Three Women, pt.1

A few weeks ago I brought a message to the saints who meet in my neighborhood, and I’d like to post it in three parts. If you want to listen to the message, you can download it here.

What follows is part one of a transcript of the message as I first rehearsed it. It’s pretty close to the message that eventually resulted.  I’ll post the next two parts over the next couple of days.

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Today I’m going to talk about 3 women. The first is Eve. The second is … a surprise. The third is the Church.

THE FIRST WOMAN: EVE

First we’ll look at Eve. Why was Eve created?

Before we can answer that question we have to ask why was Adam created? There tends to be a standard answer to that question, and it goes along with the plan of salvation. It goes something like this: Adam was created for fellowship with God. That’s certainly true to some degree. Adam walked with God in the cool of the day. So it’s true in a way. Adam was created for fellowship with God. But that’s not all that Adam was created for. The cool of the day only lasted so long. The rest of the day God had something for Adam to do.

Genesis is clear that God put Adam on the Earth to do something. He was given a task to accomplish. Adam wasn’t merely put on the Earth for fellowship. He was meant to bear the image of God on the Earth, in a sense representing God on the Earth. He was to rule over creation, exercising God’s dominion over his creatures. So he was put on the Earth to accomplish a task. I think you can still say that God created Adam for a relational purpose. He was made in order to be in a relationship with God. But that doesn’t rule out his having a task to accomplish for God. You could say the task he was given was part of the relationship with God.

He had work to do. One of the things we must realize is that this work came before the fall. Adam didn’t get work as a consequence of the fall. It wasn’t a punishment to have to work. He was given work to do before there ever was a fall. Now it’s always been important to us to step outside of the fall, to go back to before there was a fall and a need for redemption to ask what it was that God was doing. That’s how we determine what the Eternal Purpose is. We look at what God created Man for before there ever was a fall. And what we discover when we look is that Man was created to do a work, and that work predates the fall.

We tend to not like work because for us work is always bound up with the fall. All of our work seems doomed. We work hard to create order out of chaos and it just falls back into chaos before long. So we always associate work with fallenness. But there was such a thing as work before there was a fall. I think work was originally intended to be a rewarding experience. It gives purpose to a day. At the end of a day you’ve accomplished something. Maybe you’ve even created something that wasn’t there before. That’s very much like God, isn’t it? Jesus said his Father is always working. That means that anyone made in His image will be at work, too. So there must be something redeeming about work, something enjoyable. It involves exerting yourself, but with a reward at the end. Some of the best things in life are things that require some effort on the front end but in the end they’re rewarding. That’s what work was meant to be, minus the fall and minus the curse.

That’s a pretty exciting idea to me. And it’s a new idea to me, that work in and of itself is not bad, even though I have learned to dread it. But in the beginning God intended for work to be something enjoyable, satisfying. So to some degree I think it’s possible to anticipate that now in our daily lives. If we could find meaningfulness and purpose in work, well honestly that’s still a new thought to me. I think it applies somehow to what we do in life, as well as in the church. There’s more thinking through to be done about that. But for now I’ll restate the main point, that Adam wasn’t merely created to know the Lord. He was created to accomplish a purpose.

Now I think we’re ready to answer the question “Why was Eve created?” Eve was created in order to be his helper. She wasn’t merely created to keep him company. She was created to be his help meet, to be his partner in the task that he was given. Remember that God said “it is not good that man should be alone.” Now I do think that companionship is in there somewhere. I think it is a component of why Eve was created. It couldn’t have been that rewarding for Adam to hang out with the animals. Don’t get me wrong, they can be affectionate. There can be some reward there. But it’s not the same as the companionship we get from one another. So companionship is part of it. But it’s not the only reason she was created. She wasn’t just created for fellowship with Adam. She was created in order to share in the task that Adam had been given. He was instructed to be fruitful and multiply, and to exercise God’s dominion over the earth. There was a job to do. Eve was created to be his helper in that work.

We know what happened next. Adam misunderstood, or failed to believe what God had said, and as a result, he went about doing his job the wrong way. He took from the wrong tree, not because he didn’t have a task to do, he just misunderstood the way he was supposed to go about it. I think there’s a parallel in what happened with Abraham. God had promised Abraham that he would be the father of a great nation. But rather than understanding grace, and understanding that God would perform a miracle, he misunderstood the method. So he went about the wrong way getting what God was after. He was after the right end; he was just using the wrong means. I think that’s what happened with Adam as well. He was after the right end…being like God was exactly what God was after. But Adam was going about it the wrong way. He misunderstood the nature of his task. But there was a task to be accomplished and Eve was created to help Adam accomplish it.

Another thing we need to note before we leave Genesis is that God spoke to Adam and Even and told them something that explained what their purpose and function on the Earth was to be. He said be fruitful and multiply. I’ll be mentioning fruit again a little later–and maybe multiplication, too. For now, I should point out that when God said it’s not good that Man be alone, I don’t think he had in mind only the creation of Eve. I think he had in mind an entire race of people, a huge family that would come from Adam and from Eve. They couldn’t really accomplish their task, just the two of them, could they? They would have to be fruitful and multiply, filling the earth, in order to do what God had called them to do. If they remained just the two of them, and never grew in number, they’d never be able to do what it was they were created to do. So multiplication and being fruitful were very central to what God put Adam and Even on the earth to do. They were put on the earth in order to, among other things, produce families that could assist them in doing what they were called to do.

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