Identity, Issue 17

Strong Or Subservient? Understanding God’s Design For Women

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Strong Or Subservient? Understanding God’s Design For Women

I grew up watching all sorts of television dramas, from local English and Chinese dramas to American ones. If I could point out one difference between today’s shows and those that aired years ago, it would be in how women are portrayed. In the past, female characters in dramas (especially those set in colonial times) were meant to be seen but not heard, dutifully submitting to male figures of authority, and always being careful not to offend them. These days, on the other hand, women in dramas are often independent and hold positions of power. However, they intimidate and despise men, proclaiming that they don’t need them.

Do either of these extreme depictions accurately portray what God had in mind when He created women in His image (Gen 1:27)? I believe not. So, what’s a girl to do? The conflicting messages that “women are lesser than men” on one hand and “women don’t need men” on the other fail to capture God’s heart for us girls. Instead, we need to turn to His Word for a true understanding of our roles as women. While I’m far from an expert on godly femininity, my hope is to shed some light on God’s special design for girls.  

A HELPER IN NO WAY INFERIOR

You’ve probably heard of women being called “helpers.” What exactly does this mean? Let’s go back to Genesis 2:18, where “The LORDGod said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him.’” Does this imply girls are somehow inferior to boys, who are supposed to be the heroes running the show while we are nothing more than sidekicks?

I’ve learnt that this is far from the meaning of the Bible verse. The word “helper” here is actually the same Hebrew word (“ezer”; most of the Old Testament is in Hebrew) used to refer to God as — yes — a helper to His people (e.g. Exod 18:4; Deut 33:7; Hos 13:9). If God Himself is described as a helper, this means the biblical role of women is of high importance too! Indeed, we are created to stand with men as equal before God, forming a community that enables and encourages each other to glorify God with our lives. We can reflect the nurturing, caring, and compassionate nature of God; we can seek not to think only about our own desires, but to look out for the needs of those around us.

IF GOD HIMSELF IS DESCRIBED AS A HELPER, THIS MEANS THE BIBLICAL ROLE OF WOMEN IS OF HIGH IMPORTANCE TOO!