The Beginning and the End of All Things
God’s story, recorded for us in the Bible, can be understood in the framework of Creation-Fall-Redemption- Restoration. (Click on link for more information.) This framework helps us understand that the goodness and beauty of God’s creation, though now marred and broken, will once again, through the work of Jesus Christ, be restored. What God began, he will finish.
Within this framework, there are some important questions to ask: How did the world look before the fall? What was God’s perfect will for the world and how did the fall change it? Specifically, what was the relationship between men and women? Was there a God-ordained hierarchy? If not, then how can we join God in his work of restoring and redeeming all areas of life, especially in the areas of marriage, family, and gender relationships? What will be the order of things in God’s new creation? Where is God going and how can we join him right now as he begins to make all things new and bring his shalom even in this broken world?
Unfortunately, we don’t have a lot of information on what the perfect world looked like. By chapter 3 of Genesis the world had already fallen into chaos due to our rebellion. Most of the Old Testament is about the people God had chosen to bring about his plan of redemption for the whole world. The Bible tells this story of God’s people, warts and all. There are stories of betrayal, lies, murder, deception, violence and every kind of evil. This is not how God created the world.
There are also cultural backdrops to this story- polygamy, primogeniture, (the firstborn inherits everything- status, wealth, property) slavery and patriarchy. Modern cultures have rejected most of these backdrops as no longer valid and some as just plain wrong. There is a growing number of Bible-believing, evangelical Christians who have rejected subordination of women, convinced it is a result of the fall, and not God’s ideal. ( Christians for Biblical Equality , Video- Kate Wallace at Biola, The Junia Project) They are working to restore what they consider God’s ideal- equality in gender relationships and mutual submission in marriage. Christians for Biblical Equality’s Statement on Men, Women and Biblical Equality is a great place to start if you have questions. (See link above)
Throughout the world, there are many sisters who need to hear good news of equality: the growing population of single women who wonder how they fit in the church today; women in abusive marriages; women who have been marginalized by a church that has denied their gifts, shunned their skills, or silenced their voice; women in third world countries who want more out of life than servitude, who long to be educated and make a difference in the world. (See Girl’s Education Program). Maybe you need this good news too, to know that you matter to God as much as any man, that you are loved and valued by Him. We can share this journey toward wholeness together as we continue to pray and search for truth.
Next: Complementarian (traditional) versus Egalitarian (equality) theology