Published on Valentine’s Day 2018
This is a powerful love story written long, long ago. I pray you will read it today with fresh eyes. This isn’t about a human love story, it’s about the love story between God and His daughters. This is the very first love note, or correspondence, we see in the Bible. So open yours to Genesis and let’s use the original Hebrew text to better understand our purpose and our relationship to Him, and one another.
Chapter One. In the Beginning. ‘adam or Adam?
26 Then God said, “Let us make humanity in our image to resemble us so that they may take charge of the fish of the sea, the birds in the sky, the livestock, all the earth, and all the crawling things on earth.”
27 God created humanity in God’s own image,
in the divine image God created him,
male and female God created them.
Genesis 1: 26-27
God created humankind (‘adam) in “Our image, according to Our likeness.” Let’s grasp that for a moment. Humankind was not initially Man and Woman. Humankind was BEFORE that. It was whole and complete, but not how we recognize ourselves today. As hard as it is to imagine, in ‘adam was both God’s masculine (zakar) and feminine (nĕqebah) image.
As we read Genesis 1, we aren’t reading about a male human being named Adam. ‘adam is a Hebrew word that means mankind, or humankind. So, we are being told in Genesis 1 that God created everything that would eventually inhabit the earth, including ‘adam/humankind. As this chapter closes, humankind receives purpose from God. ‘adam is instructed to be fruitful, to multiply, fill the earth, subdue it, and rule over it.
Chapter Two. The Breath of Life.
In Chapter Two, God creates the earth, so that ‘adam and all the other living creatures can inhabit it.
How does ‘adam makes its appearance? First, God created dust. He formed a body from the dust, breathed into the body’s nostrils, and a living being (nephesh) was created. Now God’s image and likeness, in its whole and completely perfect form, walked the earth with purpose and on purpose. ‘adam was now introduced to the garden. God pointed out the rivers, boundaries, food, the Tree of Life and the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.
With the addition of God’s breath, ‘adam becomes nephesh. Whole and complete, inclusive of God’s zakar (masculine) and nĕqebah (feminine) image and likeness.
God already deemed his creation as “good” and certainly could have stopped there. But, He decided it would be even better if ‘adam was not alone. God put the dusty nephesh into a deep sleep. He removed a rib (the Hebrew word tsela` is more accurately defined as “side”), and built (banah) another body. God’s image and likeness, once whole in ‘adam, was now separated into two corresponding forms.
God gives the newly fashioned body the name ‘ishshah. God now wakes up ‘adam, and introduces ‘ishshah to ‘adam.
The Entrance of Woman and Man
Have you ever received a special love letter and poured over every letter and every word? Words are important. Letters are important. Relationship is important. With that in mind, let’s look at where we are so far. Up to this point, ‘adam is not capitalized. It’s not the name of a man. It’s the word for humankind. Remember, in Chapter One, God tells us about Himself, and the mystery of “Our image and Our likeness” including both the masculine (zakar) and feminine (nĕqebah).
Only now, in Genesis 2:21, does God create correspondence.
The human (‘adam) said,
“This is now bone of my bones,
And flesh of my flesh;
She shall be called Woman (‘ishshah),
Because she was taken out of Man (‘iysh).”
Out of ‘adam comes ‘ishshah. ‘adam is now two, separated by what some scholars call an operation or surgery. ‘adam recognizes that part of him has now taken the form of another human, called ‘ishshah. This is such a profound revelation that he gives himself a name, just as he had the other creatures on the earth. The human (‘adam) names himself man (‘iysh).
In Chapter 2, our love letter from God reminds us that Man and Woman are separate beings, but together, we are God’s whole image and likeness. Our purpose, stated so clearly at the end of Chapter 1, did not change in Chapter 2.
Humankind (‘adam) is now ‘ishshah and ‘iysh. God separated His image and likeness into two components. Neither is complete without the other. They correspond perfectly. And they still share one purpose, which is to be fruitful, to multiply, fill the earth, subdue it, and rule over it.
Chapter 3. Bad Fruit and New Names
Back in Chapter 2, God made sure humanity (‘adam) knew the rules of the Garden. There was a Tree of Life, from which ‘adam could eat. But there was another tree that was equally beautiful, called the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.
We know that the serpent appealed to ‘ishshah’s desire to become more Godly and he enticed her to eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Immediately, shame entered the picture and guess what? We got new names. God named Adam, and Adam named Eve.
Consumption of Knowledge caused shame and division then, and it’s still impacting our relationships today. Even though Galatians is pretty clear, we still pursue the power struggle of human hierarchy. If you do not see the struggle in the church today, you simply aren’t looking.
There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. Galatians 3:28
I may not be a Soldier, but I am a WARRIOR
Part of my own journey is one I thought started with an unanswered prayer. Before starting college, I had a “lightening bolt” moment during which God told me I would be a warrior. I remember exactly where I was at the time. I didn’t so much “hear” audibly as I felt the knowledge inside my spirit. In my human experience, I correlated the word “warrior” to “soldier” and promptly rearranged my freshman schedule to include Army ROTC. Even though I had never entertained the idea of pursuing the military, I boldly moved forward into what I knew was my purpose. I loved it, more than I ever could have imagined, and found strength that I know only came from God.
Unfortunately, a couple of years in, my body started breaking – literally. Stress fractures interrupted my required training, and I did not get the healing I prayed for. I remember crying out to God during that time, “You called me to this. Why are you keeping me from it?” Ultimately, I lost my opportunity to be commissioned, and in my human knowledge and experience, I was no longer going to be a soldier. In fact, I really felt like I had failed God.
Many years have passed since then. I had to let go of those aspirations and move on, and I did. But about 2 years ago, God reminded me of His call on my life, to be a Warrior. His reminder came during a season of disappointments, grief and loss. The Holy Spirit led me to Genesis, and His Spirit gave me fresh eyes. I started seeing the word “ezer” in multiple places, so I finally sat down and studied. Sure enough, after years and years of feeling disappointed about the Army, God showed me that I was still a warrior. I knew that I would never have lived through that difficult season if I had not stepped into my purpose. What an amazing affirmation to get from my Father. I was a warrior, after all.
Right there, in Genesis 2:18 comes the verse that grabbed my attention, and helped me reclaim my warrior status! Do you see it? God says He will create an “ezer neged” for ‘adam. God is making his “good” creation even better. If so, then we should expect to see some powerful words used to translate into English, right? Nope. In our English translations, we most often see “helpmeet” or “suitable helper”. Do either of these sound like a description for a living being, created in God’s image and likeness?
Let’s consult the Hebrew words and do our own research. Technology is a powerful, and empowering tool in this effort! Woman was created to be an ‘ezer neged (sometimes you’ll see it written as ezer kenegdo):
‘ezer means strong help. It is used only 21 times in the Bible, and other than the description for Woman, it is used to describe the powerful ways God helps Israel. It is also used to describe strategic and strong military leaders and powerful rulers, or men in high positions of authority. If you’ve been looking for a word study, this is a great one.
neged is translated as “before, against, in the presence, about” and more. It actually means, you guessed it, CORRESPONDING TO.
Instead of helpmeet, a more accurate translation would be strength corresponding to. Check out this interesting article here, and just start your own research – there are numerous resources.
The Good News
Aside from the fact that we have the tools to translate God’s word accurately, there are an abundance of churches that equally empower women. But, the fact is, the serpent will not subvert God’s plan. God will raise up strong warriors to help bring about His Kingdom of heaven here on earth.
It’s happening now. Women are stepping up and strapping on their combat boots. So I pray for them. For their supernatural discernment and knowledge. For technology to be used by the Holy Spirit to reach and teach and empower. That God would use His daughters to tear down walls and facades that are barriers to His purpose.
Let this be your affirmation from God today. Read His word, lace up your combat boots, and listen to your heart ♥️ because He’s written truth there.
Happy Valentines Day ♥️