In an astonishing research discovery, brain scientists working with neural imagery have concluded that… wait for it… men and women are wired differently! Shocking! Astounding! Amazing!
You can read the article at this link. The cool thing is to read about how they have found a scientific process to peer into what God has done in creating man and woman and the differences between them. But it still seems a little superfluous, and one has to ask how many billions of dollars they spent to figure out something we all figured out about the time we were in 2nd grade – that boys and girls really do think differently.
More interesting – in my opinion, anyway – than the research data is the hints God gives in Scripture about the differences between man and woman. When we look at the account of God’s creation of man and woman in Genesis chapter 2, we can see right away that there are differences between the man and woman, and that there is an intended design. When we look at the Hebrew text behind this account, it becomes even more apparent.
When God created Adam, it says that “the Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground” (Gen. 2:7). The Hebrew word we translate “formed” is the word yatsar – the same word for what a potter does when he makes a clay jar. When he created Eve, he did something a little different. Of course, we know he took a rib from Adam’s side. But then it says “the Lord God made a woman from the rib” (Gen. 2:22). The Hebrew word for “made” is banah – “to build up.” This same word is used in other parts of Scripture for the building of a house or a city.
The difference in the words highlights the difference of gender. Not only did God use different source material, he used a different process as well. It could be that the difference in the words can be chalked up to variety, but if it isn’t – and I don’t think it is an accident that God used the words he did – then there are a lot of implications in there. We really are created differently.
The text gives us more to consider in the following verses. When God presents Eve to Adam, Adam says, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh. She shall be called ‘woman’, for she was taken out of man” (Gen. 2:23). Up until this point in Genesis, Adam has been referred to as a’dam – “the man”. That same word is used in other parts of the Old Testament to refer to human beings in general, so one might even say that until this verse, Adam is “the human”. Up until this point, he is the only creature like him.
However, when Adam sings his little song about the woman God has made for him, suddenly the word changes. When he says “man” the word is ish – a word that specifically mean “a male human being; a man.” The woman is called ishah – “out of man; a female human being; a woman.” As soon as the woman was introduced into the picture, Adam was no longer just a generic human being. He became something more. His purpose became clearer. His role as a man was made distinct by the presence of a woman – a unique creation that mirrored him in her humanity but complemented him in her difference.
Marriage Highlights the Difference
There is no other relationship in life that makes the difference between men and women more clear than the marriage relationship. When a man and a woman come together as husband and wife, they find out quickly how different they are from each other. They communicate differently, they feel differently about things, they respond to stress differently, and they express love differently.
Because of sin, these differences often lead to conflict. But the truth is those differences existed even before sin, and their purpose was not to create conflict and chaos, but to create unity and to build one another up. Perhaps that is the reason God uses the word banah – to build – for the creation of woman; not only did he take care in crafting and building her, but in her role she builds the man up to be more than he could be without her.
If sin is what causes conflict rather than unity and completion, then only Christ can help us experience the blessings God intended in his creation of marriage. It is in his forgiveness alone that we find peace for our failings, and it is in his strength that husbands and wives find the ability to serve one another and fulfill the roles God has given them. So if you are married, build that marriage on Jesus. Make him the center, and enjoy the blessings of unity and completion God has given in marriage.