From the Genesis creation account (Genesis 1-2), we see Adam’s calling as a man in four parts: provide, protect, pursue and strength.
#1: Adam was put in the garden to provide by causing it and its inhabitants to flourish: Genesis 2:15
The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it…
Men are to provide what is needed to flourish physically: God has built the male body for hard work in order to provide; “work” means cultivate. God’s expectation was that Adam would have dominion over creation, that is, cultivate, develop and build it. He was to establish structures so that the inherent fertility of the Garden was produced for the good of all.
Also, Adam was to provide what their families need to flourish spiritually. As the priest of his family, he was given instructions on what to do and how to live. Further, in the New Testament, all married Christian men have this role: Ephesians 5:27 (for wives), Genesis 18:19, Colossians 3:21 (for children). This calling to provide for the flourishing of others is a sacrificial one. Once again, drawing from Ephesians 5:25, just as Christ sacrificed for the church, husbands are to sacrifice to provide for the good of their families.
#2: Adam was put in the garden, also, to protect it: Genesis 2:15:
The LORD God took the man and put him the garden to…keep it.
“Keep” means to guard, protect and watch. The need for this role was very shortly seen with the invasion into the Garden of the snake. As we saw when we discussed biology, Adam was specifically and physically built to have this role. As Eve would be mothering and raising children, for Adam to be the guard and provider for them is an apt display of their complementary relationships. This same dynamic is seen in the story of Boaz caring for Ruth and Naomi. Indeed, one reason why God confronted Adam in the garden was he failed in his duty to “keep it” or “guard it” from intruders like the snake.
#3: A man is called, also, to leave his home to pursue a wife: Genesis 2:24:
Then the man said, “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.”
This isn’t just rapturous prose or poetry. It isn’t just a man amazed at what he sees. He sees in her a profound purpose for his life—thoughts of family, flourishing, vocation possible because he was made male.
Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.
Our biology demands we pursue a wife so that we can consummate how were are made in every way. So that a man may use his maleness to be who God designed him to be—made possible because of his wife. It is a great coup of our enemy that young men are convinced to forsake pursuing young women in marriage. They act as if their purpose in life is simply a hedonistic enjoyment of Halo.
Ever thought of that? It is by design and it is right that a young man must look upon a young woman and see in her, the means to fulfill how God has created him. Now, one caveat, there is no shame in singleness—indeed there is glory in it if it is chosen for the glory of the Lord and the good of His church. Apart from a spiritual conviction to singleness, Adam’s distinct calling (as ours is today) is to pursue a wife in order that, with her, he can be all who God made him to be.
#4: Lastly, men are called to strength.
We are made physically strong. Men have:
- 20% more muscle mass
- 40% more upper body strength
- 33% more lower body strength
- Larger fast twitch muscle fibers
- Larger heart, lungs, legs
What is this for? This isn’t simply an accident of creation that has somehow endured to this day. Men are called to strength so passages like this make sense:
1 Kings 2:2-3
When David’s time to die drew near, he commanded Solomon his son, saying, “I am about to go the way of all the earth. Be strong, and show yourself a man, and keep the charge of the Lord your God, walking in his ways and keeping his statutes, his commandments, his rules, and his testimonies, as it is written in the Law of Moses, that you may prosper in all that you do and wherever you turn,
1 Corinthians 16:13
Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.
1 John 2:14
I write to you, fathers, because you know him who is from the beginning. I write to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the evil one.
1 Peter 3:7
Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.
As we could see from the verses cited, we cannot misunderstand the strength of men to be physical only.
I’ll call your attention to two things. First, the qualifications for elder and deacon: is physical prowess listed among them? No. You might summarize what is found there as faith, courage, godliness and service–strong in humility and faith. Second, this picture of strength was perfectly modeled by the Lord Jesus who displayed strength of courage and resolve more than the physical dominance we typically regard as masculine. Remember, though we are biologically stronger, our strength must be in the courageous and faithful service of our families and our Church.
These are four created areas that give men our distinct calling in this world.