Are Men and Women the Same?

by Ken Ham on March 27, 2024
Featured in Ken Ham Blog

This month is Women’s History Month in the United States, and March 8 was globally celebrated as International Women’s Day. Now, on the International Women’s Day official website it says, “Imagine a gender equal world. A world free of bias, stereotypes, and discrimination. A world that’s diverse, equitable, and inclusive. A world where difference is valued and celebrated. Together we can forge women’s equality.” But what do they mean by “equality”?

Well, they speak of valuing and celebrating “differences” but also pushing for “women’s equality.” In today’s vernacular, “equality” generally means “sameness.” You see, the differences between men and women are not usually celebrated. Instead, society acts as if men and women are the same and that to achieve “equality,” we need women to be more like men and men to be more like women. How should we understand “equality” in a biblical worldview?

Well, we understand that men and women are equal before God in terms of their worth, dignity, and access to salvation through Jesus Christ and sanctification through his Holy Spirit and his Word. The Bible never treats women as “less than” men, but it likewise doesn’t treat women the same as men (or men the same as women).

We’re equal in our standing before God, but we’re not equal in the sense of sameness or even in roles. When God created Adam and Eve, he gave them this charge:

Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth. (Genesis 1:28)
We’re equal in our standing before God, but we’re not equal in the sense of sameness or even in roles.

Both men and women are called to be fruitful and multiply (indeed, obedience to this command requires both a man and a woman), and both men and women are called to have dominion over creation. Man can’t accomplish either task on his own, which is why God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him” (Genesis 2:18) and then created woman. Together they can accomplish mankind’s mandate to have children and take dominion over the earth. But we don’t do this by being the same!

The differences between men and women are most obvious when it comes to obeying God’s command to be fruitful and multiply. Only a man can father a child, and only a woman can grow and nourish that baby within and with her body. But what about the second part of our mandate—having dominion?

We also don’t accomplish this in the same way (and that’s a good thing!). In his new book on biblical identity, AiG’s Executive CEO Martyn Iles describes the different ways men and women fulfill the dominion mandate this way:

When the man is made first, he is commissioned with two words which describe His God-given purpose as a man. First, he is commissioned to “work.” Second, he is commissioned to “keep.” Both charges were given to him in relation to “the garden” — which speaks of a focus toward the world of things around him. He was a man on a mission, with a sphere of responsibility.

And woman:

When the woman is made second, she is commissioned with a single word which describes her God-given purpose as a woman. She is commissioned as “helper.” This charge is given to her in relation to “the man” — which speaks of a focus toward persons. Then, in the following chapter, she is described as “mother.” . . .

To turn Genesis 2 into metaphor, a woman was made facing a person, while a man was made facing a garden. A person orientation versus a world orientation.

We are able to fulfill the mandate God has given mankind—what a beautiful thing!

Yes, men and women are different, and we need to celebrate those differences and help our boys and girls, young men and young women, to understand their God-given identity as a female or a male. We need to help them resist the world’s attempts to erode those important differences as it tries to force women to be more like men, or men to be more like women. Together, we are able to fulfill the mandate God has given mankind—what a beautiful thing!

As Christians, we need to obey the roles God has ordained for us as fathers, mothers, husbands, and wives, regardless of our opinions.

You can learn more about what the Bible teaches about men and women and what that means for our identity in Who Am I?—I strongly recommend this book for every young person!

Overcoming the War on Women for the Glory of God

It’s not too late for women to attend this year’s Answers for Women conference, brought to you by Concerned Women for America and Nutramax. Be encouraged and equipped to live out God’s good design for you! Register to attend our weekday option on April 1–3 or to live stream the event.

Thanks for stopping by and thanks for praying,

This item was written with the assistance of AiG’s research team.

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