What was God’s purpose in creating us “male and female?”
From the creation story in Genesis, we see that God purposefully created males and females as distinct beings.
So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.Genesis 1:27
Jesus affirms this truth in Matthew 19:4 in his teaching on divorce.
God could have chosen any number of ways to sustain the procreation mankind (look throughout creation for many different ways). He chose male and female for us. Does God’s design for male-female marriage go beyond procreation? Is there a deeper purpose at work here?
Before I jump into this post, let me say that this is not a salvation issue. It’s also not a sin issue. As such, differing opinions on marriage and gender are just that – opinions. My own opinions are thoroughly considered, but I also believe I can learn from the others with whom I disagree. We all see through a glass dimly. Let’s try to appreciate that fact. Let’s keep the discussion honoring, respectful, and positive. Per my comment policy, hostile, mean-spirited or snarky comments will be removed.
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 posited, 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
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)
Why Male and Female?
Clearly males and females 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. Is there anything more to maleness and femaleness beyond the physical differences for the purpose of procreation?
Some argue for the irrelevance of gender in defining how to do marriage. It seems to me that to do so argues for yang without yin or vice-versa.
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, we must not 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 comments: With respect to marriage, why do you think God create us male and female?