When I first came to a believing knowledge of Jesus Christ I was concerned with my newfound purpose. I had come to understand that God created all men and women to worship Him, to know Him, and to reflect His Glory to the world. But why two genders? Was I, were women somehow “less than” men? I knew that we were created sequentially after man, from the rib of man, and as some kind of helper. I was concerned. (a little bit of knowledge can be dangerous!) I wanted to follow God, I wanted to make Him my Lord, but I was a feminist (as defined by the world). What did God think of me? I committed to finding out. I was not only pleasantly surprised, but challenged as well. For those of you who have heard me speak, you know that one of my favorite topics is identifying from Scripture the extent to which God values women.
The fullness of my research extends beyond the scope of a blog, but the most compelling argument for how much God values women reveals itself in the story of creation. In chapter 2 of Genesis, the details of the creation of man and woman are given. Beginning in verse 15, God took man and placed him in the Garden of Eden. He gave him instructions about the tree of good and evil, but then, God stopped. God declared, “It is not good for the man to be alone” (Genesis 2:18). The omnipotent, all-knowing God had not made a mistake and realized He had to correct it. Rather, I believe God wanted Adam to see his incompleteness. Something (or someone) was needed. God paraded before man all the beasts of the field and all the birds of the air. Adam was given the assignment of naming each of the animals. The parade highlighted for Adam that none of the animals fit the bill of “helper.” Scripture then continues, “But for Adam there was not found a helper fit for him.” And then it happened—God created woman. She was to be his suitable helper.
But “helper”? That didn’t sound very important. I envisioned a woman doing the dishes, making the beds, washing the windows. But wait, there were no dishes, no beds as we know them, and certainly no windows in the Garden of Eden. What then was a “helper”? Many Biblical scholars have shed some light on this question. The English language has one word for helper, but the original Hebrew has distinct words for helper depending on the context. “Helper” in Genesis comes from the Hebrew words, ezer kenegdo. Ezer is far from a “less than” version of man. Ezer is the same word used to refer to God sixteen times in Scripture (Exodus 18:4, Deuteronomy 33:7, 33:29). It means a lifesaver, a savior, the only hope. Kenegdo means “alongside” or a “counterpart.” In other words, woman was created with the incredible purpose of coming alongside man to help him fight the battles of this world. Recently, I uncovered another definition that further explained the meaning. The ancient Hebrew pictures, that eventually evolved into Hebrew letters spelling ezer, were that of an eye, a man and a weapon. Simply, an ezer was to be an eye to see the enemy. What is the enemy? Again, the story of creation sheds light. Satan, in the form of a serpent, was present in the garden. He tempted Eve with lies about God. That is still Satan’s purpose—to draw us away from the worship of God.
Eve certainly failed to “see” the enemy and recognize his devious schemes. But if we were created to be ezers, shouldn’t that still be our purpose? Are we as women (whether married or single) on the lookout for the enemy’s attacks? Are we coming alongside the men in this world to counter his lies with the Truth of God? That doesn’t sound like an inconsequential task—it is vital. God entrusted women, He entrusted me with that task.
Numerous other reasons abound to believe that God has created women with incredible value, and certainly not “less than” man. He used women in the Bible to accomplish great things—consider Esther and Rehab in the Old Testament, Lydia and Priscilla in the New Testament. They were chosen not because they could do something as well as a man, but because they were uniquely women. We are created to compliment man. We were created to come alongside man in this world. And the most wonderful thing is that together, man and woman were intended to reflect the image of God to the world.