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Does God Hate Women?

15 Nov
from Google Images

from Google Images

For that matter does the Mosaic Law show an aversion for women? I think we need to remember that it is only in recent generations that women have enjoyed anything approaching complete freedom. Equality with males has been a long and tough road to travel, and its journey by far remains incomplete. This is especially evident in less developed nations of our world. Understanding this places the Bible in a somewhat different perspective. For example, Jesus claimed in Matthew 19:8 that Moses permitted men to divorce their wives because of their hard hearts.[1] In other words, if freedom of choice was to be valued at all, God had to deal with men’s hard hearts, or, put another way, some concessions had to be made for the sake of progress, because mankind, including Israel, was not at the point of valuing certain issues.

However we may view the difficult portions of the Bible, men and women were viewed in their ideal state in Genesis 1:26-27 as together being the complete image of God. It is not the male only or the female, but both male and female are the image (singular) of God. In God’s eyes and in his original intent (plan) male and female are equal (cf. Genesis 2:24 and Galatians 3:28). Problems in the relationship seem to follow the Fall, but they were not present from creation. Neither is inequality perceived in how God treats women in the Law of Moses, though some will seek to pervert the contextual understanding.

The facts show that ancient Israel was no more moral (in our modern sense of the word) than any of its neighbors. If this is so, how can we expect Israelite males (without the influence of God) to treat women any more decently than their neighbors? Matthew 19:8 presumes that God put freedom of choice as a priority over a forced (through law) ideal perspective. In other words, it is more important to God that men choose to do the right thing than to be ordered to do the right thing.[2] While God may have permitted an unequal male / female relationship to exist, he did not endorse or even encourage such a thing. Rather, he provided laws and even used some women like Deborah and Esther in such a manner to point toward equality. For example, both mother and father were to be honored and obeyed (Exodus 20:12; Proverbs 6:20). God protected those who were normally taken advantage of in other societies, which included widows (Exodus 22:22; Deuteronomy 10:18; 14:29; 24:17, 19). Therefore, it cannot be shown contextually that God despised women. On the contrary, why would he hate what he created to behave as an expression of himself (Genesis 1:26-27)?

While feminists today would argue that Scripture (and by implication God) does not treat men and women equally, they presume such a point of view by taking such Scripture out of context. For example, one might presume that, because the woman was created to be a suitable helper for the man, the Bible assumes she must be inferior. Yet, if being a helper demands inferiority what should we do with the Scripture that shows God is also man’s helper (Exodus 18:4; Deuteronomy 33:7, 26, 29; Psalm 10:14; 30:10; 54:4)? Again, we need to keep in mind that the ancient ANE culture wasn’t anywhere near similar to our modern traditions, which I would argue have been influenced by nearly 2000 years of Christianity. God addressed moral issues incrementally due to the fact of the hardness of men’s hearts (Matthew 19:8). His priority was that men first put their trust in him (cf. Genesis 15:6). Once men put their trust in God, they are no longer in rebellion (viz. Genesis 3 where rebellion began), and can be taught right from wrong.

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[1] As I said HERE, this current theme about “making sense of the Old Testament God” is based upon the book: Is God a Moral Monster by Paul Copan. These are my thoughts about his book. He may or may not agree with the impression his book has made upon me, but I thoroughly enjoyed reading what Paul wrote and recommend his book to anyone who is looking for a good read concerning defending our faith.

[2] See my blogposts: Is the Word of God Meant to be Eternal & God’s Approach to an Uncivilized World.

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Posted by on November 15, 2015 in apologetics

 

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