The Completed Male
Defining Male and Female Roles
There is no more beautiful dynamic in the entire universe than the interaction of male and female. Solomon said:
"There are three things that are too amazing for me, four that I do not understand: the way of an eagle in the sky, the way of a snake on a rock, the way of a ship on the high seas, and the way of a man with a maiden."
The male-female relationship however is not just one of great beauty but it is also the wellspring of all legitimate exercise of rulership and dominion. And while the ultimate expression of this male-female dynamic is found in marriage, it is not limited to the marital relationship. The truth about this vital relationship appears to have been reserved for the end-of-the-age and is somehow connected with the prophetic events that are coming on the earth. The proper exercise and or abuse of power may well come as a result of either heeding or rejecting this divine provision for the expression of power. There is still much to uncover and learn as we bring divine order into the church, especially the practical implementation and process of this truth. But God has promised to guide us into 'all truth'.
Genesis gives us the story of creation - including the creation of man. Subsequent to man's creation, the woman is formed of substance taken out of man. Later, we see woman succumbing to the tempter - and man succumbing to the woman.
This account of creation and man's beginnings is a awesome pattern of very important prophetic truths. To list several:
1. The story of creation reveals the beautiful, and complimentary nature's of male and female. These roles are innate and eternal, being established at the time of creation before the fall. The roles are distinct and separate, and have not changed, even under the New Covenant. In order for the roles to ever change, the fundamental nature of male and female would have to change first.
2. In God's creation there must always be a single point of authority. Man and woman consist of a single unit, just as the Trinity is. Man's role is headship, woman's role is to empower by supportive assistance. Together the end product is mankind's proper dominion over the creation.
3. By creating woman in a separate, sometime later act, God is revealing that woman is a type of the final, perfect product of his work with mankind.
4. In the fall, the characteristic natures, and therefore weakness', of both male and female are typified. For the woman, it is her malleable nature which makes her susceptible to deception - for the man, it is his need for presence with makes him susceptible to the woman.
5. In the fall, we have the prophetic model of the end of the age, or 'second fall'. At the end of the age, corporate 'Adam' of the 'consensual generation' (the generation that can voluntarily comply in or approve of what is proposed by God when it has the right, power, or wish not to do so) will face his final 'test', and will once again choose wrongly, resulting in the final 'fall' of mankind. This is to prove, that in and of himself, even with the perspective, knowledge, and technology of 6000 years of history at his disposal, man will a second time rebel against God (and this time with full knowledge of the consequences). This is the destiny of mankind 'doing its own thing' seditiously defying the roles expressed in his own nature and the declared Word of God.
As further revelation is given in the Scriptures, we see more details of the roles of male and female. The account of Noah, which is the overriding pattern of the end of the age, again indicates the role of woman as agents of man's destruction. The God-given and good beauty of the woman can be perverted as an instrument of degradation for a morally susceptible man. This will be one of the overriding themes of the destruction of this age.
As we continue our journey down the prophetic time line we come to Abraham. This account reveals some very subtle characteristics of God's purposes in the roles of male and female. It must be noted that the 'sign' or signature of acceptance of the covenant of faithfulness (membership in the family of God) is circumcision. This is a very strange provision because it can only be entered into by a man. Women are prohibited by their very physical nature. This certainly must have been intentional. So we are forced to ask a very intriguing question? Why would God permit only males to enter into his covenant of faith?
By this, God is saying in effect: man is the focus of the work of redemption. He is the raw material which must be transformed. Until God's nature is infused into the male, God's complete process of redemption is not done. He is the focus of reconstruction. Woman is both a model of the end result, and man's assistant in the process.
This natural characteristic is so obvious that even those unconcerned (apparently) with God's truth can see it. Camille Paglia, an out-spoken neo-feminist and author has stated this hidden truth of God probably better than any one else:
" A woman simply is, but a man must become. Masculinity is risky and elusive. It can only be achieved by a revolt from woman, and it is confirmed only by other men".
This truth begins to transform our concepts of the roles of male and female. It immediately rejects the modern idea of gender functional equivalency. We begin to understand God's purposes in male leadership in the priesthood, the family, the nation, the court, and even Jesus' choice of twelve male disciples. Even if woman could perform in these roles (and many probably could) it would not contribute to the prophetic goals declared by God.
Taking a very general example in the legal arena for instance: the goal is not to 'render a proper judgment', but that 'a man render a proper judgment'. The world has a very narrow perspective when determining the ability of one to execute a proper function. God has much greater and more profound objectives. The man is the lump of clay that God is fashioning into the character of himself. When man is completed, woman is completed - she is part of him, if she chooses to be, by walking obediently in God's truths. Woman can not make her own 'contract' with God. In God's plan, she can not do it on her own, and she can not do it for man, even if she could.
With this behind us we can begin to look at the beautiful characteristics of both male and female as revealed in God's economy. Lets begin with the female.
A female simply is. She possesses by nature the characteristics that God is so vigorously trying to impart to the male. She was created this way - she did not achieve it on her own. By birth, she possesses the characteristics of her divine counterpart - the Holy Spirit. If we look at the fruit of the Spirit we see a remarkable parallel between them and female personality traits.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. ... Gal 5:22,23
They share many other similar characteristics as well - she is vulnerable, and easily grieved, etc. Obviously women aren't perfect (yet) but who would deny that are endowed, from birth, a much greater portion of this fruit. This is the fruit that God is imparting to domineering, aggressive, opinionated, stubborn (all good qualities when mixed with the 'fruit', i.e. domineering + gentleness = dominion, a positive attribute) males. The perfect model of mankind would be a blending of these qualities.
Why do men want to put woman on a pedestal? Why do they want to open doors, offer seats, pay the tabs, and shower her with gifts (in the perfect world)? Because she unquestionably has the 'moral high ground'. She in this sense is the 'superior being'. She is a model of the attributes that men must posses to be completed. Men instinctively sense that.
How does society treat woman? She is first of all protected. From birth to marriage and beyond she is protected from external forces that would tarnish her. In general, society doesn't 'add' to a woman, it mostly just provides the environment in which the inner qualities 'blossom'. It protects her natural qualities. We wouldn't think of the male in the same way. For him society does 'add' external skills, training, and experience, without which he would be incomplete in his journey through life. A woman simple is, but a man must become.
There is a presence about a woman that is unique. What man would not confirm the fact that a house without the female presence is just a wood and stone shelter. A man labors to build a house, but until a woman comes to dwell there it is essentially empty and cold. He cannot, with any amount of money or decorations, duplicate the sense of a woman's presence. This again parallels her divine counterpart the Holy Spirit. Did not the same thing happen in Israel when David and Solomon labored to build the 'house' of God, but as glorious as it might have been it was empty until the Presence of God (Holy Spirit) took up residence there.
A woman's influence goes beyond her presence. In Proverbs a statement is made:
A wife of noble character is her husband's crown, .... Prov 12:4
A crown could easily be seen as an object of beauty and this is probably how this verse in usually interpreted. But as true as that is, the greater truth is likely that a wife in some even mysterious why is an empowering force in a mans life. The end-of-the-age will see women enter vital and unprecedented positions of power. But this responsibility must be matched with the Scriptural truth concerning the exercise of this power. As we see in the divine model , power and authority must function in complete harmony to complete the process of redemption and the 'perfect man'.
But now what is the woman's responsibility? Woman has been given a great wealth of gifts. Her natural beauty reflects her inner resources. But given this beauty or power, she is not to give in to the temptation to 'bypass' or supersede God's divine order. She may rightly see many areas of her life where she appears to be even superior to man in certain tasks. This may or may not be a correct assessment. If it is, it does not mean she should use her abilities to impede the larger purposes of God. God will do the work his way, we all demonstrate our 'superior' gifts by submitting them to God.
(to be completed)
1. We must become aware of, and align our thinking to, the prophetic roles of male and female. We must realize what God's purposes are in seeing these roles correctly discharged, and also realize the catastrophe that will once again befall the world when God's purposes are thwarted.
2. Understanding the Trinity's roles - the role of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, will help us understand our respective roles and visa versa.
3. Woman should fully understand this fact: the battle to attain our promised position in Christ must be won in the male. Women should prayerfully re-focus their attention on the men around them in terms of intercession, exhortation, and service, just as their role model the Holy Spirit is doing.
4. Men should focus their attention on Christ - their model of the perfect man and the perfect ministry.
5. The competitive and divisive spirit produced by modern secular thinking that causes women to strive for male positions of responsibility and authority should be put out of the body of believers. Women must, voluntarily and without coercion, standing in the truth of God's purposes for humanity, embrace their roles vigorously and unashamedly declare this truth to the women of the world.
(to be completed)