Editor's Note: This is part II in a two-part excerpt from Mary Kassain's new book Girls Gone Wise in a World Gone Wild. To read Part I: "Uniquely Male: The Scriptural Blueprint for Masculinity" click here.
God created woman from the side of man, so she's made of the same stuff—equal to man. But He didn't create her at the same time, place, or from dust, so she's also different.
Male and female are equal and different. God made them to complement each other. We've already looked at six markers of complementarity that can be observed in the creation of the male. Six more markers appear in the creation of the female.
The Female Was Created from the Male "So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman." (Genesis 2:21-22)
In our culture, "Remember where you came from!" is a common admonition not to look down on one's beginnings. It's a warning to avoid pride and an overinflated sense of self-importance. We intuitively know that it's inappropriate to regard that from which we were made as lesser than us. We know that we are obliged to honor and respect our origins.
The same sort of idea is present in the creation of the female. Because woman was drawn from man's side, it was appropriate for her to have an attitude of respect toward him. He was the firstborn. In the New Testament we see that the fact that she was created from him—and not the other way around—is the basis of a wife honoring the authority of her husband. "For man was not made from woman, but woman from man. . . . That is why a wife ought to have a symbol of authority on her head" (1 Corinthians 11:8-10).
The Female Was Made for the Male
"Then the Lord God said, ‘It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.'" (Genesis 2:18, italics added)
Genesis chapter two tell us that the female was created "for him"—that is, on account of the male. 1 Corinthians 11:9 reinforces that man was not created "for the woman," rather the woman was created "for man." He explains that this is the basis for a wife respecting the authority of her husband.
For most of us, the idea of woman being created "for" man sounds somewhat negative, since it appears to imply that he has license to use and abuse her at will. But the Hebrew preposition carries no such overtones. It simply denotes direction. She was created for—that is, toward or with reference to him, or on account of him. She was created because of him. His existence led to hers. It didn't happen the other way around. Our adverse reaction to the idea that we were created "for man" serves to underline how very far we've fallen from the original created order.
When the first bride was presented to her husband, her heart was undoubtedly bursting with joy to have been created for him. She was thrilled that his existence led to hers. There's another important point here. Being created for someone indicates that God created the female to be a highly relational creature. In contrast to the male, her identity isn't based on work nearly as much as on how well she connects in her relationships. Woman is the relater-responder who is inclined toward connecting with others.