What does the Bible say about feminism? Because the teachings of Christianity have been traditionally male-dominated, it leads some to wonder whether Biblical scriptures align with feminism. To uncover feminism in Christianity, we must start by understanding the core of feminism and revisit the events that occurred at the beginning of creation.
What is Feminism?
Feminism is not a movement toward female domination over males, as some so like to argue. Rather the goal of feminism is gender equality, in which every person is valued equally and provided with the same opportunities regardless of their sex. It is a movement that works to discover and combat social, economic, and political issues that impact the lives of women around the world. When it comes to feminism and religion, what the Bible says about feminism is directly correlated to God’s perfect design for gender equality.
What Does the Bible Say About Feminism in Christianity and Gender Equality?
What the Bible says about gender equality is quite straightforward. Genesis 1:27-30 states:
“So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them, ‘Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.’ Then God said, ‘I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds in the sky and all the creatures that move along the ground—everything that has the breath of life in it—I give every green plant for food.’ And it was so.”
This passage makes it painstakingly clear that “God has given man and woman joint dominion over creation… Adam and Eve, who can be taken to represent the male and female sexes, have both been given dominion by God over creation” (Jesus and Women, p. 3). Joint–equal–dominion over creation represents perfect gender equality between the sexes.
Christianity and Feminism and the Will of God
The perfect harmony between the sexes was the will of God at creation. He intended that “men and women should live in mutual and self-giving love for one another” (Jesus and Women, p. 4). This is how Adam and Eve lived in the Garden of Eden at the start of their relationship. However, because of their disobedience, sin entered the world and, as a result, fractured the perfect harmony of the sexes.
Genesis 3:16-17 states:
“To the woman he said, ‘I will make your pains in childbearing very severe; with painful labor you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.’ To Adam he said, ‘Because you listened to your wife and ate fruit from the tree about which I commanded you, “You must not eat from it,” ‘Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat food from it all the days of your life.’”
The will of God was perfect, complementary harmony. However, once sin entered the world, equal dominion was no longer the case, as it states a woman’s husband would rule over her. “The loss of this joint dominion means that the human species is deficient in lacking the complementary gifts of men and women. Over time, relations between the sexes became tragically characterized by lust, domination and the subordination of women” (Jesus and Women, p. 4).
Jesus and Women: Restoring Harmony of the Sexes
The restoration of harmony between the sexes is essential to the restoration of all creation. Therefore, “the healing of relationships between the sexes… would have to have been the main aim of the redemptive ministry of Jesus Christ” (Jesus and Women, p. 4). This is evident in the astonishing (for the time) relationship between Jesus and women and how He interacted with and treated women during His time on the earth. It’s also apparent in the female authority in ministry that occurred after Jesus’ ascension. It all points to the goal of the restoration of the sexes to God’s intended will for humanity.
Jesus began the work of restoring harmony between the sexes. As I see it, “in order to achieve the kind of love exemplified by Christ, the input of female ministries will be essential” (Jesus and Women, p. 167). Jesus preached and exemplified loving, personal relationships throughout his ministry. If put into practice by his disciples in the current day, the harmony of the sexes can and will be facilitated by female ministries, which should also “lead to an equal voice for women in the public sphere and, hence, to a warmer, more harmonious world” (Jesus and Women, p. 169).
If you’re interested in learning more about this topic, I encourage you to read Jesus and Women, in which I dive deep into the biological explanation for “the battle of the sexes,” as well as the revolutionary attitude of Jesus towards women which gives great hope for the future of humanity.