Motherhood and …


This post follows on from Jean’s previous entry ‘Temptation and the garden’.

It’s time for some free association. I’ll give you a word. Close you eyes and tell me what springs to mind. Ready?


What did you come up with? Kids? Caring? Apple pie? I’m pretty sure none of you came up with the word ‘salvation’! But in the Bible, motherhood and salvation go hand in hand.

Our women’s Bible study group has been reading Genesis 1-3 from a woman’s point of view—from Eve’s point of view, to be exact. It’s a fascinating exercise! You wouldn’t usually want to read the Bible through the lens of a particular topic, but when you do, it’s a bit like looking through the wrong end of a telescope: you pick up all kinds of details you wouldn’t normally notice.

There’s not much about motherhood in the first half of the creation account in Genesis 2:1-3:12. But as you read on, suddenly motherhood is everywhere:

  • Who will crush the serpent? The woman’s offspring (Gen 3:14-15).
  • What’s the woman’s curse all about? Marriage (which will now bring conflict for power) and motherhood (which will now bring pain) (Gen 3:16).
  • What’s the first sign of hope? Adam’s beautiful words, which seem to heal the rift with Eve and express his delight over their promised children: “The man called his wife’s name Eve, because she was the mother of all living” (Gen 3:20).
  • What’s the first fruit of their union? “Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, saying, ‘I have gotten a man with the help of the Lord’” (Gen 4:1).
  • How does the ‘godly line’ begin? With Seth: “God has appointed for me another offspring instead of Abel” (Gen 4:25b), and then with a line of sons down to Noah: “Out of the ground that the Lord has cursed this one shall bring us relief from our work and from the painful toil of our hands” (Gen 5:28-29).
  • What’s the purpose of the ‘godly line’? It continues all the way down the generations to Jesus, the serpent-crusher (Luke 3:23-38, Heb 2:14, Rom 16:20).

Motherhood goes with salvation like the proverbial apple pie. I’ll never have the privilege of being one of the rollcall of women (Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, Bathsheba, Mary) in the godly line that led to the birth of Jesus (Matt 1:1-17). But motherhood and salvation are still linked in the mind of God:

  • One of the purposes of faithful marriage is to raise ‘godly offspring’ (Mal 2:15).
  • The Bible praises mothers like Lois and Eunice who passed their faith onto their grandson and son Timothy (2 Tim 1:5, 3:14-15, 1 Tim 5:9-10).
  • Paul speaks of women being “saved through childbearing” (1 Tim 2:11-15). I think he’s talking about the opportunity many women have to work out their salvation as they serve Christ in the sphere of marriage and motherhood (Phil 2:12-13). There’s no need to hanker after more public teaching ministries! Right now, in this home with this family, as I help my husband and raise our children to be ‘godly offspring’, I am doing God’s work and furthering his kingdom.

I’m not a mother primarily for my own joy (although the joy—and labour—of motherhood is great!). I’m a mother because God wants me to teach and train our children so that they can grow into godly men and women who bring glory to Jesus by living for him and telling others about him. That’s the privilege and responsibility of motherhood.

So I’ve been praying a new prayer—that, like in the ‘godly line’, my faith will be passed on to our children, to our children’s children, and to our children’s children’s children—down the generations until Christ returns. More importantly, I’ve been asking God to help me raise children who will share God’s gift of salvation so that others can become part of his family.

It’s because in God’s economy, motherhood and salvation go hand in hand.

4 thoughts on “Motherhood and …

  1. The grand picture is often hidden in the everyday smallness, thanks for the reminder, Jean.

    I also think God’s brilliant, powerful, mercy shines in the “godly” line, considering it is such a scandalous one (especially the women!).

    That God makes a habit of blessing the weak, unlikely and wicked is heartening. He will use our good and bad mothering days for Jesus’ kingdom. 

    Thanks as always Jean.

  2. From what I understand, Motherhood has been part of God’s plan from the very beginning. It was Eve’s job to be a helper to Adam & part of that involved being a mother – to help Adam multiply & subdue the Earth. Post-fall, it was also part of God’s rescue plan for sin (Gen 3:15). Motherhood is undoubtedly important as part of God’s overall plan for humanity.

    If motherhood is such an important part of God’s plan for women, what about the women who do not get a chance to experience it, either because of infertility or because they remain single? Do they somehow lose some part of their womanhood? What then is God’s plan for them as women specifically that is different from men?

    (I realise that we’re created as more than just men & women – we’re image-bearers of God.)

    Can you help me understand this a little bit more?

  3. Hi Jessica!

    That’s an excellent question!

    In many ways, God’s plan for single women is the same as for single men. They are both free from the divided interests of married women and mothers – free from “concern about the affairs of this world” – free to serve Christ with “undivided devotion” (1 Cor 7:32-35).

    But I do think that single women have a unique role to play that is different from single men. God has made women different, with different roles and strengths. Women are made with a focus on <i>relationships</i> (Gen 2-3). So even when women work (single or married, mums or not) they will generally (and rightly) be less focussed on work and more focussed on relationships than men.

    Being a woman affects our disposition and the sphere in which we serve God. A married mum serves Christ primarily in the sphere of marriage, motherhood and home, and uses these as a base to reach out to others. But this has implications for single women too.

    We’ll be helpers as we support male leaders in the church. We’ll try to have a respectful attitude as we relate to men. Most women will also be more nurturing than most men, because that’s the way we’re made, and this will express itself in care for others inside and outside the church, adults and/or children. Women also often have a greater emphasis on hospitality in their ministries than many men, again because that’s the way we’re made.

    I’m aware that I’ve skated across the surface of some very tricky issues here! Like you, I’ve found this topic a challenging one! Please ask me more questions if you’d like to go deeper, or tell me what you think!

    In Christ,


  4. Thanks for your thoughts, Jean! There’s definitely a lot to think about on this subject. Perhaps enough for someone to do a post on it. wink

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