Tag Archives: male and female

Servant

Studies in Genesis 2

I will make him a helper fit for him.” … But for Adam there was not found a helper fit for him. (Genesis 2:18, 20 ESV)

There is an implication in the word “help” or “helper” often ignored but for which we must give an account. Man, both male and female, when created by God were given the task of dominion over the earth and all its creatures.  Neither the earth nor the creatures belonged to Man. All belonged to God. It was Man’s task to take care for the earth and its creatures for God. Now, God is fully capable of taking care of everything Himself. He does not need Man to do anything for Him. Yet, God created Man for the express purpose to grow in knowledge of Him. Man grows to know God by serving Him in the fullest capacity of the image of God given Man by doing that for which he was designed.

By taking care of the earth, having “dominion” over it, Man learns about his Creator. Man was not created to demand the earth and its creatures serve him. Man is not designed as a malevolent dictator. That is not what “dominion” means. Some have suggested “dominion” means to rule by treading upon. It is true the word for “dominion” means to tread upon or tread down, as in to dominate. These are all legitimate uses of the word in Scripture. Yet, in Genesis 1, in the context of the creation story, Man, given the image of God, acts and works toward blessing creation, especially all the creatures. To “bless” means to kneel before, as a father kneels before his child, to give a gift even when the child does not know the value of the gift.

Man was created to serve God by serving the earth and all its creatures. No where do we see Man created to be subjugated by other people. Nor do we see the earth and its creatures existing solely to serve Man. The earth and its creatures do serve Man just as Man serves God, but not by force or under compulsion. It is the inherent characteristic of Man, all men, to serve God, and to serve each other. Man was created to serve and to grow in the intimate andc complete knowledge of God.

Our ultimate example must be Christ, not Adam, the first man. When Jesus Christ came He had the morphe of both God and a Servant coming in the likeness of a man.

Though he was in the form (morphe) of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form (morphe) of a servant, being born in the likeness (homoiōma) of men. And being found in human form (schēma), he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. (Philippians 2:6-9 ESV)

Jesus had those essential characteristics and qualities which make God God and a servant a servant. He is Man as Adam was before the fall, the perfect servant while completely God.

When God creates a helper for the man it is so the man can serve the helper as the helper serves him, and so both can serve God by serving the creation for which they are responsible. To be and do anything less or other than what they were designed to do and be is inconceivable.

Advertisements

Help

Studies in Genesis 2

Then the LORD God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” But for Adam there was not found a helper fit for him. (Gen 2:18, 20 ESV)

It was never God’s intent there be only one person working His creation on earth. He has already told us He created Man male and female. This story is not meant to teach that God instituted a hierarchy in creation with the male of the species Man having more control and authority over the female. He states He created them both in His image and equal in Genesis 1. “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them” (Genesis 1:27 ESV). We cannot understand Genesis 1-3 without all of Scripture yet Genesis 1-3 could be viewed as foundational to understanding all of Scripture. God’s Word is whole, not fragmented. Jesus and Paul have much to say about the roles of Man, both male and female. I will examine their teaching, especially that of Jesus, at a later time.

God knows intimately what will happen throughout history. He does not make mistakes He has to fix by manipulating the course of history or the details of a person’s life. Those created in His image are intelligent, have a moral—emotional self and self directed will to act. They are a higher creation than the animals. God knows sin is coming to His perfect creation and will corrupt everything it touches. So He tells us, in a way we can understand, that when Man was first created He made male and female equal in His image. This is not a contestable interpretation, though some will try to devalue some of those created in the image of God.

God tells us that the woman, even though created second, is meant to help the man do that which he could not do alone. “Helper” means one who renders assistance vital to the workings of the assigned task. The Authorized Version uses the term “help meet” which means to succor, to run to support with assistance designed to relieve and deliver from want. The first man did not have the ability to do the task all by himself. Man is not designed to do that for which he is designed by alone.

What is woman supposed to help the man with? Man, the male of the species, cannot propagate the species without his counterpart. Man, as a people, cannot fulfill their God directed purpose of filling the earth and subduing it (see Genesis 1:28) if there are only males, and specifically, only one male. There must be a male and a female for there to be children. It is not the first man who will subdue the earth but the children, and the children’s children to the greatest generation that will accomplish and fulfill God’s ultimate design.

The perfect fit and match for the woman is the man and the perfect fit and match for the man is the woman.

The Simplicity of the Obvious

Studies in Genesis 1

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” (Genesis 1:27-28 ESV)

Man is similar yet different than all else God has created. Man is like all other life created on Earth. Yet, Man is not like all other life on Earth.

God uses three words to describe physical humanity. Adam means Man and is used as the proper name for the first man, Adam. A masculine noun, adam means ruddy, which means red and implies a creature which is mostly hairless, having exposed skin. Adam means human and is used 393 times in the Hebrew Scripture. In Genesis, Adam, the first human, is the representative of all humans.

God then delineates between male and female. Zakkar is the male of the species (either human or animal), a masculine noun, and neqebah is the female of the species (either human or animal), a feminine noun. So, Man is the human race, both male and female. Male is used 82 times throughout the Hebrew Scripture. Female is used 18 times in the Hebrew Scripture, one time in Jeremiah 31:22 and the rest in the Pentateuch. Many other nouns are used to describe people’s gender. In Genesis chapter one these are the only nouns used.

God identifies animals according to their species and makes each species a male and a female so they can “be fruitful and multiply” and fill the earth. This is the blessing of God for the animals of the earth. Every animal from the sea creatures and birds of the air to Man are blessed with the ability to procreate. Actually, every living thing is given the blessing of procreation. In the physical universe, on the physical planet called Earth, every living thing can reproduce. On Earth, and by extension throughout creation, procreation demands the species be male and female.

God is neither male nor female. In the Genesis story God never identifies as either male or female. He is God. Even though the grammar and syntax of the Hebrew language classifies Elohem as a masculine noun He is not male. God identifies Man with Himself, not He with Man.

God separates out Man from all of the rest of creation. Man is the same stuff as all the animals, with similar physical characteristics. But Man is different in his given authority over all other created things on the Earth because of the image of God.

Blessed

Studies in Genesis 1

Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” (Genesis 1:26-28 ESV)

God blessed those He created in His image. This is the second of three times the word “blessed” is used in the Creation story. God blessed the sea creatures and the birds of the air in Genesis 1:22, telling them to be fruitful and multiply. God blessed the seventh day “and made it holy because on it God rested from all the work He had done in creation” in Genesis 2:3.

God blesses Man, who is created in His image. Man is male and female.

To bless means to kneel before, but not as one subservient to another. There are two images which may help us understand the use of the word. First, think of a father kneeling before a child to give the child a gift. Secondly, imagine one serving another by kneeling before them to deliver a service. In both instances, the one kneeling is not subservient but greater. With the father and child analogy, the father is greater than the child and is giving a gift the child needs but may not understand. In the second illustration the servant, or better, the one serving, is offering an act of mercy and compassion. In both instances the idea of blessing by kneeling strongly implies the greatest love of one for the other.

Part of the image of God is the desire to serve God and people and in doing so love them. Jesus tells us the greatest commandment is twofold.

“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 22:36-40 ESV)

God declares His eternal love for people when He kneels before them as a Father giving the greatest gift needed through the greatest act of service imaginable. He gave His image. Then, He gave His Son.