Patriarchy’s origin? Paradise, of course! Part 1

paradise lost
Paradise Lost

“If, having the Spirit with you to convict you of the truth, you believe what is said in [this post], then accept the truth and live by it, and teach it to others, though it may completely overturn previous instruction which you have received, and preconceptions which you may have imbibed.”

Katharine Bushnell, God’s Word to Women, Lesson 9, Section 65

This study is about the first human, the one who became Adam and Eve.  For clarity, I am using Human (Heb. Ha adam, mankind) not “man” to describe the person before they split into male and female.  After they are separated, I’m using man and woman or male and female, and after the fall I’m calling them Adam and Eve.

I have no interest in attempting to prove or disprove the creation story as history or myth, completely literal or allegory.  For this discussion, it doesn’t matter.  I want to examine the story on which the religious and social structure of many cultures around the world is built.  It is not just the church that is affected by this maladjusted system. Patriarchy is the toxic norm of most societies – women have been marginalized, abused, treated as second class and exploited – and a lot of the root reasoning behind it is the story of Adam and Eve. BUT…What if the leaders of society and faith are wrong?  What if patriarchy twisted the words God proclaimed and they were not curses and not meant to exist for all time?  What if we’ve looked at this story all wrong?

The Bible was not designed to spoon-feed answers to us.  We have to dig into it to truly understand the truth it holds.  I encourage you to study this subject for yourself.  Don’t let anyone else tell you what you believe, including me.  Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling (or awe and reverence). Philippians 2:12

Some ideas in this teaching have nagged me for a long time.  I had to keep digging until I found answers that were true to original biblical manuscripts and resonated with Holy Spirit, until all the parts fell into place without having to round out the edges and force pieces of the story to fit.  I have invested much study and discussion, belief, disbelief, re-belief, headache and heartache into Genesis chapters 1-3.  As the foundation of our society, it deserves a deep dive, especially in light of the patriarchal shitshow that has taken over the US since 2016.

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Genesis 1:26-27 says:

Then God said, “Let us make humans in our image, in our likeness. Let them rule the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, the domestic animals all over the earth, and all the animals that crawl on the earth.” So God created humans in his image. In the image of God he created them. He created them male and female.

The first human was genderless, or both genders, depending on your perspective, possessing both masculine and feminine characteristics. God is genderless, yet both genders, and Human was made in God’s image.  Father, Son and Holy Spirit are all present in this process – “let us make mankind in our image”.  Man and woman were created in God’s image. God is feminine as well as masculine.  God is as much a She as a He. People get UPSET when you start talking about God as female, but there would be no human females if God wasn’t fully female.  And no males if God wasn’t fully male.  Since God is 3-in-1, the idea of Human being 2-in-1 makes sense.

When Human was still ungendered, God charged Human with keeping the garden.  He also charged Human with being fruitful and multiplying and taking care of the earth.  Only later did God split Human into two unique, distinct beings – one male and one female. The right and responsibility of dominion belonged and still belongs equally to male and female human beings.

Is any piece of God greater or less than?  No. We are all God’s image-bearers.  Not just men.  God, Jesus and Spirit are interconnected in duty and ability.  Just like men and women.  Nothing prevents women from ruling and reigning and taking our rightful place in God’s creation except patriarchy.  No mandate from God, no created order stipulations, no need for any intermediary between women and God except Jesus.  Jesus is Head to men and women; He is the Word through which all things were created. (John 1:3)

Human was charged with keeping the garden.  Yet, even before the fall, God saw that something in creation was not good.  Until that point, everything had been good or very good, but something had changed. God said it was not good for Human to be alone; Human needed companionship. Instead of creating another distinct human, God divided Human into two parts – male and female.  The man and woman were the same flesh now split into two people, sharing identical DNA.  The female was called ezer, a warrior.

When God introduced the two parts of the human to each other and the man voiced his proclamation about “bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh” the male did not name the female. He described her in relation to himself. Those who say the man had some superiority over the woman because he named her should remember that he didn’t call her Eve until after the fall.  Besides, naming something does not signify ownership or Hagar would own God. (Gen 16:13) She called God “the One who sees”.  That was the first time God had a name, and it came from a slave woman.

The man ruled over the woman because she turned away from God and toward him.  All the proclamations God made about being fruitful and multiplying, having dominion and naming the animals were made to both male and female.  Nothing in the creation story gives the least bit of credence to the concept of men ruling over women as God’s intention.  They were two parts of the same being.  The male was not created first and the woman pulled out of him.  They were both present in the first human and God separated them. The woman was made from a side of the human just like man was.  There was no rib involved. Men and women have the same number of ribs – typically 12 pairs. So we can put the rib idea to rest.

Back to the term ezer.  When God said “I will make a helpmeet”, that would better be rendered as “I will make a strong power equal to and opposite”.  The Hebrew term is ezer kenegdo.  The term ezer means a help of superior power; kenegdo means “equal to, corresponding to or opposite”.  Ezer exists 21 times in the Old Testament and most of those times it refers to help from God.  So, yes, woman is a help to man, the same way God is a help to people or armies or nations in need.  She is a lifesaver and a warrior help, a strong rescuer, an army of help.  She stands equally beside the man in power, ability and authority and is there to provide push-back or assistance.  Think Captain Marvel or Wonder Woman and less damsel in distress.

She is fully capable of exercising (and has every right to) the authority God gave her at creation.  She needs no intermediary between herself and God except Jesus, the same as man.  The man says, “This is now bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh; she will be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken from man.” Many translations say taken out of man, but those words are not present in the Hebrew texts.  She was created with man, not out of man.  What God intended was to make a power who would be the man’s equal in every way, and a warrior/rescuer when needed.

Moving on to Genesis 2:16:

And the Lord God commanded Human, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.”

Familiar verse for most people, but I want to point out one thing I think gets overlooked – or ignored.  Human was still both genders in one body.  Both male and female heard God’s command.  The male didn’t tell the female the rules after they were separated; they were both present when God gave the command.

A rabbit trail here…why did God put this tree in the Garden if the humans were not supposed to eat from it?  I believe God was going to teach the man and woman about good and evil when they were mature enough to understand it, just as God reveals truth to us today as we are capable of receiving it.  If humankind did not know the difference between good and evil, or between God and the Adversary, how would free will be possible?  That’s a whole other discussion for another time.  Just throwing that out there for you to chew on…

The human was told, “Don’t eat from the Tree”.  Cue the serpent – more crafty, shrewd and cunning than the other land animals.  Guess who starts stirring up shite in the Garden.  I believe his ultimate goal was to get revenge against God using the humans as pawns.  When his name was Lucifer, he started a war in heaven to overthrow God and lost, and God stripped him of his position and title and cast him down to earth.  You can check out Isaiah 14, Ezekiel 28 or Revelation 12 for information on Lucifer’s fall from heaven after rebelling against God.  Lucifer, whose name is now satan, which means adversary, is furious.  He has been demoted from his position as second only to Christ and now God has created these beings with fleshly bodies and the right of free will.

Satan plots his revenge against God.  He is either posing as or using the serpent to interact with the man and woman.  He is lying through his serpent teeth the entire conversation.  What does he hope to accomplish by getting the man and woman to eat the fruit?  If he can’t defeat God directly, he can attack God’s children and screw everything up in this new paradise. And that is precisely what he does.

Part 2 coming soon!

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