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Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Is God a misogynist?

According to Webster's Dictionary, the English word "misogynist" has its foundations in two Greek words that together indicate one who hate's women. Hence, we are literally asking does God hate women?

"Of course not!" most would answer. Nevertheless, if we appeal to Scripture alone to answer this question, the result would be unclear at best and would give many the impression that the answer to our question is "YES!"

Consider the following:

1. Although it is indicated that Adam and Eve were created in God's image together in the first chapter of Genesis, the second chapter implies that Eve (the woman) was an afterthought. In fact, Scripture indicates that the woman was fashioned from a part of the man. (Genesis 2:21-23)
2. We are told that Lot offered his virgin daughters to the mob in Sodom to dissuade them from raping his angelic guests. (Genesis 19:4-8)
3. The book of Genesis indicates that it was either acceptable or tolerable for a man to have more than one wife. (Abraham had a wife Sarah and a secondary wife Hagar; Jacob had two primary wives, Leah and Rachel, and two secondary wives, Bilhah and Zilpah) Subsequent scriptures also indicate that David and Solomon had multiple primary wives and multiple secondary wives. (II Samuel 5:13 and I Kings 11:1-3)
4. If a Hebrew male slave was provided with a wife by his master, he was not permitted to take her, or any children that resulted from the marriage, with him when he was freed after six full years of service. The woman and her children were to remain the property of the master. (Exodus 21:1-4)
5. Men were apparently permitted to sell their daughters into slavery, but the women were provided with some protections that were not afforded to male slaves. (Exodus 21:7-11)
6. A woman was considered to be "unclean" for seven days after the delivery of a male baby (Leviticus 12:1-2) and fourteen days after the delivery of a female baby. (Leviticus 12:5)
7. Likewise, a woman was to be regarded as "unclean" during the time of her monthly period. Indeed, anything or anyone who touched her during this period was to be regarded as "unclean." (Leviticus 15:19-24)
8. For purposes of vows, men were considered to be worth more than women. (Leviticus 27:1-7)
9. A woman was unable to make a vow without her father's or husband's consent. (Numbers 30:3-8)
10. If a woman was accused of not being a virgin when she was married and couldn't prove that she was, she was to be stoned to death. (Deuteronomy 22:13-21)
11. Men were permitted to divorce an unwanted wife, but there was no such provision for the women. (Deuteronomy 24:1)
12. Paul told the saints at Corinth that it was shameful for a woman to speak in church. (I Corinthians 14:35)
13. Paul told Timothy that he never allowed a woman to teach a man or be in authority over a man. (I Timothy 2:12)
14. Peter said that women should submit to their husband's authority. (I Peter 3:1,5)

Do those sound like fair and equal treatment to you? Do those sound like things that you would impose on someone you loved? Is it fair to penalize someone for doing something that they were designed to do (like menstruating or having a baby)? Does it make sense that a just God would consign half of humankind to a second-class status? Why would one require a woman to remain silent in church? Didn't Paul admit that Timothy's mother and grandmother had been responsible for his Christian faith? (II Timothy 1:5) Do these things reflect God's wishes? Or do they reflect the misogynistic prejudices and biases of the men who wrote them?

Whatever happened to "So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them?" (Genesis 1:27) Didn't "He" go on to give them joint dominion over the earth? (Genesis 1:28) Doesn't God love everyone - male and female? (Acts 10:34 and I John 4:16) Didn't Paul tell the Galatians that there was neither male nor female in Christ Jesus? (Galatians 3:28)

You can twist Scripture to make God a misogynist if you so desire - that is your right under the United States Constitution. However, I choose to believe that none of the scriptures quoted above in the section for your consideration represent or reflect God's views on women. They are the writings of a few old male chauvinist pigs that only reflect the views of cultures that are now defunct - thank God!

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