by Rev John W Brown
How was Adam created? Could it be that the original Adam was both male and female, that there was no separation between them? What does it mean to be created in the image of God? First let's establish the fact that humans are created in the image of God. Genesis 1:26-27 says:
"Then God said, "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth." So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them..."
This tells us then that humans were created in the image of God, regardless of whether they are male or female. The name for God used in this passage is Elohim meaning gods and is also the plural name of God.
The church has traditionally defined this as the Trinity doctrine, comprised of Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Father and Son are obviously males. However what about the Holy Spirit? The Western Church has always maintained that the Holy Spirit is male. However, is that entirely correct, or could the Holy Spirit be a female? Perhaps the Holy Spirit is both male and female. Let's have a look.
As used in the Old Testament the word for spirit is ruwach. It means breath, wind or the spirit of a rational being. It is the same word used to describe the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost found in Acts 2:1. It also agrees with other scriptures that show that God has a female side as well as male. In Isaiah 42:14 God is described as a woman in labor having labor pains. Again in Isaiah 66:9 God is described as giving birth, and later in the chapter, in verse 13, is described as a comforting mother. In John, Jesus refers to the Holy Spirit as the comforter/helper. (See John 14:16, John 14:26, John 15:26, and John 16:7)
The name for God in the Old Testament, Jehovah or Yahweh is gender neutral. It simply means self-sufficient or existent one. In other words, God has all he/she needs and lacks nothing.
In the New Testament, Jesus refers to the Holy Spirit as He, which the church has taken to mean male exclusively, and has carried it over into its creeds. However the word for He, used in John 14:26, in reference to the Holy Spirit, is ekeinos meaning that one, so is gender neutral.
Other scriptures in the New Testament also speak of the Holy Spirit in gender neutral terms. So though the Holy Spirit may be male, it is also female, or more correctly, both male and female. This then means that God has both male and female characteristics, and is therefore both male and female. How does that apply to the creation of Adam?
As we saw earlier, we are created in the image of God. Since God is both male and female, so would Adam have to be, if created in the image of God. It is also, I believe, what the Bible teaches.
"This is the book of the genealogy of Adam. In the day that God created man, He made him in the likeness of God. He created them male and female, and blessed them and called them Mankind in the day they were created." (Genesis 5:1-2)
The word used for mankind here is Adam in the original Hebrew. Therefore, originally both male and female were Adam. There was no distinction in God's eyes - just one being - Adam. So perhaps the original Adam was both male and female, as intersex people of today. So where does Eve come from? Why can't men have babies now if man was created as both male and female?
In Genesis 2:18 God decided that it was not good for man to be alone. So in Genesis 2:21-22 God put Adam to sleep and took a rib from Adam and made a woman. Rib is a very poor translation of the text here. In the Hebrew it refers to a side, a door, chamber, corner, leaf, plank as well as rib. It refers, I believe, to where the woman was taken from, which is Adam's side. By doing that, God intended man and woman to be co-equal in exercising dominion over the earth. There was to be neither inferior nor superior positions. Woman was not created to be the slave of man, but his helper and companion. (See Genesis 2:18)
This also opens another possibility than just "a rib". Scripture says that God took something from the side of Adam. As I mentioned earlier Adam was originally male and female. God took the male part from the female part and made two beings, both still called Adam. It was only after the fall, and on the verge of being evicted from the garden, that Adam named his wife, Eve. That is where the distinction begins. Before, God saw them as one Adam, with no distinction. Male Adam made a distinction, calling her woman at first, and later, Eve.
While we are here I need to say something in defense of women. I believe they have gotten a bum rap for far too long. For years we have heard about how Eve was deceived and led us into sin. To hear it told you would think Adam was off wandering around somewhere. When he gets home he finds his wife has eaten of the forbidden fruit. Faced with losing his wife he then makes the decision to eat of the fruit himself so he can remain with her. That may make a great plot for a Shakespearean tragedy or sad love story. Women could go with their box of tissues and weep for the poor hero who has to choose between Paradise and the woman he loves, and goes for the latter. The only problem is it's all hogwash, a big fantasy, and never happened. According to Genesis 3:6 Adam was standing right next to his wife while it was all going down.
"So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate." (Genesis 2:6)
So we see here that the Bible says that Adam was right there with his wife. At any time he could have spoken up, and didn't. God had spoken to the man before the woman was ever created. The woman was deceived, as God had never spoken to her. Neither apparently did she have any clue as to what God had actually said. God said, "Don't touch!" Period! Nothing was said about eating. (See Genesis 2:15-17) So she was on her own. Her husband, who knew exactly what God had said, remained silent instead of speaking up. The result was, by remaining silent, Adam gave his consent to what his wife was doing. He also then became equally guilty in what happened. So ladies, quit taking all the blame for the fall of Adam. If any man wants to blame you or Eve, just remind them that they were there too, and therefore guilty also.
In closing I would like to say this. I mentioned in the beginning that God is made up of three persons operating as one. They work together in perfect harmony with no divisions or discord whatever. In the same way, Adam was created as both male and female to work together in harmony. Even after the woman was separated from the man they were still to be co-equal/coworkers for the service of God. I believe that is how Christ wants His body (the church) to be today. The Apostle Paul wrote:
"There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus." (Galatians 3:28)
The Trinity works as three, yet one. They are also indistinguishable from each other. Jesus said, "If you have seen Him you have seen the Father also."
Adam was created the same way initially. God has made His church in the same way. We are not a group of insiders versus outsiders. We are not to be divided on the basis of male, female, slave, free or any other tag we, or anyone, may put on us. Instead we are to be one, totally indistinguishable from each other. The only thing that people should see is Christ shining forth from everyone of us.
That is our heritage and, I believe, how God sees us. The church has missed it in the past resulting in the myriad of denominations, sects and churches we have today. However we can still reclaim the vision. We can still be one. We can look beyond our petty differences to the One we all claim to serve, Jesus Christ. We can recognize that we are all brothers and sisters in Christ. That makes us all equal, regardless of anything else. Many, but one, different parts, but one body. May we all embrace that today.
I realize that what I have just shared is controversial. By the same token I hope I have given some food for thought, and perhaps a new way of looking at the Adam and Eve story you may have not considered previously. Also, I need to state that these are my views alone, and as always you are free to disagree with me if you so choose.
Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.
God Bless You Family
Rev. John W. Brown