Chapter 2: The Great Role Reversal

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Chapter 2: The Great Role Reversal

Its origin extends back to where human life began—the Garden of Eden. We know that after the Lord God planted a garden in Eden, He placed the man He created, Adam, in it. Adam, unlike some men today, was not confused about his gender, his sexuality, his identity, or his purpose. God told him to tend and care for the Garden of Eden (Genesis 2:15). We also know that at the center of the garden, God placed two trees, not one—the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 2–3). Then came God’s warning to Adam to never eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 2:17). There’s no indication that Adam questioned God’s authority or tried to reason with Him like many of us do. All was well with the world.

We remember that Eve had not yet arrived on the scene when Adam received his assignment from God to tend and care for the garden and name every living thing. Certainly, God could have reversed their birth order and given this responsibility to Eve before creating Adam, but He didn’t. God could have created Adam and Eve at the same time and given the responsibility to both of them, but He didn’t.

We know that before Eve entered the world, God formed every kind of bird and animal from the soil (Genesis 2:19). Then God brought them to Adam to see what Adam would name them, and Adam chose a name for each one (Genesis 2:20). God gave the full responsibility to Adam before Eve ever arrived, and whatever Adam called them, that was their name! Again, God could have waited and given the responsibility to Eve or to both of them, but He didn’t. God asked Adam to do it…before He ever created Eve. As you may recall, Adam also named his wife—Eve (Genesis 3:20)!

The responsibilities of caring for the garden and naming every bird and animal was placed squarely on Adam’s shoulders by God before God would make a “helpmate” suitable for him. But why would God choose to do it this way? Women are just as capable as men at maintaining a garden and naming things, right, ladies? So why would God give the ultimate responsibility to “the man” only?

While the Bible doesn’t specifically say, there are several verses throughout God’s Word that suggest He did it this way for at least four reasons. First, He did it to illustrate God’s spiritual hierarchy or divine authority structure for the family. Secondly, to demonstrate the divine transfer of ruling authority from himself to man to define man’s leadership role as chief ruler under God in the earth and who God would ultimately hold accountable for it. Thirdly, to reveal man’s distinct role as the “priest,” protector, and provider for his family. Finally, to show Adam his need for a helpmate (Genesis 2:18) who would help him rule over all the earth under God. A closer look at each of these will lay the necessary foundation for the rest of the chapter.

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