We have seen that when God created man, woman was formed as a precious gift to him, to be his helper. How did this picture change? We will see more as the story unfolds in God’s Holy Book, and we will learn the reasons for the corruption of this perfect plan.
The Fall of Mankind
Genesis 3:1-7 Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?” And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, “You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.’” Then the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings.
The consequence of Adam and Eve’s rebellion was that God put them out of the garden, and His word to them detailed the punishment they would suffer. God’s judgment fell upon the serpent also, and it was cursed more than any beast.
Genesis 3:16 To the woman He said, “I will greatly multiply your sorrows and your conception; in pain you shall bring forth children; your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.”
Here we find the beginning of man’s excuse for domination over woman, ignoring the fact that he himself came under punishment. The divine court also put forth the following judgment:
Genesis 3:17-19 Then to Adam He said, “Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat of it,’ cursed is the ground for your sake; in toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life. Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you, and you shall eat the herb of the field. In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for dust you are, and to dust you shall return.”
They were equally held responsible, and were punished for trespassing the commandment of God. God’s righteousness required such a penalty, but let us see how great His love is, in that He already had a plan to redeem what sin had spoiled. First, He clothed them, for the coverings made with their own hands were not adequate. We will talk more about these coverings later.
Genesis 3:21 Also for Adam and his wife the Lord God made tunics of skin, and clothed them.
We find also that God commanded the man to treat his wife well, giving him specific commandments regarding this relationship. God’s intent was that the man’s “rule” was to be with love and tender compassion.
God’s Commandments for Marriage
1 Corinthians 7:2-5 Let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband. Let the husband render to his wife the affection due her, and likewise also the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. And likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. Do not deprive one another except with consent for a time, that you may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again so that Satan does not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.
1 Corinthians 11:11-12 Nevertheless, neither is man independent of woman, nor woman independent of man, in the Lord. For as woman came from man, even so man also comes through woman; but all things are from God.
Ephesians 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her.
Ephesians 5:28 So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself.
Ephesians 5:31, 33 For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh… Let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.
1 Timothy 2:8-10 I desire therefore that the men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting; in like manner also, that the women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with propriety and moderation, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly clothing, but, which is proper for women professing godliness, with good works.
1 Timothy 5:3-8 Honor widows who are really widows. But if any widow has children or grandchildren, let them first learn to show piety at home and to repay their parents; for this is good and acceptable before God. Now she who is really a widow, and left alone, trusts in God and continues in supplications and prayers night and day. But she who lives in pleasure is dead while she lives. And these things command, that they may be blameless. But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.
This is how God has laid out the path for a man to show him how he should treat the woman with honor and affection as his helper, because she was created in the same image as he. In turn, her respect and affection for him, with modesty and good works, will help her work with him to build a strong marriage and home.