Were Adam and Eve Created Equal?
Recently some doctrines have been infiltrating the churches teaching that woman cannot preach, teach or prophesy in the assembly based on verses from 1st Corinthians that have been grossly misinterpreted and falsely misrepresented.
For more information on the subject please see: Can woman be preachers?
What these people are teaching is Adam was made in the image of God and Eve was made in the image of Adam. They claim that man and woman were not created equal, and because of this a woman is to be under the control or authority of the man.
They then go on to teach that woman cannot be in ministry because in the beginning man was created first and woman was created second, these that teach such have not even studied the matter out fully.
With this type of thinking it is apparent that one could end up with all kinds of dictatorial problems in a family and the best way to sort it out is to go to the Word of God and see just what He does say on the subject.
"And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them." Genesis 1:26-27.
We see that God created 'man' after his own image, both male and female. If we look up the original Hebrew word in Strong's Exhaustive Concordance for the word 'man' in this text we find that it is "H#120 - adam; from H#119; ruddy, i.e. A human being (an individual or the species, mankind, etc.):- x another, + hypocrite, + common sort, xlow, man (mean of low degree), person."
So 'man' refers to an individual or species, namely mankind. It is obvious that both Adam and Eve came under the term mankind or man.
In the Hebrew there is another word which has been translated 'man' which means 'male.' We read it in Genesis chapter 2:
According to Strong's Exhaustive Concordance the word 'man' used in both these texts is the Hebrew word "H#376 - iysh; contraction for H#582 [a mortal]; a man as an individual or a male person . . ."
This word therefore refers to the males of the human species as opposed to the whole of the human race like the other word does.
When we compare the word 'man' from both Genesis 1:26, 27 with the one in Genesis 2:22, 23 with what Strong's Exhaustive Concordance says we are left in no doubt but to acknowledge the difference in the two words. When God's Word says that He created the earth and everything in it including man in His own image, that man includes both male and female or the whole human species which at that point in time was Adam and Eve.
If we do not understand this when we get to Genesis 6 we have a big problem.
"And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart." Genesis 6:6.
The word 'man' in this text is the same as Genesis 1:26, 27. If this word only refers to males then God was sorry that He made males, but not females. One would think that if anything it would be the other way around for Eve was the one who was deceived and ate the fruit of the forbidden tree and gave to Adam to eat, also.
This problem would then be further compounded in the next verse.
"And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them." Genesis 6:7.
Was God really only going to destroy all the males, the beast, and creeping thing, and fowls of the air?
What was going to happen to all the females? e are told that only eight were righteous who entered the ark - Noah, his wife, their three sons and their wives.
Note: that both males and females were saved in the ark!
These problems can be solved very simply by accepting that the word 'man' used in Genesis 1:26, 27 and Genesis 6:6, 7 means mankind, and is different to the word 'man' used in Genesis 2:22, 23. So both man and woman were made in the image of God.
Although both were created in the image of God, were they actually created equal? To answer this question let us have a look at how God created both man, then woman.
"And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul." Genesis 2:7.
"And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man." Genesis 2:21, 22.
God formed Adam from the dust of the ground, Eve was made from one of Adam's ribs.
Why a rib?
The rib is from approximately the middle of the body height wise, therefore signifying that Eve was to be neither above or below Adam, but equal to him. This would not be the case if God had made Eve from say a bone from Adam's head or foot. The former would mean that Eve would be over Adam, and the later would mean that Adam would be over Eve.
Eve was to be "an help meet for him" (Genesis 2:18), a helper for him, one who was fitted to be his companion. When God presented Eve to Adam he 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." Genesis 2:23.
As part of man, she was his second self. This shows the close union that should exist in a marriage relationship. This is further shown in the next verse:
"Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh." Genesis 2:24.
So were Adam and Eve created equal?
The answer from the Bible clearly is yes. However man and woman did not remain equal due to sin. Eve was deceived by the devil, Adam was not deceived but ate the fruit anyway (1 Timothy 2:14). God therefore placed Eve under the rule of her husband, Adam (Genesis 3:16), and every woman thereafter was and still is under either her own husband or father in the eyes of God.