Many women have the impression that the Genesis account of Adam and Eve imposed a humiliating, subservient role on women. Is this really the case?
That the man and the woman are created in God’s image signifies more than likeness. It also conveys the notion of representative rule, both of them exercising dominion over the earth together.
Ruling the earth is a joint function of the man and the woman, as indicated by the fact that God made humanity in His image as a plurality (“male and female He created them,” v. 27), along with the plural pronouns them at the beginning of verse 28. God’s blessing of humanity and His mandate applies to both the man and the woman, expressed in a series of five imperatives: “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
Bearing God’s image as His vice-regent, the man and the woman together exercise dominion over the earth through procreation. Neither the man nor the woman can fill the earth and subdue it without the other and without further offspring. It is abundantly clear that fulfilling the mandate to “be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it” takes both a man and a woman. In this way, Scripture reminds us that procreation is at the very heart of God’s creation purpose for humanity as male and female, within the confines of marriage.
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