Once upon a time lived a lovely woman in a beautiful faraway land. This land teemed with abundant life, providing its inhabitants with everything they needed. Her husband adored her, and together they enjoyed a peaceful, loving relationship with their Creator, who graced them with purity, freedom, and prosperity. This woman knew inherently her value, position, and purpose. She lived in a perfect world, a paradise on earth. She had it all–until a deceitful, malevolent enemy lured her and her husband into disobeying their Creator’s command, forever changing the course of the world to come.
This story is connected to each of us, for it describes the beginning of our shared world. Before the fall, Eve had everything that all women seek and desire today–a loving marriage, spiritual peace, security, value, and purpose. Yet, in His wisdom and grace, God created her with these blessings from the very beginning.
As women today, we can become so caught up in seeking our rightful roles, our innermost desires, and our highest ambitions that we lose sight of who God has created us to be. All around us Satan is spreading his seeds of deception, and it’s working. Young women are told to pursue whatever (and whoever) makes them happy and fulfilled, which leads to either a self-centered career path or a home built upon shaky foundations. Girls brought up in this environment are taught nothing different, and the vicious cycle continues.
Garland Elkins once said, “The home is the foundation of all society, and the woman is the basis of the home.” If a woman is strong, the home grows stronger. If a woman is blindly following the ways of the world, the home and family as God designed it will continue to weaken to the point of collapse, impacting our world for generations to come. As in the Garden of Eden, Satan knows that marriage and the family are at the center of God’s plan for humanity, and ultimately, our salvation (Ephesians 5:25-27) — and will do anything in his power to disrupt it. But if we can remember that our wise, loving Father is the Author of womanhood and reconnect with His purpose for us, we can work to rebuild the beautiful institution of the home as He originally designed it.
From reading about the creation of Eve in Genesis 2, we can see three different ways in which God has designed us as women: in His image, in His hand, and in the place He has provided.
1) In God’s image.
“So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them” (Genesis 1:27).
In the discussion of women specifically, what does this truth mean for us? Not only do we inherit spiritual qualities from our heavenly Father, but we are also called to continue bearing His image, even conforming ourselves to it so that our likeness becomes His own. “For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren” (Romans 8:29). Since God designed both men and women differently, each will carry out this calling in different ways. Given many women’s propensity for gentleness, nurturing, and spirituality, as well as God’s instruction for submission, we have a special opportunity to carry out Christ-likeness in our lives. In an article called “Women Are Ordained Already,” F. Furman Kearley writes about the importance of women’s creation: “God has given thousands of ordinances to women to execute. He has given her great opportunities, abilities and thus tremendous responsibilities. On the other hand, He has given only four restrictions or limitations, if they can be called such… [or] measures of protection and instructions designed to relieve women of great difficulties.” Instead of wasting our time wondering why or complaining that God made us the way He did, let us instead find these great opportunities to bear His image.
In the world, we have to prove our value by achievement, prominence, or position. When we step out of who God created us to be, trying to be someone else than who we are in Christ, we reduce the immense value we already have placed lovingly in us by our heavenly Father. This value is only ours to lose, not to gain. The value of Eve, and every woman thereafter, is seen simply in who she is—a woman from God.
2) In God’s hand.
“Then the rib which the LORD God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man” (Genesis 2:22).
Imagine this awesome scene. The creation of woman is unlike any other creation of that first week: everything that God had so far placed on earth had been formed from nothing (which is an amazing thought itself)—except Adam, who was formed from the dust of the earth (Genesis 2:7). However, what other created being was formed from another human being? Only Eve was formed from the rib of her soon-to-be husband. And now, imagine the most beautiful, pure, romantic wedding ceremony ever to be performed is enacted by God Himself. After Adam had searched for the right companion, a helper comparable for him, he finally found her in God’s final physical masterpiece. And Who better to escort her down the aisle, essentially, than her own heavenly Father? Eve was in God’s hand from her first breath, and it was that guiding hand which brought her to the one she was meant for. She not only possessed immense value, but also now a distinct purpose.
What a beautiful thing when women place themselves in the hand of God from the very beginning. When He is their “first love” (Revelation 2:4). How honorable it is when a woman devotes her heart to the Lord before sharing it with another. Why do so many women today struggle to find their path in life and strive to attain contentment and joy? We must remember to Whom we first belong and why He created us. In all of God’s wondrous creation, even among exquisite animals, a helper was not found for Adam. It was then that God created Eve—designed just for Adam, distinctly for the purpose of being a companion, a help, an encouragement for him. Proverbs 18:22 reads, “He who finds a wife finds a good thing, and obtains favor from the Lord.” This teaches us that a wife (and thus a woman) must be good, one who obtains favor from the Lord (cf. Luke 1:30; Proverbs 12:4; 19:14, 31:30). May it ever be our purpose—whether we are single or married—to be women who fear the Lord, always abiding in His hand.
3) In the place God gives her.
“Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh” (Genesis 2:24).
Almost instantaneously, Eve finds herself brought to Adam’s side by her Creator, filled with value and a reason for living, and given a particular place in which to carry it out. Not only does God create marriage especially for man and woman, but also gives each of them a unique job and role within that institution. We see that men were given the leadership role by God and that women are to be submissive. 1 Timothy 2:11-12, “Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness. I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather she is to remain quiet.” Though it is not always easy for us to stay in our role. “Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you,” Genesis 3:16.
With the spread of selfish, worldly ideals and lifestyles such as feminism and homosexuality, the idea of submission is not a popular one in society today. Women in the world seem to strive constantly for power, leadership, for their right to choose. The ability to exercise freedom is not true power though; nor is submission a sign of weakness. True strength is the willingness to subdue, to bring power under control, for a higher and grander purpose. The New Testament gives full illustration of what godly, feminine submission looks like (e.g. 1 Timothy 2:11-15; 1 Peter 3:1-7). But perhaps our most powerful example comes from Christ Himself, our humble Savior, “who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in the appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross” (Philippians 2:6-8). If we are willing to follow Christ’s perfect example of submission in our daily lives, how much more should we be moved to place ourselves in the realm which He so wisely designed for us?
Though glorifying Christ is always its overall goal, this “place” often looks different for each of us. Many women will be blessed with the opportunity to be in the role of wife and mother, while others may be blessed with other opportunities to glorify God with her time and talents (1 Corinthians 7:34). Regardless of what our particular place is in this season of life, we all have the responsibility to know God’s definition of womanhood, apply it to ourselves personally, and teach its guiding principles to others.
We don’t have to look far to see the effects of sin in our world. Satan has attacked the fundamental center of life to the point of near destruction, attempting to redefine and restructure the home and family to serve his purposes rather than God’s. The future may look bleak and dismal, and it will be—unless those of us who know better take a stand for what is right and good. We must go back to the beginning in order to face the future, remembering that women were created in God’s image, in God’s hand, and in the place God gives us. It begins with us. If we can align ourselves with God’s design, if we choose to say, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord,” Joshua 24:15, we will find ourselves desiring to pursue the very thing for which we were created.