Women - Coming Back to the Original Blueprint - Part 1
God’s original plan
I want to give you a little back-story on my journey through this subject… As a child I grew up in a family where abuse, manipulation and control were part of my everyday life for many years, with my Dad and Grandfather being my worst abusers. Then in my mid-teens I became a Christian….and I entered the world of the church where women were still not free from control, even though it was said that they were.
Within a few months of becoming a Christian I felt the Lord tell me very clearly that he was calling me to spend my life serving him as a prophet and leader - to train and teach his people. And I determined I would follow that call no matter what. I started to apply myself to learning and serving in youth ministry and eventually as a pastor’s wife. While my husband was accepted as a pastor, we women could not be called that, or hold a pastoral position, in our denomination at that time, and I certainly could not be recognised as being called to be a prophet – simply because of my gender. In my thirties the Lord started to deal with my childhood abuse in order to bring healing to me, and in that process an anger toward men in authority flared up that surprised me, although it probably shouldn’t have, considering my childhood.
This was a problem because I’d been taught by the church that women were to be submitted to men’s leadership. I didn’t want to displease God, or be out of His authority order, but I wanted to know what was right and what Scripture actually taught. So I set out to study Scripture and history on this subject for myself, and did so for several years. What I discovered was centuries of misunderstanding, misrepresentation and downright dishonesty by some, in what had been taught about a woman’s role in church and society.
It wasn’t an easy thing being brave enough to share what I discovered with my husband, and later with others, but thankfully others were also beginning to take the same journey and discovering the same truth – that God had made women equal in worth and calling in the beginning and He intended them to be equal now.
So that leads me now to this series. I invite you to journey with me in this series into understanding and freedom, to discover for yourself the reality that in Christ there is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, but that we are actually all equal and one in Christ.
Let’s start with the Trinity
God is Spirit – three in one – the Trinity; yet we try to fit the Trinity into our human boxes of understanding about gender – trying to make them like us, male and/or female. The Trinity do have both masculine and feminine aspects to their characteristics and expressions; Scripture very clearly supports that when you look deeper than just our modern English texts, and we could not be made in their image if this is not so.
Throughout history we see man’s efforts to try and explain the nature and character of the Trinity but our best efforts tend to confine them rather than define them. The Trinity, or God, as we collectively know them, are expressed as being masculine, and as being feminine or nurturing as well. This understanding of God’s essence, being the fullness of both male and female characteristics and expression, is where we get our original understanding that family originated with God.
So with that understanding of the essence and nature of the Trinity, weak at best, we try and understand what Scripture says about them – with our finite mind. We are always going to be left with questions and trying to fit the Trinity into language like Father, brother, bridegroom, nurturer, comforter, etc. This will always fall far short of the reality of their being.
But Scripture is clear about one thing – the Trinity made mankind in their image and expressed that by creating both male and female to represent them, as we see in Genesis 1.
Gen 1:26,27 “Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground. So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.”
God then blessed them and went on to tell them to be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and ruling over all that was in it. (verses 28-31). God gave them joint leadership in the earth and called them to work together as a team, to work and be fruitful, multiply themselves and the fruit of the earth, and take dominion over it. There’s some great stuff hidden in these words from God that we can align with the rest of Scripture to help us understand what He meant by them.
Be – Be at peace in your identity, knowing you are a child of God. Be you, uniquely showing what it looks like to be made in the image of God (Rom 8:16; Gal 3:26; Rom 12:4-8)
Be Fruitful - Bear the fruit of the Spirit in this world - Be love, Be Joy, Be Peace, Be Kindness (Gal.5:22)
Multiply - reproduce through natural means and supernatural means – in your children, and in the lives of others – share the good news and make disciples of all nations (Isa 61; Matt. 28:18)
Fill the earth and rule over it – Fill the Earth with the Knowledge of The Glory of God (Hab.2:14) 
In Genesis 2 we see the creation of the woman who would come to be called Eve. Until she was named by the man after the fall, both the male and female that God created were known by one description - Adam; which means “a human being (an individual or the species), mankind”. It was not the male’s name at this point in time, even though it appears to be that, in our English bibles. In original Hebrew texts from Gen 1 up until Genesis 3 Adam was a generic term which became the man’s name when the female was named Eve by the man after the fall. No longer one in identity and equality they became two individuals who eventually forged separate, and often opposing, beliefs about their identity, role and place in the earth.
An interesting word is used here in Genesis 2 that gives a very clear idea of the purpose for which woman was created, the role she would play in Adam’s life and the role God had for women in general to play down through the centuries. In our English versions of the Bible this word is rendered “helper” but the original word “ezer’ has far stronger connotations than what we normally apply to the word helper. In Hebrew and the rest of Scripture the word ‘ezer’ means - strong, powerful help being released into a situation. A couple of modern examples of that would be - someone who is stuck in learning maths getting help from someone who has the skills they don’t and can teach them, or someone coming to your aid when you are in danger, helping you in that situation.
In Scripture this word “ezer” is most often used to describe God as our helper. For example, it’s used in the verse “I will lift up my eyes to the hills from where my help comes” – referring to God himself coming to our aid (Psa 121).
In the Old Testament “ezer” is used
2x in Genesis - God saying he will make Adam a “helper”. (Gen 2:18,20)
3x for nations Israel appealed to for help( Isa 30:5, Ez 12:14, Dan 11:34)
16x for God as Israel’s helper (Ex18:4, Deut 33:7,,26, 29; Psa 20:2, 33:20, 70:5, 89:19, 115:9,10,11, 121:1,2; 124:8; 146:5; Hos 13:9) Ezer is used consistently in a military context in most of these verses – God is our helper, strength, our shield and defense.
In the Genesis 2 passage God further qualifies the word ‘ezer’ with the word translated into English as ‘suitable’, the word ‘neged’ which means - suitable, a match (who is like him), lit - as in front of him, equals, to be partners, pairs, sharedness, mutuality, one half of a polarity eg will be to man what the north pole is to the south pole.
Put that all together and the full phrase ‘ezer neged’ means - an equal of great strength, a strong helper, like God; one who stands alongside and fights on our behalf.
So when God says He will make man a “suitable helper” He is saying - I will make one who is like Me, made in my image; one with great strength who will be his helper and his match, his equal.
Woman is made in the image of God just as man is – equal in worth and value, and given complementary strengths and abilities. As women, if we do not know this is who we were created to be, we’ll buy into the enemy’s lies, propagated throughout the centuries, that we are weak, inept, a lesser creature, a second-rate citizen of earth, created to be subservient to men.
On a personal level, as a woman your first line of defence against the enemy’s attack against your life is your knowledge of your identity – who you were created to be. That knowledge of who God made you to be, is what will enable you to stand strong. You are not just a servant in a support role (in the demeaning sense of that term). You have equality in value, standing, inheritance, authority and calling. The Trinity showed that in creation and Jesus showed this by the way He treated women and included them in all aspects of His Kingdom. Later Paul goes on to restate this, and reinforce it, in the New Testament in Galatians 3:26 – 28 when he says “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”
The Daughters’ inheritance
Over the centuries mankind moved away from God’s original intent of equality in rule and dominion and women were increasingly viewed as being ‘less than’ men, until in many societies they were treated as second class citizens who had very little rights. That was true also in Hebrew society; women had few rights and, in most cases, no right of inheritance.
In three separate instances in the Old Testament God speaks into this inequality and injustice when women sought and gained an inheritance that normally was only reserved for men.
In Numbers 27:4 we see Zelophehad's daughters go to Moses after their father’s death to make a request of him and God. "Why should the name of our father be withdrawn from among his family because he had no son? Give us a possession among our father's brothers."
Moses took their request seriously and sought God about it and God had a surprising reply: “The daughters of Zelophehad are justified and speak correctly. You shall surely give them an inheritance among their father's brethren, and you shall cause their father's inheritance to pass to them”. (Num. 27:7 AMP)
In that moment, God contradicted centuries of prejudice and man-made tradition. He made it clear that in His Kingdom, women are not afterthoughts or appendages. They have equal value with men and full rights to inherit in His Kingdom.
Later Caleb’s daughter Achsah would also get a fruitful inheritance (Josh 15:19) as well as Job’s daughters Jemimah, Keziah and Keren-happuch, (Job 42:12-15).
In all these instances the Trinity were at work showing us their heart for women, but many of the men of Israel did not pick up on it. Jesus, and later Paul, picked up on this discrepancy – they openly recognised and gave women back their rightful place in God’s Kingdom and on earth.
In the next article we’ll take a look at some of the specific ways women were treated in the world after the fall and before Jesus came.
 - Thanks to Leif Hetland for the initial insights into this verse which I was able to expand on.
Click here to read Part 2 of this series.