Challenging Tradition in Genesis 1 & 2

clouds

The first two chapters of the book of Genesis are critical to understanding the intent of God for His creation.  Today we’ll address some of the widely held misconceptions from these chapters that affect women.

Tradition has taught that the male was created first and given dominion.  Take a close look.  The creation of human beings happens in Genesis 1:26-28 and a careful reading shows that both male and female were created at the same time and dominion was given to BOTH.

1:26 “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 all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth. 27 God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created themThen 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.”

Now notice also from verse 26: The Hebrew word used here is “adam” (lower case) meaning man in the sense of the human race, including both male and female. It is not a name for the created male.  Therefore, to suggest that the creation of womankind is somehow an “afterthought” is error.

The male was not named Adam by God until AFTER God made the pronouncement that it was not good for man to be alone (incomplete) in Genesis 2:18. Up until that significant event, the scripture simply refers to “adam“, i.e. mankind-human beings and includes both genders.

 The male was formed, not created[1] first.  Formed is yatsar in Hebrew and means to form, frame or constitute.

 ‘2:6 “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.  7 And the LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden and there he put theman whom he had formed.

When we look at the forming of woman we find three areas of misinformation.

First in Genesis 2:18 when God said “it is not good that man should be alone” does it mean that the man was lonely?  Let’s see. The Hebrew word for “alone” in Genesis 2:18 is “bad” from the root word “badad” (Strongs H. 905). Literally this word means “separated, divided or incomplete“. It conveys the idea of two separate functioning parts of an object being incomplete and unable to function to full capacity, because they have not been brought together. This word so often translated into English as “alone” does not mean Adam was lonely. It means he was incomplete, which is an entirely different thing.

Second, let’s look at a number of translations of the last half of the Genesis 2:18.

KJV  “I will make a help meet for him.”

NKJVI will make him a helper comparable to him.”

N.I.V.. “I will make a helper suitable for him.”

NASB: “I will make him a helper suitable for him.”

NLT “I will make a companion who will help him”

When we hear the English word “help meet” or “helper suitable” applied to the creation of the woman, it is easy form an idea of one who assists from a subservient position. Added to this is the fact that the church for many hundreds of years has taught that woman was created for such a subservient role. The argument is used that the scriptures say Eve was created as Adam’s ‘helper’, therefore any woman who seeks a leadership or authoritative role is rebelling against God who created her only to assist the male.

Again our English translations have failed us, for these words “help meet” or “helper suitable” are actually a very poor attempt to translate two Hebrew words: ezer[2] and kenegdo[3].

Ezer is used sixteen times in the Old Testament – twice only to refer to the female and 14 times to refer to God. For example, when David wrote “The Lord is my Helper” (in Psalm 30:10), he uses the same Hebrew word, ‘ezer.‘ No one would dream of translating the same word when referring to God as “helper”, but many do not even question why the word has a different translation when applied to Eve. This word means ‘to surround with protection and aid’. In fact, if you look at the context of every other use of the word ezer in scripture, you will see that ezer refers to either God or military allies, and that in all other cases the one giving the help is superior to the one receiving the help.

Adding the word “kenegdo” to “ezer” modifies the meaning of the phrase to one who is neither superior nor inferior, but of equal status. So then, the two words together literally mean “one who is the SAME as the other and who surrounds, protects, aids, helps, supports.” In English we have a similar concept – a counterpart. A counterpart is a person or thing that corresponds exactly to another. It means different yet equal. Yet in many, many churches worldwide the erroneous concept of woman as a subservient assistant to man, is still embraced.

Please note that in the original Hebrew there is no indication of inferiority or a secondary, assistant position for the woman. There is also no idea of separation of the male and female into different spheres of responsibility, authority, or social position.

So we see that the creation account in Genesis 1 & 2 records the creation of adam, (mankind) and then records the completion of mankind with the bringing forth of the female from the male.

Why is it so important we understand this? Because we need to see that woman was brought forth from the man not because Adam was lonely, but because he was incomplete and unable to fulfil his purpose without her. Further, and this is most important, we need to see that woman was not created by God to satisfy Adam’s loneliness, but to satisfy God Himself!

It is important that both men and women pause at this point and allow this vital Biblical truth to sink deep into their spirits:

WOMAN WAS CREATED FOR GOD’S PLEASURE AND CREATIVE SATISFACTION, AND NOT TO PLEASE ADAM!

 Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.   Rev. 4:11 KJV

You are worthy, O Lord our God, to receive glory and honor and power.  For you created all things, and they exist because you created what you pleased. Rev. 4:12 NLT

 

Third, Genesis 2:21-22 says that woman was formed from the rib.

So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and closed up the place with flesh. Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man. (NIV)

The creator formed the woman[4] from material taken from the side of the man. Ribs had nothing to do with it. Nowhere else is this word (tslea in Hebrew) translated rib. The other forty-one times it is used it is translated side, corner, chamber or flesh. (See the Word Study on rib for the origin of this mistranslation http://www.godswordtowomen.org/rib.htm)  As the church came from the side of Christ, the Lord God took woman from the side of man – a beautiful type and shadow. Ishshah (later named Eve) was formed from Adam’s substance. Both were of human substance, yet formed differently. She was the finishing touch and completion of God’s creation of mankind.

Footnotes

[1] CREATED is bara in Hebrew, something from nothing

[2] HELP: Strong’s # 5828 (Hebrew = ezer) aid: — help; Strong’s Root = # 5826 (Hebrew = azar) prime root:” to surround, ie, protect or aid: help, succour ” The primary idea lies in girding, surrounding, hence defending;

[3] MEET: (Hebrew = kenegdo) means “corresponding to, counterpart to, equal to or matching”

[4] The word woman in Hebrew is the feminine form of man (ish = man, ishshah = woman), and Adam called her woman recognizing in her the female version of himself–a human being–his perfect counterpart. He is not naming her as he did the animals.  The name “Eve” – mother of all living – is not given until Genesis 3:20 which is after the fall.

 

Advertisements

Tell us your thoughts!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: