MITRA: An Olympic-size egalitarian step
It’s been heartening to see two Saudi Arabian women participating in the Summer Olympic Games, a first for women from the conservative kingdom.
Olympic organizers and the media have hailed it as an important step toward full gender parity for the movement, hoping this would open doors for more sportswomen from Muslim nations to compete in future Games.
The theological debate around male-female equality and distinctive has gone on for centuries.
Starting with the blame game in the Garden of Eden, modern feminists and misogynists have been waging wars not worth the salt.
The reality of gender discrimination is rooted within a complex set of circumstances that affect women’s lives.
These include division of labour, cultural and social expectations and secondary status in household and public life.
These issues are couched within the conflicting and competing value systems.
Some of the changes are attempts to remedy injustice or right the wrongs of groups that have been historically subjected to oppression.
Today, it is the extreme and persistent forms of discrimination that have resulted in problems girls and women face in many parts of the world.
Many problems are rooted in the patriarchal approach in child-rearing and child-care practices.
These partisan methods have become so entrenched in the psyche of the masses that there seems to be no clear-cut method for tackling the issue at individual, familial and societal levels.
The Genesis account of Adam-Eve missteps still continues as the butt of jokes in living rooms, as well as from many pulpits.
But, of the two, who is really to be blamed for the fall, if any?
Traditional Jewish and Christian interpretations in the early chapters of Genesis have led to the heaviest blame falling on Eve for the entrance of sin and death into the world.
But, what does the Bible really say about Eve’s participation in the fall?
A close reading of the account indicates the difference in God’s dealing with Adam and with Eve.
This, plus other related New Testament passages and Job 31:33 have given sharp focus to the account of the fall.
In Genesis 1, God called the creation “very good.” Both man and woman were created in His image and were instructed to multiply, fill the earth and subdue it and to have dominion over living creatures.
Adam was to tend the garden prepared for him and keep or guard it. This implies some evil power was seeking to enter the garden.
He had the task of looking after a beautiful park and he had fellowship with God.
Yet, God saw that it was “not good” for him to be alone and formed woman — a mate, his equal partner and counterpart, of the same essence but different.
The woman was to be a strong help.
But, of the two, incessant debate has gone on to cross-examine who, is to be blamed for going against God’s decree and lead the rest of humanity into degeneration and ultimate death.
Some consider the early chapters of Genesis like parables.
We can look at them as the listeners to Jesus and the Apostle Paul must have received them.
Jesus, in his reply to the Pharisees, who were testing him on the issue of divorce (Matt. 19:3ff) stated God’s law of marriage as found in Gen. 2:24.
Paul refers to the creation of Adam and Eve in 1 Cor. 11:8-12 and the forming of both and their involvement in the fall in 1 Tim. 2:13-14.
He also stated Adam’s guilt in Romans, chapter five.
The early chapters of Genesis are presented as the account of our first parents, but they also tell the reader human beings, meant to live for the glory of God by obedience to and in dependence upon Him, have freedom to choose.
If they choose wrongly, there can be forgiveness and reinstatement with the Creator-God through repentance.
The worldwide abuse of women and girls in our day is enormous and tragic.
Satan is still the archenemy of women (also of man in different ways).
Through Christ’s disciple-servants, marked change in attitude and conduct has and is continuing to take place in many cultures.
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