Raymond Ortlund says creation order needed to not obscure nature

Raymond Ortlund says creation order needed to not obscure nature

distort1 on Women in Ministry blog by Cheryl Schatz

In our discussion of CBMW’s book Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, continuing on in chapter 3 in the writings of Raymond C. Ortlund Jr., Mr. Ortlund redefines the creation account in such a way that God’s creation of the male first is said to be necessary in order that the nature of the male and female is not obscured.  Ortlund writes on page 102:

God did not make Adam and Eve from the ground at the same time and for one another without distinction.  Neither did God make the woman first, and then the man from the woman for the woman.  He could have created them in either of these ways so easily, but He didn’t.  Why?  Because, presumably, that would have obscured the very nature of manhood and womanhood that He intended to make clear. (emphasis is mine)

Ortlund’s presumption here is quite clear from this chapter.  God made man first, according to Ortlund, to show that woman-

…was not his (man’s) equal in that she was his “helper”.

and

A man, just by virtue of his manhood, is called to lead for God.  A woman, just by virtue of her womanhood, is called to help for God. (my emphasis)

When Ortlund says that creating man and woman at the same time would have obscured the very nature of manhood and womanhood, what is he talking about?  Ortlund is not defining “manhood” as being male or “womanhood” as being female.  He is defining “manhood” and “womanhood” by the preconceived “roles” that he has assigned to each one.   “Manhood” is now the responsibility to take dominion over the female and to lead her in ways that she supposedly was created to need leading in.  Roles then, assigned by the timing of the creation of humanity, are what separates the genders and what creates the priority for the male.  But is this truly why God created the male first?  Was God giving us a hint that there was a priority in rule and leadership given to the male because he was created first from the dirt?

Let’s reason from the scriptures and think these things through thoughtfully and carefully.  First of all, we have to agree with Ortlund that God could have created the man and the woman from the dirt at the same time.  We also can ask the same question, why did God choose from his own sovereign will to create the man and the woman at different times and in different ways?  Why did God not create the woman from the dirt just like he had created the man?

First of all let’s look at all the bible verses that say that the male is to have leadership over the female because of his first creation.  There are exactly zero verses in the scripture giving first creation status to the male for leadership over the female.  The only verses that talks about a cause and effect regarding the order of creation are in 1 Timothy 2:13, 14.

1 Timothy 2:13  For it was Adam who was first created, and then Eve.
1 Timothy 2:14  And it was not Adam who was deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression.

Here we see that the discussion of the second one created is tied to deception and the first one created is tied to not deceived.  There is zero connection to male leadership.  The fact is that male leadership would have to be read into the passage instead of pulled out of it because leadership of the male is certainly not in the passage.

So if the first one created is never tied into leadership, then what was the point of creating the man first?  Why couldn’t Eve have been created at the same time right there beside Adam from her side of the dirt bed?

The reason is because God sovereignly chose to create the woman from the man’s body for two reasons and the reasons have absolutely nothing to do with leadership.

1.  The woman was created from the man’s body in order for her to be identified as belonging to him in a one-flesh union with the man in the most intimate of relationships.

If the woman had been created from the dirt beside the man, she would not have been flesh of his flesh and bone of his bone.  So if God wanted the woman created not as separate flesh, but in an unmistakable identify with Adam, God had to create him first so that there was a rib that could be taken out to create the woman.  By creating the man first and by allowing him to take on a task designed to show him his lack of a mate, the man was prepared to receive his one-flesh partner.

2.  The woman was created from the man’s body in order for her to be a physical descendant of Adam through whom the Messiah could come but without the taint of Adam’s sin.

Before God created Adam and Eve, he knew that the fall would happen and it was his own plan and design that the Word of God would come to take on the flesh of humanity as a true Kinsman Redeemer.  This Redeemer was to be both God and man, but it was also necessary for the Redeemer to have a physical blood line back to Adam, yet without the taint of sin.  In God’s divine plan, it wasn’t an option that Eve was created from Adam’s body, but an absolute necessity because of the pre-planned salvation of mankind.  You will need to click on the image below or on the highlighted words  to go to the illustrated post where God’s sovereign plan is diagrammed showing how the Messiah came as a son of Adam but without the taint of Adam’s sin.

Adam and Eve 2

After viewing the diagrams of God’s wisdom in the order of creation, isn’t God’s plan for mankind and the redemption of mankind marvelously revealed through the Designer’s plan of Eve’s creation from Adam’s own body?  When you viewed the illustrated post linked above, were you able to see God’s ultimate design plan that was designed to effectively bypass the stain of Adam’s sin?  Does this  make much more biblical sense than the unscriptural idea of assigning the role of  “leader”  to the first one created when God never assigns this role to the male in creation?   Can you see how the physical connection of Eve back to Adam is not an unplanned side thought but rather God’s wonderful pre-planned design?

Instead of considering the plan of salvation that was designed before the world was created, Ortlund sees the first creation of the male as a sign of power and rule and primary responsibility.   He reasons that having woman created at the same time would “obscure” manhood and womanhood because then primary “roles” could not be assigned to the first and the second.  For Ortlund, having Adam and Eve created at the same time with both of them from the dirt would be a missed opportunity for God to hint to us that the second one created was made to be “inequal” in leadership behind the first created.  But may I respectfully say that what Ortlund has completely failed to present in his chapter in CBMW’s book is the redemptive reason for Eve’s creation second as God’s pre-thought-out creation to come from Adam’s own body.

Instead of giving the Designer praise for the plan of redemption mirrored in the order of creation, Raymond C. Ortlund’s focus is on a prideful “royal prerogative” extended to the man.

Next post we will be continuing on in chapter three of Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood and I will throw out for discussion the different theories about what came out of Adam that was used to become the woman.

8 thoughts on “Raymond Ortlund says creation order needed to not obscure nature

  1. [quote]First of all let’s look at all the bible verses that say that the male is to have leadership over the female because of his first creation. There are exactly zero verses in the scripture giving first creation status to the male for leadership over the female. The only verses that talks about a cause and effect regarding the order of creation are in 1 Timothy 2:13, 14.

    1 Timothy 2:13 For it was Adam who was first created, and then Eve.
    1 Timothy 2:14 And it was not Adam who was deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression. [/quote]

    One of the most important thoughts in comp theology is that (1) Adam was created first therefore (2) he is the leader or had ‘headship’ over Eve. These two ideas are tied together in comp thought, but they are not so tied together in the written scriptures. When Paul wrote ‘Adam was created first’ (1 Tim 2) he did not write/tie it to ‘leader’ or ‘head’ (interpreted to mean ‘headship’) and when he did write ‘man/husband is the head of the woman/wife’ (1 Co 11, Eph 5) he did not tie it to ‘Adam was created first.’ 1 Tim 2:13 must be lifted out of it’s original home and helicoptered over to 1 Co 11:3 and dropped into that new context so that the two ideas can be seen tied together or vice versa. 1 Co 11:3 and Eph 5 which do speak of ‘head’ (some see this to mean that the man/husband is the ‘leader’) unlike 1 Tim 2, do not say anything about the order of creation, Adam first then Eve. Yet it is still managed by comps to see creation order in those 2 passages when it’s simply not there, or to see ‘head’ (made into ‘headship’) in 1 Tim 2. I ask why?

  2. ‘God did not make Adam and Eve from the ground at the same time and for one another without distinction.’
    This creates a thought on Genesis where it is written that God created Adam from the ground.

    ‘Neither did God make the woman first, and then the man from the woman for the woman.’
    Then this connects the first thought above (Adam created from the ground in Genesis) to 1 Tim 2 ‘Adam was created first’ and also to 1 Co 11 ‘8For man did not come from woman, but woman from man; 9neither was man created for woman, but woman for man.’

    ‘He could have created them in either of these ways so easily, but He didn’t. Why? Because, presumably, that would have obscured the very nature of manhood and womanhood that He intended to make clear.’
    So, I wonder where does he see the nature of manhood and womanhood? 1 Tim 2 and 1 Co 11? How he interprets the order of creation then is attatched to how he interprets 1 Tim 2 and 1 Co 11 for there are no other verses that mention the creation order of Adam and the source of woman’s creation in the NT, except for those 2 and in them he sees apparently the nature of manhood and womanhood.

    And who said women aren’t followers? lol!

  3. ‘If the woman had been created from the dirt beside the man, she would not have been flesh of his flesh and bone of his bone.’

    Yes, and we would not have recorded for us, Adam pronouncing her equality. ‘This is flesh of my flesh and bone of my bone’. While we have men today pronouncing woman’s inequality we have Adam having done the opposite in scripture.

  4. Just wondering why nobody refers to Genesis 1 in this debate. In Genesis 1 we see humankind, women and men created together, there is no hierarchy – all are made in the image of God.

    Those who believe in male headship seem to have conveniently lost Genesis 1 in their Bibles.

  5. I always like to point out that 1 Timothy 2:14 says “the woman” he’s talking about is STILL in error. The Greek indicates a past event with continuing effect in the present, i.e. “has fallen” instead of “fell” or “had fallen”. Therefore Paul is not referring to Eve but to the woman in the passage who is in transgression.

    And although I’d use different arguments for why God did what and when in creation week, we’d all agree that there’s nothing about authority of one person over another there at all.

    And yet again, the burning question: Why would any believer even want such authority, especially after reading Phil. 2:5-11 and Jesus’ “not so among you”? Will any of the male supremacists ever face that?

  6. “was not his (man’s) equal in that she was his “helper”.”
    Doesn’t the word for “helper” refer to God in other passages?
    If he claims women are “less human” or made in the “indirect” image of God, then I must ask how a sub-human (mother) gives birth to a human (son)?

    “A man, just by virtue of his manhood, is called to lead for God. A woman, just by virtue of her womanhood, is called to help for God. ”

    Does this strike anyone else as arrogant? Who are we mere humans that God would look on us with favor, let alone have us “lead” for Him? I mean, you have Calvinists and Arminians (stances formed by men) both “leading” for God claiming they are right.
    I hope I’m not reading into his words too much.

  7. I have not yet read the entire post but a quick comment on the quote from Ray Ortlund:

    …was not his (man’s) equal in that she was his “helper”.
    and
    A man, just by virtue of his manhood, is called to lead for God. A woman, just by virtue of her womanhood, is called to help for God. (my emphasis)

    As he says that a man by virtue of his manhood is called to lead, then technically according to his logic, would a woman not “help lead” and thus equate her as a leader as well? Furthermore, if this is not the case then it would be logically so that if man were the leader, then woman would be a follower. . . which is not in Scripture. Therefore, it is my humble opinion that this interpretation by Ray Ortlund is sadly in error.

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