Last Sunday, we laid a foundation for the continuation of this subject – Women in Ministry. Genesis 1:27 – “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created be them.” So we have established the fact that God created both male and female.
Genesis 5:2 – “Male and female created he them; and blessed them, and called their name Adam (emphasis added) in the day when they were created.” Isn’t it interesting to note that God called both male and female, “Adam” in the day there were created? Adam means “man.” Adam and Eve were created with God-ordained differences from each other, but together they made a full “man,” or a complete picture of God himself. There was perfection in their union. Their differences were not a source of discord or inequality, but a beautiful compliment to each other. Together, God gave them the task of overseeing and ruling His creation.
Genesis 1:28 – “And God blessed them, and God said unto them, be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue [control] it and have dominion [power] over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living things that moveth upon the earth. Notice that God gave this commission to them both. There is no hint that there was anything but equal authority between man and woman as they existed in a sinless state. But God also gave separate commandments to the man.
Genesis 2:15-17 – “And the Lord God took the man, and put him into the Garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat; but of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it; for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die. So God commanded the man to (1) dress the garden; (2) keep or maintain it; and (3) don’t eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. What changed things?
Genesis 3:1-6 – “Now the serpent (Satan) was more subtil than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said unto the woman, yea, hath God said, ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? And the woman said unto the serpent, we may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. And the serpent said unto the woman, ye shall not surely die; for God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her, and he did eat. Perhaps you may be thinking, could the serpent talk before the encounter with Eve? Did Eve know about Satan?
The Scripture is silent on this. The appearance of a crafty snake prompting Eve to sin is a mystery. The text is interested neither in the origin of evil in the serpent nor the nature of the serpent. It primarily is concerned with what the serpent said. Everything else is a mystery. We know from other passages in the Bible that the serpent was simply a tool being used by Satan as a means of disguise. The fact that Eve was not bothered by the serpent’s presence could suggest that it was a kind of a garden pet. We know that it evidently walked rather than slithered. His slithering was a product of the curse or judgment of God, but I would seriously question its ability to talk and communicate as do humans before it became an instrument of Satan. Talking and reasoning in language is part of the original created differences between man and animals. Animals were created from the dust of the ground (Genesis 2:18), but with man, God not only created him from the dust of the ground in His own image, but personally breathed into him the breath of life—then man became a living soul (Genesis 2:7). This special work of God in man’s creation is surely designed to stress the great differences between man and animals that would include the ability to reason and communicate with words rather than just sounds.
Another question that comes to mind is, did Eve commit the first sin? The Genesis text emphasizes the woman leading in the sin, but the consequences for sin are only revealed after Adam ate as well (Genesis 3:6-7). The Bible says that she gave some to Adam, who was with her. Paul lays the blame on both of them. Romans 6:12 says, “therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned.”
According to Genesis 2:22-23, “Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to man. The man said, this is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called woman, for she was taken out of man.” Based on this verse and the actions God takes, we can conclude that Adam and Eve were considered “one.”
We now find that sin entered the heart of Adam and Eve. The result was a temporary curse placed upon both man and woman, which would affect the whole earth. Remember, in Genesis 1:28, Adam and Eve were blessed; now because of their disobedience, they are cursed. In addition, the sin leader, the serpent, is also cursed. Sin carries a penalty.
Genesis 3:14-19: “And the Lord God said unto the serpent, because thou has done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shall thou eat all the days of thy life; and I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel. 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. And unto Adam He said, because thou has hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and has eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; in the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, and unto dust shalt thou return.”
According to Genesis 1:28, Adam and Eve were given equal authority, and now, according to Genesis 3:14-19, God withdrew that authority from Eve. If we live according to God’s will, there will be blessings, but if not, there will be consequences, or in the Old Testament time, curses. I believe this curse has affected all aspects of creation, from the ground itself (infested with weeds and thorns) to human relationships.
When Eve ate the forbidden fruit and enticed Adam to sin with her, one of the consequences for women was the loss of equality with men, as men were to rule over women instead of men and women ruling together. Eve would be “ruled by her husband.” However, when Jesus came as sinless Man and died as the Messiah on the cross for us, all things were restored positionally. In actuality, the restoration of mankind began to take place at that very moment. Though the complete cleaning of the curse has not yet been manifested on the earth, the day is coming when it will be so. Or to put it another way, all those who receive Jesus as Savior receive restoration as Sons of God, but not all of us walk in that restoration—yet. Through Jesus, as we will see later, the curse upon women has been lifted. Women are no longer interior to man with him ruling over her. Women can now be restored to their original place and plan that God had for all of His “sons.” Although we do not see all things restored at this time “legally,” spiritually, they already have been.
Adam was the head of the first race of mankind; and Jesus is the head of the last race, the adopted children of God. God only sees two races—the Adamic race (all natural-born mankind) and His children through Jesus (all those born of the spirit). Let me prove it scripturally:
1 Corinthians 15:21-22 – “For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.” Once we are born into the kingdom of God, we become new creatures in Christ.
Galatians 3:28 – “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female; for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.” In the Spirit, we find there is “neither male nor female,” just as there are neither race distinctions nor class separations. God looks on the hearts of His new creatures and therefore does not discriminate when He offers His love and privileges. Women are not excluded from any of God’s promises nor callings merely because of their sex. Thus, as previously noted, the command to have dominion over and subdue the earth was given to both Adam and Eve. They were both to rule and reign over God’s creation.
Within God’s own nature we find these same qualities. Both men and women are to become like Him as we are conformed to His image. Since this is true, there are times that under the unction of the Holy Spirit a woman should assert herself boldly. (This assertion, however, should not necessarily be towards others, but toward the enemy, Satan.) For men and women to become overcomers they must have this boldness and authority over Satan. God still desires that His people rule and reign with Him. His intention is to qualify us for that position, whether we are male or female.
Revelation 1:6 – “And hath made us kings and priests unto God and His Father; to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.” Even though “kings” is a masculine term, this is the ultimate destination He desires for all of His people. God often uses both male and female terms to refer to both sexes. Scripture tells us that both men and women in the church are referred to as “the bride of Christ.” God has both masculine and feminine nature. The mother heart of Jesus was evident as he prayed over Jerusalem as noted in Matthew 23:37 – “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stones them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!”
Submission is considered to be a feminine trait. However, Jesus submitted to the cross under the direction of the Father. If we walk in the Spirit, we too will possess both the masculine aggressiveness and feminine submissiveness of God.
Both submissiveness and aggressiveness are God-given strengths. Yet, both can be perverted, so that we become submissive and aggressive in the wrong ways, with the wrong attitudes. Because these qualities are so misused and misunderstood by the world, they have become distasteful and despised. If aggression is frowned upon, submission is viewed in an even more negative light in western culture.
We equate submission with weakness and lack of spirit. Nothing could be further from the truth. There was never a human being more submitted to God than Jesus Christ—yet never was there one as completely resistant to the system of the world. For the Christian, whether we are male or female, He is our model.
How does all of this lead up to Women Ministers? Perhaps you are thinking that although we have laid a biblical foundation for “neither male nor female” in Christ, certain verses in the New Testament still seem to ban women from ministry positions in the church.
We will examine those verses in Part III Next Sunday.
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