Towards a better understanding of man-woman partnership – a theological perspective

DEAR EDITOR, partnership according to Thesaurus English is companionship, relationship and alliance. For the purpose of my presentation, I will pick on the first two words; companionship or relationship. Companionship or relationship is the company of friends and the relationship that exists between them and that has been the very purpose, why God created Eve. God had already foreseen that Adam being by himself would experience extreme loneliness. From a human understanding, a person devoid of companionship or relationship is a person devoid of life.

Thus, man-woman relationship encompasses the recognition that partnership is God ordained. Thus, man would indeed be a hopeless little creature devoid of happiness, fellowship and intimacy without a woman by his side. The Biblical record in the creation story is quite explicit on this truth: ‘For it is not good for man to be alone’; how true that is.

Creations’ partnership came with this startling statement: Gen. 1:26-27 “Then God said `Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness ; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth’. There are two important truths revealed by God through this utterance.

Firstly, at creation, God pronounced the making of male and female as an act of partnership; “Let us”. This partnership is reflected in his ordaining of Adam and Eve to exercise dominion over the whole of creation. As they exercise their partnership role in the worlds’ most beautiful garden, they would experience close fellowship with God daily, as they go about looking after the garden. This fellowship with God was the very best any man had/could experience at any point in human history. However, because of disobedience this privilege was lost, as God would not associate his divine nature with our sinful nature.

Secondly, man (both male and female) is made in the image of God. This is the beauty and privilege of mans’ position in regards to creation. Thus, we need to affirm in our attitudes and actions that we believe man and woman are created in the image of God. Thus the life they, share equally shines and value before God. Saint Paul puts it beautifully in his letter to the Church in Philippi: Husbands love your wives and wives respect your husbands. The value and dignity of this relationship is clearly articulated through the very acts of love and respect.

However, throughout human history, culture and other social factors have led even Christians and believers of other faith to think and act in ways inconsistent with this basic truth of both man and woman being created in the image of God. We have no reason to think and do otherwise; because God is the creator and we are the created.

Partnership resonate well with Gods’ creative purpose, in living in community as well as in engagement in God’s mission and decision making at all levels of our society. This partnership is leadership and it is a god given gift, strengthened and empowered by his Holy Spirit. This basic truth – partnership must not be compromised by our greed for power or self ego. It must be maintained, throughout our spiritual commitment/journey to both God and man.

It is sad to say, that our greatest misery comes when we compromise and watered down his ordained ministry and subsequently, lost fellowship with God. Psalm 127:1 (NIV) `unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labour in vain.’ Without God, all else man tries to achieve will be void, however, tempting, convincing and colorful they may appeal to our eyes.

As Christians, we need to exemplify partnership in our homes (a domestic church). A home that builds on partnership will experience love and growth in their relationship, fellowship, trust and mutual respect. This is because decisions made are inclusive and consensus rather than one ruled by a one-man show.

So too, we need to exercise partnership at all levels of our National life. God has given us the freedom to think and move about doing things that will benefit all Solomon Island citizens and our creation (environment): and the worse we can do is to abuse that freedom.

The call for an equal man-woman partnership is a godly call. If it happens at home, it should also happen at both the local and national level. Sadly enough, opponents of this line of thinking have taken their stance quoting from isolated verses in the bible without presenting the bigger side of Gods’ very nature – Love.

Our religious influence is significant in deepening spirituality which nurtures life and promotes justice and right relationships as essential in socialization, community building, culture, norms and values.

As a Christian nation, we are being challenged to look beyond our traditional barriers and participate constructively in the struggles for justice, peace and right relationships between and among our people.

To conclude, we need to take heed of two basic truths. Firstly, Partnership was instituted at creation and involves the first couples on earth, Adam and Eve. And secondly, Love, is the very nature of God that keeps their companionship afresh. If our conscience is to be guided by this truth, then, the call for an equal participation by both men and women at all levels of our governance is Godly. Think and pray about that.

By A.M Junia Port Adam

Small Malaita

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