A few years ago, Vicky Wireko, a columnist for the Daily Graphic, wrote an article on women empowerment that began with the assertion that ever since the Bible narrated that Eve led the world into sin, women have never had their peace. The article was very interesting and apt in highlighting the challenges women face.
I, however, want to argue that those who think in that direction have missed the point the Bible seeks to communicate. This is precisely because they misread the Bible and impute their own understanding of the text. Let me say that while it is true that the Bible says it was the woman who was first deceived, the Bible did not hold the woman as the main cause of sin in the world.
In the Bible, it was Adam who was primarily held responsible for sin in the world. We know this when God called Adam, after the fall, and asked: “Adam, where are you … have you eaten from the tree which I commanded you not to eat?” (Genesis 3:6-13).
It should be of interest to us to find out why God directed His question first to Adam, even though we know it was Eve who first ate the fruit.
On this, I argue that God was holding man responsible for failing to take charge of his (man’s) home. God was holding Adam to the task for failing to execute his primary responsibility as the head of the family. God wanted Adam to rule his house. God wanted Adam to lead, protect, and provide for his wife and family. But Adam failed miserably.
Sadly, in today’s world, we have turned the Christian family system on its head. Many of us men have failed and continue to fail to live up to our divine-cultural mandate of providing, leading, and protecting our families. We have given up on our sacred duty to intervene on behalf of our families.
In our world today, most men would want to marry a woman who is working. Certainly, there is nothing wrong with marrying a woman who is working, as this may be a form of complementing the family’s income.
But the truth is that, for most men, when they add a working woman to the list of qualities they expect from a prospect wife, they are implicitly doing so to subvert their responsibilities to provide, lead, and protect their families.
It is rather unfortunate that many households in our cities and rural communities are headed by women. Most women, therefore, undertake the dual responsibility of taking care of the home and providing for the home. Most women are, therefore, unreasonably stressed.
But in all of this, we can also partly blame some form of policies that undermine the capacity of men to provide, lead, and protect their homes. It is becoming obvious that, as part of the promotion of girlchild education (which is brilliant and must be supported), some boys are becoming marginalised and left behind in education.
As today marks my birthday, I want to charge all men to respond to God’s question, “Adam, where are you?” God is counting on us men to take charge of our families. God is counting on us to take care of our wives and children.
The Apostle Paul sternly reminded Christians that a man who does not provide for his home is worse than an unbeliever (I Timothy 5:8). In short, what the Bible is calling us to do as part of expressing our masculinity is to feel the heat, when there is no bread at home! In reverse, if a woman feels the heat when there is no bread at home, then the man heading that family has failed God.
Let us not cow to radical feminism that seeks to upend God's pattern for the family, which is based on a man providing, leading, and protecting his wife and family, and the woman taking care of the home. The complementarity between men and women in taking care of the home is part of God’s cultural mandate for humanity.
All said, I want to thank everyone who has contributed to my life in ways that made me learn something new. I thank my companion in life and homemaker, Josephine Tweneboaa Afrifa. She knows what it means to be a woman.
I also thank my mother who never stops praying for me. Before her, I am always a “child” who needs the support of a prayerful mother. I thank all other women who have been a blessing to me.
Happily, I share the same birthday with two of my basic schoolmates, Aisha Rufai and Angela Abroso. Aisha and Angie, let us grow in grace and live to make the Lord popular than anything else.
Charles Prempeh ([email protected]), African University College of Communications, Accra