The orthodox Christian theology of Hadley Robinson

What is a Woman?

 by Hadley and Marilyn Robinson

Introduction

A firm and biblically based understanding of why God created the woman, her purpose in this life, and her rank and status will aid the pious Christian woman in her resolve to please her Savior. The Bible is coherent in its teaching concerning the woman.  However, many have chosen to ignore or reject what the Bible has to say. 

This is a sensitive subject.  If it were not so important, we could dismiss this study under the moniker of "disputable matters" (Rom. 14:1).  This is impossible because of not only the teaching in Scripture but because of the abundance of warnings we see about us which includes the shipwreck that is taking place in many homes.

Great effort has been made, however imperfectly, to make this essay gracious in tone.  But it is also salty and we are aware that some will take great offense.  The evidence is overwhelming that our culture is headed for destruction.

Despite the gloomy outlook, those who speak for God must rise to the occasion and oppose the heresies of our time:  the rampant immorality taking place due to rebellion against God's moral law.  This subject is abundantly addressed throughout Scripture:  widespread immorality invites God's wrath.  Therefore, godly Christians should strive for personal holiness (e.g. 2Cor. 7:1).

Accordingly, the Christian woman has found herself in an ocean of confusion, lies, and schemes of the Devil.

It is our intent to present the truths of Scripture that apply to an important crisis of our times.  One who is confident of her identity and purpose can, with the Holy Spirit's help, overcome all.  She can be a blessing and inspiration to other women of what comprises Christian obedience and how to put faith into practice.

She will be richly blessed by both God and her family.praying Christian woman

Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: "Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all." – Prov. 31:28-29

There are many in the churches who say they love our Savior but deny him by their actions.  Genuine love is always followed by obedience, even when it is difficult,

He who does not love me will not obey my teaching. – John 14:23

Many in and outside the visible church do not believe that Jesus is God the Creator nor is He the author of sacred scripture which describes who the woman is, why she was made, and her purpose in life.

The feminist agenda typically trumps Scripture when the two are in conflict.  The Pharisees were like this when their traditions conflicted with God's Word (Mk 7:13).  Was Man made for the Sabbath or the Sabbath for the Man?  Is it better to heal or kill on the Sabbath?  They could not answer correctly.  In the same manner, the feminist-minded woman in the church may say she loves Jesus – until submission and obedience to Him are required.

The wise and godly woman along with the foolish and ungodly are contrasted here

The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down. – Prov. 14:1

The Hebrew word for "foolish" describes one who is not only simple minded but also is defective in character.  That is, such a person willfully engages in evil or destructive behavior.

Still, some non-Christian women understand how destructive feminism is,

[Feminists] are the most despicable of creatures and they have been utterly destructive to our society and to raising children and to man/woman relationships. – Laura Schlessinger, former feminist and talk show host

Jezebel is thrown from the high palace balcony by her eunuchsThose who abandon their created purpose can expect trouble, even disaster, in their homes and marriages.

This painting depicts the feminist and Baal worshipper, Jezebel, being thrown to her death out a high palace window by her righteous eunuchs. Jezebel murdered the LORD's Prophets including Naboth and his family.  Today's feminists murder infants while in the womb and lead men into immorality and idolatry.  (artist unknown)

On the other hand, those who humbly submit to the Creator will find themselves like great oak trees in well-watered and fertile soil.  They will have abundant fruit and roots that go down deeply. Such mighty trees can withstand the most violent storms and periods of drought.  These women have built their homes upon the Rock.

1. Her Purpose

a. A critical Helper to her man

The LORD God said, "It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him." – Gen. 2:18

A better translation of the Hebrew for “helper” (“help meet” KJV) would be “critical helper”. The Hebrew root is overwhelmingly used of the LORD as Israel’s helper. The Hebrew has a military sense which is why “critical helper” is more accurate.

In English, we might ask, “I need some help.” For what? If it is someone who needs a hand for some task like removing boxes from a pickup, it is one matter. If someone needs help who is being overcome by a vicious enemy in battle that is another matter, entirely. The context of the Hebrew is the latter. An example is here in Deuteronomy.

Blessed are you, O Israel! Who is like you, a people saved by the LORD? He is your shield and helper and your glorious sword. – Dt. 33:29

The woman, therefore, has been created to provide critical assistance to her husband. She was not created as an independent being or some sort of partner.

In this regard, it is particularly disappointing – and contrary to the teaching of Scripture – that more and more wedding vows refer to the man and woman as partners.  This is more feminist dogma that has been creeping into mainstream Western Christianity since the Reformation.

A good example of a critical helper is the wife described in Prov. 31. She is about the business of her house which she governs under the authority of her husband. Her concern is not her own glory and success but that of her husband.

She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life. – Prov. 31:12

On the other hand, too many wives of today are like Eve: deceived and rebellious.

Queen Athaliah (2Ki 11) was a woman driven by selfish ambition. So intense were her lusts for glory and power that she murdered her own grandchildren to achieve her evil cravings. While some in the church have not taken a knife to their descendants, they have largely abandoned their homes and husbands.  While their children may not have been murdered, they are, nonetheless, damaged in other ways as children are whose mother treats them, in one way or another, that they are not her first love or priority.

On the other hand, the godly wife is a guardian of her husband and home.  She considers the order, tranquility, cleanliness, comfort, and health of her home her first priority. She is the godly woman described in Prov. 31 and like those who surrounded Jesus.

Many women were there, watching from a distance. They had followed Jesus from Galilee to care for his needs. – Matt. 27:55

These women knew what to do and provided critical help to the Son of God, our Savior.

Jael, the wife of Heber the Kenite, executing General SiseraJael, the godly wife of Heber the Kenite, executing Sisera, the Canaanite general.  She did what she could to defend the Israel of God from evil and is a great example for all women who will inevitably be called to do difficult tasks, even ones that should have been done by men – to their shame. (painting by Ottavio Vannini)

By faith, the Christian woman will do the hard tasks that Christ has called her to do.

b. She is to bear children

As for you, be fruitful and increase in number; multiply on the earth and increase upon it. – Gen. 9:7
Has not the LORD made them one? In flesh and spirit they are his. And why one? Because he was seeking godly offspring. – Mal. 2:15.

Most European nations are happily aborting and contracepting themselves out of existence. Their mindset is that having children is an expensive and burdensome task which has no short term benefit. This attitude gives scant regard for our duties to God or His sovereignty.  There are many self-described Christians in the church who have this attitude.

In the United States responsible parenthood is neither encouraged nor supported.  This evil unleashes long term and widespread destruction, especially upon the next generation.  Those who have led the feminist movement are overwhelmingly women who have had abusive and/or immoral men in their lives, especially as fathers.  In this way, bad men have largely created this monster.

The Christian home, on the other hand, is a place of sacrifice and responsibility for the long term physical and spiritual health of the children.  The godly woman has her child bearing responsibilities faithfully given to God, as did the Virgin Mary.

May it be to me as you have said. – Luke 1:38.

Mary, the mother of Jesus, is the arch-type of the Christian woman.  She bravely and graciously submitted, rejoicing at the prospect of bearing the Son who later secured our reconciliation with God.

On the other hand, how is there any blessing from God for the contentious or rebellious woman?

2. Rank & Status

For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh. – Gen. 2:24

a. One Flesh

The word “one flesh” in the Bible refers to blood relationships.  It also is used here to describe the relationship between a husband and wife.  The latter, however, is of greater supremacy, durability, and strength than that of a parent and son, the strongest blood relationship there is: a man is to leave both his father and mother.

Accordingly, the word “united” would be better translated as “to hold fast in undeviating loyalty.” This is the contextual meaning used throughout the Hebrew Bible.

The word for "united" is used in Ruth 1:14 and there rendered as “cling”,

At this they wept again. Then Orpah kissed her mother-in-law goodbye, but Ruth clung to her. – Ru 1:14
But Ruth replied, "Don't urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the LORD deal with me, be it ever so severely, if anything but death separates you and me." When Naomi realized that Ruth was determined to go with her, she stopped urging her. – Ru 1:16-18

Ruth’s response to her mother-in-law defines the word translated as "unite" or "cling".  The depth of her commitment, love, and devotion to another person helps define the meaning of the Hebrew. Ruth declares herself joined/united/bound to Naomi where:

  1. Grounds for separation are not even open to discussion.
  2. She will be a companion to Naomi without reservation.
  3. She will identify with Naomi’s family and not her own.
  4. She will adopt Naomi’s faith unreservedly.
  5. Only death will separate her from Naomi which Ruth affirms by swearing a terrible oath before God.

Such is the same in the marriage covenant.  However, many find this level of loyalty and commitment unrealistic.  According to Scripture, the woman is bound to her husband in an extraordinary way that is permanent.

The feminists and those who favor temporal happiness over godly obedience dismiss this entirely, which is another reason why the godly Christian woman should have nothing to do with the feminist movement.

Unfortunately, Bible translations can leave out important definitions of key words, even changing the meanings.  How many feminists sit on Bible translation committees?  How many are adulterers?  We know that the men who worked on the Westminster Confession had some who strived to loosen the bonds of marriage.  There is evidence that the single Greek text used to create the translations of the Reformation period was doctored in order to loosen the marriage bond.  It is not just the modern era that has those who seek to nullify the 7th Commandment (you shall not commit adultery).

Women (or men) who betray the spouses should not be appointed to positions of church leadership.  How can they be trusted to faithfully teach Biblical truth, especially concerning godly marriage (Tit 2:3-5)?  How can they be above reproach if their disgrace can never be wiped away (Prov. 6:33)?

The Bible teaches that there is no "second chance" at marriage, a novel doctrine that was introduced during the Reformation.  Only widows and widowers are exempt but it is still better for them to remain single, if they can rise to the higher calling of God – for which there is always a special and greater blessing.  If a husband is closer than a brother, how can he be put away?  No matter what a brother does, he is always a brother and so it is the same with a husband or wife.

b. Subordinate to her man

Ever since the Garden of Eden, the woman has desired to rule over her husband.  It is the inclination of the fallen human nature that is in all women.

…and you [the woman] will be like God…. – Gen. 3:5

The purpose of marriage is to provide the Creator with godly offspring and for the woman to be a critical helper to her man.  What is translated as “to marry” in the Old Testament is actually the Hebrew phrase “to take lordship over a woman” (Gen. 20:3) or “to take a woman” (Gen. 24:67).  The early Christian marriage ceremonies note this.

The Word of God has these commands given by Paul and Peter concerning the woman's subordination to her husband,

...the woman is the glory of man. For man did not come from woman, but woman from man; neither was man created for woman, but woman for man. – 1 Cor. 11:7-9

Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. – Eph. 5:22-24

A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent. For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner. But women will be saved through childbearing–if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety. – 1 Tim 2:11-15

For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to make themselves beautiful. They were submissive to their own husbands, like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her master. You are her daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear. – 1 Pet 3:5-6

The truth expressed in these passages of Scripture are not remnants of cultural bias from the 1st century but truth established at the Creation of the world. 

Conclusion

The godly woman desires to be obedient to God's Word – by faith.

Obedience to God will cause trouble in this life.  But it better to be friends with God than friends with the world.  The latter gives short term "happiness" but the former gives blessing from the beginning that will never fail nor be taken away.

In this world you will have trouble. – Jn. 16:33

 How will we fare when Jesus separates the wheat and the chaff – the sheep and the goats – the obedient and the disobedient?  Will we be ready for "...that day?"

Not everyone who says to me, "Lord, Lord," will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.  Many will say to me on that day, "Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?"  Then I will tell them plainly, "I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!" – Matt. 7:21-23
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