In the Beginning…

The creation and fall story has often been upheld as a reason for the subjugation of women and misogyny in general. The below poetry is from my own perspective as a Protestant Christian  and doesn’t take into account other versions (Catholic, Jewish, Muslim) which have different interpretations of the story.

I

“So God created mankind in his own image,

    in the image of God he created them;

    male and female he created them.”1

Genesis specifies that God created both male and female in God’s image.

That in some small ways, we are like God.

Perhaps in that we are creative, like God

And have the ability to think abstractly, plan, and choose to love.

Male and female he created them.

When we think of God,

Michelangelo’s version of an old white man with a beard

Is just as inaccurate or accurate as Alanis Morissette playing God in Dogma.

Morgan Freeman as God in Bruce Almighty is just

As accurate or inaccurate as picturing God as the teenage girl

Giving you your fries at the drive through.

We are all created in the image of God.

But we are not God.

God is not male, nor female, nor bound to the physical.

When we refer to God as “He” it is just as inaccurate

As referring to God as “She”.

But we can only use inaccurate language and images

Because we cannot encompass the awesomeness of God

In anything we try to describe or imagine.

“For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face”2

 

II

 “The Lord God said,

 ‘It is not good for the man to be alone.

 I will make a helper suitable for him.’”3

The word for helper used is ezer.4

This is the same word as used to describe God in the Psalm

“But you, God, see the trouble of the afflicted;

    you consider their grief and take it in hand.

The victims commit themselves to you;

    you are the helper of the fatherless.”5

But instead of just a helper,

Eve was a helper like him or suitable to him.

What the King James refers to as a helpmeet.

Not a slave, a servant, or a secretary,

But someone like him to help him. 6

 

III

Then the Fall and the Curse

 “To the woman he said,

‘I will make your pains in childbearing very severe;

    with painful labor you will give birth to children.

Your desire will be for your husband,

    and he will rule over you.’”7

It’s ironic how we as Christians feel it’s our duty

To fight against Adam’s curse.

To help rid, so much as we can,

The world of disease, of death, of injustice

to weed gardens

And plant fruit.

We pray as Jesus did

“‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name,

 your kingdom come, your will be done,

    on earth as it is in heaven.”8

But in our doctrines, in our actions, in our sermons

Often the curse on woman is seen as only natural

The normal place of woman is beneath man

Silenced, led, controlled.

We let this curse invade our theology

Instead of fighting against it as we do with death, disease, sin, and injustice,

Instead of completely overcoming it as Jesus did, both in his life

His death and his resurrection.

 

 

  1. Genesis 1:27
  2. I Corinthians 13:12a
  3. Genesis 2:18
  4. A Year of Biblical Womanhood, in the chapter Eve, the Fallen by Rachel Held Evans
  5. Psalms 10:14
  6. A Year of Biblical Womanhood, in the chapter Eve, the Fallen by Rachel Held Evans
  7. Genesis 3:16
  8. Matthew 6:9b-10
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4 thoughts on “In the Beginning…

  1. Good thought Jessica. We don’t live under the curse after we accepted Jesus as our Savior. Just looking at the way Jesus dealt with the women in His life. He did show Himself to the women first after His resurrection.
    Dad
    PS. I wish you had met Peter De Boer your great-grandfather. He wrote just like you. But in Dutch.

    • Dad, Jesus’ interactions with women is going to be the topic of my next post 🙂 I did meet Grandpa De Boer but I was just a baby. I have heard about his poetry but I didn’t realize it was in Dutch.

  2. “As accurate or inaccurate as picturing God as the teenage girl
    Giving you your fries at the drive through.
    We are all created in the image of God.”
    Thank you for pointing this out. ❤
    I remember when the song What if God Was One of Us came out and many Christians that I knew where furious (yes…furious) that Joan Osborne referred to God as a She. I was shown that by identifying God as a female it was a deep insult. This was not the first time I was taught that by being a “she” I was somehow more inferior than my male counterparts in God’s eyes. It was one instance however that I can think back to how it made me feel with such clarity. That feeling, that crushing feeling of rejection, is so readily available right under the surface to this day. The feelings of being second best hurt my relationship with God for many years. It took me until my late 20’s to really feel like God loved me as much as any man. I was not some extra add on that God threw in the creation story last minute so that I could serve a man. Just like I have my Mother’s eyes and my Father’s skin tone, I have traits from God also, not physical but spiritual. I have some of my God’s great compassion for others, some of my God’s great love and some of my God’s great penchant for gift giving 😉 my list could go on. God has given me all of my great traits even the ones that society says are “feminine” are from “him”. I am wonderfully made in God’s image and I am a female.

    • Denise,
      I love your response. I think it was true of a lot of women that we felt less than and that calling God “she” was insulting but calling God “he” was somehow not. It shows how even though people say they believe men and women are “equal”, they believe that the “feminine” isn’t quite ever good enough. So glad that it specifies so clearly in scripture that both male and female are made in the image of God. I also love how you have defined traits in yourself that reflect the Divine! I was struggling with coming up with human traits that reflect God’s image and you have just listed a bunch 🙂

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