Equality…or Equity? Part 5

God's fingerWho Said Eve Was Cursed?

If you have been around the Church long enough, you have heard all about how God cursed Adam and Eve for their transgression.  If you were to sit back and listen to that dogma, taught by someone you respect, you likely have that woven into your psyche as much as “i before e” and the times tables.  But, the truth is…and the truth is what we are after, here…that neither Adam nor Eve were cursed and, as for women, they do not carry a curse that God allegedly put upon Eve.

We need to examine the scriptures for what they really say and deny the counterfeit oral law.  Men have taken scriptures and used them to their own advantage, rather than seeking God’s voice and desiring truth.  We have dozens of counterfeit doctrines out there that have the appearance of truth, but when held under the light of the scripture that God gave us, can be seen for the false doctrines that they are.  One of the biggest is the estimation of women.  It all starts in Genesis (clever play on words, don’t ya think?).

Wait…before I continue,  Mike and I are  NOT attempting to reveal something new.  Solomon put it well…”There is nothing new under the sun.”  What we are showing through all of this, is how scripture has been altered by either poor interpretation or twisted doctrinal bias.  This is how things like the idea of Adam and Eve being cursed come about, where we get the idea that woman was put on earth to serve man and several other doctrines which should be put to rest.  Okay…I have that out of my system.

This is by far the longest blog I have posted, but try to follow along and see what Mike shows scripture spells out within all this information.

Let’s just see who was cursed, and who wasn’t.

The Creation, the Garden, Man and The Curse: Truth or Consequences
Here a curse, there a curse, everywhere a curse curse!

 In my last segment I talked about the patterns. We examined Genesis 1:1 carefully to show you through the Hebrew words how strong that one sentence is. With careful translation of vital key words it is shown there is a depth and meaning that is mostly hidden when it comes to our plain English. It is in this first sentence in the first book of the Old Testament we discover that this is more than just an introduction of the origin of creation, it’s the mysterious play of Hebrew words and letters that reveals it as an announcement of God’s power, grace and truth. Now how does play into what we have been talking about as to women and men and the misconceptions of there is inequity and inequality in relationships at large in the world and in the church world. It has everything to do because of a basic and most poisonous word that has been preached, perpetrated by thought word and deed and is still a rampant thought pattern in men and women alike creating a void or vacuum of revelation. That word is curse, or The Curse. It is this basic religious premise that has caused systemic grief, inequity, and the source of so many dysfunctional relationships as well as maintaining the status quo of male centric patterns of rules and regulations in the Church that simply do not exist. It’s a power play of the most heinous order. But now I am going to reveal to you the patterns as clear as I can. I will have to clarify with Hebrew but in order to get to the truth you have to go to the source. The pattern I am talking about is the Grace of God through Christ that was there in the beginning. In the creation of man! This is vitally important because revealing the Trinity involvement through the pattern of Grace reveals His nature and His true intent for us. It is the misunderstanding of the creation of man and the fall that all misunderstandings flow from. It is from here that later we dive into the Curse and find out what it really means!

 The Garden and Man
Patterns begin with order
It got dusty before it got meaty!

      When you look at Genesis 1:1-2:4 God gives us the account of the first story of the creation. In this account you will notice that it is a beautiful story that flows like a woven tapestry. It speaks of God’s creative energy and wisdom, and it is a summation of the creation of man and woman. You will also notice it is devoid of anything negative or sad or terrible. No curse, no serpent, nothing. All we read is about God’s blessing to them, blessing the seventh day and telling his creation of man and woman to go out into the world and subdue it and replenish the Earth. It is also important that only in this First account of the Creation the Trinity is revealed.

Lets first reexamine Genesis 1:1 a little deeper. There is a whole lot more than meets the eye here. Let me explain first with this scripture we find in the book of John.

 John 1:1-3

1. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God.
2. He was in the beginning with God.
3. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.”

So we already know that God the Son is at work in the first account of Genesis as well as the other two. Lets move on.

In Genesis 1:2 we read that the Spirit of Elohim “moved” or rather in Hebrew it’s translated as “brooded” over the waters. The Spirit in Hebrew is רוּחַ ruwach{roo’-akh}. Note the Hebrew spelling. Three letters. From right to left. Resh (Head), Vav (Nail), Hai (Grace). Literally we see Father, Son, Holy Spirit and this is established in the first chapter as the pronoun, Us. We see this is so intricate like a wheel within a wheel. Wait isn’t that what John saw in the book of Revelation? So we see another part of the Godhead “The Spirit of Elohim”.  Then, the text continues in chapter one to call God Elohim until 2:3. And then after Elohim rested and blessed the seventh day, Genesis 2:4 takes up the narrative all over again with a annunciation-like overview statement.  Observe. Genesis 2:4 “These [are] the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that Yähwè יָהוֶה ´Élöhîm אֱלֹהִים made the earth and the heavens,”

      So here we see God takes up the creation story all over again but now with a brief overview before going into full detail about this creation of man (Adam) and woman (Eve) and weaves the tapestry of what happened to him. What is important to note here is that in Genesis 2:4, God’s name changes to Yahweh Elohim, or in other vernaculars, Jehovah Elohim. The third of the Godhead!

Now Yahweh Elohim is taking up this creation story with great granularity and purpose and it is here in the details we find out the truth. In Genesis 1:1-2:3,  we have the creation story told in the view of Elohim (Christ) Our, Us with authoritative clarity but also with incredible Grace and Blessings. There is no redundancy, merely the action of the Godhead in agreement and interacting as One.  So the Son in the beginning explains the creation and overlays no fault, no trouble, no curses or sins. Only blessings and the charge for two beings: Man and Woman to subdue the Earth and replenish it “together”. So the first order of business in the creation story is God establishing blessings and Grace before narrating the story of man. Why? Because we already read in John 1:1-3 Jesus was in the beginning and He made everything, so Jesus who is Grace cannot be anything other than Grace. So Genesis 1:1-2-3 reflects Christ pre-incarnate. You see why this is important? Its like the first narrative establishes Christ declaration of good news only! Now whatever happens from here on out we have been assured by Elohim (Christ), Our, Us that the blessings stick! God gives us a perfect picture of His workmanship and He blessed it. You see if it was anything else but that than Genesis 1:1-2:3 would be in conflict with the rest of Genesis 2 and 3 for that matter. Or even the rest of the whole Bible. But God does not contradict so Jehovah or Yahweh Elohim (Our, Us) now takes on the tale of what His Son, They, Us did and reveals the troubles but also the hope!

Now we begin after Genesis 2:4 where it gets granular, or rather like I said before it gets dusty before it gets meaty! Now in this segment I am going to bring more Hebrew because there are a lot of words that look the same in English but are not the same in Hebrew. This important because it clarifies and sheds new light on what you think the word means! So lets move on and I will stop with the parts I need to be clear on in Hebrew. We are getting to the meat of the argument so watch closely.

Genesis 2:5 accounts that God formed man of the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life and man became a living soul. So lovely and so wonderful. Lets translate this a bit so you get a clearer picture.

Genesis 2:5 “ Yahweh Elohim “FORMED” (יָצַר yatsar {yaw-tsar’} which means mould or squeezing into shape”) “MAN” (אָדָם ‘adam {aw-dawm’} meaning ruddy, that is, a human being) of the “DUST” (עָפָר `aphar {aw-fawr’} meaning clay, earth, mud, powder, ashes) of the “GROUND” אֲדָמָה ‘adamah {ad-aw-maw’} meaning soil or redness. Or red soil) and “BREATHED” (נָפַח naphach {naw-fakh’} meaning to inflate, blow hard, kindle) into his nostrils) the “BREATH” (נְשָׁמָהn@shamah {nesh-aw-maw’} meaning “a puff, that is, wind, angry or vital breath, divine inspiration, intellect) of “LIFE” חַי chay {khah’-ee} meaning alive; henceraw (flesh); fresh (plant, water, year), strong; also (as noun, especially in the feminine singular and masculine plural) life) of life, and man (adam) became a living (Chay) “SOUL” (נֶפֶשׁ nephesh {neh’-fesh} meaning soul, self, life, creature, person, appetite, mind, living being, desire, emotion, passion)”.

So what we can clearly divine here is the following: Yahweh Elohim took some red mud, squeezed it into shape, blew His breath into its nostrils and it became a living thinking human. No gender differentiation because in the Hebrew the word “his” doesn’t exist. It was added in the other than Hebrew translations.  So we have Adam, a human being who has life and intellect. No other identification marks indicated. Not to say he was androgynous. It just means his humanness is the factor here not gender. But its important to note in this passage three things. Material used for making man (red clay), the process used (squeezing and shaping), and activation process (blowing air into nostrils). The result is a being of clay that breathes and is alive and has an intellect. Nothing more! See how Hebrew breaks it down and levels the playing field already? Lets move on.

Lets skip ahead after God planted the Garden and put Adam in it. So God tells Adam that he can freely eat of all of the trees of the garden “except” the tree of knowledge of good and evil. God was specific. “On the day that you eat of it you shall surely die. So Adam was told this. Woman had not been created yet. So something strnage happens immediately after God gave Adam this first and only law in the Garden. Lets look at the scripture. Time to go Hebrew on you again. Look carefully because we are getting to the meat and bones of all of this. Lets look at Genesis 2:18 2:18 “And Yähwè יָהוֶה ´Élöhîm אֱלֹהִים said, [It is] not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a help meet for him. So after God gave Adam a law He immediately followed up with Him saying it is not good for man to be alone. This inexplictly is tied to the law God gave. It wasn’t a discovery that it wasn’t good. It was His plan. The law was there and Adam was alone with it. God already had a plan and that was to make him a help meet.

The Help Meet. And here we are. It took a little base work. But I hope the ride was enjoyable. The Help Meet. This word is incredibly replete with meaning. In Hebrew that word is “Ezer Kenegdo” ëzer K’neg’Dô. The meaning broken down is “Ezer (עֵזֶר `ezer {ay’-zer} meaning a help, helper) and Keneg’Do (נֶגֶד neged {neh’-ghed} meaning a front, that is, part opposite; specifically a counterpart, or mate; usually (adverbially, especially with preposition) over against or before:—about, (over) against, aloof, far, from, over, presence, other side, sight, to view.

(Skip Moen) a noted Messianic Hebrew has this interesting thing to say : “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, you shall not eat of it; for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” (Genesis 2:17).

What follows this warning? What follows the only prohibition that God gives Adam? The necessity of an ‘ezer kenegdo. The argument proceeds from the prohibition concerning the tree of the knowledge of good and evil to the requirement for an ‘ezer kenedgdo. Furthermore, the entire story of the Fall focuses on the role of the ‘ezer kenegdo and the tree. How can we ignore the obvious conclusion that the purpose of the ‘ezer kenegdo is somehow connected to the command for Adam to obey. Adam doesn’t need an assistant or a co-laborer. The assignment to care for the garden, be fruitful, multiply and take stewardship over the earth is given to both male and female. They equally receive God’s directive. It is not the case that Adam is given the assignment and then delegates some of that responsibility to his faithful companion, Havvah.

However, the command prohibiting eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil is given to Adam alone. It is not Adam’s productive energy that needs assistance. It is his faithfulness to God’s moral obligation. He needs a protector. He needs someone whose job is to keep him on the straight and narrow. He needs one who comes alongside for the express purpose of supporting his obedience. Havvah has a role to play, but it is not the role of domestic servant, sexual outlet, production assistant or Vice President for Public Works. It is the role of priest! She is to be the one who makes sure that Adam stays faithful to God. She is the one who stands between God’s command and Adam’s obedience, watching over him so that he will not go astray. The help she brings is the help of rescue and salvation. In this role, she parallels God’s ultimate relationship with Israel. God is the protector, provider and deliverer of Israel in the fallen world, but those are only roles God takes upon Himself after the Fall. In order to understand the role of the ‘ezer kenegdo, we must look at God’s relationship with human beings before the Fall. (A Special Kind of Help, Skip Moen May 2009)

Adam (human being) who has no identification other as a human being was given a prohibition (law) from God and God realized he needed a powerful counterpart. So how di He accomplish this. Like He made or rather formed Adam out of clay? Lets look on.

God caused Adam to go into a deep sleep and God performed the first surgical procedure. He cut Adam open and took out a rib and then closed the wound nice and tidy. But then He took the rib and God made a woman. Lets look at the two words. Made and Woman.

Made (  בָּנָה banah {baw-naw’} meaning A primitive root; to build (literally and figuratively). God was the first DNA recombinant scientist?

Woman: (אִשָּׁה ‘ishshah {ish-shaw’} meaning from an unused word; woman, wife, female.

Now an interesting thing happens after Ishshah was made and presented to Adam, we read this.

2:23 And ´Äðäm אָדָם said, This [is] now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.

The last word “Man” has now changed. It is no longer Adam (human being) but the word אִישׁ ‘iysh {eesh} meaning man in contrast to women.

In Hebrew lets compare the two words. I will name the letters starting from the right to left and their meaning.

אִישׁ ‘iysh {eesh} ( Aleph “sacrifice”, Yud “Hand”, Shin “the letter main meaning is it stands for the word Shaddai, a name for God. Because of this, akohen (priest) forms the letter Shin with his hands as he recites the Priestly Blessing. It has two versions. It looks like a crown and can be with three spikes as we see above or four. Three means the Shin of this world and 4 spikes means the Shin of the World to come.

אִשָּׁה ‘ishshah {ish-shaw’} Now here a interesting thing happens. We have from right to left. Aleph “sacrifice, Shin which was last in Ish is now the next letter leaving an entirely new letter taking its spot. The letter Hai meaning “Grace”. So here this takes on the cogitation that both ish and ishshah share the same mark of God in the Aleph, but the Ishshah has the Shin (El Shaddai) closer with the added Hai (Grace). It would be reasonable and true that a man is so apt to use the hand or efforts and not listen to God whereas woman who has instead of the hand has the Shin is special and fully connected to God.

This segues perfectly into a article by Lois Tvberg where she writes:

Ish & Ishah – Together Fully Human
by Lois Tverberg

        (Adam) said, “This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman (ishah),   Because she was taken out of Man (ish).” For this reason a man (ish) shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife (ishah); and they shall become one flesh. Genesis 2:23-24

 The creation story has many profound things to say about God’s intention for our lives. We can be enriched just by looking closely at the Hebrew words that are used to describe the first human Adam, and then the creation of man and woman.

 It may surprise English readers that the word adam is a neutral term meaning “human,” not specifically a man. In the original Hebrew text, all references to Adam are neutral until God takes some of Adam’s flesh and makes a woman – ishah, in Hebrew. Only at that point is Adam called ish, a man. The Hebrew word ishah hints at her origins from within the ish, something that we can mimic in English, with the words “man” and “woman.” But interestingly, Adam is never called an ish until the ishah has been separated from him. It is as if the text is implying that male and female cannot define themselves fully as human without the other.

 We may not realize that this logic is part of the next verse that says that for this reason, when a man and woman marry, they become “one.” They are returning to God’s first design before the ish and ishah were separated. The complementarity between man and woman is inherent in the way they were taken apart from each other, as the first ishah provides what the ish lacks. In God’s design, it is the the two together who ultimately reflect the image of God. (Ish & Ishah – Together Fully Human Lois Tvberg)

 I think this is enough to digest on. In the next part we will look at the fall of man and what this so called curse really is. I am going to call it. It Said, She said, He said. Who got cursed? -Michael Willingham

Mike gave us a bit to consider, here.  Just when we look at God’s design for man and woman, it would be counterproductive and contrary to His grace for them to be cursed.  However, as we see, God did not pronounce a curse on either Adam or Eve.  In the next post we will see a continuation of this and in coming posts, we shall show how God used women in complete contrast to what much of the Church has to say about women’s function within the Church.

Addendum:

Mike sent me this breakdown of ezer kenegdo.

 Gen. 2:18 “And Yähwè יָהוֶה ´Élöhîm אֱלֹהִים said, [It is] not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a help meet for him. So after God gave Adam a law He immediately followed up with Him saying it is not good for man to be alone. This inexplictly is tied to the law God gave. It wasn’t a discovery that it wasn’t good. It was His plan. The law was there and Adam was alone with it. God already had a plan and that was to make him a help meet.

The Help Meet. And here we are. It took a little base work. But I hope the ride was enjoyable. The Help Meet. This word is incredibly replete with meaning. In Hebrew that word is “Ezer Kenegdo” ëzer K’neg’Dô. The meaning broken down is “Ezer (עֵזֶר `ezer {ay’-zer} meaning a help, helper) and Keneg’Do(נֶגֶד neged {neh’-ghed} meaning a front, that is, part opposite; specifically a counterpart, or mate; usually (adverbially, especially with preposition) over against or before:—about, (over) against, aloof, far, from, over, presence, other side, sight, to view.

 Lets examine each letter of each word – this is important

(עֵזֶר `ezer : Form right to left, Resh (Head), Ayin ( eye or to see, also represents the primeval light, or spiritual light of God), Vav (Nail)

(נֶגֶד neged {neh’-ghed} From right to left, Nun (Represents both faithfulness and the reward for faithfulness. Gimmel (kinsman Redeemer, it’s a picture of Yashua the Messiah), Dalet (Door)

 Getting the picture here? Head with the eyes to see the spiritual light of God of the nail (representing Christ) – Faithfulness s kinsman redeemer to show the door!

Makes you look at the word a whole new way!

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