The roles of men and women in the church have their roots in creation. That’s Paul’s argument in 1 Timothy 2:12-15. What are those roots? What in creation has significance to the roles of men and women in the church today? Let’s look at Genesis.
According to Gen. 1:27, male and female were created in God’s image. This means out of all of creation, men and women are God’s special and most valuable creations. Nothing created by God could be greater than being created in His own image. Not even the countless galaxies, tallest mountains or deepest oceans in existence can match that greatness. Only humans are made in God’s image.
Yet, male and female were not created all at once. According to Gen. 2, Adam was formed first, before Eve. There’s quite a bit of significance to this because several important things happen in sequence after Adam was formed.
First, Adam alone was given God’s first command (Gen. 2:15-17). He has sole responsibility over the command to not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Second, Adam goes to work for God and is in need of a helper in the garden but there is none in all of creation (Gen. 2:18-20) and finally, God provides Adam a helper and formed Eve out of Adam’s flesh (Gen. 2:21-23).
The idea that Adam and Eve are equal in essence but with different roles is laid out in this passage. They are equal, for they are both made in God’s image and Eve is “bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh” according to Adam. Yet they have different roles. Adam was created first and given the leadership role when he was given a command by God. Adam had the lead role in obeying and honoring God and His word. Eve is called a “helper” and made from Adam and for Adam. She is to help Adam obey and honor God and His word. They are equal but different.
The reason this is important to the church is because of Gen. 2:24:
Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.
This teaches us that Adam and Eve are the first married couple, the first one flesh union and they serve as a model for marriage. This reminds us that it is the man who takes the lead, initiates the marriage union and is the one to “hold fast to his wife.” God wants to bring this model of marriage into all homes and, as Paul will later show us, God wants to bring it into the church as well.This is a 7-part series. For a comprehensive study, see Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood by John Piper and Wayne Grudem