In American society today we have grown to believe that the concepts of rights and equality are fundamental to our daily existence and that all of society should treat everyone equally. Does God share that same view? Is there any indication that He treats men and women differently in His Word, the Bible? God has made men and women different from one another, and He, Himself, interacts with men and women differently as we examine what the Bible reveals on this subject.
From the very beginning in the Bible we see that not only did God make men and women different from each other, but He also treats and interacts with them differently. In Genesis 2:8 we see that man, being the firstborn of mankind (God calls them “man” Genesis 5:2), was created out in the rugged wilderness and then “put” into the garden that God had made in the east. Genesis 2:22 alludes to the fact that woman was created from man while he was in the garden after man had discovered that he was alone, the only one of his kind. The first thing that the man saw upon his creation was God and the rough wilderness. The first thing that the woman saw upon her creation was God, the man, and the beauty/organization of the garden God had planted. God treats men and women differently according to the nature He has instilled in each. Throughout the rest of the Bible we see God treating man as the head of the family who personally engages with the roughness of the world, and woman as man’s suitable helper who is attuned to the fulfillment and comfort of the place they settle – in order for them to build their life around it. In fact, this can be seen as early as the next chapter in Genesis.
In Genesis Chapter 3 Adam and Eve eat the forbidden fruit. God calls out first to Adam as head of the family and questions him, then He questions Eve. Further on in Genesis, God establishes His first covenant with Noah (Genesis 6:18) and later establishes the covenant of circumcision with Abraham (Genesis 17:10). These, and all other covenants, He specifically made with men for, as stated earlier, God created them to be the head of their families. When God interacts with women in the Bible, it is mainly in relation to childbearing. In Genesis 16:7 the Lord comforts Hagar and is called by her the One who sees me (or looks after me) when she is driven away from the camp by Sarai for becoming pregnant. God gives Sarah the ability to conceive and give birth to Isaac their firstborn son (Genesis 21:1-2). God saw that Leah was not loved, so He enabled her to bear children (Genesis 29:31). In 1st Samuel 1:19 The Lord remembered Hannah and she gave birth to a son. And ultimately, God sends the news to Mary (Luke 1:26-27) that she will conceive the Son of the Most High.
God clearly treats men and women differently in the Bible mainly because He created them different from one another to accomplish different goals. The twelve apostles that Jesus called were all men, yet when Jesus raises Himself from the dead (Matthew 28:8-9) He shows Himself to the women first. There are many Biblical examples of God interacting with men and women differently, yet my intent is only to show that He does relate differently to men and women. This does not equate to a value judgment that men are better than women (see Inequality:It’s New Meaning in Society), but that men and women were created differently to be distinct from one another so as to relate to God and creation in their designed ways.