“I am a neurosurgeon with three kids. With my first child, I thought that I would give staying home a chance. I hated it. For five years, I was miserable. I am not a homemaker or a cooker or a nurturer. Our child was not happy, and my partner and I were not happy. I went back to work and took only six weeks off after the birth of my other two children, and our life has been amazing. I have an IQ of 158. I need to use my brain. In addition, I have firsthand experience about what it is like to be a child and mother on both sides of the fence.” This was part of a story I received from a woman who calls herself Jess.
At the end of her comments she asked me a simple question in light of the Bible passages I have presented showing that God made women to be helpmeets to men, bearers and caregivers to the children and the keeper of the home. Her question was “How do you explain me?”
Before I give my response to Jess and to the larger question of the existence of female geniuses in light of the role that God has given women in being wives, mothers and homemakers I want to share Jess’s complete story (as much as she shared that is).
“When I was a child, my mother did everything mentioned in this article, yet I hated my childhood. Kids need to be away from their parents. I asked my parents if they could back off. They agreed. After school, I went to a free child-care provider. I did not get any help with my homework. I spent at most 2 hours with my family a day. Guess what happened? I became emotionally stable. I became happy. My grades improved. I loved my life. That went on until I left home at 18.
Today, I am a neurosurgeon with three kids. With my first child, I thought that I would give staying home a chance. I hated it. For five years, I was miserable. I am not a homemaker or a cooker or a nurturer. Our child was not happy, and my partner and I were not happy. I went back to work and took only six weeks off after the birth of my other two children, and our life has been amazing.
I have an IQ of 158. I need to use my brain. In addition, I have firsthand experience about what it is like to be a child and mother on both sides of the fence.
I am a women and I:
Have no emotional intelligence. My husband says that I am about as emotional as a brick wall.
Don’t have soft hands, they are really very rough and scratchy.
I take risks all the time. I am a rock climber and I love paragliding and bungee jumping.
I have a body fat percentage lower than the average male, and I have basically no curves. I have barely any fat in my breasts, it’s mostly pecs.
I have a very hard time dealing with children.
How do you explain me?”
My Response to Jess and other highly intelligent or genius level women
You sound like a very intelligent woman and with an IQ of 158 that puts you just a couple points shy of Stephen Hawking. I do not deny the existence of high IQ women like you and I have talked about it on my site in several posts.
These are the facts about genius level IQ distribution by gender:
“For instance, at the near-genius level (an IQ of 145), brilliant men outnumber brilliant women by 8 to one. That’s statistics, not sexism…
Of course, in normal daily life, there’s not much real difference between a man with an IQ of 105 and a woman with an IQ of 100. The real difference only emerges as we rise up the IQ scale to the sort of level that the really top jobs require and as we drop lower down the scale – because men, as it turns out, have a much wider range of intelligence than women.
As a result, there are not only far more men with high IQs than there are women, but there are also, as I’m sure any woman would tell you, far more stupid men around than there are stupid women.”
So the fact is that that men have a much broader range of IQs than women meaning there are more stupid men that stupid women – a fact that most feminists love to shout. But on the other end of the spectrum there are more highly intelligent men than highly intelligent women and this is a fact that feminists fight to hide. Often it is explained away as nothing more than cultural influences rather than a biological fact.
This also explains why men occupy roughly 75 percent of STEM jobs.
So how should we as Bible believing Christians respond to women that occupy that 1 out of 9 genius level spot?
If the Bible is a made up book of fables then you can just live your life as you please and when you die you will just fade away.
But if the Bible is the Word of God then that means each and every one of us has a soul that will live on after our body has died. It also means that one day each of us will stand and give an account for how we have lived our lives. If God’s Word is true then we must measure our daily and long term life decisions and actions by the Bible.
I don’t know if you are a Christian or not but if a young Christian woman came to me with your story and she wanted to live her life by the Bible believing she would one day stand before God and give an account of her life I would give her the following admonitions.
The Bible says that the presence of sin in the world has corrupted everything including our bodies even as we are formed in our mother’s womb.
“Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.” – Psalm 51:5 (KJV)
“So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption:” – I Corinthians 15:42 (KJV)
So anything in us whether it be our physical characteristics, our mental characteristics, our attitudes, our likes, our dislikes or our desires that do not measure up to God’s standards and expectations for our lives are to be regarded as defects caused by the corruption of sin in this world. These are things that we must overcome to bring our life into compliance with God’s will for our lives.
Now am I saying being smart is a defect because you are woman? No.
But an intelligent woman can use her intelligence in many ways. An intelligent woman can write books from her home, write a blog, teach women’s Bible classes, teach and home school her children and when her children are grown and gone perhaps help other women in teaching their children. In some cases a woman may be able to run some type of small business out of her home if she has the intelligence, energy and will to do so.
The Bible does not say that women are only allowed to cook, clean the house, do laundry and care for children and the needs of the husband. But what it does say is that these things are the primary mission of a woman and if she fails at these things a woman fails at her most important mission in this life.
The purpose for which God made women and the mission he has given to them
The Scriptures show us in these passages the reason for which he made women and their primary mission in life by which a woman will be considered a success or a failure in God’s eyes:
“And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.” – Genesis 2:18 (KJV)
“Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man.” – I Corinthians 11:9 (KJV)
“The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil.” – Proverbs 31:11 (KJV)
“I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully.” – I Timothy 5:14 (KJV)
“That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.” – Titus 2:4-5 (KJV)
“She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.” – Proverbs 31:27 (KJV)
God’s mission for woman is to serve the needs of her husband, bear and care for his children and care for the domestic needs of his home.
The women who get an exemption from this mission are those who are called to a life of celibacy in service to God or are in some way providentially hindered from either finding a husband or having children.
Questions and observations I have based on your story
I would also say to a Christian woman who had your childhood experiences – “what caused you to hate your childhood so much and being around your parents so much?“ This is not normal social behavior for a child.
I realize you tried the homemaker role (which I commend you for) but I can guess why your child and your husband were not happy. It was because you were not happy. If you find things like cooking, nurturing and caring for your home and children on a daily basis to be a drudgery and waste of your abilities then of course it will show and then cause others in your home to be unhappy because you are constantly displaying unhappiness.
You say your life has been “amazing” but I doubt your children especially when they were younger thought it was so “amazing” not to have their mom around as much as they needed her. No six week old baby goes “yeah my mom is leaving me and giving me some alone time”. Children at this age desperately need their mothers 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Yes children will adjust as they get older to not having their mother around but that does not make it good for them. Some children in the most horrible of situations still turn out good sometimes in spite of their mothers or fathers not being as involved in their lives as they should have been.
What about your emotional and physical features?
If a Christian woman told me she had no emotional intelligence and had a hard time dealing with children I would tell her the same thing I tell women who say they simply don’t have a desire for sex with their husbands. You need to cultivate a desire for these things and ask God to put these things in your heart and remove any desires in your heart that are contrary to his design for your life.
“Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” – Psalm 139:23-24 (KJV)
“A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.” – Ezekiel 36:26 (KJV)
On the issue of you having a manlier shaped and muscular body and rough hands – this is because of how you have chosen to live your life. It is good for a woman to be healthy and in shape and I am not saying anything against that. But women are designed to have more fat then men and fat is what actually helps to give women some curves and softness to their body. I am sure if you were to work out less and allow your body to have some of that natural fat that women are meant to have you would have a much more feminine appearance.
Now are there some women that don’t work out at all that still have muscular bodies? Sure. And if that is the case than this is the body God has given you and you will need to work with it. But in the vast majority of the cases where women have pectoral muscles as opposed to breasts it is because they are working out and exercising too much.
In the Bible there is something mentioned called “strife” or in newer translations it is called “selfish ambition”.
“For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.” – James 3:16 (NIV)
God is not against women being ambitious. The Proverbs 31 wife was certainly an ambitious woman. What God is against is selfish ambition. Selfish ambition is when a man or a woman are ambitious for something that God did not intend them to have.
God intended for you to marry a man and then serve him with all your heart to the very best of your ability. God intended for you to have children (if you are not barren) and to care for those children. God intended for you to care for your home and make it a haven for your husband and your children. This is not meant to be a life of drudgery but a life of honor and service.
The reason we have such disorder in our society today is because over the last century men have abandoned their authority over women and as a result women were allowed to abandon the role for which God made them in his creation. Women became envious of men and followed their selfish ambitions and this is why in the last century we have seen the highest divorce rates in the history of mankind and even the concept of marriage itself is being rejected in favor of people just living with another.
One of the many casualties of this selfish culture is our young infants and smaller children who cry in terror as they watch their mothers go off to live their “amazing” lives as they pursue their career interests outside the home.
45 thoughts on “Why does God make some women with a genius level IQ if he wants all women to be homemakers?”
Alternatively, is it possible that women like Jess might be called to singleness? It’s certainly hard to balance the duties of a wife and a mother with the duties of a neurosurgeon, partly because both are extremely important jobs. Being a wife and a mother helps further the human race and impart good values to futures generations. But being a neurosurgeon, if one is capable of being one (and let’s face it–most people aren’t), puts one in a position to significantly improve and save lives. There is also a need for doctors and surgeons, and it takes a very specific type of person to be a surgeon. It’s not just about IQ and intelligence. That’s a big part of the job, but in addition to intelligence, the potential surgeon has to have the mental wherewithal to hold someone’s life in their hands, open them up, and operate on their internal organs. That requires both steadiness of hands and steadiness of minds. And a surgeon who operates on a vitally important organ like the brain needs that even more so. Let’s face it–it’s statistically rare for that combination to occur naturally. It’s likely statistically rarer for it to occur in a woman, but it’s also quite rare for it to occur in a man. I have to wonder if any person, male or female, who has these unique but vital capabilities is called to use those gifts to save lives, even if it means that a very small percentage of women are called to singleness rather than a life of marriage and motherhood.
As for Jess’ statement about wanting time away from her parents…I don’t think that that’s actually so unusual. Some kids are just really social and curious, and they want to spend more time around other children their own age and engage with caring adults other than their parents occasionally once they get beyond toddlerhood. It doesn’t mean that they hate their parents or even hate being around their parents–they just want contact with more people.
Also, I do agree that some women with very high IQs still do have the disposition to be wives and mothers. Those are women whose intelligence combines well with their other traits to make them adept at writing and teaching, and as I’ve seen from personal experience, heavily science-minded people are not typically good at writing or explaining things to others. It requires a very different kind of intelligence to do those things. Someone who is inclined towards things like neuroscience and surgery is definitely more geared towards mechanical thinking and memorization, and someone who has the skills of a surgeon probably won’t be incredibly emotionally intelligent because they often have to de-personalize their patients in order to be able to operate on them. Some of them can leave this de-personalization at the operating table, but even so, they’re not going to naturally be highly empathetic people.
What it boils down to is this: Are we willing to die to self and please Christ? What does He call for us to do? I might be a great gamer, but God says I should be working and providing for my family. If I am able to be a great gamer and still do that, I’m good. If my gaming overtakes my responsibility to my family then I am doing wrong and not pleasing God. The same can be said here. A woman may be intelligent, but she should be using her intelligence as a tool to please Christ. If she is not, then she is doing wrong. We may want to do what we think is best with our talents, but the bible tells us what pleases God.
Also it is an astute observation that something in this woman’s childhood could be affecting her interaction with being a wife and mother.
What I’m asking is, “Is this specific woman actually called to be a wife and a mother, or is this woman called to save lives?” I ask that because God doesn’t seem to have given her the type of intelligence suited to motherhood. Instead, he seems to have given the type of intelligence suited to surgery.
Sorry, my reply was not in response to yours, but I will say this.
There was a time in my life where I used to worry because I would hear people saying they would ‘hear from God’, but I had never experienced such a thing. How could I know God’s will if I never heard from Him? Then I read a post from someone that said, ‘If you want to hear from God, read the bible, those are His words.’. So I have never heard an audible voice claiming to be God telling me what His will is, but I hear His word through the bible. If the bible says that a mans primary goal is to serve God and provide for his family, and a womans primary goal is to serve God and her husband and children, I think that’s all the calling we need. Barring this woman telling us God spoke directly to her and told her ‘This is my will’, I think she would be wise to follow the latter.
I do see your point there. However, I do think that both the Gospels and St. Paul’s letters make it clear that marriage is not for everyone and that some people can better serve God in other ways. While it doesn’t sound as though God explicitly told Jess that this was the case, it does seem like a pretty strong sign when He didn’t gift her with the nurturing abilities and emotional intelligence necessary for mothering and, er, wife-ing. Being a wife and a mother is definitely a job, and I think that a woman needs to be sure that she’s got the necessary qualifications for that job before she takes it on. If she doesn’t have those qualifications, she needs to either search her soul to try to cultivate those qualities or see if she has abilities that allow her to serve God and his people without marrying. I take your point about your gaming hobby, but I think that a talent for saving lives through surgery and medicine is one that is worth dedicating one’s life to. I do believe that that is one very profound way to serve God. As I’ve said, it’s definitely not an ability or vocation that most people have, but if you do have it, that might be your life’s mission. And it certainly is a noble mission.
Ha ha, I certainly don’t mean to compare gaming to neurosurgery.
Just because this woman does not exhibit nurturing or emotional traits does not mean that they were withheld by God. As I said, I think BGR was very observant in wondering what may be in her past that could have caused her not to have these traits. Perhaps her situation growing up caused her to shun those particular traits. I believe it is, again, barring specific direction from God, the calling of every woman to bear children, as we have been commanded to be fruitful and multiply. However, this world being the broken world that it is, things happen that draw us away from fulfilling the will of God, be it external circumstances or circumstances within ourselves:
Perhaps she does have a calling from God, but the information given by BGR does not seem to indicate that. Perhaps a better example would be missionary work. I am a father and husband. It is the will of God, through scripture, that I provide for and protect my family. Unless I get a very clear and specific direction from God, I believe it would be unwise and disobedient to pack my bags and tell my family I am GREAT at missionary work, so I am moving to Africa to do missionary work because I just don’t have the protective and provisioning traits needed for a father. Yes, missionary work can be noble, but once I take on a wife and children things change. Its up to me to continue doing the things that please God, and abandoning my family is not on that list.
Perhaps He blessed her with a husband and children to instill in her those traits she lost long ago? Perhaps her insistence at continuing to work and leaving behind her husband and children is her being disobedient and refusing to go through the pain of growth. Who knows.
But if you were unmarried, felt unprepared for marriage and fatherhood, and felt called to missionary work, what would you have done?
1 Corinthians 7:32-35
32 I would like you to be free from concern. An unmarried man is concerned about the Lord’s affairs—how he can please the Lord. 33 But a married man is concerned about the affairs of this world—how he can please his wife— 34 and his interests are divided. An unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the Lord’s affairs: Her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit. But a married woman is concerned about the affairs of this world—how she can please her husband. 35 I am saying this for your own good, not to restrict you, but that you may live in a right way in undivided devotion to the Lord.
Unmarried, yes, but getting married changes things. Even if I am already involved in the missions field, taking on a wife and producing a child shifts my responsibility. The words of the bible call on me to provide for and protect my family. If that was something that could be done while maintaining my mission work, great! If not, then I would need to pray about staying in the missions field or leaving it. If I didn’t get an ‘answer from God’ (I’m still not sure how I feel about people getting verbal answers) then I would turn to the words of God written in the bible and leave the missions field to provide for and protect my family or, a minimum, find a different type of mission work that would fit into the lifestyle of husband and father. Remember:
1 Timothy 5:8
But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.
These words are very clear. These words are from the bible, which is the very word of God. There is no confusion in this – this is part of my duty. If I am failing in this than I am WORSE THAN AN UNBELIEVER. Talk about scary words.
The scriptures you have shown above indicate to me that taking on a wife does not mean NOT being able to do what pleases God, but exactly what that is could be much different than what an unmarried man may be called to do.
The key, I think, is to continue on in prayer, fasting and reading, but also to have the basic understanding that taking on the responsibilities of a family DOES change HOW you serve God. It’s not a bad thing, but it is a thing.
Basically, I do think that most of do need to get married and have children because most of desire the benefits of marriage (especially sex) and want to reproduce and because we need to continue the human race. But I do think that the New Testament makes it clear that marriage is not the only path (nor does St. Paul believe that it’s the most ideal path) and that marriage can be a distraction from God if we’re not careful. Granted, I think that women have an easier time balancing these things because most of what she does to please her husband are things that please God, as long as her husband doesn’t ask her to sin.
And I do agree that if one does get married, then one has to fulfill the duties of marriage to the absolute best of one’s ability, and if one’s abilities are lacking, then one needs to pray for God’s assistance.
Yes, but not all are given the gift of celibacy:
11 But He said to them, “All cannot accept this saying, but only those to whom it has been given: 12 For there are eunuchs who were born thus from their mother’s womb, and there are eunuchs who were made eunuchs by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake. He who is able to accept it, let him accept it.”
Those who do not have such a gift are commanded to marry. As such, there are many who are not able to remain celibate. Indeed it is better for a man not to marry and to dedicate his life to doing Gods will, but I would say that men (and women) able to do that are few.
I would agree with you with one caveat: It seems like so many people are waiting on God to give them a sign or a signal or a word, when the words of God are before us on our dresser or coffee table every day. So many Christians want God to respond in some type of extraordinary, earth shattering way, when sometimes all we need to do is put our nose into the Good Book and read. Since I have learned this it has taken a ton of stress off of my shoulders and my heart. Yes, I know God CAN move the mountains to get my attention, but that doesn’t mean He WILL. What He wants is for us to willingly come to Him, surrendering our lives, our time and our attention to spend with Him in His word.
This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.
You make a fair point there about Christians who are too absorbed in waiting for clear and direct signs from God. For example, I’ve heard of fathers who don’t approve of their daughters marrying perfectly decent young men who have good religious values and a job, treat their daughters well, and are really liked by their daughters all because they haven’t heard God’s explicit approval.
Maybe my own lack of a genius IQ is showing here, but I honestly don’t see why having a high IQ has anything to do with being or not being a mom. I’d far rather be a smart mom to my son than a dumb one.
Not dissing neurosurgeons at all, and I do understand the skills required for such a specialization, but is it really so much harder than raising a child into an emotionally, physically, mentally, and spiritually mature adult? Yes, a lot more people have the ability to be a parent than be a neurosurgeon, but the world is chock full of terrible parents producing terrible children. Maybe if being a parent (particularly a SAHM but I’m sure a ton of dads get flack for being “overly involved” in their families) wasn’t treated as someone who was too dumb for anything else, we’d see better results.
If someone doesn’t view parenting as a way to use their brain, I honestly don’t know what to say.
I will also add that this is an opportunity for a husband to be either a huge blessing or a huge curse. My dad, recognizing both that my mom needed to hear praise from him and that she was not going to hear it from the world in general, frequently praised her for her investment in the family and for all that she did for us. If a husband really thinks that being a SAHM boils down to cooking and cleaning, they have missed the entire point. I had plenty of meals growing up that my mom didn’t cook for me, and there wasn’t a difference at all. Had another woman been the one to turn to when learning key life lessons, I would have noticed a huge difference.
If a SAHM is tired at the end of the day and her husband’s reaction is a sarcastic “yeah, grocery shopping can be sooooooooooo hard…you should try what I do”, he will answer to God for that.
commenting to follow comments 🙂
There’s definitely a lack of appreciation for the work that stay-at-home moms do. I wonder if that’s part of why Jess felt like she wasn’t using her intelligence properly–she didn’t appreciate the value of what she was doing because others didn’t and didn’t realize how hard the work was because others didn’t.
Although I think that part of it still boils down to different forms of intelligence. I’m not saying that neurosurgeons can never be good parents, but the type of intelligence and general disposition that makes a surgeon doesn’t tend to jibe too well with the type of intelligence that it takes to run and organize a home, raise children, keep everyone’s schedules straight, budget, and teach children life skills and whatever academics they need to learn from or get help with from their parents. Also, the skills required for being a surgeon are very different from those required for being a writer or for running a business out of the home, IMO. It’s still possible that Jess could’ve learned those if she’d dedicated her strengths differently.
You and Snapper have both shown two key passages on the topic of celibacy from a Biblical perspective. You raise I Corinthians 7:32-35 and he brought up Matthew 19:11-12.
But I think to have a full discussion of celibacy from a Biblical standpoint we must also include Genesis 1:28:
God’s first command to men and women was to marry and have children. This is God’s marriage mandate to mankind. Before sin entered the picture men and women were designed by God to enter into marriage and have children.
But because sin entered the world and corrupted God’s design he had to make certain exemptions regarding marriage.
He had to allow for divorce because of certain sins that in his view can break the marriage covenant.
He had to allow 3 exemptions to his mandate of marriage because of these three reasons that Christ mentions in Matthew 19:12:
These are if a person is born with mental or physical disabilities that would preclude marriage, if a person is forbidden from marriage because of their social status (such as being a slave or a prisoner), or if the person is supernaturally given the gift of celibacy.
The following are NOT reasons that people can exempt themselves from marriage and having children:
You don’t want to be saddled with a spouse or kids – you want to live your life for you.
You have no sexual desire but also do not want to live your life in full service to God. You don’t get to choose a middle ground. Either you use your celibacy in life dedicated to service to God (mission work of some kind or ministry of some kind) or you get married and have kids.
You are afraid because of your upbringing that you may turn out to be a bad spouse or parent. Again fear is not exemption from God’s mandate of marriage.
You don’t think you could play out the gender role God has given you (or you don’t want to) either in being a man that leads, provides and protects his wife and kids or as a woman that is called serve her husband, to bear children, care for those children, and care for her home.
See my page in my “Bible Questions and Answers” section on the top menu where I address this question – this is the direct link:
BGR – interesting … and I will definitely be reading the links.
my oldest daughter has no desire right now to marry or have children. it’s not a fear thing. it’s a just-is thing. it’s not a ssa thing. it’s not that she doesn’t know what a ‘hot looking man’ is! it’s just simply there’s nothing in her that is driven toward or compelled toward marriage and children … and there’s nothing driving her away from it, such as fear or a career, either. it’s more of a contentment thing when she talks about it.
we’ve talked about this, and I’ve told her that if this is the case it’s b/c God has something for her to do that requires all of her in ways she could not give if married. it’s not a daily conversation, but it is an ongoing one with her. i’m intrigued to see what God has for her. i’m going to have her work through some more things to see where God is leading her.
I don’t know yet what my youngest sped daughter will be capable of one day. though it will be interesting to see, i’m not in any hurry with her! she’s an enormous amount of work as it is … I learned a long time ago not to think too far ahead w/her 🙂
… and when we talk about that God would have something very unique where He needs all of her, she is very intrigued … not at all disturbed or repulsed.
this is VERY different from me, so it’s an interesting adventure as her mamma 🙂
I believe, based on the context provided by the Gospels and by St. Paul’s letters, that the command to be fruitful and multiply was a command intended for the first humans, who needed to people the earth. This command then passed to the Israelites, who were God’s people and needed to produce many descendants. However, both Christ and St. Paul so continuously exalt the unmarried state while St. Paul treats marriage as an institution that’s necessary because of sexual temptation that it seems that the importance of being fruitful and multiplying is treated as less important than serving God and His people. If a person needs to marry in order to avoid temptation, then it is allowed, and if one can balance their duties to family with their duties to God and to those in need, then it is allowed.
For example, there is Luke 14:26:
26 If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters–yes, even their own life–such a person cannot be my disciple.
Then there’s 1 Corinthians 7:1-2:
1 Now concerning the things about which you wrote, it is good for a man not to touch a woman. 2 But because of immoralities, each man is to have his own wife, and each woman is to have her own husband.
And 1 Corinthians 7:25-28:
25 Now concerning virgins I have no command of the Lord, but I give an opinion as one who by the mercy of the Lord is trustworthy. 26 I think then that this is good in view of the present distress, that it is good for a man [p]to remain as he is. 27 Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be released. Are you released from a wife? Do not seek a wife. 28 But if you marry, you have not sinned; and if a virgin marries, she has not sinned. Yet such will have trouble in this life, and I am trying to spare you.
There is also a sense in the Gospels that goodness to all people is as important as loyalty to family and that one serves God by serving others in need.
34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’”
Mark 12: 28-31:
28 One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”
29 “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”
I also think that people who have fear that they won’t be good spouses or parents should work to reform themselves with God’s help before they pursue marriage and by extension parenthood. Those are responsibilities too big and too important to be undertaken lightly. I agree that fear shouldn’t get in the way of duty, but one also needs to be adequately prepared to do that duty.
“I also think that people who have fear that they won’t be good spouses or parents should work to reform themselves with God’s help before they pursue marriage and by extension parenthood.”
i agree. from the time i was a little girl, from my earliest memories, i always wanted to be a wife and mommy, but i knew that i could not be a good mother if i did not forgive mine, first. it took me ten years to work through forgiving her. that was the reason for our delay in having children till in my 30’s. it would have been a heck of a lot easier to have babies in my 20’s, but i could not have been a good mother, at all, and i could not have broken the cycles of abuse and being anti-God had i not forgiven my mother, first. we did end up going through relatively minor infertility, and i had my babies at 33 and 35. though i wish i did not have to go through all i did that caused me to need to forgive my mother, i would spend that ten years working thru forgiveness again in a heart beat, especially knowing what i do now and being 16 and 18 years into motherhood.
I have a female friend who’s about a year older than me who’s in a similar position to where you were. She wants children and currently enjoys being around them and nurturing them. But she’s also worried that she’ll repeat the mistakes that her mother made with her, that her grandmother made with her mother, etc. Do you have any advice that I could give her about how to deal with her mother currently and how to be a better mother herself down the line? I will add that she’s 25 and not currently married. She did get married to a high school boyfriend young, but they divorced after his continued failure to get a job, take on a leadership role in the relationship, or even bother to finish college or learn to drive. (There were other issues on both of their parts, but that was the main, marriage-ending one because she had continued to work to provide for them, drive him everywhere, and eventually make major decisions because he wouldn’t and he had failed to honor his promises to improve.) Now, though, she’s finally dating a good man, and hopefully they will decide on marriage soon. But she did confide in me recently about her concerns about motherhood. Is there anything that I can tell her to help her out with her mom?
Also, I do appreciate your reconciliation of St. Paul’s writings on celibacy with commands to be fruitful and multiple, and I expect that you’ll probably be able to shed better light on the verses that I pointed out. I’m not nearly as old as you are and definitely haven’t studied the Bible as much, so I’ll be happy to listen to your interpretations.
Alex – i actually do.
let me take a bit to go back thru my blog and see if i’ve written directly on this.
i also have my email on my about pg if you want to contact me.
also … one of the best books out there on forgiveness i would recommend is Forgiving the Unforgivable by dr david stoop.
i’ve not been feeling well, so if i don’t get back to you asap, just know i haven’t forgotten … still, feel free to ask again if you want. it will not offend me or hurt my feelings.
Thanks so much, Ame!
And I hope that you feel better soon.
Alex – thanks.
w/out having looked yet, the topic “the Bridge” deals with my breaking the cycle. i don’t remember if i gave any advice in any of the posts … i’ll ck that later. but i talk about being that person who stops the bad of the past lineage and becomes a bridge into the good of God for the future lineage.
Women have a modern life expectancy of around 80 in the developed world. Women have a fertile life expectancy of around 55. Children are self-motivating from the age of 7-10. This gives at the very least ages 65-80 for other pursuits, such as writing, starting a small business, faith or studying. For many women it will actually be ages 40-80. Plus, young girls aged 15-25 are also often unattached and childless. That’s a total of 25-50 years for work without children, which are the biggest time-consumer for any housewife. The Bible directly says that the greatest women are industrious and work on the market as well as homemakers, but that doesn’t mean this happens at once.
Conclusion: the biblical role of women means working and studying hard until married, having many children and focusing on them, then putting studies and free time to good use once the children require minimal care. A high IQ in a healthy body would therefore be awesome, as the smart older woman has the time and the ability to care for her home, teach her grandchildren and make spare money so that her daughters can stay with their children longer.
That looks like a great place to start, Ame. Thank you once again for sharing your wisdom and experienced.
I can understand how you might interpret Christ’s and Paul’s words on marriage the way you have because when these statements are taken by themselves it would seem that while marriage was commanded in the Old Testament and celibacy was allowed under certain circumstances it feels as if the New Testament has turned things upside down to where celibacy is commanded but marriage is only allowed under certain circumstances.
There are other Christian commentators and theologians that would agree with your interpretation as well.
But I believe that when we understand the New Testament is built upon the foundation of the Old we cannot understand the commands of the New Testament apart from the commands in the Old that proceeded them.
God never rescinded his mandate to be fruitful and multiply – to marry and have children in this world. Christ tells us when God’s marriage mandate will finally end:
So “in this world” the marriage mandate still stands, it is only in the world to come that God’s marriage mandate will finally be ended.
When Christ talked about celibacy in Matthew 19:11 he made a key statement:
“But he said unto them, All men cannot receive this saying, save they to whom it is given.” Who are the ones that can exempt themselves from God’s marriage mandate? It is the ones “to whom it is given.
There is no doubt that Christ and Paul exalt the unmarried state and its advantages over the married state BUT we must remember that marriage was not just given to us “to avoid fornication” as Paul talks about in I Corinthians 7:2. We can see by looking at God’s original creation in the Garden of Eden that marriage was made as one means of bringing honor and glory to God with a man and woman playing out the symbolism of the relationship between God and his people. God pictures himself as married to Israel and Christ as married to Church. This institution is far too important in God’s design for this world (as opposed to the world to come) to relegate it to only an allowance to help us avoid fornication.
Why did Christ and Paul exalt celibacy over marriage?
There are several reasons why Christ and Paul exalt celibacy over marriage.
Reason 1 – We should earnestly desire the greater gifts
The fact is that marriage and by extension sex are gifts of God that go along with his command to marry and have children. God in his grace and loving kindness to us not only commanded marriage but he gave us the strong desire to marry and procreate through his gift of sex.
But Paul tells us that there is an even greater gift than marriage and sex that only a few people have and that is the gift of celibacy. So of course we should earnestly desire the best gifts. But as Paul said we do not all have the same gifts nor do we all have the “gift”(I Corinthians 7:7) of celibacy that Paul had. In same way that not all people (and very few) had the gifts of being apostles or prophets so too few people throughout history have had the gift of celibacy. This is exception to God makes to his marriage mandate for his special purposes.
Reason 2 – Christ and Paul’s exaltation of celibacy was also due to persecution
Jesus said this about distress:
Paul said this about distress:
I would argue based upon these passages that both Christ and Paul’s exaltation of celibacy was based on temporary conditions rather than saying God’s command to be fruitful and multiply was based on temporary conditions.
Christ knew that after he died and rose again great persecution would come to all Christians and he also was prophesying about the fall of Jerusalem in 70 AD as well as the great tribulation that would befall the world in the end of days. During these very turbulent times in human history because of the fact that one’s family could be captured, tortured and killed it made having a family more of a liability than a benefit. But again this was ONLY based on temporary conditions. I believe that outside these times of “distress” that God’s marriage mandate stands. Even if someone were to opt not to marry it must only be because God has gift them with the gift of celibacy.
So in conclusion I stand by my belief that marriage is God’s mandate and celibacy is his allowance based on a person having the gift of celibacy or times of great distress people may not even being able to find someone to marry and it will be a great liability to them if they could and even in that case I belief God grants the gift of celibacy if only for a time. Again I am not against celibacy nor could I be based on Christ’s and Paul’s words. But if a person is celibate it must be because they have the gift of celibacy and intend to use it in full time service to God – not for their own selfish desires not to have the responsibility of a family.
Thanks for thorough reply! It’s definitely a complex scriptural issue, but I do see your point at the end of the day. As you’ve pointed out before, God did give us a year-long desire for sex (as opposed to most animals, who only go through heat cycles) and the ability to derive intense pleasure from sexual relations, so I can see why it would be reasonable for us to interpret sex as a gift for marriage.
And I think that at the end of the day, Christ and St. Paul were exalting celibacy less to denigrate marriage and more to emphasize that newly converted Christians needed to shift their focus to God so that He, not the things of the world, would be their primary focus. They do emphasize that those who have the gift of celibacy are more able to focus on God, and I can see how it’s possible that they were concerned that early Christians, who’d previously followed other paths, would have a hard time embracing the New Covenant if they got too wrapped up in their worldly entanglements. Once people began growing up Christian, though, it’s probable that they would have been better equipped to balance their relationship with God with their relationship with their neighbors. Of course, we all still have to remember not to make our spouses our idol.
I forgot to mention an analogy I have used several times on this blog.
The Bible compares our bodies to “vessels” often.
A man’s “vessel” is like a pickup truck. It is designed to work and carry great loads – and it is built tough and durable for these purposes.
A woman’s “vessel” is like a mini-van. It is designed for carrying children in a comfortable setting.
Now some people buy big heavy duty pickup trucks but refuse to ever let anything be carried in the back for fear of scratching their bed. But we would have to admit that it is strange and not in keeping with the design of a truck never to use it for the purpose for which it was designed.
Some people might buy a minivan but never use it for carrying children or people at all and they just wanted a van. We would find that strange as well.
Still even in marriage this is how strange marriages where Mom is the breadwinner and Dad is Mr. Mom are. It would be like having a pickup truck and and minivan and strapping your kids down in the back bed while using the minivan to hall around construction materials in back. We would all be shaking our heads at such nonsense. I believe that is the way God sees us sometimes.
My point is that it is obvious that God designed our vessels for marriage, sex and procreation. So unless God gives us an exemption from the design that our vessels were intended for (like having the gift of celibacy) then we are to follow that design.
“I am a neurosurgeon with three kids. With my first child, I thought that I would give staying home a chance. I hated it. For five years, I was miserable. I am not a homemaker or a cooker or a nurturer. Our child was not happy, and my partner and I were not happy.”
My question is this: Why did Jess use the word “partner” instead of husband?
Ha, you know what, I noticed that too. Odd.
It is a weird word-choice. I think that she’s just using it as a synonym for husband because she refers to the partner in question as her husband later.
i saw that ‘partner’ too … chose to believe it meant husband since BGR posted her story.
APRIL 22, 2016 AT 1:04 AM
Alex – I have begun to write a response for your friend here:
let me know if there’s something specific you’d like me to cover along the way 🙂
I have a genius level IQ and so does one of my sisters. Being intelligent does not prevent me from:
1.Being obedient to God’s word.
4.Correcting my thoughts and emotions to align them with God’s Word.
5.Finding joy in the role of being a woman,wife and mother.
High IQ is something to be thankful for (more like a tool in life) not an excuse to ignore all of the above.
Excellent post, Lasweetness! We need a lot more women in the Body of Christ like you!
All I have to say to your comment is Amen and Amen.
I think her word of partner was referring to her husband as she references her husband in another statement. The reason she uses “partner” is to reflect her egalitarian view of marriage.
Just saw your posts. The advice about prayer in the second post was very powerful and moving. Thank you. I’ll pass some of this on to my friend the next time the topic comes up.