Book Review: The Grand Design: Male and Female He Made Them

It seems that nothing in our country has changed quite so quickly as the way we think about gender and sexuality. Concrete terms like male and female are no longer acceptable. It’s become so muddied that Facebook now allows you to customize your particular gender identity. You can be male, female, agender, bigender, intersex, transgender, transsexual, non-binary, gender fluid, and many more. Society is telling us that if gender exists, it is a fluid concept that is moldable to your liking.

All of this helps to support the need for a book like The Grand Design: Male and Female He Made Them. Owen Strachan and Gavin Peacock set out in this work to clear the fog that has descended on gender issues in contemporary society. They shine a light on the Biblical evidence for a visionary God who created men and women with equal worth but distinct roles. They demonstrate how this foundational building block works its way into society, the church, and the family. In an age where the Bible is seen by many as having the same legitimacy as the Tooth Fairy or the Easter Bunny, the authors successfully present God’s design for gender as a better and more fulfilling option than anything the world has to offer.

Here are three reasons you should consider reading The Grand Design:

  1. It clarifies the confusion surrounding gender roles in the church. God has created both men and women with equal worth and value. Every person you will ever meet bears the image of our Almighty Creator and, therefore, deserves respect and love. At the same time, men and women were never created with the same roles in the family, church, or society. We see this as early on in the Bible as Genesis 2:18 when Adam being alone was seen as “not good” to the Lord. Adam needed a helper to be like him as a human but still distinct from him. This grounds our beliefs about gender; men and women are like one another but we are distinct from one another.
  1. It does not attempt to ignore the responsibility that men have to lead. Since the opening pages of the Bible men have been called to lead. Likewise, since a similar point men have been balking that call. Christians should see this response by men as unacceptable and as nothing more than what it is: blatant habitual disobedience toward God. The authors not only call men to lead their families and churches, they rightfully condemn masculine abuse of leadership roles.
  1. It presents the biblical understanding of sex as a better option (and, in fact, the best option) against the world’s definition of sex. Sex is, according to Strachan and Peacock, “a functional gift.” It was not made to be worshiped but to be enjoyed according to God’s plan. Sex was never intended to bring us ultimate happiness. Instead, it was designed to guide us into togetherness, satisfaction, and oneness with our spouse. This definition of sex is much different than that proposed by 50 Shades of Grey and Playboy. And, it’s better than alternatives in that it liberates us from seeing sex as nothing more than a hedonistic outlet or as a tool used for selfish manipulation.

Conclusion

In an age where truth is seen as subjective and the Bible is presented as old fashion, The Grand Design offers many things that other books don’t. For an in-depth discussion, one will need to look elsewhere. But for an introduction to the Biblical position regarding gender roles this work makes a great contribution.

6 Quote-Worthy Quotes:

“The godliest men are those who not only help their wives understand the Bible and its doctrine, but those who create opportunities for their own sin to be exposed and repented of.”

“Too many times a man will pray for his wife and ask God to help her with her problems without a single thought to the fact that her problems are his problems. She is his body. He is the protection that God has provided.”

“God has highly esteemed women by making the survival of the human race hang on their care and nurture.”

“Biblical men are not entitled boys with precious egos; they can give and take criticism well. They submit to leadership and they learn from other mature men.”

“A biblical man is a divine, not a dude. He is a man of weight and substance, like the great Scottish Reformer John Knox of whom Mary, Queen of Scots, reputedly said, ‘I fear the prayers of John Knox more than all the assembled armies of Europe.’“

“Unregenerate manhood preys on women, weakening them and using them. Biblical manhood protects women, loving them through gracious leadership.”

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