The Creation of the Man and Woman-pt.3.

We have seen that God created the heavens and the earth in six literal, 24-hour days. This is not a difficult thing for God. The culmination of His handiwork is the man and the woman. They are God’s images placed on earth to bring Him glory and, I believe, pleasure. He must have rejoiced in His heart over the creation of the man and woman. They are His crown of creation. They are His most complex creatures. They would bear His glorious and beautiful image on this planet.

This issue of image-bearing is a critical one if a person is to understand God’s desire and design for mankind. From a proper understanding of this reality, we can bring answers to questions like, “Why are we here?”, “Is there an ultimate right and wrong?”, “What about the grey areas?” and others. For the Christian, and in fact, everyman, but especially the Christian, bringing God glory is still the mandate of God. It does not appear that God has ever removed that expectation from mankind. In fact, it is the tragic reality of falling short of His glory that will bring God’s just condemnation of mankind upon themselves (Romans 3:23). To fail to give and bring God glory is the essence of sin and is the essence of depravity. Therefore, whatever we do as Christians and whatever direction life takes us, it is all meant for the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31; cf. Colossians 3:17; 1 Peter 4:11).

But what does it mean to give God glory? This critical reality is given in Genesis 1:26-27: “Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.’ God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” So, in this passage we understand that there are two aspects to this creation: 1) the man and woman were created ‘in [God’s] image, according to [God’s] likeness”, and 2) the man and the woman were to ‘rule’ over God’s creation.

The first thing to realize in this passage is that this is a conversation between the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Not doubt initiated by the Father, the statement to “let Us” indicates that the original intention of man was not shared with man himself. He was simply created in this fashion. It is the Father, Son and Holy Spirit who determined what man would be created for and then proceed to fulfill that purpose. Moses was given this conversation as part of revelation. And, we have it in order to comprehend what God’s purpose is in creating the man and woman (as well as to demonstrate how far we have fallen-Romans 3:19-20; Galatians 3:19). This initial act in the creation of man gives us insight into the mind of God and the relationship of the Father and the Son. To consider that ‘moment’ (although there are no ‘moments’ in eternity) when the words were uttered from the Father is breathtaking. There is no way to know if there was silence before this or other conversations between the Father and Son and Spirit in eternity past. The angels did not exist eternally. They were created as well. Yet, whatever the conditions before, now, at the moment that God uttered these words, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit acted in unison.

If you consider that fact, it becomes astounding. All the other aspects of creation were done as a command, “Let there be light…” (Genesis 1:3), for example. However, here we hear not ‘let there be’ but ‘let Us’. And the endeavor that they took up was the creation of the man and woman. The motive of the likeness and image of God is vast and difficult to grasp. But, we have enough to give us some clarity concerning this issue. First, whatever it was, to bear the likeness and image of God was a good thing as God declared all that He created (which includes the purposes for which He created them) as very good (v.31). This will help us understand some tricky issues a little later. Second, this image-bearing must include the total person, and not simply the mind or soul. God said, ‘Let Us make man’ and the result was a real, live physical man with a heartbeat and skin. Thus, to bear the image of God included the man’s body as well as his immaterial part, his soul. Third, both the man and the woman somehow bear the image and likeness of God together. Verse 27 says deliberately that “God created man, in His own image He created him, male and female He created them.” From this verse, it is clear that the man (male, not mankind) primarily bears this resemblance to God. That is, the man is created after God’s own image and was distinctively created to represent God on this planet. This verse is not saying that the woman also bears this level of resemblance to God, but only the man. This would be difficult to comprehend without some NT instruction.

Paul, no doubt, refers to this very issue in 1 Corinthians 11:7-9. The issue here is the fact of head coverings and symbols of authority in the church at Corinth. Corinth was a debauched and wretched city full of every imaginable sexual perversion and immorality. Thus, in a context like that, it is conceivable that the understanding of the intent of men and women would be skewed. Paul gives the definitive word in the church based upon Genesis 1:26-27. For Paul, the issue was authority. Who had authority over whom? Women were attempting to take over the meeting of the church as evidenced by this whole discussion as well as the issue of prophesying (v.5). There was obviously an issue of authority going on and Paul does not try to step around the issue. He appeals to creation, as he does in a number of other texts (i.e. Ephesians 5:31; 1 Timothy 2:9-15 etc.), to give the final, authoritative word on the matter. The result of his teaching is that the man, not mankind in general, is made in the image and glory of God (v.7). Paul is here saying that the man has the responsibility of exercising this resemblance to God in every way that he should, but primarily it comes down to an exercise of authority or rulership. No one would deny that God is good, kind, and loving. And that is exactly the components of authority that a man should have. But God is also righteous, just and, when necessary, punishes. These are also components of authority that the man has as well. Paul is saying that the responsibility for these actions, based upon Genesis 1:26-27, fall upon the man, and not the woman. To reverse this is to rebel against God’s original creation, which is still in-tact, even in Christ (Romans 8:29; Ephesians 4:22-24; Colossians 3:10).

The second clause of v.7 is very important, however, in understanding the role and responsibilities of the woman. The man is the glory of God, yet the woman is the glory of the man. That is, God created the man directly from the dust of the earth. He was a direct creation and the very first ‘human being’. However, Eve was made through the man, from his side. She was bone of his bone and flesh of his flesh. Thus, in God’s order, this demonstrated a lesser authority than the man. This sequence of creation indicated that the woman exists for a man to glorify. That is, she is for the man (Genesis 2:18; 1 Corinthians 11:9). She is not a possession, nor an object to be exploited. Nor is she to be ruling over the man as that reverses the whole condition. Rather, as God loves, so also should a man love his wife (Ephesians 5:22-33). In this way, men are to imitate God (Ephesians 5:1) and women are to recognize the created authority that the man has and be submissive to that authority as to the Lord (Ephesians 5:22; Colossians 3:18; 1 Peter 3:1-6). So, does a woman bear the image and glory of God? Yes. James 3:9 indicates that every person is made in the image of God, and not just the man alone. However, this image and glory resemblance has different degrees. It seems that a man bears the image and glory of God directly as he carries out obedience to God’s Word and exercises His authority in the family, the church and society. However, the woman also bears God’s image as she exhibits submission to her husband, bears children and keeps her home so that in that home her husband and the children are cared for (Titus 2:4-5). This is a different degree of authority as she manages her home, raises her children (1 Timothy 5:10), and provides for others as she can (Proverbs 31:19-20).

 This can all be summed up in this: man is created to put God on display. Woman is created to put her husband on display, as he puts God on display.

 When God created Adam and Eve, they were perfect. Adam would bear the direct image of God. Eve would bear the image of her husband, and that is how they would also train their children as well. Next time, we will develop further this issue of authority as the second component in v.26 when God speaks within Himself and says that the man is to “rule”.