Seed of the Woman (3)

Only the patient among you will be able to finish reading this. It’s poorly written–I have no discipline. My only reason for turning it loose on a reader is because I think there is some truth in it that needs to be grasped. My apology in advance.

REMARKS ON GENESIS 1—3

 Genesis 1-3 has 4 distinct sections

  1. GOD AS CREATOR
  2. HUMANITY AS FALLEN
  3. GOD AS REDEEMER through the woman
  4. CONSEQUENCES OF WORLDS IN COLLISION

It’s important to remember that when Bible writers spoke of “God” they weren’t talking about any old God—they were speaking of the GOD of Abraham, Isaac & Jacob whom Christians have come to know as “the God and Father of the Lord Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 1:3; 2 Corinthians 1:3; 1 Peter 1:3, and elsewhere).

When the psalmist (19:1) sings, “The heavens declare the glory of God and the sky shows His handiwork,” he isn’t making an argument—he’s singing praise of the GOD he knows and serves and he is defying the gods of the nations. The sky was the supreme Mesopotamian god: Anu. The psalmist says GOD (Yahweh) created it.  He isn’t announcing the conclusion of a rational argument; he’s proclaiming the faith of a nation! So it is in what follows. All the physical realities mentioned in Genesis 1:1-31 were major and minor gods of the Near Eastern nations.

36 times! Imagine a colossal assembly of Jews listening to a public reading of this creation narrative and when the word GOD occurs they respond with one voice, like a massive wave thundering against a granite cliff. Imagining that might help us to “get” the majesty of GOD that is embedded in the text. I’ve bold-faced the word and the other pronouns. GOD (not Amun, not Hathor, Geb, or Marduk, not Ptah, Re, Shamash, Isis, Aphrodite, Zeus, Artemis or Enlil). It didn’t matter what gods came or went, which became supreme or was destroyed, in whatever age, Israel at her best and most faithful period, led by her prophets and psalmists cried out GOD said and GOD did! Exodus 20 begins with these words: “You shall not!” and 1 John ends with these words: “Keep yourselves from idols!”

GENESIS 1:1—2:4, (NKJV)

 1:1. In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 The earth was without form, and void; and darkness [a]was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.

3 Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. 4 And God saw the light, that it was good; and God divided the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night. [b]So the evening and the morning were the first day.

6 Then God said, “Let there be a [c]firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.” 7 Thus God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament; and it was so. 8 And God called the firmament Heaven. So the evening and the morning were the second day.

9 Then God said, “Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear”; and it was so. 10 And God called the dry land Earth, and the gathering together of the waters He called Seas. And God saw that it was good.

11 Then God said, “Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb that yields seed, and the fruit tree that yields fruit according to its kind, whose seed is in itself, on the earth”; and it was so. 12 And the earth brought forth grass, the herb that yields seed according to its kind, and the tree that yields fruit, whose seed is in itself according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. 13  So the evening and the morning were the third day.

14 Then God said, “Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs and seasons, and for days and years; 15 and let them be for lights in the firmament of the heavens to give light on the earth”; and it was so. 16 Then God made two great [d]lights: the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night. He made the stars also. 17 God set them in the firmament of the heavens to give light on the earth, 18 and to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. 19  So the evening and the morning were the fourth day. 20 Then God said, “Let the waters abound with an abundance of living [e]creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the face of the [f]firmament of the heavens.” 21 So God created great sea creatures and every living thing that moves, with which the waters abounded, according to their kind, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. 22 And God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.” 23 So the evening and the morning were the fifth day.

24 Then God said, “Let the earth bring forth the living creature according to its kind: cattle and creeping thing and beast of the earth, each according to its kind”; and it was so. 25 And God made the beast of the earth according to its kind, cattle according to its kind, and everything that creeps on the earth according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.

26 Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over [g]all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” 27 So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. 28 Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that [h]moves on the earth.”

29 And God said, “See, I have given you every herb that yields seed which is on the face of all the earth, and every tree whose fruit yields seed; to you it shall be for food. 30 Also, to every beast of the earth, to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, in which there is [i] life, I have given every green herb for food”; and it was so. 31 Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good. So the evening and the morning were the sixth day.

2:1 Thus the heavens and the earth, and all the host of them, were finished. And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made. This is the [a]history of the heavens and the earth when they were created, in the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens.

(The New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.)

I take the view that the “image of God” as Genesis tells it is: humankind as a whole and NOT each human as an individual, independent of his her place within humanity.

  1. Humankind is not Adam OR Eve but Adam AND Eve (1:26-27; 5:2)
  2. Universal dominion was given to Adam AND Eve.

N.B. The events of 2:7 & 2:21-23 must have occurred in the first 6 days or the summary in 1:31—2:2-4 wouldn’t be narratively accurate.

N.B. Humankind did not appear by the goddess Chance or any other god but by the GOD of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Jesus of Nazareth (Matthew 11:25).

REMARKS ON GENESIS 2:7, 16—23

questions for discussion:
Following the narrative:

Was Adam made on any of the first five days of creation?
Was he made later than the 6th day of creation?
Was Eve made later than the 6th day of creation?

Following the narrative, why can neither them be made later than the 6th day?
Could Adam be the image of God without Eve?
Could Eve be the image of God without Adam?
Is ‘the image of God’ male or female or male and female?

Following the narrative could there be humankind without both?

Was Adam created first?
Could God have chosen to create both simultaneously?
Could God have chosen to create them simultaneously independent of one another?
Could God have chosen to create only a male made to bear children without a female?
Could God have chosen to create a female made to bear children without a male?
Could God have made Adam out of Eve?
Could God have made Eve out of the dust and not
out of Adam?

Why did God create an Adam that was “not good” when everything else He created was declared “good”?
What does “good” or “not good” mean in these texts?
Why all these details? Why isn’t 1:26-28 enough?

The creating of a ‘not good’ adam

2:7 And the Lord God formed man…

To allow the narrative to make sense we’re compelled to think that 2:7 occurred no later than the 6th day. We’re compelled to think that “man” here refers to Adam since we’re to be told that he is as yet without Eve and, still following the narrative, we’re compelled to think Adam was created first. What we are to make of that is a matter of debate.

2:7. Man became a living being

His being made out of the ‘dust’ stresses his mortality. Man was not made immortal but in Jesus Christ, the “last Adam” God had purposed to bring humankind to immortality. See 1 Corinthians 15:21-55; Philippians3:20-21. 1 Corinthians 15:45 makes the point that Adam received life and the resurrected ‘Adam’ gives. life The first Adam passed on mortality and the last ‘Adam’ passes on immortality.

There is no reason to believe that humans will become non-humans in post-resurrection life.It seems clear that the eating of the tree of life counteracted their mortality (rather than immortalizing their bodies) and which is why they were cut off from the ‘tree of life.’ I find it hard to believe they were not eating of the tree of life that was freely offered to them. The idea that a one-time bite of the fruit of that tree meant that one became immortal simply won’t do because it would have in effect be offering immortality to them. 3:22 isn’t speaking of a one-time eating.

It was always God’s intention that humankind would first bear the likeness of the first Adam (mortal, of the earth) and then the image of the “heavenly” Man (15:45-49).  Paul’s teaching here can only make sense if they are based on his knowing the will and purpose of God.

2:16-17. And the Lord God commanded the manfreely eatyou shall not eat
God hadn’t place the man in a squalid ghetto without food. This rebellion didn’t happen in Warsaw under the jackboots of the Nazi regime or in South Sudan or any other hell-hole in this world. It took place in Paradise!

God’s, “Don’t eat,” was a command but it was also a warning. It’s a warning, “Eat and you’ll die!” It’s such disobedience that there’s no going back from. It’s an eye-opener (3:5, 22) and the disobedience is addictive and infectious. It was such an act and since God made humans interdependent that it spread throughout humanity at large (Romans 5:12-19). Allowing the narrative in chapter 2 to unfold, it’s clear that the Lord is here speaking to Adam. Eve is not in the picture since she has not yet been created.

In the Garden there are all kinds of trees that were pleasant and good for food but two are noted. “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat…” The solitary exception is the tree of knowledge of good and evil. To eat of the Tree of Life would express a desire for life and its fruit would counteract their mortality! To desire to eat of the Tree of knowledge of good and evil would express a desire to gain experiential knowledge of evil as well as good and such a choice dooms the human to death (see Alter’s rendering of 2:17).

Narratively, whatever happens after this, Adam knows without doubt what will happen if he eats of the forbidden tree. We’re not to reduce his sin to a bare act of eating a forbidden fruit, the threat to life is not GOD, the threat is the desire to experience evil.

It’s true, of course, that God has allowed that to happen but the setting is one where God is offering the human LIFE even while He chooses to allow the man to choose Death. In this narrative Adam is not presented simply as an actual individual; he is presented as humanity in its beginning. As the truth is told here GOD did not choose Death for humanity; we chose it! We must put the blame where it belongs! The serpent didn’t/couldn’t coerce the humans into sin—we chose it!
“Eat and you begin building ‘a world’ of corruption and that is death and leads to a continuous state of death t!” Once more, God did not punish us with alienation and deathwe chose it and God acknowledged our choice but pursued us seeking and offering reconciliation. But that reconciliation can only end in the destruction of this satanic world we have built (John 12:31; 1 John 3:8). The satanic act of disobedience was the beginning of a war! A war of worlds.

Jesus of Nazareth in whom God came working reconciliation said, “I haven’t come to bring peace—I’ve come to bring war!” He said this too, “I’ve come to burn a world down and I wish it were already started.” (Cf. Luke 12.49-53) What do we make of such texts? What should we make of such texts? It doesn’t matter that we ourselves are the arsonists, God allows us to be the arsonists! But God chooses what He allows.  We can say many things about the wrath of God” but it includes what He chooses to allow (cf. Romans 1:18, 24, 26, 28).

Choose to eat and you’re dead!” is still ‘death’! Whatever we make of “hell” it isn’t life—isn’t life with God. Jesus sets “hell” (gehenna) over against “life” with God (Mark 9:43). Whatever hell is, He said, “Avoid it! You miss LIFE.”

If we think there’s a greater loss than that; a greater wrath than that, perhaps it’s because we don’t grasp, can’t grasp, the breathtaking glory and joy of living in His nearer presence; perhaps it’s because we can’ t really imagine a world of life saturated with adventure, glory, joy and righteousness, free of evil, brutality, confusion, worry, partings, caskets, cemeteries, hospice care, terminal wards, burnings, raping, wars and rumors of wars, bone-deep loneliness, desertion, weariness, failure or betrayal or such hidden shame that keeps one looking over his/her shouler and listening in case people are whispering about our former failures or current struggles! Oh God, to be FREE to LIVE. To miss that makes all other losses   trivia. “EAT AND YOU’RE DEAD!”

Sometime back in the mists of time Adam and Eve, together laid the foundations for another ‘world’, a world which became the home of all that is unlike the Holy Father and the ‘curse section’, Genesis 3:14-19, tells us about ceaseless war with satanic forces, human ‘civil-war, ’suffering, loss and planetary desolation. “Eat and you’re dead!” was no slap on the wrist for a ‘misdemeanor’.  

The power of the satanic forces working in our world, with all its subtlety and sophistication robs us of LIFE and offers us religion, philosophy, ignorance, oceans of knowledge in the academy that leads down countless corridors in search for God or something that will stand in for God, or shrewd political reforms, warm human feelings and activities that prove that God is redundant. We are all we need! We eat and die!

God MAKING ‘NOT GOOD’ ADAM ‘GOOD’

2:18. And God said, ‘It is not good…”

 Genesis chapter 1 has this:

1:4       It was good
1:10     It was good
1:12     It was good
1:18     It was 1ood
1:21     It was good
1:25     It was good
1:31     It was very good

Genesis 2 has this:

2:18     It is not good

 To reduce Adam’s need, his state of “not good.” to some simple or at least common social needs that all humans experience in life, reduces a cosmic panorama to a domestic scene. That completely ignores the massive Genesis issues.

It’s true that the text does not say, “The man is not good!” Had it said that it would have suggested discussion about Adam’s humanness, his essence as a man. Adam as an example of a male would have been perfect but Adam is not viewed here as simply one human—he is being viewed as that which (he who) GOD created. He is the father, the source of humankind, the representative of humanity, and that is the sense in which the text speaks. It’s the sense in which Paul uses him (Romans 5:12-19;

1 Corinthians 15:21-22). This male in isolation is not “good” not because he is a failure in his manhood but because since he is solitary he is not suited for God’s purpose.

“Good” in these texts is not speaking about what is morally right in contrast to what is morally wrong. It speaks of what satisfies God in light of what He accomplished and in light of what He purposes by what he has accomplished. A man builds a structure for a given purpose and when he completes it he steps back and says, “It’s good.” God creates light, takes a look and sees it’s “good”. He creates creatures of the seas, air and land, looks and sees it “good.” He creates Adam and says, “as it is it is not good.”

2:18. I will make him a helper, comparable to him…

A woman was not a man’s idea! A woman was not a woman’s idea. A woman is not society’s idea (ancient or modern). If we allow the Holy Scriptures to speak a woman is God’s idea! Psalm 136 speaks of creation (and alludes back to Genesis). Creation the psalmist sings, is an expression of GOD’s “faithful love” that endures forever. God created out of love. Women exist as women because God loved the thought of them and loved them into existence.

2.19-20. “beast of the field, birds of the air…but for Adam no comparable helper”

We need to let this sink in! Solitary Adam was “not good!” 1:26-28 as an aspect of God’s purpose could not be fulfilled if he was solitary. The blessing given could not be experienced by humanity if he is alone. He needed “help” and he needed the kind of “help” without which he could not be what the narrative presents him to be or what God meant him to be! All that God wanted and wants us to know which is why it’s recorded.

To reduce Adam in this magnificent drama to just another male person is to miss the point entirely! He is not just another male person—he is the father of the human race and to reduce his need to some domestic experience such as occasional loneliness or the need of a charming conversationalist isn’t within hearing distance of the Genesis setting.

This is ADAM the father of humankind and what he needs is one who will enable him to be what he was created for!. He needs someone who can be the mother “of all the living” (3:20) and that’s what God provided. Without her there is no humankind (5:2)! Without her there can be no ”image of God” (1:26-27); without her the “blessing” of filling the earth cannot be experienced.  (3:16c becomes significant here.)

God saw Adam needy! He chose to create him that way! (Why did He do that?) Whatever, precisely, his need is, God brought him all the animals from land and air but there was nothing anywhere that filled the need. The phrase in 2:20 makes the need clear, “But for Adam there was not found a helper comparable to him.” God skipped the sea creatures so they were of no help either. Nothing on land or in sea or in the air could help Adam, the potential father of the human race. God chose to create something new—a woman! Nothing in GOD’s entire created universe could accomplish what a woman as a woman could do.

The text has GOD bringing all the birds and all the land animals to Adam. I don’t deny what most commentators is true. They say that in naming the animals we’re hearing an expression of his universal authority. Maybe that’s involved but that would suppose that at this time in the narrative he exercises universal authority but in 1:26-28 he is only said to have that dominion in tandem with Eve. It’s together such a blessings is spoken on them My sense of it is that in 2:19-20 we’re not hearing about Adam’s universal authority but about Adam’s need—a search is going on! ALL the animals and birds are brought to him to let him know that his need could not be met by any of them. God already knew that but Adam needed to know it and by and by Eve would know it. Does any of this sound as if Eve is being degraded?

Imagine God bringing him a bird and hearing Adam say, no! Then another and another. No! No! Then the land animals and a long series of no’s from Adam and the close of 2:20, “But for Adam there was not found a helper comparable to him” Those words, “not found” speak of a search rather than an expression of authority. As the years went by we’d hear about gods and goddesses being birds and animals but Adam did not know of such things or if he did he knew the difference and knew it wasn’t a god or goddess he needed. Animals and gods don’t make “not good” “good”.

Genesis 1:28 is spoken to Adam and Eve so we must read 2:18, 21-23 in light of 1:28 because this section is a commentary on 1:26-28; it gives us details passed over in 1:26-28. Eve is no plan B! No afterthought! God isn’t correcting an oversight of His and He certainly is not providing a little social diversion or a doormat for arrogant males.

2:21. The Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam…

 In 2:7 “dust” is used in the creation of Adam only to indicate his mortality (3:19) but it is used in 3:14 to signify humiliation and degradation of the Satan. A word means what a writer means it to mean which in turns means a word may mean one thing in one sentence and another in the next sentence. (This may be significant when we look at 1 Corinthians 11.)

GOD could have created woman out of the dust as He did Adam without any notion of insult. He could have made her out a bird or any kind of animal but to use such language would probably have been a literary mistake since gods and goddesses worldwide were so closely connected with such creatures. God could have simply willed her into existence ‘out of’ nothing but none of that would have suited his purpose.

If we were thinking only of GOD’s power, His ‘divine muscle,’ and not His power in service of a purpose He could have created Eve in any one of countless ways I suppose. But He creates woman out of man (Eve out of Adam) to stress her need of Adam. Just as surely as Adam needed her she needs him. GOD is stressing mutual complete dependence and their awareness of it.

When it comes to the Creator’s viewpoint and purpose humankind is not male OR female but male AND female. Cf. 1 Corinthians 11:11 noting that Paul there is reflecting on the very section of Genesis we’re now looking at.

One man or one woman is not humankind. One man or one woman is not the image of God. Humankind is the image of God. Each human is part of humanity and it is humanity that is God’s image and it was to humanity (humankind) that God gave dominion over the creation. (It’s astonishing how quickly that truth becomes ecology and how quickly ecology becomes a crusade and a crusade generates a tide of linked social hermeneutical strategies and various forms of cosmic eschatology. Since Eve and Adam stand for ‘everyman’ and ‘everywoman’ they’re more than two distinguishable human beings. They’re meant to stand for humanity. We don’t need to adopt Calvinistic federalism to understand Romans 5:12-19 or 1 Corinthians 15:21-22. Adan and Ever is not only their story—it’s ours. We only have to look at Genesis 1-3 and then look at our history to know that “the old” man is our father (Romans 6:6).

At no point in Genesis is Adam portrayed as superior or Eve inferior! The two are distinguishable and different from the other as persons but they are more than individual “persons”—they are characters who represent humankind at its source (1:26-27; 5:1-2 with 3:20). Eve is not Adam! It is all right for her to be like the man but it is equally all right for her not to be like the man or be the man. A woman has the God-given right to be a woman and not a man but she doesn’t have the right to function contrary to the will of God.

In making her out of man God shows she is an aspect of a single humanity (which is something Schüssler Fiorenza seems to have forgotten or perhaps wishes she could forget) but He also shows that she is a person in her own right. Having created her out of man does not show she is inferior or that the text needs to be interpreted that way.

Making Adam out of the dirt (soil, dust) doesn’t mean he is less that dust! Making Eve out of a man doesn’t mean she is less than a man. But He does make the woman out of the man! Is there a purpose and a message in that? If Genesis 2 were the end of the story we might close the Book and say, “Well, wasn’t that an interesting story.” But if it is a part of a divine drama with humans in the center of it; maybe it embodies truth that remains true and operative until the unending climax.
EVE is a new creation. Adam was the original human and Eve was as much a human as he was. In a distinct act of Creation that produced Eve God gave out the news to the world in every age—there is no humanity without male AND female! This is true in light of sexual physiology, of course. I understand that there is more to marriage than sexual intimacy and procreation and I understand that a great host does not hold marriage in honor. I’m aware of that but it’s nevertheless true that it was and is (according to Genesis 2 and Jesus in Matthew 19) God’s desire and purpose for marriage to illustrate the oneness of humankind as the creation of GOD. For this cause! For what cause? ”He who made them made them at the beginning made them male and female and for this cause…” Jesus said.

In Matthew 19, immediately a discussion about marriage, the Lord Jesus goes to the very section of Genesis we’re looking at that and links marriage to creation. “He who made them in the beginning made them male and female and for this cause…a man shall cleave to his wife and the two shall become one flesh.”  The Lord goes on to say in light of wicked divorces and a violation of the truth of Genesis 2, “What God has joined together let no man tear apart.” Marriage at its best, as God purposed it to be, speaks a universal truth that rises beyond the marital relationship! Putting the best face on it in human experience, the marriage relationship is wondrous—that isn’t to be denied. Millions down the years will tell us that. But from a Biblical and theological standpoint it carries a message about God, creation, about the wonder of humans as male and female and about universal dominion that humans are to experience in fullness and in righteousness in a coming day under the Lord Jesus Christ.

We have no reason to believe that Eve was created a wife. She was created a woman and God then brought her to Adam who immediately recognized her as a ‘helper comparable to himself’! She was not  an “add on” to make his life more comfortable; she completed him; her existence made him glorious in a way he was not glorious before she came! But we’re not to think she was an “add on”—not even a glorious “add on.” God created her to give her universal dominion. She does serve Adam! But in creating her God was doing more than completing Adam He was creating an equally glorious human who would share universal dominion with the man

Alone Adam is a human but he is not humankind and God did not want just a solitary human—He wanted humanity! Alone he does not have universal dominion! All this we know from 1:26-28 and that is why he needs her—he needs a “counterpart” to himself. That’s why when everything God created is said to be “good” as created Adam was said to be, “not good.”
Why then did God create him alone? Why didn’t He make him so that he could say about him what he said about all the other creations? That’s good!?  God is prolonging the lesson of the singleness of humanity; the lesson of their utter dependence on one another. To fulfill God’s purpose they were not to be nor could they be utterly independent on of one another. It’s only when He creates Eve and creates her from Adam that the message of a plural unity is spelled out.

2:23. This now is bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh!”

Adam isn’t claiming to own her!  He is acknowledging that she is what he needs! He is in a deep sleep when it all happens. At this point of creation he doesn’t know she is being taken from him but when he wakes and God brings Eve to him (2:22) Adam knows ‘what’ she is and what he is. God did not make him as a companion for animals! She is human, she is him, he is her, she is not an animal or a bird—she is taken from him personally and so has his nature. God wants them to be distinct and distinguishable but for His purpose which rises above them as persons they are a plural unity, they are not separable (and what God has joined together let no one separate). When she becomes his wife (3:8) they acknowledge their oneness and become one not only in God’s eyes but in their own. This isn’t just physical in the sense of the two bodies joining in sexual intimacy; it is more than a marital metaphor—here it is a narrative expression of God’s creative intention. God’s speaking of HUMANKIND as nothing less than male and female (again, 5:1-2).

Together, together these two constitute humanity. Humankind is presented here as a plural unity, a oneness, but a oneness that doesn’t obliterate the difference between male and female. When the true image of God is revealed in the man Jesus of Nazareth He is made of a woman and not a man. In Jesus we have both female and male in one specific person and He is the source of a new humanity which is made in His image. Cf. 1 Corinthians 15:21-49.)

(One doesn’t have to be married to be a human! “It is not good for man to be alone” as we’ve outlined above. But Paul in 1 Corinthians 7:1 makes it clear that “it is good for a man to be alone.” (BF is mine.) There were those who were insisting that people had to marry (multiple cases of fornication had occurred and Genes 2:18 was being used to make marriage a command of God. Paul denies that and the entire reading of 1 Corinthians 7 makes that clear. The “not good” was true in the creation setting.

2:24.  Therefore shall a man leave his father and mother…

I’m taking this to be the comment of Moses about one aspect of marriage. Whoever said it here the statement is followed by the Lord Jesus. The statement is immediately related to God’s creative act. The woman is taken from man and marriage images the return to him and the two (!) become one again. Jesus scathes the adulterous system set up by hardhearted male leaders and He does it by appealing to marriage as a witness to God’s creative work. In Genesis the man goes looking and acknowledges the woman as being what he needs to be who he and she weren’t meant to be together.  Their wicked and adulterous system was ‘undoing’ God’s creative act and the manner in which He created.

Paul will make use of the marital relationship, the husband and wife relationship to suggest truth about the Lord Jesus and his wife, the Church (Ephesians 5:22-32). He doesn’t develop that truth but he says enough explicitly to indicate that Genesis 2:21-24 is about more than Genesis 2:21-24. The truth about Christ and His Wife the Church is embedded in Genesis. See also Ephesians 1:23 and the phrase that the once dead (sleeping) Jesus is “the head of the Church which is His body the fullness of Him…” (The phrase is much disputed but with the Genesis back ground and Paul use of it in 5:22-32 I’m satisfied to think that the imagery of Genesis is in Ephesians 1:19-23 speaks of “the last Adam” (1 Corinthians 15:45)

It seems clear to me that Paul takes the Genesis narrative as the picture of more than the beginning of the ‘old’ creation. He holds it as the beginning of the beginning and fulfillment of the new creation. Paul’s Adamic theology rises beyond a rehearsal of an earthly and mortal experience and opens our eyes to an immortal and heavenly new creation (1 Corinthians 15: 45-49; 2 Corinthians 5:14-17, with Psalm 8 and Hebrews 1—2:9). I don’t think we take seriously enough the truth that there is a single Gospel being told in the entirety of the Holy Scriptures.

It’s obviously true that we need to allow specific sections or books to speak to the circumstances they are addressing and Jesus and His specially chosen and equipped teachers would approve of that. Nevertheless, when we hear Jesus say that the entirety of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms (Writing) are about Him and His work we must take Him seriously (John 5, Luke 24, Acts 3, Acts 24:14; 26:22-23, passim).

We’re not required to comb through the verses of the entire OT to find a prediction about Jesus in every verse or book. I’m not denying there are such predictions, I’m saying the entire Biblical Witness is a Holy Spirit superintended drama of God’s purpose for and His working it out in the midst of a human family that chose alienation from Him. One summary of it is in Hebrews 2:5-9 thata having alluded to Genesis 1:26-28 and quoting Psalm 8 says that we haven’t seen the full fulfillment of Genesis 1 or Psalm 8 “but we see Jesus…” The entire NT works on a hermeneutic of trust that enables us to read all that has gone before it as an unfolding drama that comes to an unending and glorious climax in Jesus of Nazareth who is the new image of God.

What is there in this section of Genesis that degrades the woman?

This entry was posted in REFLECTIONS ON THIS AND THAT on by .

About Jim McGuiggan

Jim McGuiggan was Ethel's husband for fifty-three years. They have three children and eight grandchildren. Ethel went to be with Christ on Easter Sunday, 2009 at the close of a gallant life. He has written some books including: Celebrating the Wrath of God; Heading Home with God; Life on the Ash Heap; Jesus: Hero of Thy Soul; The God of the Towel, The Scarlet Letter; and The Dragon Slayer.

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