1. God creates mother earth and sows her with seed-bearing plants (cf. Mark 4:26-29) and living creatures (Gen. 1:11f.,20-25).
2. Since he intended her to be inhabited (Gen. 1; Isa. 45:18), he creates animal life (Gen. 2:19) as reproductive seed-bearers.
3. Along with the animals he creates Adam in mother earth (Gen. 2:7; 139:15f.).
4. Having created Adam as seed God puts him in the Garden of Eden, the womb of the race to gestate and develop (Gen. 2:8,15, cf. Ps. 139:13). (1* Wenham comments that the garden is symbolic of a place where God dwells (p.61) like the river flowing out of it (p.65, cf. pp.61,62,86,88,90 and note Psalm 46:4f.). (For an extended version of Wenham’s comment on p.61 that the garden is an archetypal sanctuary prefiguring later tabernacles and temples, see Beale.)
4. God creates Eve out of Adam (Gen. 2:21-23, cf. Heb. 7:10). Wenham (p.83) comments that woman was taken out of man (2:23) as man was taken out of the ground (3:19), (cf. 1 Cor. 11: 7,11f.).
5. As God sowed mother earth, so Adam as the image and glory of God (cf. 1 Cor. 11:7) sows Eve and produces offspring (Gen. 4:1f.; 5:1-4). Reproduction or procreation is therefore creation recapitulated as suggested by Isaiah’s comments in 45:9-10 (cf. 29:16).
6. Woman like the earth when sown becomes the mother of all living (Gen. 3:20).
7. God created Adam to till the ground (3:23, cf. 2:5,15). So, just as uninhabited and hence untilled and unsown ground is barren or cursed, fit only for animals (e.g. Isa. 7:23-25; 13:17-22; 32:13f.; 34:11-15), so is a woman without a husband. She is unmarried, unsown and desolate (Isa. 62:4, cf. 51:1; Jud. 11:37-40). The same is true, of course, of the temple when it is deserted (cf. 1 K. 8:29; Isa. 64:11; Mt. 23:38) and also the body (James 2:26). At this point is it I worth comparing Mark 14:58 and 2 Cor. 5:1.
8. When like babies Adam and Eve have developed enough to acquire knowledge of the commandment, they break it, sin and are cast out of the idyllic garden womb. In other words, though full-grown physically, they are ‘born’ as conscious human beings (contrast Rom. 9:11) with the result that they now have to work their passage in a harsh environment (Gen. 3:17-19,23, cf. Job 3:3,11; 5:6f.; 7:1; 10:18; 14:1; Jer. 20:18). What for real or modern babies at a later stage in man’s evolution is the cradle period or infancy of life is for physically adult Adam (mankind) the time of the curse on the earth. For him work is onerous, even an enemy (Gen. 3:17-19) as both Cain and Lamech indicate (Gen. 4:12; 5:29). It is only later in the course of human development when faithful and notably obedient Noah comes on the scene that a covenant is established and man becomes willingly industrious and capable of fulfilling man’s calling which is to exercise dominion over the earth (Gen. 1:26-28).
9. Just as God delights in his land with its temple and has his eye permanently on it (Dt. 11:12; 1 K. 9:3, cf. 8:29; Isa. 64:11), so a young man delights over his bride (Isa. 62:4f., cf. Zeph. 3:17; Sol. 5:16; Jer. 2:2) who at the age for love (Ezek. 16:8) becomes a fruit-bearing garden of delight (Dt. 28:4,11; Ps. 127:3-5; 128:3; Ezek. 24:16, cf. Hos. 9:10-16). (2* See Chris Wright, p.215 n.10 and Wenham, p.90.) Just as creation implies evolution, so love implies fruit-bearing (cf. Isa. 5:1-7; John 3:16; 14:15, etc.).
If a woman is mother earth recapitulated (or in miniature) and hence mother of all living (Gn. 3:20), children are the fruit of her womb (cf. Dt. 28:4,11; 30:9; 1 Tim. 5:14). Furthermore, once they are born, they continue to be sustained by her and suckled at her breast until they mature.
The relevance of all this to the incarnation can be spelled out as follows: Just as God fertilized the earth to produce Adam (Gen. 2:7), so God fertilized the virgin Mary to produce Jesus, the second Adam (Luke 1:35, cf. Gen. 1:2; Job 31:15; 10:9; 33:6; Ps. 139:13; Heb. 10:5). In other words, he did not need to go back to the original beginning (though note Ps. 139:15; Eph. 4:9) but used Mary who through Adam stemmed from the earth (Gen. 2:7,21-23) and was flesh/dust (Ps. 103:14, cf. 139:13; 1 Cor. 15:47-50). Thus through Mary the first Adam was the father of the second (Luke 3:38).
Just as (pro)creation implies evolution and recapitulation, so it implies fruitfulness (cf. Gen. 1:28; 9:1,7). In the words of Isaiah, God created the earth to be inhabited (Isa. 45:18). As creator he is nothing if not a sower and a planter (Gen. 2:8; Ps. 80:8f.; Isa. 27:6; Jer. 1:5,10, etc.). So it is among human beings who as flesh are creation in miniature. They are created in his image and as such are meant to be (pro)creators or sowers on both the physical (Isa. 29:16; 45:9f.) and the spiritual levels (Ps. 85:11f.; Isa. 45:8; 61:11; Luke 8:11; Mark 4:20; John 15:16, cf. Isa. 54:1; 56:3-5; Gal. 4:27). As they mature they reach the age for love and are intended to bear fruit in children (Ezek. 16:8; Jer. 2:2). Lack of them in Sarah’s, Hannah’s and Jephthah’s daughter’s case is something of a disaster, though we need to be aware of Isaiah 54:1 and 56:3-5. Oswalt claims that Isaiah 5:1-7 has sexual overtones (p.152) and Israel is the source of God’s delight and the object of his desire (p. 154). Motyer refers to the men of Judah as ‘the garden of his delight’ or ‘the plant of his intense pleasure’ (p.69). But here it is noticeable that the intended fruit is spiritual rather than physical. Justice and righteousness are what was required. So it is in the NT where the fruit of the Spirit as opposed to that of the flesh is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Gal. 5:22f., cf. Ezek. 15:1-8; John 15:1-5). Failure to bear fruit spells destruction (Mt. 25:24-30; John 15:6; Heb. 6:7f.)
Of course, fruitfulness eventually leads to harvest at the end of the age (Mt. 3:12; 13:30; James 1:18; Rev. 14:4) when creation is consummated by the salvation of the people of God (Rev. 5:9; 7:9). Even now creation as a whole is groaning in the pains of childbirth and Christians have/are the first fruits of the Spirit (Rom. 8:22f.; James 1:18) implying that there are many more to follow (Mt. 8:11; Rev. 7:9).
Summary: Galatians 4:1-7, cf. Rom. 8:12-25.
G.K.Beale, The Temple and the Church’s Mission, Leicester, 2004.
John N.Oswalt, The Book of Isaiah Chapters 1-39 (1986) and 40-66, Grand Rapids, 1998.
Gordon J. Wenham, Genesis 1-15, Waco, 1987.
Chris Wright, The Message of Ezekiel, Leicester, 2001.