Created Equal - Genesis 1-3
Genesis 1:26 "And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. 27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. 28 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth."
Men and women were both created in the image of God. Dominion over the earth and the blessings of God were given to both.
Gen. 2:18-25 "And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him. 19 And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof. 20 And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him. 21 And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; 22 And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. 23 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. 24 Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. 25 And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed."
Though men and women were created to share in God's blessings as equals, they were created with different physical attributes and different roles to fill. When they come together as husband and wife, they complement each other, combining their strengths and abilities to form a complete unit.
God instilled a special bond between men and women when He created Eve from Adam's rib. In addition to being created in God's image, she was "taken out of Man". When married, they become one and care for each other as they would their own bodies (Eph. 5:28).
Adam's role was to be responsible for and a representative of the family. Eve's role was to aid Adam (help meet). Consider the following indicators:
- Adam was created first and Eve was distinguished as being created out of a part of him. Adam's creation was not dependent upon a part of Eve (Gen 2:22). 1 Cor. 11:8-9 "For the man is not of the woman: but the woman of the man. 9 Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man."
- Adam was the custodian of God's instructions. Before Eve was created, God gave Adam commands that would be applied to the family. Gen. 2:16 "And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: 17 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die."
- Even though Eve initiated sin, Adam is viewed as responsible for the fall of humanity.
I Cor. 15:22 "For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive."
Romans 5:14-19 "Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come. 15 But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many. 16 And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification. 17 For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.) 18 Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. 19 For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous."
- It was only after Adam ate the fruit that both of their eyes were opened. It was Adam's sin, as representative of the family, that brought about legal consequenses on humanity. Gen. 3:6-7 "And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat. 7 And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons."
- After Adam and Eve sinned, God called to Adam only. As representative of the family, Adam was primarily answerable for the actions of the family. Gen. 3:9 "And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou? 10 And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself."
- Adam named Eve. The assignment of naming another indicates responsibility for them. Gen. 3:20 "And Adam called his wife's name Eve; because she was the mother of all living."
- Though both Adam and Eve were expelled from the garden of Eden, only Adam, as representative of both of them, is singled out as being prohibited from the Tree of Life. Gen. 3:22-24 "22 And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever: 23 Therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken. Note that Adam was the specific recipient of the curse to till the ground, so Adam is "the man" and "him" who God is speaking of as being sent "forth from the garden".
16 Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee. 17 And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; 18 Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field;6 19 In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.In summary, the different roles of men and women are not the result of sin, but were established prior to sin. As part of God's design the roles are perfect and beautiful. The husband's role is to be responsible for and a representative of His family. The wife's role is to aid him (help meet). The roles enable a couple to be organized and successful in accomplishing many things. Sin caused these roles to be misunderstood and abused. But, those who embrace and cooperate to fill the roles God originally designed for them will be blessed as they follow God's plan. Those who allow Jesus to mold their character after His own, will be empowered to fill their role with understanding, love and kindness.
When Adam and Eve sinned, it brought massive changes to the created world and their relationship with each other. Before sin, God had given Adam the responsibility of caring for the garden ("And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it" (Gen. 2:15).) But, after sin, the ground would have to be tilled and there would be weeds. The responsibility for caring for the earth was still in place, but the effects of sin would make it difficult. Likewise, before sin, God had given Adam the role of representative of the family. But, after sin, the husband would rule over the wife. Instead of an equal relationship as originally designed, men would now reign over their wives ("he shall rule over thee") and she would long after him ("thy desire shall be to thy husband"). The roles established at creation were still in place, but the effects of sin would make it difficult.
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