Sin Has Not Changed God’s Design For Gender
Did sin cause God to abandon His original design for relationships between male and female?
In Genesis 2:15-18, God gives bachelor Adam a work (job), His word, a warning and a woman. Man is created first and he is given responsibility and then finally a complementing companion who is female. She is equal in dignity (1:27) but distinct in function. This woman was meant to come alongside the man and work with him to honor God and fill the earth with image-bearers. And it was perfect and harmonious for an unspecified amount of time according to God’s design.
But paradise and unobstructed communion with God did not last because the woman and the man chose the way of the serpent instead of God’s way. The believed the lie that they could be their own God and provide a greater goodness than the LORD God could give.
And this came about not only because they chose not to believe God’s word, but also because they did not adhere to God’s design. The man was passive when God’s word was questioned and twisted, despite having received God’s word before the woman was created. The woman took on the role of leader, and the rest is sinful history.
So again I ask: Did sin cause God to abandon His original design for relationships between male and female? Or does God expect us to honor His perfect design? I believe the answer is one-hundred percent, yes. Yes, God expects us to trust and obey the original design of equality (Gen. 1:26-28) with role distinction (2:15-18).
Here are two reasons I hold this position:
First, after the fall and God’s judgment on sin, the Spirit-inspired text continues to affirm roles and gender distinction. Genesis 3:20-21 says:
Now the man called his wife’s name Eve, because she was the mother of all the living. The LORD God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife, and clothed them.
The fact that Adam named his wife indicates that he is lovingly exercising authority over her as the head of the family. Also Eve’s role as a child-bearer is upheld. The judgment on her sin (3:16) does not nullify the blessing of Genesis 1:28. Additionally, the marriage of 2:23-24 is not annulled or separated. Sin doesn’t undo God’s design, it just makes it very difficult to for us to abide according to God’s gracious plan.
Second, when the Bible addresses gender and roles, it grounds that teaching in the creation and fall accounts. For instance, in Ephesians 5:21-33 and 1 Timothy 2:9-15, when Paul discusses gender roles and marriage, he references Genesis 1-3. He goes back to the beginning. Peter also affirms roles in 1 Peter 3, and when Jesus talks about Marriage (Matthew 19 and Mark 10), he references Genesis 1 and 2 as the basis for His teaching.
Which means, if we are going to honor God’s design – that which is for our greatest and lasting joy – we must understand the intended message of the narrative in Genesis 1-3. Also keep in mind that the very gospel itself is grounded in this account (Romans 5 and 1 Cor. 15). So Genesis 1-3 is critically important to our understanding of the whole Bible.
Check yourself. If you have trusted Christ with your salvation, then won’t you trust the LORD God with your gender?
If in fact the original creation was the perfect and holy work of the LORD God, crafted with infinite and intricate detail, then is there any possibility that the fine-tuned design and order is irrelevant today? What does it say about you if you don’t like the design? What does it say about your trust in God’s word and His goodness? You will either embrace the goodness of the design, or you will reject it and the Bible. The organization of the text that speaks of the design of God for our lives is no accident. It is a fine-tuned message about the way God meant us to live according to our gender. Ultimately, we trust God’s word and goodness, or we don’t. You can’t have it both ways. There’s only one perfect way and that is God’s way, and God’s way should be your way.
Sin didn’t change God’s perfect, beginning plan, it just changed our nature. That’s the real problem and our submission to God through Christ is the only solution.