Here Comes the Woman – Father’s Day-2

When Jehovah creates a woman, it is no afterthought but a very deliberate step toward an important milestone in creation, just as important as when the man is created.  Each event has elements critical to the person who comes into existence.

With the man, as was discussed in the last post, as “the Image of God” he would be God’s representative with considerable authority over the physical creation, but also with significant accountability.  When the attention turns to the woman, she would not be a replacement nor a by-stander but rather a continuation of and partner in this “Image” with a meaningful role of her own to play.

The opening scene is Jehovah declaring a key characteristic about His new creature, man.  Adam – or humanity, since that is what the name also means – would be a social creature: “It is not good that the man should be alone” [Genesis 2:18].  Indeed, man will not be so sufficient within himself in that he would need no one else – only the Lord is that self-sufficient.

However, remarkably God is also declaring that He chooses to not be the sole sufficiency for the human either!  Neither the monastic nor the secular hermit is to be part of the design.  True, Jesus does tell us that some have been given the gift of celibacy [Matthew 19:10-12; see I Corinthians 7], and He even instructs His disciples to take some time out by themselves for a while [Matthew 6:31], but never in the context of removing anyone from the companionship of fellow human beings.

Neither is it Jehovah’s plan  to compete with His next creation in regard to oneness with the man – He intends a “both-and” unity rather than an “either-or” conflict.   However, because of sin, there are now times when “either-or” dilemmas do happen, when over-focus and inverted priorities cause Jesus to use extreme language: “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple” [Luke 14:26] – but the context are such times, as in Deuteronomy 13:6, where brother, son, daughter, wife or friend tries to seduce a person away from following the Lord.

The Genesis account continues to the creation of the woman:

Jehovah 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 Jehovah God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man. [Genesis 2:21-22]

In a culture whose common practice for an extraordinarily close relationship between two persons is Blood Covenant, the idea of cutting and bleeding would be familiar territory.  And Blood Covenant has already echoed throughout the man’s creation: his origin is immersed with the concept of Blood (the Hebrew words for “man” and “dust” are derived from “Blood”), where he is made in the Blood-likeness (“Soul-Lifeness”) of God [Genesis 2:7; 1:26], along with bearing the “breath” of Jehovah [Genesis 2:7].  Already he has an intimate connection with another Person (not with a human being, but rather with God Himself), yet surprisingly the Lord declares that this will not be sufficient.

Of course, in a normal Covenant, a cut is made on the hand or the arm, which are often the symbols of strength, resource, defense, competence, and more; and then as the Bloods are mingled and become one, so also the “Soul” or “Life” between the participants also becomes one.  No bone would ever be removed in a normal Covenant, but Jehovah has a greater task – and a greater message – in mind, as the very unique place of this “cut” would declare:

Woman was not taken from man’s feet that she should be his inferior,
Nor from his head that she should be his superior,
But from his side, that she should be his equal,
This drug has been composed with Sildenafil citrate maintain the same effective power. It is not clear whether some of these include “practice makes perfect”. In this contemporary world, ED patients prefer to buy kamagra Fizz for the reason that it works faster than other medicines presented for sale for the supervision of erectile dysfunction syndrome. It is advised to consume green and leafy vegetables, fruits, low fat dairy products, eggs, whole grains etc. From under his arm, that she should be under his protection,
And from his rib, that she should be close to his heart.
[drawn from various sources, one of which is, Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible, notes on Genesis 3:21–25]

“Close to his heart” – Adam’s strength is not in his arm as much as in his love, in his heart – the fountain of “Life.” As “the Image of God,” this reflects the very same center from which Jehovah operates, His “steadfast Love,” as St Paul identifies [Romans 5:8] and St John indicates in his Gospel [3:16; 13:34] and his letters [I,3:16; I,4:17-18].

When Covenant is broken, like an animal torn in half, all that is left are two dead pieces.  But in this extension of Covenant, it is not death but expanded Life – it is Covenant in reverse: rather than two persons joined into one, here, from one there are now two living persons, who share the same Blood, that is, the same “Soul,” the same “Life,” and more.  In these two persons, the genetic structure is identical (except that the “Y” chromosome has been changed to the woman’s second “X”); the spiritual structure is the same; and their creation identity, “the Image of God,” is common between them.  There is now a concrete oneness which Adam had been missing all along, as reflected in his words:

This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman [from the Anglo-Saxon ‘Womb-Man,’ accurately reflecting the Hebrew], because she was taken out of Man.  [Genesis 2:23]

In the “marriage verse” that follows, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and shall cleave to his wife, and they shall become one flesh” [v 24], now Covenant takes the two, the bride and the groom, and while making secondary all other earthly relationships, it does not impose a oneness on them, but rather recaptures the unity that still remains even after Jehovah first divides the woman from the man.  Strong’s Hebrew Lexicon says that the word “flesh” here can also mean “body” and by extension “person,” so that the passage would read “they shall become one person”; also

But basar can be extended to mean ‘body’ even without any reference to bones.  (Num 8:7; II Kgs 4:34; Eccl 2:3, etc.) As such it refers simply to the external form of a person. This is seen as one of the components of the human being, …  they saw the human reality as permeating all the components with the totality being the person.  [Laird Harris, et al., ed, Theological Workbook of the Old Testament  (Chicago: Moody Press, 1980), Vol I, 291]

“Born” from Adam’s side is not merely a nice symbolic ideal, which, although romantic, really has no concrete meaning.  It is no coincidence that as Jesus (“the second Adam” [I Corinthians 15:22,45]) “sleeps” the sleep of death on the cross, John emphasizes how also from His side comes “the Blood and the Water” [John 19:34; I John 5:6,8] in which by the water of Baptism, the Church is created, and by the Blood of Holy Communion, she is sustained in one “Life,” one “Soul.”

In Paul’s famous (and to some, infamous) section on marriage in Ephesians, He quotes the marriage verse and then adds, “This mystery is a profound one, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the Church” [Ephesians 5:32].  The result is that what some consider as archaic about human marriage, is declared to be a prophecy of a basic relationship which will be between Jesus and His Bride (the Church) forever.  Here again humans (the bride and the groom) will be “the Image of God” as they reflect how Jehovah will join Himself to humanity in Jesus.

This provides a consummate remedy for that aloneness which the Lord, at the start, declares is not good.  Mankind is placed into vertical and horizontal Covenants, into vertical and horizontal relationships.  As such, this male and female joint “Image of God” is to stand before creation as a unified glimpse of the One Who created and rules this universe.

Sadly, because of sin, this picture has become terribly misshapen.  The oneness with God and with each other is broken in so many ways, even more so in our contemporary culture that treats such unity as interfering in our self-gratification.  Yet any other solution merely brings about a certain hollowness to life, and what eludes us is the real satisfaction of understanding our place in creation and of discovering how crucial we are in God’s partnership as He directs the affairs of the universe.  We fail to appreciate, much less know, the extreme honor He has placed on us, and without that, then most of what we do on earth is ultimately meaningless.

We are called to repent of our turning away from Jehovah’s design, and through His forgiveness to discover the vision that He has always had about our significance in this and in the coming world.  His desire in sending Jesus to the Cross on our behalf is to move us closer to being what He declared us to be from the very creation of mankind.  With the presence of the Holy Spirit given to us according to His promises, we can delve into the oneness that He seeks with us, and to practice the oneness that He gives between us and our spouses.  Here awaits us the adventure, not always easy, of being “the Image of God” in a Covenant of the oneness of “Soul” and of “Life” between husband and wife.

Leave a Reply