Decolonization be like …
Was adam a human man or a human being?
Sunday school and an illustrated children’s bible storybook taught me that when God made Adam in Their image, They created a man in a white male body. But what if the first human body contained the anatomical and chromosomal combinations of the male and female human body?
Let us make adam
After God creates life on the Earth, They say, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.” Now, when I attended a Bible college, I was taught that this image and likeness was creating man as a threefold being (spirit, soul, and body) as God is a threefold being (God, Holy Spirit, and Jesus) This concept still makes sense to me. Yet, when I allow my mind to imagine apart from the imperialistic white supremacist patriarchal colonized doctrine told to me, I can visualize adam as a genderless human being resembling the model and shape of God. Like God, they, adam, embodied the full spectrum of humanity. This makes more sense to me than adam only being in a male body.
And God blessed them
This idea of a they body, instead of a male body sets better in the context of the scripture’s narrative. It continues, “… and let them have dominion” (emphasis added). The word them also is stated in verses 27-28. The Hebrew word used for them is not given, but King James’ writers chose to write them instead of he or him. Prior to studying this for myself, I defaulted to believing that God was referencing a separate man body and a separate woman body. Yet, the woman body had not been created. There is still only one human body. Within that one body, God created male and female chromosome patterns, possibly male and female reproductive anatomy.
And the rib
Continue reading through Genesis 2 where we meet woman. Again, for most of my churched life, I believed God created woman from one bone in the rib cage. This is not to say God could not create from one bone; however, it is to say that I do not believe it was one bone. The Hebrew root word represented by rib, means one-sided or side chamber. That does not sound like a rib bone to me. To get to the point, it sounds like God put them, adam, to sleep and extracted from them the chromosomal pattern for female—their female side. That is fascinating. Moreover, woman’s introduction is intriguing.
And brought her unto adam
After God builds woman, the scripture explains that They brought her to adam. Adam is the fully embodied human being so it could be interpreted that God brought woman to the being that was once them. Then, in verse 23 is where it got fascinating: “And Adam said…” Full stop. Going back to how I was taught about the creation of man and woman, this was explained as the male body speaking of and to the female body.
But wait! Adam is the fully embodied created human being. Meaning both, the male body and the female body, are speaking to and of one another, not just the male body to the femaile body. And they are completing their task of naming and identifying God’s living creations: “… she shall be called woman.” It is from this point, adam is two separate human beings—a male resemblance of God and a female resemblance of God.
But didn’t Paul say …?
Paul said a lot. And I feel some of what he said was his opinion and preference. Furthermore, Paul was surviving in the Roman Empire, also known as the Byzantine Empire. The empire did what empires do; they enslaved and colonized in the name of themselves—supremacy. The Roman Empire was a system of oppression that persecuted disciples of Christ or anyone that did not conform to their control. Even though Paul was a Roman citizen he was propagating Christ, which is why he was arrested and beaten often. In this oppressive imperialistic society, Paul may not have been able to speak freely and had to follow certain laws and customs of the empire. In doing so, he may have given guidance with those considerations in mind. If so, then it would explain his contradictory statements.
Make it make sense
In 1 Cor. 11:1-16, Paul wrote to the Corinthians about the length and covering of hair and the hierarchy of gender. But in the conclusion of those subjects, Paul wrote, “Nevertheless neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord. For as the woman is of the man, even so is the man also by the woman; but all things of God.”
I do not know why Paul structured his responses like that. Maybe he was code switching to share secret information or to convey a thought without further persecution of the churches. Paul considered himself a Torah scholar and an overall educated person. Throughout his travels, Paul was creative and complementary in how he shared about Christ and how he stayed alive based on the region and people group he was with. I imagine his letter writing required that same thinking and application. So for me, it is false that Paul was advocating that men are over women. Instead, I imagine he was referencing back to Genesis 1 and 2 and revealing the truth of our humanity.
Such as I am…
I am a precious gift*. We, humans, are a precious gift. Imperialistic white supremacist patriarchy has done and will do anything to steal, kill, and destroy God’s gifts. Boxing Adam and Eve into man-made constructions of gender and identity for the purposes of control and manipulation is a doctrinal objective. It has been oppressive throughout the centuries. We are so much more than male or female, man or woman, boy or girl. We are so much more, because They who made us are so much more. God created a beautiful human being that fully embodied Their likeness. The range of who we are as individuals today still fits in with that first human. Regardless of where you are in the human spectrum, each human is still beautiful and represents the image and likeness of God.
*quote from Zora Neal Hurston, anthropologist, activist, and author