Post Title: Image of God—Male and Female
Let's look at a few scriptures foundational to understanding men and women, and then look at the subject of how the Kingdom of God bears upon our identity.
So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them.
And God blessed them. - Genesis 1:27-28
Notice that the man (ha'adam in Hebrew) is not a proper name for the male person as opposed to Eve for the female person. Not yet. Adam here simply means the human persons. Humanity comes from the earth (adamah). It is a brilliant play on words in Hebrew—God made adam from the adamah. In other words, God created the earthlings from the earth.
Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness." - Genesis 1:26
Another important observation is that man (adam) refers to human beings, not the male person. He did indeed create adam in his own image, male and female he created them.
My first point—which seems self-evident yet in practice is so often ignored—is that by divine design the male and female are created equal.
Both bear the full image of their Creator; male and female he created them. As if to underscore the importance of the point, the generations of Adam in Genesis 5 open with, When God created man, he made him in the likeness of God. Male and female he created them, and he blessed them and named them Man when they were created. This is what in philosophy we call ontological equality. Ontology has to do with your existence, with your beingness.
God created you as equal beings by his intent and design, and by his creative power. Later, in Galatians 3, Paul tells us the second Adam, Messiah Jesus, undid the damage that occurred with the first Adam. For in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.
In other words, what Paul asserts is that just as you were created equal, just as you have ontological equality, now in Messiah you have spiritual equality. You are created equal, then comes corrupting influence of the Fall which results in all kinds of inequalities, Then the Messiah comes to restore God's original intent, pattern, and purpose.
Yeshua redeems women from any false stereotypes or spiritual inferiorities. He restores both men and women to our Father, and to his original created purposes.
Genesis 2 gives us a different perspective on creation which makes some important contributions to our discussion. Let me begin with a question, What does it mean in verse 18 that the woman is created to be the 'helpmeet' (KJV) of the man? Then the LORD God said, "It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him."
Actually, it is a combination of two very important Hebrew words, ezer kenegdo. What is the woman created to be? What does it mean to say she is an ezer kenegdo in relation to him? It can be translated as a help to match him or a help corresponding to him.
Ezer connotes the idea of a giving quality. Biblically, the ideal for a woman is one who is an enabler, a giver of love, security, and encouragement. She is one who nurtures life. Just as she does physically within her body, she is also the giver of life within the family. This is part of the essence of the feminine by God's design. The word ezer can be translated a help—and most often is. But curiously enough, it can also be translated a power.
Kenegdo speaks of that which is the direct corresponding opposite, the one who stands over against, the exact counterpart. We might say the mirror image or reflection. It has been suggested that if we were to write Genesis today, using our current scientific mindset, we might say God took a cell from Adam's body and duplicated the exact corresponding opposite. In that opposite resides the essence of the feminine, while in the first created being resides the essence of the masculine.
Ezer kenegdo speaks of that which is a help or a power that is in a perfect balance with the other.
In Genesis 1 we learn that man and woman were created equal. In Genesis 2 we learn that woman is a help or power who is the corresponding opposite of the man. The word kenegdo emphasizes equality. It is the idea of a scale of justice in perfect balance. One scholar has dynamically translated ezer kenegdo this way, the woman was created to be equal to and adequate for the other in every respect.
Biblically speaking, the ideal pattern of the covenant of marriage is when a man and a woman—both independent and equal partners—mutually submit to one another in love so as to become interdependent. They are equal in value, dignity, and worth, but they differ in characteristics and in function. They have different qualities and different functions but not different statuses.
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This study is from a professionally produced transcription of the audio recording. It was edited for readability by the team at JC Studies.
Dwight A. Pryor (1945-2011) was a gifted Bible teacher of exceptional clarity and depth who earned the friendship and admiration of both Christian and Jewish scholars—in the United States and Israel—as well as the respect and appreciation of followers of Jesus around the world. His expertise in the language, literature, and culture of Israel during the life and time of Jesus and the early church yield insights that nourish every area of faith and practice.
Dwight founded JC Studies in 1984 to edify the people of God. Click here to explore over fifty of his audio and video seminars.