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Did God Really Make Men and Women Equal?

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Theologian Deborah Savage, currently teaching at Franciscan University in Steubenville, delves into the Hebrew wording of Genesis 1 and 2 to uncover new and liberating insights into God’s revelation of the meaning of womanhood and manhood.


Cy Kellett:

Hello and welcome to Focus, the Catholic Answers podcast, for living, understanding, and defending your Catholic faith. There’s some accusation against the Catholic faith actually, that perhaps it has strains of misogyny in it, maybe strains of a kind of old way of thinking about men and women that makes men the superiors of women, or requires that women not be engaged in many of the activities that have been traditionally male activities.

Is all of this true? Or is the Christian faith, a faith that truly is rooted in the idea that men and women are equal? Dr. Deborah Savage is our guest. This time, visiting professor right now at Franciscan University in Steubenville and has formally taught at Saint Paul Seminary School of Divinity at the University of St. Thomas in Saint Paul, Minnesota. Dr. Savage, thank you for being with us.

Deborah Savage:

Thank you for having me.

Cy Kellett:

This is an area that you are very familiar with, the world’s view of men and women, and the church’s view or the revealed view of the anthropology of men and women. They don’t agree anymore, these two, that is the Christian view has lost some of its purchase.

Deborah Savage:

What do you mean by that, actually?

Cy Kellett:

I mean to say that what had been a kind of Christian consensus-

Deborah Savage:

Oh I see.

Cy Kellett:

… certainly here, is broken. There’s not a Christian consensus on the meaning of manhood and womanhood anymore.

Deborah Savage:

Okay. I’m not sure there ever was one, to tell you the truth. You’d have to ask women throughout time how they felt about the way it was looked at, right? Because even-

Cy Kellett:

Fair enough.

Deborah Savage:

… in Christendom, there’s been the same sorts of patterns, I’d say, that this might exist, we might say.

Cy Kellett:

I see what you’re saying.

Deborah Savage:

Yeah. And that’s has very ancient origin, which I could talk about, but I think it’s only now perhaps that we have the tools and have thought enough about this to really come to some new grasp, of what is the nature of woman in relation to man and vice versa.

Partly that’s because of JP II’s work in the Theology of the Body, but also because there’s women like myself who have started to ask these questions, ask new questions of scripture, ask new questions of the tradition, not with an eye on proving themselves better than men, but just a plain old, what’s the right anthropological vision of man and woman?

And I’ll just make one more comment. I don’t want to go on and on. That’s just the first question after all. But John Paul II in Christifideles Laici declares number 50, it’s worth looking at.

That the only way women will discover their place in the world and in the church is if we engage in a deeper, more penetrating study of the nature of man and woman. A study of the nature of woman in relation to man is how he puts that. And even that’s a little problematic because it still makes man, the male-

Cy Kellett:

The reference point.

Deborah Savage:

The reference point.

Cy Kellett:

Yeah, I see.

Deborah Savage:

But I know what he meant. I know what he meant. He’s right. And so that’s been my project for 12 years.

Cy Kellett:

Okay. Okay. That’s fascinating to me because the sense, the way that I asked the question would be that there was a kind of ideal that Christianity had come to a penetration of the meaning of manhood and womanhood, and that this had been lost in the modern period. But what you’re saying is, look, we just as infected with a kind of maybe, I don’t know what the words you would be, but maybe I would suggest sexism or…

Deborah Savage:

No. Well, we want to call it that, but I think it’s grounded in original sin and it’s grounded in the actual design of men and women, qua man, qua male, qua female, that has confused things. I hesitate to call men, sexist, because sometimes, frankly, God bless you all, you’re just not paying attention. You’re not noticed.

Cy Kellett:

I’m sorry, what?

Deborah Savage:

You’re not paying… But anyway, now I’m getting ahead of us. So I guess I’m not saying that men can’t be sexist. I run into it, or even misogynist, I run into that too. But I don’t indict all men. I don’t even indict all men throughout history. I mean, we have to admit that mistakes were made. John Paul II even invokes that in his letter to women. He begins with apologies, right?

Certainly, mistakes have been made and we need to maybe retrace our steps a bit and speak a little bit about the origin of that. But I would say probably on the ground, in many cases in the home, for example, men and women have had something worked out. Where the tasks were shared, woman contributed her gifts, the man contributed his, and family life could be quite fruitful, right?

Cy Kellett:

Yes.

Deborah Savage:

It’s the philosophers in theologians that haven’t done their work in this area, I’d say.

Cy Kellett:

Oh, interesting.

Deborah Savage:

Than the average man or woman on the street. And so it’s maybe more, it’s not reducible to those sort of cliche arguments. Not that you were making one necessarily, but-

Cy Kellett:

I’m not above that.

Deborah Savage:

Well, I think I would argue that there has never been, let me put it this way. There has never been an adequate account of the nature of woman in relation to man or vice versa on offer in our tradition, ever.

Cy Kellett:

Okay. Well let me ask you about some of that, because then immediately there, you get to the… Okay, so scripture, the critique of scripture, the kind of modern critique of scripture is why should we bother with this? People will sometimes say Bronze Age document. It’s not a Bronze Age document, but that’s what people say.

Deborah Savage:

Bronze Age. Oh, really?

Cy Kellett:

So yeah, that’s kind of a new atheist critique. Why should I listen to these Bronze Aged people? But they’re clearly not Bronze Aged people, but that beside the point.

Deborah Savage:

Yeah.

Cy Kellett:

These are ancient documents why should I listen to what they have to say about men and women? But that we have these early chapters in the book of Genesis that are quite striking, quite remarkable, quite unlike the things you might find in the society’s surrounding.

Deborah Savage:

Oh, yeah. It’s a unique revolution.

Cy Kellett:

The Hebrew people. So if you say, I guess I’m trying to get a grasp, and if you say on the one hand there’s never been an articulation properly of the relation between men and women in our tradition, in the Christian tradition. I guess my question is, what about the early chapters of the book of Genesis?

Deborah Savage:

Well, that’s a source of what our understanding could be.

Cy Kellett:

Got you.

Deborah Savage:

Right?

Cy Kellett:

Okay. Yeah.

Deborah Savage:

It’s God’s intention there, I think needs to be interpreted, sort of teased out, if you will. And surely the sacred author had something in mind because there’s very definite meanings for the terms, the Hebrew terms that are used there, that lend meaning to and provide a response to the question that you’re asking.

For example, at the point, Genesis one, is it 1:27? In 1:27 is when men and women are given the task of subduing the earth and filling it in, subduing it. But at the moment at which men and women let us make men in our image, male and female, he created them. What really has to be understood is the meaning of the term Adam.

Adam, that’s the starting place to understand what the sacred author would have meant, when by referring to the first creation of a human person as Adam. I mean, that’s… Adam comes from the term adamah, which means earth. Okay?

Cy Kellett:

Okay.

Deborah Savage:

And Adam is a word that you can take to mean, man in sort of the collective sense. They didn’t have a notion of man per se. And I have the feeling Catholic Answers listeners would know what that is, but that would be man in the abstract. The reason why we call humanity, man is because we’re speaking about an abstraction, right? So they didn’t have a notion of that but it’s a definitely a reference to man in the collective sense.

So, what the next step to understand there is what would that have meant. So that the Jewish understanding, the Hebraic understanding of the soul comes in here. Because in Jewish, Hebraic anthropology, the notion of the nepesh, the soul is a reference to a creature who can reflects and contains the one and the many.

Adam is actually a reference to man, humanity in a certain way. There’s an oscillation, in Hebraic anthropology between the one and the many. So Adam is not only an individual, but within that individual is contained the community. And the community is contained in the one, and the one is contained in the community.

There’s this constant, there’s understanding that it’s a literal, metaphysical reality that I’m never only one. I represent the community, and the community is in me. So the first, when you look at Genesis 2, which is slightly different creation account. Adam is used there too, but we have to accept that the first human creature to appear is a man. The first creation is a man that’s for sure, but contained within who we now call Adam, is Eve.

Cy Kellett:

I see. Oh yes. Wow.

Deborah Savage:

This is what the sacred author would for sure have meant.

Cy Kellett:

Right.

Deborah Savage:

When he uses that term, so the unity that man and woman share that we all know and love to talk about, that’s such an intriguing reality for the Catholic especially, to think about it that way.

The unity that Adam and Eve, let’s say share, is actually preexist in the creation of Adam. And that’s absolutely beautiful way of understanding it. And that’s what the sacred author would’ve meant. So here’s the beginning of the answer to the question.

Our man and woman equal? Absolutely, because woman is preprefigured in man. So when she’s created out of the rib, she is, it’s a reference to the fact she emerges out of a unity that already preexist her actual, a coming into being, let’s say in a concrete way. And when you track the terminology that it moves from Adam to ha-adam, which is now ha is definite article, and that becomes the man.

Cy Kellett:

The man. Oh yeah.

Deborah Savage:

But still not yet the man at the level of the species in a way. When man and woman are both there, when woman finally appears, the sacred author does not refer to that person as Adam anymore, they are now Ish and Ishah.

Ish is a reference to the actual concretely existing man and Ishah is the woman. And the really and amazing thing to realize is that this reveals, there is no concretely existing man until there is a concretely existing woman.

Cy Kellett:

This is seems like a very potentially fruitful path. Because as I’m listening to you, I’m thinking of the common way of saying, of the made from the rib is it means not made from the lower parts of man, not made from above man but it has a sense of equality. But it also… I noticed something that I’ve never noticed before about the text as you’re speaking, which is Adam changes in the creation of Eve.

Adam is, of something is taken from Adam. And so the fact that from the midst of his own body, there’s been a change. This means that in a certain sense, there’s a creation moment for both of them.

Deborah Savage:

Oh. Absolutely. Man, he becomes a new man in a way.

Cy Kellett:

Yes. Right.

Deborah Savage:

And we’re skipping ahead a little bit because there’s so much to unpack. Maybe that’s okay. It’s not until woman is created that he knows who he is.

Cy Kellett:

Yeah. Yeah.

Deborah Savage:

Woman reveals to a man who he is. And I would point out, this is a little bit tangential, I suppose, to the point we’re making here. But at… God gave the garden to Adam, to till and to keep, right? And one has to realize that he probably accepted that command quite well readily, okay? But he doesn’t really understand the purpose until woman appears. So think of it this way.

God says to Adam, “Okay, this is your task. Take care of the garden.” And Adam’s like, “Okay, I’ll pull the weeds, I’ll feed, make sure the sheep are fed and that everything’s going on okay in the creation. I’m happy to do that. But for eternity, for what? The same routine every day?”

Cy Kellett:

Yeah.

Deborah Savage:

“Okay. God, whatever you say.” But when woman appears, he realizes that that work is to be done in service, to her. Adam’s the only one who gets a job.

Cy Kellett:

In other words, his life is meaningless without her.

Deborah Savage:

It is.

Cy Kellett:

His task and everything.

Deborah Savage:

Suddenly he now understands what he is there for, which is really to serve the needs of his family. Okay. So the other thing that one has to recognize, when woman appears, that’s the first moment. That is the moment when human community appears in human history. Without woman, there is no human community.

So woman’s place in the order of creation is essential to understanding who woman is. What I’m fond of saying is that without man, woman has a no place because of the way the scripture unfolds. But without woman, man has no future.

Cy Kellett:

Yeah.

Deborah Savage:

And there’s much more we can unpack about the significance of the order of creation of the man and the woman, in both accounts reveals much that hasn’t been plumbed, and this is what I meant. I have this burning desire and have had it my whole life, to become what I think of as a real woman.

What does it mean to be a real woman? And that has driven me in this direction. There’s been all sorts of different, God writes straight with crooked lines, right? But I have, and at the same time, I have enormous respect for men. I acknowledge that, I believe, I recognize that they’re the head of the household, and that’s a natural place they occupy. It need not be dictated by the Pope. That’s the place they occupy.

So I’m without an agenda, when I come to the text and these questions, I’ve been pursuing them. And I think I would say it’s given me an opportunity to look at the text anew. And because I bring different questions to the text, I’m not in worried about being better than men or acting like a man. I want to understand what it means to be a woman but at the same time, I know that I’m equal to men, at least in the sense that I am equally human.

Cy Kellett:

Right.

Deborah Savage:

That’s clear, right? I possess a rational soul. The philosophers would say both men and women are in instantiations of the same substantial form. Okay? We know that. That’s Thomistic anthropology. But what does it mean? What’s the difference?

And so I’ve arrived at these conclusions based on a careful analysis of the Hebrew. What did the sacred author mean? And arrived at this recognition of these to what, to me seemed to be evident from the scripture itself. That’s…

Cy Kellett:

Yes. It’s striking to me that what you are describing, is and I have no idea why… Before speaking to you right now, I feel like I was stuck in this idea that there was an what was needed was an act of recovery. Recovering a proper understanding of male and female. But you’re not primarily, you’re also doing an act of real discovery. Like there’s-

Deborah Savage:

I think so.

Cy Kellett:

… new possibilities open now for understanding the Genesis account and for understanding what God is calling us to, as a community of men and women.

Deborah Savage:

I think that’s right. And I do think that it’s been misinterpreted for whatever reason. I know some of the historical reasons. For example, so we could talk about those but for example, this whole question about whether or not woman is inferior to man is often, the starting place for that is often that she’s created second.

Cy Kellett:

Yes.

Deborah Savage:

But if you really read this, the text carefully you realize that actually both men and women are created at a point in the creation stories, after lower order creatures appear. There’s a hierarchy to the way that God creates.

So in the first account, there’s the land and the sea, and there’s darkness and light, and there’s things in the sea, and there’s creepy crawly things, and sea monsters are show up there somewhere, right? And finally, God makes man and woman. So that’s a movement up, is it not to hire ordered creatures.

The second account, Adam is made from dirt. So I would ask you, would you rather be made from dirt? Or from Adam’s rib, which a philosopher would say, and I am one kind of already possesses a certain degree of actualization.

Cy Kellett:

True.

Deborah Savage:

It’s already an act. It’s got more going than a clump of dirt.

Cy Kellett:

All right.

Deborah Savage:

Okay. So the last creature to appear is woman. And if you accept that premise, and it’s clear from this dirt.

Cy Kellett:

That we’re on an upward [inaudible 00:20:36].

Deborah Savage:

We’re on an upward… She is the pinnacle of creation and haven’t we always referred to her that way anyway?

Cy Kellett:

Yes.

Deborah Savage:

Right?

Cy Kellett:

Yeah.

Deborah Savage:

So she’s not created second, she’s created last and on the way up but, because I know what you’re thinking, does that mean women are better? The full text, let us make a helper for man. The full text it uses the term, first of all, helper is translated from the term ezer. Ezer is a reference to divine aid. It does not mean scullery maid.

Cy Kellett:

Yeah. Right.

Deborah Savage:

It means it’s woman is sent to help man to live. If you look it up in the Psalms, from whence cometh to my aid, I look at the hills from what… The word is ezer. Okay? But in the text, in the Genesis text, it’s ezer kenegdo.

The sacred author inserts this preposition. Ezer kenegdo, which is a preposition that means, “in front of” in the spatial sense. So you have to picture, man and woman are face to face in creation. She’s not above him, but she’s not below him either. They’re face to face partners.

Cy Kellett:

And this, it’s, well, first of all, this is so striking because this is not what you find in fallen human culture. Nowhere. Nowhere is this story told. Only here in Genesis.

Deborah Savage:

Well, I know. That’s true. No, that is absolutely unique and the atheist could say, “Well, why should I bother?” Well, you don’t have to bother then, if you don’t want to but isn’t that interesting?

Cy Kellett:

Yeah. Right. Is it like any other…

Deborah Savage:

Whatever.

Cy Kellett:

Right. But let me just ask you if I’m getting something right.

Deborah Savage:

Okay.

Cy Kellett:

Because the image that I’m getting is that what we see as the creation of Eve, is actually a moment of differentiation, not just creation. That’s what you’re getting at.

Deborah Savage:

Oh, definitely. Yeah, yeah.

Cy Kellett:

That there’s a creation of humanity, and the creation of Eve is a differentiation within humanity.

Deborah Savage:

As a concretely existing person. Yes.

Cy Kellett:

Okay.

Deborah Savage:

Ishah-

Cy Kellett:

Which makes us equals.

Deborah Savage:

Ishah… Yes. Yeah. We’re actually equal from the start. We’re equally human, but we’re equal especially in the sense that the sacred author meant to implies or wouldn’t have used that term any other way. But to refer to man in the collective sense, a reality in which woman is already contained. Okay?

Cy Kellett:

Mm-hmm. Yes, that’s right.

Deborah Savage:

So she emerges out of that unity. But now what we have is a differentiation of the matter. Okay? So there’s Adam who is made from earth and woman who’s made from Adam’s rib, and they’re made of different matter.

And we’re not going to be able to reduce it to that, of course because men and women are both a unit, a union of body and soul. So we have to account for that as well. But certainly when in the world of matter, what you end up, what you enter is the world of what a philosophical accident, right?

Cy Kellett:

Oh yeah, I see what you mean.

Deborah Savage:

Yeah. So gender is a kind of accident if people know what that is. I mean…

Cy Kellett:

Not an accident in the sense that it’s unintentional.

Deborah Savage:

No, no. It’s-

Cy Kellett:

An accident in the sense that it’s not essential.

Deborah Savage:

A not essential. Right. That’s a philosophical accident is different from accidents as we use the term. It just means, as you say, it’s not essential. So let me just explain it this way.

The color of my hair is an accident. I usually joke here about and if the hairdresser does it right, it kind of looks the same every time I go, but it’s pretty accidental. So it’s a material accident. If I change the color of my hair, I wouldn’t change my essence.

Cy Kellett:

Right. Yeah.

Deborah Savage:

That’s not the kind of accident, philosophical or otherwise that we’re talking about. Gender is what is referred to as an inseparable accident. And there’s a lot of discussion amongst philosophers, myself being one of them, about how to really, what kind of accident is gender.

But the whole point is, and Thomas has something to say about that, that I can add in a second. But the point is that it’s essential to who you are. I’m essentially a woman. You are essentially a man. And an inseparable accident is one that is attributable to the composite. So maybe we’re getting a little too technical. I could explain that if you want but… Yeah, go ahead.

Cy Kellett:

That… I don’t know if it-

Deborah Savage:

I’m sorry if I’m losing you.

Cy Kellett:

[inaudible 00:25:33] to explain it. I don’t know if I’d be able to quite grasp it with the time we have.

Deborah Savage:

I’m sorry. I’m sorry.

Cy Kellett:

Well, that’s all, that’s perfectly fine. So I guess, I just want to keep going back to Genesis with you-

Deborah Savage:

Sure, okay.

Cy Kellett:

… because the… It’s exciting to think that there are new ways of reading Genesis that are perfectly consistent with the tradition. They’re not making a new tradition.

Deborah Savage:

No.

Cy Kellett:

But that are unveiling new things because we have new ways of seeing now, that we haven’t had before.

Deborah Savage:

Yeah. Every generation, every good theologian, I would say, brings new questions to the text. You can be sure if Aquinas were here, these days he would be all over this, because he kind of gets it wrong.

Cy Kellett:

Could you tell me how Aquinas gets it wrong?

Deborah Savage:

Well, he follows Aristotle. He doesn’t completely fall into the Aristotle’s trap, but he nods in that direction. So Aristotle in the generation of animals, he’s explaining that in that particular writing. He declares that women are malformed males.

Cy Kellett:

Oh and Thomas falls into that.

Deborah Savage:

Sort of.

Cy Kellett:

I see.

Deborah Savage:

Okay. So you can unpack the reasons why Aristotle said that. And if you accept his metaphysics, which it works in many other cases so he can, he’s just applying the same metaphysical principles. They were thinking in terms of opposites.

And opposites, one would be passive and one would be active and so woman’s obviously passive. So he doesn’t have a microscope. He doesn’t, it’s all based on a misunderstanding of what takes place in the reproductive act.

Cy Kellett:

Okay.

Deborah Savage:

Okay?

Cy Kellett:

Yeah.

Deborah Savage:

So it’s not really his fault, but unfortunately for us, the western philosophical or intellectual tradition carried that forward in ways that are very interesting that have been documented. And it ends up being sort of the undercurrent and these days an invisible undercurrent of our thinking about this question.

And so the result of that is to declare men as normative. The male of the species as normative and everything is understood in relation to men and so the radical feminists these days, God bless them, they don’t really understand what they’re fighting with.

They’re fighting with this unspoken conviction that’s plagued us ever since. That the male of the species is normative for the species. And therefore those women think the only way I get to be an equal in the culture and have a job, and get to do the fun stuff is by becoming more and more like a man.

So I do stuff to my body to ensure that my natural gifts, fertility, and other things don’t interfere with my professional hopes and dreams. Which is really such a tragedy, isn’t it?

Cy Kellett:

Well it strikes me, it reminds me of something that a wonderful Catholic feminist has said on this program actually, that instead of changing the world to be accommodated to women, we change women’s bodies to be accommodated to the world.

Deborah Savage:

No, that’s right. It’s only the masculine principle counts. So you got to be able to work 70 hours a week for years on end, forget about mommy breaks, right? That’s what the women, those are the assumptions that women are going on and it’s turned into this toxicity. It’s turned women against their own bodies.

Cy Kellett:

Right. Yes.

Deborah Savage:

Because they think that it’s a burden. It’s unfortunate. “Oh gosh, I wish I were a guy.”

Cy Kellett:

Isn’t chemical contraception a woman attacking her own body?

Deborah Savage:

Absolutely. There, it’s not a disease. No.

Cy Kellett:

Your fertility’s not a disease.

Deborah Savage:

Right.

Cy Kellett:

Yes.

Deborah Savage:

Yes, exactly. The women need to be brought into the public life. They have a role to play in public life. The church affirms it, but not in spite of our fertility, but inclusive of it.

The church says in the companion for Catholic social thought that the feminine genius is needed in all aspects of the life of society therefore, the presence of women in the workplace must be guaranteed.

And I think you got to be careful with that because the church is certainly not saying that the women don’t belong in the home, taking care of the children and making a home for everybody. No one else will do it.

Cy Kellett:

No.

Deborah Savage:

Forgive me but…

Cy Kellett:

And men was meant, can’t make home.

Deborah Savage:

No, they can’t make. It’s not their thing. It’s not their gift. So timing is everything but there’s no reason why women can’t recognize they have a vocation to public life at some point or even at, I mean, I know plenty of very accomplished women with seven kids and that manage that progression, not without, not by sacrificing their families.

No, but by timing is everything. There’s no substitute for a mommy and no one should pretend that there is. But this is the trap that we’re in, is that the women that are kind of confusing everything, for us in a way, are themselves confused by this error that has traveled through time.

So the way Aquinas gets it wrong is he says that women can be at the level of grace, in the order of grace they can achieve equality with men in the order of grace. But in the order of nature, woman is in inferior to men.

But he can’t, because of his faith commitments, he cannot declare that woman can’t get to heaven just like man can, right? So he doesn’t quite go there but he does make that error. And I forgive him, I forgive Aristotle, but it’s time to recognize that and sort of correct that publicly on the worldwide PA system.

Cy Kellett:

Yeah. Excuse me. People of the earth. Aquinas was wrong about the-

Deborah Savage:

I have an announcement to make. No, Aristotle was right but the truth is, the miracle of human reproduction and woman’s role in it was not fully understood until the 19th century.

Cy Kellett:

That’s right.

Deborah Savage:

And-

Cy Kellett:

No. Ovulation understood, 1827, so.

Deborah Savage:

Yeah, it’s not anybody’s fault and that’s why I hesitate to call it sexism or it was sort of like a philosopher. Everybody who was a philosopher there I just want you to note this, made a mistake and look what happened.

He says in one of his writings, Aristotle says that a small error at the beginning can be multiplied. Yes. I use that quote in my writing about this. Look what happened.

Cy Kellett:

And this is, that’s what this is and then the consequence of it is a misreading of nature, but also a misreading of scripture.

Deborah Savage:

Absolutely.

Cy Kellett:

Okay.

Deborah Savage:

Yes. And Philo, who’s a first, his century, Jewish historian and philosopher exacerbates it because of the same mistake. He has writings on questions on the book of Genesis and he argues the very same thing that Aristotle does, because in there he says, “Women take longer to gestate, they’re created second, and they take longer to become fully human in the womb, and they come out half a man.” And all this. And you know what? I hate to say it, but this is also affected our reading of original sin.

Cy Kellett:

Oh, that is primarily being transmitted by the female.

Deborah Savage:

Well, no. No, it’s transmitted by Adam. That’s what the church teaches through Adam seed. But we need to, we could talk about this if you want. But we need to ask who really did what in the garden? Because Adam’s standing right there. And I know what happened. He’s saying, “You go ahead, honey.”

Cy Kellett:

Yeah.

Deborah Savage:

I kind of want to eat it too. And also the church teaches, the manuals say that Adam permitted it. Adam, inordinate affection for his wife. He loved her so much. He wanted her to be happy.

Cy Kellett:

Isn’t he great?

Deborah Savage:

No. What he should’ve done is slapped her little wrist and said, “No, honey, I don’t think we should do that.” But he knows she’ll get mad and he’s afraid of it.

Cy Kellett:

No. He comes across in that story is a little bit of the passive adult kind of.

Deborah Savage:

Absolutely. That, yes. He betrayed his mission. In that moment his job is to protect her. He’s the one who heard it from God directly. She only heard it second hand. And she’s like, “Well, I think, didn’t God say we weren’t supposed to eat at that tree?” And the devil’s like, “Well, that’s okay. Don’t worry about it.” “Oh, okay. All right. Well, it looks good to me. Let’s have a bite.” And Adam standing right there.

Cy Kellett:

Yeah.

Deborah Savage:

Yeah.

Cy Kellett:

I would love to just continue talking with you because of the opening of passages of scripture that are obviously among the most profound things ever written anywhere. And probably in this life will not be exhaustively unpacked. But the more that they are well unpacked, the healthier we will be as human beings without questions.

Deborah Savage:

Absolutely. Yeah.

Cy Kellett:

So I’m going to kind of take a cop out and ask you, first of all, where can we read what you’ve written on this? And what other things might you suggest we expose ourselves to, to start gaining a new understanding of the genesis of men and women?

Deborah Savage:

Yeah. Well, I have written quite a bit on it, and I’ve also given many talks with many of which are on YouTube. So you can look at that. But I have the most recent iteration of my theory is in a chapter, is a chapter in a book on the Complementarity of Men and Women.

And it’s a collection of essays, edited by Paul Vitz, V-I-T-Z. So very famous psychologist who works at Divine Mercy University, and he’s got some philosophers, myself, providing the theological and philosophical account.

And then a chapter on art, and then a chapter on the science, the neuroscience, and what’s really interest… And the psychological data, the evidences supports all of this scientific evidence, supports everything that I’ve said and then especially some of the things that I claim about original sin, personality disorders that men and women both face in general correspond to what they’ve the consequences of sin that they’re given in chapter three.

Cy Kellett:

Okay.

Deborah Savage:

It’s pretty amazing.

Cy Kellett:

Paul Vitz.

Deborah Savage:

Paul Vitz.

Cy Kellett:

Okay.

Deborah Savage:

I’m writing a book that I hope to get done fairly soon, the CUA Press has been waiting for it for five years. They’re very patient. I keep getting these new assignments. But that’ll be called probably Man, Woman and the Body of Christ Toward a Theology of Complementarity.

Cy Kellett:

Wonderful. Okay. And you mentioned Familiaris Consortio was…

Deborah Savage:

The Letter to Women.

Cy Kellett:

Letter to Women from John Paul II.

Deborah Savage:

Yeah, and Familiaris and Christifideles Laici.

Cy Kellett:

That’s the one, I apologize.

Deborah Savage:

Yeah. No, that’s his document on the laity. And he mentions explicitly there that we need to deeper penetration of the meaning of man and woman if we’re going to arrive at an understanding of where the place that woman occupies. So that’s essential thing, we have not yet heard from women.

Cy Kellett:

We’re starting to. That’s why I find this conversation so fascinating. It feels like the beginning of an adventure. Not like you’ve closed off all of my questions but that there’s something new is beginning and it could be very, very fruitful.

Deborah Savage:

Absolutely. The second Vatican Council pleads with women in the closing address. Women, they say women your time has come, your time has come and it pleads the document, pleads with women. It says, “This is why at this moment in history, when so much is going on, women imbued with the message of the gospel can do so much to aid humanity in not falling.”

So real faithful Catholic women, or they don’t have to necessarily be Catholic, but people who understand a nuanced, have a nuanced to understanding of this, really. It’s not black and white. It’s not either or. Men and women are equal, neither is superior to the other but on the other hand, they are different with somewhat different missions in the world. We need to take back the night, if you know what I mean.

Cy Kellett:

Yes.

Deborah Savage:

From the, all those women that are getting so much attention that are mostly just angry and wounded, frankly.

Cy Kellett:

Yeah. And philosophically misdirected in trying to meet the standard that Aristotle set, which is, you really want to be human, be man.

Deborah Savage:

Yeah. That’s right.

Cy Kellett:

I just want to thank you, Dr. Deborah Savage. I’ve enjoyed this conversation so much. It really does feel like the beginning of an adventure. I hope we’ll get to speak with you again-

Deborah Savage:

I would like that.

Cy Kellett:

… and with flow of the book.

Deborah Savage:

Yeah, me too.

Cy Kellett:

If you ever get it in.

Deborah Savage:

No, I have to do. I have to do. I have so many people angry with me for not already having gotten it done. I have to.

Cy Kellett:

Well, this was a delightful conversation. I thank you for taking the time.

Deborah Savage:

Oh yeah, you’re welcome. It was fun.

Cy Kellett:

Thanks for joining us here on Catholic Answers Focus. If you want to send us an email, I’d love it. If you to hear what you think of this conversation maybe you have an idea for a future conversation. You can always email us, [email protected] is our email address, [email protected]

We’ll see you next time. God willing, right here on Catholic Answers Focus.

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