Rebellion & Redemption: Marriage & Gender in Genesis 2-3
It is interesting, to say the least, that creatures created in God’s image come in the form of two different genders. Therefore, one can easily deduce that God intends for His glory and communicable attributes to be seen in each gender. Although the LORD is always spoken of in masculine pronouns, the female gender displays something about God that males do not. For example, Jesus, lamenting over Israel’s unbelief, refers to Himself as a mother hen wishing to gather her brood under her wings. We know that throughout Scripture God is Father, but that is not to say that a mother does not reflect the glory of her Creator. Both sexes have been created in His image, for His glory, and to flourish in the way He created them, male and female.
This must be a more magnificent act of God than we realize. We gather that fact partly from its opposition. It is worth highlighting that Satan does not come into the garden, aimed at deception, until the woman is created, and the one flesh union is set. What is it about this union that Satan wishes to destroy it, or at least diminish its God-glorifying luster?That is what we will examine in the discussion that follows.
God forms and gives Adam life in Gen. 2:7. The LORD then planted a garden and established the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in its midst. Flowing from this garden was a river that divided and became four. Then Adam was placed in this garden to “work it and keep it.” (Gen. 2:15) We now see what God has established in creating the man. He is created for the care of God’s creation. This care involves working it, which would entail harvesting, and planting in a joyful, fruitful sense. This is good work, not back breaking or unfruitful (this comes later). Then he was called to “keep it.” The Hebrew understanding of this word would tell us that this also means Adam is to “guard it.” If Eden was a good and perfect place, what is there to guard? What threatens? How is he supposed to guard? Up to this point, as far as we know, the threats were not present, all was peaceful, no corruption. That is not to say that someone would not try to enter in and bring a threat. There is information that we are not yet privy to on this side of eternity. All we are told is that Adam was given the charge to be a guardian and protector. How though? What Adam currently has is knowledge of the holy. He knows God. He sees what God is doing. He even has the very word of God that has equipped him to stand against anything that is contrary to that word. He knows the very command of God. Therefore, if anything or anyone comes to bring corruption to the perfect creation of the Creator, Adam is equipped to protect all of creation with the truth of the Creator’s command. After being equipped by the Lord, he was then given the task of naming the animals and representing God’s authority over them. With His role established and commands given, the LORD fashioned for him a helper to compliment and support him in this endeavor. For it is not good for man to be alone.
We do not get a complete understanding of Eve’s role until the fall in Gen. 3
Eve arrived on the scene in Gen.2:22. She was taken from man who is created in the image of God. Therefore, she is also created in that image, albeit, out of man (v.23). She is created for the role of helper, but we do not have much more than that until Ch. 3. In the New Testament, her role is seen in light of the gospel in Ephesians 5. We are told that she is to join the man in a union that results in one flesh. One flesh in the sense that she becomes a single cohesive family unit with the husband and that this union also results in offspring which are a one flesh example of the two becoming one. Gen. 2:24 also gives the sense that the initiative for this union is from the man as he is the one leaving and cleaving (holding fast) to the wife. This is the helper God created to join the man and become unified with him in such a way that you can call this a one flesh union.
Results of the fall
As we saw at the beginning of our discussion, it was not until the husband and wife were established in their union that a possible disruption to paradise enters in. Perhaps the disrupter knew what these image bearers would do, or at least what they represent. Notice how he spoke first to the woman, the helper. He does not speak or address the lead, or head of the family. He goes for the one he sees as most susceptible to his schemes. He immediately tries to disrupt the order and roles established by a good God. In the resulting dialogue, the word of God is distorted, misquoted and misunderstood to the point that Eve believed a lie instead holding fast to the truth that she was taught by her husband. The husband, given the commands and truth of God to “keep” the garden, relaxes in his role, follows the wife’s lead, and the fall occurs. The reversal of roles in marriage are what lead to sin and death entering the perfect creation. The resulting curses establish the consequences the image bearers will have until death causes them to return to the dust of the earth.
By the sweat of your face
you shall eat bread,
till you return to the ground,
for out of it you were taken;
for you are dust,
and to dust you shall return.”
The woman, who was created as helper, will now feel the pain of bringing forth the one flesh result of her union with man. She will also not feel the joy of submitting to her husband but will desire mastery over him, and therefore have an internal struggle consistently present in her relationship. Gen. 3:17 quotes God as cursing Adam for listening to his wife, and disobeying God. Adam had the truth from God Himself, but instead, believed the deception his wife was under. The role reversals brought about the fall of man. But God had a plan of redemption.
Women would still be a part of bringing forth the redemption mankind now needs. Her offspring (singular) would bruise or crush the head of the serpent. Man would still be able to fulfill his God-given role, but only through the offspring from the woman, which we know is the Savior, Jesus Christ. Marriage would also remain intact as a means of displaying God’s perfect love for His imperfect people. A love that would lead them out of darkness and into light, out of despair and into eternal joy, out of death and into life. We have revealed for us in Ephesians 5 the great mystery of marriage. We, God’s redeemed people, the church, are the bride of the Holy One. Jesus, God incarnate, came to rescue, redeem, and restore His deceived bride. Even though we had His truth, we believed a lie. Unlike Adam, Jesus remained true to the commands of God. Unlike Adam, Jesus had the power to redeem His fallen bride from her sin and separation from God. Therefore, what marriage was originally intended to illustrate is now fully explained and illustrated. Ephesians 5:32 unveils the fact that marriage is in reference to Christ and His church. There is a one body union in Him that will exist for all eternity. He loves, provides, protects and keeps His church. What Adam failed to live up to in his role as husband, Jesus lived up to perfectly.
 The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Mt. 23:37). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.  The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (2 Cor. 4:4). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.  Gen. 2:18  The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Ge 3:19). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.