I love the book of Genesis, because more than anything else, it is the book of ‘beginnings’ or ‘origins.’ While it doesn’t give us a scientific explanation for how things work, nevertheless what it gives us is their ‘source.’ The origin of ‘beings.’ The origin of species. The origin of life! The origin of ‘relationships.’ One such relationship that Genesis addresses is the relationship between men and women. While not the only relationship between humans, it is nevertheless the first relationship between humans, as well as the second relationship to be ‘soured’ by sin.
It is both this origin and the ‘souring’ of this relationship by sin that I’d like to pay attention to today.
Genesis 1:26-27, tells us that God’s express purpose for creating humans (men AND women) was that they might represent Him on earth. Thus, the Genesis 1 and 2 account of creation of humans shows God bequeathing authority of representation on both without discrimination.
Both were to act as God’s second-in-command towards the care of the earth and its habitation and contents.
However, one chapter later in Genesis 3, a ‘stranger’ enters this relationship dynamics between God and humans and the consequence was the altering of the relationship between God and humans and altering the relationship between humans and humans.
The former sent humans away from God, the latter put a wedge between men and women.
Whereas, hitherto, God NEVER indicated a plan for either men or women to ‘rule over’ each other, nevertheless, after sin, He said despite women’s longing for a relationship with men, men’s desire would be to ‘rule over’ women.
Get this: Prior, the only place in Genesis 1 & 2 where God mentioned ‘rule’ was in conjunction with humans (man and woman) ruling over (non-human) creation. The Scriptures say that God saw this His design of humans (men and women) ruling over the ‘rest of creation’ to be ‘very good!’ So good, that He had no need to perfect it any further, but being satisfied with it as with all His other works, He ceased from working on it and just let it be as He had created it.
But in Genesis 3, this relationship went from perfect to ‘broken,’ along with the relationship of humans with God.
As a result, subsequent biblical narratives will feature the deterioration of relationship between men and women to the point that it became the norm – the norm that is ensconced in every human community as ‘patriarchy’ – that societal structure by which men ‘rule over’ women and children, as well other men of lower status.
Enter Jesus the Restorer of all things who not only restores humans to God, but also heals the ‘brokenness’ in our spirits. He ‘healed‘ or fixed the distortion of God’s image in us that manifested itself in men rejecting women as co- and equal representatives of God according to the perfect plan of God before sin entered the picture, to instead choose to make woman a ‘creature’ over which he ruled!
Yet, the new ‘creation’ in Christ also marks ‘new beginnings.’ A brand new world in which God and humans operate (live towards God and one another) in restored relationship with God and with one another.
As such, once we believe the Gospel, we no longer seek to live according to the ways of this world (no matter how long those ways have been around), but according to what Scripture has revealed as God’s ‘perfect work’ – harmony with God, one another and the rest of creation. So why do many Christians resist equality of men with women as though it were un-Scriptural, when indeed, it is the restoration of God’s design which was distorted by the sin of the first humans???
Whereas, as Christians, we live in the tension of the ‘already, but not yet’ of the realization of our full salvation, nevertheless, we never abandon the ‘already’ and just make do with the hope of the ‘not yet.’ As such, even though we know that not all who are sick will be healed on this side of eternity, nevertheless, we embrace, seek and pursue ‘healing’ of our ailments (physical and spiritual) whenever we can and are able, as God’s will. We equally embrace, seek, and pursue sustenance as God’s will despite the hardship that the Genesis 3 sin placed on human’s ability to avail themselves of God’s abundant provision in Genesis 2:29.
We live in the ‘not yet’ while doing all that God will allow, to exist in the provision He’s ‘already’ made for ending hunger, lack and poverty wherever it is found and for finding healing for all our ailments! This is why it is perplexing that in all things, except the healing of what was broken between men and women, we do our best to live in the ‘already’ of the promise of the ‘not yet…’
As Christians, we are called to demonstrate to the world what is God’s will for humanity and His creation. We are not called to live according to what has long been because of sin.
Sin was the disease. Patriarchy, the casting of a blight on relationships between men and women, was one of its symptoms. Jesus is the cure for the disease. He came to heal the ‘sick.’ Proof of our healing is, as in all other areas of sin, the ‘letting go’ of the symptoms of sin, of which patriarchy is one. Christ has healed men and women in both their relationships with God and their relationships with one another. Let us therefore, go, and live as the new creation!
In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit. (Eph.2:21-22, emphasis mine)