Because Christianity is bigger than Biblical manhood or Biblical womanhood (Blog of Retha Faurie)

John Piper asserts women were made, right from the start, to represent the church, and man to represent Christ. (Why his view is logically untenable can be found here.)

Let us suppose that from the creation story, one of the two is a character who need rescuing (representing humanity, the church), and the other came down to rescue (representing Christ).

Who, in creation, has a problem? “It’s not good for a man to be alone…” The man has a problem. Who, in the Christ – church picture, has a problem? We do, not Christ.

What help is sent for the man? An ezer k’negdo*, a help meet for him. Ezer translates as helper, but not as in assistant. Almost every time it is used in the Bible, it refers to God helping humans, a strong, rescuing help you cannot do without. In the Christ – church picture, Christ is the helper, the strong, rescuing help you cannot do without.

Next to ezer is k’negdo (meet for him), which mean “opposite him” or “facing him.” The ezer, which denotes the strong superior helping the weak inferior, is brought down with this word to be on eye-to-eye height with the needy man. The analogy, like any other, is far from perfect, but Christ is the strong Savior who became a human for our sake.

Man took Eve’s company, and the church took the salvation offered by God.

Who represents Christ in the creation story? Eve does. And who represents the church? The man does. If marriage is a picture of Christ and the church (I do not call it that), should one partner always be Christ, and the other always the church?


*Not every source transliterates k’negdo the same. Some write it as kenegdo or neged.

Comments on: "Women were made to represent Christ, and man the church?!" (22)

  1. Oh boy. If men were the “Christ’ he wouldn’t need a helpmeet. God didn’t place women on earth to do the chores, inflate the ego of her partner so he could ‘lead’.

    Sorry, but if ‘men’ represent Christ in the way he claims? Look at the world! They have been in charge for how long? Now the women wish to have a hand in helping in more than one area, and they throw a tantrum. Ahem. That is not the Christ I read about.

    Seriously. None of us are ALL THAT as they kids say.


  2. It is so refreshing to read posts and comments with good logic.

    Both of you would be welcome to post some articles on the Equality Central Blog. Just let me know….. :^)

    Retha, mind if I add your Blog to our Links of Interest list?


    • TL, am I getting crazy or what? I really thought I answered you already, but now the answer isn’t here?

      I’d love to post something there. If there is any article here that you would want there, take it.

      And of course I’d like being on your list.


      • Great. Process is for you to sign into the ECA Blog. Then I’ll update you to contributor. You then post it…. you can change or fancy it up as you wish. I’ll then approve it, spacing it a few days from whatever was posted last, and wala! your’re on. I’d like to see your last post about submission on there also, if you don’t mind.


  3. Please sign in as Retha on ECA Blog so I’ll recognize you.


  4. While I could state a lot of reasons why I personally think men need a lot of help, why look at relational issues in terms of who needs (more) rescuing? Both men and women are sinfully jacked up and need a lot of rescuing, but from Christ alone, not fellow sinners. Are the bible verses that admonish husbands to love and wives to submit not talking about treatment of one another, rather than who’s Superman and who’s Louis Lane? In Ephesians, Paul spends more time telling husbands to love than telling wives to submit. And if you look at the way Christ actually loved/loves the church, what we see is grave humility (no pun intended); what we see is what Paul said in 5:21: submit to ONE ANOTHER in the fear of God.

    You pose an interesting question at the end – “Should one partner always be Christ, and the other always the church?” Good food for thought. But at the same time, if we only look at it in terms of who’s “in power” between the two, I think we’ll miss it. Both men and women (whether married or single) are supposed to “be imitators of God as dear children and walk in love as Christ loved the church.” That’s a question of how we treat one another, not so much who has the upper hand.


    • Thank you, Laila – That’s exactly the kind of things we should be thinking about the matter. A post like this isn’t to push down men, it’s to show that our silly little constructs that place the one in a hierarchy above the other could as logically be reversed. Our little constructs are just that – silly little constructs.
      You are right, and welcome.


  5. […] an eploration of the meaning of the Hebrew words in Genesis 2:18 and 20, start here and here. I’m going to focus instead on Michael and Debi Pearl adherence to the King James Only […]


  6. The church is the woman, the wife, the bride. Christ is the man, the husband, the groom. To allow a woman to be symoblic for Christ would make the relationship between Christ and the Church a “Gay Relationship”. Plain and simple. A woman pastor is blasphemy to God. When the Christ and the Church is finally together in heaven there will be a wedding, Christ (the groom) and the Church (the bride). Ephesians 5:31-32, that’s the profound mystery that Paul spoke of in regards to marriage between one man and one woman, Christ and the Church. All those who have allowed women to be pastors and support this blasphemy need to repent. That’s why samesex marriages are moving at an alarming rate, not only in America but the world. This sin (woman pastoring) has grieved and quenched the Holy Spirit. He who has an ear let him and her hear, and repent. rad


    • Radford, you suggest women should not be symbolic of Christ. Which Christ-like qualities should I not show, to make sure I do not symbolize Jesus?

      As for men, what should they (not) do to make sure they never blaspheme by being symbolic of the church? If, for example, a man listens to a sermon, could that not symbolize the church listening to Christ? If he follow Jesus, does he blaspheme (your word choice for someone who acts the wrong role in the Christ/church picture)?


  7. Radford – It seems, from knowing some history of Christianity, that the spirit always moved the fastest when women were allowed to speak. For example, on Pentacost God poured his spirit out on manservants and maidservants, sons and daughters. And they all spoke! Before that, the Christian era began when women told the tomb is empty.

    Just because the wife is like the church in the Eph 5 picture, does not mean she cannot be the Christ-type in another Bible picture, for example creation.

    As for homosexuality – the Romans of the era Jesus and Paul lived in made a norm of homosexual acts (today, most men do not engage in it) and that was an era where women’s word did not count. As such, I do not believe their is a correlation between women pastors and homosexual acts.


  8. […] an eploration of the meaning of the Hebrew words in Genesis 2:18 and 20, start here and here. I’m going to focus instead on Michael and Debi Pearl adherence to the King James Only […]


  9. Radford claimed: “To allow a woman to be symoblic (sic) for Christ would make the relationship between Christ and the Church a “Gay Relationship”…blasphemy…”

    Here is something Jesus answered the Pharisees:

    Luk 8:
    15 Now the tax collectors and sinners were all gathering around to hear Jesus. 2 But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” …
    8 “Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins[a] and loses one. Doesn’t she light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? 9 And when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin.’ 10 In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

    A women symbolizes Jesus in this parable, told by Jesus Himself. According to some, this is a horror of horrors: It is a gay relationship! Jesus was blaspheming, to let a woman symbolize Him!

    But when Jesus find it completely appropriate to let a woman symbolize him, and some churchgoers find the thought against their constructs, I’ll go with Jesus.


    • Don Johnson said:

      I think the searching woman represents God in the parable and THEN since Jesus is God the metaphor also refers to Jesus. See Ken Bailey on Luke 15 triple parable.


  10. this is not saying women represent christ . read the verse in the bible that says the woman was made for the man….im not exactly sure where it is but search and you will find


  11. Joel, the text that women were made for the man also say: “For as the woman is of the man, even so is the man also by the woman; but all things of God.” and: “”Nevertheless neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord.” You should not take one small part of a verse out of context.

    If the woman was made for the man, it does not mean that she does not represent Christ: Christ (the Saviour) exists as Savior (Jesus existed before us, but was not in the position of Savior before anyone needed to be saved) for us – for meeting our true need and not to be commanded around by us or meet our selfish wants.

    There are pictures in the Bible (like this one) in which the woman acts in a Christ-representing manner, and others where the man does. But the actual Bible teaching is that all believers (male and female) represent Jesus.


  12. TheAvengingArtist said:

    Hello, Retha.

    I’ve been struggling with this issue (complementarianism) for about 15 months now. Before then, I could say without any hesitation that gender roles were bologna, since everything that people claimed about my gender was egregiously far from what and who I actually was. I lived my life–even my adolescence–with the rare privilege of having an unshakable sense of identity.
    On a whim one day, I googled something to the extent of “Christian Gender Roles”, and was shaken to the core when I found legions of websites mention male headship and female submission. I would have immediately dismissed their claims–if they had not attached bible verses to them. Since then, I have found several “safe havens” on the internet: this site, God’s Word to Women, CBE, BLT, and Newlife.
    However, many questions continue to haunt me: why did God create genders? What did He have in mind? (One site on the internet proposes that “love creates life”, and that this is the nature of marriage. Rudimentarily, I like this theory, because it reflects the truth that God loved us enough to create us, and even that His love gave us salvation.) What is the significance of the Bible being male-dominated? (A theory of mine: God wants His will to be done in our lives and in history, but He never imposes it. I think about how He didn’t want Israel to have kings, but He grudgingly allowed it when they pestered Him about it.) Why do we refer to Him as “He” and “Father?” (Another theory: “He” is more gender-neutral than “She” in Hebrew, and God didn’t want to be a potential target of the “pagan goddess sexual fetishes” of the day.)
    The question that bugs me the most is why God refers to Himself as a “Bridegroom” and not simply a spouse. Why is Israel a bride? Why is the Church a bride? Why are groups of people and societies often referred to as women? It pains me deeply to think that God created me His image, only to say to me that I “represent” humanity (which is clearly inferior to and in need of God), while males who are just as human as I am “represent” Christ more directly–especially in a marriage. I really don’t want to believe that God has ulterior motives, but I don’t want to displease Him if I happen to be badly mistaken on this matter. Above all, I really don’t want things to be as complex as people make them out to be.

    Thanks for your patience–I know it’s a long post.



    • Hi TAA,

      Gendered organisms typically have more genetic diversity, if we can approach the “why genders” question biologically. It seems that for whatever reason, the more complex the lifeform, the less it relies upon self-replication.

      As for the male-centric items you mentioned, I think it has more to do with meeting society where it was, than with God sanctioning fallen humanity’s ideas of hierarchy. Relationships such as father/son and groom/bride tell us more about how God relates to all mankind than how mankind relates to God. That is, God is using the social constructs to tell us about his love and care, not that only men can love and care.

      I know this only touches the surface, but it’s a start. 🙂


    • Don Johnson said:

      The biological answer to “Why sex?” is that sexual reproduction allows for more genetic diversity and this is a way to fight other organisms that can more easily be recognized as “not you” and therefore opposed by the immune system.

      On the metaphors, it is important to see which way the mapping is, God is like a bridegroom, this does not mean a bridegroom is like God, this is a very common mistake that comps make, getting the mapping reversed as they try to make their argument. Once you have the right mapping, you can ask HOW is God like a bridegroom? What are the similarities and what are the differences?


    • Hi, I planned to get back to you (it was insanely busy in my life at the time you posted) but forgot.
      I don’t know why God made genders. All I know is “for men to picture Jesus and women to picture the church” is a terrible answer – for one thing it leaves the single Christian woman, like me, with the role of picturing an unbeliever (so I can be “saved” by a man if/ when I get one).
      About the Bible being male-dominated – I think that is partly the case of believers choosing to rather write down God’s dealings with men than his dealings with women. And partly the fact that the culturally honorable place for a woman was rather hidden (Marg Mowczko’s blog Newlife has a good article on that) and the honorable thing for women in that culture would have been to speak little of her. Another thing is that God expands his reach all the time in the Bible: From Abraham – but making his promise to Abraham’s wife too, to the nation of Israel, to all nations. He could have expanded his reach to women – except this sentence is very badly put as he obviously included women right from Genesis 1, when making both sexes in His image and calling both to rule.
      I also believe God is called “He” cause he would have been more gender neutral. And in Greek (I don’t know of other languages) the word for fathers is used for a combo of mom(s) and dad(s) too – for example in the NT text that say Moses’ parents (fathers) hid him. That could also be why God is called Father.
      I think God calls himself a groom to say something of himself by using examples from how society work. But by calling all believers – men and women – the bride, God say that one gender is not above the other in the church. There is one Groom (and grooms in that society would have had more status than brides) – God – and all of us, including husbands as the bride. Similarly, there is one Father (“call no man on earth father…” – Jesus) – God – and all of us, including fathers, are the “mother and sisters and brothers” of Jesus. Probably God tried to say the status role that 1st century society wanted to give to men should be only his, and not the men’s? I think so, I don’t know that.

      I put some of your questions on the CBE Facebook group ( )too, perhaps you want to join – if not already a member – and see the discussion there?
      And as you see, I invited the members of the group here to speak to you too.


  13. Marshall said:

    First, this is obviously wrtten by a woman because she refers to Eve by her name, but just calls Adam “man”. By actually naming Eve,you set the idea of her having dominince, making i appear that she actually is better. Just being honest, only a woman would purposly make the woman in a story apear better. Secondly, it’s obvious that the man represents Christ. Jesus was legitimately a guy. Plus, if you understoo the Jewish marriage process and its comparison to the last supper, you would know that the guy represents Christ. It’s kind of long, so I’m not going to explain it, but I reccomend you look into it. It’s really neat. Anyways, I hop you learn that the woman represents the church, and the man, Christ. Not vice versa. May God lead you to the path of truth. God bless!


    • If women cannot represent Jesus, what do you make of texts where Jesus compares himself to a woman searching and even to a hen, or where God compares himself to a mother? If women cannot represent Jesus, what Christ-like actions are not for women? Is the text about being transformed into the image of Christ only for men?
      If men cannot represent the church, what do you make of texts that calls the church soldiers (nearly always a male job in that world) ? Men are part of the church. how can they not represent it?
      May God lead you to the path of truth. God bless!


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