The Grand Design: Male and Female He Made Them
By Owen Strachan & Gavin Peacock
Perhaps the most telling sign that we exist in a morally depraved, secularist society is the inability for individuals to answer the fundamental question, “What is a woman?” It’s baffling and incomprehensible. How could America go from multiple waves of feminist movements over the last century+ to an era that cannot even define on basic or generic terms what it means to be a woman?
Instead of embracing the beauty, diversity, and unique purposes that come with the two biological sexes, our culture has created a fuzzy, blurry world of gender-neutral gray. In this world, biology is forgotten, gender is interchangeable, confusion is common, contradictions condoned, and the significance of male and female stolen.
It all seems so complicated, but is it?
This short book, published in 2016 and written by two men who represent the Council on Biblical Manhood & Womanhood, is packed with powerful truth pertaining to God’s design for man and woman. Using the theme of biblical complementarity, the authors provide an introduction on how men and women discover peace, happiness, and fulfillment when they own their God-given identity and serve their God-assigned roles. The authors defend men and women as equal in both dignity and worth, though acknowledge and explain how men and women are distinctly and uniquely different in their roles and contributions to the family, church, and community.
The Grand Design recognizes that gender-stereotypes can be problematic and can produce toxic behavior or unintended positions of power yet acknowledge the opposite is also true – a secular culture pursuing androgyny has led to many men implementing traits and attitudes traditionally associated with women. Over the last decade we have witnessed this as men have grown increasingly passive and in cases, even feminine, while women have become more aggressive and assertive in their “boss babe” quest to “run the world” and ensure “the future is female.”
Has this neutered view of the sexes positively impacted our society? Are we better off with women seeking to rule the world and female dominance predominately supported for fear of toxic masculinity? But wait, don’t people believe men can become women and women can become men? I thought there were no such thing as men and women? Most people can’t even define the terms so how can masculine and feminine, male and female, man and woman, manhood and womanhood exist?
We are more confused than ever before and we don’t have to be. The foundational truth of our existence is stated clear as day in the beginning of the Bible – male and female God created. Our body and our identity have purpose. They are not separatable. Humanity is dependent on the fruit produced from the two sexes and both men and women are needed and necessary for human flourishing and for a society to properly function. Period, end of story.
“We will appreciate concepts like manhood and womanhood, complementarity, leadership, and submission only when we know the grand design of God. The Lord has made us for His own glory, but He has not rendered us androgynous creatures without definitive roles. For His praise and our flourishing, He has made us male and female.”pg. 166
If you still need the air to be clear then look no further than The Grand Design. The six chapters provide a comprehensive overview of biblical complementarity in the family, church, and culture as well as the meaning of biblical manhood and womanhood. As the reader, you will be challenged in how you perceive gender roles and stereotypes and apply what you think, feel, or believe to what God commands. (Hint: you were not meant to be stuffed in a box nor created to be bland or neutered of your gender.) I thought focus on complementarity was a productive way to approach the sex and gender discussion without excluding certain populations of men and women, such as those who are single, without children, or who battle same-sex attraction or gender dysphoria. Regardless of your relational status or sexual attraction, The Grand Design will reinforce (or in some cases, redirect) God’s purpose for you as a man or a woman.
Strachan and Peacock make a strong case for God’s design as they engage in cultural conversations and debate within the church about why men need to be men and women need to be women. There are many insightful resources referenced throughout this book along with scriptural support and biblical analysis of current topics and trends seen within culture and the aftermath that follows when individuals destroy the manual of God’s design.
Our culture believes gender fluidity trumps biological reality and there is no such meaning or significance in manhood and womanhood nor any plan or structure for sex. Simply, you can choose your own gender, live however you please, allow your natural desires free reign, and forgo commitment for liberation. Though, if you take one glance at the world (whether on TV, the internet, or at your local coffee shop), you may see freedom of expression, but you won’t see freedom as it equates to flourishing. Human flourishing comes when men and women thrive in the body, mind, and spirit God has specifically and intentionally designed for their individual good and for God’s ultimate glory.
The Grand Design will help you to understand why the original design cannot be replicated, reoriented, or reproduced. This book gives a well-written, thoroughly researched, easy-to-read account of why manhood and womanhood matter just as much today as they did at the beginning of time. I loved how The Grand Design was not overwhelming in content or complexity. I particularly appreciated the attention to detail in a book that is compact yet compelling and found a lot of value in the depiction and distinction of what it means to be a man or a woman. (Perhaps KBJ would benefit from this book as well 😉 ).
*I personally purchased this book. All the thoughts and opinions expressed are my very own.