The concepts of love and self-submission in a Christian marriage date back to God’s original design for marriage. The illustration of the husband as the head, and the wife as the body, which are together one flesh (as is seen in this look at Eph 5), also originated with Adam and Eve. This all was part of God’s original design for marriage, which was corrupted with Adam and Eve, but now can be restored for Christians to God’s original design, through Jesus Christ.
The 6th Day (in chronological order) Gen 1:24-31, Gen 2:1-3,14-25
On the 6th day the first thing that God did was make the animals. Before this day He already made the birds and fish and plants. It is interesting to note that the plants, flying life, and swimming life are all masculine nouns, which are made after “his kind”. Yet elsewhere in the Bible, some birds, etc. are feminine nouns. For instance in Lev 11:19 it says “and the stork, the heron, after her kind“. So while the birds are said to be made after “his kind” in Gen 1, some individual types of birds are mentioned “after her kind” elsewhere.
The Hebrew language itself is not gender-neutral, same as in Spanish most words are themselves feminine or masculine, but it can be understood that God created both male and female of plants, birds, and swimming life at the same time. If the gender is understood as all-inclusive and equal, this makes sense. If “his kind” is understood as reflective of the importance of the masculine over the feminine in Gen 1:1-23 then there will be problems. The problem of seeing the gender in the term “his kind” as showing the male was more important than the female, can be seen when the actual gender in the Hebrew is used in Gen 1:24, with the creation of the animals:
Then God said, “Let the earth bring forth the living creature according to her kind: cattle and creeping thing and beast of the earth, each according to her kind”; and it was so. And God made the beast of the earth according to her kind, cattle according to her kind, and everything that creeps on the earth according to his kind. And God saw that it was good. Gen 1:24-25
Here the kinds of animals are brought forth each according to her kind, excepting the creeping thing which are made according to his kind. As such, if the specified gender of the pronoun (based on the inherent gender of the animal’s noun) denotes more importance, or if the specified gender “owns”, or is the model for the species, then it should be understood that the language indicates the female of most species of animals is the primary model of the species, the more important, as it is “her” kind.
But the same problem arises, which is elsewhere in the Bible, “living creatures after her kind“, is shown to include “the weasel…and the mouse…. after his kind” (Lev 11:29). So like the masculine term includes the feminine, also the feminine term includes the masculine. Hebrew is not a gender-neutral language, but other verses in the Bible show that gender should be considered equal and all-inclusive in these verses in Genesis.
As such the correct term in all instances of the creation of life would properly be “their kind”. Neither the male nor the female gender is considered more important, but both are equal in importance, in the case of all plants, birds, fish, and animals. And they were each created together, male and female together, in all these verses. And as it is not specified that one was made before the other, and as neither gender is more prominent, it makes the most sense that God made the male and female of each kind at the exact same time. It is not “his kind” nor “her kind”, but is equally “their kind”.
For the next section I am including notes of the Hebrew specifics seen in this passage.
Then God said, “Let Us make the man (humankind) in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them (masculine plural) have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth. Gen 1:26
Because God said “let them (plural) have dominion” about that which He planned to make, the “man” here God planned to make was not referring to 1 man, but refers to the other use of this word in Hebrew, which is referring to all humankind. As the Strong’s says of this word, “man, mankind (much more frequently intended sense in OT)”.
In this case we know God made a man and a woman. It is important to note in the above verses that a masculine plural pronoun is shown by God to specifically include both the male and the female genders. We know the plural God was speaking of was a man and a woman, and so we know that “man” here refers to both men and women, as humankind.
Unless there is some reason to know that only males are being specified, in the rest of the Bible the baseline assumption should be that a masculine plural pronoun can also include women.
As such, it is clear that God’s original purpose for creating humankind, male and female, was for them to have dominion over the earth. Which means God created the male for the purpose of him to have dominion over the earth, and God also created the female for the purpose of her to have dominion over the earth. God’s stated intent before He made humans was for them both to equally have dominion over the earth. Male and Female were each created equally for the purpose of having dominion over the earth. God also says, “Let Us make the humankind in Our image, according to Our likeness” and so both the male and the female were equally made by God in His image and according to His likeness.
The next verse, Genesis 1:27, tells what God did, summarized in order, without much detail,
So God created man (humankind) in His own image:
(1) in the image of God He created him (masculine singular);
(2) male and female He created them (masculine plural)
God made man and woman equally in His image, and both genders of humankind are equally image-bearers of God. Next we are told a little detail of the creation order. First God made the male in His image, and then God made the female in His image.
And truly, as Jesus is the image of God (Col 1:15), who we were created to look like, who Himself made us, women also were made in His image, after His likeness. The differences between how human men and women look are trivially minor when compared to the image of any other thing God made. And some women can be mistaken for men, and some men mistaken for women, minus a couple different parts of the body. Truly, woman was also made in the image of and after the likeness of Jesus Christ. You could not say women were not made in the image of and likeness of Jesus, anymore than you could say Jesus did not have the likeness or image of his mother Mary. And we know all children have the likeness of their parents. And how could anyone say Jesus looked like His Father, not His mother, when Jesus Himself is already the image of God? God is Spirit (Jn 4:24), but Jesus Christ is the fullness of the Godhead bodily (Col 2:9), and Jesus is the image of the invisible God (Col 1:15), which leads to an infinite regression. So He ‘looked like Himself’. But also He looked like his mother, and had her image and her likeness. So both men and women were made in the image of God, who is Jesus Christ.
The Bible teaches in Genesis that there is a male-man and a female-man. Just as there are white-people and black-people, and Gentile-people and Jewish-people, the first real dichotomy was of the male-man and the female-man. But God considers them all equally “man”, and neither one is more human than the other. They are equally made in the image of God. Again, it is not “his kind” or “her kind” but is equally “their kind”. Which Jesus confirms in Matt 19:4 “He answered, “Have you not read that he who made them from the beginning made them male and female”.
The details of God’s creation of humankind, male and female, are given in the next chapter. In Genesis 1:27 we are given a brief summary, which includes the order of creation of the male and then the female. But in Genesis chapter 2 we are given the details of God’s creation of the first male-man and the first female-man on the 6th day, as was summarized in the single verse in Gen 1:27 above.
So these are the details of the creation of humankind on the 6th day:
And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being. The LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden, and there He put the man whom He had formed. Gen 2:7-8
Here the first male-man, we call Adam, is made outside of the garden, which has not been made yet. God breathes life into Adam, and he becomes a living being. God then makes the garden of Eden and moves Adam into it.
And out of the ground the LORD God made every tree grow that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Then the LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it. Gen 2:9-15
We are told here about the garden. God’s purpose for putting Adam in the garden was for him to tend and keep the garden.
And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die. Gen 2:16-17
Here God commands Adam to not eat of the tree, or Adam will surely die. When God says “you may eat”, “you shall not eat”, and “you shall surely die” to Adam, the Hebrew shows that “you” here is a masculine singular pronoun. The instructions God gave here were instructions to Adam, and were not said as a plural “you”.
And the LORD God said, “It is not good that man should be alone (separated); I will make him a help comparable. Gen 2:18
God determines and says that is not good for the male-man to be separated. The word here in Hebrew (905) means something separated, a part. This is not a word that implies the male-man Adam was ever complete on his own, but would get lonely. No, this word actually implies that the male was incomplete and separated from something, in this case the male was separated from the female. The Genesius says this properly reads “in his separation”. Also this could read “apart”.
All of the other life, birds, animals, God made male and female together, at the same time. From God’s perspective, having a male without a female was an incomplete creation. And as God was right there with Adam, having just told him to not eat from this tree, we know that Adam was right there to hear what God said outloud.
One major point of this verse is that God was right there with Adam, and said outloud in front of Adam “it is not good that the man should exist in his separation“. God was letting Adam know that there was something missing, that he was separated from. What God said may have also carried the understanding, “It is not good that humankind exists separated, apart, incomplete.”
Then God said, again in front of Adam, “I will make him a help comparable“.
This is sometimes translated as “help meet”, not the best translation, and incorrectly also said to read “help mate” which is not what the words mean or say at all.
The words here in Hebrew are “ezer kenegdo“.
The word “ezer” does not mean a servant or helper, and does not even imply such. This word is used predominantly of God’s help. In fact, while 2x it refers to a meet help, and 3x any person who is a help, a total of 16x out of 21x total, this word refers to help coming from God.
Our soul waiteth for the LORD: he [is] our help and our shield. Ps 33:20
I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth. Ps 121:1-2
But I [am] poor and needy: make haste unto me, O God: thou art my help and my deliverer; O LORD, make no tarrying. Ps 70:5
As such, this word contains absolutely no connotation of a “helper” or “servant”. Rather this word implies a help that is sufficiently great and strong to competently fulfill some need of help.
The word “kenegdo” literally translates as “as-corresponding-him”. It could also read “alike to him” or simply “matching him”.
If you put this all together, Adam heard God’s thoughts that God spoke aloud, announcing what He would do, “It is not good for the man to be separated, I will make him a (great) help alike to him.” There is no implication here of “mating” whatsoever. There is not any implication of a servant.
Also note here that per the Hebrew the verse should read “I will make him a help” and not “I will make for him a help”. This is a subtle difference, with not-so-subtle implications. The point is that while God did make Adam a help alike to him, this was done out of the need for Adam to not be separate, which was not good. The man was in a problematic imperfect situation and God would fix it by making the woman. And this is the only way in which God implied she was made for his sake. This had nothing to do with possession. The verse does not imply that God gave the woman to the man as a possession, as in “I will make for him a help alike to him”. Woman was not made for man. Rather, woman was made for man’s sake, as is specified in 1 Cor 11:9, “for indeed man was not created for the woman’s sake, but woman for the man’s sake.“
What God said here in front of Adam was an entire thought, that he wanted Adam to hear so as to understand what God was about to do next. That thought was
“It is not good for the man to be separated (a part, only a piece), I will make him a (great sufficient) help alike to (matching) him.”
This verse also carries with it the meaning that the “help matching him” would in fact be his equal. An “alike to him” help, “comparable to him” help, means an equal help. Turn the words around in English, as is common with Hebrew translation to English, and this becomes the emphasis,
“It is not good for the man to be separated, I will make him an equal help.”
Another point to be made is that God was speaking to Himself here, but letting Adam hear what He said. It may be that the “help” mentioned here had to do more with God’s task for humans, having dominion over the earth, tending to the garden, as God’s stated task for the man was to tend to the garden, and later said, to subdue the earth, be fruitful, and multiply. As such, God may well have been emphasizing He was about to make an equal-to-the-man help for whatever tasks God had for them. In any case, God’s point to Adam in what Adam heard, was to let Adam know that he was separated and this was not a good thing, and God was about to fix that by making a help equal to himself.
Out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to Adam to see what he would call them. And whatever Adam called each living creature, that was its name. So Adam gave names to all cattle, to the birds of the air, and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper comparable to him. Gen 2:19-20
Here God brings one animal after another to Adam. It is possible these were all females of the different species of life God made, from birds, to mammals, to reptiles, etc. Again, the nouns here are a mix of male and female according to the kinds of animals, so there is no telling. But as the point of this exercise was Adam looking for that help equal to himself, it is possible they were female. God has let Adam know what He was up to in this exercise. Adam knew this was about him finding a help alike to him. He was looking for this help matching himself as he called each animal something.
Can you imagine, as God brought a dog to Adam, and Adam looked at it, could see it was not alike to him, and named it a dog? Next a horse, not alike to Adam either, and a turkey, not alike Adam and no apparent help, here is an elephant, not alike to Adam… Adam could see with each animal that it was not like him, and not the one God must have been talking about making. The suspense must have been killing Adam, but it also sounds like he was having fun. He was surely amazed at all the animals God had made.
But it should always be noted, the purpose of Adam naming the animals was that he was looking for that which was a help equal to him. And among all the animals, none were. While Adam did name the animals, all of this was done not because “he was the man” but was done because he was looking for the woman and had need for her to exist so things could be good, as they were not good. In doing this, God helped Adam to gain understanding that his equal help was special, and was not just some animal. When Adam did finally meet the woman, he knew right away this was who he had been waiting to meet.
And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place. Then the rib which the LORD God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man. Gen 2:21-22
Some people say this was a rib, but I have also heard people saying Adam was originally a hermaphrodite who had a uterus and female genitalia. That is because this word can also mean a side chamber. I really don’t know, though I think this makes some sense. But if it was a rib, based on the symbolism of Jesus on the Cross, I would guess it was the rib over Adam’s heart. Whatever it was, I will refer to it as a rib.
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. Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed. Gen 2:23-25
Immediately, Adam recognizes the help alike to him that God had spoken of. And he notices his missing rib, and understands God had to make her from him, and that in fact she was made of his own body. And he calls her woman, as she was taken out of man. The word here for “taken” is the same word used repeatedly later in the Bible for “take a wife”.
Here we find the same illustration as in Eph 5, which is that a woman is like a man’s own body. While she is a separate soul and has a separate living spirit, and a separate body, it is like a wife is made out of a piece of the man which was taken from him by God. Once God had taken his rib, it was no longer his, but belonged to God. As Adam belonged to God, who made him, this was not stealing something that belonged to Adam, but rather it was God rearranging something that belonged to Him. And so God built woman out of the rib. God could have built the woman from the ground, but God wanted Adam and the woman to gain understanding that they belonged to each other. God wanted them to have a relationship, and see they were related. God did things this way so as to show them this clearly, both Adam and the woman. So they could see, in a way, she is like his own body. And this is why they are one flesh when they are joined together in marriage, because it is like she was made from his rib. So they are one body, in two, and joined together to make one flesh.
In Eph 5, the man is said to be like the head of this one body, whereas the woman is like all the other body parts. This same picture is seen here in the first marriage, where all of the woman’s body comes from a piece of the man’s body. Her head, came from his rib, all of her body was formed of his body, which is why she is like his body. And having his head intact, while his body is not intact, as she was taken from his body and not his head, he is her head. Her head is made out of his body. But in this dichotomy of dividing the body into the head vs. every other body part, he is the intact head, with his body missing something, and she is the piece of body that he is missing. Neither one of them is a whole body without the other. This is where the analogy or illustration in Eph 5 comes from.
Note in all of this, that the woman fit the requirements of being a great help alike to Adam, just as God made her. God made her to be this, just as He created her to be. This was not a job description, or something for her to strive for, or a job to fulfill. This was what she was, just as God made her.
Nor was she created for the purpose of being Adam’s help meet. She was created primarily to have dominion over the earth, including tending the garden. The other reason why she was created was because without her the human race was incomplete, which was not good. She was not created to help a complete Adam with his aloneness, rather she was created because this was God’s will to make humankind, male and female, from the beginning. But God wanted to make the point clear to Adam that it was not good for him to be a part, separated from the whole which should be, both male and female, and God did things this way so Adam could learn and understand this truth.
God also wanted Adam to understand very clearly that the woman was made of the same stuff that he was. As she was built from the bone and flesh of a man, she also was the same as him. God wanted Adam to see that she was just as human as he was.
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 moves on the earth. Gen 1:28
After God had made both the man and the woman, He gives them both dominion over all life, jointly, and jointly tells them to be fruitful and multiply. God gave a command on what to do and gave dominion to the man, and God gave a command on what to do and gave dominion to the woman. And they are jointly given the task to be fruitful and multiply. And they are jointly blessed.
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. 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 life, I have given every green herb for food”; and it was so. Gen 1:29-30
Here God gives both of them all the plants for food. Jointly they own all the plants for food. He has been given all the plants, and she has been given all the plants. Note here that God does not repeat His command to not eat the fruit of the tree of life to the woman. She does not know about this, and only hears from God that she may eat all the fruit there is.
Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good. So the evening and the morning were the sixth day. 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. Gen 1:31-2:3
And this is all we are told that happened on the day that God made humankind.
Now, after making all the animals male and female at the exact same time, God made the humans with the male first and the female second. Why did God choose to make humankind differently?
The way that God did this seemed to be for 2 reasons, which were to instill the concepts of a man loving a woman, and a woman loving and respecting a man, trusting him, and willingly following him.
Adam was shown how special Eve was, and had to wait with some anticipation to meet her. He also became aware that his existence was not complete without her, and without her it was not good. Without her, his existence and the existence of humanity was not complete. He knew her right away as being a help alike to him, matching him, his peer, his equal. He also knew that she was made from his very body, his own flesh. He knew that she was equally human as he was, and just as essential. He knew that God made her, and she was designed by God, the Creator. This all was meant to foster an understanding that she was equally as human, a help matching him, who also had dominion over the world, and the same shared instructions as he had to be fruitful and multiply. All of this was meant to foster feelings of love, acceptance and appreciation for the woman.
On the other side of things, the woman opened her newly made eyes, saw the Lord, and then was led by Him, to a man. Overwhelmed by sensations, colors, things she could see all around, not knowing what anything was, having just been created, the man immediately exclaims to her,
““This is now bone of my bones And flesh of my flesh! She shall be called Woman, Because she was taken out of Man.”
And so the first thing this woman hears is acceptance and belonging. She is told that she will be called woman by the man, a word which in itself relates her to the man in front of her. And no doubt, the man seemed to be very happy to see her, and friendly towards her. Everything about her first moments conveyed to her total acceptance, belonging, and that she was liked, in other words, she felt loved.
Then the Lord told both of them to be fruitful, to multiply, and have dominion over the earth and subdue it. He told them He had given them both all the plants to eat, and also for the animals to eat.
Then the story leaves off. But it is easy to imagine that soon Adam started telling her about what had happened before she got there. He started showing her all the animals, and telling her of his quest to meet her, and what he had called each of them while looking for her. But how none of them were a help alike to him, that God said He would make. This probably made Eve feel very special. As she met the animals, in all their amazing colors and shapes and personalities, wondering over them, all this was wrapped up in a story about how she was more special to this man than any of them. He told her he had been looking for her all day, and she was the only creature God has made which would do, to fix what was not good, to be a help alike to him. She surely felt very special, and appreciated. He was probably enjoying her company very much. And as she heard of all the names he had given all the animals, in his quest to meet her, she felt respect for him, that he had done all this which was impressive, but even more so that he had done it out of love for her, which is likely what she would have done too she imagined if she had been in the same situation. And as he loved her, she responded by feeling love for him, and respect as well. And so God designed the first day so that the man and woman would easily begin to love each other, and then she would feel respect for him.
We also can gather, from the next chapter, that Adam told the woman about the commandment God had spoken to him prior to her creation. It is not specified in the Bible that God repeated this command to the woman, so her knowledge of it must have come from Adam. And until the serpent got involved, the woman did not eat of the tree, apparently for some time.
From this we can see that the woman, feeling loved by Adam, trusted him in what he told her. She had not heard this herself from God, but trusted the man when he told her about it. And, she submitted herself to what he said, by not eating of the tree. That is until the day the serpent interfered.
It is important to note that this speaks of a woman’s nature, which is that she was designed to trust a man when she feels loved by him, and naturally follow him or naturally submit herself to him. The woman was naturally trusting and had a natural tendency to follow, or submit herself. And we will cover this chapter of Gen 3 on the fall in more detail later.
But the point is that in the creation story, we see that (in order):
1. God led Adam to love the woman and appreciate her, and see her as his equal
2. God led Adam to show acceptance of her, appreciation, and love to her
3. God led her to feel loved even from her first moments
4. God put both of them in a situation so that the things Adam told her about, naming the animals, would also make her feel loved by him, which made her feel respect for him
5. God designed the woman to then be trusting and naturally inclined to follow the man, or submit herself to him
And so the creation story contains the same elements that we see in Eph 5 of God’s design for a Christian marriage. Love and self-submission were not a matter of authority, but of the nature God designed men and women to naturally have. They were meant to naturally respond this way to each other. God designed them to get into this groove of behavior naturally, and led them into things starting off well. And it was disobedience to God that disrupted this bliss, leading to the corruption and destruction of God’s original design for marriage.
A Little Q & A
1. Woman was made from Adam’s rib, his body. Does this mean that a woman is a man’s property?
No. God took the rib from Adam, and once God took it, it no longer belonged to Adam. God made Adam, and so the only ownership implied here is that God owns everything that He made. Adam did not create the woman, God did. If anything, God just rearranged part of a person He owned, and transformed it into another person God owned. God made the woman for Adam’s sake, because it was bad for him to be apart from her; for the male to exist without the female. However, God did not make the woman for Adam, as in a gift to be owned and a possession. She was made for his sake, not for him. The point of making her out of Adam’s rib was to show Adam that they were made of the same stuff, and completed each other together, as humankind.
Look at this another way, as the Bible clarifies in 1 Cor 11:8-9, 11-12:
“For the man is not out of the woman, but the woman is out of the man; for indeed man was not created for the sake of the woman, but woman for the sake of the man… Moreover, neither is woman separate of man, nor is man separate of woman, in the Lord. For just as the woman is out of the man, in this manner also the man is through the woman; but all together from God.“
Here what is understood from Genesis is recapped. This is a correct translation of the Greek. Woman was created for the sake of man, not for the man himself. Also, that men exist because they are birthed through women is directly compared to woman having been made out of a man’s rib. This means that the woman being made from Adam’s rib in no way implies ownership anymore than a mother owns her son. In the same way grown adult sons own themselves and are not owned by their mother, a woman is not owned by her husband. This direct comparison is made by God in His Word to make this point clear. Husbands do not own their wives, and a wife is not property. And as such, neither did Adam own his wife, even in the beginning and in the first marriage. The woman was not Adam’s property. Neither a woman being made out of man’s body, nor a man being made out of a woman’s body, equates to the one who was made being the property of the one that person was made out of.
It is interesting to note that the word God used for “make” in “make an alike- to-him help” is the same Hebrew word “asah” which God also uses for “make” when it comes to a child in his mother’s womb:
Thus saith the LORD that made thee, and formed thee from the womb, [which] will help thee; Fear not, O Jacob, my servant; and thou, Jesurun, whom I have chosen. Isa 44:2
Did not he that made me in the womb make him? and did not one fashion us in the womb?
As 1 Cor 11:12 states, woman out of man, and man through the woman, but ALL are made BY God.
2. God brought the woman to Adam, and let Adam choose what to call her, just like God did with the animals, who God gave Adam dominion over. Does this mean that God gave Adam dominion (or authority) over the woman?
No. God specifically told both the man and the woman that He was giving them both dominion over the animals. God brought the animals to Adam to see what Adam would call them, but the woman was also given equal dominion over all the animals. Therefore, naming something does NOT give a person authority over it. The authority was, and has to be, specifically given by God. Adam naming the animals was not an act of Adam showing his dominion over them, as God had not yet told Adam or the woman that He was giving them dominion over the animals. Adam was just naming the animals in the process of God letting Adam figure out for himself who this alike-to-him help was, that God said He would make. While the woman did not name the animals, she also had dominion over them, because God gave it to her. In the same way, Adam calling her a “woman” did not in any way establish that he had authority over her.
If God had wanted the man to have authority over the woman, it would be specified. To make this very clear, if God had given dominion over the woman to the man, in keeping with the rest of the chapter, in keeping with God’s actions, in keeping with consistency and logic, God would have said, and the Bible would read:
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 moves on the earth.” And then God said to the man, “Have dominion over the woman also….”. No!
God didn’t say that, because God didn’t do that, which is why it’s not in the Bible! It could easily be there, if it had been what God intended, but it is not there, because it is Not what God intended. Naming things does not give you authority over them, either you have authority already, or you don’t. A different dynamic and purpose was taking place here.
Men and women both need to feel loved and respected (as in the meaning of esteemed or honored). While the man looked for God to make a meet help, the time of God letting the man name the animals, was a special time together for God and the man, in which God made him feel special to God, which made him feel respected and loved by God. Later, as the woman accepted that the animals were named as Adam had called them, as he told her the story of his first day, Adam also felt respected by the woman, and loved by the woman. But the reason Adam was the one to call her woman was so he would make her feel special and accepted by him, and loved, right from her first moments. Also the woman’s later moments made her feel loved by Adam, as she heard all about her back-story. She came to feel special to Adam and to God, and loved by God also in hearing this. And in hearing this story about Adam naming the animals, she felt respected by Adam that what he called her reflected that she alone was his peer. And as she was given dominion over the world and given the plants to eat by God, she also felt special to God from this, and respected and loved by God. This first day was all about Love and Respect, that both the man and woman felt special to God, loved by God, and respected by God, and also felt special to the other, and loved and respected by the other. It seems the man’s need was more for respect, and the woman’s need was more for love, and this difference is reflected in how God set up this first day to progress. But nevertheless, it is clear that both the man and woman needed both to feel loved and respected by the other, and by God.
God designed marriage to be a naturally symbiotic relationship, and led the first man and woman to align to each other in this natural groove. The man was meant to naturally lead, and the woman was meant to naturally follow, they both were designed to need love, and respect. On their first day God naturally led them into him loving her and her respecting him, and they both felt loved and respected by God. And we see it was also her nature to trust and follow him. And God met each of their needs, and also met their needs in providing each one for the other to meet the other’s needs.
Neither the man nor the woman were given authority over the other. They were designed by God to naturally get along, without any rules on them to do so. God made men and women different, but complimentary, like two clock gears interlocked together, each one turning the other with each spoke progressing the other around. And God is the one who powered this and set it in motion originally, with how He carefully planned the first day of the man and woman. This is what marriage is supposed to be, and without sin, this is what man and woman were designed to do naturally, as God made them to be. Without sin, a woman is designed to need love and respect from him, and to respect him because he loves her, and to trust him and therefore be naturally inclined to follow her husband. Without sin, a husband is designed to need to feel love and respect from her, and to give her love and respect. This is the nature of man and woman which God designed them to have when He made them.
And it is sin, disobedience to God, a temptation of the Devil, which threw a wrench in the works and messed all this up, and still does today. And we see this in the next chapter of Genesis 3.
Some of what we have learned here, in summary:
1. Men and women were created equal. They are equally humankind.
2. They were both equally created for the purpose of having dominion over the earth.
3. They were both equally created in the image of God.
4. The man and the woman were designed to have a naturally symbiotic relationship,
that God guided him to accept her, love her, respect her, and guided her to love him, respect him, and trust him.
5. God made the rules and was in charge, not the man nor the woman, and neither was given authority over the other. But she was designed to be naturally inclined to follow him.