Some have attempted to use the Bible’s teachings to justify denigrating women. This ignorance was an issue in the time of Jesus, and it continues today, not just in undeveloped countries but even in America.
The problem of not carefully studying the biblical concept of women’s role goes back to Genesis 2:18-24. God created Adam as a living being with a spiritual dimension. Adam observes and names the animals, but he is still unable to live as God intended. Verse 20 says, “There was not a helper fit for him.” The Hebrew word for helper is “ezer,” which is “one who provides strength in the area where the helped one is lacking” (New World Bible Dictionary). Eve is not inferior to Adam. Adam joyfully proclaims, “This, at last, is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh.”
In Matthew 19:8, Jesus refers back to Genesis 2 as He denies men the right to treat their wives as objects saying, “Because of the hardness of your hearts Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning, it was not so.” The passage in Genesis 2 refers to wife (singular), not wives plural. It is in Genesis 4:19 that man first violates God’s plan with Lamech having two wives. Lamech’s actions and denigrating women eventually led to the immorality that produced the flood of chapter 6.
The rejection of God’s plan has caused terrible treatment of women through the ages. Jesus included women in his ministry, and Luke 8:1-3 reveals they played a major role. In John 4, Jesus deals with the Samaritan woman at the well, and in verse 27, even His disciples were amazed at his treatment of this woman. Ephesians 5:25-33 tells Christian men to love their wives as their own bodies (verse 28). Galatians 3:28 tells us that in the Church, there is no male nor female, for we are all one. That was the message of Genesis 2, which is repeated in Christianity today.
Today’s world has turned away from God’s teachings, denigrating women and using them as sex objects. Men have used survival of the fittest to persecute women and keep them under economic control. Men and women each have specific roles. Only women can give birth to babies, but today many choose to abort. Men have the role of spiritual leadership, but most of them fail at that. Christ’s teachings and the Apostles’ instructions uniquely elevate women and challenge men to be what God calls them to be. As society rejects God’s teachings, women suffer the most.
In November of 2022, the human population hit eight billion people. That means eight billion people need food, shelter, and energy for transportation and protection from the elements. In Genesis 1:28 and 9:1, God told Adam and Eve and later Noah and his family to “be fruitful and multiply.” Then the text uses the Hebrew word “mala” the Earth. Mala can mean fill, replenish, satisfy, accomplish, or confirm, according to Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance.
God’s command to early humans told them to take on the responsibility of caring for the planet. It does not mean their only purpose would be to have lots of children. God expects us to control and care for the creation, not merely endure its challenges. There is a fundamental difference between the biblical concept of our relationship to the planet and our present state, which has caused poverty and starvation.
The Christian system teaches a one-man/one-woman system of marriage as opposed to polygamy. It also teaches that being a father places responsibilities upon men. Passages like Ephesians 6:4 and Colossians 3:21 make it clear that fathering children gives men a responsibility to encourage and guide them.
The quality of life for Earth’s eight billion people depends on how we manage the issues of population control and caring for the environment. The teachings of Christ support the nurturing of the Christian family. The selfish and reckless placing of pleasure above all else brings pain to the individuals who embrace it and tragedy to human society. Promoting and following the Christian system of values is essential for human flourishing, and the collateral damage produced by not following it is becoming increasingly evident.
Marriage is perhaps the most abused institution God has given us. Historically, people have used marriage for political purposes or as a national defense strategy. One way for a ruler to make peace with a rival king was to marry his daughter. The Bible describes cases of that, and they turn out to be a disaster. People sometimes use polygamy and arranged marriages to cement agreements of all kinds. They have strayed from God’s original plan for marriage by doing so.
Men have used marriage to denigrate and abuse women. They thought of women as possessions and baby machines but nothing more. In some cultures, you could show how wealthy you were by the number of women you controlled. Concubines were common among rulers in the ancient world. Even today, you can buy a wife online or through marriage brokers, and for some women, it has been a path to U.S. citizenship. In recent times, marriage has expanded to include all kinds of relationships, including homosexual and animal relationships.
It is no wonder that God’s original plan for marriage with a man and a woman is becoming less and less recognized in the world today. Genesis 1:27-28 makes it clear that men and women are equal. It is hard to misunderstand when it says, “…in the image of God, male and female He created them.” Passages like Galatians 3:28 point out that there is no distinction between races or sexes in the eyes of God. As far as value, we are “all one in Christ Jesus.”
Genesis 2 elaborates on God’s original plan for marriage between a man and a woman. In verse 18, God says, “It is not good for man to be alone,” and He created a “helper suitable for him.” Genesis 2:24 concludes this relationship by saying, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and shall cleave to his wife and they shall be one flesh.” The Hebrew word translated “cleave” means “adhere to.” This word refers to closeness, such as your tongue cleaving to the roof of your mouth (See Palms 137:6 and Job 29:10). This is not talking about a sexual act but a close relationship.
If a person’s view of marriage is that it is just a sexual relationship, then every person who engages a prostitute is married to her. Some marriages have failed because sex is the only thing the two individuals have. Marriage does fulfill the biological drive built into humans (See 1 Corinthians 7:2-), but that cannot be the sole basis of a marriage, or the relationship will not be what God’s original plan for marriage was designed to be. Becoming one and adhering means having a relationship that is so close that each one’s big concern in life is for the well-being of their mate. That kind of relationship blesses everyone, including children and family.
The New Testament tells us to conform to the laws of the land (1 Peter 2:13-15 and Romans 13:1-2), but the state may recognize relationships that God does not. Some people may want to marry their dog, cat, or chimpanzee, but God does not recognize such relationships. Cohabitation is not marriage and fails to bring the kind of blessings marriage brings. Studies show that cohabitation does not produce lasting relationships. Even though the LGBTQ community has adopted its own concept of marriage, the evidence does not indicate that it offers the stability and closeness God wants us to have.
As one who has been married for 61 years at the time of this writing, I can tell you that God’s system of marriage works. Jesus dealt with this issue many times. In Matthew 19:4-5, He repeats the message of Genesis. His critics asked why Moses allowed a perversion of God’s original plan for marriage. Jesus’ response was, “Because you knew so little of the meaning of love, but it was not intended that way at the beginning” (Phillips translation). How true that is in today’s world.
Cecil May Jr. wrote an article in “Preacher Talk” published by Faulkner University, where he is Dean Emeritus. It deals with what marriage is and what is happening to it in our culture. We thought it was “right on target.” He graciously permitted us to share it with you here:
SECULAR HUMANISM AND THE SEXUAL REVOLUTION
Biblical religionists have lost a major battle to those who oppose any mention of Jesus as Lord, any reference to the Bible, any letting the Bible define conduct as sin, or to the practice of prayer anywhere except in religious services inside church buildings. A Christianity confined to church buildings is like salt that never gets out of the saltbox.
The opinion-makers in the USA-including the mainstream media-has sold the idea that opposing homosexual relations, which the Bible clearly labels sin, is a civil rights issue, equivalent to racial discrimination. The redefinition of marriage from God’s “one man for one woman for life” into two women or two men for each other came in the same package. So did no-fault divorce, unmarried couples living together, and “open marriages,” where other sexual partners are both expected and accepted.
Here is what the Bible says about marriage: “Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled” (Hebrews 13:4). “He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the LORD” (Proverbs 18:22).
Here is what the Bible says about sexual relations outside of marriage: “…but fornicators and adulterers God will judge” (Hebrews 13:4). “Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality … will inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Corinthians 6:9-10).
Marriage is widely discounted as “just a piece of paper.” But it is much more than that. Aside from being a significant legal document, it signifies commitment. More than that, the lack of marriage loudly proclaims the absence of commitment. No commitment of either husband or wife to the other, “for better or worse” or “for as long as we both shall live.” No commitment of a father or mother to whatever children may be born to that non-committed union.
An aged married woman had a severe case of dementia. Her husband finally had to put her in a nursing home. He came to see her every day. He helped feed her, dress her and fix her hair. She often had to ask, “Who was that man?” Someone asked him, “Why do you come every day since she doesn’t even know who you are.?” He replied, “1 know who she is, and I know who I am. She is my wife.”
That is what marriage is, more than “just a piece of paper,” committed love!
Television, books, movies, and pop psychology have all tried to offer alternatives to the biblical concept of the family. From Genesis 2:24 on, the Bible gives instructions to build what modern social scientists now call “the nuclear family.” Scientists define a nuclear family as “a unit headed by two loving, married parents.” In today’s society, more nuclear families are needed.
In the first two centuries of America’s existence, people were embedded in a group that included aunts, uncles, cousins, siblings, and grandparents. That meant there were always people available to care for a child or a senior who needed help. With the movement to the cities and the emphasis on self-fulfillment and individuality, the nuclear family has disintegrated. Parents now pay people to perform child-rearing tasks. Kids find themselves in single-parent homes, which leave them alone a vast percentage of the time. Seniors are often isolated because their children have moved away.
Research shows that the collapse of the nuclear family has produced terrible consequences. In 1960, 77.5% of children lived in nuclear families. Today that figure is 48%. The rise of suicide, depression, and income inequality can be linked to family disintegration. Robert Samuelson writing in the Washington Post said that we can’t go back to the way things used to be because of “geographic mobility, the need and desire of women to work, or high divorce rates.” Despite the challenges, nuclear families are needed to create a healthy society.
God created man and equipped him to live on planet Earth in the best possible way. God said, “It is not good that man should be alone” (Genesis 2:18), and He created woman, so the two of them would be one (Genesis 2:24). Paul further emphasized the relationship between man and woman in 1 Corinthians 7. As our society moves farther from belief in God and biblical teaching, marriage is being denigrated and avoided by a large percentage of our population. What many don’t realize is that there is a connection between marriage and health.
So what evidence do we have that God’s plan is best? Consider the results of these studies that indicate that personal health is related to a person’s marital state:
1) Unmarried men are 58% more likely to have a heart attack than married men, and single women are 60% more likely to have heart attacks than married women. This data comes from a study by Turku University Hospital in Finland. 2) Studies of 19,000 married people showed a 20% lower probability of dying than unmarried people, according to the National Opinion and Research Center. 3) Studies at the University of Chicago show that single people have higher cortisol levels than married individuals. Cortisol levels are related to stress. 4) The University of Rochester reports that 83% of married people are still alive 15 years after coronary bypass surgery, while only 28% of single women with the same surgery are still alive.
We have frequently pointed out that the teachings of Jesus Christ make it clear that we must love and respect those with whom we disagree. Matthew 5:39-48 is hard to misunderstand. We must not attempt to harm anyone, including those who might be teaching things that oppose what the Bible says. There is no excuse for those who claim to be Christians to physically attack anyone because they are a part of the LGBT movement. At the same time, we have to be concerned and vocally oppose those who promote immoral behavior, especially when it involves presenting alternative lifestyles to young children.
Recently the popular children’s show “Arthur” on the Public Broadcasting System (PBS) ran an episode entitled “Mr. Ratburn and the Special Someone.” It featured a wedding ceremony between Mr. Ratburn and a character named Patrick. This program is funded by tax dollars and is aimed at preschool children. Disney has placed LGBT characters in the 2017 remake of Beauty and the Beast and its television cartoon series Doc McStuffins. Drag Queen events have been held in Austin, Texas, and Portland, Oregon, in programs aimed at preschool children.
LGBT leaders claim that these promotions of their lifestyles are no different than a PBS program on Christmas music, or Christmas events held in public venues. It would seem that presenting material to preschoolers about drag queens and gay marriage is far more complicated than historical stories. Since tax dollars fund PBS, and religious programming is constantly refused by the same media, it seems that promotion of the LGBT lifestyle should also be prohibited.
A U.S. Census Bureau report released September 25, 2019, says that the number of unmarried partners living together has tripled in the past two decades. The report says that the number went from 6 million in 1996 to 19.1 million in 2018. There are all kinds of editorials about this data, with some writers referring to it as “increasing normalization.” The report comments that people who cohabitate are “older, better educated, more likely to earn higher wages and more racially diverse.” The report also says that cohabitation is “an alternative to marriage for low-income and less educated people.” What is the truth about marriage versus cohabitation?
Why government reports find it necessary to attempt to explain data escapes me. Interpreting the data in an atheistic way is not only illogical but raises more questions than it answers. What was the population from which the data was taken? How many of the people cohabitating have children, and what effect is the cohabitation having on the children? How does cohabitation provide a viable alternative for low-income people? My wife and I were eligible for public assistance when we got married. We had no money, and I was a public school teacher making $4300 a year. Working as a team, we lifted ourselves out of that poverty and provided a stable home for our three children. On my own, none of that would have been possible.
Another vital aspect the report doesn’t mention is the role of sex in marriage and cohabitation. First Corinthians 7:1-6 describes the concern married Christians should have for the sexual needs of their mates. Every expert from Masters and Johnson to modern specialists has shown that a committed relationship provides the best in sexual satisfaction and the most fulfilling relationship for both men and women. Cohabitation may satisfy the immediate sexual gratification of some, especially males. It does not meet the real needs of both men and women in the long term.
The average person has difficulty getting reliable information about what is actually going on in our schools, courts, and legislatures. The media have become unreliable as media spokespersons affiliate with positions or groups and slant their reporting accordingly. This is true on all sides of every issue. Just getting a news report that isn’t slanted by reporter bias or omissions is a huge challenge. Here are some examples of a subtle war on morals that you probably won’t see in your local newspaper.
1) The state of California has adopted a program written by “The LGBT Consensual Non-Monogamy Task Force” of the American Psychological Association. It is intended to be presented to 7th and 8th graders about sex “partners” to help them understand that not all student homes are monogamous.
2) “The Health Education Framework” in California advises teachers about “various gender identities and sexual orientations …” It acknowledges “the existence of relationships that are not heterosexual by actively using examples of same-sex couples in class discussions.”
4)Oregon House Bill 2023 mandates that children in grades K-12 in Oregon must be exposed to LGBT content in all subjects: civics, economics, geography, government, and history. An instruction to teachers about the bill says, “Teachers must teach radical identity politics in the classroom, whether or not it has anything to do with the subject taught.” It goes into effect on January 1, 2020.
5) Planned Parenthood has created a “chatbot” called “Ask Roo,” which gives children advice without parental consent. The app is designed to replace communication between a parent and a child on topics regarding “sex, values, and important life decisions.” Many school systems have adopted “Ask Roo” in their curriculum.
The political arm of the GLBTQ lobby has caused the media and much of the American public to confuse sexual behavior and civil rights. They are telling us that presenting biblical views on moral issues is a violation of someone’s civil rights. But Christians cannot be silent on moral issues since the New Testament says more about moral issues than it says about religious ceremony.
Attacks on the Bible’s position on sexual issues are increasing and becoming more widely accepted by the general public. Sexual behavior and civil rights are not the same. It is totally erroneous to suggest that skin color is the same thing as GLBTQ choices for the following reasons:
1-Skin color is a biological condition that is not under the control of the individual. Whether you are black or white was not a choice you made. Any sexual act is a choice made by the individual. If it was not a choice, then it was rape or a criminal act made by someone else. Sexual behavior and civil rights for people of color cannot be compared.
2-Sexual preferences and sexual acts are two different things. Some men are sexually attracted to men, and some women are attracted to women. Guy Hammond’s book Caring Beyond the Margins (Illumination Press) deals with this problem. Hammond is a man with homosexual tendencies who is not acting on that preference. No matter what the cause of GLBTQ desires, just as any other sexual behavior, the individual chooses to act on those desires.
3-Racial prejudice is wrong and is condemned by the Bible because it is destructive. The fact that a person is black or white does not affect their life expectancy or quality of life unless violence or neglect results from the prejudice. The data is clear that most of the GLBTQ choices are destructive to people’s health and shorten their life expectancy. Transgender surgery, for example, condemns the patient to a life of drugs to sustain the hormonal condition and those drugs shorten life expectancy. Most homosexual acts have a negative effect on life expectancy. The life expectancy of GLBTQ participants is significantly lower than the national average.
God has given us instructions on how to use the gift of sex in the best and most productive way. Condemnation of alternatives to God’s instructions is because those alternatives violate the design God built into our bodies. Instructing someone in the best way to use a gift they have been given is not abusive. The individual still has the right to decide whether they will follow the instructions.