Updated: Jun 4
“…In the day that God created man, He made him in the likeness of God. He created them male and female, and blessed them…” - Genesis 5:1-2 (NKJV)
Both male and female identities reside within the person of God. That’s biblical. There’s no way around it. We hear a lot about gender roles in the Bible, specifically within the sacrament of marriage. If everyone is made in God’s image, then marriage emulates the unity of God. Choosing that life is intimidating to say the least. Ephesians 5:22-33 relates the union to the relationship between Christ and His church.
Ladies, if you cannot respect your man and be willing to submit to his leadership, kiss him goodbye. Do not marry him. Gentlemen, if you are not willing to lay down your life for your woman, it’s time to move on. Do not marry her. Being single is a righteous lifestyle choice (1 Corinthians 7:6-7), so don’t think marriage is required for salvation or spiritual gifting.
Divorce is expressly forbidden in the Bible, but there are exceptions. Matthew 19:1-12 reviews these exceptions. Why would God provide exceptions to the very people who wanted to break His rules? I don’t think God made the exceptions for the husbands, but the wives who were stuck in loveless marriages. He provided them a way out. The men in these exceptions had failed to love their wives as Christ loves the church. Christ would never abandon His church. The men in these situations justified the divorce because they violated their part of the covenant.
What does all this have to do with gender within the trinity? Let’s look at Mark 3:29. Over and over we see people blaspheme and disrespect God, the Father and the Son. Forgiveness is offered for all these instances, in the person and work of Jesus Christ. There is one exception, blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. I think this reflects, and is in line with, the exceptions for granting human divorce. The unity of the Trinity is inseperable. You will never have one person of the Trinity without the others.
There is no unity in marriage without the husband/wife relationship outlined in Ephesians 5. God is perfectly unified, ever more so than our earthly marriages. Our earthly marriages only reflect the unity of God. When you blaspheme the Holy Spirit, you attempt to divorce the Trinity. This is unforgivable because God the Father and God the Son will not be separated from God the Holy Spirit.
Biblical gender roles have less to do with who gets put in charge, and more to do with facilitating unity. Colossians 3:18 “Wives submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord’’ (NIV). If what your husband is leading you towards isn’t fitting to the Lord, don’t submit and follow. A man cannot replace Christ’s position in your life, and you shouldn’t expect him to.
Follow in the steps of Jael (Judges 4). Her’s is a story of disobedience towards her husband’s explicit commands, because he was leading her down the wrong path. Her discernment and action led to the fulfillment of Deborah’s prophecy. Deborah was a female leader in the time of ancient Israel.
We must always submit to the authority of Christ, regardless of our gender. He is our prophet, priest, and king, no matter what earthly roles we take on. Husbands and fathers take on the delegation of this role, but do not replace it. Wives and mothers embody the inspiration for pure devotion, but should not replace it. How we value women reflects how we value the femininity of God. We are made in His/her image. He/she is love and He/she is goodness. Anyone who devalues that, devalues who God is. God the Son is unquestionably male. But God is, in essence, spirit (John 4:24).
Spirituality is where the feminine aspect of God lies. The Holy Spirit submits to the Father, just as the Son does. The Spirit infused Church submits to Christ. In Jesus Christ, our femininity and masculinity are redeemed simultaniously. Healthy submission is the act of carrying out the Father’s plans, because we respect His authority. We are to test the spirits (1 John 4:1-3) in our life, against scripture because the Holy Spirit will never contradict the word of God.
Our genders are the physical reflection of the image of God. If we take a look at the scientific evidence, I think we can gain more understanding about what this means, but not complete understanding. Our chromosomes determine our gender. There is one type of chromosome that both men and women can have. The X choromosome. If a Y chromosome is present, child bearing is impossible. An imperfect analogy of course, because God is not like us. But the only person who has control over this, is God.
What does this reveal about our own gender identities? The question is if you believe God had a hand in determining your physical reality. If the answer is no, I think a completely different conversation is called for (Psalm 139:13). If the answer is yes, maybe you should reconsider your own assumptions about gender roles.
Just because you’re female, does not mean you can’t lead or be assertive. Just because you are male, doesn’t mean you can’t be spiritual and emotional or expressive. God transcends our earthly definitions of male and female. Our identities are so much bigger than just our gender. When we become whole and healed, we will be in the true image of God. God is perfect and complete, nothing lacking. God is neither male nor female. Rather, God is unified in His masculinity and femininity, and is something else altogether. We are creation, He is creator.