abomination has to do with the character of God Almighty. He is the unchanging One and is the same yesterday, today, and forever. The argument that women’s pants today are made for women only does not hold water. God does not judge where the stitches or zippers are; He judges the heart. Where did the style start, and what was the motive and attitude that brought it about in the first place? Women can inadvertently align themselves with an anti-God spirit and the women’s liberation movement. The women wearing pants (trousers) craze is a mostly latter half of the 20th Century phenomenon. Christian women should consider God’s character and how distinctive He made them. The worldly fashion of wearing of pants in a public display totally takes away from that distinction of the sexes. Christian women should commit to obeying those principles that characterize their sex.
4. In marriage there are two that constitute a single unit, yet these have two personalities. If they are to be unified, there must be headship, and that is the man in God’s order of things. Wise women recognize this, accept it, and are protected by it.
5. Paul’s concern was that women should not dress in such a way as to attract men other than their own husbands: “In like manner also, that woman adorn themselves in modest apparel” (1 Tim. 2:8).
The biblical teaching of the distinction of the sexes is an absolute. It is clear and definite from the scripture and is non-negotiable.
The above article “The Distinction of the Sexes” is written by Fred J. Foster. This article was excerpted from chapter six in Foster’s book Bible Absolutes.
The material is copyrighted and should not be repainted under any other name or author. However, this material may freely be used for personal study or purposes.