Is Patriarchy Sin, or Is It God-Ordained?

Is patriarchy sin, or is it God-ordained? My father thinks it’s God-ordained, but my mother disagrees. Who is right?

Very likely there are aspects of both your parents’ thinking that are right and wrong. To sort out your own beliefs about this confusing topic, consider the following:

  1. Patriarchy was the result of disobedience to God. Read Genesis 3, and notice in particular verse 16. Ponder also the meaning of Genesis 3:21. That verse highlights the new normal. It describes how a loving God adapted, killing an animal because Adam and Eve’s shame required better clothing than what they were able to make for themselves using fig leaves.
  2. God then went about creating a people set apart under that new normal (patriarchal reality), beginning with Abraham, continuing with Moses, and finally ending this era with the birth, life, and death of Jesus. God interacted with his people as a patriarch would, adapting to our fallen state and teaching us about obedience via the law.
  3. When God resurrected Jesus, everything changed. Patriarchy, along with slavery, animal cruelty, and death, were defeated. The church was established and described as the body or bride of Christ and as the family of God. Instead of an Old Testament patriarch or a New Testament healing and preaching rabbi, the Holy SpiritGod with usbegan to establish the church and usher in the kingdom.
  4. Consider that it is not, first of all, so necessary that your parents be on the same page with respect to patriarchy. What is necessary, however, is that their heart, mind, and strength be focused on serving and forgiving each other, since building God’s kingdom will always require sacrifice of some sort. That is the new normal of our era.    

About the Author

Judy Cook is a family therapist and a member of Meadowlands Fellowship CRC in Ancaster, Ontario.

See comments (1)


Thanks, Judy, for your explanation of whether “patriarchy” is sin or God ordained.  I think your explanation is very unclear.  Whether that is because your answer doesn’t take enough time or space to adequately cover the topic or whether your explanation of relevant Scripture verses makes little sense, the end result is an unclear answer as to patriarchy and its place today.  It would seem that the church has followed the patterns of our Western culture and are increasingly leaving behind patriarchy as a means of social structure.  Common sense indicates that our culture is wiser than the church might want to admit.