man and woman-exegesis of biblical texts

By - manan251

Series of 5 Articles. And God said “Let Us make Adam in Our image” Article 3/5. The solution to the enigma and the content of the image of God.

Series.    And God said: Let us make Adam in our image.

Article 3.   The solution to the enigma and the content of the image of God.  

Adam is from the ground.

In Genesis 2, we are given an in-depth look at Adam and so it is there that we find our answer to the singularity/plurality enigma of Genesis 1 and so we see how it is that Adam is made in the image of God.

In Genesis 2 we find that Adam is the only person created from the ground. His name means “ground-person” for he was made from the ground “adamah”. The ground is his sphere of existence and work (vv5,8).  It is where  everything good and pleasant and life giving for him comes from (v9).

Adam is not completed.

However, in v18 “it is not good for the ground-person….”

God’s work of creating the ground-person is not yet complete. Adam is only a singularity.   God has yet to make him into the duality, the gendered duality, that makes him complete and so very good (1:31). 

God promises to make the ground-person complete by making a helper suitable for him. Since Adam is the ground-person it would be logical for Adam to expect to find that suitable helper as another ground-person amongst the other creatures made from the ground. Especially so, since God creates and brings all the other ground creatures to him for him to examine. Presumably the male and female of each ground animal were each separately created from the ground for it is only in Adam that we are told the details about the creation of the female.   But there is no female ground-person to be found.    God has not made a female ground-person from the ground.  There is no separate female ground-person created by God. Adam finds no equal for God has not made one.

The enigma gets even deeper. How can Adam the ground-person be both singular and dual when there is not even another ground-person?

The solution is beyond Adam the ground-person.

God puts him to sleep and builds a woman (ishah) from out of the ground-person who we now come to realise is also a man (ish). She is a separate person to him, yet she is created out of him.  They are distinct and differentiated in their persons and gender yet they are created out of the same material. They  are not equivalent, they are not the same as each other. They are not interchangeable. They are not equal in that she is not an equal separate ground-person. Yet, there has and always will have been only one Adam the ground-person . The one and only ground-person, Adam, awakes to find that he is now both a singularity and a duality, a gendered duality.

The enigma of Genesis 1 has been solved.

Thus, in Genesis 2, the singularity/duality enigma of Genesis 1 has been solved. God has made Adam the one ground-person into two persons. She is made of the same material, the same substance as him, for she is made out of him. He has not been diminished in any way. He is still the male, the man Adam the ground person.  He is still a man. But, now there is another person, like him in that she is made from him, but different to him in that she is a woman  whereas he is a man.  And she is different to him in that he is made from the dust of the ground, whereas she is made from him.

They are both unique. 

Adam the man (ish) who is the ground-person is unique, in that he is the only ground-person in all of God’s creation. And he is the source of all other persons starting with the woman.   He is God’s ultimate creation and as such is crowned with glory. (Psalm 8 and 1 Corinthians 11:7 “man is the ….. glory of God”.

The woman (ishah) is unique in that she is the only creature in all God’s creation that does not come out of the ground. As I said above, the text leads us to presume that for each of the other ground creatures, the male and female were each made separately from the ground. There is no special building event like we see for Eve for the female animals out of the male animals for presumably the female animals were made from the ground, just like the corresponding male animals were. The woman is a special make. She comes out of the ground-person and she is the only creature ever that comes out or ever will come out of the ground-person. She is not a ground person. She is not created the same way as the female animals. She is now separate to Adam, yet her mode of creation tells her that she is part of him. This is expressed in the words “ish” and “ishah”.

Same substance differentiated persons.

She is the same material as him yet she is another person.

Or, to borrow language from our more nuanced trinitarian theology based on more detailed revelation of the nature of God in the man Jesus Christ, she is the same substance or essence as him, yet she is a differentiated person. Of God, the words substance or essence are appropriate for they imply that it is not created material that we are talking of. Of man, the word material is able to be used for we are of created material.

In regard to the persons of God, we speak theologically of the eternal generation of the Son by and from the Father. In the image of God, Adam, we see the material generation of the woman from the man. It is vitally important to our understanding of Adam as the image of God, that we believe that woman came out of man (1 Corinthians 11:7-9).

The basis for both the relating and dominion of Adam in Genesis 1

In recent (the last century) discussions of what the image of God means have shifted from the speculative metaphysical to more text based understandings. So, the two more recent dominant views are that it has to do with relationships and relating (following Barth etc) or alternatively it has to do with dominion. That Adam is the image of God in that he is both a singularity and a plurality is the underling basis for both the relating and the dominion of Adam that is expressed in Genesis 1:26-28.

In regard to relationality, I propose that it is because Adam is both a singularity and a duality that he possesses personhood.    [This would also be so for God].   If the woman had been another separate (even equal) ground creature (ie. created from a different piece of dust to Adam), and had not been created out of Adam, then she would have not been a person.  She would only have been another of the animals.  [But she is not this, for when God brought the animals to Adam, she was not one of them.]   And if she was one of the animals, even as a suitable helper for him, then Adam too would only be an animal, a ground creature and not a ground-person.  And it is only as woman is created out of the man Adam, that he truly is, and that we know he is, a ground person and not just a ground creature, an animal. So, we learn here what is the basis of personhood. Created persons are those created creatures/beings who are created out of the same substance or material. The other creatures are not made this way. Their plurality did not come about this way for the male and female animals were presumably each created from separate/different pieces of the ground. In this Adam and Eve image God’s personhood. One God, three persons all of the same substance.

In the appendix in Article 2 I showed diagrams to try and show what is happening as we replace Adam as the image of God with mankind, with an Egalitarian (supposedly christian) view of mankind (of man and woman), or with a Transgender type understanding of mankind. I repeat them here.

As we replace Adam we do away with the singularity and replace it with false dualities and pluralities. I contend that in the Egalitarian understanding we are seeing man and woman as separate people as if they were each created separately and independently, albeit we are told equally. It is as if when God brought the animals to Adam, the woman was found amongst them. Actually, it is worse than that. It is more like Adam and Eve were wandering around and found each other amongst the animals, just as the animals did. I contend that the Egalitarian view is reducing woman to the level of an animal. And in so doing, is also reducing Adam/man to that level also. It does not understand that it is the creation of woman out of man that makes them persons, that makes Adam the image of God. My stylised Transgender view illustrates that this is simply an extension of the Egalitarian view for in the Transgender style view Adam does not just find a woman he also finds another and another and another, all equal. All just the same as the animals. In both the Egalitarian and the stylised Transgender view there is no essential unity to mankind. There is just equality. And so there is no essential personhood for there is no one essence. Yes, they are equally creatures created by God, but they are no longer persons. They are no longer like God. It would seem that as we change the nature of personhood then we are simultaneously destroying the essential sameness. And visa versa, as we do away with the essential sameness we are at the same time doing away with the personhood. That is you cannot have essential sameness without personhood and you cannot have personhood without essential sameness. Yet, personhood entails differentiation. So you cannot have sameness without differentiation of persons and you cannot have differentiation of persons without essential sameness for without sameness they are not persons.

In regard to dominion over the other creatures and over creation, it is this essential oneness,  it is as these differentiated persons are in ultimate reality one substance that they are able to exercise dominion. The animals do not have this oneness of substance, they are not created like this. The animals, even the male and female of the one kind, are presumably made from different pieces of ground. Only Adam the ground person is made like this. Woman the special make out of Adam makes him the image of God. Dominion can only be exercised because he possesses this same substance, differentiated persons reality to him. Without this same essence, as we see in Diagram 3A and 3B from the previous article, they are just separated created equal creatures, each independently seeking to tame the creation AND each other. It is as they are in reality created from the one essence, from the one man, that they can together as one exercise true dominion over creation.

For the next article.

There is more specific detail in Genesis 2 to elucidate in regard to this same material, differentiated persons understanding of Adam and hence of man and woman.

There are also more specific areas of application to begin to consider.  This will include how this understanding relates to some of the things that Paul says in the New Testament in relation to man and woman and in particular how we are to understand them in terms of the image of God.

However, all these are for articles 4 & 5.

This concludes the third of the five articles in this series. If you click on this following link, it will take you directly to the fourth article.

2 thoughts on “Series of 5 Articles. And God said “Let Us make Adam in Our image” Article 3/5. The solution to the enigma and the content of the image of God.

Series. And God said “Let Us make Adam in Our image” Article 2/5. The enigma of Adam being singular and plural. – 25 July 2021 at 1:22 am

[…] This concludes the second of the five articles in this series. If you click on this following link, it will take you directly to the third article. […]


Series of 5 Articles: And God said: Let us make Adam in our image. Article 5/5. Adam the image of God – the key to knowing God. – 25 July 2021 at 1:57 am

[…] If you would like to go back to article 3 then click on this link. […]


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