Due to the myriad of (mis)information and (mis)interpretations about Eve in the creation and fall narrative of Genesis, most of my life I existed under the misguided notion that females were a little lower on the creation scale. I’m unsure about the origin of this thinking, but I remember believing she bore all of the responsibility for the fallen world and chaos around us. Until recent years, I never really understood who God created her to be and how the story of Eve, the serpent, and Adam really played out. I also didn’t learn much about Priscilla until much later in life. Now her story fascinates me—I admire her life of faith, work, co-imaging, and leadership. Let’s take a look at Eve and Priscilla and weave their stories together.
From an early age, I knew that my parents did not plan me. To this day, I often refer to myself as “the accident” in the family. In my adult years, I have a better understanding. My parents had a boy and a girl and purchased their small home to accommodate their family—three bedrooms, two baths. Right after they moved in, they found out they were pregnant…with me.
Throughout my childhood, my brother said that my parents found me in a trashcan. Behind their backs he whispered, “Look around, you don’t look like anyone in this family!” Based on his advice, I looked around and saw the only other girl in the family, my sister (ten years older). To my young eyes she seemed glamorous. Since we shared a room, I often watched her sitting in front of a lighted makeup mirror during her high school years: studying her image, rolling her hair, and applying her false eyelashes.
I certainly didn’t look like HER—my image reflected my tomboy ways: climbing trees, riding my bike, and playing with neighborhood kids in the yard. Often my child-hair was messy, tangled, or swept up into lopsided pigtails. Most of the time I wore a just-stained tee shirt and my scraped or scabbed knees showed signs of my rough and tumble activities. (The irony? I most resemble the males in my family!)
Given these bits of information, where do you think the beginning foundation of my self-understanding formed?
What do we see when we look in the mirror? Who do we REALLY see, not just the outward fluff? What defines the God-truth about our identity? We must know who we are to know how to live.
Unique creations made in his image to co-rule with God’s kingdom team.
Looking at two biblical women, Eve and Priscilla, helps us understand ways our imaging and co-ruling creates team collaboration for His Kingdom in order to spread the gospel, advance His kingdom, and live out the Great Commission.
Genesis 1 begins with God’s creation—of light, land, heaven, sun, moon, stars, birds, beasts, plants, trees, and all the rest of creation.
Genesis 1:26-31…”then God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.”
They and them mean we together image God—males and females, husbands and wives, friends and neighbors, brothers and sisters in Christ. We represent God’s glory and creation when we work in unity. Then came the pride, failure, and fall on the part of humans resulting in the chaos and repercussions that surround us today.
Eve spent time in conversation and argument with the serpent and then believed the lies about God. She listened and spent time in conversation with the serpent while Adam was with her. He stayed silent. After she ate of the fruit she handed it to Adam and he ate as well.
Their rebellion and resulting curse affected not only their relationship with God and each other but also our relationship with God and with one another. The beautiful, bountiful place of paradise and personal fellowship with the Creator morphed into a fallen, rocky, hardscrabble life with pain, thorns, and discord, as well as relational distance.
In the beginning, God created Adam and Eve (and us) to co-rule, co-image, and collaborate to fully image, mirror, and reflect Him to the world around us. We are called to consistently and intentionally live out our faith in Christ to show support for one another in our lives, community, and ministries.
Galatians 3:27—“For as many of you were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”
Let’s fast forward to the New Testament and look at Priscilla.
Acts 18:1-3—“After this Paul left Athens and went to Corinth. And he found a Jew named Aquila, a native of Pontus, recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla, because Claudius had commanded all the Jews to leave Rome. And he went to see them, and because he was of the same trade he stayed with them and worked, for they were tentmakers by trade.”
Paul stayed with them and they were working. Priscilla worked side by side with her husband and they joined their endeavors with Paul, working together in their occupation and ministry. In her culture, Priscilla might never have expected the ways in which she would be called to serve the Lord. She worked, ministered, taught, and led, a “fellow worker” with her brothers in Christ.
Are we intentional about fully living our Christian walk through our work, relationships, and ministry opportunities?
Acts 18:24-26—“Now a Jew named Apollos, a native of Alexandria, came to Ephesus. He was an eloquent man, competent in the Scriptures. He had been instructed in the way of the Lord. And being fervent in spirit, he spoke and taught accurately the things concerning Jesus, though he knew only the baptism of John. He began to speak boldly in the synagogue, but when Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately.”
Priscilla and Aquila’s actions are the antithesis of what transpired with Adam and Eve in the garden.
Priscilla and Aquila illustrate the way Adam and Eve should have responded to the serpent…correcting together and proclaiming God’s truth. In Priscilla and Aquila we have a wonderful example for how we are to image and rule together, sisters and brothers in Christ, side by side in mission. Each one of us created as a unique, beloved creation made in the image of Almighty God.
I am still learning who I am in Christ and seeking to know the truth of His image in me. My family might not have planned me, but I was most definitely planned by God.
You were, too.
So, here's my challenge for us this week. When we get up and start each day and see our image in the mirror, let’s remember—we need to know who we are to know how to live.
Our faith and ministry impact our work and our relationships. Women and men can work side-by-side and minister with one another. Where do our gifts and God’s opportunities connect and how do we answer the call?
Pray and ask Him to work through us, to pass that understanding on to others and to dedicate our days living out His love as we fulfill our co-ruling purpose on this earth. The more we fill up with His truth about who we are, the more we reflect his light and love to others.
Know Who You Are to Know How to Live
Dr. Julie Shannon’s fifteen years in ministry and church leadership include speaking, writing, teaching, and coaching. Julie earned a bachelor's degree in Radio/TV Communication from Stephen F. Austin State University as well as a Master in Christian Education and a Doctor of Educational Ministry from Dallas Theological Seminary. She recently served on the board of the Association For Women in Ministry Professions in Dallas. Julie is the author of Involuntary Childlessness: How People and Events Propel Women to Fruitful Living and is a contributor to Invitation to Educational Ministry: Foundations of Transformative Christian Education by George M. Hillman Jr. and Sue G. Edwards.
Personal pursuits involve time with family, exploring God’s creation, photography, piano, reading, and a newly discovered joy of sketching. Reach Julie via email, [email protected], or website, drjulieshannon.com.