I recently watched an interview with Alice von Hildebrand, a remarkable 92 year old Catholic woman who was a professor at Hunter College in New York City. She was married to Dietrich von Hildrebrand. She was discussing her book Memoirs of a Happy Failure. Her interview struck me because she was so humble, so wise and so together for 92 years of age. She was absolutely inspiring.
What stood out to me most was her teaching on Genesis. She wrote a book in 2002 titled The Privilege of Being a Woman. It was clear that she was honored to be a woman of God. In Genesis, it says the following:
And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good. Genesis 1:25 KJV
God made each creature after its own kind. Then, when it comes to creating man, God says, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness…” Genesis 1:26 KJV
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. Genesis 1:27 KJV
We were made different than the rest. We were made in His image. Our first command was to be fruitful, to multiply, replenish the earth and subdue it. Later, we see that man was created from the dust of the ground. We received the breathe of life from the Lord God to become living.
But there went up a mist from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground. And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. Genesis 2:6-7 KJV
And the Lord God said, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.” Genesis 2:18 NKJV
The Lord God had made the animals from the ground and created each one after their own kind. But, with Adam and Eve, God made them after His own image. The woman, specifically, was created as a helper and was not formed of the ground, but from the living man, Adam.
And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place. Then the rib which the Lord God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man.
And Adam said:
“This is now bone of my bones
And flesh of my flesh;
She shall be called Woman,
Because she was taken out of Man.”
Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. Genesis 2:21-24
This is where I appreciate Alice’s viewpoint. She understood that, as a woman, she was formed from the living man and was created as a helper. Woman was given the ability to give forth new life, more of mankind in the image of God. She is the mother of new life and on which life depends for survival. Woman was also given influence by the Lord God. The serpent, which the Bible says was more cunning than any beast of the field, knew that woman had influence. The serpent set his trap for her, so that she would believe the tree of knowledge of good and evil was good. Once she believed this and ate from it, she was able to give it to her husband and he then ate from it.
So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate. Genesis 3:6 NKJV
Alice is a woman who truly understands the privilege of being a woman.