Who Will Be the True and Better Adam?
This autumn, many women at Waypoint church are studying the book of Genesis together. There are so many profound and foundational truths in just the first three chapters. In the past couple of weeks, I have been pondering Genesis 1:27, which reads, “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” Although the opening chapter clearly declares that man and woman are both created in the image of God, with distinct roles but equally valuable, I believe there are two different lenses through which you can approach this text: either through the lens of the first Adam or the second Adam.
Growing up in an Asian home, I quickly understood at a young age that my dad was the “head of the household” and my mom was “his helper.” Practically, this looked like my dad working very diligently at his job, then coming home and being served by my mom in various ways. My mom did all of the cooking, the cleaning, the grocery shopping, the decorating, the childrearing, meanwhile also working a full-time job.
When I became a Christian in my teenage years, I began to read the Bible and worried that even the Bible supported my Asian cultural paradigm declaring that “the husband is the head of his wife” (Ephesians 5:23). At the time, I also lived in South Carolina in a community that often confused Southern culture and Biblical norms. I was led to believe that a Christian woman must somehow manage to birth many children (“be fruitful and multiply”?), keep up with all the household chores, cook nutritious home-cooked meals for their families, and at least have a part time job, if not home-school the children. Later, in my dating life, it seemed most typical Southern Christian men would agree that a future dentist who did not know how to cook and who had strong opinions, would not be fit for them to marry.
In Genesis 3, after the Fall, we see that Adam was present during Eve’s dialogue with the serpent, yet never intervenes. He waits passively, perhaps seeing if Eve will surely die. Later, when God graciously gives Adam a chance to confess, he blames “the woman whom you gave to be with me.” When God asks the woman her account, she blames the serpent (Genesis 3:11-13). Why didn’t Eve blame Adam too? After all, didn’t God give Adam the commandment in Gen. 2:16-17 before she was even created? Was it not the man’s responsibility to take care of the woman, even if it meant sacrifice? Were they not one flesh (Genesis 2:24)? Something had profoundly changed within their relationship.
The first Adam failed to understand the intention and the heart of God. Jen Wilkin explains the term “helper” in Genesis 2:18 to be a “necessary ally” — one who is “indispensable.” God did not create a “helper” to serve the man, he created a helper to enable them to fulfill the cultural mandate. And in order to be one flesh, one must lay down their lives for one another - submit to one another (Ephesians 5:21).
Thankfully, there is a second Adam. Pastor Tim Keller describes the differences between the two:
At the beginning of history there was also a garden and a command. God put Adam and Eve in that garden, and they were told not to eat of the Tree. The direction was: “Obey me about the Tree, and you will live” — obey me and I’ll bless you. But they disobeyed. Now there is another garden, and a Second Adam, and another command. Jesus Christ has been sent by the Father to go to the cross, which is also a tree. To the first Adam he said, “Obey me about the Tree and I will bless you” — and Adam didn’t do it. But to the second Adam he says, “Obey me about the Tree and I will crush you” — and Jesus does.
Looking around our culture today, I am discouraged by the type of male role models there are for my two boys. Men are either encouraged to lay down the law in their households or to be passive in areas of service. I have often felt judgment from other Evangelical Christians when I tell them that I — a Christian woman and a pastor’s wife — work full time, barely cook meals at home, and hire friends to help us take care of the boys. I wonder if we sometimes trade gender stereotypes for what makes a godly Christian marriage.
However, looking around our Waypoint church community, I see husbands who are just as involved in their children’s growth and development as their wives, who serve their families, who encourage their wives to dive deep in the Word of God, and have time for female fellowship…these men are living in light of the second Adam. Jesus was found to be strong in meekness, in patience, in sacrifice — the very opposite of what our culture (even Christian culture) models. Those who model the second Adam are the true men of our time — the most manly, in my opinion.
THANK YOU Lawrence and the men at Waypoint church who are living in light of the second Adam. Thank you for modeling Christ-likeness and sacrificial love to all of our boys.