“ON EAGLES’ WINGS MINISTRIES”
“Did God Establish “A Man’s World?” January 2010 Part 3.
The story of creation and the first two people to walk the earth continues to occupy top level discussions. There are those who adamantly swear that the story of a garden with man riding around on camels, zebras, and rhinos is nothing more than a story with spiritual symbolism and allegorical overtones. They deny the actual existence of such as place as Eden and prefer to embrace the theories of Charles Darwin. But the word of God did not just happen to be! It is not the result of an idle moment when there was nothing better to do, and the writer of the Genesis creation story was careful to give us an outline and boundaries of the garden in question. We are told that one river that went out of Eden, parted and became into four heads. The name of the first is Pison, the second Gihon, the third Hiddekel, and the fourth the Euphrates. The river Euphrates runs through Iraq and the Green Zone where the US Forces are head quartered along with the seat of the Iraqi government are on the banks of the river Euphrates. Some believe that the Tigris River could be the river Hiddekel in scripture. If these rivers are literal and continue to this day, it would be petty to think that this part of the Genesis narrative is literal, while the rest of the story is allegorical. However, Old Testament stories do point to spiritual realities.
What about Eve? Let me impress upon you the importance of taking note of the language of scripture, because in many cases, a verse or a passage simply allude to the real message, and without paying keen attention to such allusion one is likely to miss the nuggets of truth contained therein. God said to the woman: “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.” Genesis 3;16. I am going to present to you food for thought, intended to stir up your pure mind in terms of reflection upon truths contained in scripture. God, in a form of prophecy predicted to the woman, “Your desire shall be to thy husband and he shall rule over thee. Notice this simple little twist! The Hebrew word for desire is tesh-oo-kaw from an unused root shook meaning stretching out after, and to run after. So how did this come into play in this study?
We noticed that God dealt with each individual separately on a one-on-one basis, and each got God’s punishment pronounced upon him/her. But God took exception in the overall seriousness of the matter. God reasoned that the man had now become as “one of us” and would likely take of the tree of life and eat, and live forever. Follow carefully with me now! “Therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the Garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken. Notice that the woman was not sent along with Adam to go out and till the ground, and don’t forget that she was not taken from the ground, so “till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return” really did not apply to the woman only, the wages of sin is death. Hear this! “So he (God) drove out the man.” Genesis 3:23-24. The scripture could have said, “So he drove them both out of the Garden, or, So he drove the man and the woman out of the Garden.” But notice how God’s prophecy or prediction came to pass! The woman ran after, stretched out after her husband, and in doing so, God said, “He shall rule over you!” She gave up her personal status!
Do you want to toy with this a little bit? Exercise your mind some, in an innocent non-detrimental way! Obviously, the woman forfeited her rights to the man by following him out of the Garden. But suppose she had stayed behind on her own, would that be the first divorce in human history? Would God have created another husband for her? In the final analysis, we must conclude that it all played out the way it should, but we need to ponder the lessons learned here. Now, the man assumes rulership over his wife, yet, as Jesus reminded us, “But in the beginning it was not so.” I still must ask whether we should seek to go back to the way it was, and the way God intended it to be, or do we rest on our lees, being content with God’s second or third or fourth best? It seems to me that men have so long basked in the dominant role in families the world over, that the Lord would need an 8.05 magnitude earthquake to shake us loose, even after Christ became the Head of the home.
The question has often been asked; “Why did God allow the Devil to enter the Garden and bring sin into the world?” Look at the mess our world is in at the moment! First of all, please excuse me when I point out this truth. The Devil did not enter the Garden and forced man to sin. How is sin committed? “Every man is tempted when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.” James 1:14-15. Where is a devil in this scenario? If we believe and subscribe to the idea of a phantom devil, we are like Adam blaming the woman and God but not himself. Paul in his letter to the Romans states in chapter 5 verse 12 that by one man, (the man Adam) sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned. We cannot determine the mindset of the man and the woman in the Garden before the so-called Fall. Some commentators say the world at that time was not perfect, and from where I am standing, if they were told to subdue the earth and to rule over it, it surely sounds as if it needed to be subdued. But if all the pair knew was good in their state of innocence, I am hard pressed to see how else they would have developed to become like God, knowing good and evil. Life is full of contrast and the need to make choices on a daily basis is born out of differences.
God did not program the pair to act on pre-imposed factors. For instance, cows do what they are programmed to do. The animal world, the insect world, the marine world; all function upon a pre-set and established set of rules or “nature”. Diverse species act in diverse ways based upon how they were programmed before they stepped on to God’s green earth or enter his vast oceans. But man (mankind) is different! We were endowed with an inherent ability to make choices, and to God, the process held no surprises because the plan of redemption for all of mankind was packaged, sealed and signed in the Lord Jesus Christ before the world was. So God not only knew what would happen, but he is the cause of all causes. He writes the novel, packed with the good, the bad, and the misfits. He creates the wicked for the day of evil (Prov.16:4) and gets praises out of the wrath of man. Psalm 76;10. No novel is likely to become a best seller packed with only good characters. For the most part, it is the bad guy that pulls people to the cash register.
It cannot be denied that woman was given equal authority and responsibility over creation with the man. When we read the creation story, it would seem to us from our own vantage point that a day after the woman was created and introduced to the man, she yielded to the serpent’s temptation and the next day they were driven out of the Garden. We have no way of knowing exactly how many years elapsed while Eve shared equal status with Adam. Even after they both left the Garden it is not clear how long thereafter Adam began to “rule over his wife.” We know that they had two sons, Cain and Abel, and along the way Cain slew Abel. At the age of 130 years Adam produced a third son named Seth. So Eve could have shared equal status with Adam for almost a hundred years. But what about Eve and other prominent women in scripture! We will inch our way forward, bit by bit, so as to accumulate substantial information in somewhat a chronological order for the sake of uniformity and consistency.
We notice something striking when we trace the genealogy of Jesus Christ. We notice that Luke’s narrative of Christ’s genealogy sounds like a person at a big public auction. It is filled with “which was the son of, which was the son of” all the way through 16 verses without the mention of a single woman and the silver thread takes us back to Adam which was the son of God. Matthew’s version takes us back to Abraham and again, women are counted lightly except for those who figured prominently in the lineage of Jesus Christ such as Tamar, Rahab, Ruth and her that had been the wife of Uriah. It also seemed that Gentiles as a people were exempted from the genealogy of Christ though a few were figured in. That is because optimum importance was to be given to the direct line of Christ going all the way back to Adam. We are told of Adam’s death after a life span of 930 years, but suddenly the story of Eve seems to have fallen off a cliff. Quietly she slips away into oblivion to become a subject for antiquity. Seemingly, the shifting sands of time have eroded her life, her accomplishments, and her character from the annals of human history. The apostle Paul made mention of her and we will eventually get to that segment later on. If we fast-forward to life in these United States, we can reflect upon the establishing of a women’s activist movement called “Women’s Lib” for short. But had society adhered to the first principles initiated by God himself that placed the woman on the same level as the man, before the Fall, there would have been no need for “Women’s Lib.” Will we sing, “Take me back Dear Lord?”
Let us fast-forward to our time, and to our country that continues to be called the “Greatest Country on Earth” with the “Greatest Army on Earth.” We want to see how women’s fate played on the national scene since the signing of the Declaration of Independence in Philadelphia on July 4, 1776. Fifty six signers from thirteen States affixed their signature to a document that conveyed some cardinal values that we embrace to this day. But we want to see the place given to women in our new Republic and put on paper in black and white for posterity to embrace. At this very moment, I am looking at a print out on the Internet that says in big bold letters; “The Declaration of Independence Exclude Women.” Good heavens!! Please! Are we talking about a nation that prides itself with the highest ideals and the greatest sense of equality? You mean to tell me that what is slated to become the greatest nation on earth begins its journey without a single woman given any right, or invited to lawfully contribute to the future of this country? What should we call this? Was it male dominance? Maybe it is male chauvinism, or maybe it is the male ego in its most toxic form.
In the 2008 presidential campaign I watched in disgust the way then candidate Hillary Clinton was treated by the news media. She was criticized for wearing pant suits. She was criticized for showing too much cleavage, and when she got emotional in the New Hampshire primary, television anchor men whom I loved to watch every evening during dinner, laughed and even called her show of emotion a publicity stunt. At one presidential debate she bluntly asked why it was that she always got the first and hardest questions. It was as if she had to be doubly good just to break even with the men. I am not a fan of Republican Politics which I find to be vindictive, mean, hypocritical of late, pro-rich, and pro-business. But when former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin took to the stage of American politics, she fared no better. Because she reminded me of my own mother it angered me. Whatever her short comings were, being a woman simply compounded them. Here is what the document on the Internet said: “The authors of the second paragraph of the U. S. Declaration of Independence excluded women where they wrote: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal (when I use that term, I mean mankind-both sexes) that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; that to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”
The author continues: The mention made of “men” above refers to both men and women; right? Wrong! When Thomas Jefferson and those who helped him draft the Declaration of Independence wrote of governments deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, they did not include women. In fact in 1787 white male property owners twenty-one years old were given the right to vote, and that right was not given to women. It took another hundred and forty four years for women to be given that right. Generations of women were born, lived and died, not having enjoyed that basic human right. I am a 74 year old man, but quite frankly, the male ego that flaunts itself so vividly among us, especially in our pulpits is enough to make me reach for some Alka-Seltzer to try and settle my stomach. Brother Kennedy, do you think that we will ever get back to the way it was at the beginning? My Friend, it should not be hard, considering that in the Body of Christ there is neither male nor female, bond nor free, Jew nor Greek. Galatians 3;28. The Book of Galatians was written some time between A.D.55 and A.D.60 and up to this very day, many men who claim to be new creatures, and that they have put Jesus Christ to be the head over their lives and their homes, just cannot cease being the “Boss.” He still sees his loving wife as a “help-mate” that is as much as being a slave. But if I love my wife as “myself” what is there to rule. If ruling came under the curse, we cannot forget that Jesus took the curse for all of mankind. There is no more curse under Jesus Christ. Jesus sees us as flesh of his flesh and bones of his bone; and to cap it off and settle the argument Paul concluded; “For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.” Ephesians 5;30-31. Both this passage and Genesis 2;23-24 convey the same body of truths. It is the man who is supposed to leave his father and mother and to cleave to his wife. But as usual, we conveniently put the cart before the horse. In our society, it is the wife who gives up her name, her home, her parents, and her security to start a new life based upon the goodwill of the man she just married. Again, we revert to the language of scripture! The language used in Genesis 2;23-24 and Ephesians 5;30-31 seems to suggest that all comfort and security and perhaps even the sheltering of her parents fall on the side of the new wife. I will say it over and over again! If I love my wife as I love myself because she and I are become ONE flesh, and Christ has become our Head, why should I seek to rule over her?
Before we exit the Garden of Eden like Adam and Eve did, let us take a brief overview of what happened from God’s own perspective. What we are about to discover should be applied to each person who reads this work. Let us take it one step at a time. God planted a garden that got watered, not from rain, for at that time it never rained upon the earth. So it was watered by a river. God made man from the dust of the earth, made him to become a living soul, and placed him in the garden. He was not told how to cultivate the garden, how to clear large area for the planting of tomatoes, corns, apples, plums, pumpkins, water melons, cucumbers, or any such things. In other words all that the man needed was already provided. Without him lifting a finger, God had already met all his needs. I read somewhere an account that went like this. Adam had all edible herbs at his fingertips. All manner of fruits were available so that he could eat to his heart’s content. But because he lived in God’s presence he never was hungry. The point is that Adam the first son of God stepped on to an earth where all his needs were already met. His Father, God, provided for him, all he’d ever need.
Paul puts it this way: Therefore let no man glory in men. For all things are yours; whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are yours; And ye are Christ’s; and Christ is God’s.” 1 Corinthians 3:21-23. So the first big bundle of truth we can glean from the creation story is how God made all things ready to accommodate the man. Not only were all his needs met, he also had kinship and a sort of affinity with every living part of his world, meaning animals, birds, crawling creatures, and inhabitants of the sea. But Adam was not a mere man struggling to find his rightful place in the world. Listen to what else God did in this amazing account!
“And out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof. And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field.” Genesis 2:19-20. Let me offer you two major points for you to consider very seriously. (ONE) During the process of naming all these things just mentioned, notice that God did not interrupt Adam by tapping him on the shoulder saying, “Hate to interrupt you Adam, but don’t you think that the monkey should be called a rooster? And don’t you think the zebra should be called a rhino?” Why didn’t God intervene? Because he gave a mandate to Adam and placed it in his hand with the authority to accomplish the task. Once power is delegated to another it should be left to run its course uninterrupted. (TWO) This part of the equation has slipped under the radar and multitudes have missed it. What if after naming the cow, it began to act like a rooster? What if after naming the horse it began to act like a dog? But this did not happen! Every creature that Adam named went away acting like it is supposed to act. The lion began acting like a lion. The rhino found the river and sang deep into its cool embrace. The roosters heralded their call in the early morning. But how could this be? How each kind knew how it was supposed to act? Are you ready for this? When Adam gave a name, he also gave the nature to correspond with the name, knowingly or not, it turned out that during the process Adam became a co-creator with God. He worked as one with the very heart of God. The well known sculptor, lecturer, and philanthropist, Walter Russell said that when he walks into his studio to create an object, he focuses his mind to become one with the universal mind of the Creator, and at that moment he becomes ONE with the Creator and there is nothing that he cannot create in his work.
We should not be alarmed or confused over the fact that Adam worked as ONE with God and whatever he did remained so. Paul informed us; “For we are laborers together with God and we are “workers” together with him.” 1stCorinthians 3;10: 2ndCorinthians 6;1. We tend to become amazed when something goes wrong as we toil as co-workers with God. We sometimes miss the mark and sometimes we misread God’s blueprint and end up building for ourselves and not for God. While we do not seek to make excuses, the fact is that the vessel that was being made on the potter’s wheel was marred. Because of lumps and hard particles within the lump, the vessel broke and fell to the ground in shattered pieces. But the potter took the pieces, re-worked them into the intended material and made another vessel that pleased him. I would not want to go back to Eden as some preachers suggest. The whole area is currently under the dusts of war. No Sir! No Ma’am! “Our conversation is in heaven; from whence we look for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ: who shall change our vile body that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body.” Phil.3;20-21. Eden was a type, but this is reality!
Let us bear in mind that Adam, was only a figure of him that was to come, meaning Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 5;14. But if that be the case, then the entire creation story, the Garden, the serpent, the so-called Fall; although visible and real, can be classified as mere “figures” or “allegories” that point to something more substantive, tangible, enduring, and productive. Should we not look forward to the time when all these types, shadows and symbolisms come into fruition in such grandeur and heavenly splendor that the angels, the sun and the moon will dance and glorify God? Should we not look forward to a time when the whole of creation now held in subjection to futility and decay, suddenly find release into a glory and majesty that mankind has never before experienced? If we were to step back and look at Genesis chapters 1, 2, and 3, we would see an immense canvas upon which is painted an outline of God’s plan for the ages squeezed into capsule form, offering the casual reader only a bird’s eye view of what is to unfold within the history of mankind during ensuing decades, centuries, and millenniums.
Stepping forward in time, we fast-forward from Even to Sarai who dwelt in the City of Ur of the Chaldees, in Mesopotamia, making both her and her husband Abram Sumerians. Let me state up front that at the very mention of the name Abram, many point to the Jews as the called people because of Abram. Fact of the matter is that Abram, in terms of Jews and Gentiles, was a Gentile when God called him out of his country and from his people. The Jews came out of Judah Abraham’s great grand son who was born when Abraham was about 160 years old and Judah was about 15 years old when his great grand father Abraham died at age 175. We are now going to take a closer look at Sarai from her home town of Ur that was located near modern Nasiriyah, in southern Iraq. So basically, Sarai and Abram were Iraqis. It is strange to think that thousands of our finest men and women have spilled their blood on the sands of this very land that was home to Abraham the friend of God.
Sarai was about ten years younger than her half-brother Abram. They had the same father but different mothers. Let us be realistic in our study! If God had come by in Ur and told a small town man with very little going for him to drop everything and come to a land that will be shown to him later, the small town man could no doubt handle it with ease. First of all, he’d ask himself, “What have I got to lose? It can’t be any worse than it is for me now.” But telling Abram to get his wife and his substance together and to leave town for good, was no small challenge. I remember on my way home from work one evening in Kingston, Jamaica, I stopped by a Chinese cousin’s place. There I met another cousin who made me a job offer. I was to work in a Chinese grocery store 50 miles west of Kingston. He told me what I would be paid and that my food and board would be free because I would live on premises. I never visited the town and had never met the Chinese man I would be working for and living with. My cousin said, “There is just one thing. I must have your answer right away because if you accept, I will have to pick you up at 5 in the morning.” I thought for a while and said yes I will take the job. It turned out to be the best job I ever had back home, but it was not an easy decision to make since in essence it was a “on the spur of a moment decision.”
The bible does not say how long Abram had to decide if he would say yes to God’s call. According to the scriptures as soon as God left off making multiple promises to Abram we read: “So Abram departed, as the Lord had spoken unto him: and Abram was seventy and five years old when he departed out of Haran. And Abram took Sarai his wife, and lot his brother’s son, and all their substance that they had gathered, and the souls that they had gotten in Haran. Listen to this! “And Abram was very rich in cattle, in silver, and in gold. And Lot also, which went with Abram, had flocks, and herds, and tents. And the land was not able to bear them, that they might dwell together: for their substance was great, so that they could not dwell together.” Genesis 12;4,5: 13;2,5-6. This could not have been an easy decision for Abram and Sarai to make. Think of them heading out of town and you call to them; “Hi Abram, see you are leaving town!” Sure thing my friend! Hate to see you leave! Thank you! By the way, where exactly are you going? Come to think of it, I don’t know yet; except the Lord promised to show me as I go! Bring this story to your doorstep, right where your heart is now beating! How many of us with such great riches and with no future place on paper or even mentioned verbally would pack up and head out of town! What was the difference in this case? What was the bottom line? “Abraham believed God and it was accounted unto him for righteousness.” Galatians 3:6.
Royce O. Kennedy