Responsive image
Nederlands/Vlaams Deutsch Francais English language Spanish language Portuguese language Catalan Chinese Czech Malayalam Finnish Igbo
Japanese Korean Romanian Malay language Norwegian Swedish Polish Swahili Chichewa Tagalog Urdu
The Created Order from Order of Creation/Order of Redemption

The Created Order

from Order of Creation/Order of Redemption
by Michael Azkoul, publ. Orthodox Research Institute, 2007, pp. 51-60.

Republished on our website with permission of the author.

The book of Genesis is, among other things, the source of Christian anthropology. The elements in the story of man’s creation are historical. Moses records that God crowned His creation with the formation of human beings. He made a man and a woman, body and soul. The man He made first. “‘Let us make man after our image and likeness.. ’ (Gen. 1:26). ‘Male and female’ Moses says, although as yet Eve had not yet come into being,” explains St. Symeon the New Theologian, “but instead was yet within Adam’s side, co-existing with him.”(50) According to St. John of Damascus, “He creates with His own hands man of a visible and invisible nature, and after His own image and likeness: on the one hand man’s body He formed of earth, and on the other, his noetic and thinking soul. He bestowed upon him by His own inbreathing, and this is what we mean by ‘after His image.’ For the phrase ‘after His image’clearly refers to the side of his nature which consists of mind and free will, whereas ‘after His likeness’ means similarity in virtue, as far as that is possible”(51)

Man's affinity to God by virtue of his “image”did not involve a natural immortality. The first man was neither mortal nor immortal, as St. Ephraim the Syrian observes.(52) At the same time, the “image”involved dominion over the earth, signified by his naming the animals. “Adam was given rule over the earth. He was lord over all things on earth, according to the blessing which the Creator gave him on that [6th] day.”(53) St. John Chrysostom agrees. "So ‘image’ refers to the matter of control...God created man as having control over everything on earth, and nothing on earth is greater than man, under whose authority it falls. ‘Man’ refers to both male and female... ‘Nonetheless, it is not proper for a man to cover his head as the image and glory of God; whereas the woman is man’s glory (1 Cor. 11:7). One is in command, the other is subordinate, just as God had said to the woman, ‘Your yearning shall be for you husband, and he shall be your master’(Gen. 3:16). You see, since it is on the basis of command that the ‘image’ was received and not on the basis of form, man commands everything is constituted in God’s image and glory whereas the woman is ‘the glory of the man.’”(54)

What, then, is their relationship? God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone, let us make for him a helpmate suitable to him... And God brought a trance upon Adam, and he slept, and a rib which He took from him God formed into a woman. He brought her to Adam. And Adam said, This now is bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called woman, because she was taken out of her man (andros). Therefore, shall a man leave his father and his mother and shall cleave to his wife, and the two shall be one flesh”(Gen. 2:18. 22-24). In the words of St. Paul, “For the man is not of the woman, but the woman of the man. Neither was the man created for the woman, but the woman for the man ” (1 Cor. 11:8-9). Male and female share the same nature and together govern the world. Nevertheless, he is the “Leader”(“the one in front,” in Hebrew, neged))from the beginning, evidenced by the fact that he named her “woman” — and “naming”is the sign of authority. She was, "in all things, to be subject to her husband, and... he the head of his wife, that they may live according to Thy will.”(55)

Not for nothing did God call the first human being “man”and not “woman.”Neither was it by accident that the male was created larger, stronger, bolder, and swifter than the female. It was from him (“one man") that all “man-kind”emerged, even as all who believed in Christ are re-collected in Him to form a redeemed humanity (“one man"). Noteworthy, too, is the fact that Adam was not given the neutral name “person”, but man or male; neither was Christ neutered. He was formed outside the Garden of Eden (Gen. 2:7); and only later relocated there. The woman was formed from Adam in the Garden (Paradise), where God commanded them to “increase and multiply.”Eve was “the mother of all the living”as bringing forth their progeny, suggesting her principle function was motherhood. God permitted them to eat from all the trees of the Garden, save from the fruit of the tree in its midst, lest they die.

She was the first to sin; or, as St.Ephraim said, “Eve, who had been the mother of all the living, became the fountain of death for all the living.”(56) Moses records that the woman was approached by a “serpent,”tempting her to eat from the forbidden fruit. She acquiesced and gave the fruit to her husband and he ate. Why did the serpent not go to the man first, since he was the head of the woman? St. Gregory the Theologian comments that the devil believed he could arouse vanity in the woman, and using Adam’s tender feeling for her, induce him to eat. The devil’s calculation was right. Adam “forgot the commandment which had been given to him, he yielded to the baleful fruit.”(57) St. John Chrysostom maintains that the devil came to the “naïve and weaker vessel, namely, the woman who he drew into his deception by means of conversation.”(58) St. Ephraim the Syrian says that the serpent or the devil avoided Adam “out of fear.”He went to the subordinate woman and caused her to envy the man. “She hastened to eat before her husband that she might become head over her head, that she might become the one to give command to that one by whom she was commanded; and that she might be older in divinity than the one who was older in humanity.”(59)

Eve’s envy brought sin into the world even before she and her husband had consumed the forbidden fruit. If nothing else, the implication is that the devil knew who was the head of the human race, and why we call this calamity the fall of Adam. By her disobedience to God, and usurpation of the man’s headship, Eve became the occasion for the fall; nevertheless, “He could have rebuked her,”declares St. John Chrysostom, “but chose to be her partner in the fall, depriving himself of the divine benefits on account of a brief pleasure.”(60)

That God called to Adam (and not to Eve), “Where are you?” implies that He blamed Adam for the “original ”sin,”that is to say, the primacy belongs to the man. He was responsible for the expulsion of our first-parents from paradise, because he was “the head of the woman.”His disobedience brought death, sin and corruption to his posterity. But also Eve’s sin became a pattern for the  future. Seeking to control him, she unleashed misery upon the human race. The woman, no longer the man’s complement, becomes his competitor. God also punished her with the words, “I will greatly multiply your pain and your groaning: in pain you shall bring forth children, and your submission shall be to your husband and he shall rule over you” (Gen. 3:17).   To Adam, God said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and eaten of the tree which I had forbidden you to touch, cursed be the grounds of your labor. With pain shall you eat of it all the days of your life ...In the seat of your face shall you eat your bread until you return to the earth”(Gen. 3:18-20). God also cursed the serpent, making him lower than all the brutes of the earth, and putting "enmity between you and the women, between our seed and her seed. He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel””(Gen. 3:15-16). This scene plays out not only in the drama of man’s fall from grace, but is the anti-type of his restoration: Christ the new Adam, Eve the Church, with the serpent or the devil, the enemy of the human race vanquished on the Cross (“the tree"). And, to be sure, those who might have become gods through obedience of the first Adam, shall become gods (2 Pet. 1:4) because the new Adam was “obedient even unto the Cross.”

The Garden, Chrysostom tells us, was a type of the Age to Come. Adam and Eve were both types or anti-types of Christ and the Church. Also, the establishment of Israel as the Bride of Yahweh is a shadow of the Church as the Spouse of Christ, which was born from the side of the crucified Christ. She was formed of the blood and water that poured from Him.”(61) Adam and Eve are the prototype of every man and woman. Christ and the Church are the prototype of every “new creature,”that is, every baptized man and woman. They are “one flesh.”To the typology of Eve and the Church, belongs another comparison: between “the Virgin Eve and the Virgin Mary.”The first is a type of the Church, the second is the Church and, in a sense, the model of every Christian woman.

All that is prophesied in the Old Testament concerning the Church, according to the holy Fathers, receives simultaneous application to the Mother of God, beginning with Eve. St. Justin Martyr says “that He [Christ] was born of the Virgin so that the evil caused by the serpent might be destroyed in the same manner that it originated. For Eve, an undefiled Virgin, conceived the word of the serpent, and brought forth disobedience and death; but the Virgin Mary, filled with faith and joy, when the angel Gabriel announced to her the good tiding that the Spirit of the Lord would come upon her, and ’the power of the most High would overshadow her,’ and, therefore, the Holy One born of her would be the Son of God, replied ‘Be it done to me according to Thy word’(62)

The disobedient Eve, continued St. Irenaeus of Lyons, was deceived by a (fallen) angel, the obedient Mary by angelic communication received the glad tidings of God to her who had exhibited obedience. Unlike Eve who was disobedient, the Virgin Mary was obedient that she might become the advocate of the virgin Eve. And thus, the human race fell into death’s bondage by means of one virgin, but rescued by another.”(63) Eve was mother of the old humanity, the Mother of God is the mother of the new humanity, that is, Mother of those reborn in Christ.

In the words of St. Leo the Great, “For today [Nativity] the Maker of the world was born in a Virgin’s womb, and He, Who make all natures, became Son of her, whom He had created.” Moreover, by the Nativity, “we are celebrating the commencement of our own life. The Birth of Christ is the source of life for the Christian People, and the birthday of the Head is the birthday of the body.”(64) His body consists of His “brothers and sisters,”“conformed to the image of His Son”who is “the first-born of many brethren," But the undefiled Theotokos is the Mother of the Lord; hence, the Mother of “all that have been baptized into Christ" As the new Eve, Mary is the Church.

“How beautiful are those things which have been foretold of Mary under the figure of the Church,”mused “St. Ambrose of Milan.”(65) St. Methodius of Olympus took delight in “identifying the Virgin as the Church.”(66) St. Cyril of Alexandria sang the praises of “Mary, the ever-Virgin, the holy Church.”(67) Mary begot Christ, said the Venerable Bede; yet every time a person becomes a Christian, “Christ is born again”;(68) thus, new sons and daughters for the Church, more children for Mary. Having said all this about the Theotokos—the type of the female Eve, the type of the female Israel, she is the Church. She is, according to St. Ephraim the Syrian, the Mother, Sister, Daughter, Bride of the Incarnate Lord. “I became His Mother and by a second birth, I brought Him forth, so did He bring me forth by a second baptism.”(69)

In every case, her role is feminine. Her Son and Lord is masculine. His Mother gave birth to Him virginally. The Church gives birth to her children virginally, i.e., baptism. In imitation of the Church (and Eve), motherhood is the primary function of the women, as the Orthodox rite of Matrimony stresses. Obedience and sub­ordination win her salvation, as the Virgin’s Magnificat teaches.(70) The point cannot be made too often: woman is the image of the female Church — the Theotokos — and man is the image of the male Christ; and on the male gender alone has He bestowed the priesthood.


50. On the Mystical Life: the Ethical Discourses (vol. 1): The Church and the Last Things, Trans. by A. Golitzen. Crestwood (NY), 1995, pp. 21-22.

51. On the Orthodox Faith II, 12 NPNF.”

52. Commentary on Genesis ”(FOC), I, ii, 17:3.”

53. Ibid. I, ii, 3:10. The rite of Holy Matrimony calls the male “a king over the creation”(Service Book of the Holy Orthodox Catholic and Apostolic Church.Trans. and Arranged by I.F. Hapgood. Englewood (NJ). 1975, p. 295). Adam was created on the 6”th” day ”or age of the first week of the earth. Sunday or “one day”(not the “first day") is both the beginning and end of the week (6th day), or age of the first week of the earth. Sunday or “one day” not the “first day”) is both the beginning and the end of the week (8th day), a circle which typifies the destiny of creation: to begin and end in God. Christ is the second Adam, the beginning and end of the new creation. By his disobedience, the first Adam brought the calamity of sin and death upon the earth. By His obedience, the second Adam abolished sin and death and restored the world to His Father. The Incarnation of the Lord, the second Adam, oc­curred during the 6th age or period of universal history. He was resurrected on Sunday-Pascha, a type and earnest of the end (eschatos) or the 8th and eternal day or Age everlasting (See J. Danielou, The Lord of History: Reflections on the Inner Meaning of History.Trans. by N. Abercrombie. London, 1958, p. 5-9).

54. Hom. On Gen, VIII, 10 PG 53 656.

55. Service Book..., Ibid, p. 296. The relationship patterned not only after Adam and Eve, but Christ and the Church.

56. Homily on the Lord I, 5 (FOC).

57. On the Theophany, 12 PG 36 324C.

58. Hom. On Gen. XVI, 3 PG 53 129.

59. Comm. On Gen. I, ii, 18:2.

60. Hom. on Genesis XVI, ib.

61. Enc. Max. 3 PG 51 229.

62. Dial. c. Tryp.,100 PG 6 709D-712A.

63. Adv. Haer. V, xix, 1 PG 7 [12] 116B-117A;III.xxii, 4 PG 7 [1] 958D-960A.

64. Serm. XXVI, 1-2 PL 54 213AB.”

65. On Virginity, XIV, 89 PL 16 341B. In the words of St. Ambrose, Sed virgo, quia est Ecclesia typus (Expos.Evang. s. Luc. II, 7 PL 15” 1635D-1636A).

66. Symp. 7PG 18381AB.

67. Hom.Div.,4 PG 77 996C.

68. In Apoc. PL 93 165-166.

69. Hymns on the Nativity, 9 (FOC).

70. Paul Evdokimov perceives the Virgin Mary as the type of all Women( Women and the Salvation of the World. Trans. A. P. Gythiel. Crestwood (NY), 1994).

Contents of “Order of Creation/Order of Redemption” Support our campaign Sitemap Contemporary theologians Join Campaign activities Go back to home page

Please, credit this document
as published by www.womenpriests.org!

Wijngaards Institute for Catholic ResearchThis website is maintained by the Wijngaards Institute for Catholic Research.

The Institute is known for issuing academic reports and statements on relevant issues in the Church. These have included scholars' declarations on the need of collegiality in the exercise of church authority, on the ethics of using contraceptives in marriage and the urgency of re-instating the sacramental diaconate of women.

Visit also our websites:Women Deacons, The Body is Sacred and Mystery and Beyond.

You are welcome to use our material. However: maintaining this site costs money. We are a Charity and work mainly with volunteers, but we find it difficult to pay our overheads.

Visitors to our website since January 2014.
Pop-up names are online now.

The number is indicative, but incomplete. For full details click on cross icon at bottom right.

Please, support our campaign
for women priests
Join our Women Priests' Mailing List
for occasional newsletters:
An email will be immediately sent to you
requesting your confirmation.