Another Look at Headship in Marriage-History’s First Surgery

Scott LaPierre is the author of Marriage God’s Way and I’m excited to have him back to share with us more about headship in marriage. Today, he talks about how God established headship with Adam before Eve was created. It’s important that we understand this concept to help us grow deeper in our marriages.

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The following is an excerpt from Marriage God’s Way by Scott LaPierre.

First Surgery in History

God performed history’s first surgery by using Adam’s body to fashion Eve, and what modern science reveals about this is fascinating. Every cell in our bodies contains our entire genetic blueprint or DNA. Therefore, God could take some of Adam’s cells and use their DNA to create Eve.

The reverse, however, would not have been possible, because men’s DNA contains both X and Y chromosomes (XY), while women’s DNA contains only X chromosomes (XX). If God had created women first it would have been impossible to create man, because there would be no Y chromosomes, which is the chromosome that determines male gender.

Adam had the genetic material—both X and Y chromosomes—for a woman to be created from his DNA, allowing for reproduction of men and women.

Eve is Created

In being fashioned from Adam, Eve has the unique distinction of being the only part of creation not created out of the ground. Since Adam was created in the image and likeness of God, Eve was just as wonderfully created in the image and likeness of God.

It should also be pointed out that while God created woman from man, He has brought forth every other human being since Eve from woman. The Apostle Paul explained it like this:

For man is not from woman, but woman from man. Nor was man created for the woman, but woman for the man . . . Nevertheless, neither is man independent of woman, nor woman independent of man, in the Lord. For as woman came from man, even so man also comes through woman (1 Corinthians 11:8–9, 11–12).

Eve is Fashioned From Adam’s Side

A final detail of significance is that God’s creation of woman from man involved far more than Adam’s rib. The Hebrew word for rib is tsela. The word occurs 41 times in the Old Testament, but only here in Genesis 2:21–22 is it translated “rib.” Nineteen times tsela is translated as “side” and 11 times as “chamber.” Here are a few examples:

  • Exodus 25:12—You shall cast four rings of gold for [the ark], and put them in its four corners; two rings shall be on one side (tsela), and two rings on the other side (tsela).
  • 2 Samuel 16:13—And as David and his men went along the road, Shimei went along the hillside (tsela) opposite him and cursed as he went.
  • 1 Kings 6:8—The doorway for the middle story was on the right side (tsela) of the temple.

Eve came from Adam’s side, not only from his rib, which is also made clear in Adam’s words in Genesis 2:23 when he calls Eve “bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh.”

Unity Between Husband and Wife

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Why did God choose to create Eve from Adam’s side instead of creating her from the dust of the ground like everything else? God wanted Adam and Eve to understand the unity between them.

This is why the next verse, Genesis 2:24, says, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” This is a very odd statement since Adam and Eve are the only two people in history with no “father and mother.” Therefore, this verse is not primarily about them but is instructive for all future marriages.

Men Leave Their Father and Mother

Genesis 2:24 further supports male headship. Why does the command mention a man’s leaving his father and mother but not a woman’s leaving her father and mother?

It is because the man is moving out from under his parents’ authority and establishing his own headship—or authority—over his family. But the woman is not doing the same. She is simply moving from being under her father to being under her husband.

This is why 1 Corinthians 11:3 does not say, “The head of every man and woman is Christ.” Instead, it states, “The head of every man is Christ [and] the head of woman is man.” Women remain under a man’s authority, first her father’s and then her husband’s, and these men are under Christ.

Symbols In The Wedding Ceremony

Father Gives Bride Away

This biblical principle is played out at weddings symbolically when the father walks his daughter down the aisle and gives her to the man who is about to become her husband. The image is of a transfer of authority from father to husband.

To check out Scott’s book, you can click the front cover of his book…

Marriage God’s Way

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Thanks so much Scott for sharing! I’ll bring him on again to discuss complementarianism versus egalitarianism, and the relationship this has to headship!

Family pic for bookScott LaPierre is the senior pastor of Woodland Christian Church in Woodland, WA. He and his wife, Katie, have been blessed with six children they homeschool. He is also the author of Marriage God’s Way: A Biblical Recipe for Healthy, Joyful, Christ-Centered Relationships. You can reach Scott at scott@scottlapierre.org.

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