Where Did the Idea of “Patriarchy” Come From?

Share Two Edges of the Sword Post:

“And do not be conformed to this world (to think in terms of its system of “good and evil;” i.e., independence—“I’ve got this”) but be transformed by the renewing of your minds (to think instead, constantly, in terms of faith—“I trust my Father in this”) Romans 12:2.

We have discussed at great length in these postings the implications of this new way of thinking (living by faith instead of by making “good decisions”—obedience to the law). I believe there is no bigger challenge today to this new way of living than attempting to follow the biblical pattern of gender relationships. In the coming weeks, as we look at gender roles from the biblical view of leadership in the kingdom of God, many very sincere Christians will disagree with me vehemently.

However, this kind of debate is not only acceptable, but desirable and even necessary! This is the way the church must function if we are ever to reach “the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:13). In our disagreements, we are to be honest, loving and always willing to learn. So, disagreements in the comments section of the blog are welcome and anticipated! 

We know, as the final jewel of God’s creation, man was created specifically to rule over that creation as God’s vice-regent, always ruling like God would rule if He were on-site Himself (Genesis 1:26). That is why we have been saved and are still on the earth. We have a job to do, and we want to carefully follow what God has told us to do as we go about it!

As we begin, It is important to note the divine order of God’s creation of His rulers-to-be. In the summary account of creation in Genesis 1:27. The Bible does not distinguish between the creation of male and female: just that together they reflect the image of God Himself.

However in Genesis 2, in the detailed account of creation, it is clear that Adam was created first. It was later, after the creation week, that God instructed him fully as to his ruling duties in the Garden of Eden and His responsibility to not eat of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Eve was nowhere to be seen during this time as she was not yet created. 

Finally, in Genesis 2:18 God said “”It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.” His plan all along was to create both male and female, but it was important to establish Adam as the leader. So God created him first and told only Adam what his job would entail. God then  created Eve as Adam’s helper in this great task of ruling the earth. In God’s scheme, she was indispensable—not only as Adam’s helper in the work but to make it possible for Part Three of man’s commission to be fulfilled—”Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it” (Genesis 1:28). 

So, Adam is in charge, directing the ruling enterprise with Eve’s able assistance, and it was designed by God that he would be helpless to do his job without Eve. It sounds to me as if God Himself deliberately fashioned His creation to function as what the world derisively calls a “patriarchy”—the man is in charge! 

We have now answered the question posed in the title of this posting—”Where did the idea of ‘patriarchy’ come from?” The answer is: “God Himself created it!” As Paul says in 1 Corinthians 11:3, “But I want you to know that the head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God.” This is a concise summary of God’s authority structure on the earth: a patriarchy.

However, man’s tragic application of this truth down through the ages has been a stark example of how fallen man, deceived by Satan, can turn the blessing of God’s law into a curse. Next week we will see how the Bible teaches God has designed this principle to be experienced in the kingdom of God, beginning in the family. “Lord, give us all eyes to see Your truth!”

Share Two Edges of the Sword Post:


  1. Jerry Buccola says:

    Robert, thank you for deciding to address gender roles! And thank you for reviewing the stark truth of the God-created patriarchy. The attack on this fundamental human social reality has resulted in confusion and disorder for many individuals, especially younger people. This resultant confusion, and social chaos is the intention of those are leading the attack. I could go on.

    Anyway, also your opening scripture passages reaffirm my periodic request to Father, to remove my cultural blinders. This is so I can deepen my knowledge and love of God in truth, in reality. Cheers, Jerry

  2. Rick Wixom says:

    Robert, this is an excellent foundational start to the discussion of Gender roles as created and designed by God. I can fully understand how some well-meaning Christians could get their feelings hurt by hearing this foundational truth. There are plenty of (non)working examples of how a family unit has functioned without “man” in the household. However, that experience does not prove the grand design incorrect, but merely that “Plan-B” options needed to be instituted to the best of their abilities to serve the broken family unit.

    As much as I agree with this foundational truth of the hierarchy of the family, there are often times I wish it were not so…I often wish I could “pass the buck” to my spouse on some of the heavier matters we face. However, I’ve not found any guidance on that matter in God’s word, so I humble myself, ask for His Grace and direction, and hit my responsibilities as He has outlined them for me…with my wife’s permission of course!

    Good word, brother! I look forward to the next installment

    1. Robert Andrews says:

      Spot on, Rick! I believe that just as God has both a revealed will (What He reveals to us is His character and toward which He is bringing us) as well as His decretive will (what is actually happening in time). If He “orders all things after the council of His will (Ephesians 1:11), even sin, that must be true. In the meantime, we are growing and learning, always becoming more “conformed to His image,” though we can’t see it!

  3. Joanne McReynoldd says:

    Robert, thanks so so much for addressing that so clearly and, yes, I do plan to share it. I had not been getting your messages. Recently I lost my phone but AT&T used an older IPhone I still had for transferring my contacts which put you back on. I glad you are still feeding the sheep!

    1. Robert Andrews says:

      Great to hear from you, Joanne! Jill and I speak of you with very fond and wonderful memories. So glad to hear you are still alive and kicking! I will get to see you soon!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *