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New City Catechism 4.2

Question 4: How and why did God create us?

Answer: God created us male and female in his own image to know him, love him, live with him, and glorify him. And it is right that we who were created by God should live to his glory.

The catechism mentions that God created us “male and female.” Although there is great confusion today over questions of the meaning of gender, the Bible is clear that God designed us as men or as women with certain purposes in mind for us. The main purpose of our sexual differentiation is the institution of marriage, which creates the context for the propagation of the human race through childbearing. When he made Adam and Eve, God did not create autonomous individuals who happened to live in proximity to one another. He created a woman from the body of the man and united them together as “one flesh,” a family unit with the incredible power to reproduce God’s image, leading to the expansion of humanity’s dominion over the world in fulfillment of God’s mandate to humanity. In other words, God created a distinct unit of human society: the household or family.

In the family, men are called to lead, provide, and protect. If the fall into sin had never happened, I can envision Adam and his sons laboring to expand the borders of Eden throughout the earth while vigilantly chasing away threats to the holy place, such as deceptive serpents. Women, being nurturers by nature, are called to nurture the life of families and communities. In my unfallen world scenario, I can envision Eve, her daughters, and the small children of the family beatifying their home and working at tasks that support its ongoing life. The beauty of the male-female dynamic that God has written into creation has been readily discarded by a culture that has been taken captive by the sexual revolution. A society that can no longer define the terms “man” and “woman” with any sensibility is a society that has sought to unravel the very fabric of reality. May the church be a place that rejoices in God’s design and faithfully passes it on to the little boys and girls in our homes today, so that they in turn may one build households that reflect that same beauty.

But beneath the creational order of the household, God has written the very pattern of the gospel into marriage. In the drama of marriage, the husband has been called to represent Christ in the way that he loves his wife. The wife has been called to represent the church in the way she submits to and respects her husband. May those of us who are or will be husbands and wives live in obedience to this gospel pattern, and may those of us who are not husbands or wives place our hopes in the great wedding feast in which we will all share together on the day that Christ comes for us, and all the temporary marriages of this age give way to our unending union with our Bridegroom.

Suggested passage for family or personal reading: Ephesians 5:22-33. What does this passage teach us about what it means to be a husband or a wife?

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