“God made Adam and Eve and Not Adam and Steve” is a line that many gay men and lesbians heard at some point in their life journey. It was used to suggest that same-gender love was against the male dominate/female subordinate relationship. As simple as that phrase may seem, it has caused so much pain in a community already pained by the ignorance, fear and mean spirit of many within the Christian community. Well, I am here to set the record straight…Adam was a girl.
In Genesis 5:1-2 there is a hidden gem that we rarely hear clerics talk about or preach on. The scripture reads: 5:1 “This is the book of the generations of Adam. In the day that God created man, in the likeness of God made he him;” 2 “Male and female created he them; and blessed them, and called their name Adam, in the day when they were created.”
It is understandable why this passage is rarely used. If we embrace this text then we have to rethink gender justice and the very image of God. God, both womb and seed; God, both masculine and feminine. While I am using gender in this reflection to disrupt the narrative that Adam was only an expression of the maleness of God, God is a Spirit and that Spirit cannot be understood in simple human binary terms like male and female. The gender box we use is too limiting when thinking of God, however, if we must use gender, let us use it in a manner that reflects more than just a white haired, old, straight white man, sitting on a throne waiting to pass harsh judgment on anyone who messes up.
“The Benson Commentary” states that, “He gave this name both to the man and the woman. Being at first one by nature.” There was no separation between God and humanity or humanity with itself.
In this current environment where Christian text is used to build wedges and the religious “right” often lands on the wrong side of justice and equality, I encourage my LGBTQ family to hold your head high, and celebrate the fact that we are all children of God in equal standing with all of our other siblings in the human family.
When Jesus died on the cross, He rebooted humanity’s relationship with God. Apostle Paul said it best in his letter to the church in Galatia, “The law was our guardian until Christ came; it protected us until we could be made right with God through faith.” 25 “And now that the way of faith has come, we no longer need the law as our guardian.” 26 “For you are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus.” … 28 “There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus.”
While Christian scripture and references were used in this reflection, it is important to note that God is bigger than any one religion or school of thought. The principals of Divine love and acceptance are universal, so go on out Adam, and be your fierce, free self!
info: Bishop Tonyia M. Rawls is the pastor of Sacred Souls Community Church (United Church of Christ) in Charlotte, N.C. and founder/executive director of The Freedom Center for Social Justice.