For the next few weeks I am going to do a series of posts on specific beliefs that complementarians hold. I will specifically show the key passages that are used and abused by others as well as try to explain why this view is a biblical mandate.
Here is post #1:
In the late 1960’s the musical motion picture based on the Von Trapp family was released in movie theatres around the United States. In The Sound of Music, Maria (played by Julie Andrews) seeks to teach the Von Trapp children how to sing. The beginning of her music lesson she sings, “Let’s start at the very beginning, a very good place to start. When you read you begin with A, B, C, when you sing you begin with Do-Re-Mi.” This lesson is also good when one is first looking at biblical manhood and womanhood. The beginning of the God’s revelation to humanity in Genesis 1-3 is the place to find what God’s intention was for men and women. These chapters show that there is “male and female equality” and also “male headship.”
Genesis 1-3 provides much foundational teaching on creation, humanity, sin, and marriage and it is crucial to look at it for defining gender roles and live them out properly. Genesis 1 provides an overview of God’s creative order. As He creates land, waters, plants, sunlight, and animals, God “saw that it was good.” However, after creating man He declares His creation “very good.” Humans are the only creatures that are created in the image of God and Genesis 1:27 says, “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” God blessed his image bearers and at this point there is not difference in these creations. Both the man and the women are image bearers and there is equality seen in them both being commanded to “be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” There is a celebration of the unity in this chapter without distinction until the detail of the next account.
The second chapter of the Bible shows great specifics about the creation of the world. The scene is slowed down and the creation of man and woman take center stage. This chapter gives great evidence to the idea of “male headship.” Raymond Ortlund, Jr. defines “male headship” as “In the partnership of two spiritually equal human beings, man and woman, the man bears the primary responsibility to lead the partnership in a God glorifying direction.” This can be seen specifically in Genesis 2:18-25. In this passage, The Lord God speaks to man and says , “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” Then God creates Eve from the one of Adam’s ribs and Adam names his wife, Eve. This creation and distinction between Adam and Eve is created before the Fall into sin and the roles are given in a celebration of God’s goodness to create. In Wayne Grudem’s lecture, “A Crucial Call to Faithfulness on Gender Issues,” he gave several ways we can see that gender roles were spelled out before the fall. He says that male headship is seen in the idea of “order.” Adam is created before Eve and this divinely created order shows that he is the leader. He, however, is not threatened that somehow this new person is an adversary, but rather he rejoices in seeing this one who is his equal and his flesh. Adam says, “This is now bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called woman, because she was taken out of man.” This is essentially saying, “This creature alone, Father, out of all the others—this one at last meets my need for a companion. She alone is my equal, my very flesh. I identify with her. I love her. I will call her Woman, for she came out of Man.” Adam was created first as the head and he rejoices in the creation of Eve.
Another way that Grudem speaks of the proof that Adam is the head is by his naming of Eve. This naming demonstrates a type of authority because in the same section Adam names all of the animals whom he has dominion over. This authority shown in naming something is still common today. An owner will name his company. A child names her pet. Parents name their infant. It is not a domineering act to name something, for much time and effort is often taken to pick a name, but it is an act of love and care.
Grudem says that the authority is not only seen in Adam because he names Eve, but because God names the human race after the man. The Hebrew word for “Man” is adam and “Because the idea of naming is so important in the Old Testament, it is significant to notice what God chose for the human race as a whole.” Grudem even shows that in the first chapters of Genesis the word adam is used to represent a male human being and differentiate the male from the female. This fact is important in debating those who say that adam is a gender-neutral term simply referring to humanity as a whole all of the time that it is used. There is a distinct male authority that is placed in the beginning of Genesis and this must not be overlooked in order to promote a certain agenda.
Another way that gender roles are distinctly laid out in Genesis 2 is by seeing why God creates Eve. In Genesis 2:18, it says, “Then the Lord God said, ‘It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” The idea of a “helper fit” or “helper suitable” as the description of Eve is very important. God is giving the job description for the wife and how she will interact with her husband. The term “helper” is not a demeaning term, but is often used in other books of the Bible to describe God as our helper (Psalm 33:20, 70:5). When one helps someone, they are putting themselves under the person they are helping. This can be shown by a father helping his son or husband helping his wife. However, Grudem notes that “Genesis 2 does not merely say that Eve functions as Adam’s helper in one or two specific events. Rather, it says that God made Eve to provide Adam with a helper, one who by virtue of creation would function as Adam’s helper.” Eve’s role as a helper is “for” Adam and this is further explained by Paul in 1 Corinthians 11:9 when he says, “Neither was man created for woman, but woman for man.” This argument must be qualified with the fact that the wife is not inferior to the husband. Eve is still Adam’s equal in personhood and value and the complementary role as a helper serves both Eve’s womanhood and Adam’s manhood in the end.
The third chapter of Genesis shows a dramatic shift. Before this chapter, all has been good and everything in the relationship between God and man and between man and woman has been according to God’s perfect provision. In Genesis 3 shows the deception of the snake (Satan) and the influence as sin entering the world. One of the dramatic ways that sin effected humans is through relationships. Man was separated from God and sent out of the Garden of Eden and also husband and wife were cursed to have relational problems. Women would desire for the authority to rule over their husbands and men would seek to be authoritarian over their wives. This curse after the fall shows the specific problems that our culture reflects. The feminist agenda is to have women leading in the home and church and to have men be passive. The culture also reflects sexist, macho authoritarianism that has men sinfully rule over their wives. This major conflict between genders is ultimately an aggressive opposition to God. The woman does not want to submit to God’s authority or his original plans to have the man lead his wife. The husband is going to thwart God’s path of biblical marriage by being selfish and leading in a way that does not care for the very spouse that was given to him by God. This curse on marriage was a punishment upon Adam and Eve for their sin. It is a punishment on the marriage and on the responsibilities that the specific genders are purposed to fulfill. The man is to be the provider and to “work the ground.” The curse goes directly to this by saying, “Cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life” (Gen. 3:17). Eve is cursed in her role of childbearing when God says, “I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing…” Adam is also shown in the rest of Scripture to be blamed for the sin of his wife. In Romans 5:12-14, Paul speaks of humanity inheriting their sinfulness from Adam and not Eve. Where there is leadership required, there is blame when it is not fulfilled. Biblical manhood sees that “God calls the man, with the counsel and help of the woman, to see that the male-female partnership serves the purposes of God, not the sinful urges of either member of the partnership.” This is much harder, however, after the fall because sin tainted the created order that God put in place.
This understanding of the beginning of the world has massive implications to our daily lives. They are not written to degrade women or puff up men. The difference in gender roles (from the foundation of the world) helps us to know how men should be men and how women should be women. It frees us rather than restricts us. Grudem says that the proper view of biblical manhood is a “Loving, humble headship” and the proper view of biblical womanhood is “joyful, intelligent submission.” This is where God starts his teaching on manhood and womanhood and this is where we must start…at the very beginning.
 The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. Wheaton, Ill: Crossway Bibles, 2002, Genesis 1:24.
 Ortlund, Raymond, Jr. “Male-Female Equality and Male Headship” in Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood” ed. John Piper and Wayne Grudem. Wheaton, Ill: Crossway Books, 1991, p. 95.
 Grudem, Wayne. “Different by Design: A Crucial Call to Faithfulness on Gender Issues” presented January 31, 2005 in Minneapolis, MN at The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood Conference.
 Ortlund, 101.
 Grudem, Wayne. Evangelical Feminism and Biblical Truth. Sisters, Oregon: Multnomah, 2004, p.34.
 Grudem, Evangelical Feminism, p. 37
 Ibid, p.37.
 Ibid, 38.
 Otlund, 99.