#2 Men and Women have different roles as part of the creative order.
The 2nd part of that statement is absolutely essential. God ordained specific male and female roles before the fall. Some of these role differences are solely expressed in the context of marriage. For example, women are not called to submit to all men universally. Ephesians 5 does command women to submit to their husband’s headship though. In other words, men and women have different roles in marriage as part of the creative order. God created us equal yet different. Equal in essence but with different gender-defined roles.
Biblical womanhood in the words of one female author is, “God’s perfect design for women as revealed in the Bible.” Biblical manhood then is, “God’s perfect design for men as revealed in the Scriptures.” This subject is applicable to everyone. I appreciate the personal testimony of Carolyn Mahaney who wrote, “Although I have not received costly earthly treasures from my mom, she has given me a gift of priceless value, for she was faithful to pass on to me a legacy of biblical womanhood. Through her teaching and her example she taught me to aspire to these qualities that commend the gospel.” Men and women this should be our heart’s desire as well. That we lived our Christian lives in accordance to God’s perfect design as men or as women.
This section of my blog is dedicated to answering the following question: In what ways do we see Adam’s “headship” on display before the fall of man in Genesis 3? Put another way, did God design Adam to be the leader of his household before the fall or did Adam usurp that role as a result of the fall? I believe the evidence in Genesis 1-2 proves that God designed Adam to lovingly lead his wife before the fall (Wayne Grudem’s book was very helpful in summarizing these reasons. I used his book a lot during this section).
A. God made Adam the central human character. In Genesis 2 the actions and events revolve around Adam. I would encourage you to read the chapter for yourself and see if this is true. Adam first receives revelation from God in v. 16. The animals are brought before Adam to name in vv. 19-20. The woman is made from the man (not vice versa) in v. 22. The woman is made for the man in v. 18 and in v. 22. With that said, “From the man, for the man is not a sexist statement. Man is allowed to name the female (v. 23) and not vice versa. We’ll examine some of these points more closely in a little bit. In Genesis 1-3, Adam is clearly the central human character.
B. God created Adam first– (the order). In your own Bibles follow the sequence in Gen. 2:7 and Gen. 2:18-23. In the words of one scholar, “The creation priority is not an incidental fact.” Scripture helps us to interpret Scripture. Sometimes information in other passages of Scripture is clearer. Paul, wrote some inspired words in 1 Timothy 2:12-15, “I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet. 13 For Adam was formed first, then Eve; 14 and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor. 15 Yet she will be saved through childbearing – if they continue in faith and love and holiness, with self-control.” We’ll come back to this passage of Scripture at another time but suffice to say Paul understood there was significance in the creative order of God. The New Testament uses that fact to support the unique role of man as leader and primary teacher in the church (more to come on that passage).
C. God formed the woman out of the man. How did God create Adam? Genesis 2:7 says, then the LORD God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature. How was the woman fashioned? Genesis 2:21, So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. The doctrine of headship and submission is actually rooted in the 2nd chapter of Genesis. Again let’s quickly note a New Testament passage that provides a little commentary on this matter. 1 Corinthians 11:7-9, “For a man ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God, but woman is the glory of man. 8 For man was not made from woman, but woman from man. 9 Neither was man created for woman, but woman for man.”
D. God created the woman for the man. Verse 9 of 1 Corinthians 11 makes this point rather clearly. God created man innocent and He created Him in the image of God. Notice Genesis 2:18; “Then the LORD God said, ‘It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.’” Genesis 2:22 says, “And the rib that the LORD God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man.” Before you get big headed over these verses men remember something very important. God is totally self-sufficient! Adam was the man’s man of all men and he NEEDED something (better said someone) to complete him. We are not self-sufficient. That reality should humble us (we are not big shots) and it should encourage us (God provided man with an amazing and wonderful gift).
The noun “helper” in Gen 2:18 is the Hebrew word ezer. This word means support or aid. This is not a belittling role! After all, God is described as a help to his people (Psalm 54:4, 121), and the Holy Spirit is called our Helper in Jn. 14:16, 26. Woman was to be man’s helper. The Hebrew term for suitable to him (kenegdo) literally means “like him” or “corresponding to him.” Eve was Adam’s counterpart not his inferior! Sort of like R2D2 was C3PO’s counterpart in the movie Star Wars. Anyways, Eve perfectly complemented Adam. Her differences helped to complete Adam. Don’t forget now, our God-ordained roles do not in and of themselves determine our value and worth. Much more will be said concerning this as well. (TO BE CONTINUED)