Woman as antithesis of man

Then the Lord God said, ‘It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper as his partner.’
Genesis 2:18

This passage got me thinking.

It cannot be that it means each woman is merely an assistant to her man, even if she is a partner. That is just obviously not the true destiny of a woman. Women are not merely there for men’s needs, on any level.

It is more true that women help men in their joint destiny. But men clearly help women also. Yet Genesis 2 has a clear asymmetry that still needs to be accounted for.

I would like to suggest that, borrowing Hegel’s dialectic, woman is the antithesis of man. That is, woman presents a contrary, and in ways contradictory, force to the thesis that is man, and yet the two are destined to come together to form a synthesis. Is the antithesis necessarily another thesis? I don’t believe so. It seems to me that in the history of thought it is more of a contrary reality.

We can consider this in procreation; how man provides a first living principle, and woman provides a second living principle that receives and transforms the first, to create a third.

We might also consider the Church, the bride of Christ. The Holy one meets the unholy, and forms the synthesis of salvation, the mystery of the Holyunholy. We must receive the mystery of Christ dynamically, with all that we are, in order to bring to birth the New Man.

Let me know what you think in the comments. God bless!


  1. ‘We must receive the mystery of Christ dynamically, with all that we are.’ Thus far I can agree with you. But I’m not so sure about looking at man and woman in the abstract, especially when a verse from a poetic account of creation is your starting point.

    Even when gender roles were more rigidly adhered to, there were always exceptional women doing ‘men’s jobs’. Saint Hilda ruling her double monastery on Whitby’s hilltop and influencing matters of state – as well as the other women we’ve referred to in Agnellusmirror. Or Empress Irene, who restored the use of Icons. Or Mary Magdalene, apostle to the apostles. Or today, my cousin, a woman Anglican priest. Each of us has a PERSONAL calling, which may not be clear until we look back at our lives, and may bear little relation to our ambitions at 15 or 25.

    The danger you point to, of keeping women in a subservient position, is very real in a clericalistic church!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you :)

      I think abstraction is really helpful for gaining clarity, although it does risk over-simplifying. It also seems to me like the best approach to poetry, which is often abstract itself. Maybe it takes poetry to understand poetry, but I think the dialectic is poetic in its depth and beauty…

      I totally agree regarding “men’s jobs”. My aim wasn’t to support or reinforce gender roles at all. We each need to listen to that personal calling, as you said, and that will already contain and express our whole nature. The aim was to express how men and women can be essentially different, and yet neither one be above the other.

      That is very true.

      Thanks again, and God bless


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