Are men and women spiritually different?
Fantastic question! The short answer is both yes and no. Is male spirituality superior to a female’s? No. Do women secure a spiritual priority? Nope. But yes, God made the sexes uniquely different, which then affects our spiritual expressions and methods of worship. You see, God is made up of both sexes, according to Genesis 1:27, “God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” (NASB) Equality of the Spirit was God’s intent from the beginning. That said, we must embrace the interesting fact that God chose to make a male person first, the woman second.
Eve, the first female, was made from Adam’s rib according to Genesis chapter two. A symbolic truth was therefore instituted that women walk beside men (not behind them), and are tasked to be his partner. God easily could have fashioned the dirt that day into two equal lumps and breathed life into them at precisely the same moment during creation. But he didn’t do that; he created men first. Since everything God does is intentional, we must pause to consider a God-crafted pecking order that surely must relate to the spiritual nature of things. Perhaps God intended to build a lead/follow relationship into our human dynamic?
The Apostle Paul’s dissertation on men and women is famously confusing in the Bible’s book of First Corinthians (chapter eleven), yet it applies to your question. In context, Paul was building church communities in Greece—writing letters to stay in connection with these early, struggling congregations. His letters were affirming, but often addressed serious problems as well. Paul wrote this: “But I want you to understand that Christ is the head of every man, and the man is the head of a woman, and God is the head of Christ,” (1 Corinthians 11:3.) He then went on to say, “However, in the Lord, neither is woman independent of man, nor is man independent of woman. For as the woman originates from the man, so also the man has his birth through the woman; and all things originate from God,” (vs. 11, 12.) Paul needed to set the record straight regarding male and female roles. We see from these scriptures that a spiritual ranking does exist alongside equality of the sexes.
What are the spiritual differences, then, between men and women? According to a world-renowned, Christian leader and psychologist (Dr. James Dobson), there are some clear distinctions: In general, men seek adventurous, active and more concrete expressions of the spirit. God made them competitive initiators in our world, so they often need something more than a quiet, meditative Church experience. Their relationship with God tends to be more on-the-go; short but intense interactions void of idle chit-chat.
Women, on the other hand, generally thrive on the social, spiritual fellowship. Their encounters with God are often brought on by a loving, meditative atmosphere. As such, women are often described as more in tune with the spiritual realm, but this is not necessarily true. They are hard-wired to connect emotionally and may find intimacy with God an easier task, yes, but they sometimes mistake emotional expressions for spiritual ones.
It’s no secret that most churches are packed with church-widows; women who are spiritually abandoned while their men sit at home. The reasons for this also provide a response to the scoffers who berate my pulpit leadership and send me hateful letters. Legions of our men have been wounded by religious bullies trying to oppress their God-given role. They limped out of church and gave up. Yet the Body of Christ is desperate for men to shake off their wounding, get off the couch and courageously decide to lead Christ’s army once again. If more men would do this, women like me would be married and joyfully supporting male leadership—not trying to fill their shoes. God needs us all to fulfill our roles in Christ, especially now.