“ON EAGLES’ WINGS MINISTRIES”
“Did God Establish “A Man’s World”? November 2009 Part 1.
Simply put, “man has made himself the dominant figure in our present world” and that practice seems to permeate just about every culture there is. In fact, some cultures treat women as “beasts of burden” much like donkeys, mules, and camels. So let us play a little game that will take a few seconds. Let us change the system so that women will gain equal rights! Who will get the ball rolling? A man is not likely to do it, because he is too mired and intoxicated in his present position as “master and lord” over his woman. A woman can’t do it because she is carefully and methodically ushered around and away from the seat of power. We showcase a few breakthroughs and wave a flag of victory. But obviously the ripples have not reached to the outer worlds where abuse and subservience mark the daily lives of women. “O, by the way, I am a man!”
During the 2008 presidential elections here in the United States, it was said, even by the candidate herself (Hillary Clinton) that she has shattered the glass ceiling. We think of Condi Rice, Madeline Albright, and many other powerful women who made their mark in government and have passed the mantle on to others; but this begs the question, “isn’t it a man’s world still?” Britain, India, Pakistan and a few other countries have had a woman excelled to the very top; to the zenith of power. Perhaps a few women down the chain of command enjoyed promotion and a new sense of power, but how many among the populous at large experienced the flow of power? If it becomes a matter of debate, you and I can argue back and forth until the cows come home and nothing would be resolved.
Since I am not a politician or even an activist, I like to examine issues from God’s prospective. I ask, “How does God see this” or “What was God’s intention when he did this?” and again, “How exactly did God arrange this? What were his building blocks?” For my side of the conversation, I quote and cling to the God’s written Word. I am not careful about the thoughts of Plato, Aristotle, Confucius, Darwin, or Shakespeare. Let us be sure of one thing! Writing about the bible or events and principles contained in the bible are men’s and women’s thoughts and beliefs. So it is in the case of the footnotes in the Scofield Bible, or the Dake’s Bible. An author’s writings about biblical matters should only be counted trust worthy and correct when the thoughts expressed are carefully underscored and under girded by scripture.
This is why in several of my previous writings I said that I intend to teach what the bible actually said, not what we think it said. For instance, time and time again, I have heard preachers say in their sermons that God gave the woman to be man’s help mate, and a glow of happiness gathers upon the face of every man in the congregation, and I suppose every woman hearing that over and over again, resigns herself to having babies, doing household chores and jumping to every beckoning call of the man. Many have garnered truths from so many different passages that sound alike, that the finished product looks like a patch work quilt, or Joseph’s coat of many colors. In the end, it is like getting a square peg into a round hole.
I do not see myself as a radical or a renegade, but I refuse to embrace the status quo. I refuse to embrace beliefs and practices in the field of religion simply because our most popular and successful pastors, evangelists, and teachers have embraced them. I was raised to believe that I do not have to dance to the beat of the drums of others but to create my own music. We are called to be workmen, builders, with Christ, and as such, we have to look, and keep looking at God’s blue print, in order to build what he is building. Many have a long time left off building with God and have established their own building—kingdom. You, my friend will now be able to understand my approach to the lesson at hand! Is it really a man’s world? If the answer is yes, my question becomes, “Did God make it so? Is this contained in his original blueprint?” Can we find the truth in his word?
As I ponder this work in all its various aspects, one thought stands out predominately above and beyond all else. The 1960s saw tremendous changes come to these United States in which FREEDOM became the watch word. Free love, free speech, and even freedom to assassinate political leaders overwhelmed this society. From the comfort of my home in London, England, I saw it all on television. I rode the London subway with tears streaming down my face, along with many other passengers as we read about the killing of President John F. Kennedy. The 60s slowly worked its way into the 70s and the changes became even more pronounced. A war began against prayer in schools, sex education replaced bible reading, and religious symbols in public places became a matter for the courts to judge. Gay rights came to the forefront and ministers were found to perform same-sex marriages. In the midst of all of these changes, I keep hearing what Jesus said. “He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was NOT SO.” Matthew 19:8.
What can we conclude from Christ’s words? They seem to suggest that God instituted a secondary instrument to relieve certain domestic situations that resulted because of the hardness of their hearts. But it was not God’s best for his people. When we consider the dominance of the woman by the man, we can fairly add, “But from the beginning it was not so.” In such case, what is the most prudent step to take? What really makes sense to me, is for us to go back to the beginning where God did first record his wishes and his will for his creation, especially the man and the woman that he placed in charge of the work of his hands. Many of the burning and troubling issues that plague society and divide politicians can no doubt carry a caption in very large letters saying; “But from the beginning it was not so!” When we consider the many radicals who have hijacked Islam and have interpreted the Koran to make it say that it is alright to kill innocent civilians including old men, women and children, we can candidly add; “But from the beginning it was not so.”
When we see an epidemic of 12 year old mothers in our country, and abortion too numerous to count, we can sadly add; “But from the beginning it was not so.” Now, here is my proposition! Suppose each and every one of us go back to the beginning to learn how it was, and how it was suppose to remain, what do you think the result would be? First of all, we would discover how God intended it to be! Then, we would notice that as the recognition and reverence of God diminished, and as our lifestyle changed so that we became more independent and self-sufficient, we adopted beliefs and practices that are less restrictive. At the top of the list, man enjoys the clout that he carries over the woman, in so much that in comparison to men, only a small percentage of women managed to break the so-called glass ceiling. We have heard it so often, spoken in so many different parts of society that it has been accepted that indeed, “It is a man’s world.”
To do justice to this subject, we are compelled to revisit Genesis where it all began. It is on this elaborate canvas that God painted his ultimate will and pleasure for posterity to read, understand, and adhere to. However, it should be understood that the account of creation as outlined in Genesis, offers merely a snap-shot, or a bird’s eye view of what God said and did. In a changing world, one of the absurdities that has not changed is the belief that God blamed the man and the woman in the Garden of Eden for eating an apple. Even in pictorial bibles we see two naked people in a corner, with the female holding an apple in her hand as if offering it to the man. What has an apple got to do with the story anyway?
We read that “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” It should be understood right up front that the time referred to in this statement cannot be determined by man because to judge or count time, one must have a starting point. We cannot count to ten from zero—we begin from one. So even if we begin to count backward from 2009 to when we think the world began, there is no starting point with which to connect. Even if we invent the year B.C.1, the statement we just quoted does not even suggest a year or a date or any such thing. Those who embrace and sustain the 4,000 year theory, or the 6,000 year theory, which dates time from the creation to Christ and from Christ to today, vehemently discard claims that bones or fossils found by archeologists are millions of years old. Christians the world over hold to the younger earth theory, like I said, no one can produce a starting date when God created the heaven and the earth. He did so in the beginning, but was it a beginning that he alone determined or one that we also can determine?
Even those who claim an older earth based upon fossils and other finds cannot offer a correct date because one find differs from another, so in the end we have to accept what is written, that in the beginning as determined by the Creator himself, he created the heaven and the earth. But Genesis 2:1 throws what could be called a wrench or a cliff hanger in the mix. It said; “And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.” Put on your thinking cap for a moment and ask yourself; how could God create the earth, yet it is without form and void? The Hebrew word for void is bo’-hoo and it means a vacuity, an undistinguishable ruin. So did God create a complete “ruin”? Let him answer for himself!
“For thus saith the Lord that created the heavens; God himself that FORMED the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain, he FORMED IT to be inhabited: I am the Lord; and there is none else.” Isaiah 45:18. And again we read: “Mine hand also hath laid the foundation of the earth, and my right hand hath spanned the heavens: when I call unto them, they stand up together.” Isaiah 48:13. The testimony of scripture is that God made the earth with form and with a foundation upon which it is to exist. But Genesis 1;2 said it was without form and void. Is there a contradiction here? Of course not! Verse one conforms to the accounts found in Isaiah, except for the fact that Genesis 1:2 is actually saying that the earth became without form and became void, or an empty ruin. Where else in the bible can we find what looks like the same account as in verse 2?
If we believe that God really did “form” the earth but it became without form and void, that it became an undistinguishable ruin as the Hebrew word bo’-hoo indicates, we are told that God never leaves himself without a witness. So we introduce a witness to testify in his own words! “I beheld the earth, and, lo, it was without form, and void; and the heavens, and they had no light. I beheld the mountains, and, lo, they trembled, and all the hills moved lightly. I beheld, and lo, there was no man, and all the birds of the heavens were fled. I beheld, and, lo, the fruitful place was a wilderness, and all the cities thereof were broken down at the presence of the Lord, and by his fierce anger. For thus hath the Lord said, The whole land shall be desolate; yet will I not make a full end.” Although these words were directed to Israel, some seem to think that it can be applied to Gen.1;2 also.
Many experts and even theologians over the years have concluded that a disaster of unimaginable magnitude occurred between Genesis 1, verse 1 and verse 2. The writer Author Pink in his book, “Gleanings From Genesis” suggests that at the beginning, God placed people upon the earth, and the earth was to be their proving ground. If they succeeded, they would be moved to various other planets to inhabit them. But in time, they revolted against God and in his anger he turned the fruitful place into a waste land, but he decided not to make a full end, or a complete end. It is entirely up to you how you view this offering of what we think happened. However, in the Genesis account of creation, notice that God never said “Let there be land and there was land.” Why did he say, “Let there be light?” Jeremiah said he saw the heavens and they had no light, because in his anger, God not only turned the earth into a waste land, but he also turned off the heavenly luminaries; the sun, moon, and stars became as if they were never created. From Genesis 1;3 down the chapter I call the period of “recreation” or in certain aspects, “doing it over again.”.
Let us glean a few nuggets of truth from our beloved Peter—remember that we promised to take it slowly since this is intended to be a series of studies on a single subject. I especially love the language of this particular passage of scripture. “This second epistle, beloved, I now write unto you; in both which I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance: That ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Savior. Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, and saying, Where is the promise of his coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation. Isn’t this the belief of the masses? They go to Genesis 1 and read to their hearts’ content assuming that nothing has changed since the Lord said, “Let there be, and there was.” So here is the clincher! For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water.
Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water perished: But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and the perdition of ungodly men. 11 Peter 3;1-7. Peter is saying that the earth that was of old, standing both in and out of the water perished. Immediately, the greater percentage of Christians and those with Christian inclinations point to Noah’s flood. But the truth is that Noah’s flood did not cause the whole world to perish. When Noah and his family alighted from the ark, there was dry land to walk upon, and a vast land mass for them to spread out and keep the fabric of human history intact. No! The earth that was of old did not perish in Noah’s flood; only life in its many forms was snuffed out. Here is something for you to chew on for a moment. Paul said he was caught up to the third heaven, whether in the body or out of the body he could not tell, but there he heard words that were not permissible for the human tongue to utter. I believe that he was shown the world in three dimensions—the world that was—the world that IS—and the world that is to come.
In Genesis 1:9, we notice that God did not have to say; “Let there be land” why? Because the land was already formed in verse 1, but had remained under water for a period of time that no man can correctly estimate. God simply said; “Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so. And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas; and God saw that it was good.” Genesis 1:9-10. There are multitudes that believe and teach that each day in Genesis 1, is a day consisting of 24 hours. So let us assume that at 6.0 a.m. on what would become the third day, God said: “Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so. And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good. And the evening and the morning were the third day.” Genesis 1:11-13. Let us bear in mind that the entire bible is a book of types, shadows, symbols, allegories, and metaphors. We are told that the evening and the morning were the third day. It would seem, then, that instead of beginning to create first thing in the morning as you and I would do, God begins his work in the evening and works through the night, so that at dawn there is a brand new creation.
Seemingly, he begins to work for us after we have toiled all day trying to solve our problems and have borne the heat of the day. We welcome the night in which we can forget the issues and rest. Yes, when we come to the end of our day of struggle and possibly ask ourselves, “What’s the use?” it is at such crucial moment that God steps in and in our darkness he works to bring us light at the next dawn. Based upon what we just read, it would seem that the earth brought forth grass, seeds, fruit trees, and herbs, the moment God gave the command. Although God is a God of miracles, he frequently set certain principles or laws into motion and let “due process” work as it should. A woman could be with child today and gives birth to a new baby miraculously the next day. But instead, God orders it to be over nine months; anything else is pre-mature or over due, and against the “norm.” So did the earth in a single day suddenly did all of the above? If you believe in the 24-hour days of creation you would say yes. I say “No.” I still believe in a “creative day” a period known only to God. We can speculate all we want. Listen to an ancient prophet! “Who hath heard such a thing? Who hath seen such things? Shall the earth be made to bring forth in one day? Or shall a nation be born be born at once?” Isaiah 66:8.
It is like you saying to me, Brother Kennedy, the earth was made to bring forth in one day, and I reply, “Who hath heard such a thing” Don’t be ridiculous! If it happened the way it appears in Genesis 1:11-13, the prophet never would have raised such an idea. Frankly, I smile with intrigue ever time I see people, especially those who call themselves “experts” trying to put God into years, months, weeks, and days. In Ephesians 1:4, we read how we were chosen in Christ “before the foundation of the world.” But a better translation says, “Before the foundations of the world were broken up.” Remember how Peter alluded to the fact all things did not remain the same from the foundation of the world. We must always be mindful of the fact that no human being was there at the beginning to pencil an actual chronology of events as they occurred. The writer of Genesis wrote what was given to him by the spirit of revelation, and it is possible that Jeremiah also contributed his small portion of revelation that he got from his vantage point. Frankly, it is somewhat futile to try and prove without a shadow of doubt that which cannot be proven without a shadow of doubt.
Salvation itself is based upon “belief” not understanding. Jesus knew that Nicodemus did not understand things such as being born again, but he was not called to task to understand. Jesus said: “If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things?” John 3:12. Understanding was not incumbent upon this man; the questions he asked Jesus proved that he was at a loss as to what Jesus was teaching; but he was expected to believe. So it is with the creation story! We are not expected to prove every aspect of what’s recorded in scripture. In fact, we are not called upon by God to understand his ways which are past finding out. Let us begin our approach to the real “meat” of this study and see what little nuggets we can discover. What is of great importance to us as we proceed is to ascertain whether God did “at the beginning” set man to rule over the woman and to make her his slave in a dignified sort of way. Or did God actually make her his equal to walk not behind him, but beside him, not to be his footstool, but an equal partner.
There is going to be a whole lot of information to sift through and to assimilate, and in order to get it right, we must proceed slowly and in step with scripture. The creation story now reaches the point where God is about to introduce man and thus initiate the history of the human race. “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.” Notice the switch that could easily go unnoticed. In this single verse God determined to make man and with the same breath he said let them. We can candidly say that God did not express his intention to make a man and a woman he called for the making of “man” and to give “them” authority over the works of his hand. After a while we will see that God followed through on this idea and made “man” (a male-man and a female-man.) Sounds a little weird to you? All the appropriate pieces will fall into place as we proceed, leaving no doubt as to what and whom God created in the beginning. “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.” See what we just alluded to? Come let us make man seems to suggest a single person with a masculine gender. That is what “come let us make man” is supposed to mean from our limited perspective and understanding of how the Divine works. He set out to make man and ended up making two—male and female so here is the clincher! Are you ready for this? When God created both male and female, he still made only “MAN.” That is why a man has both male and female hormones; likewise the woman has both male and female hormones.
If we wish to push the envelope a little further we can say that God himself is both male and female. That is why in Genesis 17:1, God said to Abram, “I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect.” In this verse God is referred as “El Shaddai” and here is what a notable author writes: “If we look back at all the blessings which El Shaddai is over and over invoked, they are about fruitfulness and fertility. God is seen as Infinite Mother pouring forth blessings from the Breasts Above and the Womb Below. Good taste! You like?
“Shaddai” is derived from the word shadu “breast” in Hebrew. So El Shaddai refers to the Breasted One, but not any kind of breasts, for instance, breasts that cannot produce milk. It means a “Mother’s Breasts”, so what God was actually saying to Abram (his name was about to be changed at this point) was simply this; “I am your strong Mother’s Breasts, pull on me and be thou perfect, for each time you pull on me, you are pulling perfection. Listen my friend in the creation event, God did not intend for the female to be subservient to the male and we will certainly say more about this later. Back to Genesis! “And God blessed them (equally) and God said unto them, (both) Be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it.” Let us not be dismissive of the word “replenish.” The word means to “fill up again.” Suppose Genesis 1:1, gives us a small capsule of God’s creation, and as some prominent men and women believe as Author Pink said in his book that earth at first was populated by people or “beings” who were to prove themselves then go on to populate other planets but they rebelled and brought chaos and destruction that brings us to verse 2, it would make sense that the man and the woman were told to be fruitful and multiply and replenish (fill up the earth again.) Much has happened away back then that perhaps we will never discover, and of course, knowing or not knowing has no effect on our relationship with Christ or the end of our faith. But to know God as the Breasted One answers a lot of questions, removes certain amount of doubts and uncertainty, and it points us to a source of vital enzymes and body-building juices that enables the child of God to grow healthy and become productive.
Royce O. Kennedy