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.
Hidden behind much patriarchal thinking is a pervasive patrilineal worldview. The belief that the family line is a male line and that males own and inherit the resources, has colored nearly all our cultures in the past and still accounts for much oppression and sidelining of women. Beulah will speak from her experience in south Asian culture, recognizing that, within families, women often become the perpetrators of discrimination against females. Does that happen to some extent near all of us? The Bible culture too is patrilineal. How shall we view that?
As a change agent in the community, the body of Christ must come to an understanding of the biblical concept of the image of God. An understanding of humanity as the bearer of that image—regardless of any classification society or culture might impose—is intrinsic to the church’s engagement in seeking justice.
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.
The Bible presents a three-part story of human relationship with God and with each other. This story reveals that both man and woman were created equally in the image of God to fulfill an ideal—a “one flesh,” “naked and not ashamed” relationship. That was the crowning act of creation. The second part of the story recounts our fall from grace and the loss of the fearless love for which God created us. The final chapter of the story finds us redeemed, restored to wholeness with God and with each other, a new man and new woman, restored to new life in Christ.
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.