WHAT DEFINES MASCULINITY?

The symbol of the Roman god Mars (god of war) is often used to represent the male sex. It also stands for the planet Mars and is the alchemical symbol for iron. (from Male (en.wikipedia.org))

Does the Bible define what it means to be a man? I think most people would say it does not. However, I recently read a book that argues otherwise, Men We Need: God’s Purpose for the Manly Man, the Avid Indoorsman, or Any Man Willing to Show Up, by Brant Hansen. Is Hansen right? The Bible does define marriage, and it talks about the roles of men and women in marriage. In fact, Hansen argues that the differences between men and women first comes up in Genesis. Hansen points to this verse in particular.

Genesis 2:15 New King James Version

15 Then the Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it.

Before God made the first woman, Eve, God gave the first man, Adam, a job. God gave Adam the job the task of serving and guarding (another way of translating Genesis 2:15) the Garden of Eden.

What task did God give Eve? Consider.

Genesis 2:18 New King James Version

18 And the Lord God said, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.”

What is a helper? Here are several references.

  • ezer is the Hebrew word that “helper” is used to translate. In some verses in the Old Testament, God is spoken of as a help. We need lots of help, apparently.
  • Helper: defining the EZER woman speaks of a helper as an ally or rescuer, even a hero.
  • HELP addresses the definition of the word azar, “to help,” Hebrew.

The point is that being a helper does not make someone an inferior. God apparently intended Adam and Eve to be equals. In fact, Adam immediately recognized Eve as someone precious to him (see Genesis 2:21-25), but how does Genesis distinguish the male and female roles? If she is a helper, doesn’t woman have to do the same things as a man? That thought left me a bit confused, wondering whether Hansen was right or wrong.

How important is this issue? Probably less than we think. In the resurrection Jesus says our sex will not matter. Consider how He answered some Sadducees (who said there is no resurrection) when they question Him.

Mark 12:24-25 New King James Version

24 Jesus answered and said to them, “Are you not therefore mistaken, because you do not know the Scriptures nor the power of God? 25 For when they rise from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven.

Still, God charges us to be fruitful and multiply (Genesis 1:28), and there is this biological imperative that women have to have children (Genesis 3:16). Therefore, God made woman precious to man, and we learn from each other how to love and care for another person. A woman gives her man the motivation he needs to tend and keep a family, their family.

With that in mind read the following. Observe that the Apostle Paul calls upon a man to serve and protect his wife, loving her as much as he loves himself.

Ephesians 5:22-33 New King James Version

Marriage—Christ and the Church

22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. 24 Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.

25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, 26 that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, 27 that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. 28 So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church. 30 For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. 31 “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” 32 This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church. 33 Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.

So, what defines Biblical masculinity? A man is someone who has learned to love others as Christ loved us. A man serves and protects those around him.

One thought on “WHAT DEFINES MASCULINITY?

Add yours

  1. Tom,

    Interesting issue to discern in our contemporary times in which women are marching around for their Rights and protesting laws made by men that affect their Rights.

    Your ending statement…. “So, what defines Biblical masculinity? A man is someone who has learned to love others as Christ loved us. A man serves and protects those around him.’

    It requires a wise man and/or women to recognize how their vanities create roadblocks to love others as Christ loved us, and/or to serve and protect according to Christ’s teachings.

    Regards and goodwill blogging.

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