Day Six of creation focused on the formation of land animals. Three categories were identified: 1) those having souls (nepes), 2) animals that cannot talk (behema), and 3) animals that creep or crawl (remes) adjacent to the earth (Gen. 1:24). There appears to be a general hierarchy, such that the less sophisticated animals function in closer proximity to the earth (eres). It is interesting to note that the promised punishment of Satan for his actions associated with the Fall of Mankind included being judged to an existence of crawling on his belly adjacent to the earth (Gen 3:14). Being brought low is to be brought in closer proximity to the earth, which correlates to an Earthly orientation, as opposed to a Heavenly orientation. This is powerful Biblical imagery.
In contrast, mankind was created to image the Creator (Gen. 1:26). To image (selem) the Creator God means much more than just to resemble His likeness. We are to represent or function in agency of the Creator. We are called to represent God in the custodianship of His creation. We are called to rule and have dominion over God’s Creation, while simultaneously acknowledging God’s overarching sovereignty over all. Jesus Christ has been designated as the supreme ruler and King. This all implies a massive failure by Satan and his rebellious angels. It also implies a brooding resentment by them. I would not be surprised to learn that Satan does not know the exact details and final outcome of his punishment. Angels engage in a hyper-focused examination of the Church (1 Pet. 1:12; 1 Cor. 4:9). In my opinion, the fallen angels want to learn more details about and delay their ultimate punishment. As the Apostle Paul admonished the Corinthians, “Do you not know that we will judge angels?” (1 Cor. 6:3). This includes both fallen and obedient angels.
The supplanting of angels by humans also implies that Adam and Eve were a new type of human, with new capabilities and responsibilities. We cannot image God or function in agency of God unless we have the capacity to function in fellowship with the Creator God. Adam and Eve were much more than brute animals. Adam and Eve were given a dual nature. They had strong feelings, instincts, and some reasoning capacity, but they also had the capacity to function in fellowship with their Creator. However, Adam and Eve could reject a spiritual relationship with God. As John, the Elder, taught, “God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth” (John 4:24). We interface with God in the spiritual realm (Spirit to spirit), although we spend our lives in an Earthly realm. Adam and Eve were called to have a Heavenly orientation, but they were also inclined to an Earthly orientation. Human history since the Fall is all about the struggle between our Earthly orientation and our potential Heavenly orientation. Hopefully, we will each learn that God’s will must take precedence over our feelings, instincts, and limited reasoning power. Over the years, we have all sinned and fallen short many times. This reality necessitated the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ. With the enhanced ministry of the Holy Spirit and the completed Cannon of Scripture, we are given more tools to live in obedience to God. We now pray for the return of Christ and the transformation of all things to comply with God’s will.
Adam and Eve’s call to represent God also featured certain elements that differed much from angelic beings. I see no evidence in Scripture that angels function in male/female pair bonds. Not only does humanity have a dual Earthly and Heavenly nature, we are called to image God with a dual male and female nature. Interestingly, monogamy among mammals is very rare (only 5%). Gibbons, coyotes, and beavers are some examples of monogamous mammals. On the other hand, 90 percent of bird species are monogamous. Figuratively, this serves as another good example for us in our pursuit of a Heavenly orientation. God’s call for us to function in male/female pair bonds is a critical part of how God designed us to be. It is a critical element of cultural stability.
Adam’s identification of and attraction to Eve has great literary and spiritual significance. Upon seeing the woman, the man said, “At last this is the bone [esem] of my bone and the flesh [basar] of my flesh (Gen. 2:23). There was both an internal (soul) and external (physical) identification. The Hebrew word esem (bone) can also be defined as “substance or essence.” The true essence of a human being is found in his or her soul. The Hebrew word basar can be translated as “flesh or body.” It is important to remember that they were both naked, and there was an appropriate physical attraction. The NASB translated Adam as saying, “At last this” (Gen. 2:23). Another option would be, “Wow, this is the one.” They were designed to be soul mates and intimate physical companions. Sex was designed as a way to build intimacy and produce the next generation. The offspring are a literal product of both the male and female nature.
As imagers of God, they were required to function as “one flesh” (Gen. 2:24). The man was required to emotionally leave his mother and father and be joined (dabaq) to his wife (Gen. 2:24). The Hebrew word dabaq means “to stick closely together.” To be “one flesh” means that neither can just ignore the hopes and desires of the other. The hopes and desires of each has equal importance. Obviously, such a relationship requires significant human maturity. The ultimate calling of both is to follow God’s will, and yes, God designed the husband to be the leader, which means that he must lead by sacrificial love (Eph. 5:25). As the Apostle Paul taught, “[E]ach Husband is to love his own wife the same as himself, and the wife must see to it that she respects her husband” (Eph. 5:33). However, we are also reminded that Eve came from the side (rib) of Adam. The relationship between the male/female pair is designed to be a partnership. Jesus poignantly described proper patterns of leadership. In the Upper Room discourse, Jesus denounced the image of the Gentile Romans “lording over” their subjects (Matt. 20:25-28). Instead, Jesus patterned a leadership style of service and sacrifice (John 13:5-17). And yes, He was not afraid to challenge the arrogant, the bully, or the rebellious. Jesus did not abdicate His duties and responsibilities. He was not weak.
The chaos and break down of American culture started when men abandoned their obligations to lead their families by sacrificial love. Authentic leadership accepts responsibilities and the potential for greater criticism. Boys must be trained by both of their parents to accept the responsibilities required of a husband and parent. Of course, the same is true for girls, who must also be taught the importance of the role of wife and mother. The contribution of both the male and female perspective is important to the full development of a child. The failures of either parent can have a cascading effect, leading to the destruction of families, society and culture.
As one final point, it should be noted that as we orient to the Heavenly (or our Spiritual Life), we participate in our own creation. As we draw near, we allow God to transform us into being something quite different than what we were before. Those who pursue this new way being will receive a blessing and be a blessing for the ages to come (Gen. 12:2-3).
With great appreciation, the featured artwork on this post was used with permission by the National Gallery of Art. Painting titled The Fall of Man, 1616 by Hendrick Goltzius. https://www.nga.gov/collection/art-object-page.95659.html
 “H5315 – nep̄eš – Strong’s Hebrew Lexicon (nasb20).” Blue Letter Bible. Web. 16 Aug, 2021. <https://www.blueletterbible.org/lexicon/h5315/nasb20/wlc/0-1/>.
 “H929 – bᵊhēmâ – Strong’s Hebrew Lexicon (nasb20).” Blue Letter Bible. Web. 16 Aug, 2021. <https://www.blueletterbible.org/lexicon/h929/nasb20/wlc/0-1/>.
 “H7431 – remeś – Strong’s Hebrew Lexicon (nasb20).” Blue Letter Bible. Web. 16 Aug, 2021. <https://www.blueletterbible.org/lexicon/h7431/nasb20/wlc/0-1/>.
 “H776 – ‘ereṣ – Strong’s Hebrew Lexicon (nasb20).” Blue Letter Bible. Web. 16 Aug, 2021. <https://www.blueletterbible.org/lexicon/h776/nasb20/wlc/0-1/>.
 “H6754 – ṣelem – Strong’s Hebrew Lexicon (nasb20).” Blue Letter Bible. Web. 16 Aug, 2021. <https://www.blueletterbible.org/lexicon/h6754/nasb20/wlc/0-1/>.
 “H6106 – ʿeṣem – Strong’s Hebrew Lexicon (nasb20).” Blue Letter Bible. Web. 16 Aug, 2021. <https://www.blueletterbible.org/lexicon/h6106/nasb20/wlc/0-1/>.
 “H1320 – bāśār – Strong’s Hebrew Lexicon (nasb20).” Blue Letter Bible. Web. 16 Aug, 2021. <https://www.blueletterbible.org/lexicon/h1320/nasb20/wlc/0-1/>.
 “H1692 – dāḇaq – Strong’s Hebrew Lexicon (nasb20).” Blue Letter Bible. Web. 16 Aug, 2021. <https://www.blueletterbible.org/lexicon/h1692/nasb20/wlc/0-1/>.