Monday, May 04, 2009

Misunderstood Eve

Genesis 1:27 – 28

Misunderstood women #1 Eve


It doesn’t take much to see the fabric of American society has been unraveling over the last 40 years.  One of the problems is that we are creating extremes, extremes that are loud and angry.


These extremes are moving our country away from a form of internal law to one that is imposed externally in such a way that it helps create the problems it seeks to solve.  For instance, zero tolerance policies got a bunch of young grade school boys suspended for pointing their fingers at one another in a game… the school considered it a violation of their gun policy.


The abuse of women has apparently skyrocketed as men become more and more angry at their new politically correct roll of being irrelevant.  Expected silence has become a festering wound in our society.  Men have become distant from their women and children and many of reverted back into childhood selfishness that cuts women and children out of their lives.


The militant “equal rights” movement has created a growing sense of separation between men and women.  It pushes for men and women to be on parallel tracks rather than experience biblical unity.


One result of social engineering has been the breakdown of marriage.  It is said the divorce rate is “50%.”  That is correct but misleading.  For instance, according to data from the CDC (now tracks divorce rates), in the 1990 – 2000 period only about 31% of marriages that failed were first time marriages.  A kick in the teeth to the new social order and radical agenda is the eye-opening reality that 94% of failed marriages in that time frame came from those who had had more than one partner or co-habited before marriage.


On the other side of the coin, a new study suggest when both the man and woman have a living faith in Jesus Christ… the divorce rate is less than 2%.


Another result is the breakdown of the concept of family.  Children are the victims when they lack healthy male and female roles.  Grandparents find themselves being the new parent.


We are seeing an astounding breakdown in gender identification and rolls.  The result is the aggressive recruiting of children into non-biblical life styles.  My assumption is that non-biblical lifestyles are also unhealthy ones.  One activist group claims the life expectancy of someone in their demographics is only 41 years old… which is at least 30 years short of the average American life expectancy.


Women are suffering as they are forces to aggressively prove their worth.  The bottom line is that women are being robbed of their God given status and rights.  To understand this, let’s look at one misunderstood woman from the Bible: Eve.


Fact #1: God created humans male and female by design, for a purpose, “in His own image.” [Genesis 1:27]


The unity of the two parts was designed to reflect God’s image.  In this case the sum is greater than the parts.  While both parts reflect God, unified, they fulfill the design of God’s image.


Another thing that we can see from Genesis 1:28 is there is no intended hierarchy or distinction of authority in the creation order between man and woman.  Dominion, the authority to rule over creation was given to both.


This tells us social limitations and hierarchies are artificial human constructs not designed or imposed by God.  The sad fact is that because of sin God’s intended design has been perverted to subject women various forms of abuse.


The image of God on the other hand means that humans (male and female) have the capacity to love unconditionally as God does.  The image of God reflected in Adam and Eve also means they had the ability to surrender everything for the sake of the other.


Fact #2:  God observed that one thing in all creation was not good… a lonely male. [Genesis 2:18 – 23]


Let’s put this in perspective.  Adam had a perfect unspoiled world.  Adam had work from as intellectual as naming the animals to as physical as tending the Garden.  Adam had a perfect relationship with God.  In all this goodness and perfection, something was “wrong.”


This is God’s design.  A man alone is not good.  Notice this need is not due to the result of “the Fall” it is built into humanity by God’s creation design.  Even God did not and could not fill that void by His own design!  Companionship that fills the void and completes Adam is found only in Eve.  It should be noted that this works for the woman as well.


A college girl was being interviewed one day.  She observed the “women’s lib” movement had given women everything they wanted but had deprived them of the one thing they needed.


Adam needed a “suitable helper.”  The word translated “suitable” means corresponding or reciprocal.  Notice that the Bible does not say that Adam needed a lover, a worker, a mother for children.  A helper is someone who is beside in all circumstances. 


Think about it this way.  If Adam needed to travel a long distance, he could jump on a horse, donkey, or elephant for transportation.  If Adam needed to pull something, he could find a big strong ox to do the work.  If Adam needed milk, there were goats and cows.  If Adam wanted to find something, a dog could track it down.


Eve’s “help” is not along those lines.  Instead, she is a “helper” spiritually, intellectually, emotionally, and physically.


Fact #3: Eve was part of “the Fall.” [Genesis 3:6]


You many disagree with this but Eve was tempted, actually tricked, by Satan.  However, Adam was responsible.  Notice the text says “who was with her.”  Literally from Hebrew it means who was “physically present.”  In other words, while the devil was tempting Eve, Adam is a spectator.  He is being tempted too… Eve does not have to repeat the devil’s temptations or seduce Adam into eating the fruit because Satan had already done that in his conversation with Eve. 


Also, it is important to note that nothing happened until AFTER Adam ate.  Genesis 3:7 starts with, “Then…”  The first three chapters of Genesis are very time and order specific.  In other words, the responsibility for sin and death entering this world is on Adam.


“Eve was deceived by the serpent's cunning.” [from 2 Corinthians 11:3]  “For as in Adam all die.” [1 Corinthians 15:22a]  “Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned-- … [14] Nevertheless, death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses…” [Romans 5:12, 14a]


Fact #3: The battle (and confusion) is part of “the Curse.” [Genesis 3:16]


God’s design was for man and woman to share intimacy through oneness; using similarities and differences in a complementary role. 


The struggle between male and female is a symptom and result of sin.  Another way to translate the effects of sin on the woman is, “you will desire to control your husband.” [NLT].  One paraphrase bluntly conveys the idea of how the man acts in sin, “but he’ll lord it over you.”  Anyone who thinks we can education or legislate our way out of this is missing the point: sin divides people.


This tension divides us, creates fear, and is the basis of anger.  It creates the possibilities of extremes that violate God’s design and rob men and woman of the necessary intimacy that prevents loneliness.


Once things get messed up how are we to restore balance?  Adam shows us an example.


Fact #4: Someone must speak a word of redemption. [Genesis 3:20]


Rather than continue the “blame” or vent anger Adam realizes something different must happen.  He begins by naming his wife “Eve.”  Eve means “living.”  Instead of pushing the result of what just happened, Adam blesses her.


We know how we got here, we have an idea how to not repeat our mistakes, but we must understand how redemption works the effect of sin backwards.  What do we need for this to happen?


Redemption can be found in only one place… through Jesus Christ.  Jesus established a blood covenant with us that can free us from living under the tyranny of sin.  This means we can reclaim the Biblical ideal of one man and one woman living in the intimacy of oneness. 


Reclaiming this Biblical ideal, we will set aside shame, separation, blame, violence, aggression, fear, and anger. 


This is what we are going to have to do:  First, we must take responsibility for sin.  That means we need to acknowledge we are products of our culture and our culture leads us the wrong direction.  We are going to have to acknowledge our own actions, attitudes, and contribution to sin.  Second, we must let God cover our sin… like He did in the Garden of Eden for Adam and Eve… like He does for us through the blood of Jesus.  We must believe that Jesus, and Jesus alone, has redeemed and reconciled us to God and to each other.  Then we must choose to deliberately live according to that redemption.  As redeemed creatures we stand restored to some extent in the image of God.  As restored men and women we are not animals and can chose to live according to God’s design.



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