“Almost without notice, our homes and churches have become the newest laboratory for sex-role experimentation. Lured by the world’s acceptance and a national obsession with fairness, we’ve replaced the once-clear biblical boundaries between men and women with a confusing, frighteningly secular hybrid. The harmony and effectiveness we were promised never came – only a treacherous rift that is ruining marriages, dividing families, and splitting churches top to bottom.”
–John Macarthur in Different By Design
In the beginning, “God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it…” He commanded them.
Men and women have been created in God’s image, and therefore have an intellect, emotions, and a will, “by which they are able to think, feel and choose.” (DBD, pg. 18) However, in his book Macarthur notes that man and woman were “created in His image essentially.” (emphasis added) They never possessed any supernatural attributes because they are human, not all divine.
J.P David Pawson, in his book Leadership is Male, notes that the equality mentioned in Genisis “does not mean interchangeability. A cylinder head and crankcase may be of the same material, size, weight, and cost – but they cannot be exchanged.”
This perfect relationship was one where the man and woman were “co-regents.” They were to rule together, and to subdue the earth. But the essential question still remains: are they equal?
Raymond C. Ortlund explains this seeming paradox found in Genesis:
“Was Eve Adam’s equal? Yes and No. She was his spiritual equal and…”suitable for him” But she was not his equal in that she was his “helper.” God did not create man and woman in an undifferentiated way, and their mere maleness and femaleness identify their respective roles. A man, just by virtue of his manhood, is called to lead for God. A woman, just by virtue of her womanhood, is called to help for God.” (Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood).
So begins our journey through John Macarthur’s book, Different By Design. In this series, we will be looking at the fall of man and how feminism has been attacking since the beginning, the case for authority and submission, God’s design for marriage, and the God’s design for the church.