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Women in the Bible

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Women in the Bible Empty Women in the Bible

Post  Chasmira1060 Thu Oct 01, 2009 5:46 pm

Women: A Portrayal of Blessings and Cursings in the Bible
Women: A Portrayal of Blessings and Cursings in the Bible

Many people view the Bible as having a very low opinion of women; however, the Bible contains signs, even if they are subtler, that it does indeed hold women to be just as important as men. I have come to discover in my studies that women are used to represent a common theme in the Bible, that of blessings and cursings. But an even deeper variation of this theme is that women are used to represent sin versus redemption, the right path versus the wrong path, the way to salvation versus the way to damnation. As this is probably the most important topic overall in the Bible, this shows that women were indeed important to the writers of the Bible.
An article by Voula Papas found on the website of the Atheist Foundation of Australia states the very concept that I am arguing against, declaring that, “Any honest, thinking person reading through the Bible cannot ignore the blatant misogyny and barbarity towards women. The eminent 'men of God’ who wrote the bible were the product of patriarchal, tribal, violent, intolerant, monotheistic society.”
One of the specific things Papas argues is that because all the animals were created together as male and female, but because woman was created after man, that this shows that from the beginning, women were thought of as inferior in the Bible, but not so in my opinion. When God creates Eve, He says it is because it is not good for man to be alone and that man needs a helpmate, a companion. By waiting to create Eve, God shows her importance; He shows that man could not do it alone, that woman holds a very important position in being man’s companion. He waits to create Eve to show Adam just how important she is to be to him.
As one reads further into Genesis, Papas’ general statements of the inferiority of women are further shot down. In Genesis, chapter 3, the serpent convinces Eve to eat of the Tree, going against God’s one commandment. God first addresses her sin; she is the bringer of sin into the world, and so she must bring children into the world with pain and suffering. Also, because of her sin, all men are condemned to die, and, as mentioned later in the Bible, spend an eternity in damnation if they do not accept God as their god. According to Papas, these verses show the Bible’s inferior attitude towards women, stating that Adam is “exonerated from sin,” while Eve is punished. Not so; Adam IS punished, though Eve’s punishment may seem greater.
However, in the same breath, God grants to Eve one of the greatest blessings bestowed upon a woman in the Bible. Even though she brought sin into the world, even so, she will bring into the world a way of redemption, of saving people from that sin and the eternal death that that sin links them to. Verse fifteen says that while the serpent, who embodies Satan, shall bruise the heel of her seed, the seed’s heel shall bruise the serpent’s head. This is thought by many Christians to be the first prophecy of the coming of Christ. So Eve is granted the blessing of knowing that one of her descendants will be the Messiah and will overthrow Satan and all sin.
This pattern as seen in the story of Eve is very closely linked to the story in Proverbs about the wise woman and the strange, or sinful, woman.
Even as Eve is given an extremely huge and powerfully important blessing, even so, the concept of Wisdom is portrayed as a woman. Proverbs 8:22 tells us that Wisdom was created before the earth was, and so Wisdom was there at the very beginning of time with God, again showing that women obviously held some importance other than just child-bearing when the writings in the Bible were created.
In the last chapter of Proverbs, Wisdom is seen as the Wise Wife. This example is different from that of Wisdom because although the writer uses a woman to teach about humility, diligence, and other characteristics we are to take on, the writer says that not only will we win God’s favor and righteousness, but we will also be blessed while on the Earth, given praise by others. This interesting passage uses women not only to show the way to spiritual blessing, but material blessing as well, and how to live a fulfilled life while on Earth.
Again in Proverbs, as in Genesis, the woman is portrayed not only as the way to salvation, but also as the way to destruction, but even this narrative of the strange woman does not need to be seen as a way of looking down on women, but as a means of instruction, for the book of Proverbs provides clear warning as to what will happen to the person who follows the strange woman, who of course represents Folly or Foolishness. You could apply this view of the writers of the Bible using women as a way of teaching or instructing to the story of Eve as well. Eve’s story teaches readers that if they obey God, they will be blessed, and if they do not, there will be consequences, just as the story of the Wisdom and Folly teaches that being wise leads to reward while being Foolish leads to destruction. So even when women appear to be portrayed as bad people such as Folly, they are also good in the sense that they are teaching readers how to live, how to improve their lives, what not to do if they want to have a blessed life. Perhaps the writers could’ve meant it this way, could’ve considered it an honor for women not only to use them to teach man what to do, as with Wisdom, but what not to do, as with Folly. It is certainly not seen from the text itself that the writers of the Bible considered women only evil when you think about it this way, and also when you think about the balance. Papas does not consider this delicate balance in his own writings; he merely refers to verses quoting the strange or wicked woman and uses this poor argument to again declare how inferior the Bible views women; as you can see, a closer reading proves just the opposite.
It can also be said that the relationship between Wisdom and Folly, just as the relationship of the blessing and curse that Eve was faced with, balance each other out, so that you can’t really read the text and say that the writers of the Bible meant to portray women as only inferior and unimportant and sinful. If one looks at the coherent whole as one reads the texts, one begins to notice these patterns that women are used in throughout the Bible.
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