There is no longer Jew or Greek; there is no longer slave or free; there is no longer male and female, for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.
Jesus wins the Battle of the Sexes
Summary: In Christ, all genders are equal.
One of the opening lines of The Barbie Movie is, “Thanks to Barbie, all problems of feminism have been solved.” I burst out laughing. Our culture has made great efforts to solve feminism and gender equality, however we are not close to solving it. I am so grateful to be in the Episcopal Church where one of our slogans is “male and female, God created them, male and female we ordain them.” The equality I face in the Episcopal Church is one of the biggest blessings in my life. However, not all women live with such respect and equality. So, what does scripture say about women and women’s equality in the world? There are three foundational scriptures that are the bedrock of women’s equality in scripture. The first is the creation story in Genesis, the second is Acts 2, and the third is Galatians 3:28. I will go over each of these scriptures so you can see their importance to women’s equality.
Genesis 1 and 2 tell the story of the world’s creation including the creation of humanity. Genesis 1:27 says, “God created humankind (’adam), in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” In the story, God creates humanity in the image of God. God gives humanity, the world, to have dominion over it. Humans are God’s vice-regents. God gives both man and woman the same powers of dominion. There is no distinction between the two and the amount of power they wield. One gender does not rule over the other. They rule together.
After the commission as vice-regents, then we see in Genesis 2 the story of God creating the genders. First God created a non-gendered human being, then God divides the genders from that one human being. Before this division, the two genders were integrated into one person (’adam). But God saw that the human being was alone. In order to solve the problem of being alone, God puts the human (’adam) into a deep sleep and separates the human into man (’ish) andwoman (’ishah). In the original Hebrew this is the point in which the text starts referring to the two as man and woman. Before this separation, the text calls the being “adam.” The word “adam” has three translations so it can mean human, man, or the proper name Adam.
The second important scripture about gender equality is Acts 2. It is important because it reveals a key point about the Church. Acts 2 is the story of the birth of the Church. This is the day that God gives the Holy Spirit. In this text, Jesus’s disciples are hiding in a house in Jerusalem. They hear a rushing wind and the Holy Spirit descends on them like fire. With the Holy Spirit’s courage, they go into the streets of Jerusalem, and the Apostle Peter begins to preach. In his sermon he quotes Joel 2:28-29 to explain the gift of the Holy Spirit on that day. Joel 2 says, “After that I will pour out my spirit upon everyone; your sons and your daughters will prophesy. In those days, I will also pour out my spirit even on the male and female slaves.” This is reiterating the face of gender equality for the Church because at Pentecost, God’s Spirit is poured out on both women and men.
The third scripture that is foundational to women’s equality is Galatians 3:28. “There is no longer Jew or Greek; there is no longer slave or free; there is no longer male and female; for all are one in Christ Jesus.” In the first century AD Roman Empire, the three relationships mentioned in the scripture are the three main divides in their culture. This scripture is referring to the Kingdom of God. Part of Jesus’s kingdom is the setting right of broken relationships, especially the most contentious ones. One of those broken relationships is between the genders. St. Paul is declaring that in Christ, God heals the rift between the genders. In the Kingdom of God, the genders have peace with each other and they are all equal. Jesus wins the battle of the sexes.
May you know the wholeness of mutuality in your relationships,