We’ve been spending a great deal of time looking into the Authority of God and His Word, particularly at the Authority of Bible. The Bible declares God as the Sovereign ruler and creator of everything… by His Word. We’ve established that Jesus is the Word of God made flesh, and that He was with God in the beginning, and apart from Him nothing that has come into being has come into being (John 1, NASB), I love that wording! So, in the beginning there was God, His Word, and His Spirit… and all things were created by Him. As Creator, He is undoubtedly Sovereign in His dominion.
Genesis 1:26-31 (NASB) 26 Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” 27 God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. 28 God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” 29 Then God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the surface of all the earth, and every tree which has fruit yielding seed; it shall be food for you; 30 and to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the sky and to every thing that moves on the earth which has life, I have given every green plant for food”; and it was so. 31 God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.
Here we have the first instance of delegated authority. Man, having been formed from the very dust of the Earth, was now delegated authority over the Earth. Man is set to “rule over” everything on earth and in the sky above the earth and in the sea. In the next chapter, we get some specifics on that authority and how that played out for mankind.
Genesis 2:15-17 (NASB) 15 Then the Lord God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it. 16 The Lord God commanded the man, saying, “From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; 17 but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die.”
I have always been fascinated with the garden of Eden. Particularly with the way it is introduced and how the Adam gets placed into it after he is created… and then booted out of it later on as a result of the fall of man. But for now, let us look at the authority and responsibility (the two concepts are inextricably linked, by the way) given to Adam. He was placed into the garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it. Adam was given a task, and the authority to perform the task was delegated to him. How interesting to see that in the very next verse, we have the first instance of something in all of creation being “not good”. Continue on with me
Genesis 2:18-24(NASB) 18 Then the Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him.” 19 Out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the sky, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called a living creature, that was its name. 20 The man gave names to all the cattle, and to the birds of the sky, and to every beast of the field, but for Adam there was not found a helper suitable for him. 21 So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; then He took one of his ribs and closed up the flesh at that place. 22 The Lord God fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man. 23 The man said,
“This is now bone of my bones,
And flesh of my flesh;
She shall be called Woman,
Because she was taken out of Man.”
24 For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.
It was not good for the man to be alone. He needed a helper. However, nothing that was formed from the ground was a suitable helper for Adam (sorry, guys… the notion of “man’s best friend” being a dog…simply isn’t biblical 😉 ). All joking aside, there are some key points I believe being made here.
The first one being that man was already created, and delegated authority and rule over all created things AND he’s been put to work while he was still alone. In his solitude, God saw that it was not good for him to be alone, so He decided man needed a helper. God had a plan the entire time, so the trotting out of all of the created beings before Adam was NOT an exercise of trial-and-error for God. It was for Adam’s benefit that God wanted to demonstrate to him that none of the other created beings were worthy of serving as helper to man. Why is that? Because man was of a different kind from the rest of creation, and man was to be set as ruler over all created beings in the sea, on the earth, and in the sky. For man to fulfill his charge, and execute his authority in ruling over the earth and filling the earth, he needed a helper of his own kind. Therefore, The Lord God fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man. Adam recognized the significance of what the Lord God had done here, which is why God saw fit that we maintain the quote from Adam. Now Adam was no longer alone, and in being joined with his wife, they shall become one flesh, and now they were given the ability to be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth, after their own kind (mankind).
The second point I’d like to make, is that there is no realignment of authority once the woman is created. Adam was already placed in charge, and given the task and its singular parameter (not to eat of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good an evil, v17) to obey. The authority and responsibility to keep the law was placed upon Adam, before woman was created. Once Adam was given his helper, his wife, the order is not re-given to them. Adam is responsible and it will be Adam who will ultimately be held responsible. That is the nature of authority. So, mankind was created equal, male and female both equal because no other alternative was suitable for Adam. However, within that equality, there is still authority. Woman was created as a helper for man, enabling him to fulfill God’s commandment to man. Woman is equal to man, having been pulled out of his rib and formed to be joined with him. But it is Adam that was given authority.
Even was tempted by the serpent (Gen 3), and was apparently not properly instructed (v3) in the commandment of the Lord God, given to Adam (which was Adam’s responsibility) and she ate the fruit. She then handed it to Adam, and he joined her in her sin. So now what? Who’s in charge now? Remember that we serve an all-powerful, all-knowing, and ever-present God. So God knows exactly what happened, and who was at fault for each act. So, again, the investigation that takes place after the sin is not for God’s sake, but ours. God questions the Adam first, because it was to Adam that He gave the instruction, authority, and responsibility. Having failed to do what is right in the sight of God, Adam sought to escape judgement by assigning blame, interestingly he goes about it cleverly (though foolishly) in trying to get the Lord God to accept blame for having given the woman to Adam. Following the example set before her, she blames the serpent. Notice, none of them lied about what happened, but they both tried to avoid blame. This doesn’t go their way, and we have judgement issued from the bottom up, first the serpent, then the woman, and finally Adam.
Genesis 3:14-15 (NASB) 14 The Lord God said to the serpent,
“Because you have done this,
Cursed are you more than all cattle,
And more than every beast of the field;
On your belly you will go,
And dust you will eat All the days of your life;
15 And I will put enmity Between you and the woman,
And between your seed and her seed;
He shall bruise you on the head,
And you shall bruise him on the heel.”
The Lord God has a plan. God was not caught off-guard, nor was He caught unaware. He knows everything, and here, we see the Lord God declaring that the seed of woman would bruise (or crush) satan’s head, though satan will bruise him on the heel. Why her seed? because it has to be a human, but cannot come from Adam’s seed because it is now dead to sin. This is why the virgin birth is absolutely essential to the Gospel. The broken authority of mankind rests in man, not woman. It was by Adam’s sin that all of mankind fell into darkness, why we are born dead in sin (Romans 5:12-14) in need of a Savior, Jesus Christ.
Genesis 3:16-18 (NASB) 16 To the woman He said,
“I will greatly multiply Your pain in childbirth,
In pain you will bring forth children;
Yet your desire will be for your husband, And he will rule over you.”
I do not wish to spend a great deal of time on this point, but here we have God’s judgment on woman for her sin. My wife and I are strong believers in natural childbirth, and we believe that God has a plan for every aspect of our lives, including childbirth. Throughout the scriptures, God uses birth pains as an illustration of what is taking place on Earth. We’ve been blessed with 2 beautiful children by natural means. God is good, and He provides, Hallelujah! Notice the last portion… God is reiterating the roles of authority. Adam and Eve are still equal and when they are joined they are one flesh. But it is the husband who has authority over her. This is important to understanding much of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the fullness of what He came to redeem, and for what He said He will return.
Genesis 3:17-19 (NASB) 17 Then to Adam He said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree about which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat from it’;
Cursed is the ground because of you;
In toil you will eat of it
All the days of your life.
18 “Both thorns and thistles it shall grow for you;
And you will eat the plants of the field;
19 By the sweat of your face
You will eat bread,
Till you return to the ground,
Because from it you were taken;
For you are dust,
And to dust you shall return.”
As Paul wrote in Romans 5, and really as the entirety of the Scriptures points out, the state of man is now complete separation from God. But our God is merciful and continually works to redeem His people and to gather all nations unto Him. But you see here that the very ground was cursed by Adam’s sin. What was Adam’s task in the Garden? To cultivate the garden and keep it. Now that very task is marred. This leads to another issue, that when you are given authority and responsibility over something, you are held accountable for it… and your failures/successes don’t just affect you, but to that over which you are responsible.
God will redeem His creation, but He cannot do it through Adam’s seed, it must be through the seed of the woman, where the Word of God will be made flesh, so that He can redeem His people. Jesus came to fulfill the Law and the Prophets. Jesus, having lived, died on the cross, and resurrected…has secured all authority in Heaven and Earth. Having paid the ultimate penalty for the sin of mankind, bearing within Himself the death that was required by Adam’s sin, He now is the authority over Heaven and Earth, at the Right Hand of God the Father. Jesus has perfected the relationship between man and Creator and through Him is made the only Way to God.
A common error in modern-day Christianity is to forget that Jesus is still fully man in addition to being fully God. He didn’t lose his perfected body when ascended into Heaven, He still has his perfected body… and He will return for His bride, the Church. I make this point to set up the next: Paul makes it very clear that Jesus Christ maintains absolute authority over the His people. The declaration takes various forms in the New Testament, so let’s look at some of them:
Colossians 1:18 (NASB) 18 [Jesus Christ] is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything.
1 Corinthians 11:3 (NASB) 3 But I want you to understand that Christ is the head of every man, and the man is the head of a woman, and God is the head of Christ.
Hebrews 4:14-16 (NASB) 14 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15 For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. 16 Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
Revelation 19:11-16 (NASB) 11 And I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He who sat on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and wages war. 12 His eyes are a flame of fire, and on His head are many diadems; and He has a name written on Him which no one knows except Himself. 13 He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. 14 And the armies which are in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, were following Him on white horses. 15 From His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may strike down the nations, and He will rule them with a rod of iron; and He treads the wine-press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty. 16 And on His robe and on His thigh He has a name written, “KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.”
I urge you, not to get caught so up modern feminism or misogyny that you miss out on the great picture of Jesus Christ, and the profound depth of God’s love and perfect planning in making for us a way of escape from our own sin. Jesus now fulfills every role of authority that man has messed up: man (second Adam), husband (to His bride, the church), judge, priest, and King. All authority. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is about so much more than just granting you a “get out of hell free” card… It’s about the Greatness of our Lord God. Praise be to God and His son, Jesus.