If a man does not follow God he is incapable of leading and if he does not have a relationship with God he is unfit to have a relationship with anyone else for then he neither knows God nor His love and is incapable of loving others.
God created man, woman and all else in this creation as an outpouring of His love to have fellowship with man, not because He was lonely but to reveal Himself to His creation. The earth, our solar system and the whole universe are not only perfect in creation but also in operation thus pointing to a power above all this that created and controls it. When He breathed a part of Himself into man He also set a code of ethics into our conscience to be like Him in our conduct. Our sinful acts cloud our minds and conscience rendering us unable to see God in the natural order for we have inherited their distortion through the disobedience of Adam. But in our quest to find God we forget that He is ready and willing to knock on our hearts to reveal Himself but a heart opens from inside and only we can open our own heart to Him- He is too full of love to force Himself on us.
Before defining and attempting to understand God’s relationship with His creation it is relevant to know Him first. God is defined by the Jews as “a consuming fire” (Hebrews 12:29). When Abraham received the blessing and promise of the land of Canaan for his future generations, he is commanded by God to bring sacrificial offerings. The agreement with God that was broken by Adam and Eve “causing their death” is restored to Abraham through animal sacrifices. Abraham offers a heifer, a goat and a ram; each three years old, and a dove and a young pigeon” (Genesis 15:10-11) and waits for the Lord God to accept these offerings. After sunset and when it is dark “a smoking furnace and a burning lamp pass through these offerings” (Genesis 15:17)- signifying the presence of God. This is the first time that the word ‘aish’ is used in the Bible for fire and the letters relate it to God who used the fire to communicate His presence to Abraham to confirm His covenant with him.
In a similar manner, God appeared to Moses in the wilderness on Mount Horeb in a ‘flame of fire out of the midst of a bush’ and God for the first time revealed His name “I AM” to mankind (Exodus 3:2; 14). The Israelites further experienced God’s presence with them for forty years “as a pillar of a cloud by day and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light” (Exodus 13:21). God not only protected them from their enemies but also provided a physical cover from the vagaries of nature and physical and spiritual light to save them from the “darkness of the world”. God again revealed His mighty presence and “the sight of the glory of the Lord was like devouring fire on the top of the Mount Sinai” (Exodus 24:16-17). God accepted the offerings of the Israelites in the Tabernacle and “a fire came out from before the Lord, and consumed upon the altar the burnt offering and the fat” (Leviticus 9:24).
Prophet Daniel is provided a glimpse of the glory of God “As I looked, thrones were set in place, and the Ancient of Days took His seat. His clothing was as white as snow; the hair of His head was white like wool. His throne was flaming with fire, and its wheels were all ablaze. A river of fire was flowing coming out from before Him. Thousands upon thousands attended Him; ten thousand times ten thousand stood before Him. The court was seated, and the books were opened. Then I continued to watch because of the boastful words the horn was speaking. I kept looking until the beast was slain and its body destroyed and thrown into the blazing fire” (Daniel 7:9-11). The appearance of God to Moses in the fire that does not burn and destroy the bush is His meeting with the righteous without harming them in any way and Daniel or Isaiah could be in His Divine presence. This same fire was seen by and that led and guided the Israelites for forty years. Moses could approach Him in the fire but Nadab and Abihu were destroyed by the same fire for God would not allow unholy fire to come near Him.
During the process of creation God commanded “Let there be light” and Light from Him was revealed to illuminate the whole earth for the next four days till sun, moon and the stars were established by God in the sky. On the day of Pentecost the Holy Spirit descended on the followers ‘as cloven tongues like as of fire’ (Acts 3:2).
God the Father is the fire, God the Son is the Light that emanates from the fire and God the Holy Spirit is the heat and the aroma, the energy, that comes from the two. The Son is the exact image and idea that God sees Himself to be and that is what he revealed to the world. Fire cannot be separated from the light or the heat and vice versa and each is in the other yet separate. It is said by many that God cannot have a Son because it is blasphemous to say God came to sexually link up with a woman to produce a Son. It is the narrowness of our mind that we expect the Creator of the universe to be unfit to have a Son in any other way despite having created everything from nothing. The Holy Spirit is the empowering part of God that is seen in every phase of the process of creation and restoration. Lord Jesus who is the Son of God is the Light from God that illuminates the earth physically and spiritually during creation and will do so again after complete restoration.
Man and Woman relationship – Our interpersonal relations are generally gender based and our thinking, feelings and actions are generally governed by our gender identity. Any confusion over this creates deep rooted dissatisfaction and resentment and whoever is the cause of this must face our wrath. When religion defines our social boundaries as “God’s commands”, forcing us into certain stereo types, the arena of battle changes into a God versus man struggle. But did God really create man and woman unequal and defined their relationship with Him also differently?
God created Adam from the dust and breathed a part of Himself into him and the Hebrew word Adam is singular in form not plural. God saw what He had created and described it as “very good” and being satisfied with His work God ‘rested’ or declared and end to His work. However, latter God declared one aspect of the creation process as “not good” desiring to create a “helper” for man to overcome his loneliness (Genesis 2:18-22). What was it that changed the situation from very good to not good? It is believed by many scholars that Adam had the male and female parts in his body and being in the ‘image of God’ could further produce his offspring. Before this Adam is mentioned as a singular form and only after the creation of woman do they get different names as man and woman.
Creation of Woman – The Scripture mentions about God putting Adam into deep sleep, taking out a rib, covering the area with flesh and then creating a woman from that rib. The woman was then brought to Adam who called her as “bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh”. The Hebrew word translated as rib is “zela or tsela” which means “a side wall, a chamber or a curved part” and from this many Jewish scholars believe that the ovaries and other body parts of woman were taken out of Adam and he became man and a separate body was created by God to carry these body parts for procreation.
The Hebrew word for man is “ish” and for a woman “ishah” and have two letters ‘yod and heh’ common to both. These two letters are part of the four letters of the name of God as “YHWH” or Jehovah. Thus God is very much there in both man and woman as defined in Genesis chapter 1. Ish and Ishah also have common letters ‘aish’ translated as fire in them and it is believed that righteousness ensures God’s presence in the two and without God as the main figure in them what is left is only fire. Once the shape was given to the dust particles by God, He breathed a part of Himself into that to create Adam and then Eve. The part of God did not constitute any one part but all the three- the Fire, the Light and the Heat. Giving of names was and is considered a solemn event since names are said to provide a link to God. It is because of this that there are seven individuals including our Lord and Savior whose names were declared by God before their birth. The words of a name spelt out the creative fire of God and every act of creation was thus said to mean word made flesh but fire made flesh.
After separation from God due to sin man did not lose the three aspects of God but lost the Divine presence from within changing the three into their fallen state. The fire in the head/ mind instead of guiding us to God led us towards evil and darkness by changing our thought process; in like manner the fire in the heart gave evil desires; fire in the intestines converted us to be gluttons and desiring tastes over life giving foods and the fire in the creative organs of sex led us towards sexual lusts and total depravity. The Divine control having gone from within the raging fires in us became uncontrolled to cause sin to be rampant. This fire is of body lusts and cravings causing jealousies, fights and resentment about all issues concerning life. God’s presence in man and woman is like the ‘fire in the burning bush’ that does not destroy but provides illumination and identity to their individual beings. The Jews believe that a man and woman partner with God to bear a child and if the relationship is not of spirituality then the fire affects the life of a child as well.
God’s relationship with man and woman – After outpouring of God’s love in the creation process God did not abandon mankind due to din. His love is again visible in the birth of His Son as man that “God so loved the world” and the words defining the limitless nature of this Divine love in the Father and also in the Son. The Son ‘emptied Himself’ to become man to redeem and restore humanity to its original state. The culmination of this love is on the cross when Lord Jesus said “It is finished”, ending all forms of subjugation of man to darkness and evil. In the Old Testament God gave Ten Commandments to Moses to define His relationship with man and of man and woman with each other. God’s love is in His rest on the seventh day to teach us the same and His Son rested in the grave to lead us into God’s presence on Sunday to worship Him.
This is further clarified by the Lord Jesus “And whatsoever you shall ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son” (John 14:13). Lord Jesus desires to glorify the Father in every work that He did then as a man and even today while being “seated on the right hand of God the Father” in answering our prayers. “I am the Lord; that is My name, I will not yield My glory to anyone else, nor share My praise with graven images” (Isaiah 42:8) and God desires prime place for Himself in our lives.
Man and woman’s relationship with God – Lord Jesus illustrated this in the Gethsemane Park in His prayer “Not Mine but Your will be done” as a state of complete surrender to the sovereignty of God. The command is to “Love your God with all your mind, with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your strength” (Luke 10:27). We are to ensure that God is placed first in our thoughts, feelings and desires, all activities of life and that we direct all our energies to submit to His will. Lord Jesus followed this all through His stay on the earth as a man and loved God more than all His relatives, His mother and brothers, and even His own life (Luke 14:25-26). He surrendered to the Father’s Divine authority in heaven to come to the earth and here to return back to heaven after fulfilling the given task of becoming the sacrificial offering to redeem mankind. Apostle Peter further defined this relationship by commanding us to “Cast all your cares upon Him (God) for He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7) and King David had given the same message to people in Psalm 55:2). God cares for us and demands that we enter into His rest by casting all our problems on Him through prayers and supplications.
A woman’s relationship with God is no different and Mary, the mother of our Lord Jesus clarifies this in answer to the angel “I am the servant of the Lord, let it be done to me according to your word” (Luke 1:38). This one simple line does not reveal the situation that Mary had placed herself into, since she had conceded to become an unwed mother, a scandalous sin for a Jewish or any girl at that time. This would have led to her being stoned to death with disgrace to her whole family. Likewise the women, Mary Magdalene and others, who had followed the Lord Jesus from Galilee to be with Him and serve Him, stayed on at the site of His crucifixion, followed Joseph and Nicodemus to the tomb where they buried the body of the Lord and saw Nicodemus having brought and used about 100 pounds of aloe, myrrh and other spices. They went home and prepared more spices which they probably procured during the crucifixion period, knowing the intent of the Jewish leaders and the outcome (Luke 23:50-56).
On Sunday, once the Sabbath period was over, early morning these women left for the tomb with the spices to further anoint the Lord’s body with these. They did not seek anyone’s permission or company but left to fulfill their part of the relationship with God. Mary Magdalene met the resurrected Lord Jesus, came back and told the “eleven disciples” but they did not believe her” (Luke 24:1-11). The women probably did not contest with them but carried on in faith, knowing that the truth will be known by all.
Man and woman’s inter personal relationship – It is perceived by some that since woman is supposed to have been created after taking a part from Adam’s body, she is supposed to be subordinate to man. The Scripture is clear that God created her as a “helper” to man to dominate the earth and exercise control over all else on it, since God decided that man alone will not be able to do it. But neither one was created unequal to the other. The relationship is defined as “Ishi – my husband and Ishti – my wife” and not of one becoming “baali” or claiming ownership over the woman as her husband. God decided to not have a relationship of owner and the owned between Himself and His creation and thus to set this disparity right in relationship of man and woman and assured of restoration of an equality in status of both (Hosea 2:18).
The equality is evident even in their bodies for neither is complete in furthering the creation process alone. Both have the same heart, mind and soul but the way they process the same information is different. In the absence of any societal pressure both decide to freely accept different roles in life even at home as husband and wife. A woman adopts a more relationship, feelings and emotions oriented way in her decision making while man chooses a goal centric approach. But it does not mean that she cannot think or he cannot feel. The pressure created by society on each has forced both to adapt their thought process to this stereotypical manner. A woman uses her wisdom to have a deeper insight to assess and understand human minds and thoughts to develop relationships while man expresses his intellect and feelings in a more outward manner. The difference is not to make them incompatible but to help and support each other to use their strengths to glorify God.
Man and woman were created in the “image and likeness of God” and the traits of God of love, compassion, justice, joy and so much more are evident in both sexes. Except for the few differences in body structure created to suit their respective roles, God did not differentiate between the two in any way and neither does He desires them to bond with Him as unequal or differently. When God as Creator has given free will to both to make a choice in everything, how could He have given one authority over the other?
The fire in each becomes godly when equality and love for God and each other takes centre stage otherwise it is an unholy fire that destroys!!