Picture two shapes: a circle and an oval. Did you know these basic geometric designs can teach us a lot about our culture?
Remember the name Ivan Pavlov? He was the Nobel Prize-winning physiologist, best known for his experiments involving ringing bells and salivating dogs. Well, it may not surprise you to learn that he conducted other scientific tests as well. One in particular, I believe, illustrates a significant challenge facing our culture.
The project went like this: Pavlov trained his dogs to distinguish between circles and ovals. When they pointed their nose at a circle, they received a reward. But when they selected an oval, they suffered a penalty. As the experiment continued, Pavlov gradually made the oval more and more round until it was difficult to discern which was the oval and which was the circle.
The impact on the dogs’ behavior was telling. Because the clear boundaries between the shapes became blurred, the dogs grew confused, showed obvious signs of distress, and their behavior became erratic and unpredictable.
Is this not a picture of our nation?
For decades, society has been reshaping the moral boundaries that help us distinguish between right and wrong. As a result, each new generation has grown increasingly confused about life’s most fundamental values.
Take for example, one of the core attributes of humanity: the distinction between male and female.
Men and women have been uniquely designed to reveal God’s character. And yet, even within the church, there’s often a lot of confusion about what it means to be a man or what it means to be a woman.
It’s become a controversial subject because the culture is dictating what it means to be male and female.
But you know what?
The Scripture has a lot to say about it.
Given the uncertainty that has grown up around this topic, we want to dig into it deeper. To do that, we’ve invited our good friend, psychologist and author Dr. Larry Crabb into our studios for an informative conversation.
I agree with Dr. Crabb that we shouldn’t be surprised to see the culture go its own way in defining gender. Thankfully, Christians have the privilege of turning to the Word of God.
It all begins with Genesis 1:26 and 27: “Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness …. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them” (ESV).
When God made the moon, the stars, and the animals, it was with a pronouncement of “Let there be.” But when He made people, He said, “Let us.”
That’s the first hint of the Trinity, the first hint that God is a relational God. From that comes our inherent nature as men and women.
The Lord made men to reveal something unique about the way He relates within His own Trinity and how He relates with us. In their own unique way, women also reflect the nature of God equally to what a man does. That’s why there’s no biblical reason to believe women are somehow inferior to men in God’s economy or less important to His purposes.
That message has largely been lost. We, the Church, have to regain a healthy perspective for God’s design of men and women before we can share it with the culture.
So what is the opportunity of womanhood? What is the opportunity of manhood? Those questions and so much more will be the center of our conversation over the next couple of programs. I hope you’ll join us.
Dr. Crabb is the founder and director of New Way Ministries. You can hear “Embracing the Unique Aspects of Male and Female” on your local radio station. Or listen anytime online or via our free, downloadable mobile phone app.