A few years ago somebody decided we needed a politically correct bible that was more inclusive and used gender neutral pronouns. My horrified response was a bit amusing coming from a former feminist. There is so much deception woven in
between that alleged desire for biblical inclusiveness, that I quite literally panicked. So often, what we seek, we destroy. A gender neutral bible, rather then lifting women up,
seeks to erase us entirely, to separate us from Christ’s love, to deny the miraculous
nature of the bible.
I do not care what atheists say, what feminists say, even what some Christian men try to say, from the very first chapter of the bible to the very end, God declares His steadfast love for women. We are one of His first gifts to the world. However, it would not surprise me at all if Adam woke up in the garden, scratched his head, and embraced Eve like a little sister he did not really want. That spirit is still in the world today, easy to spot in little boys who still tend to look at girls with puzzlement.
From the very start, the moment sin enters the garden, Adam attempts to put all the blame on Eve. God sees through that deception immediately and nails Adam for it. In expressing his resentment towards Eve, Adam is really declaring his resentment towards God and rejecting what God has given out of love. Adam is actually trying to blame God for his own actions. It’s a very profound moment of rebellion, pride, a challenging of God, that changes the entire course of mankind. I sometimes wonder what would have happened if Adam had met God with humility, taken responsibility, and asked for forgiveness. We’ll never know.
Eve is not let off the hook here, she does not escape God’s notice, but to whom much is given,
much is expected. Adam was first, he walked with God, he talked to God, and he was given dominion over the Earth. He knew not to eat the fruit and he knew why. Sexist or not, there is no “equality” in God’s kingdom, not if equality means sameness. Adam and Eve were not equal, Eve was new to the garden, naïve, and easily deceived. She was more vulnerable and the enemy knew it. He deliberately targeted her. Eve for all her faults, at least manages to answer God honestly by pointing fingers at the serpent. She may have been foolish, but she was not so foolish as to try and blame God. To this day men like to forget that.
Sometimes I wonder what that first night out of the garden was like. If Adam and Eve were anything like men and women today, I imagine it wasn’t pleasant. It’s likely they spent most of the night blaming and shaming each other, freezing in their new skins. Perhaps they comforted each other in their grief, but I doubt it.
There are so many awesome women in the bible, a few not so nice, but the fact that women exist in the bible at all is quite miraculous. For thousands of years all over the world, there has always been a concerted effort to keep women out of seats of power, out of literature, out of religion. Not only did this editing fail to occur in the bible, every aspect of women’s character, good and bad, is carefully preserved and portrayed in the women of the bible. The detailed and varied examples of different women
in the bible is evidence of a great love for women, a love that knows who we are very well. There may
be men who fear women, some of them may even be justified in their fear, but God does not fear women, not ever, not even a little bit. He made us, He knows us well, and from His word, we have evidence that He delights in us.
There is somebody who does fear us and has good reason to. The enemy. He also knows us well. He knows we can carry a grudge for thousands of years, preserving every moment of offense in remarkable detail.
He also fears us because we can be wildly unpredictable. The enemy never takes his eyes off of us. Never.
By the time we get to Christ’s love for women in the bible, the debate is already over. God clearly loves women, but the sheer beauty, the complete purity of Christ’s love for women, is enough to simply take your breath away. It is so perfect, so nurturing, so merciful, it just defies words. Whether it is Christ’s compassion and love for his mother Mary, His endearing use of the term “woman” both at the
wedding and on the cross, or His defense of the woman washing His feet with expensive perfume, Christ’s love of women just shines through. He reveals Himself to the woman at the well, the woman who has no “husband.” She is who Christ choses to declare Himself to. Christ protects the woman about to be stoned for adultery. It is women who sit at the foot of the cross and bear witness to His suffering. It is women
who check the tomb, it is women who see that He is risen. It is women who try to tell the disciples the good news. It is fascinating to me, it is not the pure women, the well behaved women, that Christ shares His love with, but rather the humble, the fallen, the broken. It is the women who have nothing left to give, but come in humility and give what little they have anyway, that Christ seems to love.
Christ never shames women, not ever. I think this is so incredibly important for us to understand today because shame and blame goes all the way back to the garden. It is linked very closely to pride, which separates us from God. In the garden God clearly says, I did not give you a spirit of shame. When men try to shame women, when women try to shame men, not only do we fail to reflect Christ, we are passing
along something that clearly does not come from God.