What is a Woman?

What is a woman? Not according to the systems of the world, but based on the word of God.

 

A woman, just like all creatures and everything created starts from a spiritual point of view. In Genesis 1:27, God after creating all things, on the sixth day decided to make “mankind in his own image to rule over all creatures.” So he created both man and woman in His own image. He blessed them and commanded them to be fruitful to fill the earth and subdue it. The physical creation of a woman, though, happens in chapter 2, after the creation of Adam from dust. God saw that there wasn’t a suitable helper among the animals that had been created, so he put the man into a deep sleep, took one of his ribs, and made for him a woman. The “bone of my bone, flesh of my flesh,” said the man.  

Although both men and women were created with the purpose of governing and exercising dominion over all of creation, the woman was specifically designated to fulfill a supportive role within this overarching framework of governance. Her creation, fashioned from a rib of man, was intended to aid him in the task of "ruling and subduing the world." The narrative of creation initially outlines the general mandate for all of humanity, which is to "be fruitful, fill the earth, and subdue it." It is only subsequently that the woman's role as a helper is introduced, highlighting the complementary nature of the relationship between man and woman. In this context, the man assumes a leadership role, while the woman assists him in the pursuit of their shared mission. These roles underscore the concept of a partnership between men and women, with women providing essential support while men take the lead in initiating their joint endeavors.

In simpler terms, God takes significant measures to clarify that although women share the same human essence with men, being bone of man's bone and flesh of his flesh, they are not identical. They are wonderfully and distinctively different. While they belong to the same human species, they represent different genders. They possess equal value but have unique and complementary divine roles. This differentiation in roles, not rooted in superiority or inferiority but in divine intention, underscores the profound partnership between men and women. In this partnership, women provide vital support, while men take on a leadership role in initiating their shared endeavors.

The story of a woman gets interesting with the introduction of the serpent, who tricks her into eating the fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. A question arises: Why did the serpent opt to deceive Eve, the helper, rather than Adam, who held a leadership role?

First, we must consider the hierarchy established by God among Himself, man, and woman. Adam, being directly created by God, received clear instructions from the divine source. This made it considerably challenging for the serpent to deceive him. As the head of the family, Adam bore the primary responsibility for obeying God's command. By targeting the woman, the serpent pursued a strategic path to corrupt the man, recognizing that she possessed the capacity to influence his actions profoundly. After all, she was fashioned as the “suitable helper” for man.

Second, the actual command to not eat the fruits of this tree was directly given to Adam before the formation of Eve. (Genesis 2:16-17) As such, the serpent chooses the vulnerable party in the relationship. Exploiting any potential uncertainty, the serpent skillfully distorted the words of God, creating confusion and temptation for Eve. The serpent enticed Eve with the promise that she could become "like God," a manipulative tactic, even though Adam and Eve were already created in the image of God. In essence, the serpent's deception revolved around distorting the truth, thus making Eve vulnerable to his lies.

The Outcome of the First Sin

The outcome of this first sin can be viewed as the true fulfillment of the role a woman currently plays in society.

 

In Genesis Ch.3 Vs. 15, God establishes an enduring enmity between the woman and the serpent. He says, “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers, he will crush your head, and you will striker his heel.” While the multifaceted implications of this enmity warrant a more detailed exploration, our current focus centers on understanding the impact of this curse on women.

First, a woman is the main target of the devil. While Satan is “prowling around looking for who to devour,” his main target is the woman. The enmity was placed between the woman (not the man) and the serpent. This choice reflects God's astute recognition of the profound influence women wield in the world, particularly their ability to shape the actions of leaders, in this case, men. Further, both God and Satan understood the powerful role a woman plays in the destruction and restoration of the world. Thus, from Satan’s perspective, a woman can be viewed as the perfect target. If the devil is able to harm a woman, then the devil is able to exert a far-reaching influence over the world.  On the other hand, God viewed the woman as a worthy adversary of the devil and all his ways.

Second, a woman has the capability to crush the devil. The target on a woman is not one-sided; rather, God has bestowed upon a woman the power to defeat the devil. Just as in the symbolic foreshadowing of Jesus Christ, the offspring of the woman, the devil may strike at her heel, but the woman possesses the innate strength to ultimately crush his head. This profound symbolism extends to the life of Jesus Christ Himself. The devil was able to inflict suffering by striking at Jesus's heel, leading to His crucifixion and death. However, through His glorious resurrection, Jesus triumphed over the devil, and He will ultimately fulfill this divine mission completely in His second coming, securing victory for all of humanity.

 

This curse, though, is not to the woman, but rather to the serpent.

To the woman, God says,

 “I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.”

 

First, a woman was cursed to bear a greater burden of sorrow in their lives. This curse meant that a woman would likely encounter more hardships and emotional turmoil compared to men. This sorrow extended to various aspects of their existence, with childbirth being a particularly poignant example. This concept is further explained in Proverbs 15:20, which emphasizes the significance of a wise son bringing joy to his father, but the unfortunate reality that a foolish individual can bring distress to his mother. This curse essentially placed women in a role where they often bore the brunt of societal sorrows, and this burden was compounded when their children, whom they had brought into the world through the pain of childbirth, faced challenges and failures in life.

Second, their sorry would extend to the joyous event of childbirth. The pain and distress that women experience during childbirth is part of their curse. Childbirth is typically regarded as a moment of great joy and celebration, as it marks the beginning of a new life. However, this verse from Genesis suggests that women would have to endure physical pain and emotional distress during this process. It serves as a poignant reminder of the far-reaching effects of sin and disobedience in the world. It highlights the broader concept that suffering and challenges have become an inherent part of the human experience.

The curse also reveals that, thirdly, in addition to the hardships associated with childbirth and children, women will experience sorrow in their relationships with their husbands. Specifically, women were cursed to have a strong desire for their husbands, signifying a shift in the dynamics between husbands and wives. This desire for intimacy and connection may manifest as a heightened need for emotional closeness, potentially differing from men's emotional needs. Consequently, this contrast in emotional needs can lead to tension and, in some cases, a sense of dependency on men within the marital relationship.

The power dynamics are further changed, as the man, “shall rule over thee.” In this interpretation, a woman was viewed as more susceptible to temptation, and as a means of order and control, men were given authority to lead and guide them. In continuation to this, men were seen as necessary to cover women both spiritually and physically. Furthermore, it's suggested that men were seen as responsible for providing spiritual and physical protection or covering for women. This concept emphasizes a role of guardianship and care, where men were expected to safeguard not only the physical well-being of women but also their spiritual welfare. In this sense, it was believed that men had the responsibility to guide their families and ensure their moral and spiritual growth. 

In conclusion, the biblical narrative of a woman, starting from the creation account in Genesis, presents a multifaceted and intricate perspective on the roles and significance of women in the world. While women were created as equal partners in the grand mandate to govern and exercise dominion over creation, they were also endowed with unique roles that complemented those of men. However, the story takes a turn with the introduction of the serpent and the deception of Eve, demonstrating the adversary's recognition of the influential role women play in shaping the world. This recognition is evident in the specific targeting of the woman and the enmity established between her and the serpent. Despite being the primary target of the devil, women are also equipped with the innate strength to ultimately crush his influence, as symbolized in the biblical foreshadowing of Jesus Christ. The consequences of the fall brought both sorrow and unique challenges to women, from the pain of childbirth to the shifting dynamics within marital relationships. Furthermore, the power dynamics established by God, with men taking on leadership roles and women offering vital support, emphasize the importance of cooperation and partnership between the genders. In this partnership, women play a crucial role in shaping society, and their unique qualities and strengths are not to be underestimated.

In summary, the biblical narrative of a woman underscores the value and significance of women in the divine plan, portraying them as powerful agents of influence and change, capable of overcoming adversity and contributing to the betterment of the world. The story of a woman, when understood in its full depth, serves as a testament to the enduring strength and potential of women throughout history and into the future.