ECHOES FROM EDEN
MALE AND FEMALE
"And God said, let us make man in our image, after our likeness: so God created man in His own image, in the image of God created He him; MALE AND FEMALE created He them" (Gen. 1:26-27).
EDITOR'S COMMENT: For many months I have been impressed by the Spirit of God that I should write two or three articles on the important subject: Male and Female in Eden. In this first article I shall deal primarily with the natural realm - the relationship between man and woman, husband and wife, on the physical plane during this and past ages. In next month's article we shall consider the fuller revelation of male and female in the higher realm that pertains to the Spirit.
MALE AND FEMALE
The book of Genesis gives two accounts of the creation of man. As I have studied the Word of God, many things have become very evident, one of which is that there are two distinct creations, or works of God revealed in chapters one and two of Genesis. In Gen. 1:26-27 the first of these creations, in respect to man, is presented and as we consider the wonderful advent of man created "in the image and likeness of God" we can only conclude that this is a SPIRITUAL MAN brought forth out of the very spirit-substance of God Almighty and bearing His own divine nature, character, and attributes. The image of God is the nature of God reproduced in man. The second work of God wrought upon man is related in Gen. 2:7 where we see this significant action taking place: "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 soul." Reading this passage we have the definite assurance that, as man has been first "created" on the sixth day in the spiritual image of God, a further work is being carried forth and the man is now being "formed" into another expression: "FORMED of the dust of the ground," and so BECOMING a "living soul" - manifest in the earth realm. The first is the "created" man, the second the "formed" man. The first is a "spiritual" man, the second a "physical" man. The first bears the image of the "heavenly," while the second bears the image of the "earthly." The first is known to God in the Spirit, the second is manifest to the physical world.
The very fact that the Scripture states that ADAM "BECAME" A LIVING SOUL, reveals that was a process of descending from pure spirit existence, into a lesser realm. It is not my purpose to dwell upon this transition of Adam from spiritual to physical, from heavenly to earthly, for the thought the Spirit of God would now emphasize to our hearts is the fact that both the "created" man and the "formed" man were MALE AND FEMALE. Of the spiritual man it is written, "So God created He man in His own image, in the image of God created He him; MALE AND FEMALE created He them" (Gen. 1:27). Of the manifest man we read, "And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; and the rib...made He a woman, and brought her unto the man. And Adam 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. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh" (Gen. 2:21-24).
When God formed the body of Adam from the dust of the ground, He did not make man and woman, for Adam was both in one - after the image and likeness of God. The image of God is not a body with a torso, two legs with two feet and ten toes, two arms with two hands and ten fingers, and a head with two eyes, two ears, a nose and a mouth. The image of God is the NATURE of God - omnipotent, omniscient, immutable, holy, perfect...who is love. But because God had a Father Nature, he had to birth a Son: because when one has a father nature, the deepest craving of their nature is to beget and bring forth within their own being an offspring in the likeness of themselves. Therefore, because God had a Father Nature, He had to birth a Son; but the problem was He didn't have a Wife. Now this would have been a problem for us, but it was not a problem for God, because He had His Wife in His own side, for in that beginning, before human flesh was, God had both Male and Female in Himself. We know this is so because everything in the whole vast universe came out of God, and if God had not had Male and Female in Himself in the beginning we could not have male and female in the earth today - in His image!
The Word of God bears immutable testimony to this wonderful truth. Father Abraham heard the call of God and got him out his own country, from his father's house and his father's kindred, and sojourned to a land that God showed him. God gave to him the promise of a seed and that in this seed all the families of the earth would be blessed. After many years of experience in Canaan, this man of faith, yet without the promised seed, and seemingly without hope, was visited by the Lord and we read in Gen. 17:1-2: "When Abram was ninety years old and nine, the Lord appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the ALMIGHTY GOD; walk before Me, and be thou perfect. And I will make My covenant between Me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly."
Now this name, GOD ALMIGHTY, is both interesting and touching. In the Hebrew it is "El Shaddai." God (El) means "might" or "power" and signifies the "Strong One." "Shaddai" is different, though it also describes power; but it is the power not of force, but of all-bountifulness. "Shaddai" primarily means "Breasted," being formed directly from the Hebrew word "Shad," that is, "the breast," or more exactly, a "woman's breast," and is so used in Gen. 49:25; Job 3:12; Ps. 22:9; Song of Solomon 1:13; 4:5; 7:3,8; 8:1,8,10. Thus "Shaddai" means "the Pourer or Shedder forth" of life as a woman bears her child and then feeds and sustains it with the milk from her breast. God is the giver out of His own life as He bears out of His own substance his offspring and then feeds and sustains and strengthens it with the "milk" of His Word. Can we not see that all natural things have spiritual counterparts? By her breast the mother has almost infinite power over the child. Some of my readers perhaps have heard the old Greek story of the babe laid down near some cliff by its mother, while she was busy with her herd of goats. The babe, unperceived, crawled to the edge. The mother, afraid to take a step, lest the child should move further and fall over the precipice, only uncovered her breast, and so drew back the infant to her. It is this figure which God Himself has chosen in this name EL SHADDAI, by which to express to us the feminine nature of His Almightness! His Almightness is of the breast, that is of bountiful, life-giving supply! Therefore He can quiet the restless, as the quiets the child; therefore He can nourish and strengthen, as the breast nourishes; therefore He can attract as the breast attracts, when we are in peril of falling away from Him. Ah, this is the "Almighty" who appeared to Abraham and assured him that he would be blessed according to the promise. How wonderful are these things!
Long milleniums after Abraham's encounter with God Almighty, El Shaddai, the "Breasted One," John the Revelator, in exile on the barren Isle of Patmos, a place of few inhabitants and swarming with pirates, heard behind him the voice of One who trumpeted into his ears the message, "I am the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, which is, and which was, and which is to come, THE ALMIGHTY" (Rev. 1:8). As John turned to see the voice that spoke to him, with astonished countenance beheld the wonder of this One "clothed with a garment down to the foot, and GIRT ABOUT THE PAPS with a golden girdle" (Rev. 1:13). The word "paps" is the Greek word "mastos" used exclusively in Greek for the female breast! "And it came to pass, as He spake these things, a certain woman of the company lifted up her voice, and said Unto Him, Blessed is the womb that bare Thee, and the PAPS (mastos) which Thou hast sucked!" (Lk. 11:27). On Patmos we have the woman's dress and the woman's breast while yet the speaker is THE ALMIGHTY! It would not be possible to describe more vividly the dual nature of our God who is both Male and Female, the Strong and Mighty One, our Father, who is also "El Shaddai," our Mother, the Pourer-forth who pours Himself out for His creatures; who gives them His life-blood; who satisfies them with milk from His own bosom; who sheds forth his Spirit, and says, "Come unto me and drink:" "Open thy mouth wide and I will fill it:" who thus gives Himself and His very nature to those who receive Him, that they may grow to become HIS SONS AND HIS DAUGHTERS! We may, and we must, eat of Him and drink of Him if we are to grow and abide in Him and know Him in fullness.
When he that readeth can grasp the truth that God bears within Himself both the characteristic of male and female, of Father and Mother, then he can better understand the divine word spoken "in the beginning" when God said, "Let us make man in OUR image, after OUR likeness: so...in the image of God created He him; MALE AND FEMALE created He them! (Gen. 1:26-27). This man in the image of God is destined to have dominion over all the works of God's hands. He is created in God's image, MALE AND FEMALE, SONS AND DAUGHTERS, to be the revelation of both the strength and wisdom of God's Fatherhood and the tenderness and sustaining life of God's Motherhood to all creation. God makes His Sons and Daughters partakers of His own nature, that they, the firstfruits of Himself, may make others partakers of the same nature. Their separation unto Him makes them fit for their work, as He says, "Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be MY SONS AND DAUGHTERS, saith the LORD ALMIGHTY" (II Cor. 6:17-18). Sons and Daughters! Male and Female! Thus they also become "breasted ones" and "pourers-forth". In them is fulfilled the promise of Jerusalem, that "those who love her may suck and be satisfied with the breasts of her consolations; that they may milk out and be delighted with the abundance of her glory" (Isa. 66:10-11).
When God created man in His own image he was ONE, not separated in the beginning into two persons. Thus he remained until the Lord separated the masculine from the feminine, making Adam and Eve, man and woman, to exist separately. Within the one man's nature were both masculine and feminine elements, all the possibilities of male and female, all the potential of fruit and of power, wisdom and love. This spiritual man, being a Son of God, possessed that perfect chaste virgin WITHIN HIMSELF and could have replenished the whole earth with his kind in God's image by a word of power as God by a word had willed him into existence in the beginning. But when this man of spirit was lowered into the lesser realm, formed of earth, there follows this word: "And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him" (Gen. 2:18).
We shall not in this article consider the process by which God separated the female from the male, making Adam and Eve, man and woman, but we should carefully point out that following this separation, though existing in two bodies, inspiration declares in both the Old Testament and in the New that the man and his wife, though separate, were ONE FLESH. Husbands and wives, according to the ordinance of Almighty God, are ONE FLESH, ONE UNIT, yea, ONE PERSON. The "thus saith the Lord" concerning the matter is simply stated in these inspired words: "From the beginning of the creation God made them male and female. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife; and the TWO shall become ONE FLESH, so that they are NO LONGER ONE, but ONE FLESH. What therefore God has united - joined together - let not man separate or divide" (Mk. 10:6-9, King James and Amplified).
It was not the burning self-desire of Adam that caused Eve to come forth, but the purpose of God. It was God Himself who initiated the whole process, for the record states, "And the Lord God said, It is NOT GOOD for the man to be alone; I WILL MAKE him an help meet for him" (Gen. 2:18). "Meet" is an old English word meaning, "suitable, fit, proper." The whole flavor of the word "meet" is to fit, join, combine, agree, be in union, be together. No hostility here! And no division. God made a help to fit, join, combine, agree, be in union, yes, to BE ONE with Adam!
When Eve had been built by the skillful hand of the Creator and presented to Adam, he had an immediate name for what Eve obviously was. Not her given name, Eve, as we term it in English, but what KIND of creature she was. Hebrew is simpler than English, and more plainly explains exactly what a woman is: "ish" is the Hebrew word for "man" and "isha" is the feminine form of "ish" or "man." Adam said, "Now here is bone exactly like my bone, and flesh exactly like my flesh; because she was built from what was taken from me, I will call her 'isha:' a FEMALE MAN!" (Gen. 2:23 paraphrased). Adam merely added a single letter to the word which stood for himself, to define the quality of difference: sex. And God confirmed Adam's understanding that they were both EXACTLY ALIKE despite the obvious outward differences: "In the day that God created man, in the likeness of God made He him; male and female created He them; and blessed them, and called THEIR name ADAM, in the day when they were created" (Gen. 5:1-2). To both God and Adam it was ONE CREATION "in the image of God."
Ish. Isha. Male. Female. Both Adam. Both man. Both in the image of God! Isha signifies, no matter how uncouth the sound to our ears, MAN-NESS. So in the old Latin the word for man is "vir," and the word for woman is "vira" - a FEMALE MAN! The English word "woman" also confirms this truth, for it is a contraction of the old Anglo-Saxon term "womb-man" - a MAN with a womb! When Adam said that Eve must be called "isha," it was as though for "wife" one would say "she-man." God blessed the union of ish and isha, this ONE CREATION HE CALLED ADAM.
AN HELP MEET
Adam called Eve "isha" and God called "isha" an "help meet for Adam." The Hebrew word for "Help" is a strong word and does not imply an inferior, but actually a superior help in Old Testament usage. It occurs 21 times in Old Testament, twice in reference to Eve, three times of human help, but in every other use made of this word it refers to DIVINE HELP, as when the sweet singer of Israel so beautifully intoned, "MY HELP cometh from THE LORD!" (Ps. 121:2). Eve would supply that which Adam was unable to supply of himself, therefore her HELP would be a superior help to him, something above and beyond himself. It is not "helpmeet" or "helpmate" as is often erroneously quoted. The exact rendering from the Hebrew is "an help as BEFORE HIM," that is, one corresponding to him, one adapted to him, one like him in person, disposition, and affection, united to him in the tenderest ties, a counterpart of himself, another self, standing FACE TO FACE. Two of a kind, COUNTERPARTS, YET ONE!
There was no inequality even considered. No superiority or inferiority alluded to. No hint of Eve's being a second-class creation. Differences, yes. But differences do not make for an inferior or superior individual, they only make him a different individual. Women can have babies, men can't. That's a difference. Men generally have a stronger musculature than woman - that's a difference. Trying to prove equality between the sexes by playing the other fellow's game is not wise or logical, does not make sense - and proves nothing. It is not necessary for women to become better (or as good as) men truck drivers, mechanics, ditch diggers and soldiers for them to prove their equality. It is not necessary (nor possible) for men to bear children and give suck for them to prove equality with women. When God made Eve - here now was a creature EQUAL WITH ADAM, another PERSON, a SHE-MAN with whom He could share EVERYTHING!
Those who read these lines should meditate deeply upon the wonder of man's primordial glory - male and female - SET TOGETHER in splendor over the works of God's hands. All being set in order, one was needed to both take the headship and become the "El Shaddai" unto the creation. "And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness; and let THEM have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in His own image...male and female created He THEM. And God blessed Them, and God said unto THEM, Be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it; and HAVE DOMINION over every thing that moveth upon the earth" (Gen. 1:26-28).
My reader will observe the change from "him" to "them." We are not presented with the actual fact of the formation of the woman until the next chapter; though here we find God blessing "them," and giving "them" JOINTLY THE PLACE OF UNIVERSAL GOVERNMENT. All the inferior orders of creation were set under their JOINT DOMINION. Eve received all her blessings in Adam: in him, too, she got her dignity and position and power. Though not yet called into actual existence, she was, in the purpose of God, looked at as part of the man. Universal dominion was not given to Adam alone, it was not said, "Let HIM have dominion," but "Let THEM have dominion." There was no other creature so near to Adam as Eve, because no other creature was part of himself. What affection did not Eve owe to Adam! What nearness she enjoyed! What intimacy of communion. What full participation in all his thoughts! In all his dignity, and in all his glory, wisdom and power, she was entirely ONE. He did not rule OVER her, but WITH her. He was lord of the whole creation, and she was ONE WITH HIM! THEY were the king and queen of the universe!
All this will find its full antitype in the ages to come. Then shall the True Man - the Lord from heaven, the corporate man composed of "many Sons brought to glory" - take His seat on the throne, and in companionship with His bride - the Church - rule over a restored creation. This Church is quickened out of the grave of Christ, is part "of His body, of His flesh, and of His bones." He is the Head and she the body, making ONE MAN, as we read in the fourth chapter of Ephesians, "Till we all come, in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a PERFECT MAN, unto the measure of the stature of the FULLNESS OF CHRIST" (Eph. 4:13). And who is this "Perfect Man"? CHRIST AND HIS BRIDE, Christ MALE AND FEMALE - ONE PERFECT MAN!
The Sons of God are the temple of the Lord (I Cor. 3:16; Rev. 11:1-2, 19). The Bride of Christ is the city of the Lord (Rev. 21:9-11). That city is the holy city, the New Jerusalem. Every stone of that city is a living stone, a glorified CHRIST-BEING. Every jewel, every gate, every wall and every street is a living ransomed soul just as every member of the body of Christ, which is the temple of the Lord, is a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God and precious. We cannot fully explain nor understand such an awesome mystery as this, but the eye that sees by the Spirit sees the temple as a living thing, composed of living saints. In that temple redeemed men, the Sons of God, are the pillars and foundations, and Christ Himself is the chief cornerstone, from whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord, in who we also are builded to become an habitation of God through the Spirit. In holy vision the apostle John was transported in spirit to a great and high mountain from which he was permitted to see the perfected Bride of Christ in all her glory. From his lofty vantage point the eyes of John the beloved were ravished with the electrifying sight of the majesty and infinite splendor of the Bride adorned for her Husband. Not a city of stone or brick as was the Old Jerusalem, but a New Jerusalem, a living city, a Bride beyond compare, a virgin pure and holy, composed of incorruptible saints brought forth out of the living substance of Christ. Words utterly fail me to describe the wonder of such unsurpassable glory, for ours are but the words of men, but that holy and beautiful city belongs to THE REALM OF THE SPIRIT. Now at last the perfection, the image of God, Sons and Daughters, Male and Female, Temple and City, of which Adam and Eve were but a frail shadowy type, has come, the many-membered Bridegroom, the last Adam, with the many-membered Bride, the Holy City, Adam and Eve, the first and the last, in the image and likeness of God JOINTLY RULING OVER ALL THINGS!
The nations shall walk by the light of this City and the rulers and the leaders of the earth shall bring into it their glory. The tree of life is in the midst of it and the water of life flows from the throne of God in the midst of it. This is GOD, male and female, united with the image of God in man, male and female, ruling over all the endless vastnesses of infinity unto ages of ages! May the Holy Ghost unfold these things more fully and powerfully to our hearts, so that we may have a deeper sense of the conduct and character which are worthy of the high vocation wherewith we are called.
Think of the momentous tragedy when that first blessed pair, made in the image of God, commissioned to rule the world and have dominion over all things, entered into transgression at the forbidden tree and consequently into the realm of death, thus losing their glory, their life, and their power, together with their ONENESS. Through their transgression they became the progenitors of a fallen race, reduced in wisdom to less than five percent of their original intellect. The fall filled the world with evil then and has blighted every succeeding generation with the carnality and wickedness of fallen man, filling the jails with criminals, the hospitals with sick and insane, cursing the homes with hatred, rebellion, and disunity, filling peaceful lands with blood and fire and smoke of war, and cursing earth's inhabitants with the sting of death.
There is neither time nor space to consider the myriad ghastly consequences the fall of man, but I would draw your attention to one disastrous result. The curses reaped CAUSED THE INEQUALITIES BETWEEN THE SEXES so prominent in the history of the human family. Life became a burden and a struggle. The beauty and equality of man and woman in the Garden of Eden (the Kingdom of Heaven) disappeared. Strife, guilt, shame, discord, competition and pain took over - the way of the flesh held sway!
While the loss of oneness and equality between "ish" and "isha" was tragic indeed, this was but the sad fruit of DISUNITY WITH GOD which had already invaded their lives. There is a most enlightening statement by the apostle Paul in II Cor. 11:3 where he admonishes, "But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the SIMPLICITY that is in Christ." The whole purpose of the serpent's beguilement was to CORRUPT THE MIND FROM THE SIMPLICITY THAT IS IN CHRIST. The word "simplicity" actually is the Greek word for "singleness," from the same root as used in the verse, "When thine eye is single, thy whole body also is full of light" (Lk. 11:34).
When Eve was called to give account to God for her transgression, she said, "The serpent BEGUILED me, and I did eat" (Gen. 3:11). "Beguiled" is from the Greek word "exapatao" meaning "to cheat out of," and hence also meaning to lead into error. Eve was cheated out, sold short, and lost her oneness, harmony, unity and singleness with GOD, thus losing the glory of God, when she was deceived, led into error, into a state of duplicity, to try and MIND THE FLESH AND MIND THE SPIRIT AT THE SAME TIME.
The dreadful fruit of disunity with God is disunity in every other realm, for "HE is our peace" (Eph. 2:14). The awful reality of this fact became apparent to Eve as the voice of God announced the dreadful judgment, the terrifying sentence, which swept like a frightening nightmare over her being, proclaiming, "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" (Gen. 3:16). "Thy desire shall be to thy husband" would be better translated, "Thy desire shall be SUBJECT to thy husband," that is, thy desire shall be subjected to the WILL AND PLEASURE OF THY HUSBAND. One ancient translation reads, "The direction of thee shall be with thy husband." "...and he shall RULE OVER thee." Another version says, "...and he will DOMINATE YOU!"
Can we not see by this that the headship of man over woman CAME AS A RESULT OF THE FALL AND AS A PART OF THE CURSE? It is my long considered opinion that there is absolutely no particle of evidence anywhere in the whole Bible to support the notion that Adam had the headship over Eve before the fall. The sentence laid upon Eve that fateful day in Eden is, if I err not, the announcement of a condition that should occur with respect to the vast majority of woman through succeeding ages and dispensations - but NOT ONE THAT SHOULD HOLD PERPETUALLY, for God purposed that the day would come when "there shall be no more curse!" (Rev. 22:3).
The same seeds of confusion and duplicity which brought disunity with God, swiftly brought disunity in the human family, beginning with Adam and Eve, in view of which the Lord established a LAW to maintain order in the home, pronouncing to the woman, "Thy desire shall be SUBJECT to thy husband, and HE SHALL RULE OVER THEE." God allowed women to be brought down into such a place of servitude and subjection to men that at the period in which Jesus came into the world, women were held in such a low place of subjection and bondage that in many cases they were not allowed to walk down the streets beside their husbands or to sit in the same room with their husbands when their husbands had company. They had been brought into many forms of bondage. In Eastern lands, even today, we see women the slaves of men, shut away in harems and purdahs. They have no rights, no privileges. The man is able to marry other women and to divorce his wives at will, to beat and cruelly misuse them. We see how the rule of man has brought women into a state of utter misuse and bondage.
That this arrangement was not God's original arrangement not His eternal order, is evidenced by the fact that man's domination over woman is strictly enforced by the law of Moses, of which law Paul by inspiration wrote, "Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added BECAUSE OF TRANSGRESSIONS, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made" (Gal. 3:19). Numbers, chapter 30, gives a very interesting account of the view of the headship of man under the law, and its relationship to a woman's vows unto the Lord. We shall omit a quoting of the verses to save space, but the facts involved are clear. A girl, still living at home, is to be under the headship of her father, and if she makes a vow to the Lord, and her father hears it, and disallowes it, she is clear of that vow. Likewise for a wife, if she makes a vow, "every vow, and every binding oath to afflict the soul, HER HUSBAND MAY ESTABLISH IT, OR HER HUSBAND MAY MAKE IT VOID" (Num. 30:13).
Under the law women were not independent legal entities. Like the minor, the deafmute, and the idiot, they could not serve as witnesses in court; they could not inherit equally with male heirs; they could not divorce their husbands; the husband kept money earned by his wife and owned anything she gained or found by chance. In short, under the law the wife was THE PROPERTY OF HER HUSBAND and classified as inferior, being listed together with his other chattels. "Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's WIFE, nor his manservant, not his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, NOR ANYTHING THAT IS THY NEIGHBOR'S" (Ex. 20:17).
The New Testament has something to say of the headship of man over woman, but we must never forget for one moment that man's headship over woman is a mere temporary arrangement adapted to this imperfect state while we walk upon earth subjected to the weakness and travail of this carnal, corruptible realm, all of which is A PRODUCT OF THE FALL AND PART OF THE CURSE. Hearken to me, my brother, my sister! Man's headship over the woman was never part of God's original purposes of God, it does not bespeak, by any stretch of the imagination, the glistering glory of the heavenly realm of the Kingdom of God in Eden where man and woman pertains, rather, to the tragic, sorrowful, and sordid ORDER OF THE CURSE.
Many saints speak so much today about "divine order," and usually they refer to New Testament Church order, five-fold ministries, elders, gifts, headships, woman's place in the Church, family relationships, etc. Certainly we PRAISE GOD for all the "orders" He has ordained for this "in-part" realm, the exercise of which is given us for our development until "we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a PERFECT MAN (the man originally purposed in the image of God), unto the MEASURE OF THE STATURE OF THE FULLNESS OF CHRIST" (Eph. 4:13). The divine regulations for our human relationships in this "in-part" realm of imperfection are valid, but I do not hesitate to declare to you, beloved, that the vast majority of Christians are so bogged down in the realm of the "in-part" that they are completely incapable of knowing what it means to GO ON BEYOND that stage to BECOME THE PERFECT MAN. Is it not a marvelous thing to discover the Spirit of God commanding: "Therefore leaving the (elementary) principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us GO ON TO PERFECTION!" (Heb. 6:1). If we will seek God in prayer and ask the Father in heaven for revelation, the Holy Spirit will take the things of God IN THE REALM OF PERFECTION and show them unto us, and we will rejoice in the blessedness of the understanding HE gives. If our spiritual minds can grasp the truth that for those who would GO ON TO PERFECTION the GOAL is not five-fold ministries, elders, gifts, headships, or any other temporary arrangement, but THE PERFECT MAN IN THE IMAGE OF GOD, then it will be much easier to yield ourselves to the transition from the realm of that which is "in-part," to the higher realm of that which IS PERFECT.
TRANSCENDING THE CURSE...BACK TO EDEN!
There are those ministers who insist that it is not God's order for a woman to have any place of leadership or authority in the Church whatever, and especially no place of authority or leadership over any man in the Church; no matter how carnal or unanointed that man might be, or how anointed or how spiritual the woman might be; and that God will not anoint any woman to any kind of ministry or leadership or authority in the Church, the body of Christ. Most who have written on this subject hitherto have titled their articles, WOMAN'S PLACE IN THE CHURCH, but this is by far an over simplification of the question. For one cannot come to a full understanding of the full answer to this question without coming to an understanding of woman's place in the progressive unfolding of the total plan and purpose of God for His creation that we find in the Scriptures from Genesis through Revelation. Woman's place in the total scheme of God's Divine Plan has been progressively changing: first, for the worse and then for the better, since God brought her forth here on this earth out of Adam.
When God brought Eve out of Adam there was no such thing as the Church, as we know and understand the term today. The Church came into being after the fall as a redemptive instrument in the hands of God, or as a term to describe that "called-out" segment of humanity, the Ecclesia, which is destined to become the firstfruits of His redemption, restored wholly and completely to the fullness of the glory of God in which man dwelt before Eden's gates were closed to him, that through this firstfruits God may deal with the rest of humanity until throughout all the unlimited and boundless and eternal heavens GOD BECOMES ALL IN ALL. And so you see, if you would understand WOMAN'S PLACE you cannot back to the days of the apostles, nor back to the law of Moses, nor back to Abraham and Sarah; you must go back BEYOND THE FALL AND THE CURSE - all the way back to EVE IN ADAM! And when you deal with Eve in Adam you're not dealing with woman's place in the "in-part" realm of the Church world today, for you are touching the true and eternal divine order OF THE KINGDOM OF GOD.
The order of things under the fall is not man's normal state. Eve in Eden was not like the women of today; her state was far better and more excellent, and she was in no way inferior to Adam and was in no way ruled over by him for THE TWO WERE ONE - one flesh, one body, one soul, one spirit, one will, one mind, one desire, one hope, one purpose and one position. How can one person rule over the other when the TWO ARE ONE in every way?
This age of grace, through which the Church has passed during nineteen hundred years and more, has been a time when the Spirit of God has been working upon the body of Christ to bring each elect member of that body to the measure of the stature of the fullness of the Christ. During this time God has progressively been working to inwork His full redemption in our very natures, transforming us into New Creation people. With the coming of Jesus, with his pouring out His life upon the cross, the way was opened for both men and women to be cleansed and redeemed FROM EVERY EFFECT OF THE CURSE that came through the fall; so that both men and women might be born again - regenerated, recreated - and become completely NEW CREATURES with no taint of the curse of the fall upon them. Ah, dear ones, this is the glory set before the Sons and Daughters of the Most High, not just to learn how to live and conduct ourselves in this travail under the curse, but to be made free from the curse, to live and walk tall and strong and triumphant in the glorious and eternal reality of the Kingdom of God! "Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us" (Gal. 3:13). Therefore, insofar as the question of woman's position in relation to the man, since the redemptive work of Jesus was completed, they are redeemed completely from the curse that was laid upon them through Eve's part in the fall, and by virtue of the fact that in the New Birth the Perfect Man, the Son of God, has been conceived within them, therefore the hope is for this reality to become so experiential within, in both the man and the woman, that the two shall truly become ONE IN CHRIST JESUS.
Mr. Husband and Mrs. Wife, there is no one grand leap into the ONENESS of which I speak, no instant perfection, no short cut into the fullness of redemption purchased by Jesus, for redemption is a PROCESS. Husbands and wives do not automatically become ONE in mind, will, desire, and purpose because of a salvation experience or the infilling of the Holy Spirit. Being "born ones of God," indwelt by His Spirit, we now have the POTENTIAL to ascend into that higher plane of life, to lay hold upon the reality lost in the fall, and to experience the inworkings of the change which results in an entirely new STATE OF BEING, making us LIKE HIM, transformed in nature and restored to the glory we had "in Him" before the world was.
So many preachers and Christians get bogged down with some of the literal, letter-of-the-Word statements about man's headship and woman's submission, that they miss the point of God's overall purpose. In the distance it seems my ear can hear some of them even now hotly contesting these things I am writing, demanding to learn from me if I do not believe the statements made by Paul and others where it is affirmed that "the head of the woman is the man," "wives submit yourselves unto your own husbands in everything," and "let the wives be in subjection to their husbands." This is unquestionably the order of God for husbands and wives AS LONG AS THEY ARE WALKING IN IMPERFECTION, IN DUPLICITY, AND IN A CONDITION OF VARIANCE AND DISUNITY. When two are not one, when two are not joined in the mind of Christ in the same spirit, heart, desire, will and purpose, then it should not be difficult for us to understand that ONE MUST SUBMIT so there will be peace and order. You cannot have TWO BOSES in any business! The Scriptural order for husbands and wives in the realm of imperfection and carnality is for the wife to submit to her husband in all things.
Ah, hear the Word of the Lord and take heed, all husbands and wives who hope to attain to God's high calling, for I declare to you that there is a HIGHER ORDER of the Kingdom of God revealed in Eden's blest Garden! This higher order of perfection and Sonship requires the TWO to be so transformed by the Spirit that in the pure nature and holy mind of the Christ they BECOME ONE. When this UNION of mind, will, and spirit takes place between husband and wife THERE IS NOTHING LEFT TO BE "SUBMITTED," for duplicity is overcome, all variance flees away as the chaff driven with whirlwind out of the floor, and all disunity is swallowed up in the ONENESS OF HIS LIFE. The "two" are "set at one again." This is the glory and majesty of the Kingdom of God! "The Kingdom of God is PEACE...in the Holy Ghost" (Rom. 14:17). Kingdom peace ISN'T when one subdues the other, forcing an agreement which submission only brought about.
The very word "submission" presupposes variance, disagreement, division, dissention, strife, hostility, etc. Let me illustrate. If the husband wants to spend the winter in Tucson, Arizona and the wife wants to spend the winter in Miami, Florida, then you have a difference, a variance. If both are strong willed and determined to get "their way" you soon have argument, contention and strife. But, if the husband and wife are ONE MIND and BOTH desire to go to Tucson, there is no variance and THERE CAN BE SUBMISSION FOR THERE IS NOTHING TO BE SUBMITTED. Can we not see by this that when two are not agreed, submission is in order. I believe that I speak by the Spirit of God when I say that the highest will of God for His Sons and Daughters in this the end of age is not SUBMISSION but ONENESS.
Husband! If you have received the call to Sonship do not rule over your wife like a tyrant, do not act like she is some servant who must cater to your every whim. Seek not to rule over her at all, you who would be free from the curse, but in deep humility seek earnestly in the fear of God to be MADE ONE with your wife in everything. Wife! You who have been apprehended to the high calling of God in Christ, do not be resentful toward your husband, do not demand your rights or walk in an independent spirit. Neither should you see your role as being a sweet little wimpy, mindless, submissive wife. The Lord would impart to your spirit this high and holy vision of BECOMING ONE with your husband in the mind and nature of the Son of God! If God cannot perfect such a glorious work within us then He is not God, we are not Sons, and "let us go on to perfection" is a farce!
Thank God! there is an order for us in our weakness and carnality: headship and submission. But my soul shouts unending hallelujahs that this carnal realm is not our abiding place, merely a temporary encampment while we pass through the processings of God, TRANSFORMED INTO THE IMAGE OF HIS SON. In that blest realm male and female are UNITED IN ONE to walk once more in the splendor of Eden's enchanted Garden - the Kingdom of Heaven on earth.
I must tell you frankly that I have absolutely no ambition to live under the curse and RULE OVER MY WIFE, nor do I have one whit of desire for HER to be subject to ME. Ah, yes, we must yet submit ourselves to one another and, I must not shirk my responsibilities in headship to love and cherish and honor my wife, making wise judgments in the home when one must make a final decision in some matter upon which we are not agreed, and my wife must reverence my position, but this arrangement is but for a season, according to the measure that we both still find in our natures the working of carnality with all the old emotions and cravings of self-hood, variance and duplicity. But the one overwhelming desire which crieth from the depths of my regenerated spirit and pulsates continually within my breast is not for HER SUBMISSION but for OUR ONENESS. This has been attained in measure, where HIS SALVATION has been perfectly wrought out in our lives, in those areas where we have died to self and put on the mind of Christ, our minds and desires and wills have been MADE ONE IN HIS, and it is joy unspeakable and full of glory!
It is a great mystery, we know, yet in spite of such divine revelation and truth as this there comes the monstrous evil of "women's liberation" to captivate the simple minded. God's blessed provision in Eden was EQUALITY IN ONENESS. The diabolical lie in the women's liberation movement is the effort to have EQUALITY IN INDEPENDENCE. Independence! Self-hood! The devil's deception! The feminists cry, "We will be equal, liberated, and independent!" The cry of the Spirit of God is "That they all may BE ONE!" Never the twain shall meet. What fiendish evil and devilish deception it is to pretend that male and female are somehow rivals at enmity and in antagonism with each other! Male and female were ordained by God to complement each other, each having his God-given place and calling, working in harmony, for as the woman is of the man, so is the man by the woman, but all things insubordinate, intractable, contentious, combating, competitive and perverse spirit of the women's liberation movement as you would flee from a fire in the forest, for that satanic path is not the road to Sonship and the mind of Christ.
Having mused with awe and delight upon the gracious purposes of an all-wise God, begun in ages past, unfolding in the present, to be carried to their ultimate and glorious intention in regenerated men and women who have been transformed by the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit, with what more fitting words could I bring to close the brief study of male and female than by quoting that blessed epigram of assurance left by that masterful exponent of God's purpose, who, after reminding us that we are accepted in the Beloved, chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world, blessed with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places, and predestinated to placement as Sons of the Most High, avowed that that same grace would continue to work in all men until "according to that which seemed good to Him, which good thing He purposed in Himself, with respect to an administration of the completion of the epochs of time TO BRING BACK AGAIN TO THEIR ORIGINAL STATE ALL THINGS IN THE CHRIST, the things in the heavens and the things on the earth, in Him, in whom also we were an inheritance, having been previously marked out according to the purpose of the One who operates all things according to the counsel of His will, with a view to our being to the praise of His glory..." (Eph. 1:10-12, Wuest).
J. PRESTON EBY
J. PRESTON EBY
If you would like to receive these studies write to:
J. Preston Eby
P.O. Box 371240
El Paso TX 79937-1240
All writings are distributed on a free-will offering basis.
Pathfinder Homepage | Elwin's Articles | Margit's Articles | Ministry Links | Misc Links