First, as with men, God, also, reveals His purpose for Eve in the story of her creation: Genesis 2:18
Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.”
How God made female was that she is “a helper fit for him” which means she is like Adam, she corresponds to Adam, she is useful to Adam and his task. Here’s a quote from Gary Yagel’s book:
She is to be for the man as an ally to benefit him in the work they were given to do. Just as ezer [the word for helper] tells of God’s relatedness to Israel as the necessary support for survival and military perils, the woman is the ally to the man without which he cannot succeed or survive. Unlike “helper” which could seem optional and allow the man to think he’s otherwise adequate for his task without the woman, the distinction of “ally” marks the man’s dependence upon her contribution. The dependence is plain when we consider Israel’s need for God’s contribution as her ally. What sort of ally is the woman to the man? She is a necessary ally, the sort without which he cannot fulfill humanity’s mission.
Several times in that quote, he referenced God as helper. Indeed, God is called “helper” in many circumstance thereby dignifying that role.
Secondly, importantly, the essence of her femininity is found in her biology. Her essence is not in her function—it is her femaleness. She is created to be a giver of life, a nurturer. Genesis 1:28:
And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it….”
The man called his wife’s name Eve, because she was the mother of all living.
“Eve” sounds like the Hebrew, “life-giver” and resembles the word, “life.” Dr. Yagel, “She is designed to receive her husband and surround him with love. Her breasts as made to nurture and her life-giving womb nourishes and surrounds the developing child.”
This is how women are made: their biology—from birth—carries the potential to give and nurture life. That is the role they have based on their biology. Now I said, “potential” because the fallen world often wars against a woman’s opportunity or ability to marry or to have children. In those cases, a woman is no less a woman than a married woman with 5 kids. How do we know? That woman, made in God’s image, is female, and her virtue and worth is in that.
Thirdly, the virtuous woman of Proverbs 31 teaches us that to be a necessary ally—inclined towards life-giving and nurture—is done in many activities.
An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels. The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain. She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life. She seeks wool and flax, and works with willing hands. She is like the ships of the merchant; she brings her food from afar. She rises while it is yet night and provides food for her household and portions for her maidens. She considers a field and buys it; with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard. She dresses herself with strength and makes her arms strong. She perceives that her merchandise is profitable. Her lamp does not go out at night. She puts her hands to the distaff, and her hands hold the spindle. She opens her hand to the poor and reaches out her hands to the needy. She is not afraid of snow for her household, for all her household are clothed in scarlet. She makes bed coverings for herself; her clothing is fine linen and purple. Her husband is known in the gates when he sits among the elders of the land. She makes linen garments and sells them; she delivers sashes to the merchant. Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come. She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her:
This isn’t a picture of a single woman—this is a picture of the essence of femininity is action. The proper leveraging of her biology. This is what life-giving and nurture looks like in many forms. Where is weakness? Where is frailty? Where is second-class citizenship? Where is the door mat and the helpless? They are utterly absent.
To be made female is to possess a strength and glory that is on brilliant display when a woman chooses to live consistently with her biology! That manner of life isn’t frittering along in all the greatest shops and salons and exquisite parties: it is a giving of oneself as a servant and partner to a husband, to a family, to a church.
Lastly, a woman is called to inner beauty and external modesty: a message utterly lost in the culture of our day. 1 Peter 3:3-4:
Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.
What do we make of this? If we could make a class, “What makes a woman?” We would answer with “a gentle and quiet spirit.”
Gentle is not weak—it is meek. That is humble. It isn’t outwardly showy, loud or arrogant. Doesn’t even a woman’s biology urge her to such a thing? A life-giver and nurturer is gentle, no?
Quiet isn’t silent—it is at rest. That is confident. It isn’t demanding or offensive. How might she raise up her children and assist her husband unless she is at rest in her soul—convinced (and resting in) God’s love and purpose for all things. And, if she is unmarried or childless, will she be humble and at rest in the Lord? Dedicating herself to the service of the church as Paul teaches in 1 Corinthians 7? As 84-year old Anna in the Temple (Luke 2:36-38), who had dedicated her life to the Lord for probably over 60 years?
A gentle and quiet spirit is a thoroughly theological spirit that’s why it can rest. Such a woman knows:
- The greatness and steadfast love of God
- The unassailable salvation and intercession of Christ
- The ever-present help of the Holy Spirit.
- You know God’s providence.
- You know adoption and sanctification—that God is at work changing you and all those around you into degrees of glory.
- You know it is only a matter of time until we receive all that Christ earned for us.
And as the context of 1 Peter 3 bears this out, a gentle and quiet spirit rests in the control of the Lord over all things in her life—just as Sarah did when Abraham sinned against her and sent her into a harem.
All Christian women possess the potential to live as Peter insists. The only issue confronting women today (as in every age) is will a gentle and quiet spirit be your aim, your study, your practice? Humble and confident. Patient and trusting. Asked another way: will you allow your biology to constrain your expectations and your conduct?
Where feminism has failed women is convincing them they can (and should) do anything a man can do. Perhaps that is physically possible, but is it right? Indeed, that’s not the issue. Sisters, God has made you female—a life-giver and nurturer with a calling to a gentle and quiet spirit—will you act as a female?