Sunday, June 23, 2019 – Genesis 1:26-29
When God created human beings in His Image, he did not distinguish between men and women. Each was created in God’s Image and given the command to ‘rule’ the earth (Genesis 1:26, 28).
Both Adam and Eve were created in God’s image equally with equal responsibilities. God also makes the point that man is isolated and alone, in need of another person to complete him (Genesis 2:15-22). When they come together they are unified as one (Genesis 2:24).
This is the beginning point for any discussion of roles for men and women in the kingdom of God. It is from this point that we move, next, to the curse of the fall of Adam and Eve in the garden.
It is worth noting that Satan approached Eve instead of Adam. Further, Eve acted unilaterally, and chose to take and eat of the forbidden fruit first while Adam–who was with her at the time and could have stopped her–remained silent, accepting the fruit from Eve (Genesis 3:1-7). The curse upon Eve was very specific:
“I will sharpen the pain of your pregnancy,– Genesis 3:16, NLT
and in pain you will give birth.
And you will desire to control your husband,
but he will rule over you.”
IMAGE & CURSE RAMIFICATIONS
I do not feel it is exaggerating to state that mankind’s efforts to understand the nature and function of this hard-wired curse in real life has created problems. Indeed, it seems safe to say that this tension between men and women exists universally because of the very nature of the curse itself.
Indeed, in the United States, for example, it was just shy of 100 years ago that women were finally given the right to vote in the 19th Amendment to the Constitution. Male dominance, power and control over women characterizes so many cultures and religions of so many parts of the world that we need not list them. That to which we can be certain, however, is that this social order was not the intention of God in the beginning and, I would contend, even after He declared the curse in the garden.
GOD’S IMAGE INTENTIONS
In the Jewish literature of the Bible itself we realize the tension that existed in contrast to other sources of archaeological evidence from the world around them. It is in the midst of this that God identifies gifted people to accomplish His will without regard to gender. Download the .pdf file below to track God’s use of women in spite of the culture’s limitations.
Willis, John T. “Women in the Old Testament,” in Essays on Women in Earliest Christianity, Vol. 1, Ed. Carroll D. Osburn, (College Press Publishing Company, 1993), pp. 25-40..
GOD’S IMAGE AND JESUS
Of course, Jesus blew past cultural norms in so many ways that it seems to be just sort of assumed by the disciples. For example, John notes that Jesus had to go from Galilee to Judea so, he had to go through Samaria (John 4:3-4, NLT), totally disregarding the animus between Jews and Samaritans. In fact, in this story the Samaritan woman at the well is amazed that Jesus, a Jewish male, would be talking to her, of all people (John 4:9, NLT). This is only one of a list of encounters that showed Jesus’ continuation of God’s intention towards people, male and female alike. Click the link below for a list of passages studied for today’s lesson:
Shelly, Rubel. “From Property to Partnership”, in A Jewish Savior Through Gentile Eyes: Studies in the Gospel of Luke, 1990, pp.33-43.
When we examine the interaction of God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ with women throughout history, we do not see the cultural biases of the times. Certainly, they would work within those boundaries but not in a conforming way; rather, they–of course–lead the way in dealing with people.
Could it be that the main problem for us is not women and their role in the church; but, rather, men and their understanding of leadership in the kingdom of God?