God's Restoration of Men and Women

God's Restoration of Men and Women

When I read about the beginning of the world in Genesis, I’ve always found it interesting how Eve got her name. The woman gave into temptation and sinned. The man chose the woman over God and sinned too. As a result, God cursed them with death and inequality. And as soon as God mentions death, Adam gives his wife a name. You’d think that name would be something related to death -- but it’s not. The name Adam gave his wife was Eve, which means “life”. You see, even within that curse of death and inequality between man and woman, there is a promise of God's restoration of men and women.

Even though Eve brought death upon the world, God promised she would one day bring life too. Adam took a hold of that promise and made it part of his wife’s very identity. And every woman since carries with her that beautiful promise in who she is. Bearing children is part of that identity, but that’s just a temporary solution, because even children will grow up and die. Eve's ability to bear children is just a picture of what women would one day bring: life, an end to gender inequality, and full restoration between men and women.

God’s promise of restoration

The permanent solution for gender inequality comes from one of the woman’s offspring who will crush the head of the evil tempter who brought this curse of death upon them, thus restoring life end the curse forever. Israel, God’s chosen nation that descended from this first man and woman, continued to look forward to the promise of restoration from the curse. But because of the curse, they often disobeyed God, so he sent them prophets to keep them on track. The prophets frequently used the analogy of an angry man and his disobedient wife to portray the relationship between God and his people. For example, Hosea, speaking on God’s behalf about Israel, wrote the following:
“She is not my wife, and I am not her husband. Let her remove the adulterous look from her face and the unfaithfulness from between her breasts. I will not show my love to her children, because they are the children of adultery. She will chase after her lovers but not catch them; she will look for them but not find them. Then she will say, ‘I will go back to my husband as at first, for then I was better off than now.’ I will punish her for the days she burned incense to the Baals; she decked herself with rings and jewelry, and went after her lovers, but me she forgot. Therefore I am now going to allure her; I will lead her into the wilderness and speak tenderly to her. There she will respond as in the days of her youth. In that day, declares the Lord, you will call me ‘my husband’; you will no longer call me ‘my master.’ In that day I will make a covenant for them with the beasts of the field, the birds in the sky and the creatures that move along the ground. I will betroth you to me forever; I will betroth you in righteousness and justice, in love and compassion. I will betroth you in faithfulness, and you will acknowledge the Lord.”
At first, we see the themes of the Genesis curse repeated. A wife betraying her husband, and an angry husband punishing his wife. But then the husband makes a New Covenant with her and changes their relationship. No longer will the husband rule over his wife as her master, but they will be equal and she will call him husband. In this restored relationship there will be righteousness, love, and compassion. And they will be betrothed together forever. This is the kind of relationship that God promised between him and his people, and it’s the kind of relationship that God wants between man and woman. What a beautiful promise!

Jesus ends the curse 

Jesus said, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.” God’s promise of restoration to Adam and Eve is part of the law and God’s promise to Hosea of a new covenant is part of the prophets. Jesus fulfilled them both. He fulfilled the promise to Eve by bringing about the new covenant Hosea predicted. Hebrews says, “Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance—now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant.”

The fulfillment of this new covenant comes through the wedding of Jesus to his people. The Old Covenant was made with Israel, whose capital city was Jerusalem and similarly, the New Covenant was made with the New Jerusalem. According to Revelation, the New Jerusalem is “the bride, the wife of the Lamb” and the Lamb is a picture of Jesus. Hosea rightly predicted that in this betrothal, the wife would not call her husband master. Jesus told his disciples, “No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you.”

Jesus restores the relationship between men and women

Through this marriage, Jesus is redefining what the relationship between a man and woman should be. Just as he restores the relationship between God and his people through his marriage to the New Jerusalem, he is destroying the curse between men and women and restoring their relationship. Revelation says that in the New Jerusalem, “No longer will there be any curse”. The New Jerusalem is a symbol of the Kingdom of Heaven and Jesus prayed that things would be the same here on earth as they are in the Kingdom of Heaven: “Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven”. If then there is no curse in heaven, Jesus is putting an end to the curse on earth too.

Jesus is the one that the first man was looking forward to when he named his wife “Living”. It is Jesus who was born of Eve’s descendants that crushed the head of the serpent and brought life back into the world. And it is Jesus who restores the relationship between men and women. When men and women treat each other as Jesus treats the New Jerusalem, men and women have equal value in their unique masculinity and femininity. We are allowed to be unique and true to who who we are, and value each other in that.

True to Hosea’s prophecy, God romanced his people back to him through Jesus. We look to his example for how we can overcome the curse in our own lives. We’ll explore how we do this biblically coming up in future posts.


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