I won’t lie and say the idea never crossed my mind and I wondered what the world would look like if Eve was created first. What would have happened if Eve was given the task of naming everything she saw and God made Adam for Eve. What if Adam ate the fruit and Eve was just out there living her best life.
Pondering the world under the perception of “what if’s” is a danger to humanity. So I decided to change my question to this; despite the creation and fall and a largely patriarchal bible, how does God show his compassion for the feminine heart?
When I first started asking this, I had no contextual knowledge of the bible. I read it at face value and memorized the black (and red) ink. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but if that’s where you end your study into the word of God, it will leave you mislead. So I dove deeper, in hopes that I would find something to ease my mind. And I was pleased.
The story of Ruth is quite pretty and romantic, but within it, we find nuggets of a God who cares deeply about His final creation. In summary, Ruth’s husband dies during a war and her mother in law urges her to return to her home land because a Moabite divorcee woman had very little prospects of flourishing in good ol’ Bethlehem. But Ruth refuses to leave Naomi, risking everything for loyalty. Then things get a bit weird. Naomi has a relative who is known as the “kinsman redeemer” – WHAT?
Refer back to everyones favorite book. Deuteronomy 25:5. When brothers live together and one of them dies and has no son, the wife of the deceased shall not be married outside the family to a strange man. Her husband’s brother shall go to her and take her to himself as wife and perform the duty of a husband’s brother to her.
Straight outta context, this is crazy. But you need to understand that an unmarried women had very little rights in these times. Even worse, being known as divorced was one of the greatest shames and chances of marrying again were slim. These were different times. This law in Deuteronomy 25 was called the law of levirate marriage and was put in place as a measure of provision for divorced women of God.
Understand also that throughout the Bible we read God telling His people to be holy. The Hebrew word God used was “kudos” meaning “other, set apart or different”. This idea of being counter-cultural is a constant theme through out the Bible. God doesn’t call any of His children to fit in, He demands of them to be morally and spiritually pure and different. This is again evident in the above law. God doesn’t want divorce to be the end of a women’s life. He wanted, then and now, for our best days to always be ahead of us.
What does this mean for women today?
The same God who declared laws back then to provide and protect for women (and the poor, and the sick and and and) still carries that same heart today. Yes, our society had moved on and progressed but that doesn’t mean God’s heart has changed.
He remains gracious.
He remains compassionate.
He remains loving.
He remains slow to anger.
God, then, put laws in place to make women feel valued. He called Deborah as a female judge. He put a prostitute in the lineage of The Messiah. He welcomed a woman to sit at His feet. He calls forward those who are obedient, not those who are of a certain gender. Your world may paint a different picture but God has, and always will, care for and carry the feminine heart with deep compassion.