Explorations of Genesis 2 intent on recovering God's ideal for the interrelationship between male and female often zoom in on the creation of Eve. We are better able to appreciate how the narrative supports that ideal when we engage the whole chapter.
What do Gen. 2:24-25 and Eph. 5: 21-33 have in common? When rightly understood, they both provide an almost formula-like description for a pleasurable, loving, faithful marriage of oneness. And both passages are built on equality and mutuality. Modern science teaches what the writers of Genesis and Ephesians could not have known.
Theologians are generally agreed that Genesis chapters 1 to 3 are foundational to biblical revelation, and in particular to a right understanding of the male-female relationship. Today, most commentators on Genesis and Pope John Paul II in a binding encyclical on all Roman Catholics, conclude that in God's good creation man and woman stand side by side, equal in status, dignity and leadership ability; the fall is entirely the cause of women's subordination.
God's nature and personality, revealed through Jesus, become a decoder ring to understanding new creation realities in relationships and roles between men and women. The Trinitarian dynamics of honor and co-regency illustrate to us the new creation order, its ethos, and its purpose in displaying God's glory now, as we live in kingdom culture in a rogue, decaying world.
The Bible teaches equality and essential dignity of men and women of all ethnicities, ages, and classes, as all are created in the image and likeness of God. Since the church is called to be salt and light in the context in which we live, it is essential that the church recognizes and promotes the biblical understanding that leadership and service is based on the gifting of the Holy Spirit. The revelation of Triune God is the foundation of mutuality.