Since God had a specific purpose for mankind on earth, it makes sense that man's design and woman's design would fit that purpose. In Genesis chapter 2, God provides insight into the design of men and women. Starting with man, look at the following verses and see the specific reasons God created him.
…before any plant of the field was in the earth and before any herb of the field had grown. For the Lord God had not caused it to rain on the earth, and there was no man to till the ground; but a mist went up from the earth and watered the whole face of the ground. And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being… Then the Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it. – Genesis 2:5-7, 15 (emphasis added)
Verses 5 and 15 give you the biggest clues to the design and purpose of man. Look at the following translations of key phrases to get a better idea of their meaning. Verse 5 says
- “…there was no man to till the ground…” (NKJV)
- “…there was no man to work the ground…” (NIV)
Verse 15 says God put man in the garden to
- “…tend and keep it.” (NKJV)
- “…work it and take care of it.” (NIV)
- “…dress it and to keep it.” (KJV)
- “…cultivate it and keep it.” (NASB)
These verses are not difficult to understand. Man was created and designed “…to till the ground…” and “…tend and keep…” the Garden. Of course, every man is not literally working in a garden or farming, so there is a broader implication. The first word of verse 15 is translated as tend, work, dress, or cultivate. The Hebrew definition is
- labor, work, serve, till, sometimes implies enslavement
Webster’s Dictionary definitions are:
- Tend: to be in charge of, manage, operate, to take care of
- Work: physical or mental effort directed toward doing or making something
- Dress: to till and cultivate land, apply fertilizer, prune, and trim
- Cultivate: till, prepare land for growth; plant, tend, harvest, or improve (plants) by labor and skill.
The broader implication is that all the words are primarily about work or labor. Now look at the second word in verse 15 is translated “keep” or “take care of”.
The Hebrew definition is
- have charge of, protect, preserve, watch, guard, or restrain
Webster’s Dictionary definitions are:
- Keep – to protect, guard, or defend; to have, take charge or care of, to look after, maintain for use
- Take care – careful or serious attention, protective or supervisory control, to provide physical needs, help, or comfort
When guarding and protecting that obviously requires labor, effort, or work, but they also have a relational element to them.
Next, notice that man was designed to need a compatible helper.
And the Lord God said, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.” Out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to Adam to see what he would call them. And whatever Adam called each living creature, that was its name. So Adam gave names to all cattle, to the birds of the air, and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper comparable to him… – Genesis 2:18-20
And please notice it was not man, but God who said man’s aloneness was not good. God did not speak about Adam’s feelings in this situation, so his feelings or opinion are unknown. We do not know if he felt alone or if he thought he needed a helper. Unfortunately, commentators and preachers, especially at weddings, often state that man saw his aloneness from naming the animals (“But for Adam there was not found a helper comparable to him” - Genesis 2:20).
But God did not say that. It seems more likely that Adam did not know his need like we do not know ours without our perfect Father God’s kind and loving provision for us daily. Additionally, this says something profound about God. He is relational not just powerful! He saw Adam’s need for a suitable companion like God has in His Trinity of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
God saw Adam’s need and met it. For me, this is significant because I, like many men, are often blissfully ignorant of the need for a helper. And it is only by God’s mercy that a man wakes up and sees the benefit that God provides him through his wife. What is worse is the improper treatment of your wife is like telling God you despise His gift to you.
Finally, God’s design of man included oneness with woman.
Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. – Genesis 2:24
Man’s need for suitable companionship clearly shows God sees the combination of man and woman’s design as good. You will see why that combination is so important when you learn about the foundation of man and woman’s design. The implication is man and woman’s designs complement each other. The design of man works best when a woman is included and vice-versa,
Consider a farming metaphor, man is designed to provide, protect, and preserve the seed. He is designed to work, cultivate, keep, take care of, manage, and develop what is planted. And all this done best in companionship with woman, because his design needs compatible help, suitable companionship in the process. That companionship element with woman is encouraged when God states that he is to separate from mother and father and be joined as one with a woman.
Why is the design of man so important to know? Because not knowing or paying attention to the design of something increases the probability of misuse. Consider a time you decided to use a butter knife as a screwdriver. You can make it work, but that is not what it was designed to do. Knowing your design is critical, otherwise, you do not know if you are using it properly.
Men, you are designed for work and activity. Three words that adequately describe a man’s design are – Provide, Protect and Preserve. Using the bolded words is an easy way to remember the design of man.