Let's go back to the drawing board—not to take pen in hand and try to redraw the image of womanhood, like the generation of the sixties did, but to take a look at the model God drew. Genesis lays out His blueprint. The first chapter gives a zoomed-out view of the big picture. It displays the profound dignity of the human race, and shows how the creation of humanity fits into the overall story of creation. It reveals that male and female are more like God than anything else in the universe, and that they share this status equally.
Genesis 2 zooms in to capture the spectacular details. It reveals that God created each sex to be unique. Each has a distinct significance and function. Each perfectly complements the other.
The truth that God wanted to display through male and female was of paramount importance. So it stands to reason that He was highly intentional when He created them. Every action was significant. That's why Genesis 2 is so careful to provide a detailed, frame-by-frame rendering of the creation of mankind. God could have made male and female at the exact same time and in the exact same way. But the fact is, He didn't. The blueprint displays twelve markers that show how male and female roles are complementary, but not identical. Let's have a look and see, starting with what makes the male uniquely male.
The Male Was Firstborn
"Then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature." (Genesis 2:7)
The first thing to note about the creation of the sexes is that God created the male first. You might think that this fact is trivial or inconsequential, but the Bible teaches otherwise. The firstborn son held a unique role and position in the Hebrew family. He ranked highest after his father and carried the weight of the father's authority. He was responsible for the oversight and well-being of the family. He also served as the representative of all the other family members.
This wasn't just a cultural quirk that the Hebrew people dreamed up. God gave them these directions. Their family structure followed the pattern He gave.
We can tell that the position of firstborn son was important to God, because He called Israel His firstborn son (Exodus 4:22). Adam was God's firstborn human being, but Israel was the first nation He adopted as His own. When
Pharaoh stubbornly refused to release the Israelites from bondage, the Lord sent the angel of death to kill all the firstborn sons of all the families in Egypt. Those oldest brothers were the family representatives. As such, they were destined to die to pay for Egypt's sin. But the Lord graciously made a provision to save them. If they smeared lambs' blood on the doorposts of their houses, the firstborn sons wouldn't die. The lambs bore the punishment in their stead. The Hebrew people followed God's direction and sacrificed lambs. Their firstborn sons were saved.
The Egyptians didn't. Their firstborn sons died.
After this momentous event, God instructed the parents of every Hebrew family to redeem all their offspring by sacrificing a lamb at the birth of their oldest son (Exodus 11:4-15). The oldest brother represented all his brothers and sisters. His redemption signified the redemption of them all.
Conversely, his disgrace signified the disgrace of all. God made Adam first. He was the firstborn—the head of the human race. He carried the weight of responsibility for the oversight and well-being of the human family. So when the human race fell, God held Adam responsible, even though Eve sinned first. The New Testament bluntly states, "In Adam all die" (1 Corinthians 15:22). The Lord held Eve personally responsible for her sin. But He held Adam responsible for smearing the entire human race with his.