Empowering young Australians to be a clear Christian voice
Is it true that maleness and femaleness is a cultural construct?
Theologian Miroslav Volf said on Q&A yesterday:
“I think God created male and female, as it says in Genesis, but not maleness and femaleness. I think maleness and femaleness is a question of cultural differentiation and kind of cultural play and I don’t play much stock into that. I don’t think there is theological – theological kind of weight to that distinction. It’s controversial, what I’m saying, theologically but that’s what I believe and I’ve written about it.”
We respectfully disagree and think he is unfortunately mistaken. The loss of sexual difference is leaving us poorer as a society. It is precisely because there are precious differences between male and female that we affirm marriage and reject its redefinition to include “same-sex marriages”.
John Milbank writes:
In the realm of public discourse, assertion of sexual difference has become practically unspeakable, despite the fact that it is implicitly assumed and indeed spoken of by most ordinary non-intellectual people in the course of everyday life.
Asymmetrical reciprocity of gender needs to be reacknowledged as naturally rooted in bodily differences that, unsurprisingly, have psychic equivalents. Thus allowing that all generalisations are of course weak and constantly subject to exception, women tend to be actively receptive, embracing and inter-personal. Men tend to be attentively active, outreaching and object-orientated. The differences here are only hierarchical in the sense that one sex tends to outshine the other in certain respects, and the other sex in certain other respects. But cumulatively there is by nature an equality-in-difference.
What is the biblical picture? It is one that emphasizes equality and differences in unity at the same time. In Evangelical Feminism and Biblical Truth, Wayne Grudem makes a clear case for manhood and womanhood:
“Within marriage, a husband manifests loving, humble headship, and a wife manifests intelligent, joyful submission to her husband’s leadership. Children are cared for and valued, and raised with both discipline and love. Children respect the authority of their parents, but their parents respect the children as having equal value because they are persons created in the image of God. Within the family, the husband is primarily responsible to lead, provide for, and protect his family, and the wife is primarily responsible to help her husband by managing the household and nurturing the children. But both husband and wife often willingly help the other person with his or her area of primary responsibility.”
Christians would do well to affirm the beauty and excellence of manhood and womanhood as He created it!