Guest Post by Robert Sagers

Mark Chanski, author of Manly Dominion and Womanly Dominion and the pastor of Harbor Reformed Baptist Church of Holland, Mich., was kind to answer a few questions about what it means for men and women to be men and women of (biblical) dominion.

Robert Sagers: What does it mean to be a man of dominion?

Mark Chanski: A man of dominion seeks to boldly subdue and rule over the circumstances of his life, instead of passively permitting the circumstances of his life to subdue and rule over him. He dominates his environment instead of letting his environment dominate him.

The cornerstone passage is the Dominion Mandate found in Genesis 1:28, the Lord’s first recorded words to his image bearing creatures: “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky, and over everything living that moves on the earth.”

God had just taken the chaos of a formless and void world, and in the space of six days, fashioned it into an orderly and “very good” creation. An image bearing man of dominion imitates his God. He subdues (brings into bondage, makes to serve him by force) and rules (governs, reigns, and holds sway over) the spheres (earth, sea, sky) around him. A man of dominion is boldly active.

In contrast, a billiard ball is timidly passive. It allows itself to be acted upon and pushed around by cue sticks, fellow balls, and bumpers. Not so the billiard player. He assertively imposes his plans on the table configuration by the forceful thrusts of his cue stick. He subdues and rules.

On the table of life, many men today function more like passive billiard balls than like active billiard players. This is seen in family life where many men act like couch potatoes failing to husband, father, and rule; in vocational life where many are sluggards failing to plan ahead, labor, and drive to excellence; in church life where many are AWOL: failing to lead, direct, and serve; and in personal life where many are weaklings failing to exercise self control, kill sins, and manage priorities.

Whenever God speaks and assigns, the serpent slithers and whispers, “Yea, has God said?” And so, many of us believe his lies, and adopt a posture of helpless victimization instead of bold dominion. One says, “I’m a genetic victim with bad DNA, and that’s why I’m obese, an alcoholic, or tranquilizer dependent. I can’t subdue and rule.” Another says, “I’m an emotional victim who’s been badly treated by significant others, and that’s why I can’t hold a job, control my sexual life, or stay off of drugs.” Still another, “I’m a circumstantial victim whose boss, wife, or government makes it impossible for me to succeed.” So instead of exercising dominion, we give excuses.

When faced with a daunting challenge (i.e., losing weight, disciplining our children, organizing our day), our motto should be: “I can, and so help me God, I will!” But at many times it becomes: “I probably can’t, so I won’t even try!” I confess my own struggles here.

But the Bible is full of men who were given daunting assignments, and found a way get them done. Noah built a freighter-sized ark in the face of a laughing world, with a 500 year-old body, in a pre-Home Depot era. Joseph overcame abusive brothers, a seductive temptress, and depression-provoking disappointments to become the prime minister of Egypt. Nehemiah fought through backbreaking rubble piles and sinister enemy conspiracies to finish the Jerusalem wall in 52 days. Paul endured brotherly rejection, Jewish persecution, and Roman incarceration to finish his missionary race.

The mightiest of all men of dominion is Jesus Christ Himself. Though he had poor parents, was called illegitimate, was ridiculed, entrapped, betrayed, scourged, and even crucified, he stayed at his post until he was able to shout regarding his epic errand, “It is finished.” Hallelujah, what a Savior!

A man of dominion seeks to imitate his Lord and Savior in every life assignment, whether it’s in school, at work, in marriage, in parenting, in churchmanship, or in personal godliness. So help him God, with no excuses, he seeks to subdue and rule in every sphere to the glory of his Maker and Redeemer.

RES: What does it mean to be a woman of dominion?

MC: Women have received the same dominion mandate as men. “And God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. And God blessed them; and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful, multiply and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule . . .’” (Genesis 1:27-28).

So women too need to fight off a sinful propensity toward timid passivity, and put on a dominion mindset of bold activity. Women are faced with daily life challenges just as daunting as men’s:

—Shall I apply for acceptance in the university’s highly competitive nursing program, or passively concede failure without even trying?
—Shall I surrender under the crushing pressure of term papers and final exams, or find a way, so help me God, to study my way through, and pass these classes?
—Shall I get romantically involved with a man of poor character because I’m afraid of becoming a spinster, or shall I faithfully stay the course and wait for a true man of God?
—Shall I permit my family’s home to fall into chaotic disarray, or resolve to labor diligently to maintain an orderly household?
—Shall I passively watch my children be swallowed up into the vortex of a godless culture, or valiantly fight the good fight to raise them in the fear of the Lord?

Godly women, made in the image of God, must daily tell themselves to subdue and rule, to the glory of God.

But women, unlike men, are faced with an additional fierce life challenge. They’ve also got to “play their position.” Coaching our daughter’s soccer teams found me constantly shouting to my players, “Play your position!” If I have a goalie who’s not convinced of the importance of guarding the goal, but is convinced that the only important contribution is scoring goals, that roaming and undisciplined player will do great harm to the team. Imagine the damage done when a girl assigned to play goalie leaves her post to make a long and exciting dribble run up the field, only to be stripped by an opponent who’s able to dribble back and to score into a goalie-less net! I’d shout, “Jessica, you’re a goalie, not a forward. Play your position! Everybody’s counting on you! Play your position!”

On the field of life, women not only have to play boldly, but they’ve also got to play their position. God hasn’t positioned women in such “forward” positions as Family Leader, Breadwinner, and Pastor. Eve was positioned by her heavenly coach as a “helper suitable” (Genesis 2:18), a child nurturer (Genesis 2:16), and a submissive learner (1 Timothy 2:11-15). But women hear shouts from unprincipled sideline voices telling them to leave their God-assigned posts, much like a misguided parent might tell his goalie daughter: “Get the ball, honey, and try to score!”

—The army recruiter at the high school tells her that women are well suited for military combat.
—Her college professor insists that she should pursue a Ph.D. and not let her pursuit be derailed by the patriarchal institution of marriage and childbearing.
—Her magazines tell her that her husband has no right to expect her to abandon her career to stay home with the children, while he continues to climb the corporate ladder.
—Her own inner voice tells her that selflessly serving her husband and her children is a thankless waste of a life.
—And her neighbor friend tells her that her spiritual maturity merits her being recognized as an elder in her church.

Godly women, made in the image of God, must daily tell themselves: “Play your position! Stay at your assigned post, to the glory of God.”

So a woman of dominion must have “a gentle and a quiet spirit” (1 Peter 3:4), as she must play her position. But that’s not the whole story. She must also boldly subdue and rule in her challenging assignments.

The Bible is full of bold women. Zelophehad’s daughters boldly brought their grievance to Moses and won their case, and God’s commendation (Numbers 27:1-7). Deborah “quit herself like a man” when passive billiard ball Barak refused to do his duty (Judges 4). Abigail saved her family by virtuously outmaneuvering Nabal and deftly advising David, to the admiring delight of the latter (1 Samuel 25). The lady of Proverbs 31 is a lovely subduer and ruler par excellence. Priscilla, whose name precedes her husband Aquila’s, helped teach the great Apollos the way of God more accurately (Acts 18:24-28). And Phoebe is saluted as a strategic and influential helper of the church at Cenchrea (Romans 16:1-2).

Such female heroes rightly brighten the eyes of Christian women!

So a woman of dominion is more than a gentle and quiet spirit. She boldly subdues and rules in her God-appointed positions to the glory of God.

RES: How can the church best equip its members to be men and women of (biblical) dominion?

MC: First, by being unapologetically countercultural in our teaching of the Scriptures. Our people are daily the targets of high octane media propaganda that promotes relativism, liberalism, feminism, and excuse-ism. The faithful declaring of the whole counsel of God should perceptively expose the subtle lies of the journalist, therapist, panelist, novelist, artist, feminist, etc.

Second, by modeling biblical manhood in church life. For example, men should:

—make their families’ consistent attendance a principled priority, not a feeling-driven option.
—step up to the plate in Sunday School classes and prayer meetings in such a manner that their verbal contributions lead the way, and not leave a void, provoking the women to take over.
—engage in spiritually-minded conversations that spur each other on to love and good works.
—go home, and throughout the week lead their families in consistent family devotions.
—work hard and with excellence at their vocations, enabling them to support both their own families and kingdom endeavors.

Third, by modeling biblical womanhood in church life. For example, women should:

—relish their God-honoring roles as submissive learners and followers.
—take up their strategic opportunities as strategic teachers. The church is teeming with needy women and children, and a wise Apollos will hear a discreet Priscilla.
—extend hospitality in its countless forms. A Christlike, foot-washing, servant-hearted woman is a mighty kingdom weapon. Think of Edith Schaeffer at L’Abri. Women are the church’s infantry.
—go home, and boldly mother their own children. The hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that rules the world.
—commit themselves to being passionately dedicated helpmeets to their own husbands.

Fourth, by praying with dependence on the Spirit. We can’t subdue and rule over anything apart from our Savior’s power. Apart from him, we can do nothing (John 15:5).

(Image Credit.)

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18 thoughts on “Taking Dominion”

  1. L says:

    What is wrong with a woman getting her PhD? Especially if she is single? I was agreeing with this passage full-heartedly, until it stated that and some other things. What if God has called her to something where such an education is a requirement? The article says women should “faithfully stay the course and wait for a true man of God,” but are we to be idle in the meantime?

  2. Mark Chanski says:

    Thanks for your comment, L. Great question!

    I personally don’t think there’s anything wrong with a woman getting a PhD. In fact, in some circumstances, I would encourage that very thing! In Womanly Dominion, chapter 13, I praise such strong women as Queen Elizabeth I of England, Golda Meir of Israel, and Condoleezza Rice (who had a PhD by the age of 26). In chapter 2, I also commend a woman who acquired a PhD in history.

    I apologize for my lack of clarity in my answer. I should have done better. I wrote:

    “Her college professor insists that she should pursue a PhD and not let her pursuit be derailed by the patriarchal institution of marriage and childbearing.”

    By this I was envisioning the scenario of a female college senior displaying her engagement ring to her university professor. The instructor frowns, seeing his prized student getting detoured from his hopes of her career greatness, and expresses his concern that marriage at the age of 23 will hamper her scholarly and professional advancement.

    She explains to her professor that her fiance works in hospital administration, is just starting his MBA, and that someday he may pursue a PhD, but that as of now, she doesn’t plan on pursuing any advanced degrees. She expresses that she plans on teaching high school history for two or three years, and that she hopes to then have children. She then tells him that the high calling of being a wife and a mother will probably demand so much of her wit and energies that the pursuit of a PhD is just not a priority.

    At this, the professor can’t believe his ears, and he demeaningly scolds his prized student for permitting “her pursuit to be derailed by the patriarchal institution of marriage and childrearing.”

    This is the kind of misguided counsel I had in mind — the kind of counsel that would encourage her to belittle and abandon the glorious God given assignments of wifehood and motherhood. “Get the ball, Honey, and go score for yourself!”

    Thanks, L, for clarifying. Sorry again for my foggy communication.

    Mark Chanski

  3. Mark Chanski says:

    Also, L, you mentioned a concern about education for women.

    Here is an extended quote from Womanly Dominion, page 108 that may be helpful. It describes the elite mission of motherhood:

    Homemaking motherhood is no refuge for the inept woman who can’t cut it in the real world. Rather, stay-at-home mothering is the ultimate profession for the elite of her gender.
    Her skill set must be highly diversified. She’s no mere babysitting caretaker. She realizes she’s raising thoroughbreds for the kingdom, and so she studies and reads and prepares meals with the inspiration of a dietician and a nutritionist. Her health care duties summon her often to rise to the level of nurse and physician. Domestic engineer is a suitable title for her who exercises dominion over her household headquarters by subduing swarming details into workable order. She is an economist in keeping the budget, holding the purse strings as the accountant, and acting as the purchasing agent for the family corporation, diverting bankruptcy and maintaining solvency. She’s a psychologist in analyzing the peculiarities each temperament, tracing the development of each child, and bringing the apt word as a counselor in each situation. She’s a personal trainer and disciplinarian as she cultivates obedience and self control in her natively wild herd. She’s a teacher and professor in instructing her students in reading, spelling, grammar, mathematics, history, science, and art. This is exceptionally and overwhelmingly true of a home schooling mother. She’s a pastor and theologian in her educating her children in the lofty themes of morality, spirituality and eternity.
    With a job description like that, I advise young women to get all the education they can. Any liberal arts or professional university degree will be “money in the bank knowledge” from which a mother will daily make heavy withdrawals.

    My wife, Dianne, holds two degrees, and as my chief adviser in life, I am very thankful for her well-rounded educational experience.

    Also you mentioned your concern about the idea of my encouraging single women to “wait for a true man of God . . . and remain idle in the meantime.”

    I’m sorry if I convened that idea. I certainly don’t believe that.

    A man of dominion, who needs a competent helpmeet, probably isn’t very interested in a lady who spends her time holding a parasol, sitting on a sofa, passively waiting for her knight in shining armor to whisk her away. She should be boldly and busily pursuing a godly endeavor.

    Boaz chose a boldly active Ruth to be his bride. David chose a boldly adventurous Abigail. The man who is “known in the gate” chose the boldly enterprising Lady of Proverbs 31. Those are my kind of girls!

    Thanks again, L, for your comments.

  4. Theo Matters says:

    I was given a copy of Manly Dominion but I gave it away to a brother who turned out later to be a homosexual after leaving his wife.
    That book is outstanding in emphasizing the biblical role that each every man must make. I miss it. Thanks Bro. Mark Chanski for writing it.

  5. Mark, I appreciate the above clarification you’ve provided in the comments. As you know, I think you’re correct in your position on godly manhood and womanhood and Scripture supports your theses. However, I think there are a lot of those “gray areas” people point to when they hear “black-white” statements. While Scripture is clear on the moral principles, our practical application of those principles can often look different with different people in different situations. So that’s why I enjoyed reading your notes of clarification to that end. Thanks again for your messages on this very topic at BTC 2011! May God continue to bless your pastoral labors!

  6. Tidus says:

    Your posts are long! Keep up the good work, God bless

  7. Dean Abbott says:

    I read the opening chapter of the book on manly dominion and was disappointed to see manliness equated with neo-conservative foreign policy.

  8. LC Crownhill says:

    I tripped over this statement: “…seeks to boldly subdue and rule over the circumstances of his life, instead of passively permitting the circumstances of his life to subdue and rule over him.” Hmmm…I’d always thought that God rules circumstances, and what needs taming is our heart and its responses to circumstances. Guess I’ll have to read the book (whose premise does appear compelling).

  9. If women and men would simply take their faith more seriously each would step up and live with conviction, clarity, purpose, devotion, service and love. I do not agree with your argument that these are male and female traits we should go for. Encourage us to fully utilize our God given abilities and lead our families and everything else you listed as particularly male or female. I do not see evidence in the Bible that breaks out our male or female duties. And your choice of language “dominion” scares and offends me.

  10. Mark Chanski says:

    Thanks for writing, Melody.

    I’m sorry that “dominion” language “scares and offends” you. That’s not what I intended.

    You may not realize it, but this is simply verbally quoting a term from the King James Version of the Bible — Genesis 1:26-28:

    26 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness; and let them have DOMINION over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.” 27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. 28 And God blessed them, and God said to them, “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 air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.”

    Actually, God’s order is not scary or offensive, but “good”, even “very good” (Gen 1:31).

    And I do think that the Bible does wonderfully draw distinctions in the assigned roles for men and women.

    In Genesis 2:18, the Lord appoints Eve (Adams’ wife) as a “helpmeet” or “helper suitable” for him. This refers the man’s headship in marriage, and the woman’s role as his very necessary assistant.

    In Genesis 3:16 and 3:20, the Lord refers to the woman’s role as chief Child Nurturer within the family, and in Genesis 3:17-19, to the man’s role as chief Bread Winner.

    But these role distinctions are not scary or offensive.

    Here’s an extended quote from Womanly Dominion (pp38-41) that might interest you:

    Genesis 1:27 And God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.

    This is a profound statement, declaring the equality of essence shared by men and women. We’re both “image of God”. We share an equal nature. It blasts out of the water the twisted notion that the man possesses a superior nature above the woman. It’s a sharp reproof to all forms of male tyranny, especially within marriage.
    The Apostle Peter extols the virtues of Sarah’s submission to Abraham (1 Peter 3:5-6), yet immediately chops down at the roots any thought of chauvinistic supremacy.

    1 Peter 3:7 You husbands likewise, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with a weaker vessel, since she is a woman; and grant her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.

    Husbands and wives are “fellow heirs”. We’re both equally image bearing children of the King.

    Galatians 3:28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

    As Christians, regardless of our race (Jew/Gentile/Black/White/Latino), social status (Feeeman/Slave/Rich/Poor), or sex (male/female), Paul insists that we all stand before God on an equal footing. In Christ, we’re all “one”, sharing an equality of essence.
    However, though men and women share a blessed equality, we’re also endowed with a holy and wonderful diversity.

    Genesis 1:27b male and female He created them.

    God’s image bearing masterpiece manifests a purposeful diversity. Think of the Trinity of the Godhead. There is one God (singularity and equality). But there are three Persons: Father, Son, Holy Spirit (plurality and diversity). Equality of essence is accompanied by diversity of function. The Father decrees redemption. The Son accomplishes redemption. The Spirit applies redemption. God is equality and diversity. And so in His fashioning an image bearing race of mankind, God purposefully infuses the profound elements of equality and diversity – “In the image of God He created him” (equality); “male and female He created them” (diversity). This masterpiece reflects the glorious nature of God Himself.
    But our God-defying world culture seeks to vandalize the divine masterpiece. For decades, radical feminism has staged an all out assault on God’s creation order by seeking to obliterate the blessed differences between male and female. They’re seeking to feminize our boys and masculinize our girls. They want to level the distinctions between male and female. . .
    Clearly, in God’s created order men and women have been assigned to different positions and roles in God’s world. Yes there is equality of essence, but diversity of function, between the sexes. Generally speaking, the normal course of life results in a woman pairing up with and marrying a man. (I realize that we live in an imperfect, sin cursed world that doesn’t always match every Eve with an Adam.) It’s God’s will for a married woman to assume her auxiliary position at her husband’s side as his supportive “helpmeet”, dedicating herself to the grand project of helping her man, and nurturing her children.
    I realize that the Bible’s view of the world doesn’t conform to the feminism saturated culture of political correctness. I realize that this declaration of gender diversity and womanly submission may sound offensive and denigrating to a 21st century female reader. But it shouldn’t.
    Let’s reason scripturally together. Is it denigrating for the Son of God to assume a position of submission under the authority of the Father? Did it degrade his divine Person when He said, “For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me” (John 6:38)? Oh no! The Son’s humble submission under the Father’s authority is the essence His praiseworthy glory.

    Philippians 2:5 Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 9 Therefore also God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name.

    For a woman who rejects the mind of the world, and puts on the mind of Christ, it’s counted a great honor to follow in the submissive footsteps of the servant-hearted Son of God. For there’s no more prestigious role in the world than humbly occupying the position, and performing the role assigned by one’s heavenly Father. This is what it means to be Christ-like. The way of humility is the road to glory.

  11. Rachel Stone says:

    Why “Biblical Dominion” ISN’T.

  12. My problem with that word DOMINION is its meaning today and what you’re implying by using it within the topic of “the roles of men and women in the Church.” I have to question why choose an outdated and oppressive word that means the power (as authority) or right (as ownership) to use or dispose of property; specifically : absolute or exclusive use, control, ownership, or possession of property dominion and control. (Yes, I know it’s in the KJV which is a beautiful translation, if you can understand it.)

    I don’t find this article inspiring — discouraging is a better word. I think your scholarship is old and you are reading into these verses what you want them to say to fit old-fashioned ideas about men and women.

    Just take, for example, Gen 2:18. “I will make a helper fit for him.” The word is “helper” – you likely already know, but you may not realize it, that in Hebrew it is “ezer” and it is used elsewhere in scripture more than 20 times. All but six of those times “ezer – helper” refers to GOD. In the same way that God is our helper and woman is to be a man’s helper.

    This set of verses actually has nothing to do with marriage or more specifically “the man’s headship in marriage, and the woman’s role as his very necessary assistant.”

    A few other examples of ezer.

    “I will lift my eyes unto the hills from whence comes my HELP. My HELP comes from the Lord.” Psalms 121:1-2

    “Our HELP is in the name of the Lord.” Psalms 124:8

    I believe you are reading into this verse and many others. This is just one example.

    One more example of your interpretation “identifying a woman’s role as child nurturing” — In 1 Tim 2 the use of “woman” is singular not plural for all women. Implying that one particular woman was causing problems in that situation in the church, similar to 1 Cor 5 where a man was causing problems.

    And as for Adam and Eve and their being deceived — Adam was given the instruction to not eat from the tree. Eve wasn’t even there yet when the instruction was given. There is no evidence that he even told her. Then, he stood there and let her take the apple.

    I could do this all day, but I don’t have time. I’ll just say to finish I completely don’t comprehend how you get a “sacred Procreation focus of woman’s creation mandate” out of the fact that she can procreate and he says she’ll have pain when she does. The mention of her two children being born was likely because the lineage was important in the later important story of Cain and his brother.

    I would encourage you to widen your heart and mind to a more important idea that our ROLES as men and women, but to what God has called each of us as people. Women for too long have been belittled by men like you who look to scriptures to reinforce the deep biases and prejudices that you hold. As Cynthia Lagrov says “The Church shows little concern or interest in uncovering a balanced view and representaion of gender for God’s glory and for the benifit of humanity.”

    I don’t know if you’ve read the recent Barna study on the large numbers of women that are starting to leave the church. I hate to say this but much of that in my opinion is that we believe we have a more significant role to play than being an “assistant and procreator” of our husband’s.

    This is about justice. Reconciliation. And Mercy. Not power, and control and dominion.

  13. Karen says:

    How do you get “chief child nurturer” and “chief breadwinner” out of those verses? Man and woman were given distinct “curses” as a result of the fall, but that seems to be all that those verses are saying. They are descriptive not prescriptive. The leap you make from those verses seems quite a leap indeed.

  14. Mark Chanski says:

    That’s a good question, Karen.

    I agree with you that the curse of Genesis 3 is not prescriptive, but descriptive. But it’s more than descriptive, it’s also epitomizing. Biblical narrative purposefully contains profound theology and anthropology. The curse of Genesis 3 describes how the consequences of sin will effect the male and the female in their seeking to carry out their peculiar assignments.

    The man had been appointed as the breadwinner (Genesis 2:15 “Then the Lord God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it.”), and so his role will be snakebitten by thorns, thistles, and sweat (Genesis 3:17-19).

    The woman had been appointed as the child nurturer, and so her role will be snakebitten by “pain in childbirth” (Genesis 3:16).

    Here’s an excerpt from Womanly Dominion, p33:

    Now, it’s quite obvious that this procreation mandate (
    Genesis 1:28) is of peculiar relevance to womankind. Of course, men must participate. But woman was designated as the partner responsible for giving a special focus to offspring. Procreation permeates her very name.

    Genesis 3:20 Now the man called his wife’s name Eve, because she was the mother of all the living.

    Due to sin, the peculiar vocational focus of each partner will become snake bitten, irksome, complicated, and cursed. Man, the breadwinner, will encounter cursed ground, thorny soil, and a sweaty face (Genesis 3:17-19). Woman, the child nurturer, will encounter pain in childbirth.

    Genesis 3:16a To the woman He said, “I will greatly multiply Your pain in childbirth, In pain you shall bring forth children;”

    The sacred Procreation focus of woman’s creation mandate is highlighted in the only two biographical references made to Eve’s post-fall career.

    Genesis 4:1 Now the man had relations with his wife Eve, and she conceived and gave birth to Cain, and she said, “I have gotten a manchild with the help of the LORD.” 2 And again, she gave birth to his brother Abel. And Abel was a keeper of flocks, but Cain was a tiller of the ground.

    Genesis 4:25 And Adam had relations with his wife again; and she gave birth to a son, and named him Seth, for, she said, “God has appointed me another offspring in place of Abel; for Cain killed him.”

    Clearly, God presents to womankind her solemn privilege and responsibility to birth and nurture children as image bearers who will live their lives to the glory of their Maker. And this is not at all incompatible with her acquisition of a degree from Yale or some other reputable university.

    Also, Karen, 1 Timothy 2:11-15 echoes the primeval Genesis account in identifying a woman’s role as peculiarly focused on child nurturing:

    11 A woman must quietly receive instruction with entire submissiveness. 12 But I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man, but to remain quiet. 13 For it was Adam who was first created, and then Eve. 14 And it was not Adam who was deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression. 15 But women will be preserved through the bearing of children if they continue in faith and love and sanctity with self-restraint.

    Titus 2:3-5 also directs women to give peculiar focus to their homes and children:

    3 Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good, 4 so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, 5 to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored.

    But be assured, Karen, my book, WOMANLY DOMINION does not belittle women with a call to keep them “at home, barefoot, and pregnant.” That’s why its subtitle is “More than a Gentle and Quiet Spirit”. It’s a call for women to “subdue and rule” in wonderful, adventuresome, and surprising ways – like strong biblical women such as Deborah the judge, Abigail the bold, Phoebe the churchman, and Priscilla the teacher of the great Apollos. These women of dominion display “more than a gentle and a quiet spirit!”

    I encourage you to give it a read. You might even be inspired.

  15. Karen says:

    Thank you for the further explanation. I still think there is a good deal of extrapolation going on here, but I don’t deny any foundation for it. But certainly there are interpretive (and therefore fallible) moves here as well as good and challenging food for thought.

    I have done a good amount of public speaking on abortion. When I speak on the topic as a strongly pre-life woman, I always keep in mind the statistic that 1 in 4 American women has had an abortion or will by the end of her childbearing years. Therefore, I always speak of abortion with the assumption that someone in the audience has had (or been part of) an abortion. Thus I never say anything about abortion or say it in a way that I would NOT say it to a woman who has gone through it. I speak the truth in love, you might say.

    I share this as a preface to a gentle admonition: I am a woman who holds a PhD. All the years that God kept my womb closed, he kept opening doors in academia. All the years I tried to have children, God kept granting me success in school. Now, childless, but a professor at a Christian college, I have been able to nurture and disciple students to the extent that they have recognized and thanked me for an investment of time in them they know I would not likely have been able to offer to them if I’d had children of my own.

    I did read your later comments clarifying what you originally stated in this post about women getting PhDs and I understand the scenario you originally had in mind (and agree with it) and understand what you meant based on your follow-up.

    Nevertheless, if your book was not written with women like me in mind, it doesn’t seem like a worthwhile investment of my time to read. I humbly and lovingly suggest that you consider the “exceptions to the [your] rule” as well as “the rule” in mind when you write. That might be a book I’d be interested in putting on my lengthy “to-read” list.

  16. Karen says:

    I guess what I’m saying is that even if there is truth in what you are saying, it doesn’t seem to be the whole truth.

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