Male and Female – In His Image
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On that first morning, sweeter than a tree-ripened peach, more beautiful than a flowering valley, God felt a void. There amidst the verdure, the teeming animal life, the crystal, rushing water, something was missing. That something was us.

Image © Justinen Creative from GoodSalt.com

“And God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them,” Genesis 1:27.

God wanted more than beauty and perfection, more than artistic satisfaction. He longed for face time with beings He could understand—beings who could understand Him.

He craved us before He made us.

Allow this single fact to sink down into your soul: You were meant to be. Let this truth refute any doubts of your value. Step back from the pressures of family, society and church—pressures that sometimes reduce our value to our appearance, our performance, or our achievements—and let God whisper to you the message of Eden. “I made you in my image. I needed someone like me. You are the outflowing of a beautiful plan, put in place from the beginning of time. I have great dreams for you, but even before you fulfill them, I value you just for being a human, made in my image.”

With that awareness in place, let’s walk through the crowning act of the Genesis story and witness God’s artistry.

“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,” Genesis 2:7.

God bent down to the loose dirt and sculpted a man—that word “formed” is yatsar and refers to squeezing something into shape like a potter. Noble head, broad chest, powerful arms, washboard abs, firm, strong legs and feet, all squared off and angled in that man-way. Then performing something like our CPR, God breathed into the man and his inanimate form hummed into life.

It’s okay to admit he was gorgeous. A hunk.

“The Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden, and there He put the man whom He had formed. And out of the ground the Lord God made every tree grow that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Now a river went out of Eden to water the garden, and from there it parted and became four riverheads,” Genesis 2:8-10.

The Bible says God made a garden for Adam, placing him in the midst. The ground pumped out fruit-laden trees, watered by a coursing river branching out into four heads, forming new rivers which swirled by lands enriched with clusters of gold and precious stones. “Dress and keep this garden,” God instructed His new man-child, who must have thrilled with pleasure at the prospect. All was beauty and delight. The cosmic King and his regent prince of earth, walked, talked, and laughed together those first hours in Eden.

And still, something was missing. That something was again, us. But this time I mean us women.

Pause again, please. Of men and women, women are overall more likely to doubt their value. Why? Perhaps it’s the delicacy of our emotions. Then again, perhaps it’s that men tend to acquire more compliments. Regardless, we must realize that God could have stopped the creation process with Adam. After all, Adam was amazing! But He wasn’t amazing enough. To fulfill His plan, to reveal His love, God needed more. He needed the second half of the human race, woman.

“It is not good that man should be alone,” God said, “I will make him a helper comparable to him,” Genesis 2:18.

Designed with unalterable bonding features, we suffer in isolation. And we thrive when in relationship. In particular, married men have better health, fewer addictions, and longer lives. God knew Eve would raise the quality of Adam’s life by leaps and bounds.

What does “helper” mean? The Hebrew word, ezer, evokes images of someone surrounding and protecting another. Ezer lies about as far linguistically from “doormat” as one can get. An ezer is really a kind of hero. God planned to make Adam a heroine-counterpart.

They’d be quite the power couple.

“And the LORD 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 the LORD God had taken from man He made into a woman,” Genesis 2:21 and 22.

He took a rib; He made a woman. The rib provided the raw materials, and God’s own hand powered and guided the process of “making” the woman. The verb itself, banah, contrasts with Adam’s yatsar. Did you get that? The Bible uses a different verb to describe the creation of Adam and of Eve! Banah alludes to building, as in a house. The word “architecture” applies. God sculpted Adam, but architected Eve. Different formation processes mean different outcomes. God made us differently and we turned out differently. How about that?

The reason for this difference emerges when we sink our hearts into the fact that we were made, male and female, in God’s image, or tselem. Tselem means “represent.” Here’s a paraphrase of Genesis 1:27: “God created people to represent Him; to represent Him God created people; male and female were made.”

Let’s break this down into a simple equation: Male + female = A representation of God. Our differences blend to form a picture of God.

If two things together create a representation, subtracting one results in a misrepresentation. Think of the color purple, comprised of blue and red. Say you’d just been healed of blindness, and for the first time in your life you’d see purple. If I showed you blue, would that be sufficient to represent purple? No. How about red? No. Neither red nor blue would give you an adequate idea of the character of purple.

In the same way, neither male nor female alone give an adequate idea of the character of God. The electricity, the synergy, the mystical (and sometimes mystifying!) blending of the genders in marriage and in the church reveals God’s character of love.

Richard Davidson points out that in the original language, the creation of man at the beginning of the passage, and the creation of woman at the end, have the same number of words. Through this, he says, “The narrator underscores their equal importance.”[i]

Woman and man. Equal importance. I like the sound of that, how about you? Do most women want to be more important than men? I don’t. But less important? I don’t want that either.

Sinless and unselfish, Adam and Eve needed no hierarchy. Their relationship was one of utter horizontality. Author Ellen White comments: “She was not to control him as the head, nor to be trampled under his feet as an inferior, but to stand by his side as an equal, to be loved and protected by him.”[ii] Peter Lombard echoes: “Eve was not taken from the feet of Adam to be his slave, nor from his head to be his ruler, but from his side to be his beloved partner.”[iii]

True, Adam served as head of the human race, even in that unfallen state. Being the firstborn of all creation, he stood as humanity’s representative. Yet his headship didn’t equate to being the “boss” of Eve. Because they had no taint of selfishness, Adam and Eve moved together like a well-choreographed dance. No missteps, no tension. Just fluid, flawless love.

“. . .and He brought her to the man,” Genesis 2:22.

But even as equals, individuality needed protection. The Bible clearly says that God “brought” the woman to Adam. In this simple statement we see a fact implied: Eve connected to God before connecting to Adam. She enjoyed her vertical relationship before attempting a horizontal relationship. This speaks loudly to our need to put God first. Women so often get lost in their relationships, especially their marriages. We so often sacrifice that which should never be sacrificed—our integrity and God-given selfhood—to hang onto a relationship. Yet individuality and intimacy form a tension that must be balanced, lest both be lost. When we lose individuality, we lose intimacy, because a healthy bond requires two mature individuals. The secret of preserving individuality lies in staying connected to God, the Creator of our individuality. God knew this, so He set aside face time with Eve. And He wants that same face time with you, for He claims the first and best of your affections.

Imagine her. Beautiful beyond words, shapely, blushed, and bathed in light, shining hair framing a feminine face, Eve turns her newly created eyes to her Maker and adores Him. Then after untold hours, He whispers, “There’s someone I want you to meet . . .”

So for the first time, the two halves of a whole join together. Breath catching in their throats, hearts fluttering, they inspect each other’s different-but-similar bodies. Eyes, nose, mouth, arms, legs . . . but what’s this? You’re soft here and I’m firm. You’re round where I’m straight. Awe and comfort mingle. They fit each other in more ways than they know.

And God rejoices. His plan bursts to life, like springtime.


[i] Women in Ministry, p. 261

[ii] Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 46

[iii] See Jewett, Paul. Man as Male and female. (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1975), p. 120.

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Male and Female – In His Image — 79 Comments

  1. I loved the part that God and Eve had a relationship before He brought her to Adam! so much heartache would be spared if we women understood that. Having being divorced I realized I put all my hopes into that one person when my main relationship should've been with God.

    Like(9)
    • LJ, Invariably when I present this material, women jump on that point like a piece of chocolate cake. Women have a tendency to lose their individuality to their men. Scripture and EGW teach vigorously against this.

      Like(4)
      • It goes the same for men doesn't it, God first, wife second? (Luke 14:26) In both cases, as in the church, true unity is only possible by those who first are in perfect unity with God their Creator and Redeemer.

        I would venture to conclude that every division begins by first ceasing to be in harmony with God.

        Like(4)
    • A beautiful complementary pair was what God created from the clay that He molded and the form He 'architectured' from the rib He took from adam. Yes Jennifer, you've shared all of my thoughts on this segment of the creation story. And very true for adam also: he saw the face of his creator first before seeing the face of that beautiful embodiment of everything wholesome and complete for that perfect relationship God had in mind for adam and Eve

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  2. Thank you Jennifer for the beautiful article. I stand in awe knowing what is been revealed to us of His true nature is just a glimpse of His love for us. As we continue in our relationship with Him, He will manifest enough of His love that will eclipse any doubts or negatives of Him. Thank you for sharing and God bless you with more inspirational thoughts.

    Like(1)
  3. Jennifer, I see most of the replys to your post are from women. However, as a man, married for more that 30 years, I like the way you described how male & female make up God, like the color purple. Your description gives me an even better appreciation of the role of women in life. Thanks, Bro. Hamp.

    Like(5)
  4. Jen, I have not read an article or anything else in my life time to represent my Father, my God as you describe Him. I prayed so hard to God to give me one of His son. Yes, I know we all are His son's and daughter's, however, I made it known to Him that one of His son's that truly knows Him and had a relationship with Him. This article made me cry for better times in my life. God have touched you Jen an a special way to talk to me as a bride to be. I will never let any man come between me and my God. Also, I will cherish my husband to be but my Father will always be first. Thank you for such powerful insight of whom I belong to first and for most. All I can say is WOW~~~~ Your truly a woman of God.

    Like(2)
  5. What struck me was not only Eve's knowing God before Adam, but the statement "vertical before horizontal". If more of us established a relationship of friendship instead lust, a lot of problems would be avoided.

    Thank you, Jen for a very meaningful article.

    Like(1)
  6. Josephine Napoleon and others I praise God my article was able to scratch where you really itch. It came from the Holy Spirit's working on my heart, pressing me to answer questions about womankind and why we struggle the way we do. I'm trying to get all this in a book, so if you could contact Pacific Press and tell them you want to see it in a sharing book, that may help. Thanks again and let's keep digging in God's word.

    Like(4)
  7. From reading these statements, I have become quite scared of the beliefs and conclusions many of you are drawing from little passages you read in the bible.. I was born and raised and christian however no longer practicing, and for me its clear that women are no equal to man. It's like getting a cat to do a dogs job. Take a step back and look from a logical sense.. God creates man in his own image.. does he not? then he creates a woman to be the mans "help".. Let's say you have a business... you're dying.., you want to choose someone who is most like you but since they're new to the big business world you hire them a partner.. You choose someone who can help, advance them, bring out the best in them.. But not someone who has equal rights as them.. Because that would cause disruption and utter chaos and therefore the downtide of your business.. Logical no?

    Eve was told of the sorrow and pain that must henceforth be her portion. And the Lord said, "Thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee." In the Creation God had made her the equal of Adam. Had they remained obedient to God— in harmony with His great law of love —they would ever have been in harmony with each other; but sin had brought discord, and now their union could be maintained and harmony preserved only by submission on the part of the one or the other. Eve had been the first in transgression; and she had fallen into temptation by separating from her companion, contrary to the divine direction. It was by her solicitation that Adam sinned, and she was now placed in subjection to her husband. Had the principles joined in the law of God been cherished by the fallen race, this sentence, though growing out of the results of sin, would have proved a blessing to them; but man's abuse of the supremacy thus given him has too often rendered the lot of woman very bitter and made her life a burden. ( Patriarchs and Prophets , pp. 58, 59,)

    I dunno the "he shall rule over thee" seemed pretty clear cut to me.

    Like(3)
    • Rule over, yes, subjugate as so many men do, a resounding no.
      Any man worth his salt that claims to love God and His Christ, would not do that.
      Even today, a woman is necessary to a man to give him stability in a dangerous world. To give him a safe harbor if you will. Somewhere he can feel safe and loved.
      I was married over 40 years before losing my wife, and she worked along side of me raising our family, loving and caring for us all.
      I can safely say that if I had not had the good fortune to find her, I doubt I would have lived as long as I have.
      Her influence and sound advice helped me through many situations that could well have destroyed me.
      The original design set up by God is the best.
      I lost her a little over a year ago, and she still influences my thinking and doing.
      God bless woman, the other half of man.

      Like(11)
      • Gerry, thank you for your comment. I'm so sorry you recently lost your wife. It must still be difficult ...

        I'm wondering about your "Rule over, yes" part of the comment. "Ruling over" someone implies making all the important decisions for that person. Did you really do that with your wife? Did you make all the decisions by yourself without her input, as a ruler would do? (By the rest of your comment, I'm guessing you did not.)

        You see, as I understand it, both Jesus and Paul explicitly said that it shall not be so among us. (See Mark 10:42-45; Matt 23:8-12 for instance.) Jesus said we are not even to call ourselves "Teachers," because we are all siblings in His Kingdom. Does this only apply to men vs men? Is it okay for men to be "masters" over women? If so, how do men learn to be like Jesus who was servant of all?

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        • Inge,
          "Rule over" is God's words of prophecy in Genesis 3. It is barely defined by the limitations you resist. "Rule over" is the direct result of sin, the antithesis of God's plan of a side by side bond. "Rule over" includes the gluttonous enslaving his wife, or the drunk battering her, and especially graphically demonstrated in the abusive husband to whom the obedient wife returns time after time, disregarding the counsel of the wise and the bruises on her body in bold display before her children. "Rule over you" is God's prophecy of the outcome of woman in marriage in the new sin culture. Look all over the US, including in many SDA families, churches and institutions and you will find regular displays of "he will rule over you".
          Let us not allow the range of variations to belittle the meaning of the less offensive.

          What has actually produced a misguided belief or theology is that some interpret Genesis 3:16 to be God's direction or plan. God was identifying consequences; and in this case, He identified a compatible causative factor in the woman's behavior that would lead to her being ruled. Foolish woman's pride would sometimes disown the causative behavior; but unless a woman sees how she is responsible she will not be able to prevent the outcome of being ruled, as God predicts. What merit is there in arguing with God's defining a psychological systemic function? As I earlier wrote, look everywhere around you, and you see vivid evidences "ruler" cycles in operation.

          There is only one Way to escape the sin psychological cycle of being ruled: Jesus Christ our Savior. Seriously set free!!

          Like(3)
          • I must make a correction to my previous comment: Richard Davidson, in his book, Flame of Yahweh, says he does *not* find the "descriptive" interpretation of Gen 3:16 "satisfactory." He devotes Chapter 2 of his book to dealing with the Gen 3 account and sees a formal judgment. And I now recall how my husband formally disagreed with Davidson's reasoning regarding a "formal judgment." And I think I do as well, but I have to take more time with his arguments.

            I believe that both Gen 3:16 and Paul's teachings call for wives to submit to their husbands insofar as this submission does not violate their relationship with God, which must be primary. The submission of wives to God first also means, among other things, that they recognize their persons as being the property of God and do not allow themselves to be abused. (I have seen the sad results of such abuse in breaking a woman's spirit and making it nearly impossible for her to relate to God.)

            Considering what else Davidson writes, I believe he would agree that God did not ask men to impose their will on women. Genuine submission cannot be forced but only given. And, as I mentioned earlier, Paul and Peter both ask all of Christ's followers to have a submissive spirit in relationship to each other, "in honour preferring one another." (Ro 12:10)

            [Flame of Yahweh: Sexuality in the Old Testament, by Richard M. Davidson, is a major scholarly study taking up 844 pages, including extensive footnotes, bibliography and Scripture index. You can get it on Amazon.com . (It is not available in paperback.) We got ours on Amazon.ca.]

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        • Hurford, I'm not sure I understand all that you mean in your statement. But I'm 100% with you in seeing Gen 3:16 as a prophecy, not a directive.

          God was speaking to Eve and prophesied what sin would lead to. He was not giving direction to Adam to subjugate his wife.

          In Christ, both husband and wife can learn to come closer to God's ideal by practicing self-sacrificing love towards one another, by the grace of Christ.

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          • Hi Inge, that is so thought provoking, the view point that Gen 3:16 is predictive not directive. This is the first time I have heard that interpretation. Is this a widely held understanding?

            Like(0)
          • I agree with you Inge. Subjugation is something that should never happen, particularly in a Christian marriage. Sadly it happens all too often to the detriment of both partners.

            Like(0)
          • Hi Shirley, I didn't come up with the understanding that Gen 3:16 is not prescriptive but predictive totally on my own. 😉 If I remember correctly Richard Davidson teaches that, among others. [Edit: Please see my corrective statement which ended up in the wrong place.]

            I believe that understanding is in harmony both with the Genesis account and the teachings of Jesus and of Paul:

            Christ taught that His followers are not to rule one over another as the Gentiles do. (Matt 20:25-28; Mark 2:42-44) None are to seek titles such as "Teacher" or "Father," because they are all equal before Him. (Matt 23:9-11) Paul taught the same when he wrote that there are to be no distinctions according to gender among the followers of Christ. (Gal 3:28) Indeed, according to Paul, we are all to have the mind of Jesus who did not hold on to His rightful authority, but gave it up to humble Himself to become incarnate as a man in circumstances of poverty and humbled Himself even further to allow Himself to be crucified and to experience the second death in our behalf. (Phil 2:5-8) Even proud Peter learned the lesson from Christ that we are all to be "subject one to another." (1 Pe 5:5)

            While some like to quote Eph 5:22 where Paul addresses wives and asks them to submit "unto your own husbands," this is preceded by his counsel to all members of the body of Christ to give thanks for all things, "Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God." (Eph 5:21)

            Thus it seems to me that any who seek to rule over any others cannot do so and have the mind of Jesus. The very act of seeking to have a higher place than any other person is contrary to the spirit of Christ.

            That's why I cannot see Gen 3:16 as prescriptive. Asking men to "rule over" their wives would go directly against one of the first principles of the Kingdom of Heaven.

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          • Absolutely. The bible from Genesis to Revelation is the history of the redemption of humanity. How they were created, fell, and finally will be recovered. This process indicates that as men and women grow closer to God, they reflect His image, therefore going back to the original plan of equality.

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          • Inge, some questions for you(and anyone else who considers Gen 3:16 as you have suggested):

            Would you include verses 17-19 also?

            Has the ground brought forth in it's full strength since the fall? Was it just Adam or all men to must work to eat? Did only Eve experience the labor of giving birth?

            How does Paul view this predictive/directive of Gen 3:16? (1 Tim 2:9-15 and Eph 5:22-25) Did God set a certain order in place for the good of sinners? (As Ellen has written, the curses are blessings in a sinful world.)

            I'm not suggesting a hard stance, but asking questions in regard to what has taken place since the fall and to whom was God speaking in Gen 3 and how do we are to relate to it today in the light of further revelations since Gen 3.

            As I mentioned before, I believe in the equality of man and wife in marriage, but it comes with God's specified order under the present circumstances doesn't it, or are we free to think and act otherwise?

            Perhaps there is more that needs to be understood in order to understand it correctly. Just sharing my thoughts in response to this discussion.

            Our best opportunity to know what the will of the Lord is would be to let His Word teach us, and not someone's interpretation without being approved by God's clear teaching. Someone interpreting scripture might have the confidence of many for one reason or another, but are they correct? If so, how do we know? If not, how do we know? Our understanding must be certain. (Prov 22:20,21)

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          • Inge,
            In your very first statement to Jerry, I sensed your heart repelled the idea of "rulership" as being God's plan. As a woman of God you know it.
            In Gen 3, you correctly observed that God was projecting what the sin future would be like, sometimes in obvious statements of consequence, and sometimes presented as His judgment. They both are describing the same: the outcome of the sin nature.

            What I did not get into, but I see Jennifer wrestling with, and lately applying her counseling experience, is the "causative" factor in woman in the new sin nature: "your desire shall be to your husband; and he will rule over you". This is one statement, the first being the vulnerability of the woman, and the other the outcome of that vulnerability.
            Matriarchal societies disconnect that vulnerability. Maturation of woman and strong mothers work similarly. Men prey on that vulnerability; but become intimidated when that vulnerability is released. The only permanent removal of that vulnerability is when the "desire" is returned to God, through the indwelling Holy Spirit. In working with women who are abused, I have seen the transforming turning over of the "desire" to Jesus Christ produce literally incredulous, phenomenal shift in the power structure.

            One woman, after three hospitalizations almost left her dead, and after not visiting her children for years, was scared to death to visit. I gave her a ride to be in proximity to her home. On her third visit she pulled her chair up in front of the man and declared: "You will never do this again. Jesus Christ is in charge of my life, and you are not permitted ever again to do this to me." A few days later, she called and threatened: "If it ever happens again that my daughter is sick and you do not take her to the Doctor, I will be there." Talk about shift. He changed to submission.

            Psalm 27: "The Lord is my Light and my Salvation....when my enemies come to eat me up, they stumbled and fell". If my enemies are following me, I couldn't trip them up. When a woman's desire is to God, HE trips up the charging bull. When a woman takes hold of God's promises of power, no man "rules over" her again. I advise abused women to memorize that chapter, and when the man approaches, repeat it, even loudly. Talk about change. Woman must know the power of "desire" to either enslave or empower. Sin nature, nor sin abuse, can stand before the mighty power of God: "They spoke with authority; and men took notice that they had been with Jesus" (Same Holy Spirit, same anointing of woman)

            God bless our women with real empowerment from the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Walk in the power of new Life, new Light, new Love: "Arise Shine, for your Light is come........."
            Woman's liberation in her desire being deliberately turned over to Jesus Christ is central to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

            Like(1)
    • Rachel, when mankind failed to trust in God and fell into unbelief, the remedy in this life is for there to be a head over a union since the separation from God took place. This, as with ordinances such as circumcision and the blue border on the garments of Israel, were given to keep us from making further mistakes.

      However, if you examine all that the Bible teaches regarding men and women in marriage, you see a nice balance that restores the equal status of BOTH in this life. Notice Paul's counsel to husbands and wives in Ephesians 5:22-25. Wives are taught to submit to their husbands as unto God, and husbands are to love their wives as Jesus loved the church and GAVE HIS LIFE FOR IT. If a woman chooses a Godly husband, she will be married to one who is like Jesus, giving himself for her.

      Unfortunately, many choose a mate without this regard being the first and foremost, choosing other attributes to their present liking instead, which will always fall short if Godliness isn't the highest quality exhibited.

      If the husband is Godly and loves his wife as Jesus loves the church, what could go wrong?! Who better to submit one's welfare to? (Remember, this is God's remedy for the wrongs that sin has brought to relationships) Read in Proverbs 31 about the worthy wife and realize the importance of her role and the great worth she is to all who are blessed by her, including the husband.

      God's way restores the true equality between men and women in marriage while still in this sinful world.

      Like(5)
      • I really like this comment, Robert! The subjugation of women was a second-best, emergency measure. God would like us to strive for the Edenic ideal, which is hierarchal equality.

        Like(3)
          • Hurford, this paragraph you wrote:

            "What I did not get into, but I see Jennifer wrestling with, and lately applying her counseling experience, is the "causative" factor in woman in the new sin nature: "your desire shall be to your husband; and he will rule over you". This is one statement, the first being the vulnerability of the woman, and the other the outcome of that vulnerability.
            Matriarchal societies disconnect that vulnerability. Maturation of woman and strong mothers work similarly. Men prey on that vulnerability; but become intimidated when that vulnerability is released. The only permanent removal of that vulnerability is when the "desire" is returned to God, through the indwelling Holy Spirit. In working with women who are abused, I have seen the transforming turning over of the "desire" to Jesus Christ produce literally incredulous, phenomenal shift in the power structure." Answers your "how?" question. This paragraph is EXACTLY what I mean!! And how you point out that extreme feminism becomes defensive against this vulnerability rather than re-directing it to Jesus--perfect! Exactly my objection to feminism. And exactly my view of how Jesus can redirect the neediness of women to His own servant leadership to their upbuilding and healing! Love the illustration. Thank you!

            Like(0)
        • Jennifer, I believe you clarified already, but I think it might be good to clarify immediately after your original comment: Do you mean that God commanded Adam to subjugate Eve?

          On the other hand, you did not specify Adam and Eve or husband and wife. Did you mean to say that, as an "emergency measure, God designed that all women are to submit to men in whatever place they should find themselves? (I see the teaching that God designed the subordination of women to men taught as a biblical doctrine by certain influential independent ministries these days. IOW, do you differ mainly in the sense that this is not God's ideal but that it is intended as an "emergency measure"?)

          Please clarify.

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      • Robert, Genesis 3:14-19 was a delineation of sin consequences, a prophetic description of the new sin culture. Taking one statement out of a list of consequences and assuming it to be God's new standard for marriage relationships is really far-fetched. Please notice that "rule over you" has a preceding causative factor in the woman's behavior. God's plan has not deviated from the original. Assuming that God changed His standard and gave us a new standard in sin consequences is really not theology; at least not the theology of the God of Heaven and Earth. Sinners need restoration in order to be returned, by Him, to the original plan.

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          • 1. I am saying that the following statement leaves the door too wide open: "when mankind failed to trust in God and fell into unbelief, the remedy in this life is for there to be a head over a union since the separation from God took place". Although you clarified your argument later by quoting the Apostle Paul, the timing you identified ("when mankind failed...since the separation") places the solution of a "head" in Genesis 3:16 -"he will rule over you". Without charging you for propounding this, I am observing that many of our brethren use the pulpit to present this as God's new plan. Inge questioned the idea in this very blog.
            2. God's plan was and still is the original plan. The headship of the family did not begin post death of Christ, and as propounded in Pauline thought. Genesis 2. God a)created the man b)gave him a home c)gave him a job d)gave him awareness of, and access to discernment of need e)took him into depth discovery of bonding companionship f)he is in love. Some "helper". No question his deepest instinct was: treasure her, protect her with my own life, love her everything possible, my only queen. King and Queen

            Like(1)
      • Robert, you offered a submission worth our reflection; then may I turn on another video eye from a different direction?
        Your statement "If a husband is Godly, and loves his wife as Jesus loves the church" is really beautiful. The "if" is equally revealing, probably troubling since it leaves the rest in flux. What can go wrong? Times of husband's vulnerability, and how he responds to the times when his wife does not submit, or he perceives her strength to be a lack of submission?

        In view of Jennifer's focus, thank you for citing Proverbs 31. It actually affirms Inge's proposition of balance in a true Christian family. Note that Solomon's bold affirmation is an actual narrative of his mother's heart and industriousness in her marriage, including family relationships and taking care of business responsibilities: 1) Instructions scripted to the King for a lifetime 2) Modeling the strength of a Godly woman 3) Her husband trusted her, and did not have to double check or provide guidance 4) Qualified for the position of Judge in the gate.

        She is instructing Solomon how to relate to a woman of quality. Total trust and confidence. She did not try to carry the job of David. David was a great King. Did it help that he did not need to supervise his wife, because of the genius of her spiritual and industrious life? Submission is a common bond of love, yes, but also a common bond of trust and mutual empowerment of the other, each free to become the best they can be.

        Can you imagine David at work tackling a problem and getting tired; then he thinks of his wife (wow), and spontaneously a broad smile across his face surprises his generals and minsters of government. Suddenly he is energized, motivated, gets the job done, then sends a prayer of thanks Heavenward -- for the wife behind his job. Motivating team. How does submission work? We have to move beyond simplistic thinking to higher levels of human understanding.

        We men, like Solomon, need to write the Script of our mother's instructions in Proverbs 31. What can go wrong? The dumb kid got hold of the Monarch for a while, to the point he screwed up building the bridge and almost had it wash out to sea. Let's presume the possibility that grief over his mother's death threw him into a depression and he forgot Mother's Instructions. Then he remembered: ah, the virtuous woman. Ok. Retrack. Write Mom's instructions; and help get some other Adventist old men back on track so they can understand trusting a woman of integrity and industriousness.

        Let her be the Judge in the gate of the city. (Don't interfere; just watch her and smile proud).

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        • Hurford, first a small correction: The wife is not sitting with the elders at the gate, but her wisdom and works are known by them, perhaps through her husbands recounting the blessings of his union to her.

          Your comment seems to dwell somewhat on specific situations that possibly took place, and again, I seem lost to know exactly what you are saying.

          Let me share what I understand presently and perhaps this will answer whatever you are addressing.

          Eve acted independent of Adam in the whole incident of the forbidden tree. Due to this independent action she fell into the trap that Adam's presence and voice would have helped prevent (Eccl 4:9,10).

          God, in dealing out the sentence designed to be a blessing, reminds Eve of her place and lack of independence once becoming "ONE" with her husband. This provides the safety such a union was meant to experience, and provides for the advantage of BOTH, not the man only.

          Wasn't the desire for her husband lacking while speaking with the serpent? Shouldn't that have been her first thought and action? I also believe Paul was speaking to this tendency to be independent from spouses in his day. Could we see his counsel for wives to "submit" as the remedy for those prone to pursue independence? A reminder: "you are a part of a whole, not the whole of yourself".

          Just tossing out some possible ideas to consider while seeking to understand the relevant application of God's word to us today.

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          • Hi Robert, thought provoking ideas. Am I correct in understanding that you are talking about the relationship between two people in a marriage? I agree that one of the benefits of marriage is that one doesn't have to face the trials & joys of life alone. And I believe this was the position before the fall, they were a team both caring for the garden, working together, both had dominion over the animals, each contributing their individual skills for the benefit of the team. Neither dominating the other. Eve made a unilateral decision and Adam ratified her decision. After the fall it appears that now the wife is to be prevented from making unilateral decisions.
            I see this change operating in a voluntary union of two people, but my question is does this apply to people not in union with other people? IOW does it mean that all men must rule all women? What about women like myself who are not married? Must I attach myself to male relative?
            This would only be possible if women were created with a deficiency which meant she couldn't exist without a man and that only through a man could she relate to God.

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          • Robert I tracked with you until the last part. This is an opinion, but an informed one: Women tend to desire the approval and support of their husbands to a fault. If they're not married, they desire the approval of whatever man plays the closest to that role. Whether they admit it or not, the tendency of women is to want to please their man. I see the "desire toward husband" as part of a curse, but submission as a choice a woman makes to deal responsibly with that curse. It's really such a nuanced, complex issue!

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          • Shirley, I believe the answer is quite simple for your question. God made it clear through Moses that women had equal right to property/inheritance as men in the matter of the daughters of Zelophehad who had no sons. The inheritance would go first to any daughters, then to a brother if no other heirs.

            Paul also reveals God's will for those who belong to His Kingdom of grace, not regarding anyone of diminished rights regardless of wealth, status or gender. All are equal in regard to their basic rights among brethren. We can expect abuses from the non-believers, but not among God's people.

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          • Jennifer, if you look at my later post somewhere below(?) you'll see I'm still trying to gain a perfect understanding where you lost track with my thoughts. Two other translations make me wonder what was really said where the KJV states " thy desire shall be to thy husband,...". Knowing exactly what was said to Eve would be interesting to learn, though it might be right in front of us. The discussion proves it somewhat elusive to our ability to fully grasp it yet.

            What you state just above might be closer to the reality of what God was revealing would be the result of Eve's transgression, though it's something I can't really understand or verify. IF in fact the opinion you state is true, some women sure have a way of not letting it be known!

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          • Robert, Shirley, Jennifer,
            I appreciate your wrestling with what happened during the temptation, and subsequently in the intervention of our Father in Heaven.
            Please consider:
            1. Eve starts a conversation with a demonic presence. Who is missing in the conversation beginning in Genesis 1?
            2. Some say Adam. Was Adam not in the conversation, or became part of it, though non-verbal? "The woman saw that the tree was good to eat, pleasing to the eye, desirable for the knowledge, so she took and eat. She gave some also to her husband WHO WAS WITH HER, and he did eat." So Who is missing in the conversation?
            3. Who was the central figure in the discourse, but was never invited into the conversation?

            Adam was not there initially, but became present anytime shortly after. He had enough of the conversation to observe rational and determine motive, or he could not be held responsible neither personally, nor as representative of earth. He liked enough what he heard to determine being a participant with Eve; and chose not to exert influence nor authority in denying the demonic persuasion.

            So then,
            1. Adam was adequately a part of the conversation to determine influence and personal decision. Adam's presence and choice/voice accepted the demonic influence.
            2. It is not the absence of the husband that determines vulnerability to temptation, and it is not the presence of the man that provides deterrence from temptation.
            3. Who was not invited into the conversation? Who alone makes the difference when any person, male or female, is faced with a demonic presence and temptation? According to Scripture?

            Neither Eve, nor Adam chose to invite God into the conversation. He was never far away. He demonstrated in the Garden that the right of self-determination/free will is completely given; and therefore He only intervenes when invited. He will answer even before we call, knowing ahead that our hearts will script that invitation; but our hearts must establish a basic premise that when temptation arrives, a decision to call upon Him is automatic. Our normal tendency is to engage the demonic/principalities and powers, no matter the medium being used; and only an afterthought to bring God into the discourse. It is especially foolish to presume to talk for God when He is willing to show up to speak for Himself, for my education, and for the demonic conversations of our lives.

            Let us stop muddling the consequence of sin with the directives of God. God established headship and helper prior to sin. Both assignments are to be modeled after God's practiced pattern of Headship and Helper.

            Jennifer, thank you for identifying the particular vulnerability that the woman inculcated after sinning, that lends her to being "ruled over by the man". If a woman does not get it, she can remain subject to her own internal persuasion to earthly dependence (on man), not heavenly.

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          • Robert, just as in the discussion of Science, I use the presentation of Scriptures along with its applications and outcomes. Example, Jennifer's experience in counseling more graphically bears out the truth of "your desire shall be to your husband; and he will rule over you".

            Over time, we have seen wise women not only inflencing decisions in the gate, but actually sitting in the gate, including in the US Supreme Court, the US Senate and Congress, Prime Minister of England and Germany, etc, CEOs of major international business entities, and sitting in the General Conference of SDAs. Noted exceptions: the Bishopric of Rome, Heads of State in Russia, China and the USA. Maybe Dr. Mrs Hillary Clinton will make the breakthrough, but that depends on how many SDAs continue to believe that the Republican Party represents the Word of God.

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          • Hurford, you might want to check out "Patriarchs and Prophets" (pgs 53-55) on your version of the events in Genesis 3. It's not really needed, but some read the Bible account incorrectly, as I believe you have. I'm just stating my opinion and belief.

            Adam was not at the tree with Eve during her temptation and transgression.

            In the Hebrew "with her" is not in the text, but is a translation of the verb "akal" meaning: "to eat". The phrase literally is that Eve "gave also man to eat".

            Why would she need to pick the fruit for him if he was there? Why would Adam be silent when the Bible tells us he was not deceived? Do you really expect he would allow Eve whom he loved to transgress without a word of admonition or protest? His absence from the conversation is ample evidence he was not present.

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      • Jennifer, while I believe Jesus (being single) was the very fullness of the Godhead as a human being, I agree that the complete and full measure of being in God's image is best realized in a Christ-centered union of male and female. Only in this way can another being be created. I believe there are other spiritual benefits as well to such a union.

        In their sinless state, the holy pair as creatures reflected the image of God in it's most complete similitude. They even wore the same robe of light.
        We will wear it again!

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        • Robert, what is the difference between "One" in the marriage of Genesis 2, and the "One" in John 15-17 and Acts 1-2? Is the first the only representation of the full image of God, as you present it?

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          • Hurford, the "one" in Genesis 2:24 is the same as Deut 6:4. In the Hebrew it means: alike, equal, united, etc. This word describes a unit, and will differ according to the unit being described. The union of two in marriage is similar to the unity of the church, but more intimate. The couple are united as "one flesh"(Gen 2:24) while the church is one in truth, purpose and in relation to Christ, which an equally yoked husband and wife should also be.

            The interesting thought is that while the marriage is the closest earthly tie, the union of either spouse with Christ is even closer. (Luke 14:26, 33)

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    • Rachel, it appears that several who responded felt blessed with Jennifer's recapturing the work of God in creating Adam, male and female, in the beginning. I believe she correctly painted a picture of great value, caring relationships and extraordinary potential for women, even if her descriptions may be a little littered with the perspective of a 21st century western woman.

      And yet you are correct in your concern since the prophecy of God for the woman's future is pictured in her being ruled by her husband. Jennifer offered the beauty of the Creation of Genesis 1 and 2; while you identified the horrible transformation from the Divine nature to its very antithesis, the sinful nature, of Genesis 3. Unfortunately, every baby girl is born in the territory of enmity, both internally and externally, and it is not an attractive prospect.

      Jennifer reminds us to determine woman's value from the original intent of God (Creation), instead of determining woman's value based on the vulnerability, abuse and suffering resulting from the inherited sin nature (Genesis 3). God wants us to see His daughters as highly valued and favored. And yet, this really is not possible since the past is lost, the image of God "well nigh obliterated" by the sin nature. Our wishes, aspirations or well defined efforts cannot bring back what was lost by Adam and Eve. Every baby girl is born in the sin territory of husband ruler, no matter how we try to redefine, evade or fight it.

      God offers a new determination of value: He loves His baby girl with such fervor and compassion, He came and died in her place, so she will have opportunity to live. Jesus Christ set a new "measuring stick", a new gold standard, a new largest cut diamond for determining the value of His baby girl. Higher than the value of His creating His first daughter, our Father sacrifices His Son, shrouding Him in darkness, and allowed Him to be buried Him in a rocky tomb guarded by frail humans with pieces of metal for a sin problem he did not have. Then our Father restores Him to life, His taking His life back unto Himself, so every baby girl will have her name permanently etched in the Book of Life in Heaven.

      It may have been that the sin problem engendered the aberration of her husband being ruler over her, for real, and often with meanness and derogation; but with the covering of the blood of Jesus Christ? Let every woman walk upright boldly in the confidence of her resurrected Lord. Bonded with the love of God, sealed by the blood of the Lamb, she will never again be ruled by any man when her heart receives the Divine nature of the indwelling Christ. Women must with Holy Spirit empowerment intentionally "be crucified with Christ" so she can say "nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me." "And the life I live? I live by faith!! through Jesus Christ who loves me and gave Himself for me." When a woman gets this, really gets this with Holy Spirit imprinted clarity, her only Ruler, her only Master, her only loyalty is her God and Savior. In humility she walks with power that is not defined by any attachment or embellishment, acquirement or accomplishment, or any other earthly value, for her value is confirmed in loving with the love she daily receives from her resurrected Jeshua. This is her value power.

      Be blessed ladies!!!

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      • That was very poetic! I believe we should strive for Eden, but you're right, many women will have to experience Genesis 3:16 in the most painful way. You've given the key to even such unfortunate women to find freedom--and it is in Christ.

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  8. It may help to think of equality in two ways: equality of value and equality of authority. Children are of equal value to parents, but not equal authority. God made man and woman of equal value and equal authority, but because of sin woman was submitted to man. She still had equal value, but no longer equal authority. Even then, God would like man and woman to be restored to their equal authority through servant leadership. I can give you proof for this if you like.

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    • Jennifer, thank you for your clarification on the matter. It makes sense and evaporates the arguments that have developed on this and other threads.

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      • Perhaps this will help define the issue more, from my devotional reading just this morning: "Christ Triumphant" pg 145

        "Abigail’s manner and conciliatory gifts softened the spirit of David. He declared that it had been his intention to destroy Nabal and his household, but that now he would refrain from vengeance, for he believed that she had been sent by the Lord to prevent him from doing so great an evil. He promised that her request should be ever remembered, even when he should sit as ruler over Israel, and he would never seek retaliation for the insult of Nabal.

        Although Nabal had refused the needy company of David and his men, yet that very night he made an extravagant feast for himself and his riotous friends, and indulged in eating and drinking till he sank in drunken stupor. The next day after the effects of his drunken debauch had somewhat passed away, his wife told him of how near he had been to death, and of how the calamity had been averted.... Palsied with horror, he sat down and never recovered from the shock.

        From this history we can see that there are circumstances under which it is proper for a woman to act promptly and independently, moving with decision in the way she knows to be the way of the Lord. The wife is to stand by the side of the husband as his equal, sharing all the responsibilities of life, rendering due respect to him who has selected her for his life-long companion. “For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he [referring to Christ] is the saviour of the body,” or church.... When the Spirit of Christ controls the husband, the wife’s subjection will result only in rest and benefit, for he will require from her only that which will result in good, and in the same way that Christ requires submission from the church....

        When the husband has the nobility of character, purity of heart, and elevation of mind that every true Christian must possess, it will be made manifest in the marriage relation. If he has the mind of Christ he will not be a destroyer of the body, but will be full of tender love, seeking to reach the highest standard in Christ. He will seek to keep his wife in health and courage....

        The Lord Jesus has not been correctly represented in His relation to the church by many husbands in their relation to their wives, for they do not keep the way of the Lord.... It was not the design of God that the husband should have control, as head of the house, when he himself does not submit to Christ."

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    • Hi Jennifer, I would be interested in hearing the support of the thought that God wants us to return to equal authority

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    • Jennifer, please check again. Equal value is without question. However, the determination of equality in relationship, including authority, is less clear to most. What is very clear is compatibility, equal receiving and equal giving, determining balance. Authority was not equal from the creation. Sin consequences are different from righteousness consequences, and can be described in antithesis. This is clearer for us, living post-sin; but not the pre-sin balance that includes unequal authority in the relationship. Adam was given headship pre-sin.

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  9. Jeni, thank you very much for this article. It is clear and simple to understan. Surboninate and yet equal of value. God bless

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  10. As a young adult Christian female I have had doubts, as we all do at times, about the part which instructs the submission of woman to man. I am aware of the cause and effect situation, arising from sin and temptation being introduced into a sinless world. Since reading this article, there is clarity about the equality issue us women face and it also gives a simplified perspective of which side a Christian young woman aught to take. As said above, "women and men are equal in value but not authority". Once you are matched with your other half who strengthens you spiritually and brings you closer to God rather than distracts you from His undying love, then and only then can the exemplary love of Christ be seen in the relationship. We must honour God and His commandment to humanity, as highlighted by many of your comments and be blessed by these. If we commit ourselves to reproach and misrepresentation of the true God, we find ourselves lost, hopeless and constantly longing for an unnatural satisfaction which sin cannot give. Continue to be a blessing with each word you write and keep spreading the word of God in a simple, edifying way. Also, to Robert Whitman, your comments are an example of true Christian virtue. God bless you brethren.

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    • Thanks Sakaila. I must add that God's kind of authority rests on love, such that it is the willing submission of the woman to the man that God calls for; and this submission to a servant leader leads ultimately to the elevation of the woman's status back to equal. The Bible never tells men to make their wives submit. And since God designed men and women as equals, a power imbalance is not His ideal, nor something we should accept long term. We are to strive for God's ideal, which is a husband and wife, equal but different.

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      • Hi Jennifer. Many thanks for your beautiful balanced and uplifting article. Like so many others in this post l was truly blessed. I can hardly wait for your book! You echoed my thoughts - only more eloquently in that submission is not something that can be demanded or taken from another. Subjugation yes but not submission. For submission is a gift that is offered willingly to another; otherwise it is not submission.

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  11. Hurford, Inge, and whoever else is interested--we agree on many thing, but a point of disagreement is whether Genesis 3:16 is "descriptive" or "prescriptive."

    Davidson points out, and I agree, that it was pronounced in very much a “courtroom proceedings” format. Plus the verbiage, “I will” in verse 6 suggests that God was pronouncing sentence. Plus EGW presents it as a “sentence.” "It was by her solicitation that Adam sinned, and she was now placed in subjection to her husband. Had the principles joined in the law of God been cherished by the fallen race, this sentence, though growing out of the results of sin, would have proved a blessing to them; but man's abuse of the supremacy thus given him has too often rendered the lot of woman very bitter and made her life a burden." PP 59 and 60.

    Because of these evidences, I'm currently of the mindset that Genesis 3:16 was a judgment of God. But notice God intended it to be carried out within the context of a godly marriage. God’s curses are always blessings and always redemptive. Through willing submission to a servant leader, the woman has opportunity to model the willing submission of Christ and further develop the Spirit of Christ within the marriage. A servant leader husband always treats a wife like an equal and thus the he raises her back to equality. In other words, the temporary, emergency arrangement of submission is reconfigured back into a relationship of equality. In my experience as a counselor, the best marriages are relationships of equality. One partner dominating the other ends up being a parent/child arrangement and can be the death of a marriage. Equality is God’s ideal, and voluntary submission of the wife to a servant leader husband can actually be God’s road back to that equality.

    Satan took God’s curse-turned-blessing and turned it back into a curse in the cases of most women. Globally, and esp. where the gospel has not influenced a given society, women have extreme versions of all three aspects of the curse—pain in childbearing, desire for man (which I believe to be predominantly approval-craving or approval-needing) and male rulership. Read the book Half the Sky for an incredibly detailed, sad account of how the devil took Genesis 3:16 and twisted it into something terribly unfair and extreme. These extreme forms are not what God had ideally intended for women. He would have us all in a servant-leader led marriage if He could.

    That's how I see it, anyway!

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    • If you don't Jennifer I would like to add my definition of a leader. Simply put a leader is one whose subjects follow because they want to while a dictator's subjects follow because they have to.

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    • I would have to agree with your conclusions on this Jennifer. The circumstances and language speaks for itself. It is given as a statute, with the conditions being it will work out perfectly in a Christ-centered relationship, but will be disastrous in a self-centered relationship. We reap what we sow.

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      • Robert, I like what you wrote earlier of Eve "acting independently." It was God's design that the two should become "one." Neither was to act independent of the other. Independence of action is essentially self-centered, which is the antithesis of the atmosphere of heaven.

        I cannot see Gen 3 "as a statute." If it were, I wonder if you would be in compliance? You see, if it is a statute, we cannot separate out one phrase and consider it a statute, while we ignore other parts. And that would mean that women must have sorrow, must have pain in childbirth (it would be contrary to the statute to seek to abate pain, men must toil in working the ground enough to produce sweat (air-conditioned offices would be against the statute. For that matter, working in an office, rather than working the ground would be against the statute). Beyond that, we are into interpretation - which may be fine, but we need to be consistent.

        I believe Gen 3 has both predictive and prescriptive qualities. I tend to see most of it as predictive of the results of sin, because I don't see God as arbitrarily cursing humanity but allowing the results of sin to work out under His watchcare.

        Perhaps you can see a bit of a similarity in the competing biblical accounts regarding Pharaoh's heart. One account says that Pharaoh hardened his heart. Another says that God hardened Pharaoh's heart. Some think they can't both be true, but I believe they are: God sent His spirit to work on Pharaoh's heart. Because Pharaoh refused to listen to the Spirit of God, his heart became hardened. God did not arbitrarily harden Pharaoh's heart but allowed it to happen because of his choice to resist His Spirit.

        In the same manner, I believe God allowed the results of sin to work themselves out in humanity. First of all, death was/is the result of separation from the Life Giver, and everything else follows from there.

        I did a little research in the writings of Ellen White, and she always refers to the "curse of sin," not the curse of God upon humanity. It makes a difference.

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        • Inge, my reference to statute is when God defines a duty. Perhaps I overuse the word here? I believe that God's intentions for marriage are further highlighted by Paul's counsel to the Ephesians, where I have read it was common in their society for women to be more assertive and often in supremacy as their chief god Diana, was female. For the God-fearing marriage, there was to be a following of the plan of equality, and it doesn't seem like a suggestion only from Paul, but given as a statute.

          Let's compare the more relevant "curses" resulting from Eve's choice: Her desire will be toward her husband, and; He will rule over you.

          Which one is God's will and which one results when God's will is not followed? Base on Paul's counsel, the former is God's intention and the latter is the result of departing from God's intention. So the choice to no longer act independent could be a statute since it conforms to the law, revealed by love when we "in honor, prefer one another" rather than exerting authority over the other with a domineering spirit of selfishness, whether the husband or the wife.

          Or am I seeing something incorrectly here?

          Ok, I just did a little further study...and Gen 3:16 has been translated to say different things, depending on the translation considered. One states; "And you will desire to control your husband, but he will rule over you."
          Another reads; "You will want to control your husband, but he will dominate you." I have not previously considered this as translated in these samples. The majority read as the King James reads. Yet according to the Strong's: " and thy desire shall be to thy husband," is from two words stating "longing man". That seems to change what God might be saying here, which would clearly NOT be considered a statute, but what would be the natural inclination of women towards men in our fallen state. Look how it is in society generally speaking, women having felt rejected and outcast if not married by a certain age, while men never displaying such anxiousness over their bachelor status, as our natural differences are displayed in this present world.

          Fascinating ideas and considerations coming out of this discussion.

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          • Robert, so what did you decide is the after sin state? Is it "she would want to control her husband", or "her desire will be to her husband"?

            Following the argument that Eve failed because she left the side of her husband: Do you believe that Eve was created with a fickle mind, unable to make a stand on her own in the most crucial decision of existence? If in her pre-sin state she could not make a stand for God on her own, that is, without the strength of her husband, would that mean today she needs a man even more to help recognize, then resist temptation and/or make a stand for God?

            The scenario runs: Eve cannot recognize nor resist temptation, or loses the ability to withstand temptation, when her husband is not around to point out she is going against the direct word of God. Adam cannot make a stand for God, when his love for his wife, stronger than his love for God, makes him choose sin and rebellion against God. Conclusion: the way humans being were created, the man can discern sin, but chooses his wife over God. The woman cannot discern sin, except when her husband points it out, and helps her have victory. The woman was made with lesser capacity for discernment, lesser appreciation for loyalty and love, and lower powers to make a stand for what is right. The man is attributed with "love", in betrayal of God, Who is Love, which would be a betrayal of love and antithetical to love. Somebody has to make up their mind.

            How does Eve fit the Biblical scenario of Ezekiel 16:32 ff., commentary by John Gill?
            "[But as] a wife that committeth adultery, who has a husband, and is provided for with all the necessaries of life, with food and clothing; and so has no need to prostitute herself for a livelihood, as common strumpets do; but does it purely for the satiating of her lust: and such were the people of the Jews, they were married to the Lord, who took care of them, and provided everything for them, and acted the part of a husband to them; so that it was the weakness of their hearts, and the strength of their corruptions, which led them to depart from him, and commit idolatry; which in them was adultery, while the sin of the Gentiles was as simple fornication: [which] taketh strangers instead of her husband, not for the sake of gain, but lust; and this was the case of the Jews, who were a wicked people, an idolatrous generation; who took strange gods to worship instead of the true God, who had been a husband to them ( Jeremiah 31:32 )"

            Now check this sequence of Gen 3: "So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise...." 1. Convinced that God lied, and the serpent was telling the truth 2. Fascination with attraction of sight 3. Desirable - her desire or crave. On #3. Eve's desire, on her own, changed from following God to following self and Satan. The result of sin shifted a healthy desire for God, an internal spiritual motive, to desire for the man, an unhealthy external dependency (built on the fragility of following self and Satan).

            There is an excitement and excitation in following self. Adam picked up on that excitation. He liked the feel of that new woman; but he especially liked the idea that he could become like God. Or was it just such great agape for his wife that topped God's love?

            Is the following a true or false statement? If true, how do you conceptualize that it might actually have occurred: "Satan represented to the holy pair that they would be gainers by breaking the law of God".
            Despite the love and mercy of God, Adam demonstrated he was still in the same mind-set when his first son was born: He named him "Cain", "possessions". The second son Abel, was his name "breath" or "vanity"? Adam seemed to have gotten the point by the time he had his third son, Seth, "Substitute". Or did he? Or was it Eve who chose those names, including option #2 for Abel? The husband really did not present any showing of being more discerning or loyal than his wife, did he?. He also was an adulterer and idolater (Ezekiel 16), not for the sake of need, which was fully met, but for lust.
            Point:
            Eve needed to consult with God, when tempted.
            Adam needed to consult with God, when tempted.
            Jesus consulted with God, prior to being tempted, and when being tempted.
            The woman is to call upon God, prior to, during and after temptation.
            A husband needs to call upon God at all times, or stupidity reigns.
            When God is not in the equation of reflection, everything falls apart.
            Jesus counseled: "Pray, Father...lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil (the evil one)" (Matt 6, Luke 24). He, Son of God, understood the principle.

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    • Jennifer, I understand the judgment of Davidson, and your consequent agreement. Then what do you do with Isaiah 45:7 and other similar passages where God takes responsibility for the existence of sin (profound egs: speeches of God to job)?
      7 "I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things" KJV.

      There is always a judgment in the conseqences of sin, whether God pronounces it or not; and there is always a consequence in the pre-sin judgment of God, whether He says it or not. Eg: "The wages of sin is death" is a consequence; is a judgment. Those two statements, judgment and consequence, are not as clearly divergent as they appear. They both apply. God takes responsibility for His universe, and does not leave responsibility to satan or humans for the existence of sin. He takes full responsibility. It is His universe.

      God bless in your study and the writing of your book. I chose to invest a little extra perchance it offers challenge to further investigate. There is always more beyond, when it comes to the Word of God. And there is.
      God bless in your study.
      The discourse of course is healthy.

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  12. Actually in my opinion Gen 3:16 can be debated endlessly. I can see both sides involved in the text. God both prophesied what the consequences was going to be for doing what they did and at the same time He was giving a command that was designed to stop the same problem from happening again.

    As for the pain in birth and the difficulty of labor I think those things were the result of turning the dominion given to man over to Satan and he has continually been in the business of making life difficult for people in order to get them to curse God and turn away from Him.

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  13. Shirley regarding your question about whether Genesis 3:16 means all women submitting to all men--no! That distortion of scripture has led to more abuse of women than I care to think about. Even the idea that a woman must have a male "head," (her father until her husband takes over) can be taken to an extreme and basically reduce a woman to an animal that can be owned. In the context of church, Jesus is the head. I don't believe God ever calls pastors or apostles "heads" of the church. The only relationship I know of in which headship is exercised as rulership is a marriage, and in God's ideal this is a temporary, emergency measure that, through servant leadership, ultimately reconfigures into God's original design, which is equality.

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    • I need help. I find it challenging to understand this whole issue. How does one explain Genesis 3:16 Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee; in context with
      Genesis 4:6, 7 And the LORD said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen?
      If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.

      I would really appreciate some enlightenment on any parallels that may be here. Many thanks.

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      • I find it challenging to understand this issue too, Marcia. The word for "desire" (t@shuwqah) is found in both verses you quoted, and in Song of Solomon 7:10, "I am my beloved's and his desire is toward me." Scholars wrestle over the meaning of this word. One school of thought says it is a desire for dominance, but that doesn't really harmonize with Song of Solomon 7:10. To me the definition that fits all three verses is a desire for approval. I am a professional counselor and I see in women this desire for the approval of their husbands. Often the desire is so powerful it leads women to submit to abuse and/or deny his problems. That's the brief answer. Thanks for a great question.

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        • Jennifer, now you are connecting the mental and psychological pieces that consequence in "rulership". Keep bringing to bear your professional insights and experience. God bless.

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        • I don't know if this is accurate, but I'll toss it out: God was telling all 3 (serpent, Eve and Adam) the results that would follow sinfulness. So I'm thinking this desire would be realized by any who place their selfish motives and wants above God's will for them. When we lose sight of God, we lose so much peace and true happiness. By focusing on desire for worldly gain/status above the will of God, the resulting union will often be unequal and a painful burden. How many marriages are unequal due to God not being the center of it? Having children in such an environment only makes matters worse.

          God has warned of the consequences that would result when departing from perfect trust and obedience to Him first and foremost.

          In the matter with Cain, as first born, righteous Abel would have been submitted to his leading IF Cain was faithful to God's leading, ruling with mercy, justice and from a posture of serving rather than being served. This is a true "leader" in God's sight. Read on...

          Now, another thought that just occurred to me, which may be what some of us here have been trying to understand better, which is this: God, through His word is asking BOTH husband and wife to submit to and serve one another, not expecting or demanding to be served. How is this so?

          Paul states clearly to the women in Ephesus to "submit yourselves". No one questions the meaning of this, but what is the true meaning? I believe it was to prevent them from making unequal demands of their husbands by asserting authority over them. This was an issue in Ephesus as I have been led to believe.

          Now perhaps some don't understand the full meaning of the counsel to the husband when Paul writes: "Love your wives as Christ loves the church and gave Himself for it". How did Jesus do this? He said clearly "... the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve,". Remember Jesus washing feet as a Servant?! Do all husbands see this as their mandate in marriage? I would say the Godly men do. Paul's council is from God to all believers. Notice that it follows the counsel to the women? This is so the men wouldn't take from the women's counsel that they were to be the sole ruler over the wife.

          In a Godly marriage, equality of both is unequivocally restored. The curse to Eve was to spell out the results of departing from God's purpose through self-seeking. He was warning of what will happen when we are persistent in sinning while not following the counsel of the Lord through Christ, the prophets, and apostles. God's will for all is to experience heaven on earth as far as possible. Heaven is agape: preferring one another over self.

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      • Marcia, the context of Genesis 3:16 warrants the translation "thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee"; but the context of Genesis 4:6,7. does not allow "And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him".
        I have not checked the Hebrew, but I checked about 15 translations and only the King James Version and Authorized Version carry that translation. The New King James Version reads: "And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it.” The other translations I checked carry the same thought; which basically fits the context. A couple directly state that "sin's desire is for you; but you must master it".

        The answer is not in the translation of "desire". The fruit was desirable to Eve. Desire in this context is covetousness leading to following one's own way. In the context of Cain, his displaced aggression featured rejection of God's direction with a desire to follow his own way, coupled with covetousness of God's acceptance of Abel's sacrifice. By contrast, when we trust in the Lord, He gives us the desires of our hearts, for our desires match His will and plan for our lives, and is based on love.

        The woman's desire directed to her husband is a dependency that displaces the healthy inner motive of trusting in the Lord with all thine heart, and started with covetousness and following her own way in eating the fruit. Her rebellious choice matches Cain's rebellious spirit in having his own way.

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    • Jennifer, Headship and Rulership are different concepts. Please investigate further. One is servant leadership, the other is not. You yourself identified the causative factor in woman that lends to rulership. The proof is in the area of the mental psychological constructs/conglomeration.

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  14. For Jennifer/everyone, I have been considering the many good comments along with the original post, and will say first I am benefited from the post and following discussion. I was led this morning to consider the whole response of God after His "investigation", who then began with the serpent(Satan) and worked His way to Adam.

    I'm beginning to realize more clearly what God was saying and what He was NOT saying in His "cursing" upon the transgressors of His Holy Law, and in this His great love is revealed FIRST, and the sad results of their choices that would be realized in their fallen state, though they are not confined to these results.

    Let's look at the curse of the ground to see it more clearly, and this will perhaps give a better understanding (I think) of what was said to the woman, as this post focused on. That the ground would bring forth thorns and thistles was the result of Adam's(not Eve's) choice. Does the ground bring such things forth? YES! But only IF man is not diligent to work for God's ideal. Look at what we read in Proverbs 24:30,31: "I went by the field of the slothful, and by the vineyard of the man void of understanding; and, lo, it was all grown over with thorns, and nettles had covered the face thereof, and the stone wall thereof was broken down."

    What does this tell us? If you saw my garden today you would find it closer to God's ideal (finally!) because I was no longer slothful, but labored with great effort to bring it as close to Eden as possible with the resources available. Yes, it has even included installing a retaining wall(such a wonderful symbol) on one side.

    So how do we look at the curse upon the woman if we see the conditional nature of God's curses and also His blessings to mankind? Do we see these curses as inevitable? What about the promise of God in Prov 26:2, "The curse causeless shall not come."? Do we see our part in what curses we might avoid?

    Be aware of the fact I am still sorting this out and perhaps others can help make it more clear and/or accurate to the true intention of God to actually benefit mankind while warning them of the curses that would follow whatever choices would cause them to come upon us.

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    • Robert, I like what you are doing. You are cruising on a good track of thought there. May the Holy Spirit be your Teacher as you continue. Blessings.

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  15. God bless you for not relying only on surface knowledge but on both Scripture and Nature. According to Scripture, Creator-God (singular)said "Let us(plural)make Man (plural)in our(plural)image,after our(plural)likeness";therefore,it is not good (complete)that the man (singular) be made alone because the singular man cannot resemble (represent) the plural God.Nature confirms that part of the family resemblance between God and Mankind is that plural members function as singular.According to Nature and Scripture our physical realm is a lesser version (a degraded reflection)of the Spiritual realm;so plans come before accomplishments,designs before products,parents before offspring,purpose before performance,etc.This is how both the male and female bare spiritual family resemblance: The purpose of the male 'pair' is initiation of physical life,just as Father-Creator initiated eternal life.The purpose of the female 'pair' is re-initiation (sustainment)of physical life, just as the Body of God(Son of salvation)re-initiated eternal life.The resemblance is not in the physical 'pair' but rather their purpose because God created Mankind in His own appearance,after His function.Now about that 'male-dominance' issue:
    (1)Female was created after the male only because there must be initiation before there can be re-initiation. (2)the male was the only creation of God that was pronounced 'not good' by itself.(3)THEY had dominion but not over their Maker,the angels,or each other just as Father-Creator does not dominate the Son-Savior.(4)plain English says Eve fell into temptation,not sin,by separation from her companion.Remember woman was created apart from Adam so that can't be sin(5)Surface-knowledge convinced men that sinfully-blind Adam should lead sinfully-blind Eve;rejection of God's Word results in the blind leading the blind.Nature shows the best position in an intimate relation is an embrace allowing each to 'watch each others back',however,it is the spiritual embrace that is most applicable in Genesis3:16 and similar texts.In verses 14 and 15 notice God's references to the future;this clarifies verse 16 which more appropriately refers to Jesus (Groom) lovingly ruling over His woman(His Church)by ruling lovingly from within.

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    • Robert, Jennifer et al . Many many thanks for your contributions to this amazing post. I've been so blessed and informed by your comments. We notice that GOD says in Genesis 3:17 "cursed is the ground for thy sake" thus even the curse is actually for our benefit because of our now sinful state.

      Plant chemistry has demonstrated something our ancestors have always known.The majority of the thorns and thistles or weeds contain medicinal properties that cultivated plants do not have. Of course before sin there would be no need for medicinal plants.
      Thank GOD the curse in childbearing only occurs a few times in a woman's life (imagine if it was every month!)and even then the curse is linked to the most fantastic significant event of her lifetime the beginning of life for another human being. According to John16:21 A woman when she is in travail hath sorrow, because her hour is come: but as soon as she is delivered of the child, she remembereth no more the anguish, for joy that a [baby] is born into the world.

      What a wonderful loving Father we have where even His curses are greater blessings for our benefits

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      • You make an excellent point! All God's punishments are redemptive in nature. Woman's pain in childbearing can be redemptive, because pain increases our valuing of something and assists in the mother/child bond. And I would argue a wife's submission to a godly husband is a blessing in a dangerous world, where women--most of whom have children to care for--are very vulnerable and need a protector. Thanks so much for this emphasis. And the part about thorns and thistles being medicinal means much to me as a person with health problems which I manage with herbs.

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