Love, Motherhood and Patriarchy in the Bible and Nature


Article #336

by Bill Nugent


Rabi Maharaj (1947-    ) was raised as a Hindu and trained to be a yogi. His ancestry is a long line of Brahmin priests and gurus. He converted to Christianity as a young man in the 1970s. His book, Death of a Guru, published in 1977 and translated into over sixty languages tells the remarkable story of his conversion and ministry.


Maharaj has helped rehabilitate drug addicts and he has spoken in thousands of public settings, including churches and college campuses. He delivers a compelling message of the truth of Christianity and the wide chasm of difference between Christianity and paganism.


Maharaj has said: “There are over 300 million gods in Hinduism and not one of them loved me and not one of them died for my sins.” This brings us to something unique about the biblical faith. That unique biblical thing is LOVE. We are so often told that God loves us, that we tend to take it for granted.


The love of God must not be minimized or sloughed off as a minor doctrine of our faith. The love of God is glorious. Love is God’s motivation for our redemption. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). All of us are familiar with John 3:16 but take a good look at it because the only place you’ll ever see it or anything like it is in the Bible. There’s nothing like the love expressed in John 3:16 in the Hindu Vedas or the Bhagavad Gita or the Buddhist Tripitaka or the Tibetan Book of the Dead (Bardo Thodol) or the Muslim Koran or the Hadith or any other sacred writings of nonbiblical faiths.


Pagan deities don’t love people. Consider that:


Vishnu doesn’t love you.

Shiva doesn’t love you.

Krishna doesn’t love you.

Mohammed doesn’t love you.

Buddha doesn’t love you.

Wodin doesn’t love you.

Thor doesn’t love you.

Satan doesn’t love you.

Darwin doesn’t love you.

Marx doesn’t love you.


Only the Judeo-Christian God loves you and me!


The story is told – and I believe it’s true – about a man named Bob Jones who died and went to the entrance of heaven. Jesus asked him “Did you learn to love?” Jesus didn’t ask him “Did you learn to lead?” or “Did you learn to accumulate wealth?” We humans tend to measure success in terms of wealth and power. We glory in the ability to lead and have influence over others and tell others what to do. The Bible, however, glories in love.


We experience love on the human to human horizontal level as we learn to love people. We experience love from ourselves to God on the vertical direction as we learn to love God. Love is expressed horizontally and vertically. Superimpose the vertical on the horizontal and it makes a cross.


This brings us to the greatest experience of love on the human level. I believe I can show from the Bible and by nature that the greatest and most intimate love on the human to human level is motherhood. The Bible exalts motherhood in many places. Mary the mother of Jesus had the most intimate and blessed personal experiences of love as she bore the Christ child and raised Him to adulthood. Consider what Mary said to Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist: “from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed” (Luke 1:48). Mary is the most blessed of all women because she is the mother of Jesus. Another example of a biblical exaltation of motherhood is “He makes the barren woman abide in the house as a joyful mother of children” (Psalm 113:9 NASB).


Motherhood has been denigrated in postmodern American society. The Women’s liberation movement of the 1960s and the feminist movement that followed it sought to set women free from the burden of pregnancy, childbirth, dirty diapers, 3 AM feedings and a host of related responsibilities. I read that at one gathering of feminists, a feminist woman who chose motherhood was booed off the stage when she dared to sing a little song about her baby.


Think about it for a minute. The unique experience of having another human being inside of you, growing and developing for nine months and then giving birth in a time of trauma. Then there’s the years of nurturing the infant as it goes through the stages of life into childhood, adolescence and to adulthood. Think of the closeness, affection and intimacy. No other human relationship comes close. Yet we often dismiss mothers as ordinary.


I’ll also mention that since the 1960s there’s been a stealth movement of what can be called “men’s liberation.” It’s rebellious men setting themselves free from the traditional role of men as being providers and protectors of the family. Many fathers have abandoned their families and this results in millions of single mothers raising their children alone.


Maybe by now you’re thinking that I’m a patronizing, prudish, old fashioned church guy who wants women to stay home and make babies. Surely I’m part of the patriarchal conspiracy! But before you flip the page or click delete, just step back and look at the big picture of life and focus on the thing that’s the object of the game of life and that thing is LOVE.


It’s not that I look down on childless women or belittle fatherhood. I just want to point out that God has given women a great glory in pregnancy, childbirth and the years of loving and nurturing that follow. The Bible has given men a more prominent role in leadership and power over people. Compared to motherhood, the glories of patriarchy pale in comparison. It’s as if God threw men a bone.


God has compensated men with power to give them a degree of social status and God gave men strength to provide for the home and protect the home. “God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honour to that part that lacked: That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another” (I Corinthians 12: 24-25).


Men lack the glory of motherhood so God gave men the glory of leadership. That’s not to say that women can’t serve as leaders. There are many examples in the Bible and in the church down through history of excellent female leaders. The glory of womanhood is motherhood; the glory of manhood is to be a father who is a strong provider and protector of the home. Both motherhood and fatherhood involve learning to love in great and glorious ways.


On the vertical plane of learning to love, which is the love from human to God, both men and women have a lot to learn. Learning to love God involves the development of godly character. Learning to lead people, on the other hand, is development of ministry power to reach the most people with the most good. Learning to love God is far more glorious than ministry power. God can use any person at any time to do great works of ministry outreach but loving God from the heart is the only thing that a human being can give to God. Christianity is about love. From start to finish the biblical faith is about love. It’s time we start pursuing love rather than being overly concerned about who has the leadership roles.


Some women resent patriarchy. In many cases it’s because they’ve been abused by fathers and husbands. Some nonchristian women blame the Bible for imposing patriarchy on western civilization. The Bible does in fact contain passages that define Christian marriage in a patriarchal way with husbands as head. I will hasten to point out that virtually all nations and communities and civilizations have been patriarchal since the beginning of history.


Let’s take a brief look at the concept of Natural Law. Natural Law is the claim that God’s laws are embedded in nature. Plants and animals reveal things about God. “The invisible things of him [God] from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made” (Romans 1:20). The founding fathers of the United States often referred to Natural Law in their scholarly writings.


The ancient Romans relied heavily on Natural Law. The ancient Roman deities did not give laws to the Romans. There’s no Ten Commandments of Jupiter and no moral code given by Neptune or Mars. The Romans looked to nature, even to the way animals guarded their own territory. They saw that property rights are so basic that even animals stake out territory. This gave the Romans the basic concept of land ownership and the equivalent of “Thou shalt not steal” as a moral principle. Natural Law under-girded the whole Roman legal system with categories including the ius naturale, the ius gentium and the ius civile. Natural Law was written about and discussed by the ancient Roman jurist, Cicero and many others.


Nature has been called “God’s second book.” In nature we can see God’s wisdom and moral sense as expressed in societies that had no specific revelation of biblical Commandments. One such observation is that all cultures of any substantial size and duration are patriarchal. This lends weight to the conclusion that the human mind and heart is hard wired for patriarchy. The patriarchy we witness across all human cultures is not a vast right wing conspiracy but rather the outworking of human nature.


The Bible teaches patriarchy in its many passages on church leadership and divine order in the home. “Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands” (I Peter 3:1). In this passage the Bible affirms the patriarchal nuclear family which has been the general custom in all cultures all over the world, throughout history. It is only in our postmodern western culture that the patriarchal nuclear family has been seriously and deliberately undermined by university professors and other cultural gatekeepers.


In conclusion, we can see that the biblical faith exalts love in a far greater way than any other religion or philosophical system. The religions and philosophies of man exalt power rather than love. We’ve also seen that on the human level, motherhood is the most intimate loving relationship. This is certainly not to deny that fatherhood also involves great love and nurturing. All cultures have been patriarchal throughout all human history. The majority of decisions in public and private life have been made by males. This is fundamental to human nature and the Bible affirms and accommodates male leadership. Postmodern liberalism attempts to abolish gender differences and impose hyper-egalitarianism. Postmodern liberalism regards patriarchy as injustice. The postmodern view is false.


The Bible is a divinely inspired book which gives wisdom directly from God. The Bible contains hundreds of prophecies that have been fulfilled down through history. The fulfillment of biblical prophecies serves as proof and accreditation of the divine origin of biblical wisdom. The Bible’s teachings on the patriarchal home and the preponderance of males in leadership roles in the Old and New Testaments should not be rejected to accommodate postmodern gender role experimentation. Of course women can be leaders but why would they want to be? The object of our faith is learning to love. Leadership roles are for those who are called and equipped by God to fulfill those roles. Both men and women can be good leaders in the church and in business and on all the seven mountains of influence.


The Bible expresses God’s great love for humanity. The Bible reveals the sinfulness of human beings but also the love of God that provides redemption and forgiveness of sins. God sent His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, who came in fulfillment of over three hundred Old Testament Bible prophecies. Jesus is the promised Messiah of Israel. The prophets foretold that Christ would take upon Himself the penalty of the sins of the people and suffer and die for our sins. Christ rose from the dead to offer forgiveness of sins to all who turn to Him in repentance. I invite you to turn to Christ today to receive forgiveness of sins.

Steps to salvation:

Jesus said “Ye must be born again” (John 3:7).

  • 1) Believe that God created you and loves you and sent the Messiah (Messiah is Hebrew for Christ) to redeem you.
  • 2) Believe that Jesus Christ came in fulfillment of over 300 Bible prophecies to die for you, to take upon Himself the penalty of your sins (Isaiah 53:5-6, John 6:29, Romans 4:5, First Peter 3:18).
  • 3) Turn from sin and call on the name of Jesus to receive forgiveness of sins (Romans 10:13).
  • 4) Receive Jesus as Savior and experience the new birth (John 1:12, Acts 2:38).
  • 5) Follow Jesus Christ as Lord (John 14:21).

Prayer to receive salvation:

“Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Romans 10:13).

To receive the salvation that Jesus purchased for us at the terrible cost of His suffering and death on our behalf I invite you to pray this simple prayer:

“Dear heavenly Father, I thank you for sending Jesus, the promised Messiah, to die for my sins. I admit that I am a sinner. I repent of my sins and I ask for your forgiveness on the basis of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. I ask you to fill me with your Holy Spirit to empower me to serve you under the Lordship of Jesus Christ, Amen.”

If you prayed this prayer in the humble sincerity of your heart then you have received everlasting life, which includes power to live right in this life and entrance into heaven in the afterlife!

(C) 2016 William P. Nugent, permission granted to email or republish for Christian outreach.

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