Fewer movies are more quotable than 1996’s sports romance, Jerry Maguire. Even if you weren’t born yet, it is likely you have heard these references:
“Show me the money!”
“I love him for the man he wants to be… and I love him for the man he almost is.”
“Success consists of getting up one more time than you fall.”
“What do you want from me, my soul?” -“I deserve that much.”
“I love you. You… You complete me.” – “Shut up… just shut up. You had me at ‘hello.'”
I think no better compliment has been paid than the words, “You complete me.” Writer/Director Cameron Crowe was at his best in this flick. I have often wondered if he is a Christian, or – at least – familiar with the Genesis story of creation, because those words could have come right out of the mouth of Adam when God created Eve from one of Adam’s ribs.
Ok, I know I lost half of my readers when I mentioned Creation, because most Christians no longer believe in a literal Adam and Eve. I do, though.
I’m going to lose half of my remaining readers with this paragraph, but what I’m going to say is not sexist and not naive. I urge you to stay with me and let me explain. Most Christians don’t realize that Eve was actually created to complete Adam. Neither Adam nor Eve were created as a whole person; they needed one another.
According to Genesis 1, Adam and Eve were created as equals. One was not master and the other servant. One was not dominant and the other submissive. In the beginning, Adam and Eve were co-rulers with God over His creation.
They were BOTH created in the image of God and their main task was to continue living in His image. They were to be fruitful and multiply, or reproduce the image of God. They were to – together -have dominion over the earth. God, it seems walked with them daily and imparted to them His wisdom. Through God and His Wisdom, the held dominion of the earth.
In chapter 2, we see a more detailed version of the creation of Eve and we learn that she was created to be Adam’s helper, a most unfortunate translation of the Hebrew word, עֵ֖זֶר (‘ê·zer). The KJV used the words, “help meet” to translate the word ezer. That is still insufficient. Helper or help meet, to our 21st century PC ears, sounds subservient. In the original language, it is not subservient.
The International Standard Version of the Bible gets it a little closer when it says that “no strength corresponding to him could be found”. The NET Bible reads “no companion who corresponded to him was found.”
You see, we have no single word to translate ezer. “Helper” doesn’t cut it. The Hebrew word means someone of equal or superior strength and abilities who makes up for one’s deficiencies. In other words, ezer means that Eve completed Adam. Only together did they have the strength and means by which they could rule God’s creation.
If this equal and complementary relationship between man and woman is the ideal Judeo-Christian picture of marriage and family, why then do Christians get such a bad rap over the way that women were treated in the Bible? Why is it said that Christians believe that women should be silent, subservient, and second-class.
That is the result of the curse, the result of Humankind’s first sin. In Genesis 3:16, God tells Eve, “Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.” it is because of sin that women were ever considered as second-class.
Yet, there are few examples of men and women acting as equals in the Bible. There are even some rules set down by Paul that could – if lifted out of 1st Century context – enforce inequality. The fact is, Paul lived (and we live) in a fallen world. As Christians, we should be aware that God values every life and every soul.
It is only in the Judeo-Christian world that women have made strides towards equality. Only in parts of the world where Christians dominate or once dominated have women significantly benefitted. There are yet many dark places in this world where women are respected little more than an animal, and may be legally abused.
Christian men and women should re-look at the Genesis ideal of marriage. It is only through two equals who emulate God’s image that marriage is successful.