By Nelly Favis Villafuerte
In at least four Biblical passages (Genesis 2:24, Ephesians 5:22-23, Mark 10:7-10 and Matthew 19:4-6), the Holy Bible says that when a man and woman are united in marriage, they become one. The controversial point that has been causing a lot of grief and agony to many is: Which one?
Some men although they do not admit it openly, treat women as decorative sex. This, despite a provision in Article II in the Declaration of Principles and State Policies, Section 14, of our Constitution which says: “The State recognizes the role of women in nation-building, and shall ensure the fundamental equality before the law of women and men.”
Again, men may not admit it but, many of them believe in the concept of headship of husbands, or as some men would prefer to say – in the submission of wives to their husbands. They base their stand on Ephesians 5:22-24 which says: “Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ is the head of the church, his body of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.” Colossians 3:18 also says: “Wives, submit to your husbands, as it is fitting in the Lord.”
In the Book of Genesis, God made the first woman from the first man’s (Adam’s) ribs. If woman was made from man, does it follow that woman is inferior to man? If woman was created from man, does it mean that she is to serve him? If woman was created after man, does it make the woman inferior to man in every sense? In short, does priority in the order of creation lead to priority in rank? A feminist will answer no to all these questions, without even pausing to think. The long-established traditional view is that a woman is inferior to man in every sense except probably in the spiritual realm. History records instances where the “inferior women” had to face injustices in our male-dominated society. Also, we read many times about a man raping a woman, but I cannot remember when, if ever, there was news appearing in newspapers about a man being raped by a woman.
Somebody once said (probably a male) that woman is man’s confusion. Many women. however, have been voicing their opposition to this saying. In the past, a Beijing conference on women years ago, where about 25,000 women from 178 countries attended – the strong clamor was the opposite: That man is woman’s confusion. For definitely, without men in this world, women will not be too militant on certain issues.
I am not a feminist or so-called liberated woman, but I believe that the concept of headship of husbands is abused. There are husbands who demand instant obedience to every capricious whim of theirs. This is not headship any more but childishness, selfishness, and sadism. Really – submission does not mean that the wife should commit sin because the husband says so. Submission does not mean that the wife should suffer all the physical and psychological abuses of her husband who may be spiritually and psychologically sick. Submission does not mean that a wife should not express her own opinion and feelings. Submission does not mean that a wife is incapable of great achievements. Alas, many men realize too late that headship is not dictatorship.
The Holy Bible teaches total equality in our relationship with God. In fact we see in Mark 12:25 that there will be no marriages in heaven. Sex distinction will be no more. In God’s sight, men and women are spiritually equal. It is disheartening though to discover that throughout the ages, we see men who have been notorious in using women for their own evil ends – devilish men who can easily qualify for the gallery of madmen in history.
Thanks to the women’s movements worldwide as recorded in history who used multifold strategies, including mass demonstrations, picketing, and hunger strikes, to arouse public sympathy in their fight for equal opportunities and rights in the fields of education, employment, suffrage, politics, economics, social relations, and other fields of human endeavors. Today, however, women’s groups are drum-beating for other matters that are already so out of this world.
I said it before, I say it again. Women are equal with men before God in worship and in creation. In the words of one Christian writer: “Woman was made of a rib out of the side of Adam; not made out of his head to rule over him, but out of his side to be equal with him, under his arm to be protected, and near his heart to be loved.”
Blessed is the woman who has a deep personal relationship with Jesus Christ and whose faith in a God who created her is so great that she is at peace and loving to the husband even when he is unlovable! This is a kind of love that only our Lord can bestow.
This column continues to give out copies of the Holy Bible for free to those who cannot afford to buy their own copies. If interested, please send your letter-request to Ms. Nelly Favis Villafuerte, 5233 Fahrenheit St., Palanan, Makati City. Kindly mention if it is the Tagalog, English, Cebuano, or Ilocano Bible that is preferred.
Be joyful and forgiving!
(Comments may be sent to Ms. Villafuerte’s email: email@example.com.)