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Wednesday, July 24, 2013
"Male and Female He created them." But why?
As usual, all this reading spawned dozens of post ideas (many of which I will probably never get to). I read a lot on one particular subject, and I was inspired to tackle a hotly debated topic that I've not touched on for a while: male and female roles in marriage.
It will take several posts to explore the topic, even in part. I will likely intersperse the series with some more lighthearted fare. I don't want things to get too serious around here.
As a prelude to this series, let me say that this is not a salvation issue. It's also not a sin issue. As such, differing opinions on marriage roles are just that - opinions. My own opinions are strongly held and thoroughly considered, but I also believe I can learn from the others with whom I disagree. I concede that each side of the debate probably has it partially right. We all see through a glass dimly. Let's try to appreciate that fact.
I am hoping to spark discussion. However, I am asking that we keep the discussion honoring, respectful and positive. Hostile, mean-spirited or snarky comments on either side of the debate will not be tolerated. Period.
Side note: to be intellectually honest you should always seek to understand what those with whom you disagree have to say. Sadly, I find that many on either side of the complementarian/egalitarian debate only read and discuss the topic among those who share their opinion, thus adding to the deeper divide between the two. Similarly, it seems many Christians shy away from examining anything "secular" or not overtly "Christian." This series will likely stretch a few of these boundaries.
Yin and Yang
As I was catching up on my blog reader backlog I came across a post on the importance of yin and yang in relationships. In case the concept of yin-yang is unknown to you, it is the ancient Chinese concept that seemingly opposite (or more accurately, complimentary) forces are often deeply interconnected. Examples include light and dark, high and low, and, pertinent to our discussion today, male and female.
The article spoke of the balance and harmony created through difference and contrast in relationships. These get lost, the author posed, in our quest for fairness and equality.
Fundamental to the concept of yin and yang is the fact that you can't have yin without yang. It makes no sense. Light has no meaning without darkness. There is no high without low. And there is no male without female.
Now yin-yang is not a "Christian" concept, and the post I refer to was not on a "Christian" marriage blog. However, as I thought about it, it dawned on me that God is actually the original designer of yin and yang, even though the Bible doesn't use those terms.
Yin and Yang and God
Not sure about that? Consider these yin-yang moments at the dawn of creation:
- Then God said, "Let there be light"; and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good; and God divided the light from the darkness. (Genesis 1:3-4)
- Then God said, "Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear"; and it was so. And God called the dry land Earth, and the gathering together of the waters He called Seas. And God saw that it was good. (Genesis 1:9-10)
- Then God said, "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth." So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them... Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good... " (Genesis 1:26-27, 31)
Clearly male and female are both created in God's image. In human creation there is no sense of more and less, no sense of difference in importance or worth.
But there is difference. There is distinction. Male and female.
So the pertinent question is, "Why?"
Is there anything more to maleness and femaleness beyond the physical differences for the purpose of procreation?
Egalitarians mostly argue for the
Others try to uncouple yang and yin from male and female. Again, to me this is a non-starter. If we believe that God made us male and female for a reason, can we so easily disregard the distinction and purpose of the two?
My observation is that society (including much of the church) is pushing men to be less yang (male) and more yin (female). At the same time, other societal forces seem to compel women toward more yang and less yin (to be more like men).
Is this blurring of the lines between yin and yang a result of societal enlightenment? Or are we undermining God's intent for His creation? Are we finally overcoming eons of patriarchal suppression of women by men or are we simply allowing political correctness to blur our eyes from the truth? Tough questions.
What Do You Think?
I have more thoughts to share on this important topic, but I want to pause here to get your thoughts.
Would you do me a favor and answer the following question in the comments:
With respect to marriage, why did God create us male and female?
Photo credit: Arcane-Rhapsody
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