Godly Versus Ungodly Feminism
In the beginning, God created sinless perfection. Adam and Eve were created as equals, with neither one to rule over the other, but to live in the perfect harmony of other-centered love.
One Christian writer put it this way:
God Himself gave Adam a companion. He provided “an help meet for him” – a helper corresponding to him – one who was fitted to be his companion, and who could be one with him in love and sympathy. Eve was created from a rib taken from the side of Adam, signifying that she was not to control him as the head, nor to be trampled under his feet as an inferior, but to stand by his side as an equal, to be loved and protected by him (Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 46).
Adam was made in God’s image, and God is love. Adam could not advance, develop, or experience the fullness of Godlike love without someone for him to serve, to love, to give of himself to uplift. Eve was created as a “helper” to Adam – to help him experience and grow in Godlike love as he gave of himself for her good. And Eve was to receive this love and have it flow back to Adam in loving service for him. Thus, in unity with God, the three reveal and represent the Triune perfection of Godlike love.
Equality in God’s design is the equality of moral worth – the equal need of both male and female to be united as “one” in other-centered love, and the equal treatment of God’s design laws upon both. God purposely did not make them equal in abilities, but with complementary abilities that when united in godly love would expand, ennoble, develop, and elevate both partners beyond that which either one could experience or achieve individually. It is in this unity of love that humanity flourishes and becomes truly godlike. Thus, Satan hates this God-designed unity of equal partners in other-centered love and seeks to destroy it.
Sadly, God’s perfect design of equality of man and woman was fractured when Adam and Eve broke trust with God. Love was displaced, and fear and selfishness were established in their hearts as their primary motivating drives to action. This necessarily debased and perverted God’s design for human relationships from love to selfishness. God accurately diagnosed what would be the result of this change in the nature of humankind: “Your desire will be for your husband and he will rule over you” (Genesis 3:16). That is, the strong (men) will dominate the physically weaker (women), and the physically weaker (women) will seek protection from the strong (men).
To those who view God running His universe like sinful humans, making up rules and punishing rule breakers to enforce His way, they read this as God inflicting a new hierarchy on human beings – either as a punishment to women or as a necessary safeguard. But those who understand God is Creator know that His laws are the laws upon which reality is built and that breaking God’s design laws has unavoidable damaging consequences. They realize that God merely diagnosed and pronounced the new reality that Adam and Eve chose when they changed themselves from operating upon love to operating upon fear and selfishness.
As sad as this state was for God, He knew, and later revealed to the apostle Paul, that “women will be saved through childbearing – if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety” (1 Timothy 2:15 NIV84). Sadly, those operating upon the principles of the world in which the strong dominate the weak read this to mean that women should be kept subordinate to men, ruled by men, and function as baby-factories.
Yet those who understand design law realize, again, that this was God merely pronouncing the power of love that is magnified in the heart of women when they become mothers. It is the power of love that keeps one safe from fear and selfishness. It is love that overcomes, love that heals, love that cures the disease of sin. And in childbirth, women experience the greatest potency of human love possible – something men do not experience. Neurobiologically, through the largest surges of oxytocin a person can experience, a new mother’s brain rewires with an intense love for her child, one far beyond any love she previously experienced. This love battles against the temptations of selfishness and leads her to a greater likelihood of living like Jesus, “Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death” (Philippians 2:6–8 NIV84).
The Bible teaches that as soon as Adam and Eve sinned, they ran and hid because they were afraid (Genesis 3:10). Yet “there is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear” (1 John 4:18 NIV84).
God pronounced that their sin damaged the hearts of human beings, displacing love and instilling fear and selfishness; how men would dominate women; but also how women would be protected from being consumed by fear and selfishness through childbirth, which magnifies motherly love, enhancing her ability to resist selfishness and live more closely to Christ and God’s ideal for humankind. (This does not mean that women do not need to be converted or to surrender to Christ, or are in some way saved through childbirth, but merely that the increased maternal love allows them to experience the joy of love, which increases their awareness of their need for Christ and may contribute to a willingness to surrender to Christ more readily).
When a man experiences genuine conversion, he dies to fear and selfishness, receives a new heart with the motives of Christ, and from that moment forward begins to treat his wife like Christ treats the church, sacrificing himself for her. (Ephesians 5:25). This means that as we grow to become like Jesus, God’s original design is restored, and genuine equality is experienced the closer we come to Christ. Such men no longer seek to dominate their weaker partners, but seek to give of themselves to uplift their spouses. Women in such marriages no longer live in fear but flourish in love, trust, and freedom – and also seek to uplift and benefit their husbands. The bonded pair operating upon love become ever more Christlike and their capacities grow and expand.
When God’s principles are practiced (truth, love, freedom), people experience peace, wellness, growth, development, maturity, health, and happiness.
When Satan’s principles are practiced (lies, selfishness, coercion), people experience fear, insecurity, corruption, stagnation, decline, immaturity, sickness, and misery.
Godly and Ungodly Feminism
Godly feminism is the restoration of God’s character, methods, and principles into the heart of women, so that they can fulfill God’s purpose in their lives. In other words, they love like Jesus loves.
Ungodly feminism is the feminism of the selfish world – it is the way of me-first, driven by fear and a willingness to hurt others to get one’s way. It seeks not to restore the image of God in women, but instead seeks to make women more like the unconverted, worldly, arrogant, self-centered men who dominate, coerce, and control others.
Throughout history, men have been more violent, more domineering, and more sexually promiscuous than women. Women have been less violent, more peaceful, more submissive, and more faithful and chaste. Historically, it has been these qualities of love, selflessness, and faithfulness in women that have held families together – despite the abuses and exploitation by men.
It is a sad reality of history – and one that is still occurring in various places in the world today – that self-centered men have abused and exploited women, denying them education, treating them like property to be traded, denying them leadership roles, denying them opportunity to fulfill God’s calling for their lives, denying them the opportunity to develop to their full potential, denying them equal pay for equal work, and denying them a vote in democratic societies, etc.
This abusive and prejudicial treatment resulted in a feminist movement that, perhaps, originally intended to stop the exploitation and mistreatment of women by men and merely sought genuine moral equality. Such goals, and actions that restore people to God’s design of love, freedom, respect, and equality, are truly godly and I fully support them.
However, the feminist pursuit of equality has, overtime, developed one major error in its application – namely, it has made the goal to be equal to unconverted, self-centered men, rather than the moral equality of the unity of love as God designed.
What this worldly feminist movement has actually done has been to corrupt women by teaching that to be equal to men means to be equally promiscuous (have as many sexual partners as you want), equally selfish (don’t worry about sacrificing for others but only about getting yourself ahead), equally career-oriented (don’t have children – but if you do, don’t sacrifice your career to raise them; rather, put them in daycare and advance yourself).
The modern feminist movement is not the panacea of godly equality that uplifts, ennobles, and heals, but is the cauldron of worldliness that is certainly making women equal to men – but equal in greed, corruption, and selfishness.
Activities that seek equality in society – such as equal pay for equal work – are righteous and should be pursued and supported as long as the methods used do not corrupt character in the process.
So do we need to pursue equality for women? Absolutely! But only in harmony with God’s design for humankind, leading people to treat and love each other as moral equals – which, in reality, means to lead men to become more Christlike and treat women as Christ treats the church, sacrificing ourselves in love to uplift women, rather than taking the noble and godly character traits of womanhood (love, faithfulness, compassion, self-sacrifice) and replacing those qualities with the traits of this sinful world and leading women to be just as debased as unconverted men.