Monday, February 1, 2010

Separate In Form but Equal In Image {Part One}

Since February is known commercially as the month of love, I thought it may be a good time to discuss my thoughts on the subject.

Relationships are a part of every one's lives. More importantly romantic relationships seem to be the longing of the human race. Everyone wants to feel loved, right? But what is happening in the name of love? Sex is huge and is in our face constantly. Sex outside of marriage is the norm. Marriage is disposable, if attempted at all. Marriage is no longer the celebration of two people's love and commitment but instead the demand for legal recognition of a particular relationship. Within those who actually do marry the incidence of abuse, infidelity and divorce is sky high. There is also confusion over what roles gender plays. So what's the deal? What is marriage suppose to be? What did God intend it to be? What does it mean to be male or female? Have we interpreted what the Bible says about marriage and gender in respect to the glory and character of God?

Everything we do should be unto the glory of God based in the character of God. Everything God has ever done is to his glory and our benefit. Why? Because he loves us and longs to have relationship with us. Because he is Truth, Life and Light. What I want to first explain is marriage how God intended. Marriage at its highest and best. Keep in mind we have all made mistakes. But God is a redeemer and a healer! That means He can redeem you back to what was original intended. That is the awesomeness and love of God. So out of this love God creates. He created the world and all that is in it. The crown of His creation is humankind. Why? Because humans were created in the image and likeness of the God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

"Then God said, 'Let us make man in our image, in our likeness...'" Genesis 1:26

"So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them." Genesis 1:27

The Trinity is all together separate in unity and equal. I say the Trinity to include the female aspect. I personally believe that the Holy Spirit is that female aspect. The fruits of the Spirit in the OT and NT {love, joy, peace etc.} are all feminine nouns in both the Hebrew and Greek. Fire, water and oil are sometimes neuter but also can be feminine in both languages. Some see the Holy Spirit as the feminine counterpart to God the Father being that Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit and was the son of God. We also have the concept of "natural before the spiritual" {1 Cor. 15:45-49}. Adam was the first man, then Jesus was the first spirit man. Man was not complete so God made Eve. Jesus was not complete so God sent the Holy Spirit. So male and female both in this likeness are separate but equal. God creates the man first but decides it is not good for man to be alone. Man is not complete just as the Trinity would not be complete without its respective parts.

"The Lord God said 'It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.'" Genesis 2:18

Now the word helper in the NIV or help-meet in the KJV are not the best translation of the Hebrew word 'ezer kenegdo. Keeping in mind that the man and woman were created equal, right? There is no part of God's image that is superior to another part. Here is how Robert Alter's commentary describes the discrepancy.

"The Hebrew 'ezer kenegdo is notoriously difficult to translate. The second term means 'alongside him', 'opposite him', 'a counterpart to him'. 'Help' is too weak because it suggests a merely auxiliary function, whereas 'ezer elsewhere connotes active intervention on behalf of someone..."

Another interesting parallel between the woman and the Holy Spirit is that they were sent as counterparts. The NT describes the Holy Spirit as a comforter, helper, assistant {John 14:16, 14:26, 15:26, 16:17}very similar as to the reason the woman was created. Natural then spiritual. So, God created the woman from the man. Man did not have priority because he was first. If we looked at the creation that way humans would be the least important because we were created last. God created woman in His likeness, not in the likeness of man. God fashioned Eve and breathed life into her just as he did Adam. Eve is not the female aspect of Adam. She is the female aspect of God. It is after the creation of the woman that we first hear the man speak.

"This is now bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh...therefore a man will leave his father and mother and cleave {cling to} his wife: and the two shall be one flesh." Genesis 2:23-24

What Adam says here is key as to what sex is meant to be and what marriage is meant to be according to the truth and principles of God. God creates in his image male and female. They are separate but equal. Then the man or the woman desires to be in exclusive commitment with his or her opposite. The desire is to share and to edify the image of God in the other person. To be fruits of the Spirit to one another. To be a partner with someone. To glorify God together. So the two leave their respective households to be joined together in marriage before God. They are now their own household.

Now the two can now express an overflow of their love and respect for one another. Sex as God intended within marriage is pleasure, sex is edifying, sex is mutual, sex is to the glory of God, sex is protected by God. The act of sex is the two opposite images of God desiring to come together as one in flesh and spirit. The first act of this coming together is sealed by blood covenant. The loss of virginity should involve a cutting of skin the same way a circumcision does. Sometimes the blood is visible and sometimes it is internal. Either way initial sex should be capable of cutting this covenant. To cut this covenant there must be two opposites. The marriage bed according to God's truth is undefiled or pure {Heb. 16:4}; meaning that it is not accessible by the devil unless the respective parties allow him access. (More on this later.)

Then the Lord commands this married couple to be fruitful{think of the fruits of the Spirit} and multiply{again, need two opposites}, take dominion over the earth, subdue it and replenish it. That is Godly sex and marriage in a nutshell. It really is that easy. Lets review. A Godly marriage should consist of...

1} two opposite, separate but equal images of God

2} those two people leave their respective households to be joined together before God

3} those two people are now allowed to be one in flesh and spirit in sexual union

4} those people are to be fruitful{of the Spirit} to one another and multiply humans

5} they are to take dominion, subdue and replenish the earth

This is marriage as God intended. If you plan on getting married this should be your guide as what that should mean. If you are married this should be what you are doing. Simply as that. Most people will not contest that this is what God initially intended. But then a big wrench got thrown into the mix...sin. Then everything changed, right? I say NO. What I want to show is God reiterating this very same thing to Adam and Eve even after the fall.

Click to read part two of this post.

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