I’d like to talk to you some today about masculinity and femininity and ontology. A lot of you might not know what the word ontology means. It simply refers to the state of being. When we discuss what something ultimately is, we are discussing its ontology. Too often, we confuse function though with ontology.
Genesis 1:27 tells us about the creation and says “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him, male and female he created them.”
There’s something we can miss at this point because we know the passage so well. This is a great danger to us when we become familiar with the Bible. Of course, we should be familiar with it, but let us not get so familiar that we think we know all that there is to know about a particular text.
God creates them male and female. In our age of feminism and many women complaining about past oppression, to which there is a point granted, we should look at this text and realize exactly what place women had beforehand. Women are seen to have ontological equality with men in sharing the image of God.
Please note that I am not saying they are men. That is a distinction we must make. Women reflect the image just as much as men do, although I believe they emphasize qualities that the men do not and vice-versa. For the time being and even for today, this is a high rank to give to a female. What greater compliment to pay to the lady than to tell her that she is made in the image of God?
Yet so many of our modern feminists are in error. If they want to argue that women are equally human and should not be treated as less than human by men, well and good. I will support such a cause. If they argue though that women are superior to men or worse, that there is no difference, then we will have a problem.
If women are superior, then we will have the exact same problem as we do with chauvinism. If it’s wrong for men, I’d say it’s just as wrong for women. Men have often not treated women well in the past, but that is no justification for wrongs against men today. Women should not get special treatment simply for being women and men should not be treated wrongly simply because they are men.
My concern though is mainly with the feminism that wants to equate men and women and even at times make a man dispensable. A family could survive with a domineering wife or husband. However, there is no real family bond when it is two women or two men. It would be better I think to have a bad example than an anti-example.
I firmly believe that men and women are different. If anyone wants to look in a mirror and compare themselves with the opposite gender in a textbook on anatomy, they will notice differences. However, these differences also go beyond the flesh. The flesh, however, is as good a place as any to start.
Now some might claim that I am discriminating. My answer is, yes. I am definitely discriminating. There are some things you discriminate on because it’s right to do so. If I am fixing a sandwich in the morning, I reach for a knife instead of a fork to spread the peanut butter. That is discriminating, but it is not because I do not like forks. It is because I know the purpose of a knife and the purpose of a fork and the knife can better suit my purposes here.
Suppose you were a young man like myself in your mid-twenties who was single and desperately wanting to meet someone. A friend of yours sets you up on what he says is a blind date. Lo and behold, you get there and there’s another guy and your friend shows up and starts laughing that he really got you good by hooking you up with a guy. (If you’re worried I’m giving a personal account, rest assured, I’m not.)
No doubt, you would be planning a nasty revenge for your friend, but why would you be upset? Is it because you do not like guys? Not at all. You have several of them as friends. You would be upset because you know the goal of a dating relationship. It is to find a lady for the purpose of marriage if you’re a guy and you know what marriage entails. You also know that a man is not designed for that with you.
Thus, your response has nothing to do with your liking or not liking something. It has to do with recognizing the proper purpose even for something that you like. To say that a woman cannot do something or should not is not to discriminate wrongly against women. It is simply to recognize a fact. A woman cannot impregnate herself for instance. She needs something from the man. That is discrimination, but it is rightly done.
It is a good thing men and women are not the same in function. They are to complement one another and they do so quite well. They are designed to function in unity and when they do so, they fulfill a unique purpose in continuing the human race. It is our interdependence that should show that one is not better than the other. Woman needs man to become pregnant, but man needs woman to give him birth.
My hope is that men and women will both see themselves as they are. They are persons created in the image of God and designed to reflect him. I would also hope that those who are hostile to the Bible for feminist reasons will re-read the text. Understand the culture some and see how much female imagery is used in good ways. (The Bride of Christ for instance.)
And my fellow men, do honor the ladies. They’re image-bearers just as much as you are.