Headship: The Distinction of Headship in Humanity

It is with profound wonder that we reflect upon the great demonstration of creatorial wisdom in the early chapters of our Bible. Truly we agree with our God when He declared His creation to be “very good.” It is then with immense grief that we look upon the present conditions of our world. The degradation of moral values, disregard for matrimonial vows, and disintegration of biblical familial circles stem ultimately from a rejection of God and His Word. Promotion of same sex relationships, LGBTQ agendas, and confusion as to gender identity are only a few of the present difficulties facing the child of God. As the education system and workplace popularise the godless, secular ideas of mankind, sowing into the minds of young and old the seeds of doubt, it seems that even Christians are being affected by the original question posed by the devil, “Hath God said?” (Gen 3:1).[1]

As we progress in our understanding of headship, it is the desire of the writer to clarify in our hearts and minds clear distinctions our God placed into creation, fortifying us to stand against the wiles of the devil.

Having already considered something of the stupendous display of headship in the trinity, we now note that this doctrine touches the sphere of creation. It’s interesting to observe the distinctions that God placed into the sphere of angelic beings. We cannot be sure when Lucifer sinned, but Colossians 1:16 informs us that in heaven, prior to his fall, God had already inaugurated rule, rank and regulation into the world of angelic hosts.

We turn our attention to the creation of the human race and see that from the beginning our God placed obvious differences between the man and the woman. When Paul outlined the submission of the woman in the local church, he explained, “For Adam was first formed, then Eve” (1Ti 2:13).  From this we learn the fundamental lesson that headship was not an afterthought or a result of sin.

Adam’s entrance into the Garden of Eden is nothing short of breathtaking! We stand in awe as we contemplate the omniscient genius of God. Having already made the entire animal kingdom, we hear the Creator say, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness” (Gen 1:26). Stooping to the dust of the ground, our God used those simple elements to construct the complex human body, utterly distinct from the animals.

Adam’s exercise as gardener and guardian of Eden was to have total dominion in the earth. Work is not a result of sin but was instituted as a basic duty from the beginning. Paul writes, “If any would not work, neither should he eat” (2Th 3:10). In his place as head, Adam was given the responsibility to name the animals. Here we see Adam’s excellence – to name the entire animal kingdom without a word of advice from the Creator is simply awe-inspiring! Upon finding no companion among them, we hear the Lord’s voice, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him” (Gen 2:18). Within a deep sleep, God wondrously brought from his side the woman to be his bride. With Ephesians 5:22-33 in mind, we understand why the man was brought in first as head and the woman in submission as his help meet. This was not a random act by God for He had Christ and His bride in mind!

Having noted the distinction between mankind and animals, we now view stark contrasts between male and female. In physical appearance, their bodies are unique. Reproductive organs, heart, lung size, brain shape, hormonal systems and skeletal structures are uniquely different. The face of the male is distinctive in his ability to grow a beard, and 1 Corinthians 11:14 states that by Creatorial design (“nature”) the man had short hair and the woman long.

There is distinction in physical apparel. The command of Deuteronomy 22:5 was that “the woman shall not wear that which pertaineth [apparatus = implements/weapons/tools] unto a man [warrior], neither shall a man put on a woman’s garment [to assimilate the shape]: for all that do so are abomination unto the LORD thy God.” A man purposing to appear as a woman or vice versa (transvestite/crossdresser) is abhorrent to our God. We see why it was never God’s mind for women to go to war in Israel, which leads us to distinction in physical activities. The rebuke given to Adam in Genesis 3:17-19 was in the context of work and the field. The rebuke for Eve was in context of the womb and the family. God’s mind was that the primary place for the man would be as bread winner and the primary place for the woman would be the family. The New Testament completely validates this; how sad when godless societies disregard it.

Following Adam’s wedding vows (Gen 3:23), we hear the celebrant (God) declare in verse 24, “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.” As Adam had no earthly father or mother, we comprehend that the institution of marriage was not limited to this first couple but was to be upheld throughout the course of the human race. In order to preserve purity and uphold the mind of God, it was only after those vows and upon the grounds of matrimony that the Holy Spirit is careful to record that they were “both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed” (2:25).

In all this we see Adam’s example.  With man and woman so exquisitely distinct from the animal kingdom and from each other, it is with bitter anguish we witness the arrival of Adam’s enemy. Into the garden entered the devil with desires to destroy the beautiful order of headship. We are now confronted with Adam’s error. Although the devil deceived the woman, Adam bore ultimate responsibility as head (cf. Rom 5:12). Adam gave his explanation (Gen 3:10-12), but the effects of abandoning his role as head and allowing the woman to usurp his authority were devastating – a world of confusion where theories of evolution are propagated, gender distinction is clouded, and mankind worships and serves the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever (Rom 1:25). May God give us a fresh appreciation for the distinction of headship in humanity.

[1] All Scripture quotations in this article are from the KJV.