Christian Living

Equal Opportunities: What does “All men are created equal” really mean in this World

All men are created equal…

That’s what the Declaration of Independence says, but what does it mean? We often hear of equal rights for all people today, equal rights for: women, children, people of color, etc. Equal in what way? To make things fair competition is eliminated. Here are various examples. The reader is encouraged to do their own research if they are interested in “fact checking” the following situations.

Employment: When you apply for a job a company is ordered to consider all applicants “fairly,” because of an enforced governmental standard equal opportunity employment. The result? Companies due to fear of looking biased, will often go with a minority over and above other individuals regardless of qualifications.

College/University: When enrollment gets a little tight at certain institutions of higher education those who are considered less privileged are chosen over others. Even if the person rejected has a higher G.P.A. and better SAT or ACT scores. Other factors not related to education are what’s chosen.

Athletics: Sports have likewise sought to even the playing field. This has happened in a variety of ways. For example, the elimination of keeping score in order to determine a winner in little league or children’s soccer games is a telltale sign of enforcing equality on all by eliminating competition. Or suppose a girl wants to play a boy sport, in the name of equality, the boy’s team is pressured into accepting a girl as a teammate. This same tomfoolery is demonstrated when a transgender boy wants to compete in a girls event, and the dominates.

Some believe such movements reveal the progressive, more civilized, nature of modern thought. Those who disagree (and some do rather strongly) are quickly shouted down or ignored in the arena of ideas. Or worse they are falsely labeled and maligned in the public eye.

The conviction of our nation’s founders was that all people are created equal in the eyes of their Creator. Men and women, black and white (or whatever shade you might be) are all equal in terms of the created order. Our equality stems not from what we do, but from what we are as image bearers:  “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”[1] Notice the qualifications that were noted by our forefathers, which reveal some of the necessary elements of being created equal.[2]

First, people are granted Life by their Creator and in this fashion we all share equality. We have nothing to brag about, as our birthing into this world is ultimately tied to God’s creative act. Second, people are essentially free in so far as they have been granted in this life. This point needs further explanation, and so will be discussed in more detail below. The third and final point is related to the “pursuit of Happiness.” We are equal in the ability to pursue happiness, but that is not the same thing as we all are granted happiness.

Life is difficult and often times seemingly unfair. Though all life is a gift, the circumstances that we are born into are not always the same as others around us. Depending on where we find ourselves in history (i.e. time/status), as well as location (i.e. culture/society), has a lot to do with the type of life, liberty and pursuit of happiness we may have access to.

All though we are born on equal footing as image bearers, we do not all share the same abilities, talents, wealth, status, good looks, strength, weaknesses, etc. The point being is that our equality as human beings stems from God as our Creator, not our various stations in life. Some people are more privileged than others. We may not like that fact of life, and we may begrudge it, but hate it as we may, very little may be done about it.

Take for example intellectual giants like Albert Einstein. He (and there are others like him) are provided greater advantages than those of lesser intellects. Or say for instance an individual like Michael Jordan who as a child was not the greatest basketball player, but through hard work and perseverance honed his God-given talent to be one of the NBA’s greatest players. Is it fair that Einstein or Jordan was granted such abilities? Is it right that other children across this nation do not have the same advantages/privileges that men like these did? Many children have similar aspirations, but lack the necessary gifts to be a brilliant scientist or All-Star NBA player. Let’s face the facts; some of us are not even good enough to be bench warmers in either field

Go down through the list and look at the people that you look up to who have great wealth, looks, and talents, and realize that you will probably never attain to the station that they have in life. Your right to pursue such things, does not equate ascending to the level that many human heroes have obtained.

Now consider something, is that fair? Is that right? Are you willing to live with what you have been given and accept the limitations that have been placed on you? The Bible tells us that human beings are created equal—male and female; and yet, there are vast distinctions between the sexes that will never be overcome.

By nature men are physically stronger than women. Take the strongest man in the world and pit him against the strongest woman in the world, and you know what you will find? The man will be noticeably stronger than the woman.

Women tend to be more emotionally connected and nurturing when it comes to raising children. Take the most emotionally connected and nurturing father in the world and pit him against the best that womankind has to offer and you know what you will find? The woman will be noticeably more emotionally connected and nurturing than the father.

Think on this for a moment, in either scenario does this make the man or woman better than the other? No. All it reveals is that men and women are different. They have been equipped to handle different roles in life; and yet, they share equality before God.

There are things that women will always do better than men, just as there will always be things that men do better than women. In the same way, some people can act others cannot; some people are great speakers others are not; some people acquire much wealth others do not. Equality is not something that people can engender or government can force by putting it into law.

Unfortunately, we find this cultural attitude infecting the Christian community. People both inside and outside the church, want to flail around and complain about one individual or one particular group of people as having some preconceived privilege over another. However, what they need to do is stop it!

In the Southern Baptist Convention there is an ongoing debate about women being preachers. The fact of the matter is that Christ is Lord of the Church. Neither He nor His apostles after Him authorized women to have such positions of authority within the Church (see 1Tim 2.12-14).[3] The argument is levied against those that uphold what the Scriptures teach as being backwards or chauvinistic—claiming an equalitarian approach is what is needed. But God determines who can and will be ministers in His assembly. The Lord does this not only with drawing a dividing line between men and women, but also between men who are qualified and those who are not (cf. 1Tim 3.1-7; Tit 1.5-9).

There is a similar argument stirring in the Church here in America about the issue of people of color. The belief is that there should be more black men in the pulpits, and there are far too many white church’s with white elders. Okay, what’s the overall population percentage of white versus black? Something like, 60 to 20 with the majority being white. Which is the correct way to handle this scenario? Are we to follow the governmental standard of “equal opportunity employment,” where minorities are sometimes chosen not because of superior qualifications, but cultural/societal peer pressure?

Again, we must ask, “Who is Lord of the Church?” Well you say, “Jesus wasn’t no white man!” True enough, but he wasn’t black either. Jesus was a Hebrew, but He died for people of all ethnicities. In fact, He died to erase the foolish distinctions that we human beings so love to hold! If there are qualified black men (qualified by God’s standard, not man’s) that desire to pursue the position of elder (overseer) in a local church, and then after having those qualifications verified by their perspective congregation and whatever ordained body they are required to go through (depends upon the denomination), then he should pastor the said church. It should not matter if the church is predominately white or black or Asian or Hispanic.

However, the same standard should be applied across the board. Meaning if there is a black church where a white man desires to obtain this ministerial position, and he too meets all the qualifications biblically speaking, then the color of his skin should not determine his eligibility to serve. Again, this applies regardless of the ethnic heritage the individual may possess. All that true matters is whether or not his heritage is found in Christ Jesus.

Equality does not mean making every one a member of the collective whole, where a person is not distinguished by the specific way in which their Creator has gracious gifted them. In this sense, people are not all equal. We are all different, and we are so because God has determined it to be this way. The world hates this truth and therefore seeks to rebel against it. Evidences of this rebellion are all around us, and they are found in the most insignificant ways. There are many others, but time constrains me from speaking further on this issue.

ENDNOTES:

[1] Declaration of Independence, https://www.constitution.org/us_doi.pdf. Emphasis added.

[2] It should be noted that this was not always clearly developed in their lives. Unfortunately, these men were likewise affected by their cultural climate,  and made similar errors that we too are prone to make.

[3] Notice that Paul’s argument is founded upon creation and the role (responsibility) that God gave the man versus the woman. They are both equal, but have different roles to fill. Adam had been given the responsibility to be the guardian of God’s Word, even though he failed. Christ, the last Adam, redeems the true station of which men were to fill. This, however, does not say that women have no place teaching in other roles. Women are apt teachers when it comes to other women and children (e.g. Tit 2.3-4; 1Tim 5.14; Prov 14.1; 31.27-29). There is even an example when a woman (along with her husband) helped correct a very talented preacher of the gospel in New Testament times (see Act 18.24-26).

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