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When the first couple fell prey to satan’s deception, one of the consequences was the loss of that image of God:
16 […] Your desire shall be for your husband,
And he shall rule over you.
The woman’s curse was in that in her fallen state, her first desire will be not for God, but rather for her man. And to repay for that desire, the now fallen man will rule over her. The word “rule” here means to “gain control over, to dominate, to be a master of”. How far this is from the original design! That’s what happens when anyone is installed in God’s place, even if that “someone” is a God-given spouse.
This carries a profound lesson for us today. For women: if your primary object of worship is for your man, rather than God, you might become dominated or enslaved, in various aspects of your life. For men: if you don’t submit to God and learn from his heart of love, you will be prone to subjugating your woman, and to robbing her of God-given rights.
If you have read romance novels, watched romantic dramas, or have listened to love-themed songs, you know that this curse is still very much alive today. There are a number of good and well thought-out works in that genre, but a lot of what’s out there today is as unhealthy as chocolate-covered bacon.
To sum up the running theme, the “art” pieces usually artfully inform us of how one of the parties wanted to find God-like characteristics in the other party. Much more often than not, the other party fails them, and a variety of feelings of hurt, disappointment, and betrayal set in. What’s really baffling is that in order to get over all of those feelings, instead getting wiser from that experience, the hero usually engages into another romance or dalliance of the same nature. And so the cycle continues.
Pornography and prostitution are yet another expression of the same curse. Instead of attracting men in a Godly way that promotes peace, stability, and lasting fulfillment, the system of this world co-opted female bodies to create an entire industry of deception. The end-game is always a world of hurt, dysfunctional lives, broken homes, and shattered destinies.
Addiction to pornography is very similar to addition to heroin in how it impacts one’s brain. Outside of the supernatural power of God to heal and restore, It may take around 10 years of abstinence and therapy to clear its deleterious effects on one’s brain. Today, this scourge plagues about 70% or so of men, and 30% or so of women here in the U.S. Even 25-30% of vocational ministers couldn’t escape its clutches.
When we function according to God’s economy, we honor and protect weaker vessels. When we function according to the fallen world’s economy, we seek to exercise control over the the weaker vessels, and to either suppress, or exploit their God-given beauty and honor. And when we do that, we go against the very design that God has instituted to express the fullness of his image on earth: that is, that only male and female in harmonious union express the true picture of God.
Unfortunately, a distorted, worldly patriarchal mindset is often times imported into a number of Biblical passages dealing with the role of women in the church. As the result we have all these items in a religious rulebook of our own making: “be silent”, “button up”, “no makeup”, “tie up / cover up your hair”, “no jewelry”, “no lipstick”, and so forth.
A number of Biblical passages contextually dealing with specific problems are so horribly twisted out of shape that instead of correcting fairly mild to moderate course departures, they are used to propagate the curse of womankind all over again, now in a religious context. And a great number of passages dealing with how the role of women was getting powerfully restored to the former glory were purposely silenced and ignored.
So you see, to reflect the likeness of God, you would need to have both male and female sides present. Collectively, they represent the image of God. Strength and beauty, discipline and nurture, father-side and mother-side. That role is to be expressed both in secular, and also in pastoral, teaching, prophetic, and other contexts. Anything other than that results in a distorted image of God.
After the fall of man (by now you now that the term “man”, or “adam”, refers to both sexes), human culture became very patriarchal and male-dominated.
As the result, the nurturing, caring side of the image of God was largely lost. The image of God became that of a hunter, a warrior, an invincible macho, a man’s man. And since by then masculine characteristics were highly prized in society, people wanted to “honor” God by jacking that ideology up a few notches.
So then the image of God turned from strong and powerful into unjust and inhumanely cruel. Like ancient Gods Molech and Baal, who allegedly liked children to be sacrificed to them by burning them alive in Gehenna (the valley of Hinnom). Or Thor, who not only battled the the monstrous serpent Jörmungandr, but mercilessly slaughtered everyone on his way.
That skewed ideal of God as brutal alpha-male spewing a few gallons of testosterone with every breath gave us very unsightly and unsavory leaders throughout all of our history. Attila the Hun ripping his victims into pieces. Genghis Khan dining on wooded board placed over their enemies’ bodies while they were being crushed to death. Mesopotamians, Assyrians, and Persians impaling their victims on a wooden pole for a variety of crimes. Romans, who mercilessly crucified those who stood in the way of Pax Romana. And, more recently, Stalin, Hitler, Pol Pot, and Mao Tse Tung, who all thought that their strong arm is leading their people toward the bright future.
Thanks to the Christianization of our Western culture as a whole, women’s role in society is being restored, and is now closer than ever to God’s original design. Paradoxically, a number Christian establishments are among some of the last remaining holdouts of historically archaic and unbiblical thinking. Women’s role in expressing the image of God desperately needs to be restored in all of its glory, especially among those who claim to be the most accurate representatives of God on earth.
That historical resistance to acknowledging the Biblical role of women in society led to backlash against male dominance in Western culture. The backlash was a visceral reaction prompted by a sense of justice, and as such was not wrong. However, historically in the West a large segment of that expression sought to express itself not by annihilating injustices, but by reversing them. And instead of righting the wrong, it sought to simply swap the wronged party with the one one that was doing the wronging.
And now our Western culture finds it acceptable to joke about men sleeping in the doghouse when a marital quarrel occurs. It produces countless sitcoms and commercials about doofus clumsy husbands and their wise and (barely) tolerant wives.
Instead of restoring dignity and value to the role of a mother and a nurturer to women, and of restoring equal dignity and value to both sexes, this movement steamrolled right over the golden medium, and careened straight over into the ditch clear on the other side. It sought to emasculate men, rob them of their manhood, to siphon off their testosterone, and inject that stolen mojo into women. No wonder a general sense of gender confusion permeates our culture today.
As far as the rest of the world, a number of cultures and nations are still mired in barbaric, primitive understanding of a woman’s role in society. Forced marriages, severe forms of marital abuse, genital mutilation, rape, limited or no access to education and other social services, inability to vote, workplace discrimination, real sexual harassment, and many other ills still plague hundreds of millions of women across the world in the 21st century. We need to be aware of those issues, and we should seek to establish a healthy global culture expressing Bible-mandated role for women in society through various institutions and outlets. We can’t expect to establish God’s kingdom on earth while ignoring such crucial element of his divine blueprint.
Let’s work together to restore the rightful position of women in our culture, so that they can charm and captivate by their beauty, fascinate by their honor, and love and nurture those around them from the depths of their beings.