As I continue to share my thoughts about women and God, I want to clarify my intentions. I am writing about the beauty of God to be found in women and the wonder inherent in all daughters of Eve. I am not trying to lay out the different roles appropriate for men or women, biblical or otherwise. I am not brave enough to take on that topic at this time, and it isn’t really relevant to what I have been thinking about. Also, many of the characteristics I will attribute to women may not be—or even probably not—true of every woman. As with all groups of people, certain characteristics are generally true but cannot be forcibly applied in every case. Thank you for your patience with my observations, not my absolute model for what a woman has to be.
There are many things I appreciate about the Eastern Orthodox Church that I prefer over the way the church has developed in the West, but the foremost of all of them is how they view the image of God. I’m not an expert on their beliefs by any means, but they view the history of humanity through the lens of imago Dei in a way the Western Church has neglected over the centuries. Humanity has the utmost value. We are the image of God, the physical representation of God on the earth. Everything we were when we were created was a direct reflection of who God is. That, of course, was marred when we sinned, but that does not lessen its beginnings or its eventual restoration.
The fullness and wonder of the image, the likeness of God in humanity, is not only in Adam. Nor is it in exclusively in Eve. It can only be fully expressed in the interaction between the two. Each is a partial picture of God’s nature and character, and they fit together perfectly to paint God’s likeness.
Much thought has been devoted to how men are like God or how God can be seen in manhood. He is Father, warrior, protector, provider, king. I would like to take the time to find out what the feminine can teach us about who God is. The value of the image found in both man and woman is immeasurable.
Eve’s legacy, though dimmed, is not lost. It still resides in all her daughters, and someday, it will be restored to its fullness once more.
In my experience and observations, along with reading Captivating have shown me the wonder of women. They are meant to beautiful, and indeed, they are all beautiful, showing God’s glory in who they are. My wife is gorgeous, and I hope I don’t embarrass her by writing that she is. She is truly captivating, both outwardly and in who she is. I have known that for a long time, but in thinking about it lately, I have also come to understand certain things about it better. Women, including my wife, not only provide beauty in themselves, but they usually also desire to create beauty around them. It is how they were made; it is how they reflect God.
Women are enamored with loveliness. They delight in the beauty of their friends and their surroundings. How many women do you know that don’t try to make their home a beautiful and comforting place? When my wife (and my mom, when I was growing up) want the house to be clean, and the décor to be just right, and everything in its place, it’s not about being OCD or overly controlling (though some may turn it into that) it’s about an innate desire to create and maintain beauty in life. I didn’t get that growing up, so I was irritated by insistent commands that I make my bed every day (it just got messed up again that night, after all!). I finally understand that women (and some men) desire order not to irritate the people who are not naturally neat, but to create beauty.
And what is more comforting than being a child held by his mother after being hurt or scared, or a husband resting with his wife after a stressful day? Women are meant to offer the comfort God offers. They are here to tell us that everything is going to be okay. They are here to offer their softness and tenderness and make us feel better when the world turns ugly.
Of course, not all women do those things as well as others, and the desire for order can become about control, and the soothing comfort can be lost to demands for respect or allowing herself to be used as a doormat. Worry takes over and obscures the message that all will be well, and fear of rejection covers what beauty there is to offer. That is the toll taken by the Fall. But the spark of divine beauty resides in every woman, and if she lets Christ work in her, he will begin to restore what has been lost.
As a man, I am grateful for the half of the image of God found in women. Life would be dreary without it. I am grateful for the women in my life, for my mother, my sister, my wife, and now my daughter who I am so excited to meet.
Next time, I will elaborate on how I, as a man, can be the best husband, father, son, brother, and friend to the women in my life, and how they can help me be the best man I can be.