In the beginning when God was just finishing up breathing life into His creation, He let Adam and Eve know that His plans for maintaining what He had created was being bequeathed to them. Genesis 1:28 says, “The God blessed THEM, and God said to THEM, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” Two things are quite remarkable about this statement. The first is that from its inception, God intended to hand over the reigns of oversight of all He created on earth to one of His creations – a staggering idea. The second idea is that He did not hand them over to one or the other of man and woman, He handed them to both. That means that they were both to carry the responsibility of leadership and oversight. I do not believe God has changed His mind on that decision.
I also do not for a moment believe that God’s intent was only that whatever man and woman put their hand to would grow, but that man and woman would grow in their relationship together as they sought to discover how it was that God intended they were to work together. He also must have meant that man and woman’s relationship with God would grow as well, as they would be required to seek the counsel of the Creator to learn the best practices for maintaining the earth and all that was in it. Man and woman did not have the blueprints and instruction manuals, God did – an unfathomable idea, but not at all unlike God.
All scripture is given as revelation of who God is and scripture is clear to point out that the highest value God has for His people – men and women alike, was to learn to love Him first and foremost and then to love one another as ourselves. In fact Jesus told us that all of the law and prophets could be summed up in those two commands. Is it any wonder then that Satan would want to mess things up right there at the very heart of God’s design for mankind?
When satan spoke to Eve in the Garden of Eden, his questions gave Eve reason to doubt God’s good intentions for her. Is there anything that could mess up relationships quicker than breaking trust? Adam followed Eve’s decision and both found themselves naked and ashamed. Each of them were responsible for their own actions. Both of them were deceived and both made the decision to disobey God. Trust that broke down relations between them and God had now expanded (as sin does), and now mistrust between Adam and Eve took root and began its work of destroying their relationship together.
Restoring trust is precisely what Jesus came to heal – not only between mankind’s relationship with God, but also between men and women. This restoration was then to expand to restore broken relations between the different nations; between the wealthy and the poor; between the young and the old; between the despised and the favored. The great commission of Jesus is much more comprehensive than we have given credit, and the real work is to restore trust or in other words, faith in God first, then see to it that it is expanded to restore trust in the opposite gender.
God is the God of right relations. Right relations with Him and one another are His definition of righteousness. He is glorified when relations are put aright and when love is extended according to His blueprint, regardless of gender. Love is not always easy. The heart is where relations with God to be healed and set to right, just as the heart is also where relations are to be restored between man and woman. Men and women are by God’s design to co-lead and the working out of this begins in learning to trust God’s original design and plan and leaning on Him to learn how that is to be worked out on earth. May God be glorified in us!
Love, grace and peace,