K. Davidenko is an artist, writer, minister, wife, and mom. She and
husband Glenn met at UTDallas, have been married since 1982 and have 2 boys.
Her relationship with the Lord was fully realized during the illness and death
of her mother in 1997. At that time, Karen sought Him as her refuge and
fully came to accept Jesus into her life.
Karen is an ordained elder and has worked with youth and music ministries and
coordinates an email prayer circle. She is a muralist and writer in the
DFW area, enjoys working with people from many walks of life, and serves in many
capacities with Boy Scouts, schools, and charitable organizations.
God has led Karen to others who seek the truth of the Biblical equality of men
and women, and she is certified to teach Dr. Sue Hyatt’s course, In the Spirit
We’re Equal. Her passion is to encourage others in their lives and
spiritual gifts and to utilize her studies and creative skills to serve others
Karen submitted this article on Genesis to a blog. When we saw it
we thought it would be a fine word for the newsletter and a great addition to
the website. Enjoy!
In the Beginning . . .
In the beginning, there was peace and equality.
The book of Genesis is the main reason I walked away from God many years ago. It then became the reason I came back to Him later as I started to read and
learn about what His plan was for the human He created in His image. When I saw
it in a new light, God became the magnificent, loving, and amazing Father I
somehow always knew was out there. I came to realize He loved women as much as
men and expected the same good things from His daughters as His sons.
But, I couldn’t believe what I was seeing the first time I read Genesis. Was God
cursing woman? Why would He do that? Was I really a subordinate creature
compared to males? If humans were created in His image, then woman was part of
the big picture. Why would He cause all women to suffer and tell us that we have
to be ruled by man? It was just unbelievable.
Then, at the old age of 40, I really started reading Genesis and found some
different takes on the translations. I’m no scholar, but there are many scholars
out there. Some other non-scholars might say, “Karen . . . these translators
have been doing their job for centuries. Are you really trying to say that they
made a mistake? It’s all there in the Kings James, for goodness’ sake!”
Well, that’s one of the problems. Most of our translations come from one
translation or some that are similar. And, just as if you would take a document,
copy it on a machine, then copy the copy, and so on, things get a little .
corrupted. I don’t think all the translational “mishaps” were intentional. I’ll
give the benefit of the doubt that culture affected translations of some key
words. We have many Greek and Hebrew scholars who are now pointing out some
unfortunate errors. Katharine Bushnell, an author, medical doctor and scholar of
Hebrew and Greek in the late 1800’s writes:
“. . . always remembering that we bow to no authority as final but the
Word of God, as illuminated by the Spirit. We will endeavor to interpret the
Bible by what the Bible says, not by what men say that it says.”
The Lord created a human in His own image. He never calls this creature
“Adam” as if it were a proper name. The word adam is Hebrew for human, mankind. God made
adam in His image. He made them male and female and blessed His
creation five times over to be fruitful, to multiply, to subdue and replenish
the earth, and have dominion over all (Genesis 1:28).This male-female creature,
made in the image of God, was the ruler over the earth and proclaimed “good” by
the Lord. Then, for reasons unknown, this creation became “not good” when only
one human walked in the Garden. God decided it was not good for one person to be
So, in the beginning, there was a created human--male and female. The first
named person in history was Eve, the Mother of all living. The human named her,
even though he isn’t designated as male until Genesis 2:24 after the woman is
taken from his side. After that event, the remaining creature is called isha
which means male. The woman is ishshah. The human was created first, and then a
woman was taken from his side; the male was formed first, then the female. The
word tsela is always referred to as “rib” in this verse. For some reason,
though, it is only translated as “rib” in Genesis. It would seem from the
translation that the woman was made from one small piece of the adam, but we
know women are much more complicated than that! No, the word tsela is translated
everywhere else in the Bible as “side,” or “plank.” She was pulled out and
formed from the side of the adam.
the Lord decided to take (or separate) the woman from the human, He wanted to
make a “helper suitable” for the man (Genesis 2:18). Not a “help meet” or a
servant, He wanted the man to have a “help” or ezer, the same word David uses to
refer to God in the Psalms (Psalm 33:20, Psalm 70:5, and nine more psalms). In
that realization, would we then assume the Lord is man’s servant or is in any
way subordinate to us? Hardly. The word “suitable” is negdo, or kenegdo, which
means, “parallel to,” “before,” or “in front of.”
Dr. Susan Hyatt says in her book, In the Spirit We're Equal, regarding ezer
kenegdo: “In Genesis 2:18, the word ‘helpmeet’ does not occur. The Hebrew
expression ezer kenegdo appears, meaning ‘one who is the same as the other and
who surrounds, protects, aids, helps, supports.’ There is no indication of
inferiority or of a secondary position in an hierarchical separation of the male
and female ‘spheres’ of responsibility, authority, or social position.”
You all know the story. “Adam” knew he wasn’t supposed to eat from the
Tree because God told him so. Yet, according to Genesis 3:6, there they were—Eve
with “Adam” right beside her. They both ate. They see they’re naked, and God
questions them. God then tells this hapless couple how it’s going to be because
of their faux pas, but He never curses them. What does He curse? He curses the
serpent, and He curses the ground upon which the man must work. He tells the
woman that her teshuqa, mistranslated as “desire,” will be for her husband, and
he will rule over her. The man will work the soil for his sustenance.
Now, when women are told they are subservient to men, this verse is thrown at
them as proof and nearly every time by a man who has never toiled in any soil
for his livelihood--or even thought he should. I believed for a time this was
God’s plan for men and women—mostly women as second-class citizens—since I’ve
existed in a post-agrarian society. It’s funny how society has never expected
men to live up to their “part” of the bargain.
The meaning of the word teshuqa, now translated as “desire,” has been changed
over the centuries. In the beginning it meant “turning” in the Septuagint (Greek
translation of the OT) around 285 B.C. It was then altered to mean “alliance”
and “direction” until around 500 A.D. After that time, the word was changed to
mean “impulse,” “power,” and “appetite,” until it became “lust” or “desire” in
800 A.D. under Rabbinical teaching. Why?
Katharine Bushnell translated this verse in her book, God’s Word to Women, to
mean, “You are turning away to your husband, and he shall rule over you.” In
other words, the woman turned away from God and chose her husband over Him. Because of this choice, Eve’s husband becomes her superior. God sent “Adam” out
of the Garden, but He never sent Eve. She chose to go with the man.
God told the man and woman how it was going to be because of their blunder, not
that it should be this way. Because they blew a good thing when they had it,
they were now post-Fall creatures. They wanted Free Will . . . they got it. God’s original intent was for their eyes and actions to be turned toward HIM.
Then, we have the troublesome verse about increasing the woman’s pain in
childbirth. This is an interesting verse which I will defer to Katharine
Bushnell’s discussion. She is much better at discussing the changes and
misinterpretations of certain words in that scripture. See GWTW Online book,
Lesson 15 Satan's Lying in Wait.
In scripture, God stresses the enmity between the woman and the serpent. Woman will produce the One that will crush the serpent’s head. What better way
for Satan to battle woman than to orchestrate the perception of her as
insignificant in the Army of the Lord?
Christian world now, for the most part, chooses to live in a post-Fall manner. At any time, the Body of Christ could choose to live pre-Fall. Jesus came to
restore us to pre-Fall conditions (Romans 5:15), yet many would continue in the
comfort and hierarchy of the Fall. It’s hard for us to allow one another to walk
in the Lord or to let others do what He says. Humans have a hierarchical leaning
now; someone needs be in charge. The original man and woman never gave us the
chance to see what it might be like to walk together, shoulder to shoulder. Men
are geared to be the boss now, but it takes a big man to listen to others; to
give when he needs to give or stand firm when needed. Women are just as culpable
in the role of the subordinate woman. It’s easier to relinquish control to
someone else because it completely absolves one of responsibility and
accountability. God made humans in His image. Side by side, we are to care for
the earth and all of its creatures in an equal and loving relationship, with our
eyes and hearts turned toward Him.
Sources used: The Bible; The Interlinear Bible, Hebrew Greek English, Jay P.
Green, Sr.; God's Word to Women by Katharine C. Bushnell; In the Spirit We're
Equal by Dr. Susan Hyatt;
(Original Artwork by Karen K. Davidenko)