One of the most bizarre teachings of CBMW is the one taught in Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood in chapter 3 written by Raymond C. Ortlund Jr. Here Mr. Ortlund states that God pronounced the death sentence on Adam alone so that Eve died not because she ate of the forbidden fruit. According to Ortlund she died because of Adam’s sin. On page 110, Mr. Ortlund writes:
The fourth point here is that God told Adam alone that he would die. But Eve died, too. Why then did God pronounce the death sentence on Adam alone? Because, as the head goes, so goes the member. [emphasis mine]
The view that Eve died because Adam sinned is also picked up by Les Feldick an Oklahoma farmer turned bible teacher who takes the “Federal Headship” doctrine to its logical conclusion.
Now we have to understand that Eve was in Adam! Also because even though God didn’t put the curse on Eve for eating from the tree, yet she inherited that sin nature just like every other person since, through Adam. [emphasis mine]
Where does the scripture say that Eve died because of Adam’s sin? Where does the bible say that Eve inherited a sin nature from Adam? This is pure fiction. God created Eve from a part of Adam that Adam identified as his own “flesh and bone” and this “flesh and bone” was taken from Adam before Adam sinned. The rest of us were in Adam when Adam sinned. Because of Adam we all die. In contrast to the rest of us who were in Adam when he sinned, Eve was not in Adam when he sinned. She did not receive death or a sin nature because of Adam. The bible says no such a thing.
This is one of the very basics of Genesis that CBMW gets wrong. This wrong doctrine allows them to go off in the very basics of scripture and this corrupts what is built on that foundation. If one attributes Adam’s sin to Eve then the Messiah would not be able to be born from a virgin because if Adam’s sin nature is applied to Eve, then Christ would have been tainted. But we know that this didn’t happen. Scripture never once implies that Eve inherited sin from a “Federal head”. While Adam passed the consequences of sin on to all of his progeny, thus becoming the father of the dying, Eve became the mother of the living by not passing on death to her progeny. Adam rightly called her “Eve, the mother of all living”. Eve was not one of those who inherited sin through Adam because it was impossible for Adam to pass on the effects of his treacherous act to either Eve or Jesus. For a graphic post of why it was necessary for Eve to have been created from Adam before he sinned see Adam as head of the family.
Ortlund also claims that Adam had a rule over his wife that Eve somehow usurped when she ate the fruit and as a punishment for her usurption, it was determined that she would be locked in a battle over the right to be the “head”. On page 109 of Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood he says:
Just as sin’s desire is to have its way with Cain, God gives the woman up to a desire to have her way with her husband. Because she usurped his headship in the temptation, God hands her over to the misery of competition with her rightful head. This is justice, a measure-for-measure response to her sin.
This is simply not true and Ortlund is reading into the text. There is not even one charge in scripture that Eve “usurped” Adam’s “headship”. If it was true that Eve did such a wicked deed as taking away what rightfully belonged only to Adam, then why did neither Adam nor God charge Eve with this sin? And where does it say that Eve was handed over to the “misery of competition”? Ortlund reads into the passage so that he even fabricates a command for Adam.
First, God may be saying, “You will have a desire, Eve. You will want to control your husband. But he must not allow you to have your way with him. He must rule over you.”
If this is the sense, then God is requiring the man to act as the head God made him to be, rather than knuckle under to ungodly pressure from his wife. Accordingly, 3:16b should be rendered: “Your desire will be for your husband, but he must rule over you.” [emphasis is mine]
If God were indeed requiring Adam to act a certain way (by commanding Adam to rule over his wife) and demanding that he “not allow” a woman to make her own spiritual decisions (like Eve did), where is this command? God had no words of command for Adam concerning Eve. Instead God provided Eve with a glimpse into her life outside the garden. God’s words are a prophesy about the future, concerning what she will do (desire her husband) and what her husband will do (he will rule over her) and the words cannot be taken as a command to Adam. If they were a command to Adam, God made a huge mistake by giving the command to the wrong person. God should have commanded Eve to obey her husband and he should have commanded Adam to rule over his wife if the hierarchical interpretation is correct. But God did not do that. Even though God warned Eve about the hard life she would have with Adam, she left the garden willingly with her husband because she desired to be with him just as God predicted she would.
Ortlund leaves with the trump card of male domination.
Second, God may be saying, “You will have a desire, Eve. You will want to control your husband. But he will not allow you to have your way with him. He will rule over you.” If this is the true sense, then, in giving the woman up to her insubordinate desire, God is penalizing her with domination by her husband…The word “ule” would now be construed as the exercise of ungodly domination. As the woman competes with the man, the man for his part, always holds the trump card of male domination to “put her in her place”. [my emphasis]
God’s words throughout scripture are not to “put the woman in her place”. The one who interprets the scripture like this appears to have a spirit of male pride. It wasn’t God who punished the woman with male domination. He didn’t say “Because you ate the fruit, I am going to command the man to dominate you.” God revealed what the man is the one who is going act out his sinful nature. In his rebellion against God he will hurt the very one that God gave to be with him and instead of treating her as an equal ruler of the world, he will dominate her and “put the woman in her place” underneath him instead of by his side.
When a biblical view like patriarchy is dependent on the distortion of the text, its foundation is shaky and what is built upon it cannot be God’s design. Instead of God’s way, a male domination will be man’s way and the enemy of our souls will use man’s natural tendency in order to steal, kill and destroy the Spirit’s calling within godly Christian women.
When godly men act in obedience to God’s Holy Spirit, they never act out with male domination. God’s way is a sacrificial love of the man for the woman. It is a sacrificial love that will lift his wife up just like Jesus did for his own bride.