LETTER OF THE DAY: God honours women
THE EDITOR, Sir: Online columnist Michael Abrahams used a few incidents of domestic violence perpetrated by clergy (Gasp! Who knew that people sinned?) to argue that the Bible itself is misogynist and, therefore, not truly "inspired by God". He's wrong. God inspired scripture and God truly loves women.
In a time when women and children had limited protection and husbands discarded their wives like old property, Jesus upheld women's dignity by speaking out against such cruelty. Jesus treated women as equals. While others refused to share scripture with women, Jesus received Mary, sister of Martha, as a disciple and commissioned the Samaritan woman of ill repute as an evangelist of the gospel. Jesus is "God in the flesh" and the "exact representation of [God's] nature". If you want to know how God feels about women, look to Jesus.
If you look to Moses, Lot, Paul and other imperfect people, it's easy to find fault. To find truth, however, you must come to scripture humbly and in faith. So here's some understanding, free of charge.
Eve was God's final masterpiece. Adam was created with sexual organs. From the beginning, God had a perfect mate in mind. He only wanted to give her a more elegant entrance. To say that woman's creation after man makes woman inferior is like saying that man is inferior to monkeys because man was created after monkeys.
Under Mosaic Law, mothers and their newborns were given the honour of foreshadowing Christ and His Kingdom. A mother's blood flow pointed to Jesus' blood flow. Her undeserved uncleanness for childbirth pointed to Christ's undeserved uncleanness on the cross. Her newborn son's circumcision on the eighth day signified Christ's new covenant, through which he cut away our old carnal spirit and made us a new creation. There could be no further purification for the boy after this. He is clean once the covenant is ratified. He's a picture of the New Testament believer. Therefore, the mother of a newborn boy only purifies for herself, stopping after the first 40 days.
However, like Moses on Mt Sinai preparing to lead Israel and Jesus fasting in the desert preparing to lead the Kingdom, the mother of a newborn girl purifies a second time (40 more days) on behalf of, and in preparation for, her baby girl, who very well may have been carrying the egg of the Messiah inside her. This is how you honour precious things.
Indeed, the Mosaic Law is full of grace and kindness. While other ancient peoples treated women like property, Hebrew women could inherit property and conduct business. If a Hebrew soldier married a war captive and the marriage didn't work out, he wasn't allowed to enslave her. He had to let her go free. Rape was a capital offence; men were stoned. (Deut. 22:24 In addition to that, if a girl lost her virginity, whether or not she was raped, the male or his kin had to pay her family restitution. If the girl gave up her virginity willingly, the boy could not refuse to marry her. If she required it of him, he had to take care of her for the rest of her life.
Look around the world where Christ is not followed such as in parts of the Middle East. How are women treated there? Burka, anyone? Now, look at the Christian nations. Do you notice how free and empowered women are in comparison?
Make no mistake about it. It's the God of the Bible that has lifted women up through the centuries and who will lift her higher still.