Answering Wayne Grudem’s “Open letter to Egalitarians” 2

Answering Wayne Grudem’s “Open letter to Egalitarians” 2

grudem11 on Women in Ministry by Cheryl Schatz

Answering Wayne Grudem 2

In my last post I copied Wayne Grudem’s “Open letter to Egalitarians”, and I listed the first question of his “Six Questions That Have Never Been Satisfactorily Answered”.  Today I am posting his second question, Suzanne McCarthy’s expert Greek answer, and my own challenge after that.

2. hypotasso: Where the Bible says that wives are to “be subject to’’ to their husbands (Col. 3:18; Titus 2:5; 1 Peter 3:1, 5; and implied in Eph. 5:22, 24), you tell us that the verb “be subject to’’ (hypotasso, passive) is a requirement for both husbands and wives—that just as wives are to be subject to their husbands, so husbands are to be subject to their wives, and that there is no unique authority that belongs to the husband. Rather, the biblical ideal is “mutual submission’’ according to Ephesians 5:21, “be subject to one another,’’ and therefore there is no idea of one-directional submission to the husband’s authority in these other verses (Col. 3:18; Titus 2:5; 1 Peter 3:1, 5; and Eph. 5:22, 24). But we have never been able to find any text in ancient Greek literature where hypotasso (passive) refers to a person or persons being “subject to’’ another person, and where the idea of submission to that person’s authority is absent. In every example we can find, when person A is said to “be subject to’’ person B, person B has a unique authority which person A does not have. In other words, hypotasso always implies a one-directional submission to someone in authority. So our question is this:

Will you please show us one example in all of ancient Greek where this word for “be subject to’’ (hypotasso, passive) is used to refer to one person in relation to another and does not include the idea of one-directional submission to the other person’s authority?

If you can show us one example, we would be happy to consider your interpretation further. But if you cannot, then we suggest that you have no factual basis for your interpretation of these key verses, and we respectfully ask that you stop writing and speaking as if you did, and that you also reconsider your understanding of these verses.

Wayne Grudem is answered by Suzanne McCarthy.  Unfortunately, I was not able to copy the Greek fonts on my blog, but the original is here.

2. Hupotasso – [to submit, yield]

Dr. Grudem writes,

Will you please show us one example in all of ancient Greek where this word for “be subject to’’ (hypotass?, passive) is used to refer to one person in relation to another and does not include the idea of one-directional submission to the other person’s authority?

Here are two clear examples,

1 Clement 38.1:

“So in our case let the whole body be saved in Christ Jesus, and let each man be subject to his neighbor, to the degree determined by his spiritual gift,”

2 Macc 13.23,

”[King Antiochus Eupator] got word that Philip, who had been left in charge of the government, had revolted in Antioch; he was dismayed, called in the Jews, yielded and swore to observe all their rights, settled with them and offered sacrifice, honored the sanctuary and showed generosity to the holy place.”

In the first case, Christians are to be subject to their neighbour, and in the second, the king is subject to his subjects. We can rightly say that (hypotasso, passive) is used to refer to a Christian in relation to his or her neighbour and it does not include the idea of one-directional submission to that other person’s authority.

__________________________________

Question #2 for Complementarians by Cheryl Schatz

2.  Complementarians tell us that the verb “be subject to’’ (hypotasso, passive) is not reciprocal with the term in Ephesians 5:21 however can you explain why all the lexicons say that it is a reciprocal pronoun meaning one another?  Why would complementarians deny for males what is clearly to be a Christian attitude?  If the submission was not to be reciprocal, then why did the Holy Spirit inspire the Greek word that means mutually, one another (reciprocal)?  If God had meant that husbands were to be exempt from the Christian attitude of submission, wouldn’t he have clearly stated their exemption?

Analytical Lexicon of the Greek New Testament:  genitive of the reciprocal pronoun; one another, each other, mutually, applicable to first-, second-, or third-person referents

The complete word study dictionary: New Testament by Zodhiates: of a reciprocal pron. one another

Dictionary of Biblical Languages with Semantic Domains: Greek (New Testament)each other one, another; a pronoun which marks reciprocation between two persons or groups

Exegetical dictionary of the New Testament. Translation of: Exegetisches Worterbuch zum Neuen Testament: 1. The reciprocal pron. (attested from the beginnings of Greek literature) is formed by the doubling of the stem. It originally means one to the other(s)… 2. The understanding of (Greek G240) in the NT is unproblematic; the translation each other or mutually is sufficient for every instance…Of theological relevance here is the use of (Greek G240) primarily in the description of the (obligatory) conduct of Christians in the community toward each other, with emphasis on mutuality and culminating in the love commandment

A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and other early Christian literature (Arndt, W., Danker, F. W., & Bauer, W.) (BDAG): of the reciprocal pron. each other, one another, mutually,

Links to more posts on Answering Wayne Grudem’s “Open letter to Egalitarians” part 1part 2part 3part 4part 5part 6

246 thoughts on “Answering Wayne Grudem’s “Open letter to Egalitarians” 2

  1. I have also wondered why many conservative evangelicals insist that submission is a one-directional thing within the confines of marriage.

    Despite all of the counter examples you’ve listed here, this still seems to be the prevailing trend of thought amongst conservative evangelicals.

    There is a larger picture which emerges here, and that is one of change. Change from a particular view of scripture to one that upsets the apple cart so to speak.

    People fear change, and in many cases it is warranted, but not in this case. Mutual submission is not the church & family destroying bogey-man that many conservatives make it out to be.

    Rather, it is an effective barrier against the rampant – behind closed doors – swept under the rug spousal abuse which has gone on for far too long in conservative protestantism.

  2. Greg,
    Thanks for your comments. I think that complementarians fear equal submission because they make submission out to be obedience. Instead of biblical mutual submission, they fear that men will be under the thumb of their wives having to obey their every command. Sometime in the future I plan on putting up a post on what biblical submission is and isn’t. It is time we clear the air and define submission.

  3. On page 500, of Recovering B. M and W. Grudem writes that Eph. 5:21 should be paraphrased, “those who are under authority should be subject to others among you who have authority over them.”

    In Pastoral Leadership for Manhood and Womanhood, Grudem writes, page 205,

    “Marriage is intended to be a reflection of the divine order in that submission by the wife in marraige reflects the submission of the church to Christ. Hlep her to see that in neither case is the submission mutual. Christ does not submit to the church, but vice versa, and likewise the husband does not submit to the wife. These roles are not open to redefinition, reinterpretation, or adjustment. Any change represents a deviation from the divine purpose, rendering a marriage no longer a reflection of the relationship between Christ and hte church.”

  4. First – of course vs. 21 is mutual. It can’t be understood any other way, unless you add a whole lot to scripture that isn’t there…oops, Grudem seems to have done just that.

    To assume that husbands don’t have to submit to their wives would lead to the parallel conclusion that wives don’t have to love their husbands. “What’s good for the goose….” Such a conclusion completely ignores Paul’s purpose – he is addressing gender related deficiencies or problems in marriage that have gender specific remedies in marriage. There is absolutely no justification in isolating Ephesians 5:22-24 from Ephesians 5:25-30, and vss. 31-33 make it intellectually impossible. It is all one passage and any “doctrine” applied to one part must be applied throughout. Moreover, it has a direct bridge to vs. 21 (even Grudem agrees that submission is only implied in vs.. 22 and 24) which summarizes a lengthy teaching on unity (not hierarchy) within the body.

    Grudem ignores one other well documented fact. Paul loves to mess with Greek. He not only makes up new words but also deploys others in direct contrast to their conventional usage. His very application of hupotasso in vs. 21 defies conventional wisdom because, regardless of Grudem’s revisionism, no authority structure is present. (In fact, it hasn’t existed at all in relation to the body in the entirety of Ephesians leading up to this passage) As the same thought then leads directly into vs. 22, there is no reason to believe Paul doesn’t have the same non-authoritarian concept in mind when turning his attention to wives.

    Again, the answer to Grudem’s question is staring him right in the face.

  5. Just a little more along the same reasoning because of what Sue posted. Grudem claims:

    “Christ does not submit to the church, but vice versa, and likewise the husband does not submit to the wife. These roles are not open to redefinition, reinterpretation, or adjustment. Any change represents a deviation from the divine purpose, rendering a marriage no longer a reflection of the relationship between Christ and the church”

    And so, if we carry through with this logic, the church does not agapeo love Christ. After all, if we are talking unilateral roles, then love is one directional just as submission is, right? I mean Grudem agrees that the teaching carries all the way through to vs. 32 and therefore the instructions for husbands (i.e. Christ) only go one way. Women, you are freed from having to express unconditional love toward your husbands. I bet that is a relief, huh.

    Sorry for being redundant but the blindness of Grudem to the absurdity of his own argument just astounds me and I can’t help but repeatedly point it out.

  6. In reality, Grudem’s questions, at least the first 2, are simply red herrings which attempt to distract from proper hermeneutics. Rather than study the Greek across similar authors, audiences, and contexts, Grudem tries to send us on a wild goose chase looking up words by authors who have nothing in common with Paul, writing to audiences who have nothing in common with the Body of Christ, addressing issues that have nothing in common with Christian marriage. The question back to Grudem should be:

    Can you find any Greek text which uses mutual hupotasso AS PAUL DOES, and that deliniates any authority structure within that mutual submission.

    The burden of proof is not to find another Greek author who Paul has emulated, but another Greek author who has emulated Paul. If one can not be found, then Paul is defying convention and his words require a novel interpretation.

  7. My husband and I are reading through 1 Peter 3 for our devotionals together the last couple of days. It is so like God to answer my prayers and concerns about 1 Peter 3:1-5 here, and I’m so thankful. The context actually starts in chapter 2, especially verse 21 through to 1 Peter 3:5,6.

    Grudem states,
    “Marriage is intended to be a reflection of the divine order in that submission by the wife in marraige reflects the submission of the church to Christ. Hlep her to see that in neither case is the submission mutual. Christ does not submit to the church, but vice versa, and likewise the husband does not submit to the wife.”

    Well, actually our Lord did yield and suffered for us (vs. 21) and left us an example about yielding to one another. Though I don’t believe this advocates abuse of women/wives, because husbands are to take that example of Christ for themselves as well, and they’re exhorted in 3:7 to honor their wives, etc. The context of this passage of chapters 2 and 3 of 1 Peter IS “one anothering” each other, especially among believers.

    The context just jumped out at me that it must mean yielding to each other and not some kind of hierarchal submission to authority.

  8. Grudem’s lust for male power seems evident to me in how he struggles to rearrange everything to come to that conclusion. It’s inventive. And it follows the ways of the world. I’ll never forget the day when as a young woman I overheard a bunch of young adult men talking about dating and women. Their topic of the day was that if a man played the game right, the women would treat them as gods. Apparently, it was working for some of them. 🙂

    Regarding submit, I suspect part of the problem is language and modern usage. Perhaps, if we tried to stick moreso to the Greek meaning of arranging oneself under, it would be easier to see that it doesn’t require authority in the something or someone we arrange ourselves under.

  9. Cheryl,
    Someone posted these comments on a Christianity Today blog. I’m wondering about the validity of this claim. Can you (or someone) help me out on this?

    “Further, the newest edition to Liddell-Scott does not have this definition listed. The editor of Liddell-Scott, P.G.W. Glare, in response to a letter Wayne Grudem’s sent him regarding “source” as a definition for kephale said, “The supposed sense ‘source’ of course does not exist and it was at least unwise of Liddell and Scott to mention the word.”

    Concerning the definition you site in Theological Dictionary of the New Testament (copyright 1965) the updated version (copyright 1972-1989) says: “It will be seen that in secular usage kepahle is not employed for the head of a society. This is first found in the sphere of the Gk. OT.” The Greek OT is the Septuagint, the translation Paul and the early church would be most familiar with; and thus, contemporary with Paul. By then kephale had taken on the meaning “authority over’.”

  10. Kay, no one knows the validity of the claim, because the letter has never been produced. Nor has Liddel and Scott seen fit to comment publicly. All of it is coming from those who wish to deny the meaning. Spurious at best IMO.

    At any rate, how does one print something that doesn’t exist anyway. IMO Grudem put pressure upon the publishers and they responded. It does not mean they agreed. It surely does not mean that the scholars who inserted the reference now deny it as Grudem would like us to believe.

    I have a 1909 copy of a Schofield Bible. In Genesis 17, they have a rather long and very strong statement in a footnote about the meaning of El Shaddai being from the Heb. word shad, which is breast. God is referred to as the breasted one for very solid Biblical reasons. And yes, it does give validity to the value of feminine. But the newer copies of the Schofield have omitted this. This does not mean that Schofield changed his mind. 🙂 Once an author dies, publishers do take liberties. And publishers don’t care about the facts, only sales.

  11. Oh and Liddel and Scott’s first edition was published in 1889, so it is unlikely that Grudem consulted with the authors. This is likely why he doesn’t want to produce any supposed letters with the publishers, and why the publishers aren’t concerned about explaining. Publishers really care only for sales. Frankly I think it is dishonest to change the words of books you didn’t write, even older ones.

  12. “The Greek OT is the Septuagint, the translation Paul and the early church would be most familiar with; and thus, contemporary with Paul. By then kephale had taken on the meaning “authority over’.”

    The Grudemites want to claim everything is about authority over. To my knowledge kephale was not used in the sense of authority. That had to be supplied with other words.

    They erroneously do the same thing with authentein in 1 Tim. 2. They want to claim that by then the strong dominating and injurious meanings of authenteo had settled into the meaning of simple authority over. But of course, if that were really so, Paul would have used exousia, which mean’s authority and would have added ‘over’. While the meaning of authentein had settled some it still carried the strong message of wresting authority from another, more like wrongly dominating.

    Sue McCarthy has some good articles about Grudem’s claims on her website. http://powerscourt.blogspot.com/2008/01/index-cbmw-grudem-kephale.html

  13. TL,

    Thanks so much – so it’s just more of Grudem & co. posturing. Has anyone requested a copy of this “letter” from Grudem? Surely comps would be jumping to verify it – if it were real??

    I’m going to read on Sue’s site and hopefully come up with a post to refute that blog commenter’s claim. Seems a shame to just let it stand unchallenged. On the other hand, I’m not a “scholar” and don’t always know all the chit chat going on in academia.

  14. I’m not sure if it was ever produced. I never saw it. Even if something from the publisher were produced, it is still from the publisher and not the original scholars who authored the book.

  15. Throughout the rest of the NT, hypotasso IS the Greek word used to express submission to an authority. So i guess the question is, is hypotasso used here in the same context or is it used to suggest a different meaning. In the weight of purely biblical evidence it points to an ‘authority over’ use.

    I’m not sure Cheryl, whether comps would claim that men don’t have to be submissive in character. Just simply that women are not authoritative over men, nor co-equal in the egal sense.

    Also the use of ‘allelous’ or ‘one another’ is an ambiguous word which has SEVERAL meanings depending on context. It is not always used in a reciprocal sense throughout the NT. So to translate ‘one another’ is one possible meaning.

  16. In the New Testament, Christian submission is not based on a submission to authority but a voluntary submission that is based on Christ’s example.

    In the culture of that day women were not given a choice whether to submit or not. They were required to submit. But in the Christian setting submission is something that we do out of love not out of necessity.

    I am not claiming that men are to submit to women as if women are in authority over men. I am claiming that no one is given authority over others in the body of Christ so that they can demand submission. No one is to take authority over another and the ones who think that they deserve a place of authority are told by Christ to rather take a place of servanthood themselves. There is never a place of commended authority over another person. The Christian position is that of a servant who does his acts of love and service. Men are not exempt from this, in fact they are the ones who are especially told to be servants even of their own wives. This is certainly a position of serving “one another” as the term submission means.

  17. The first thing which i think is important to keep in mind is that women were actually liberated from the culture of the day by Christianity. When we argue that the men/women issues were always just cultural i think we are wrong. Sure some things are e.g head coverings, but in the wider picture Christianity brought women to a place where they had never been before, so the early church is not inerrently sexist or stuck in their culture of the time.

    “But in the Christian setting submission is something that we do out of love not out of necessity.”
    I totally agree with you Cheryl- but the authority aspect is still there. Christ submitted himself for us, but he is still our Lord. No one has the right to demand submission from another.

    ” I am claiming that no one is given authority over others in the body of Christ so that they can demand submission.”
    Again i agree because we have no right to demand it.

    It seems Cheryl that you think Comps demand submission from another- am i right in assuming this?

    I hold though that people DO have authority, but can’t demand submission from someone i.e wife for arguments sake. If there is no authoritative aspect to a marriage for example, then it is not a true reflection of Christ’s covenant with His church. Let me make this clear-my view- Authority is there, but does not promote ‘betterness’ or ‘lord it over’ but is seen in loving and serving like Christ did. Authority should promote Christ likeness in my opinion. But i dont think we should through authority out the window as if it doesn’t exist in the bible.

    Do you think the husband has any authority over his wife?

  18. Mark: “Do you think the husband has any authority over his wife?”

    First of all Mark, Hi. I’m not Cheryl but am glad to see you here.
    Second, I want to say that I am probably one of the ones who is a little short tempered with some comps and patriarchs. I should probably be sorry for it but am not right now.

    You, on the other hand, and comps of your flavor I have a great deal more patience with and can talk to without my blood pressure rising much. The difference between you and the others is that the others DO demand submission. And some have even taught that wives that don’t submit in ALL things to their husbands (barring gross sin) are in danger of hell-fire and damnation. And it upsets me greatly because these preachers believe they are the door keepers of the Kingdom of heaven concerning women and have driven women away who need the love, healing, and salvation of God. These teachers have put the submission of women at such a high place in their religion that you would think that one of God’s names, beside The Lord your Healer and The Lord your Provider, was The Lord Who Made Men to Rule Over Women For All Eternity Amen and Amen. (Sound a little bitter? Maybe. But I think my anger toward that attitude is justified. If not, may the Lord show me my error, but gently since I am only dust anyway.)

    So, anyway, sorry to you if some of my anger has spilled over onto you or any comps of your flavor. I’m sure you don’t deserve it.

    Cheryl is quite a bit more gracious than I which I hope to learn from.

    I also work in CPS in my state and deal with a lot of abuse of women and children and get angry when I see abuse of any kind including spiritual abuse and using the Bible to beat women and children into submission. I also hate the couple of cases I’ve seen where abusive women have beat their men over the head with “You gotta love me” verses while she’s acting like the devil.

  19. i>”When we argue that the men/women issues were always just cultural i think we are wrong.”

    I agree. That is called a “strawman argument” though, because those who believe in Biblical equality do not and have not said that. However, yes the early church was stuck in the culture of their time. It was difficult for Jesus and the disciples to pull them out of doing what they always did. And that is still difficult for believers today.

    ”If there is no authoritative aspect to a marriage for example, then it is not a true reflection of Christ’s covenant with His church.”

    Where do you see that the covenant was built upon authority that is to be transferred to men only? I see the New Covenant built upon sacrifice, God’s Love, mercy and grace, all of which will translate to freedom and maturity for the believer. First we are freed from the power that sin holds over humanity, which results in no longer needing the Old Covenant with it’s ceremonies and sacrifices. We now have Jesus. We are free people born not of the slave but the bond woman. We are free to grow and mature into the fullness of the person of Christ. That is the authority of the believer, to become like Christ and be His hands, feet, arms and spokesperson (of a sort) to the world. And yes, that is loving and serving like Christ did. These are things that every believer has the power via the HS to achieve and do in the world for the benefit of others.

    As for marriage, I agree that there is no authority aspect. What there is, is a unity born of mutual give and take. A marriage is built upon the strengths of two people giving into the life of the other, to such a degree that eventually they become as if they were one unit, one body. This is not accomplished by one directing and the other following, but by both giving and both receiving from the other.

    Marriage is benefitted by each spouse giving of his/her strengths. A husband has physical strengths that a wife doesn’t and vice versa. A husband has social strengths and connections that a wife doesn’t. His job is to sacrificially use those strengths to benefit his wife, providing for and protecting her. The wife uses her strengths to benefit the husband supporting and providing for his needs as well. Eventually, if done well, the two though still different, know each other so well that they know when to do their part without asking, resulting in a harmonious unity that looks as if they move and live as one unit. And so on ……

  20. That was beautifully said, TL, and exactly what I think the Lord has been showing me in my journey through the Scriptures and in my experiences with Him in my marriage as well. I’ve been married almost 23 years and in these ideas and teachings is where I believe our marriage has never been stronger.

    I came out of a heavily comp influenced church (for 9 years; now I’m out) that relied on Gothard (authoritarian), Piper, Grudem and Driscoll and Mahaney, as well as some strange Harris’ flavored theology mixed in, and everything, and I mean everything was about “authority over”. After years and years of searching out the Scriptures myself, I came to the conclusion that the agenda is not The Gospel of Jesus Christ in these circles of influence, but one of lording over others, and making sure people are in lock-step obedience to “ways” of living.

  21. Mark,
    You said:

    Sure some things are e.g head coverings, but in the wider picture Christianity brought women to a place where they had never been before, so the early church is not inerrently sexist or stuck in their culture of the time.

    I do not believe that the early church was inherently sexist, but I do believe that some were and they tried to stir up trouble. As far as the head covering issue, there is a very important cultural meaning to the head covering that the church has failed to discuss. You can find it in the Jewish oral law and in John Lightfoot’s commentaries. You can get a good feel for what the head covering means by watching the preview clip on the head covering issue that I have put on youtube here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C33wUR9zcBg

    You said:

    It seems Cheryl that you think Comps demand submission from another- am i right in assuming this?

    The way I would describe it is that comps teach that males have an inherent authority over women due to their special privileges as males in the home and in the church. They are to take this authority and use it as it is a mandate given by God. I lived this life for a lot of years so I know intimately what male rulership looks like even if the intent is benevolent.

    If there is no authoritative aspect to a marriage for example, then it is not a true reflection of Christ’s covenant with His church.

    Christ’s covenant with His church is that the church will rule with Him. The enemies will be placed under our feet as we are the body of Christ. The bride is not placed under Jesus’ feet. This is a typical explanation but it is only tradition, not Scripture.

    Do you think the husband has any authority over his wife?

    Yes. The husband has authority over his wife’s sexuality.

    1 Cor 7:4 The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does; and likewise also the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does.

    But note that the wife also has authority over her husband’s body in just the same way as his authority. This is the only place in the Scriptures that I have ever found where either a husband or wife is told to have authority over the other. If you know of something that I have missed, I would appreciate seeing the text of Scripture.

    TL did a very good job in answering the rest of your comments so I don’t think I need to say any more here.

  22. Mara,
    I do want to keep my blog as respectful as I can, but I do realize that this relies mostly on me. There are many hurting people here and to make them hold back some of their hurt because it might offend a weak complementarian brother is more than I want to do. I don’t plan to practice moderating comments.

    I believe that the comps here can help by understanding that this is a place where people come who have been greatly abused by men and women in the comp movement. If we hold back their pain, then I think we are just adding to their pain and it may come across as being abusive. I want to be gracious to all, but I also have a great deal of patience for those who are in pain.

    If these things overly offend comps, I would just like them to try really hard to try to put themselves into the other person’s shoe. It is what I believe Galatians 6:2 means:

    Gal 6:2 Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ.

  23. Kathleeen,
    I am so glad that you are out and are free from that kind of abuse! I can really relate too. I also know what it is like to breath freely as a person who is free in Christ.

  24. Just a few comments,

    Cheryl i cant help but feel that you base the comp position on yours and others experience, rather than the bible. You refered to seeing “what male rulership looks like even if the intent is benevolent. “- Is this not an argument based on sinful man not scripture. I am truly sorry for the abuse people have faced by mis-use of authority. But whenever sinful man is involved it will never work properly as God intended. I do not see myself as a weak comp, but rather am actually interested in understanding you position and engaging in dialogue rather than just ignoring you. If that makes me seem weak, so be it, but i am simply trying to do what you ask of comps-talk to you.
    You said that the christ/church, husband/wife analogy has no authority and is simply tradition. Cheryl how wrong you are! What about Ephesians 23 ff. What is Pauls repsponse in verse 32 – it is PRIMARILY a reflection of Christ and the Church. And any exegesis which tries to talk about ‘head’ not having any authority is absurd. And im sure you will appeal to not having a ‘plain’ reading of this passage.

    One last point. The comp position in NO way encourages abuse or anything of the like. If people think it does, it is purely an indication that they dont understand the comp position very well.

  25. Mark – of course the comp position does encourage abuse. What I believe Cheryl is trying to stress with her comments about benevolence, etc. is that the comp position inherently fosters abuse. It is not an active act of teaching abuse, but anytime one human exercises power, rule, or authority over another the situation is ripe for abuse. Your observations about human nature, therefore, are spot on. The problem with the comp position is that it allows way too much human nature into relationships.

    I’m not following your Ephesians reference but I believe you are speaking of Ephesians 5. You claim there is an authority structure there but the text doesn’t support it, unless one believes “head” inherently and universally means “boss”. But scripture does not support such a conclusion. As Cheryl has rightly said, nowhere in the marriage passages, or even in the Christ/Bride passages of scripture, is an authoritarian structure outlined. You will have to do better than throwing out an English word and our narrow ideas about that word if you want to convince us that Ephesians 5 dictates that the husband is the boss of his wife.

    You have rightly said that Christ like love involves service and sacrifice. But isn’t Christ like love the expression of “headship”? Again, there is no “rule” or authority inherent in Christ like love. Jesus, himself, expressed this a number of times in both word and dead.
    “I did not come to be served but to serve”.
    “The rulers of this world lord it over the people but not so with you”.
    “Christ…humbled himself and became a servant”.
    “And whoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant”.
    “If any person desires to be first, they shall be last, and servant of all”.

    Never once does Christ, in the husband/wife relationship with his church, ever take authority. He does only three things ever, serve, sacrifice, and intercede. Those are the characteristics of the “head” as Paul speaks of it.

    Remember that Paul loves to take words that have a conventional worldly meaning and turn them into something completely different, often opposite, when speaking of life under Christ. Ephesians 5 has two such word contradictions in it. The first is Paul’s use of hupotasso – to “submit”. Rather than use it in its military context, where there is always a “boss” or authority to submit to, Paul calls for mutual submission – a situation which abolishes any authority. There can be no masters if all act as servants. Authority can not coexist with mutual submission. Paul has turned hupotasso on its head (pardon the pun). He then turns to kephale – “head”. Again, he completely defies the normal connotation of head as “ruler” or “authority” by putting up Christ as the example. It as if Paul is echoing Christ’s command regarding worldly rule: “not so with you”. Headship looks completely unworldly when Christ is the model. Headship under Christ is the exact opposite of headship in the world. It is exemplified by service, sacrifice, and intercession, not rule. The Christ like “head” does not live “to be served, but to serve”. He “considers himself less than” those being served. Again, in Paul’s context, authority can not coexist with Christ like, servant headship, just like it can not coexist with mutual submission. Ephesians 5, contrary to your assertion, has nothing at all to do with authority. It is, in fact, the antithesis of authority. But to see that, you have to look beyond our narrow cultural ideas about “submit” and “head”.

  26. Oh my – talk about starting on the wrong foot! The first sentence in the previous post should read “Of course the comp position DOESN’T encourage abuse”

  27. Also, I find it interesting that gender hierarchalists totally ignore the full picture that Paul is painting in Ephesians of a head and body metaphor, instead opting to pull out one sentence and build another picture of their own.

    The head and body metaphor is not about a boss and follower, but about one whole unit that is mutually supporting.

  28. As I have listened to and reflected upon the debate between comps and egals over the headship-of-husband-over-wife-issue, it seems often the conclusion is that if both parties want it, and no one is being ‘hurt’ then it is ok. I disagree. If we first determine that the bible teaches that husbands, as ‘heads’, are NOT to usurp or have authority over wives (realizing some may not even come to this determination), then I don’t see how it can really be a benignly acceptable matter if some DO chose to have a husband-as-authority head position in a marriage. If God does NOT authorize it, and if He goes further to say we can only have one Lord and Master, then are we not seriously usurping and impinging upon His authority-let alone disobeying- if we designate some as heads over others in this manner?

    If so, that is no light matter. It is not even ok if both parties involved agree to it. Just because two people agree to something doesn’t make it right. It would be like two (or more) people deciding that it is ok to make any given human the authority/head/lord/master of their human life-24/7 (as is the case with husbands and wives), not just for work, or club membership or whatever. If God commands us to have no other except Himself as Lord and Master, then it is a very serious thing if we allot that position to some human or other being. It was certainly a serious thing when the Israelites designated a constructed calf as their god while Moses was up on the mountain meeting with God.

    Additionally, if it is determined to be not only NOT something God has explicity commanded, but also something He commands against, then it is not possible for it to NOT be harmful on some level. In the church my spouse attends (I do not) the teaching is explicit that the wife is to submit her will, talents, abilities and desires to her husband. To me, that is a seriously flawed teaching. We do at times submit ourselves temporarily to employers, to the rules of a given organization, etc., but to submit one’s entire being for one’s entire earthly life to another is horrific. Only our Lord has the right to that place in our lives.

  29. TL-yes, that whole body image seems to frequently get lost in the discussion yet it is clearly a/the logical and valid meaning if one looks into what the word kephale or head meant in those times.

  30. gengwall-that is a very good ‘nutshell’ summary of the Ephesians 5 ‘head’ matter. I am always astonished at how ‘effortlessly’ the word ‘headship’ is pulled out of this text by some when it simply isn’t there. It’s kind of like pulling rabbits out of a hat so perhaps we could label some of these bewildering exegetical sleights of hand as ‘magician exegesis’?

  31. Let me see if I can help with that truthseeker. If a husband and wife decide between the two of them that the husband is to make the final “call” on major decisions, not because he is the head, but because he is the better equipped of the two in that unique marriage to make such decisions, there is no harm in that. It would be no different if the wife, upon mutual consent, were to take that position of responsibility. You must be careful not to assume universal complimentarianism just because a situation looks like it or even if the parties involved invoke that label.

    I give Mark and his wife the benefit of the doubt on this because her “being ok with it” to me means that, at least potentially, she believes he is the better decision maker (with her input to guide him, of course). That may or may not prove true over time (it sure didn;t in our marriage). But she is free to defer to him and they are free to set up decision making however they want.

    Now, in reality, most couples delegate decision making in a way that neither party is the universal decision maker (a practical impossibility) AND neither party can make unilateral decisions (a recipe for disaster). I believe that is what Mark is describing in his marriage. Even though it has a complimentarian “look and feel”, and even though he labels it as such, I would argue that it is in fact egalitarian.

  32. gengwall, yes, I do agree with all you have said in your last post. Like you, I, too, think Mark has a much more egalitarian marriage arrangement than he may realize or want to acknowledge. I was reflecting upon the numerous times I have heard the statement made in general, that if a couple mutually decide that the husband should be the head, then it is ok. When these statements have been made, the writer or speakers have always given as the reason for the husband being designated as head that it is ‘biblical’. Those are the cases I disagree with. It is a bit of an oxymoron anyway to say a couple ‘mutually’ decides that the husband will ‘decide’ isn’t it? I always get a chuckle out of that one. 🙂

  33. I’m having a “rush” flashback – “If you choose not to decide you still have made a choice”.

    I would be oxymoronic if decision making was truly universal, but again, that is a practical impossibility. That is what I think is funny – the notion that a husband is equiped or even capable of making EVERY decision, or the opposite, that the “helper” God has provided him is too stupid or deceived to offer any help. (Well, the second one is not so much funny as it is absurd.)

  34. gengwall, how true! That is one of the key weaknesses or fatal flaws for me regarding the complementarian position: it may sound nice (it doesn’t to me, but to many it comes across as somehow pleasantly chivalrous, etc., I believe) to have the man be the ‘boss/authority’ head and the woman be the ‘responder/number one advisor’ but when it comes to the myriad applications that of necessity follow such a definition, there are too many unresolved conflicts and unanswered questions that result.

    One of the more recent ones that comes to mind in my own experience was my recent question to a complementarian in a fairly restrictive church regarding the age at which boys become men, since this particular church does not allow women as Sunday school teachers in the high school level classes. I was told that 13 years was considered the defining age-based on Jewish tradition during the biblical time of the N.T. I then posed the question that if indeed the males aged 13-17 in this church were now ‘men’, why was it that they still had to remain under the jurisdiction of their parents until age 18? What kind of ‘men’ are they truly-biblical men but not cultural or legal men? Would all the parents of these ‘men’ feel confident that if the legal limits and cultural standards were set aside, that they would feel comfortable allowing all these 13 year old ‘men’ truly function as men (marrying, holding down full-time supportive jobs, beginning families, etc.)? Emotionally, intellectually, mentally, and spiritually, are they now truly men? How do we define the difference between men and boys anyway? Is it different for each individual male or do they all cross over into manhood at precisely the same age? I didn’t receive answers to any of these questions but I think they deserve solid answers from sincere complementarians.

  35. Perhaps i should comment considering you are all talking about me 🙂

    My wife and i have no decided that i make the final call because i am a better decison maker or the like. I make the final call because we both believe that God has made the husband as the ‘head’ of the wife i.e- the primary leader of the family. The way i respect my wife and discuss things with her is remeniscent with what the bible teaches about loving your wife, not being harsh with her etc-and i would be bold enough to say this is true complemetarian teaching. Perhaps your egal marriages are actually comp, but not just high comp which is what you seem to see comp as.

    I dont think men are the bosses of women. Eph 5 doesn’t support that at all- indeed men are the head in my opinion. But what does that headship looklike is the question? Loving your wife in such a way as to help lead her to becoming more like Christ, the same way Christ acts to help His Church. Does this help understand my opinion.
    I have a few problems with egal teaching on Eph 5
    1. kephale has a different meaning than usual
    2. hypotasso has a different meaning than normal
    3. Whenever we have to change the meanings of words to fit our theology, that rings alarm bells for me.
    4. How does ‘as to the Lord’ fit if submission is always mutual.
    5.Although Christ did sacrifice himself for His bride etc, he is still Lord and has authority. Therefore i see the husband as acting like Chrsit and still having authority. Therefore an abuse of that authority is un-Christlike.

    The question i pose is this… although sinful men do abuse their authority would that automaticallly mean that this is not a God ordained principle? If this is what the bible teaches, which is what i hold to, then i am convinced that it is good, because God is good even though some men don’t reflect it.

    Could someone outline clearly an egalitarian marriage. Thanks

  36. Mark,

    I believe the surrender required by mutual submission is so radical in its demands that it causes “wife/obedience to husband/authority” to pale by comparison. The beauty can be seen in Jesus example of washing the disciples feet. Mutual submission pertains to the very nature of Christ and His ministry. It’s the disposition of one’s whole being for another, the exercise of total servanthood in every aspect of shared lives. This is worlds away from mere “obedience to authority.” Among spouses it is possible to submit without love, but it is impossible to love without submitting. (Just ask a radical Muslim’s wife) I believe this is why Paul began Eph. chapter 5 telling them to “walk in love” and “be filled with the Spirit.” Every day soldiers obey their commanders without love or the Holy Spirit, but Christians cannot submit to one another without them.

    “One flesh” is not an organization. “One flesh” does not need one of them to be the leader- that would be dividing – that would still be “Two flesh.” Oneness is never about who’s in charge. Marriage is about godly love. It’s about selfless giving, about mutual understanding and concern. It’s about the whole being greater than the sum of the parts.

    In real life marriage just isn’t always a perfect scenario. Even the most Christian of marriages between God loving spouses can and do encounter circumstances and tragedies beyond their control that render the husband unable to lead anyone. How could this possibly apply to the life of my friend whose Christian husband suffered a head injury in an auto accident that has left him in near vegetative state? She has no loving choice, but the one God has given her – to lead, protect and provide for her husband. My grandmother also walked a very similar road for the last 15 years of my grandfather’s life as his mind and then body were overtaken by Alzheimer’s. My brother-in-law developed bipolar disorder many years ago and so his wife has never had the luxury of depending upon her husband. On the contrary though, she has developed a wonderful dependence upon her Lord and Savior. If a “biblical role” can have even one small exception, then it cannot possibly be a command for every marriage. This is obvious in the lives of Christian friends and family members with disabilities, illness and aging who cannot fulfill that even if they wanted to.

    We all presently live in a world where tragedy and sin are the reality. A husband who has lost his cognitive function cannot exercise “authority” over anyone. They don’t even know what they are doing themselves. A man who cannot recognize his wife (or anyone else), feed himself and rarely opens his eyes is incapable of exercising authority. Logic and facts in reality are not un-Godly.

    If Paul had intended to mean authority, he could have used the word exousiazo as he used in I Cor. 7:4 “The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does; and likewise also the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does.” Instead he used kephale.

    Kephale was used in Greek writings to mean “source, origin, or sustainer” – Paul had just used it that way in the preceding chapter Eph. 4:15-16 saying “grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself.” Paul even explains how this works treating your wife as your own flesh in Eph. 5:29-30 he “nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of His body.”

    I believe making “head” to mean authority also raises difficulties with the doctrine of the lordship of Christ. In what sense can Christ have authority over man and not over woman at the same time? I believe Christ’s lordship extends to all believers, whether married or single – we are all to be lead by the Holy Spirit. Can a woman trade the Holy Spirit for the “Husband Spirit” when she marries? “But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by its cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ.”
    2 Cor. 11:3

    If a woman needs man’s authority over her, then why in I Cor. 7 did Paul write so much explaining “to the unmarried and to widows that it is good for them if they remain even as I” and “the woman who is unmarried, and the virgin, is concerned about the things of the Lord…this I say for your benefit..to promote what is appropriate and secure undistracted devotion to the Lord.”?

    Since Jesus redefined leadership as a form of servanthood, (“You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave – Mt.20:25-27) then I’m at a total loss in understanding how that servanthood then suddenly reverts back to “having authority over” when applied to the marriage relationship.(?)
    “For you were called to freedom, brothers and sisters; only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for self-indulgence, but through love become slaves to one another.” Gal. 5:13 NRSV How does “nourishes and cherishes it” become lead and have authority over?

    I do not understand – why do complementarians want to place authority and obedience in these passages? It goes against Jesus’ teaching about being servants to one another rather than seeking authority over one another. “But it is not this way with you, but the one who is the greatest among you must become like the youngest, and the leader like the servant.” (Luke 22:26)
    “He called the twelve and said to them, “If anyone wants to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all.” (Mark 9:35)

    The two conditions of true greatness are humility and service. Not authority and service.

    “3. Whenever we have to change the meanings of words to fit our theology, that rings alarm bells for me.” ME, too!!

  37. Mark,

    I believe that in an earlier post you mentioned comp as being the model traditionally held by the church. But I submit, that the church has been in error for long periods of time on many issues. Isn’t that one reason for the Reformation?

    Would anyone really want to have Inquisitorial trials back? No, I think about 700 years worth was more than sufficient. What about the Geneva Council with John Calvin burning “heretics” at the stake? How would we like that out on the church lawn after Sunday services this week?

    Don’t forget the Puritans and the Salem witch trials in the 1690’s. The patriarchal beliefs that Puritans held in the community added further fuel to suspicion. Women, they believed, should be totally subservient to men, because by nature, a woman was more likely to enlist in the Devil’s service than was a man, and women were considered lustful by nature. Courts convicted twenty-nine people of the capital felony of witchcraft. Nineteen were hanged. In 1695, Thomas Maule a noted Quaker, publicly criticized the handling of the trials by the Puritan leaders stating, “it were better that one hundred Witches should live, than that one person be put to death for a witch, which is not a Witch”. For publishing this, Maule was imprisoned twelve months. Church error dies hard.

  38. Mark said “3. Whenever we have to change the meanings of words to fit our theology, that rings alarm bells for me.”

    Your beef is with Paul, not me. He is the one who is radically changing the way submission and headship was culturally (even today) perceived.

    “I dont think men are the bosses of women. Eph 5 doesn’t support that at all- indeed men are the head in my opinion.”

    This is just symantical gymnastics. Bosses have and exercise authority. The “head” of a department or company is the boss of the people below him/her. Youbelieve the head of the marriage has authority over his wife. That makes him the boss. Conversely, if you believe that the man is not the boss of his wife, then he has no real authority over her. There is a simple way to solve this. If you give your wife an order, is she required to follow it (assuming it has no sin compnent to it). If so, you have authority over her and are essentially her boss. If not, then you have no authority over her and your headship is, at best, in title only.

    Now, you will, I’m sure (and I hope), claim that you would never “boss” your wife around like that. I would hope you would say that would not be an expression of the Christ like love you are to have for her. I would agree. But then where is your authority as head? If the absense of the exercise of authority is what marks headship, then the head, acting properly, has no real authority. If the excersie of headship authority is antithetical to living out Christ-like headship, then authority itself can not coexist with the concept of “head” as Paul is using it.

    “5.Although Christ did sacrifice himself for His bride etc, he is still Lord and has authority. Therefore i see the husband as acting like Chrsit and still having authority. Therefore an abuse of that authority is un-Christlike.”

    As Cheryl has pointed out, Christ’s exercise of authority in the head/body passages is never directed at the church, but is for the benefit of the church. The object of Christ’s authority is always the powers, rulers, and principalities of the world, never the church. So I would take your premise as false – Christ does not, in the marriage context, have authority over his bride…unless, of course, you take a traditional view of submission. If submit always means “obey”, then yes, you could believe that Christ is the boss of His bride. But Ephesians 5:21 shows us that submit does not always mean obey. And that non-obedience type of submission is the type wives are to show husbands “in like manner” in verse 22. And Ephesians 6:1 and 6:5 show us that Paul certainly knew how to say “obey” if he had wnated to. But he didn’t. Wives are never, ever, called to obey their husbands in NT teaching. If that is the case, then what real authority do the husbands have? And if Christ and the church are a model for husbands and wives, then there is not authority in the Christ-head/Church-body marriage context.

    And that is what egalitarian marriage is – a partnership where neither party has authority over the other. It is the true one-flesh relationship outlined in Genesis 2. In the egalitarian marriage, the “two heads are better than one” axiom holds true. Neither partner has universal or unilateral decision making (or task fulfilling) authority or responsibility. Instead. each acts in proportion to their giftedness to benefit the whole – just like the church body does. That doesn’t at all mean that each person does an equal share of each task and that each decision has to be unanimous. Egalitarian partners defer to their spouse in matters that their spouse is better equiped, gifted, or experienced to handle. But the deference goes both ways.

    I know in your marriage that your wife “makes the call” on some things. She must because it would be impossible for you to decide everything from buying a house to which melon to buy at the grocery store. So I ask you – as head, is she submitting to you “in all things” if she makes some unilateral decisions? In fact, is she submitting to you “in all things”, “as onto the Lord”, if she expresses her opinion? After all, it would be presumptuous for us, the church, to offer an opinion to the Lord on how the universe should be run, right? Isn’t it presumtuous for her to even have an opinion about how the mini universe of your family runs if you are the “lord” of your house and she is to submit to you as the church does onto Christ? If any of this makes you uncomfortable (I sure hope that it would), then you must think to yourself: “maybe I am not understanding Paul precisely when he is talking about Christ and the Church”. After, all, even Paul says it’s a mystery in Ephesians 5:32 (and other places). Maybe, just maybe, Paul is defying convention (imagine that) and teaching us that submission and headship look and feel completely different in a Christ centered marriage than they do out in the unChrist-like world.

  39. ” Isn’t it presumtuous for her to even have an opinion about how the mini universe of your family runs if you are the “lord” of your house and she is to submit to you as the church does onto Christ? If any of this makes you uncomfortable (I sure hope that it would), then you must think to yourself: “maybe I am not understanding Paul precisely when he is talking about Christ and the Church”.

    gengwall,
    You have a way with words – Excellent observation.

  40. Cheryl – we really need a post doing a complete scriptural analysis of kephale. Maybe you have done one already. If not, I have one at my finger tips. I can add as a comment but it is rather long. Your call.

    Bottom line – scripture never says or even implies that Christ as “head” has authority over the “body”. In fact, scripture directly says the opposite, that the body SHARES in and benefits from Christ’s headship authority over every “rule and authority and power and dominion and name” (Ephesians 1:21-2:6). Moreover, scripture never says or even implies that the husband has authority over his wife. Any belief in a hierarchical authority relationship based on the head/body metaphors in Paul’s epistles has to be read into the Word and is based on presumptive, culturally based definitions of “head” and “submit”.

  41. “1. kephale has a different meaning than usual
    2. hypotasso has a different meaning than normal
    3. Whenever we have to change the meanings of words to fit our theology, that rings alarm bells for me.”

    That would ring bells with me too. And it has when I’ve seen it happen.

    For an indepth look at how kephale was used when Paul wrote the epistles see :
    http://powerscourt.blogspot.com/2008/01/index-cbmw-grudem-kephale.html

    There is a huge amount of research that proves that kephale was not used to mean ‘authority over’ in metaphors. Here is one small quote….

    “The foremost example which Grudem uses to prove that kephale means “authority over” is,

    “the king of Egypt is called “head” of the nation”

    Grudem used this quote on Jan. 19, 2008, on the Gender Blog. However, in Appendix 1A of Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, he wrote,

    19) Philo, Moses 2.30: As the head is the ruling place in the living body, so Ptolemy [Ptolemy Philadelphos] became among kings.
    Cervin does not think that head means ruler here because Philo says that Philadelphos is the head of kings, not in the sense of ruling them, but as the preeminent king among the rest. Philadelphos is the top of the kings just as the head is the top of an animal’s body. . . . This example is therefore to be rejected (p. 100).”

    Grudem continues in RBMW Appendix 1B to discuss this example. However, he fails to show that it means “authority over.” This is Grudem’s best piece of evidence and proves the opposite of his thesis, which is that kephale means authority. It obviously doesn’t. The rest of Grudem’s examples are similar. However, what is the point of quoting them if Grudem just recycles rejected evidence?”

    Again, the continuing problem is that the metaphor as a whole is ignored. It is a ‘head of’ and ‘body of’ metaphor. “Body of” has never been used to denote “follower of”. The word OF makes a difference also. OF is different than OVER. OVER is NOT used.

    I suggest that we look at the other uses of metaphors of ‘body of’ and ‘head of’.

  42. “2. hypotasso has a different meaning than normal”

    Regarding hupotasso, Grudem and company have done a swell job of making it function as obedience, which it is not. Hupakouo is the word meaning obedience, which is NOT used regarding wives relationships to husbands. In addition, throughout Pauls writings, he used hupotasso in a passive form: hupotassomai, which almost radically changes the application.

    When all Christians are admonished to hupotassomai each other, both the verb form and the context force the meaning into one of personal autonomous choice. We will each decide when, where and how we are to arrange ourselves under each other. Yet we must choose to do so in our relationships. Whether or not someone is foolish enough to command others to obey or yield to them has nothing to do with it. The choice of response is still up to the other person. And they will suffer the consequences of their choices which is only reasonable. Therein is the true meaning of Biblical submission. We are all to be submissive types of people, yielding to others, supporting others, helping others, doing what is beneficial to others. But this is to be a conscious deliberate decision, not just going along with what others may want from us. We are godly people carrying the power of God in our vessels. We are to behave humbly and meekly with this awesome power, and use it as appropriate.

    The way some people categorize Christians, one would think that only men are to grow into the fullness of maturity as the Man Christ Jesus and do the works that He did via the Holy Spirit.

  43. Mark #35,

    I am behind at least a day in my responses so I will be working backwards through the comments.

    You said:

    My wife and i have no decided that i make the final call because i am a better decison maker or the like. I make the final call because we both believe that God has made the husband as the ‘head’ of the wife i.e- the primary leader of the family.

    If you are the better decision maker then it is a loving thing to help your wife get to the same place you are at. This doesn’t happen by making all the final decisions. We are all called to be mature, discerning and able to make godly decisions. I will give you the Biblical reference for this first and then give you my own experience.

    In 1 Corinthians 6 Paul tells us that we need to be mature so that we can judge matters in this life. Paul says that the matters of this life are necessary for us to judge because in the next life we will be judging the world and the angels. Paul is not too happy at all that instead of bringing the issues of judging to the body of Christ (who should be growing in their maturity to judge) , the people are going to judges outside the church. Paul says that this is a shame to them since our position in the body of Christ will be to rule and reign with Christ and our position will be that of judges for far weightier matters in the next life.

    In this importance in learning how to judge matters, Paul shows that we have the authority to make decisions for ourselves and he gives even women this decision making power in 1 Corinthians 11.

    1 Corinthians 11:10 (ISV) This is why a woman should have authority over her own head: because of the angels.

    The woman is to have the right and power to make a decision on what she does or doesn’t wear on her head. Why? Because of the angels. Paul has already told us that we are all going to be judging the angels. If we will have this great responsibility in the next life, surely we are also to have the responsibility in this life to make the judgment call on what we do or don’t wear on our head. We are called to be mature and learn how to make decisions.

    This passage has been bungled by so many translators because the original Greek conflicts with their preconceived notion that a woman is to be under her husband’s authority instead of having equal authority over her own decisions. So instead of translating the verse in the way that it was inspired, they added words to make it seem like Paul is saying that a woman must wear something to show that she is under her husband’s authority. But this is not what Paul said and not what the Holy Spirit inspired. She is to have her own authority regarding her own decisions because she too will be judging angels in the next life.

    The Greek term that Paul uses here for the word “authority” is a term that always means that the person themselves has the power and right to make a decision or do an action. It never means that the person is under someone else’s authority. Look it up for yourself and you will see that what I am saying is true.

    So here is the deal. We are all to grow up and be mature. We are all to learn how to make wise decisions because we are all going to be in the position of judges in the future. We will rule and reign with Christ. The problem is that men think that being head means that they are the ones responsible for making all of the final decisions for the woman. This is not true and it is not Biblical. All of us are responsible and all of us are to grow up and be mature.

    If you look at the Proverbs 31 woman you find her making all kinds of decisions for her household. Her husband is not making her decisions for her and her decision-making ability is so good that her husband trusts in her. Read it for yourself and you will see that what I am saying is true. Today our Proverbs 31 women are wonderful decision-making women who understand that they are called to be mature for they too will be judging the angels in the next life.

    So what happens when a woman is not so good at making decisions? Is she helped when her husband makes all the final decisions? No. This keeps her dependent and does not help her to press on to maturity in this area. A husband who is a godly man and who is a godly example should be working to sacrifice for his wife in order to bring her up to his level. This is the true meaning of a godly “head”. It doesn’t mean that he makes all the final decisions. It means that he gives up of himself to lift her up – to grow her into maturity as a godly woman. Some women are there already but others need the help of their husbands to open the door for them to grow, to mature and to serve.

    I am one who needed the door opened to me. In our marriage, we had the true comp view where the husband makes all the final decisions. I was only 15 when I met him and he was much more mature than I was even though he wasn’t even two years older. A few years later at the start of our marriage, he made all the final decisions. We did make some together but in essence every single decision was his decision. If we agreed then it was his way because we agreed on it. If we didn’t agree, then it was his way because we disagreed. Either way he made all the decisions.

    If I went to the store and saw an electric frying pan was on sale and I felt that I needed it because my old one wasn’t working all that well and I bought it (this is a true story), I was subject to his decision making power when I got home. His decision was that I didn’t need it and the old one was good enough. As if I was a little child unable to make a proper decision, I had to take it back. He did this because he felt his decisions were wiser than mine and he was acting on my behalf because he made better decisions. What this did was keep me in a dependent and in a child-like state. I never grew. One grows the fastest when one is allowed to make mistakes because a mistake is a great teacher.

    Because I have always been by nature a shy person who would rather be a peace-maker than fight, I allowed myself to be taken over. He made all the decisions and I was taken care of. The comp teaching that a woman was created to need a leader was what we believed. However it not only didn’t allow me to grow, but I came to the place where I didn’t even know who I was as a person. I did whatever he wanted me to do and I became an appendage of his personality. That was not healthy for me.

    Nothing changed until we had a crisis where I drew the line in the sand. There were friends that I made that he didn’t want me to have. Through different circumstances God caused my husband to finally let go and stop being my protector. I needed to grow up and be mature so that I could take my place in the body of Christ as a fully mature member of the body. As my husband let go of the decision making power over me, he did the very best thing for me. He gave up the control so that he could allow me to make my own mistakes. He knew having these people as my friends was a big mistake, but God told him to allow me to have these friends.

    That started me on a journey that was painful and hurt me a great deal because they were not the kind of people I thought they were. They used me to help them in their own ministry and then when the issue of women teaching the bible to men became an issue between us, they treated me as if I wasn’t worth the effort to even wipe their shoes off on me. I was a non-person and I was left very hurt. That may sound very bad and that I should have had my husband protecting me, but it was the very best thing for me. Because of this I grew up.

    Instead of remaining in a protected environment where my husband made all my decisions, my safety net was removed and I was forced to make my own decisions and that has been the very best thing for me. It was painful for my husband to watch, but now he admits that the growth that he has seen in me has been amazing.

    Because of my foray into a relationship with a couple who left me because of the issue of whether or not God forbids women to teach the Bible to men, my passion for understanding the hard passages of Scripture on this issue brought about the DVD set “Women in Ministry Silenced or Set Free?” Without the push from that painful relationship where I was eventually shunned, my intense learning on this subject and the DVD set that has helped so many people would never have happened. This was a God thing for sure and I am certain that the pastors and others who have been helped by the teaching that God gave me in this DVD would praise God with me for those friends. Without them the DVD would never have been in existence and neither would this blog have come into existence. Praise the Lord that all things work together (even what seems to be bad) for good to them that love God and are called according to His purpose!

    So for almost 30 years I was kept in a subordinate position because my husband felt he had to protect me as he was my “head”. But now we are full partners and as my “head” he supports me, nourishes me in giving me opportunities for service even though he would like to keep me for himself and not share me with the world. He is the most awesome, wonderful man I have ever met and the sacrifice that he has made to allow me the opportunity to grow and mature and to open doors for me where doors had been closed, makes him the absolute best example of a “head” that I have ever seen.

    The “head” is to support and nourish and bring out the best in his “body”. His sacrifice to allow me to grow by giving up control over my “mistakes” has been an absolute blessing from God. It has been less than 10 years now. But I have grown more in the last 10 years than I did in the almost 30 years of marriage before that. By sacrificing of himself and his belief that his decisions for me were the best, he has seen me mature to the place where he has many people tell him how amazing I am and how gifted I am in the Scriptures. I am not trying to lift myself up here. I am trying to show how my husband has benefited me and because of this he has received back great praise and joy in me, his wife, from his decision to stop being the ultimate and final decision maker.

    Now we make all decisions together. In the areas where he is gifted and knowledgeable, he has full support from me to to operate in his gifting and to make all the wise decisions. In the areas where I am gifted and knowledgeable, he trusts me with those decisions. And when we come to a place where we disagree, we do not go forward by overriding either one of our wills. We use that as an opportunity for patience and prayer. And if a decision must be made quickly, I either submit to him or he sacrifices for me. It is all working out for the glory of God because God is the who is our true leader and we trust Him to work in our marriage for the ultimate good of both of us.

    So, Mark, I would like to encourage you as your wife’s “head” to prepare her to be a judge of angels and a judge of the world in the next life. How will you do this? It won’t be by keeping her under your authority. If you really do believe that you have authority, then realize that it is God’s will for you to use your authority to bring her up to your level. If you feel that you are going to present her to God at the judgment, then present her as a fully functional decision-maker that you have helped her to grow into so that she can take her place as one who will also rule and reign with Christ. As her “head” you cannot do any better for her than to open the doors for her and sacrifice for her until she is just as good as you are in her decision-making power.

    Years ago I couldn’t even look people in the eye. I was painfully shy and even though I led the bible teaching and support for a whole group of former Jehovah’s Witnesses into faith in Christ for a period of 16 years, I still was unsure of myself, painfully shy and did my ministry work with fear and trembling. Today I am confident and able to take on the challenges from those who want to hold women back in ministry and although I am still the same gracious person I always was, I am stronger than I even imagined I could be and I won’t back down from those who want to take scripture out of context. I am on the executive board of two corporations, both set up to bring the gospel to the hurting. My husband is absolutely amazed at my growth, but I say that he is responsible for it. He provided the way for me to change and grow that came as a result of his sacrifice and support. He gave me the foundation to build on and his willingness to change from the tradition that we had been raised in has done nothing but good for me. He no longer controls me and “leads” me by making my decisions. He has become this amazing sacrifice, giving up his own dreams for the future to stand beside me in ministry. He praises me for my gifts and as my “head” he lifts me up to give everything to me for my benefit that I need in order to minister to others without obstacles in my way.

    I still submit to him as I always have because I love him with a passion as I have never loved anyone else this way before. I am also listening to him when he speaks about his concern for the long hours that I work and I am trying to cut back so that we have more of a life together that is outside the intense work. I can honor him that way and he deserves my best too!

    This is my testimony and it is my husband’s testimony as well. Neither one of us would ever go back to the “husband as decision maker of the family” again. And my husband knows that he has accomplished his job as “head” in his sacrifice and support because if he ever were called by God to present me to God, he can do so as one who supported, encouraged and strengthened my ability to serve God and he has serve both myself and God in order to take my place as one who has also been called to rule and reign with Christ.

  44. Thank you for that awesome testimony Cheryl. 🙂

    Someday perhaps I will share a little of mine as well. Right now I want to just think about what you have said and the great importance of not hindering women from becoming full mature members of the body of Christ. I sometimes weep in my quiet times with God at the loss to the body of Christ because of women who have been kept down, kept child like, kept immature and quiet.

  45. As I mentioned above, hupakouo is used twice by Paul in the very next chapter of Ephesians. Certainly if he meant “obey” for wives, he would have said hupakouo. The fact that he didn’t, and even more significantly that hupotasso is passive while hupakouo is an active imperative, is a clear indication Paul had two very different ideas in mind. That applies to authority as well. Certainly Paul would teach that parents have authority over children because of the imperative for children to obey their parents, and in like manner masters have authority over their slaves[1]. The stark contrast in Ephesians 5 regarding the husband/wife relationship should at the very least cause someone pause if they think such an authority structure exists there as well. Not only does Paul not outline a marital authority structure in Ephesians 5, he directly rejects one by the very specific depiction of such structure in Ephesians 6. To assume authority over your wife you must not only believe that Ephesians 5:22, 6:1, and 6:5 are synonymous, a belief that is simply unsupportable, but you must also believe that a wife has no higher a station in relation to her husband than do children to their parents and slaves to their masters (which is exactly the position strict complimentarians take).

    [1] Paul repeats this in Colossians 3:20,22, even including “in all things”. Clearly, the obedience in all things of children to their parents or slaves to their masters differs from the submission in all things asked of wives toward their husbands. The difference is clear. Our task is to mine out what that difference means, not try to make two obviously different things mean the same thing.

  46. Ha. My blathering seems so anti-climactic following your testimony Cheryl. So, I will just say that anything I’ve said can be ignored if one so chooses – my comment at this point is “what Cheryl said!”

  47. TL-I got to the place, in attending my husband’s strict comp church that I could not get very far into a service without weeping (silently of course), at the destruction to women and the loss to all of the church’s teaching, and so I would leave so as not to cause a distraction of any kind. Finally, my husband graciously said that I ought to feel free to go elsewhere. I already knew I had that freedom but I was glad he came to a place of accepting that it wasn’t good for me to be there. Now I pray that his understanding will not remain darkened.

  48. gengwall-don’t discount your contributions! I have been taking notes. What you have said is critically important, also.

  49. Hey guys,

    All of your comments and discussions here are thought-provoking and great! I had intended to get to more of the comments, but I spent myself by posting that testimony. Thanks for your good comments on my own journey!

    I will pop in and out as I can. I am really trying hard to be more balanced so that means I have to juggle a few more balls and go to bed at a decent hour. I actually took time off yesterday to bake some chocolate chip muffins. Yummy and nutritious too with zucchini and some applesauce instead of too much fat.

    So keep going without me and I will comment again as I am able while I put on another hat which is also pleasing to my husband. See you in a bit!

    Lots of love,
    Cheryl

  50. I will say that there is one major decision in our family where there is a universal and unilateral exercise of authority by one party. That is the decision to procure cats, and my wife, through some mysterious and unrevealed loophole in the marriage covenant, has been granted full authority and lordship over that important area of our lives. I can not explain why, but I have no power in this area – my vociferous and voluminous veto pleas over the years have simply fallen on deaf ears. I suppose it could be God’s way of giving me a glimpse into the lives of strict comp wives, lest I be tempted to stray from he egalitarian way. Still, it seems unfair. One would think there would be a balancing decision where I could be lord. Then again, every time I have acted unilaterally we seem to lose large sums of money – so maybe I should just be happy it is only cats…

    And a little Bill Cosby to lighten the day:

    “I’m not the boss in my family. I don’t know how I lost it…I don’t know when I lost it. But I’ve seen the boss’s job……..and I don’t want it!”

  51. Cheryl,

    Hats off to you for trying to be a more balanced juggler – I’ve always thought ministry and early bed times were somehow diametrically opposed (wink) or maybe putting the two in the same sentence was an oxymoron or the like. LOL

    Thanks for sharing your testimony. I hope that Mark is still following the blog.

  52. gengwall-thanks for the Cosby chuckle! I am sort of collecting egal humor, and another I read recently is from John Wayne, when asked if he believed in equality for women. His response: “Heck yes! Women have been superior for far too long!”

  53. #45 Gengwall,

    [1] Paul repeats this in Colossians 3:20,22, even including “in all things”. Clearly, the obedience in all things of children to their parents or slaves to their masters differs from the submission in all things asked of wives toward their husbands. The difference is clear. Our task is to mine out what that difference means, not try to make two obviously different things mean the same thing.

    Excellent! You are showing us all that mining out the meaning of Paul’s words is hard work and the “easy” way out is to disregard the fact that Paul uses different words and said in a different way.

    The fact is that we are all to grow up and be mature.

    1 Cor 14:20 Brethren, do not be children in your thinking; yet in evil be infants, but in your thinking be mature.

    Eph 4:12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ;
    Eph 4:13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.
    Eph 4:14 As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming;
    Eph 4:15 but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ,

    The way that the complementarian position is preached from popular comp preachers would mean that women of all those in the body of Christ are the only ones who are not required to “grow up” since they just sit back and let the man make all the decisions. Children grow up and make their own decisions as do women who are not married. But married women are to walk in a position of obedience to anything that is not sin and thus give up their ability to be wise in decision making ability? Is this really what the Scriptures say? It can’t be since all of us, and that includes married women are to grow up in maturity and in making mature decisions.

  54. #24 Mark,

    Cheryl i cant help but feel that you base the comp position on yours and others experience, rather than the bible.

    That’s because I don’t see the position in the Bible. The only thing I see is how the comp position works itself out in the lives of its followers. Since I was a comp for most of my marriage and since I have had many women write me over the last 3 years telling me their own experience and I have seen how the teaching has gone beyond the Scripture with the popular complementarian teachers, I have felt great saddness for the hurt that the body of Christ feels over this adding of the comp doctrine to the Scripture.

    You refered to seeing “what male rulership looks like even if the intent is benevolent. “- Is this not an argument based on sinful man not scripture. I am truly sorry for the abuse people have faced by mis-use of authority.

    This is why Jesus never gives men authority over their wives. We are all sinful and an absolute authority over another member of the body of Christ feeds our sin nature that loves to feel like we are special and have something and someone that we can control. Jesus never gave this kind of control to husbands nor did he take this kind of control over this own sheep when he was here on the earth. Instead he revealed what a godly husband looked like through his loving care and sacrificial attitude. When Jesus was asked to take over the decision-making place because of a dispute between two brothers and their inheritance, Jesus said:

    Luk 12:14 But He said to him, “Man, who appointed Me a judge or arbitrator over you?”

    Jesus doesn’t make all of our decisions for us and He doesn’t appoint the husband to make all of the decisions for the wife either. We are required to grow up and learn how to be mature Christians who make mature decisions. God will give us wisdom when we ask for it, but He doesn’t treat us as children by making all of our decisions for us so that we don’t have to work at it at all.

    I do not see myself as a weak comp, but rather am actually interested in understanding you position and engaging in dialogue rather than just ignoring you.

    Ah, a Christian after my own heart! I really appreciate you saying this. This touches at the core of what I believe. We need to work hard to understand each other. We cannot dismiss an argument because of our own preconceived ideas. Once we know what the other person believes, we are able to take that belief and test it by the only straight edge that we have – and that is the Word of God.

    If that makes me seem weak, so be it, but i am simply trying to do what you ask of comps-talk to you.

    No I don’t see you as “weak” in your belief at all. And I highly respect you for sticking around long enough to listen and give your response. I also do not believe that what you have to say has no value. Each one of us can teach the other and I do not believe that any of us can say that we have no need for the other. You are am important part of the body of Christ and the wisdom that God has given you is of great value.

    You said that the christ/church, husband/wife analogy has no authority and is simply tradition. Cheryl how wrong you are! What about Ephesians 23 ff. What is Pauls repsponse in verse 32 – it is PRIMARILY a reflection of Christ and the Church.

    Jesus Christ is both God and man. The husband is to reflect the humanity of Christ and His place as “head” but the husband is never given the place as “Lord” or “God” over the wife. I would hope that we can agree on this. Jesus’ place as our kinsman Redeemer is also his place as the husband of the Church. What we can see from his position as husband “head” is that he lifted us up to be with him.

    Eph 2:6 and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,

    Then Jesus put all things under our feet! The Scriptures never say that He places the Bride under His feet or that He takes His authority over her. Yes, as God He has great authority over each one of us, but as the human Redeemer, the human Husband of the Bride, He lovingly cares for us and lifts us up. This is what I have been talking about – the husband lifting his bride up – not the husband taking authority over her. As the Bride of Christ we will reign with him. Ruling and reigning means that we need to be mature decision-makers.

    And any exegesis which tries to talk about ‘head’ not having any authority is absurd. And im sure you will appeal to not having a ‘plain’ reading of this passage.

    I didn’t say that Jesus as God doesn’t have authority. What I am saying is that as husband He doesn’t take authority over His wife. Instead He lifts her up to sit beside Him. Perhaps you can explain the way you see Ephesians 2:6? Also do you see Jesus as placing the church under His feet showing His rule over her as Husband?

    One last point. The comp position in NO way encourages abuse or anything of the like. If people think it does, it is purely an indication that they dont understand the comp position very well.

    No, I do not think that any of the comp leaders conscientiously encourage abuse. However their application of what they feel is the comp position in the Scriptures gives the husband the power to live out his kingly-rule over his wife in the way that he feels is best for her. Since we are all sinners, the advice for men to rule their wives and take authority over them and make their decisions for them as the ultimate decision-maker of the family has done far more harm than any of them ever imagined.

    I am very glad that you are the kind of person that is willing to dialog. That shows your openness not only to examine yourself and your own motives but a willingness to offer correction in a loving and honest way to a sister in Christ. I couldn’t ask more from you than this right now. It is very much appreciated!

  55. #25 gengwall,

    You said:

    Never once does Christ, in the husband/wife relationship with his church, ever take authority. He does only three things ever, serve, sacrifice, and intercede. Those are the characteristics of the “head” as Paul speaks of it.

    This is one of the best descriptions of husbandly “head” that I have ever seen!

    There can be no masters if all act as servants.

    Exactly. The question then should be whether Jesus told any of his followers to act as masters toward others. I don’t see it. Men are not to be masters, they are to be servants. Women are not to be masters, they are to be servants. If we all took this to heart, likely we would never hear of the “husband as boss” argument again.

    The next question should be whether acting as a servant to your wife is considered a sin. It appears to be a “sin” to many popular comp teachers who teach that the man must take authority over his wife or risk being less of a man.

    Thoughts?

  56. Cheryl/geng…great insights and observations! I am fly-on-the-wall-ing here. Cheryl, I had to laugh at the thought of whether it is a sin for a husband to serve his wife. My observation: my comp husband (no bossin’ in this household because as he ruefully chuckled, ” I can’t be your authority if you don’t let me”, and I don’t-trust me! So we have an egal household with a divided egal/comp theology. Nonetheless, back to the ‘is it sin for a husband to serve his wife’ and will it make him less of a man? No hair has fallen off my husband’s chest since he began serving me. 🙂 And none has grown on mine as I ‘lead’ in individual circumstances. Neither of us rules the roost and we both have the correspondingly appropriate hair or lack of hair in the ‘manly’ places. 🙂 (Note: we both serve and defer/submit depending on the individual circumstance. I have no more desire to be his boss than I have to be his sub-adult helper.)

  57. truthseeker,
    Your comments made me chuckle 🙂

    I see many men being pushed into the “leadership” role (think rulership, boss, authority over) and if they are not natured that way or do not want to take authority over their wives, they are called names for their “weak” position. I think this is very detrimental to men to those who are naturally submissive and pushing some men to “lead” (again read here rulership, boss, authority over) where these ones have a problem with an overbearing nature doesn’t help them either. And not even considering what it does to their women.

  58. I agree Cheryl. And I would go a step further. I would argue that for many, many men, regardless of their inherent nature, the “ruler” role just doesn’t feel right. That is why I believe so many couples who are under comp theology never-the-less live fairly egal lives. I believe this is the working of the Spirit in both men’s and women’s lives and the revealing of the TRUTH of scripture. More and more, people understand that “he will rule over you” is not a command for men but a description of a moral failure of our flesh. Then, when we run into a scripture like Ephesians 5 that may appear to say, or we are told says, “you have authority over your wife”, we recoil from that because it appears very much to reflect Genesis 3 and we know that is wrong. Some couples don’t go any further than that. They simply ignore the wonderful teaching of Ephesians 5 for marriages thinking “that was just for another time”. That is not all bad, since rulership is not exercised. But others think “there must be something more to this.” They start to dig because they know what they are hearing from humans regarding the passage can’t be right. That is when the Spirit really opens their eyes and they see that, behold, Ephesians 5 is actually a blatant refutation of the Genesis 3 paradigm. Ephesians 5 actually shows couples the way to return to a Genesis 2 kind of marriage.

    At least, that is how it was for me. I have come to the point where I push back even against concepts like the husband is “spiritual leader” because of its implied hierarchy and authority. Equal is equal, and any terminology no matter how warm and fuzzy that tips the scales is Genesis 3 kind of talk. My wife and I are co-leaders of our family. The only type of “leading” that occurs between her and me is the “iron sharpens iron” kind. Our goal is to have a Proverbs 31 kind of marriage: where I have “full confidence” in my wife and “lack nothing” in our relationship; and she is “clothed with strength and dignity” and she “speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue”, so that “her works bring her praise at the city gate”.

  59. Excellent gengwall. I especially like the “iron sharpens iron”. This is where we get to share our gifts with each other. If only one is the spiritual leader, the sole messenger from God, then there is no such thing as a husband and wife living out the “iron sharpens iron” exchange of thoughts and gifts. That would be sad.

    Also think how bad a husband can feel when his wife is better at the Scriptures than he is. With the thought that he must be more knowledgeable and a better handler of the Bible than she is as the comps teach that only the husband is the Spiritual leader over his wife, I would think that it would be a blow to the husband to have her excel at all above him. And I would also think that it would cause a wife to want to tone down her knowledge in the Scriptures in order to make her husband look more spiritual. This isn’t the message of the Bible where we are individually called to a relationship with God and individually to excel in our Bible knowledge and our ability to “rightly divide the Word of truth”.

  60. gengwall,

    I really appreciate the way you stated things in your last paragraph.
    Co-leaders reminds me of the fact that husbands and wives are “joint heirs” together. And I think you are correct – joint heirs do not need another “spiritual leader” besides the Holy Spirit.

    My husband and I relocated earlier this year and had to do the find-a-new-church thing. On Mother’s Day we unknowingly visited a very comp/patri church. The pastor’s Mother’s Day sermon made mothers sound like wombs for father’s children and he elaborated mostly on the importance of father’s “spiritual leadership.” I wondered if he had ever read Proverbs 31.

    My husband and I have had an egal marriage for 28 1/2 of the 30 years we celebrate. I say that because during the 1990’s we were homeschooling and attended a church that was comp/hierarchial for a time because it was homeschool friendly, shall we say. Because neither of us came from a strong Christian background, we were influenced and “bought” into much of the teaching. After a bit more than a year of trying to figure out how to apply what we were being to taught at church without continuing to ruin our relationship, we had to get out. Not long after that I “happened” onto Gilbert Bilezikian’s book and then a few others. It was so wonderful to find out that our happy, loving, egal marriage wasn’t a sin.

  61. “I would think that it would be a blow to the husband to have her excel at all above him. And I would also think that it would cause a wife to want to tone down her knowledge in the Scriptures in order to make her husband look more spiritual.”

    Cheryl,

    This is so true and one of the things we witnessed in the comp church that I just mentioned in my last post. Many of the couples were young and new Christians. The wives were at home, of course, with more time to study the Bible, while the husbands were out working as “the provider”, of course.

  62. I don’t think we should coddle that kind of an expectation. IMO its roots are pride. Whether male or female we should applaud excellence and rejoice in and proud of our brethren in their skills and wisdom. Furthermore our brethren need our input, our skills, our wisdom. To pretend we cannot or don’t know, or don’t understand, so that someone else doesn’t feel slighted may be OK on occasion when someone is down and we are trying to lift them up. But it should not be a way to operate in general.

  63. Sorry i haven’t been able to talk over the last week or so-very busy!

    I’ll try to post something in response to Cheryl’s and others comments soon.

  64. Mark, I am so glad that you didn’t just disappear for good! I am very happy to have you back and you are welcome here anytime you want to pop in. I for one have a lot of love for any brother in Christ who is a respectful Jesus-loving, God-honoring complementarian. There is always room for dialog here.

  65. Mark writes: “…indeed men are the head in my opinion. But what does that headship look like is the question? Loving your wife in such a way as to help lead her to becoming more like Christ, the same way Christ acts to help His Church…”

    Does a wife lead a husband in anyway to help him become more like Christ?

    If yes, how does it differ from how a husband would lead so as to help his wife become more like Christ?

    If no, a wife never leads a husband in anyway to help him become more like Christ, how then does a husband uniquely lead a wife to become more like Christ?

  66. sm – The answer by a complimentarian to your first question would be “no”. I think complimentarians would argue that men lead other men to become more like Christ, and men lead women. They would further argue that men have been “designed” to lead and therefore are the natural and God directed leaders of the human race. So, a man uniquely leads a wife by following his God given leadership design (of course, using Christ’s leading and example as a guide and the “iron sharpening iron” from other men as a check and balance).

    The problem with all of this reasoning is that it is completely made up; there is no scriptural basis for it.

  67. gengwall writes: “So, a man uniquely leads a wife by following his God given leadership design…”

    Practically, though, what does “following his God given leadership design to make his wife more Christ-like” look like that distingishes it as uniquely and exclusively masculine? What does he do specifically with the intention to make his wife more Christ-like (besides the obvious and stock answer “prayer”)? What does his God given leadership design compel him to do? How does a husband’s God given leadership design equip him to uniquely make his wife Christ-like and in a way that is exclusive to males/husbands?

    Thanks for helping me understand.

  68. There are lots of problems with the view that only men lead. First of all we need to realize that none of us can “make” another be more Christ-like. Only Jesus can do that working with the person’s will.

    One of the main problems is a husband’s inability to lead. Perhaps it is by his natural tendency to shy back from leadership or his inability to care as much about spiritual things as his wife. But if only a man is to lead in spiritual things, then is it a sin for a wife to take the initiative? I was misled for many years by thinking that it was wrong for me to lead. If I just stepped back, then he would lead because there was a vacuum, right? But it didn’t work. If I didn’t lead way back then, it didn’t happen. And when I permanently stopped leading it was a detriment to my family. I feel bad about that.

    So the patriarchal way that only a man can lead spiritually, often leads a family into a wilderness of dryness. It silences the woman’s voice in spiritual matters that would be considered “leading” and either causes her to become a nag (that he resents) or she remains in silence when she could do something in a way that honors him as her husband and enables him to benefit from her gifts. The whole issue of male only leadership in the home is wrong. It sets men up to be failures by giving them a sole duty that is not theirs alone to bear. Women are to bring the strength of leadership as a godly ezer (helper with strength) and if we tie their hands behind their back, how can women be anything but a child-like one who waits to be led?

  69. sm, I have asked the same question you have, in #70, of comps many times, and have never received a specific definitive answer. What is a husband called to do that is uniquely his to do that a wife is never to do? Extremely valid question in light of the comp claims. I am not a comp.

  70. True, no one can “make” someone more Christ-like. Mark’s words were “help lead her (wife) to becoming more like Christ.” I am very uncomfortable with a doctrine that teaches husbands must “make” their wives more Christ-like. I am also uncomfortable with the idea that husbands must “help lead their wives to be more like Christ” if it is in a manner that is supposed to be uniquely and exclusively the domain of males, even it it is done with love. Both husband and wife can and should model meekness, sacrifice, gentleness, kindness, forebearance, love, joy, discipline, self-control, etc. and thereby influence (lead) their spouse to good works.
    I am curious as to how Mark or a heirarchicalist would describe how a husband as “head over his wife” properly and practically “lov[es][his] wife in such a way as to help lead her to becoming more like Christ” and to explain how this looks uniquely and exclusive masculine. It must be more than modeling Christ-likeness, and if so, what does it look like?

  71. sm – I too have asked that question and similar ones many times. “What does that look like in real, practical, day to day terms”? I get nothing but silence or, at best, vague, fluff answers like you mention. The reality is that this “universal, unilateral male leadership” view is completely impractical and impossible to implement in the real lives of real human beings – that is, not without the marriage suffering all kinds of hurt and neglect, if not outright abuse.

  72. “First of all we need to realize that none of us can “make” another be more Christ-like.”

    Case closed.

  73. “universal, unilateral male leadership” view is completely impractical and impossible to implement in the real lives of real human beings”

    I think that is why we so often observe those teaching this, actually live very “egal” day to day.

  74. Kay writes: “‘ First of all we need to realize that none of us can “make” another be more Christ-like.’
    Case closed.”
    Agreed.

    I was hoping Mark was still reading and planning to help some of us or at least me understand, and in fairness to him, I understood him to write that husbands as “head of their wife,” have a responsiblity to “lov[e] [their] wife in such a way as to help lead her to becoming more like Christ..”
    This is an important question because then one would wonder how success is measured? Who measures it?
    I suspect this belief is the basis for the idea that husbands will present their wife to God and answer for how they fulfilled their role.

  75. Good questions and i hope i can give some insight on some of them. I’m out numbered here so if i miss someone forgive me.

    First of all… to claim that comp teaching is ‘made up’ simply indicates that alot here do not understand the comp teaching. The whole position is based on scripture, to argue otherwise is silly and shows me either peoples ignorance of the teaching or purely trying to give it a ‘heretical’ label to serve their own agendas.

    I think both husband and wife help each other become more like Christ, but men and women have different roles and resposibilities in the family. I dont see it helpful for me to explain or the differences as im sure we have all heard the arguments- clearly i accept them and others dont. Why is it that wifes are told to submit? Why is it that husbands are told not to be harsh? There are specific commands given to each gender in the bible. We should not mesh everything to say the same things always apply to everyone- this is not what the bible does.

    I agree that none can ‘make’ someone like Christ. We can both help each other and help our children, but ultimately unless the spirit acts my words will be powerless.

    Leadership is both God ordained and neccesary- the question is who is the leader? I believe leaders will give an account for what they do and teach. If men abuse this, they will be judged for it. If men are the ‘leader’ of the family, the same applies.

  76. Mark,
    I will take a stab at this one:

    Why is it that wifes are told to submit? Why is it that husbands are told not to be harsh?

    Husbands are told not to be harsh because this is their problem area that they need encourage to change.

    Wives are told to submit because in the culture of the day they were forced to submit. When Christianity freed them from forced subordination many of them would love their freedom too much to want to serve their husbands. They needed to be reminded that submission is a Christian attribute so that we can be like Jesus and the husband is not exempt from our service.

    Does this make sense?

    Also I do believe that comps get their view from parts of Scripture. The problem is that the verses they use are taken removed from their complete context and also the verses are “filled in” with mounds of tradition. We can clearly see this from a couple of examples. Eph 5:21 is so often neglected entirely and in the book of Genesis a tradition of male leadership and a male “role” is imported into the text from the hallowed halls of tradition.

    It is hard to do but I do think it is important to see what the Scripture says without the addition or subtraction of tradition.

  77. Mark,

    This is Kay of comment #36 – I spent a bit of time one day trying to give you some idea of what an egal marriage looks like – as you had asked. I was really hoping to get some of your thoughts on what I posted.

  78. Mark, thanks for attempting to tackle the question.
    You write: “I think both husband and wife help each other become more like Christ,…”
    I agree.
    You continue: “…but men and women have different roles and resposibilities in the family.”
    How does this relate to the preceding clause? Do you see that the different roles and responsibilities that men and women have affect practically how each helps the other become more like Christ? If so, how is this practically applied in a way that is uniquely and exclusively masculine and in complete contrast to its practical application in a uniquely and exclusively feminine manner?
    You write: “I dont see it helpful for me to explain or the differences as im sure we have all heard the arguments- clearly i accept them and others dont.”
    It would be very helpful to me if you explained because I am new to this topic and while I have pursued some of the arguments via the internet, I have not found how this is practically applied. If you believe there are differences that are unique and exclusive to one’s gender that affect the manner in which they would help their spouse become more like Christ, I think it would be most helpful to explain. How does your wife help you become more like Christ in a way that is different than how you help her become like Christ? If it more than prayer and modeling Christ-likeness and if it is supposed to be done in a manner exclusive to one’s gender, how does a husband or wife know whether or not they are helping their spouse become more like Christ in a gender appropriate way?

  79. Hi Mark. I agree with Cheryl in comment 79 to a great degree*. That is, I agree that Paul is addressing gender specific problem areas. what is important to note is that just because wives are told to submit and husbands to love, that doesn’t mean that husbands aren’t ever to submit any more than it means wives aren’t ever to love. Do you see the parallelism? Paul’s instructions are not for one gender to universally and unilaterally do one thing while the other gender does another. Submission and love are to be characteristics of all believers toward each other. But, and it is a big but, the dynamics are such in the unique relationship of marriage that each gender needs extra instruction, or, might I say, encouragement, to address areas they are weak in when it comes to marriage under a fallen world. Such instruction would have never been necessary in the pre fall world. But the fall has made such instruction essential.

    *The small quibble that Cheryl and I have deals with the cause of the female state of resistance to free submission. Whereas Cheryl believes the resistance of wives to free submission is culturally based (and is therefore somewhat impermanent), I believe it goes all the way back to the fall (and is therefore a permanent condition). It is a small difference that doesn’t detract at all from the reason Paul gives his instructions in such a gender specific way.

  80. Kay, thanks for the prompt on your thoughts!

    I agree that mutual submission is totally unknown to the world outside of our great God. But i do dis-agree with cheryl that comps neglect Eph 5:21. Mutual submission IS ESSENTIAL in the body of Christ. However the 12 verses following verse 21 distinguishes differences in certain relationships. I think this shouldn’t be ignored and claim it is all wrapped up by verse 21. If this was so, Paul would have had no need to write these other 12 verses.

    you said “We all presently live in a world where tragedy and sin are the reality. A husband who has lost his cognitive function cannot exercise “authority” over anyone. ”

    I think this is precisely your problem Kay, you think men need to exercise their authority. I hold that none can demand or exercise their authority. When a wife submits she does it ‘as to the Lord’. Her submission to her husband as the head is between her and the Lord, not what the husband demands. I’m sorry you have some tough life situations, but i still don’t believe that this makes the men any less the ‘leader’ of the family. Sure he may not be able to work, or live normally, but being the head in my opinion is not about demands or exercising some sort of authority. I believe the authority is there just not demaded by the man… make sense???

    I believe Paul talked about staying single for this one reason- to be more devoted to Christ and not have your life split between family and God, not because of some sort of authority issue. I will hold that when a marriage occurs, it is primarily to be a reflection of the covenant between Christ and the Church, which definately has mutual submission in Christs actions, and authority in Christs Lordship. Let me ask you this question- when Christ washed His disciples feet, do you think for a moment they questioned who it was who had the authority in that room? Yes Christ demonstrated mutual submission in His actions but he is still Lord- the perfect example for a husband, except obviously we are not God.

    It seems to me Kay, that you are caught in this authority issue. I agree with everything you have said about servanthood and humility and the like, the only difference is i dont think those things negate authority. Authority is a good and healthy thing, provided it is a refection of Christ- there lies the challenge.
    Thankyou for your effort in writing that post.

  81. “Sure he may not be able to work, or live normally, but being the head in my opinion is not about demands or exercising some sort of authority. I believe the authority is there just not demaded by the man… make sense???”

    No, you’ve lost me – I can’t make sense of it. How can it be “not about” “exercising some sort of authority” and also be “the authority” that “is there just not demanded”?

    “Let me ask you this question- when Christ washed His disciples feet, do you think for a moment they questioned who it was who had the authority in that room? Yes Christ demonstrated mutual submission in His actions but he is still Lord- the perfect example for a husband, except obviously we are not God.”

    Christ is still has all authority and still is Lord and “obviously” husbands “are not God.” The way I see it, the only thing left for you and I is mutual submission.

    “Authority is a good and healthy thing, provided it is a refection of Christ- there lies the challenge.”

    Therein also lies the impossibility of it – no man is able to do that 100% of the time because no man is Christ.

    Is this why you say, “I hold that none can demand or exercise their authority.”?

    So, do I understand that you believe a husband has been given some kind of authority that he can not exercise? Then what is its purpose?

  82. Hey,

    I attend a Baptist Church in Aust, and it’s a great community. But ever since I was a little girl I have wondered why girls couldn’t do the offering or be pastors or lead hyms. I was especially offended one day when I was about 14 yrs old, when a boy (who was a close friend of mine, who had only attended the church for a year or two.. (compared to me who has been there all my life) and wasn’t really a great Christian example…) was chosen over myself and other girls who were desperate to serve others in a ‘greater way’. I was left with the role of filling up cold glasses of water each sunday morning for the preacher, whilst my friend ‘stood into his responsible role’ and was serving the congragation. I asked about this and I was shocked to be told that woman can not have any authority over men, and that woman must be silent in church (they can sing, but they cant preach/teach etc) Since then, I have continued doing what i ‘can’ but I would love to do more. Since that day many years ago, I have read bible after bible, translations etc… and have looked into the Greek and Hebrew texts… and I continue to become more and more confused; some nights I think I found the truth, the next discovery tears it all down…

    I have read all the comments above, and have spent many hours analysing it with NET.bible, books, bibles and with my mum by my side.

    My main questions are with:

    1 Tim 2:11-14 (specifically what does it mean as it says : For Adam was first formed, then Eve.
    And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.) I have been told that the reasons why Paul said woman can’t teach or have authority over men, is that the woman was created after the man, and that she was deceived when acting independently of his leadership.

    1 Tim 3 (this is often quoted to prove that biblically, women are excluded from particular church service roles, as it talks about ‘HE’ and having one ‘WIFE’ therefore, this role is not for woman.)

    1 Cor 14:34

    Also, some quote a verse about men lifting their hands worshipping, and woman as quiet and modest.. or something like that! Can’t find the verse…

    I truely hope you guys with all your knowledge and understanding can help clarify these issues for me? as I have said, I have spent a long time looking for answers, writing down my findings, but there has just been too much bias to sort through for my liking.

    I know I may not be able to ‘prove’ whatever the truth may be to my community, but I know there is some emptiness in my church of recent, and maybe this is one of the issues that need to be discussed.

    But whatever God’s will is, I will accept.

    Here are some interesting pages, however, I am not in agreement with everything they state, due to lack of supporting evidence, but there are some good articles and ‘word discussions’.

    http://www.ccel.us/place.ch5.html
    http://www.churchofgoddfw.com/women/index.shtml#head

    Some other questions I have (which may be off topic for this discussion, but I thought I should mention) in regards to dancing and speaking in tongues (which my church does not encourage).

    I am rather excited to have finally found an open discussion on this topic! 🙂
    Thank you!

  83. Lauren,

    Welcome to my blog! I am writing this on the road as I on away from the office on a two week trip. You will find many resources on this blog that should help you. I would also recommend that you get a copy of my DVD that will answer all of your questions in one place as it is on every one of the hard passages of scripture on women. “Women in Ministry Silenced or Set Free?” (a 4 DVD set) can be purchased on Amazon.com or at mmoutreach.org. There are several clips on youtube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0e9TL5TWdac This is the introduction and the remaining clips are found under “More From: inhistime2007”

    There is good dialog here from many people who visit my blog and I will pop in and out as I have the time.

    Blessings!
    Cheryl

  84. HI Lauren,

    I hope i can help you to understand these tough issues. I too have found this blog helpful as the people here seem to be genuinely interested in this topic and not just criticising or attacking each other. The bible passages you quote are probaby the most talked about in these discussions so im sure there will be plenty of people to help.

    I would like to point out to you that my view is different to everyone elses here i think. I am labelled a comp, believing that men and women are equal in essence, salvation ect, but have different roles in the home, church ect.

    I am going to let my dear egal brothers and sisters be the first to give their interpretation on those passages and if i feel they are wrong or i have different opinion i will let you know.

    A note to everyone else- i am currently reading through ‘Discovering Biblical Authority’ and would be greatly interested in discussing issues in it with people- Cheryl should this be done on another blog?

    Sorry a final point. Do egalitarians believe…
    1. That women only were under men because of the fall. Pre-fall they were totally equal.
    2. With the new covenant of Christ, women were redeemed from the curses of Gen 3, therefore we are again all equal in every aspect of life? Help please!

  85. Sorry another point,

    Aussie Aussie Aussie- Oi Oi Oi

    Great to have a fellow skip on board!!! Sorry if the Americans and Canadians dont understand my Australian slang.

  86. TL – Gengwall, what do you mean by ‘free submission’?”

    Just echoing Cheryl. What I believe she is getting at is that, rather than the forced submission prevalent in the culture of the time, Paul is calling wives to freely submit to their husbands. It is a voluntary act of the will. Wives would naturally have a difficult time doing that since they had only known forced submission. So Paul needs to take extra steps to encourage them.

  87. Mark – as to question 1, yes, Adam and Eve were equal in Genesis 2. But, the fall did not make them unequal in reality, even if males would view them as unequal. The idea of a hierarchical authority structure as God’s design is completely man made. (Actually, it is Satan made). It did not exist in Genesis 2 and God changed nothing about the design of marriage in Genesis 3. It was sin that changed the marital relationship! Humans, in their fallen state, have perpetuated that unholy view of marriage by creating a hierarchy, just as God said they would do. But in God’s eyes, men and women have never stopped being equal.

    My belief is that Paul is addressing marriage in such detail here to point married couples back to the Genesis 2 relationship. In order to do that, he needs to instruct each gender about each gender’s weakness caused by the fall. That is why he address submission to wives and love to husbands – because in relation to their spouse, and as a result of the fall, that is the particular area they are weak in. Nothing in Paul’s teaching suggests a hierarchy or one spouses authority over the other. Quite the contrary – Paul is intentionally stepping in to break down the man made authority and hierarchy that the fall produced.

  88. Lauren,

    You will find it very helpful in answering your questions concerning 1 Timothy 2 to read through “Neopatriarch once again fails to refute Cheryl Schatz.” It is the first article listed in Cheryl’s Catagories entry
    1 Timothy 2.

    I’m sure that her articles under 1 Timothy 3 will be equally as helpful.

    You will find plenty of supporting evidence here. I’m glad you’ve joined the conversation.

  89. Gengwell,

    Thanks for answering my question 1. Perhaps you or someone else can address question 2? Thanks for your interpratation of 1 Tim aswell, although i wasn’t referencing that… just trying to get an answer to my particular questions.

    Also you make some strong claims…”The idea of a hierarchical authority structure as God’s design is completely man made. (Actually, it is Satan made). ” I so often here egals say this- just repeating what some egal has said in a book, but i dont see the point! I could equally say the same about egalitarianism that it is ‘man made’, but both are actually un-helpful to the arguments or attempts to understand the passages. It is merely a sludging match.

    Like i said earlier, i am reading through ‘ Discovering Biblical Equality’ atm. I just finished reading the essay on Gen 1-3. There are most definately things ‘read into’ and ‘man made’ in Richard Hess’ interpretation of these passages. But that might have to be discussed in a different blog.

  90. Thank you all for your quick reponses =)
    It’s great that there is a discussion occuring… finally I can read an ongoing debate! I have also noticed how considerate you all are in sharing your differing opinions.

    And thank you Kay for your directions.

    I’ll surely post again soon!

    Aussie Aussie Aussie!!! =P

  91. Mark,

    I suspect that among those in this conversation, I am the least equipped to answer. I am very new to this topic–just discovering that this issue existed within Christendom to the extent that it does. To learn, I am actually asking a question of you in 63, 78, & 81.

    That said, you asked, “With the new covenant of Christ, women were redeemed from the curses of Gen 3, therefore we are again all equal in every aspect of life?”

    I am not sure I understand your question. If you are asking that under the new covenant of Christ are women saved from the consequences of “the fall”, I would say ask any woman who has been pregnant and lost a child or given birth if it was accompanied by worry, pain, and sorrow and any woman raising children in a fallen world if there is not an element of worry, pain, and sorrow that accompanies. Also, because of the treatment of women even through the present and the very fact that we are having this discussion reflects the description in Gen 3 of the disunity that exists between men and women. Similarly, despite the reconciliation with God afforded by Jesus Christ, mankind (males and females) must work for their daily sustenance. Men (mankind) must still work in order to survive. I see Genesis 3 as descriptive rather than prescriptive.

    As far as your asking if in the New Covenant are males and females “…again equal in every aspect of life,” I am not sure exactly what you are asking. If you are asking, “are males and females equal image bearers of God”–yes. Are males and females equal in essence, dignity, and value? Yes. If you are asking do men and women have equal abilities, aptitudes, talents, bents, interests, etc.? No. No more than all women possess equally the same degree of abilities, aptitudes, talents, bents, and interests and no more than all men possess equally the same degree of abilities, aptitudes, talents, bents, and interests. Also, you said “again,” and I would say males and females have always been equal image bearers of God.

    Lastly, the declaration to Adam in Gen 3 that he would return to the ground because it was from the ground he came, while not directed at Eve, describes her end as well. The New Covenant makes them co-heirs of the gracious gift of life, but males and females equally share in the experience of death.

    I hope you will answer more specifically the question raised in #63, 78, 81.

  92. sm-thanks

    i think i need to re-word my question as i dont think you understood what i was asking.
    1. Egals believe there is no creation order and the idea or corruption of mans ‘rule’ is a result of the fall, correct?

    2. If the above is correct, the redemption acheived through Jesus has in effect reversed this male leadership, that we are all now ‘co heirs’ in everything, including church leadership? Men are not to rule, because Christ rules. Is this a correct understanding of your view?

    I will go back and have a look at the comments you asked of and reply asap. Thanks

  93. Hi Mark,

    I am just popping in as we are waiting for family to arrive at my daughter’s house for our Canadian Thanksgiving celebration.

    I would like an opportunity to answer your two questions.

    1. Egals believe that there is no rulership of one person over another set up by God’s original creation of our human parents. The rulership spoken of in Genesis 3 was a prophesy given to Eve about the sinful nature of her husband that she would have to endure because she had been deceived to eat the fruit. Her husband, in active sin, would take authority over her and rule her, forcing her underneath his own human will. God never gave the man a position of rulership over the female or over her will in the original creation. And after the fall God did not give His permission for the man to rule the woman. Adam was about to force himself into the position of ruler all on his own.

    2. The redemption that was achieved by Jesus was for original sin and our own sin. It did not reverse a leadership scheme set up by God in creation. But the redemption of Jesus overcomes sin and the enemy, Satan, so that as citizens in the Kingdom of Light we are not to follow the pattern of the world where one man lords it over another man. Instead we have been transferred into the Kingdom of the Lord Jesus where all are equal heirs to all that God has As equal heirs we have full freedom as God’s “sons” to freely operate in the gifts that the Holy Spirit has given us without restrictions due to age, education, nationality, social status or gender. If I missed one of the restrictions, just add it in. The Holy Spirit does not hold us back in service because the gifts that He gives us are to be used for the benefit of all so that the body grows in unity of the knowledge of the Son of God.

    Leadership is a place of protection of the flock, not a place to demand that others submit to us so that we can rule them. We have only one Lord and Master and no mere man will “rule” the body of Christ.

    Because of our being equal “heirs” in Christ, a woman does not have to worry about being culturally bound to man-made tradition but she may serve as a servant of Christ without fear that using her gifts for the benefit of all is a sin.

    Does this make sense?

  94. sm,

    is the question you are posing… do i think there are gender distinction or roles? Do i think there are differences in how a husband and wife train each other to become more like Christ? Or am i offended if my wife has more ‘knowledge’ than me? Maybe ill give a brief answer to all.
    1. Yes. In fact i am a bit unclear on egal teaching in this topic. Some claim there are no positions or roles in the church/marriage, but alot of material ive read claims the opposite of this view. The comp view however, is consistent in showing biblical that there are differences, none more important or Godly than another, but definately distinctions in roles in all aspects of life.
    2. Yes- obviously due to personalities and the like, how people do things differs from one relationship to the next. My point was this… men are giving certain commands, women likewise. Should we mesh them all into ‘mutual submission’ and no distictions in roles? Absolutely not! Why not? The bible doesn’t do that.
    3. No i am not offended if this was the case. In fact it was the case when we got engaged/married as i was a new Christian. She probably still does have alot more knowledge on certain things biblically. Leadership is not just about ‘gnosis’. This is just an attempt to discredit comp teaching with no foundation about anything.

    Let me ask a question back to you. What does it mean to be made in the ‘image of God’.We would both say obviously it isn’t physical things. What then is it? Is it everything else except our physicalities. Could you point to a verse that saids it is everything else? Becasue the egal teaching is we are equal in every way and it is based on Gen 1:26-28, perhaps you could explain where this conclusion comes from. Not from the text- it is read into? In what ways are we different or the same to Jesus who is the ‘image of the invisible God’-Col 1:15?

  95. Mark,

    I obviously got the comment numbers wrong. My original questions copied from other posts follow:

    “Mark writes: “…indeed men are the head in my opinion. But what does that headship look like is the question? Loving your wife in such a way as to help lead her to becoming more like Christ, the same way Christ acts to help His Church…”

    Does a wife lead a husband in anyway to help him become more like Christ?

    If yes, how does it differ from how a husband would lead so as to help his wife become more like Christ?

    If no, a wife never leads a husband in anyway to help him become more like Christ, how then does a husband uniquely lead a wife to become more like Christ?”

    “Mark, thanks for attempting to tackle the question.
    You write: “I think both husband and wife help each other become more like Christ,…”
    I agree.
    You continue: “…but men and women have different roles and resposibilities in the family.”
    How does this relate to the preceding clause? Do you see that the different roles and responsibilities that men and women have affect practically how each helps the other become more like Christ? If so, how is this practically applied in a way that is uniquely and exclusively masculine and in complete contrast to its practical application in a uniquely and exclusively feminine manner?
    You write: “I dont see it helpful for me to explain or the differences as im sure we have all heard the arguments- clearly i accept them and others dont.”
    It would be very helpful to me if you explained because I am new to this topic and while I have pursued some of the arguments via the internet, I have not found how this is practically applied. If you believe there are differences that are unique and exclusive to one’s gender that affect the manner in which they would help their spouse become more like Christ, I think it would be most helpful to explain. How does your wife help you become more like Christ in a way that is different than how you help her become like Christ? If it more than prayer and modeling Christ-likeness and if it is supposed to be done in a manner exclusive to one’s gender, how does a husband or wife know whether or not they are helping their spouse become more like Christ in a gender appropriate way?”

    I’ll try to get to your new questions shortly.

  96. Mark,

    You ask: “1. Egals believe there is no creation order and the idea or corruption of mans ‘rule’ is a result of the fall, correct?”

    First, I don’t claim to speak for egals or any codified system of egalitarianism as this term and debate are new to me.

    I understand the Genesis account to give a narrative of mankind’s beginnings:

    27 “God created man in his own image,
    in the image of God he created him;
    male and female he created them.

    28 God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”

    There is no hint of hierarchy between the male and female. The only hierarchy is the male and female ruling together over the earth, fish, bird, and every living creature that moves on the ground.

    If by “creation order” you mean Eve was created after Adam, I would say chapter two gives the following order and account:

    God caused a deep sleep to come upon Adam and took a part of him and fashioned a woman and upon seeing the woman Adam waxed poetic: “This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman because she was taken out of Man.” He will leave and cleave, and they shall be one flesh.

    I do not see any description of or prescription for hierarchy in this creation account. It meshes very well with chapter one: God created “them”. “Male” and “female” he created “them”. God told “them” to multiple and *subdue* the earth as one flesh.

    There is “no idea of man’s rule” in creation. If by “creation order” you mean Eve was created second, the narrative of chapter two describes a variation on chapter one with Eve being subsequent to Adam. I’m processing this now and wondering if by “creation order” you mean “divine rule by man” or hierarchy, then that is answered in the first line of this paragraph.

    I would agree that the “corruption of man’s rule” is a result of the fallen nature of humanity.

  97. Mark,

    You ask: “2. If the above is correct, the redemption acheived through Jesus has in effect reversed this male leadership, that we are all now ‘co heirs’ in everything, including church leadership? Men are not to rule, because Christ rules. Is this a correct understanding of your view?”

    First, your questions may not be directed at me, I may not be the best equipped to answer, and again I do not purport to speak for egals or our blog hostess.

    Redemption is the forgiveness of sins and the releasing from the law affected by the blood of Jesus Christ (Ep 1:7, Co 1:14, He 9:12, 15) Jesus, our Redeemer, modeled and called people to a higher kingdom ethic which affects how we treat each other. Living this kingdom ethic does not negate the mandate in Genesis, so I would not say that “men are not to rule because Christ rules”. I would say the ethic of Christ’s kingdom precludes a “corruption of men’s rule” which includes dominating, dictating, subjugating, or subordinating men or women and prohibits aspiring to a top-level (hierarchical) position among the most intimate relationship that of husband and wife which in its beginning had no hint of hierarchy but overtly reflected God’s ideal—two becoming one—where it is difficult to see where one ends and the other begins. Husband and wife (men and women) together are to subdue and have dominion over the earth.

    I would not say that church leadership is part of the Believer’s inheritance. Rather, I would say men and women are both heirs of God through Christ, of the promise, of the covenant, and of the gracious gift of life (Ac 3:25; Ro 8:17; Ga 3:29; Ep 3:6; Ti 3:6; 1 Pe 3:7 ). I think, however, you are asking if women can be involved in church leadership. Yes, women can, have always been, and are currently serving the body of Christ in many ways across the globe including the proclamation of the gospel, instruction, organization, management, as messengers, teachers, shepherds, etc.

  98. Thankyou once again sm for answering my questions and helping me understand your views. I’m glad you talked abit about Genesis as i think it would begin to be helpful if we could begin looking at texts to help Lauren understand the positions.

    I obviously disagree with you that Adam is not the leader in Gen 1-3. You talked about the ‘them’ of Gen 1 and how both genders were to rule the living creatures- I agree. However i have a few semantic issiues with these chapters from an egalitarian viewpoint. Let me attempt to be clear in what i am trying to say.
    1. ‘Adam’ in the hebrew in Gen 1 is gender inclusive because of the ‘them’ phrases’. However hebrew does not have a ‘neuter’ gender, only masc and fem. So just as a small sidetrack- i have an issue with the TNIV for example which uses gender inclusive language as this is clearly NOT being faithful to the inspired words and grammer (which i know Cheryl loves). Just because English does have a neuter, if we are going to be faithful exegetes we should keep the original masc words translated into masc english words, otherwise we are changing the original language and commentating on it, even though i do agree that it is talking inclusively… sorry for the sidetrack
    2. In Gen 2 there is the introduction of the definate article so it is rightly translated ‘the man’ dealing directly with Adam not Eve.
    3. However in Gen 3 when they are banished from the garden, it is again ‘the man’, not ‘man’ (gender inclusive). Should we assume then that only Adam was removed from the Garden- i don’t think so.

    Therefore my argument is that to get hung up on the combined function of ruling animals to prove equality and no leadership soley by the gender inclusive language is weak. Clearly we all except Eve to have been banished from the Garden also, even though the inspired words are directed to Adam only

    So i am happy to read into the text that ‘the man’ was held primarily accountable for the fall and thus is addressed first by God, and is the primary one spoken of in the banishment. You might be big eyed at my claim of ‘reading into’ but in reality we all do. What is Richard Hess’ understanding of God approaching Adam first…
    1. Because he was given the injunction not to eat first
    2. God has to address them seperably.
    Neither of these two options are available from the text and are in fact ‘read into’ also. So please dont jump to the conclusion that the comp is merely again reading into the text.

    A quick question for Cheryl or others. Egals claim that Adam was ‘with’ Eve when she was conversing with the serpent and thus dismiis the notion that Eve strayed from the protection of Adam as reading into the text. Where in Gen 2 is it explicit that Adam was there during the conversation? It is after Eve has eaten the fruit, after the conversation that Adam is mentioned as being ‘with’ her. I could easily say of course he was with her, he was in the garden. But it doesnt mean he wasby her side during the conversation. Is this egal view not just as guilty of reading into the text?

    Also Cheryl, how have you come to the conclusion that the curse of the woman is not a mandate given by God, but just a prophecy of what fallen man would do? Could you point me to the text where it explains this?

  99. Mark,

    I am going to try to get through as much of your questions as I can before I have to leave.

    2. In Gen 2 there is the introduction of the definate article so it is rightly translated ‘the man’ dealing directly with Adam not Eve.

    Whenever it says “the man” it most certainly is talking about Adam and not Eve. We need to pay close attention to this so that we can properly understand the passage.

    3. However in Gen 3 when they are banished from the garden, it is again ‘the man’, not ‘man’ (gender inclusive). Should we assume then that only Adam was removed from the Garden- i don’t think so.

    It most certainly was only the man who was banished from the garden. God makes this clear in what he says about the man. It was the man who took of the forbidden fruit even though he was not deceived. Since Eve was no longer deceived, she would not be the one who would disobey God’s command not to eat from the tree of life. Adam is the only one who sinned in a willful way and who would likely do the same thing again with the tree of life. We cannot assume that Eve was thrown out of the garden, because the text clearly says that it was “the man” who was kicked out. If God wanted us to know that it was the woman too, them the grammar would be “them”.

    We do know that the woman left the garden with the man but she was not kicked out. Why did she go? God clearly told us when he said that she would desire the man and the man who rule over her. She desired to be with him and the man took his sinful rule over her making sure that she went with him. He wasn’t about to leave without her.

    This passage has had many think that God kicked the woman out of the garden because of our prejudice against women. Throughout church history the woman has been blamed for deceiving the man so that he ate, but Paul makes it clear, and the context in Genesis makes it clear that Adam was not deceived. Adam was not deceived by the serpent and Eve was not the deceiver nor did she deceive Adam.

    Hosea 6:7 shows that it was Adam alone who sinned in a treacherous way. Eve is never said to have sinned by treachery.

    Therefore my argument is that to get hung up on the combined function of ruling animals to prove equality and no leadership soley by the gender inclusive language is weak. Clearly we all except Eve to have been banished from the Garden also, even though the inspired words are directed to Adam only

    It would be an error to accept that Eve was driven out of the garden when the text clearly says that it was only “the man” who was kicked out because of his propensity to disobey God in a treacherous way.

    It is not a weak argument to use the specific grammar of Genesis 1-3. It is a very weak argument to ignore the specific grammar. This is what has been done by many that has caused them to read into the text something that isn’t there.

    So i am happy to read into the text that ‘the man’ was held primarily accountable for the fall and thus is addressed first by God, and is the primary one spoken of in the banishment.

    You shouldn’t be blaming Eve for something that God did not blame her for. It was not Adam that was “primarily” accountable for the fall. He was the only one accountable for the fall. While Eve sinned too she did not sin on her own initiative without the blindness that deception brings. She did die because God said that she would, but she did not bring rebellion into the world since she did not sin with rebellious treachery. Adam is the one who sinned this way and his actions caused sin to come into the world. It was Adam alone. When we blame Eve for something that Adam alone did, we then become guilty of being an accuser of Eve. God did not accuse her of treachery and she did not bring sin into the world.

    A quick question for Cheryl or others. Egals claim that Adam was ‘with’ Eve when she was conversing with the serpent and thus dismiis the notion that Eve strayed from the protection of Adam as reading into the text. Where in Gen 2 is it explicit that Adam was there during the conversation?

    In Genesis 3:6 we see some specific grammar that identifies Adam’s position.

    Gen 3:6 When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate.

    The grammar says that Adam was “with” Eve. It doesn’t say that she gave to Adam “when” with her. The Jehovah’s Witness Bible translates this passage was “when with her” (I am going by memory) because their doctrine teaches that Adam was not with Eve. But there is no grammatical justification for adding to the text that Adam was not with Eve until later.

    Rather there is a conjunction used in the Hebrew that connects the actions of Eve sequentially to her eating. The Hebrew says that she did this “and” that and it is a sequential conjunction that is not divided by a time frame.

    Secondly we know that God referred to Adam being “with” Eve since God said that Adam “listened” to the voice of his wife. This was the treacherous act of Adam as he “listened” and did not sound the warning. No other words of Eve’s are recorded other then her speaking to the serpent while she is being deceived.

    Thirdly Adam being “with” Eve is not being just in the garden because according to BDB the word means beside or side. Adam was “beside” Eve while she was being deceived. We cannot get around the specific Hebrew grammar and when we disregard it we can so easily go into error.

    Also Cheryl, how have you come to the conclusion that the curse of the woman is not a mandate given by God, but just a prophecy of what fallen man would do? Could you point me to the text where it explains this?

    I have to go now to church so I don’t have time to finish this one. I may not be able to get to it until later tonight or perhaps in another day or two when we have arrived at our next location.

  100. ”Just because English does have a neuter, if we are going to be faithful exegetes we should keep the original masc words translated into masc english words, otherwise we are changing the original language and commentating on it, even though i do agree that it is talking inclusively… sorry for the sidetrack”

    Mark, most scholars tirelessly try to explain to us that the masculine endings mean nothing if there is not a masculine subject to point to. In other words all words in Hebrew and Greek (unlike English) have masc. or fem. endings regardless of whether there is anything masculine or feminine about them. This is why I choose to translate the word adham as human. We have confused this by naming only boys Adam in English. But the word really is not a name as much as it is a race identification. They were both named Human by God. The man later chose to keep that his name or maybe the woman in some irritation refused to give him a personal name as he did fondly to her after the fall. So for eternity his ‘name’ got to be ‘From the dirt’ or some such, while her name was something about life and living. So many miss all this incredible drama right in front of our faces because of the foolish fuss over who was first and who was second, as if there were some importance to that.

    ”In Gen 2 there is the introduction of the definate article so it is rightly translated ‘the man’ dealing directly with Adam not Eve.”

    In Genesis 2 the human is the only one there to begin with, so its not really difficult to know who is being dealt with.

    ”Therefore my argument is that to get hung up on the combined function of ruling animals to prove equality and no leadership soley by the gender inclusive language is weak.”

    Actually, it is very easy to prove equality and no leadership, simply because God did not give the man authority over the woman. God did not say it, did not suggest it, did not discuss it. It simply did not exist and was not needed. The concept of male rule versus female rule was an idea added into the Scripture that is not inherent in them.

  101. Also, humans are not to rule animals. Our responsibility is to care for the earth and guard, protect, guide, etc. the creatures in it, including the whales, the wild birds, etc. I’d like to see any person try to rule over an animal not their pet. <> The verb translated “rule” is not the same verb translated “rule” in Gen. 3:16. We are not to dominate anyone, even the creatures of the earth.

    In 3:16 we have God warning Eve of the future changes to their relationship being that in response to her turning toward and yearning for her man, he would harshly dominate her.

  102. Cheryl,

    Your last two comments/posts were like little Reader’s Digests – really concise, yet full – I’d luv to spread them like confetti in every church parking lot!

  103. Mark,

    You write: “I obviously disagree with you that Adam is not the leader in Gen 1-3. You talked about the ‘them’ of Gen 1 and how both genders were to rule the living creatures- I agree.”

    By your admission, you are “happy to read into the text” that which is not explicitly there. We all go to the text with presuppositions and must make a conscientious effort to not take those with us or pick them up as we read and study. Knowing the tendency to take our presuppositions with us, my approach to the text is to try to understand the purpose of the particular genre or literary section; to determine the larger intent of the author; to try to hear what the original audience would have heard and understood; to find the general principle, thought, or truth conveyed; to view that through the revelation of God through Jesus Christ trusting in the Holy Spirit which leads to truth; and then try to faithfully apply, when necessary, in the here and now.

    I am not able to make the leap based on inference from both genders given dominion over the earth which is explicitly stated and to which you agree, to males being divinely designed to rule over females in a hierarchy, particularly within marriage which is the most glorious and intimate of human relationships. Will you explain how you infer hierarchy from Gen 1:26-27?

    You write: “1. ‘Adam’ in the hebrew in Gen 1 is gender inclusive because of the ‘them’ phrases’. However hebrew does not have a ‘neuter’ gender, only masc and fem… – i have an issue with the TNIV for example which uses gender inclusive language as this is clearly NOT being faithful to the inspired words and grammer…. if we are going to be faithful exegetes we should keep the original masc words translated into masc english words, otherwise we are changing the original language and commentating on it, even though i do agree that it is talking inclusively…”

    I do not see how “human being” or “humanity” changes anything. I do not see this as being unfaithful to the inspired words or grammar because the spirit of the text or the overall general principle, truth, or message is accurately conveyed. By your own admission “…[you] agree that it is talking inclusively…”

    You write: “3. However in Gen 3 when they are banished from the garden, it is again ‘the man’, not ‘man’ (gender inclusive). Should we assume then that only Adam was removed from the Garden- i don’t think so.”

    The point that IS clear from this portion of text is that Adam was sent from the Garden, and we read in subsequent verses that Eve did not stay in the Garden. Regardless, I do not see a connection between a hierarchy between a husband and wife and “the man” being addressed and banished from the Garden. That is another leap based on inference I am not able to make.

    You write: “Therefore my argument is that to get hung up on the combined function of ruling animals to prove equality and no leadership soley by the gender inclusive language is weak.”

    I’m not sure what you mean by “hung up”. I am convinced that male and female both equally bear the image and likeness of God and both share equally in the responsibility to subdue the earth. You have conceded at least twice that this is your interpretation, too. Furthermore, based on what we both agree to be correct understanding of the text as just stated, I am convinced further that there is no hint of hierarchy in Ge 1:26-27 because there is no explicit description of hierarchy or any instruction laying out the parameters of a hierarchy. Even complementarian leaders concede that hierarchy is not explicitly in the text but rather inferred. It is at this point that you infer hierarchy. I would, therefore, disagree that my claim is the weaker.

    Moreover, it would be an incorrect assumption that I do not ascribe to hierarchy in marriage based on “gender inclusive language”. I cut my teeth on the KJV with only a Strong’s and most thankfully the Holy Spirit to guide in my understanding.

    You write: “So i am happy to read into the text that ‘the man’ was held primarily accountable for the fall and thus is addressed first by God, and is the primary one spoken of in the banishment. You might be big eyed at my claim of ‘reading into’ but in reality we all do.”

    No, not really. I understand that much is read into the text; I appreciate your honesty about what you read into the text. (See my first paragraph in this comment.)

    You write: “What is Richard Hess’ understanding of God approaching Adam first…
    1. Because he was given the injunction not to eat first
    2. God has to address them seperably.
    Neither of these two options are available from the text and are in fact ‘read into’ also. So please dont jump to the conclusion that the comp is merely again reading into the text”.

    I don’t know who Richard Hess is or what his claims are. I don’t think the text explains why Adam was approached first. I don’t think it is relative to the purpose of the creation story in Genesis. You have conceded that comps read into the text. I don’t believe I made the claim.

    You write: “…Egals claim that Adam was ‘with’ Eve when she was conversing with the serpent and thus dismiis the notion that Eve strayed from the protection of Adam as reading into the text. Where in Gen 2 is it explicit that Adam was there during the conversation?…”

    First, I don’t know exactly what egals claim, but let’s start with the text:

    Ge 3:6 And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food and that it was pleasant to the eyes and a tree to be desired to make one wise she took of the fruit thereof and did eat and gave also unto her husband with her and he did eat…

    From Stong’s: “with” means “accompanying” and is also translated “beside” and “together”

    Second, Adam having a responsibility to protect Eve, I believe, IS read into the creation story. If Adam had any responsibility to protect Eve, in fairness, Adam would have had to have known he had that responsibility and at the very least that there was a danger (crafty serpent) and the potential for deception. As far as I can tell, all he knew was that all was right with the world, so from what would Eve need protection? Adam was only warned to not eat and was not warned about a crafty serpent or that Eve had the potential to be deceived. Also, Eve would have to have had knowledge of what was required of her—“to stay in close proximity to Adam so as not to stray from his protection.” I see nothing explicitly or implicitly that indicates Adam fail short of a standard for protection and that Eve strayed away from Adam’s supposed protection.

  104. Great stuff, i love it, and everyonesobjections and opinions. Thanks
    I guess i might just comment one person at a time.

    Cheryl,
    You said about it only being the man who was banished not the woman by ‘the man’ refence in Gen3. Your view then only suggests that Adam was the only one who became like God, ‘knowing good and evil’ because this is directed only to ‘the man’. But then this is a contradiction to what is said in 3:7 where both their eyes were opened and they new they were naked. You see if it was only Adam who was banished as ‘the man’, then in your interpretation it was only ‘the man’ who became like God. Therefore Eve never sinned, nor did she suffer the consequences.
    While Adam was with her it explicitly happens AFTER the conversation, that is my point. The text doesnt say that Adam was their during the conversion, so your claim that this was where Adam listened to his wife is just as much reading into the text as my view. In fact you are drawing verse 17 to fit back into verse 2.

    None the less thankyou for your imput- i value you highly. But it is evident that there are just as many holes in your argument as what you say about comps arguments.

  105. Tl,

    Neither doe the text say men are women are equal in every way. Both my vie and your view are interpretations we have gained from the overall picture of the bible, so please stop insisting that it is only the comp view which is read into- it is clearly not.

    The problem i have with the TNIV is not what you have shown with the scholars. Merely that it is just another way to water down the text so as not to offend people. If its masc it should be translated masc. Any good exegete can figure out even though Gen 1 is masc that it refering to humanity, not just man. That is the whole point of translations-to translate the words, not commentate on what they are portraying- this is the mistake of TNIV in this area.

    Also you said “In 3:16 we have God warning Eve of the future changes to their relationship being that in response to her turning toward and yearning for her man, he would harshly dominate her.”

    When did this take place? With Adam, Abraham, David. When does the prophecy start? If it is not an immediate mandate, when does chiildbearing become painful? Maybe after Cain and Abel? This idea of a prophecy has to be read into. The only prophecy i see in any of the curses is perhaps the one commonly accepted as a ref to Jesus with the serpent.

  106. sm,

    i dont try to gain my hierarchy from Gen 1:26-27 explicitly. What i see throughout the rest of scripture is mens leadrship resposibilities and so i believe that same was there at creation. Adams responsibilty for what happened, his banishment, his conversions with God is consistent with this in my view. Could you please explain how you get equality in roles from being made in ‘the image of God’

    you said “The point that IS clear from this portion of text is that Adam was sent from the Garden, and we read in subsequent verses that Eve did not stay in the Garden. Regardless, I do not see a connection between a hierarchy between a husband and wife and “the man” being addressed and banished from the Garden. That is another leap based on inference I am not able to make.”
    read my above comment on cheryls interpretaion of this text. It is quite easy to see that ‘the man’ is discussed by God because he is the leading party. I agree that Eve did not stay in the garden, but i disagree with cheryl that she ‘followed’. No where in the text is this discussed. “The man’ is resposible for what has happened in the garden as the leader of his wife.

    Richard Hess is an egalitarian that has written a paper on Gen 1-3 in ‘Discovering Biblical Equality’, so therefore is a leader or spokesperson for egalitarians on this issue. My point in ref him was to show that the egalitarian position is just as gulity of reading into scripture although they dont want to admit it.

    Perhaps we could delve a little deeper with more in the text. What does it mean to be created in the image of God? Is it equality? What did Adam mean when he said Eve was ‘bone of my bones’ etc? What is the meaning of becoming one flesh? Is this all equality statements in your opinion?

    Thanks sm

  107. “Neither doe the text say men are women are equal in every way.”

    Actually, it does. The phrase ezer kenegdo means the woman is the strong help, equal to the man, that he needs to allay his aloneness.

    Also you said “In 3:16 we have God warning Eve of the future changes to their relationship being that in response to her turning toward and yearning for her man, he would harshly dominate her.”

    When did this take place?”

    Well, it took place in the garden of Eden? God was speaking to the woman not the man and forewarning her that when she teshuqua (impulse toward, turn toward, yearn, desire, etc.) the man his response would be mashal (harsh domination).

    These are not commands but statements which foretell what will be.

  108. “Perhaps we could delve a little deeper with more in the text. What does it mean to be created in the image of God? Is it equality? What did Adam mean when he said Eve was ‘bone of my bones’ etc? What is the meaning of becoming one flesh? Is this all equality statements in your opinion?”

    Thesis have been written on what it means to be created in the image of God. I’m not convinced it means equal to Eloheim. No one is equal to Eloheim.

    When Adam said that this one from him was bone of his bones and flesh of his flesh, I do think he was exclaiming that finally there was one like him. And yes, that would indeed express equality. However, it was God who said that she was to be equal when He said she was ‘ezer kenegdo’. And I don’t think that God was worried about “same as” problems. One can be equal yet different. 🙂

  109. “The problem i have with the TNIV is not what you have shown with the scholars. Merely that it is just another way to water down the text so as not to offend people. If its masc it should be translated masc. Any good exegete can figure out even though Gen 1 is masc that it refering to humanity, not just man.”

    Have you actually compared the TNIV to other books yourself. I have. There was a lot of bad press from the publishers of the ESV. IMO this was to sell the ESV…. and that is all.

    The actual meaning of the word adham is human, not male human which is the implied meaning of ‘man’.

  110. Mark,
    You wrote, ” “The man’ is resposible for what has happened in the garden as the leader of his wife.”
    So, are you saying that God punished Eve with banishment from the garden for something her “leader”/husband was responsible for?

  111. Gen 3:6 “When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate.”
    The grammar says that Adam was “with” Eve.

  112. Mark,

    Mark writes: “i dont try to gain my hierarchy from Gen 1:26-27 explicitly. What i see throughout the rest of scripture is mens leadrship resposibilities and so i believe that same was there at creation. Adams responsibilty for what happened, his banishment, his conversions with God is consistent with this in my view. Could you please explain how you get equality in roles from being made in ‘the image of God’”

    Divinely sanctioned hierarchy between a husband and wife relationship is no where expressly stated in scripture. What I suspect you see as “leadership responsibilities” throughout the rest of scripture, I see as counter-cultural calls to adopt virtues and character that reflect the kingdom ethic. I can’t wrap my mind around you seeing hierarchy in a husband and wife relationship because in Adam’s banishment “the man” was solely addressed even though you wrote you believe they were both banished.

    Additionally, I can’t wrap my mind around you seeing hierarchy from Adam’s conversations with God. Why, with the whole of scripture and the revelation of God in Christ, would anyone infer from what is not stated and in light of the beauty of what is stated that there is hierarchy in marriage?

    There seems to have been a progression in your question. In previous posts you have asked if “we are again all equal in every aspect of life” (88); are we “equal in every way” (98, 109); pre-fall were they (males and females) totally equal (88) to know asking me to explain how I get “equality in roles from being made in ‘the image of God’”. This is not a claim I have made, so you will have to explain to me what “equality in roles from being made in ‘the image of God'” means to you. I want to make sure we are speaking the same “language”.

    That said– I believe only males can be husbands, fathers, sons, uncles, brothers…and only females can be wives, mothers, daughters, aunts, sisters… Males and females have the same degree of intrinsic value as human beings made in the image of God. For Christians, both males and females are called to live counter-cultural lives and are expected to walk worthy of their vocation (calling) by adopting virtues and character (putting on the mind of Christ) and living out the kingdom ethics to reflect their citizenship in Christ’s kingdom. I do not think that either gender has a greater responsibility to live out kingdom ethics in their varying relationships and circumstances.

    Mark writes: “It is quite easy to see that ‘the man’ is discussed by God because he is the leading party.”
    I disagree. You have yet to indicate what specifically points to ‘the man’ being the leading party.

    Mark continues: “I agree that Eve did not stay in the garden, but i disagree with cheryl that she ‘followed’. No where in the text is this discussed. “The man’ is resposible for what has happened in the garden as the leader of his wife.”

    Again, I can’t wrap my mind around you seeing hierarchy in a husband and wife relationship just because “the man” was addressed even though you wrote you believe they were both banished. (Let’s not forget that Eve was addressed in this same context.) The reason, I suspect you see hierarchy here, is as you have conceded, you read that into the text. As I said in a previous post, regardless of whether one believes Eve “followed” or was “banished”, she was no longer in the garden and how hierarchy in marriage can be assumed from that is beyond me.

    I’ll get back later with your other questions.

  113. Mark,
    Do those different roles and responsibilities that you say men and women have affect practically how each helps the other become more like Christ?
    If so, please give some examples how is this practically applied in a way that is exclusively masculine and in complete contrast to its practical application in an exclusively feminine manner?

  114. First of all i want to address sm and talk about the word hierarchy. My view is this- men and women are equal in essence, in the image fo God, but not in function. e.g- Adam is commissioned to look after the Garden and Eve isnt- she is his helper. Does this make Eve any less a person or less important,not at all. They simply have different roles to play in God’s created world, both equally precious in the eyes of God. I do not think Eve or women are less important, loved etc

    If Adam is the ‘leader’ of Eve, it makes perfect sense that he is the one spoken to by God in those circumstances. In fact throughout scripture it is the ‘leaders’ who are held more accountable for their actions over people, look through the historical books and prophets to see this outlined very clearly. However if we want to stick to the literal translations of Gen 3 (CHeryl’s view) it is a contradiction of previous verses.

    The reason i ask about the ‘image of God’ stuff is because this is a constant fall back for egalitarian position. Maybe you dont hold to that particular teaching, im not sure?

    also you said “I disagree. You have yet to indicate what specifically points to ‘the man’ being the leading party”
    That is precisely what i have already said, i don’t see a speific verse in Gen saying ‘Adam is the leader’. Likewise i don’t see a specific text that saids ‘They are equal in essence and function’. Both arguments/ poistions draw threr conclusions not from n explicit text. I believe in weight of the arguments, the comp position is stronger.

    I also disagree with TL who claims ‘ezer kenegdo’ means equal. This word is used in other parts of the OT in reference to God being our help. Surely we are not equal with God. In fact TL explicitly confirmed that, so his/her position is a contradiction. I would also like to point out that some comps use this same word to denote atuhority, but again i disagree with them, because we do not have authority over God. It is a complicated word which i believe can’t be used to prove either sides argument.

    TL, i also disagree that Adam’s exclamation of Eve shows equality, if you mean equality in every way. I think you were right when you said “I do think he was exclaiming that finally there was one like him”. It is simply a statement saying ‘she is fellow human, made from me’. It has everything to do with equality of essence, nothing to do with equality of role/function unless you want to read into it.

    Now what about the ‘one flesh’. I have many times also heard this used as an egalitarian argument. But how is it used/quoted throughout the rest of scripture. No where in the Bible is it used to reference equality. It seems to be used for two functions from what i have read.
    1. To represent simply the marriage and sexual union, that it is God ordained and as such divorce is not God’s intended design.
    2. To represent the relationship between Christ and the Church.

    Therefore i see it as non-sensicle to use this verse to support the egalitarian view, as scripture never does such a thing.

  115. Mark asks: “What does it mean to be created in the image of God? Is it equality?”

    Being created in the image of God does not mean equality with God. I have not studied how the original audience would have understood this which I believe would be key. I suspect, however, they would have understood it in relation to what closely follows which was humanity was created in the image and likeness of God, and together as partners male and female were to subdue the earth. To be good stewards of God’s creation in fulfilling this task would require the capacity for complex language, cognition, creativity, etc. Additionally, created for relationship with God and with each other, male and female created in the likeness of God would have to include the capacity for love and communion. This is not intended to be exhaustive.

    Answers to other questions are forth coming.

  116. Kay,

    No i am not saying Eve was not banished for her sin aswell. Her sin seperated her from the presence of God, she was equally banished, she was equally kept form the tree of life.

    What i am saying is that the hebrew grammar only talks about ‘the man’ not man(gender inclusive). Therefore we can come to 2 conclusions. God addresses ‘the man’ because he is the leader, but the punishment/ knowing good and evil applies to both. Or, only ‘the man’ was banned and Eve wasn’t.
    In the first instance we have to read into the text this presumption (my view). in the second it has to be true that if Adam was the only one banished( Cheryls view), then Adam was the only one who became like God, because again the grammar only refers to ‘the man’. If we take the literal grammatical approach it contradicts with verse 7 where ‘both’ their eyes are opened after eating the fruit. That is they both equally rebelled against God and sinned.

    The first view is what we see in the rest of scripture, that is, the leader has a resposiblity that the others don’t.
    The second is a contradiction and therefore following the precise grammar here cannot be the proper way to interpret this text, otherwise the word IS fallible, which i dont believe.

    Again with the ‘with’ text, it comes after the coversation with the serpent.

    Kay, your final questions are good ones. Although i think it would be far more beneficial to first look at all the contorversial texts in more depth, before we begin discussing the practical sides of the arguments. The reason i say this is because it is easy to pick practical implications of both views and try to use them as proof that that view is invalid. However atm i am more interested in seeing what the bible says before discussing those things, so as not to distort the bible itself, especiallty if we are going to try and help Lauren understand the views fairly.

  117. Mark,

    You write: “My view is this- men and women are equal in essence, in the image fo God, but not in function. e.g- Adam is commissioned to look after the Garden and Eve isnt- she is his helper.”

    How do you reconcile “Adam is commissioned to look after the Garden and Eve isn’t-she is his helper” with both male and female were to be fruitful, multiply, replenish, subdue and rule (care) for the earth?

    You continue: “Does this make Eve any less a person or less important,not at all. They simply have different roles to play in God’s created world, both equally precious in the eyes of God. I do not think Eve or women are less important, loved etc”

    I do not see that they have different roles to play in God’s created world. I read from the text that both were give the same responsibility to be fruitful, multiply, replenish, subdue, and rule or care for the earth. There is no hierarchy but rather a glorious harmony–partnership.

    You continue: “If Adam is the ‘leader’ of Eve, it makes perfect sense that he is the one spoken to by God in those circumstances.”

    The caveat is “IF”. I read that both were spoken to by God.

    You continue: “In fact throughout scripture it is the ‘leaders’ who are held more accountable for their actions over people, look through the historical books and prophets to see this outlined very clearly.”

    I understand that kings, rulers, etc. where held to a high standard of justice towards their subjects or those they governed. A breach of this standard was more grievous because as kings, rulers, etc. were not to use their position for their own advantage or to abuse their power. When Samuel approached David regarding his sin, David understood that he was the man who was culpable and deserving of death–the same sentence of any man caught in adultery. His sin was more offensive because he being a king had access to many lambs but took the man who only had one. He abused his position and power in adultery and in the murder of Uriah.

    If you are using this to say that as a leader Adam was held to more of an account for his actions, then please explain how the consequences of the fall are greater for him in comparison to the consequences of the fall for Eve and explain how his consequences are commensurate with the greater responsibility you say he had in comparison to the responsiblity that Eve was given keeping Ge 1:26-27 in mind.

    You write: “The reason i ask about the ‘image of God’ stuff is because this is a constant fall back for egalitarian position. Maybe you dont hold to that particular teaching, im not sure?”

    What exactly is the “image of God’ stuff” that is a “fall back” for the egalitarian position?

    I just posted a quick response to this.

  118. Mark – “I also disagree with TL who claims ‘ezer kenegdo’ means equal. This word is used in other parts of the OT in reference to God being our help. Surely we are not equal with God.”

    Ah yes, but certainly, God in the “role” of “helper” is not inferior or under the leadership of us! The stress of ezer in this as in other uses related to God as helper is a partnering to accomplish a task that one alone can not accomplish. Adam didn’t need a servant, nor did he need someone to lead. Adam needed a partner because he was not able to fulfill his responsibilities, nor was his life fulfilling, without a “corresponding partner”, his ezer kenegdo. Contrary to your assertion, the text of Genesis 2 from ezer to “one flesh”, and most certainly the joint “rule” and equal image bearing for males and females in Genesis 1, do indicate “equality”.

    This equality, of course, does not also indicate sameness. Adam and Eve, men and women, are certainly not the same, even though we are equal. Certainly, men and women will take different approaches to our joint responsibilities.

    So I would definately disagree with your weighing of arguments. There is not an absence of equality support in Genesis 2. On the contrary, everything about Genesis 2 points to the equality between the man and the woman. It is only the hierarchy argument that lacks any backing in the text.

    “What i see throughout the rest of scripture is mens leadrship resposibilities and so i believe that same was there at creation.”

    First of all, men are not the only leaders throughout scripture. So there is no unilateral, universal “mens leadership” to back your claim. Second – reliance on the historical male dominance perpetrated by fallen males is hardly a hook to hang your hat on. My challenge to you is to find any biblical teaching where God says men are the leaders in marriage. I have searched far and wide and have found none. Maybe you will have better luck. What I have found is that wherever the bible teaches about godly marriage, equality is the rule. Wherever biblical history records the foibles of fleshly marital relationships, male “rule” causes nothing but harm.

  119. ”My view is this- men and women are equal in essence, in the image fo God, but not in function. e.g- Adam is commissioned to look after the Garden and Eve isnt- she is his helper.”

    You are correct that men and women are equal in essence and in the image of God they were created in. But you are incorrect that God had assigned lifelong functions to the genders. The woman was never stated to be the man’s helper. She was not “his” anything. Such language is not in Scripture. Rather the timing of her creation was after the man realized what aloneness was and how it was not good as God stated, and then the woman was created to allay the man’s aloneness. In addition, the meaning of ezer is not ‘helper’ as in an assistant. Ezer is a special word. There are other words that mean help in different ways. Ezer is used in the sense of one who rescues, one who is a strong help. It is used of God and of warriors and armies. There was nothing about roles to play in relationship to each other.

    ”I also disagree with TL who claims ‘ezer kenegdo’ means equal. This word is used in other parts of the OT in reference to God being our help.”

    Ezer means strong help. Kenegdo means facing, counterpart, equal.

    ”TL, i also disagree that Adam’s exclamation of Eve shows equality, if you mean equality in every way. I think you were right when you said “I do think he was exclaiming that finally there was one like him”. It is simply a statement saying ’she is fellow human, made from me’. It has everything to do with equality of essence, nothing to do with equality of role/function unless you want to read into it. “

    Yes, she is equal because she is human. Absolutely. It has nothing to do with roles or functions because no roles or functions were given. It has everything to do with the fact that like the word kenegdo means equal, we are all equally human , with all the same basic capabilities aside from physical differences of gender. Men cannot be women, and women cannot be men. But we are equal in essence.

    ”What i am saying is that the hebrew grammar only talks about ‘the man’ not man(gender inclusive).”

    This would be incorrect. When God created the human, God created the human as male and female. And God named them human. This is all gender inclusive.

    ”Therefore we can come to 2 conclusions. God addresses ‘the man’ because he is the leader,”

    God does not say this. This is an assumption, a reading of intent into Scripture that is not in Scripture

  120. ”in the second it has to be true that if Adam was the only one banished( Cheryls view), then Adam was the only one who became like God, because again the grammar only refers to ‘the man’. If we take the literal grammatical approach it contradicts with verse 7 where ‘both’ their eyes are opened after eating the fruit. That is they both equally rebelled against God and sinned.”

    This is a good point. A couple thoughts …….

    It was not merely that he became like God, period. But that he became “as one of us” (like God? Or like the angels I’m not sure) TO KNOWING GOOD AND EVIL. I think that is an important clarification. That makes sense when we remember that the man was not deceived but deliberately disobeyed God with full awareness. Now that is indeed “knowing good and evil”. The man fully learned the difference between good and evil. The woman learned it from a different angle, that of being sinned upon to also commit sin. However, I don’t think the fact that the woman sinned by being deceived would prevent her eyes from being opened at the accomplishment of the sin. God told them both that eating of the fruit would bring death. God did not say that only if one ate deliberately, not being deceived. But I would say that the man learned something different than the woman learned in their disobedience. I wonder if this is why men in general more often commit gross evil than women do.

    What we learn from both of them is that there are shared consequences for sinning whether we are deceived into it or freely choose without compulsion.

  121. “You continue: “If Adam is the ‘leader’ of Eve, it makes perfect sense that he is the one spoken to by God in those circumstances.””

    Perhaps, a bit of logic might help here. God does not always speak only to leaders. God speaks to whomsoever He chooses. And sometimes makes leaders of the insignificant ones of humanity. Just because God chose to speak to someone does not mean that one is or even will be a leader – ever.

    Further, God did speak to the woman. To assume God didn’t speak to the woman paints a picture of meanness and special preferring between only two. How could God walk among them and never talk to the woman. And we know that God spoke to the woman because she says so.

  122. Mark,

    You wrote: “That is they both equally rebelled against God and sinned.”
    But Eve did not rebel, she was “deceived.”

    If a woman needs man’s authority over her, then why in I Cor. 7 did Paul write “to the unmarried and to widows that it is good for them if they remain even as I” and “the woman who is unmarried, and the virgin, is concerned about the things of the Lord…this I say for your benefit..to promote what is appropriate and secure distracted devotion to the Lord.”?

  123. Mark,

    You wrote: “Although i think it would be far more beneficial to first look at all the contorversial texts in more depth, before we begin discussing the practical sides of the arguments. The reason i say this is because it is easy to pick practical implications of both views and try to use them as proof that that view is invalid. However atm i am more interested in seeing what the bible says before discussing those things, so as not to distort the bible itself”

    I’m not asking for things outside the Bible.

    Which scriptures tell us the differences?

  124. Mark,
    You’ve said your “view is this- men and women are equal in essence, in the image fo God, but not in function.”

    Are you saying that a male’s authority is not in his essence, but by being born with male reproductive organs?

    But, “there are eunuchs who have been so from birth, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven.” according to Jesus in Matthew 19

    Or, are you saying that the essence of men and women is different?

  125. Hi Mark,

    I am just popping in to point out two things here… I’ve been reading everyone’s comments, and today I figure I might as well comment myself 🙂

    “You said about it only being the man who was banished not the woman by ‘the man’ refence in Gen3. Your view then only suggests that Adam was the only one who became like God, ‘knowing good and evil’ because this is directed only to ‘the man’. But then this is a contradiction to what is said in 3:7 where both their eyes were opened and they new they were naked. You see if it was only Adam who was banished as ‘the man’, then in your interpretation it was only ‘the man’ who became like God. Therefore Eve never sinned, nor did she suffer the consequences.”

    God did not say that they would become like him if they ate, but the serpent did – the Liar.

    And in regards to whether or not Adam was with Eve when the serpent approached her with a question Mark, did you know that the serpent asks his question in the plural and phrases his lie in the plural and the woman responds in the plural? The whole conversation is in the plural, it’s about “them”, both Adam and the woman. Now if Eve were alone when the serpent first asks his question, why didn’t he then ask her in the singular? (Just providing more evidence showing that Adam was with Eve when the serpent approached her).

  126. Mark writes:“My view is this- men and women are equal in essence, in the image fo God, but not in function. e.g- Adam is commissioned to look after the Garden and Eve isnt- she is his helper.”
    SM responds: “How do you reconcile “Adam is commissioned to look after the Garden and Eve isn’t-she is his helper” with both male and female were to be fruitful, multiply, replenish, subdue and rule (care) for the earth?”

    Excellent point sm. In addition ……
    God put the human in the garden to tend it because God had a lesson to teach the human. I do not see God saying that in the future the man in commissioned in life to tend gardens and women are not to tend gardens. As sm points out, there is no indication that the woman was going to be restricted from tending gardens when she was created just because the man did so first. This is the beginning of things after all. The woman isn’t “commissioned” as you suggest because she wasn’t created yet, and the lesson to be learned in the garden by the man was foundational to their relationship together. The man needed to learn that it was not good to be alone and that he needed someone to allay (help) his aloneness.

  127. It is not insignificant that Genesis 2:5 says “there was not a ‘adam (human) to till the ground”, not “there was not a ish (male)…” Maintening the garden was not “men’s work”, it was “human’s” work.

  128. Mark,

    Is my understanding correct? Are you saying: Eve, a female, because she was created to be a “help meet” is assigned a subordinate helper role in a hierarchy in relation to Adam, the male, who is assigned a leader role and given a superior position in the hierarchy just because “the man” was directly addressed about the banishment?

    I see that as equivalent to saying: Adam, a male, because he felt as if he was lacking something and needed someone is assigned a subordinate role in a hierarchy in relation to Eve, the female, who is assigned a superior role because she is created because she was needed in order to alleviate Adam’s sense of loneliness or need for a companion. Is it not?

    While the latter is ridiculous, at least this scenario of supposed superior/subordinate role assignments is based on objective criteria rather than being based on the assumed significance of “the man” being addressed regarding banishment with disregard to the larger context.

  129. Mark,

    Again, there are those here who have obviously given this much more thought than I and may be better equipped to handle your questions. I think our host has already answered this, but I’ll take a go at it.

    You asked: “Why is it that wifes are told to submit? Why is it that husbands are told not to be harsh? There are specific commands given to each gender in the bible. We should not mesh everything to say the same things always apply to everyone- this is not what the bible does.”

    The epistles were addressing real people in a specific culture, in real time with a set of circumstances some of which we may not be completely aware. The instructions given to the original audience in their specific set of circumstances contain general principles from which we post-modern westerners can gain. I certainly would not say they are gender-specific commands and apply at all times and in all circumstances, and I would not say “we should not mesh everything to say the same things always apply to everyone.”

    For example, if we should not mesh everything to say the same things always apply to everyone, then can wives be harsh? Are women not allowed to lift up their holy hands in prayer without anger? Are men not allowed to learn? Are men permitted to dress immodestly, indecently and without propriety? And, if fathers (males) are not to provoke their children to anger, are mothers (females) allowed to embitter their children? Of course not.

  130. Mark,

    Mark writes:“My view is this- men and women are equal in essence, in the image fo God, but not in function. e.g- Adam is commissioned to look after the Garden and Eve isnt- she is his helper.”

    In Genesis, both male and female were given the same functions– procreator, multiplier, replenisher, and subduer. One was not the leader procreator and the other an assistant or subordinate procreator. One was not the leader multiplier and the other an assistant or subordinate multiplier and so on. The accomplishment of the tasks is dependent on each participating in their shared functions as procreator, multiplier, and replenisher according to their unique physical design.

  131. gengwell,

    you said this “This equality, of course, does not also indicate sameness. Adam and Eve, men and women, are certainly not the same, even though we are equal.”

    This is precisely the comp position. Gen 1-3 talks about equality of essence, not function, my precise point.

    I will try my best to answer people, but please frogive me for being unable to answer every question or statement of every person

  132. TL,
    “The woman was never stated to be the man’s helper.”
    Really? Gen 2:18b…”I will make a helper suitable for him.”

    “Rather the timing of her creation was after the man realized what aloneness was and how it was not good as God stated, and then the woman was created to allay the man’s aloneness. ”
    Where is this in the bible? I dont see anywhere, where Adam said he was lonely. What i do see is God’s comment “that it is not good for ‘the man’ to be alone.” It’s got nothing to do with what Adam wants, but solely what God wanted and ordained

  133. TL also…

    you obviously aren’t reading what i am saying. This is evident by your comments…

    “…”What i am saying is that the hebrew grammar only talks about ‘the man’ not man(gender inclusive).”

    This would be incorrect. When God created the human, God created the human as male and female. And God named them human. This is all gender inclusive.

    ”Therefore we can come to 2 conclusions. God addresses ‘the man’ because he is the leader,”

    God does not say this. This is an assumption, a reading of intent into Scripture that is not in Scripture”

    In your use of my first quote you have taken me out of context. My sentence was regarding Gen 2&3 where the grammar is definatley ‘the man’ not ‘man’ or ‘human’

    The second quote of mine you used was again out of context, because i clearly said later in that post, that my conclusion was ‘read into’.
    But i think it would be good to discuss what does ‘read into’ mean? 2 options in my opinion.
    1. read into a passage something that is not consistent with scripture.
    2. read into a passage something that IS consistent with scripture (my view).

    Any time we deduct a meaning from a passage it is vitally important that we look at it inductively- that is, in the broad spectrum of the rest of scripture. My view does this.
    If we only can ever deduct a meaning from that distinct verse, then the only means to understand the bible is by each individual verse. Hence this cause problems. For example, if we read the book of James just on its own it would appear we have a works based salvation. However if we try to understand it in relation to saved by grace alone, accompanied by obedience to God and His commands, then we are reading the passage inductively before drawing out our deduction. This is faithful to understanding scripture and what my position does in relation to Gen 1-3.
    Likewise the egalitarian position sometimes attempts to look at passages inductively but only when it suits, otherwise the passage is to be understood in a deductive sense only, i.e Cheryl’s big emphasis on inspired words and grammar. But i have shown how this fails simply in Gen 3 with the grammar contradicting her understanding of the passage.

    So i would like to state that both views ‘read into’ the passage. But which one is faithful to what scripture actually teaches? I dont think i need to say which one i believe is faithful.

  134. Mark,

    You wrote: “This is precisely the comp position. Gen 1-3 talks about equality of essence, not function, my precise point.”

    So again, are you saying that a male’s authority is not in his essence, but by being born with male reproductive organs?

    But, “there are eunuchs who have been so from birth, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven.” according to Jesus in Matthew 19

    Or do you have some other way of defining male and female?

  135. I am worried about the theology that Eve was just ‘decieved’ and Adam deliberately sinned. They both deliberately sinned! Eve quoted what God had said and yes she believed the lie, but she deliberate didn’t obey what God had said.
    This has major results on the banishment aswell. If Eve only ‘followed’ Adam and was not banned, what are we to make of sin? The garden was God’s presence on this earth. God cannot tolerate sin, therefore if Eve sinned, there is no way she could have been allowed to stay in the garden. This is a contradiction of what we know about the character of God who cannot tolerate sin.

    It is dangerous to suggest the quality of sin was different between Adam and Eve and in my view this simply is coming because the egalitarian position doesn’t fit with the bible. Likewise suggesting that ‘knowing good and evil’ is somehow related to Adam’s deliberate sin and not related to Eve, is a big stretch i am unwilling to make.

    I see what some here are suggesting that poor Eve was innocent in her sin. Sin is not innocent. It is a deliberate act to go against God. She was equally guilty, equally banished. We are treading on dangerous ground when messing with the doctrine of sin and its introduction into the world.

    The fact that God deals primary with ‘the man’ can only be understood as his function as the ‘head’ of the family.

  136. Mark,

    You asked:

    A note to everyone else- i am currently reading through ‘Discovering Biblical Authority’ and would be greatly interested in discussing issues in it with people- Cheryl should this be done on another blog?

    I don’t have a problem with the discussion of male authority here, but I will be doing a post later on when I get back from Pennsylvania, on the issue of the male as a “covering”. You can post questions/answers on this post or wait until the “covering” one if you would like.

    There is so much that has been said while I was gone (and I leave early tomorrow again!) that I am not sure I will be able to cover everything with the little time I have left. If I have time (or opportunity) in the hotel or at the conference I will contribute more.

    Starting from the end and working backwards, Mark you said:

    I am worried about the theology that Eve was just ‘decieved’ and Adam deliberately sinned. They both deliberately sinned! Eve quoted what God had said and yes she believed the lie, but she deliberate didn’t obey what God had said.

    First of all, can we agree that the Bible is what tells us that Eve was deceived? Good! Next, she was not “just” deceived and the deception removes her guilt. She is still guilty of sin. However God looks on the heart and Eve’s motive for sinning was not the same as Adam’s. Adam sinned in a treacherous way by sinning with his eyes wide open. He knew at the time that he ate the fruit that he was disobeying God’s command.

    Yet with Eve it was different. At the time that she ate she fully believed that there was no command that brought death. She believed that God was just directing them away from the fruit that would make them equal with God. She no longer believed God meant the command because she was deceived. By being deceived, Eve now believed that what she was doing was a good thing and not a disobedient thing. Adam on the other hand was not deceived and he knew that he was acting in a willful, disobedient and rebellious way. Did Eve “deliberately” disobey God? No. She no longer believed that there was a legitimate command or a legitimate consequence. Does this make sense?

    You also asked:

    This has major results on the banishment aswell. If Eve only ‘followed’ Adam and was not banned, what are we to make of sin? The garden was God’s presence on this earth. God cannot tolerate sin, therefore if Eve sinned, there is no way she could have been allowed to stay in the garden. This is a contradiction of what we know about the character of God who cannot tolerate sin.

    Losing the garden was not why God kicked Adam out of the garden. The text doesn’t say that God didn’t want Adam to have the garden as his home. It says that God didn’t want Adam to eat from the tree of life so that he wouldn’t die. What about God’s toleration of sin? First of all He talked to both Adam and Eve after they sinned, didn’t He? He could tolerate the sinners in doing that. Whether He would walk with them in the garden after sin is another issue. But the text explicitly tells us why Adam was kicked out and it had nothing to do with the garden and Adam’s home. It had everything to do with Adam rebelliously disobeying God’s no longer allowing Adam to eat from the tree of life. This was the issue.

    Since Eve did not deliberately disobey God and since God knew her heart and since God did not ascribe rebellion to Eve, it is apparent that God was not concerned that she was the one who would deliberately disobey Him by going against the second prohibition with would be the eating from the tree of life. The fact is that the rebellious one was the only one kicked out.

    It is dangerous to suggest the quality of sin was different between Adam and Eve and in my view this simply is coming because the egalitarian position doesn’t fit with the bible.

    The Bible is what tells us the difference between deliberate and unintended sin. I don’t have time right now to find the scriptures for you, but I suggest that you check out the Old Testament and the difference between “unintentional” sin and sinning with a “high hand”. Then I suggest you also check out 1 Timothy 1 where Paul gives the reason for why he received mercy. There is absolutely no doubt that God makes a difference between a deceiver and the deceived.

    Likewise suggesting that ‘knowing good and evil’ is somehow related to Adam’s deliberate sin and not related to Eve, is a big stretch i am unwilling to make.

    Let’s be Biblical here, okay? The Biblical term is “deceived” and “not deceived”. Because Adam was not deceived (see 1 Timothy 2), his knowledge of the lie puts him in a different category than the one who has been deceived to see “the lie” as the truth. It doesn’t make the consequence any different as they both died, but it does make a difference in the curse. God did not curse anything because of Eve’s actions, but God did curse the earth because of Adam’s actions. If God sees a deliberate act of rebellion and a silent watchman who watches his wife being deceived, as acts that are more serious and deserve further punishment than the act of a fully deceived person who has walked into the trap because her eyes are blinded, then we need to believe God and not rely on our own understanding.

    I see what some here are suggesting that poor Eve was innocent in her sin. Sin is not innocent. It is a deliberate act to go against God.

    No one is saying that Eve is “innocent”. All we are saying is that the Bible says that she was “deceived” into sinning. It was a “deliberate” act of satan’s to deceive Eve. Eve did sin against God. However in her sinning, the Bible says that she was deceived into the transgression and I simply believe the Bible.

    She was equally guilty, equally banished.

    This is not true. God never said that Eve was guilty of treachery. He did say this about Adam. God also never said that Eve was banished from the garden. To assume this action when Eve had not acted in rebellion is to assume evil when the Bible does not attribute this evil to Eve.

    We are treading on dangerous ground when messing with the doctrine of sin and its introduction into the world.

    No one is messing with the doctrine of sin. We both believe that sin entered the world through Adam. The issue is not “what” by “why”? I believe that the Bible is clear on why Eve did not equally bring sin into the world. It was because there was only one in rebellion and there was only one in deception.

    Let me ask you some questions, Mark. Where does the Scripture say that Eve was kicked out of the garden? Where is Eve said to have sinned with treachery? Does the Bible ever say that Eve brought sin into the world?

    The fact that God deals primary with ‘the man’ can only be understood as his function as the ‘head’ of the family.

    The Bible never makes the man as the only “head” of the family. Ephesians 5 shows that the woman is also the ruler of the home. The fact that God dealt with both the husband and the wife defies the logic of the man alone as the “head”. If the man was the one responsible only because he had a “function” of responsibility, then not only should God have told us this, but God should not have addressed the woman at all. Also God should have asked Adam about his wife. Why did God not address Adam about his wife’s sin and ask Adam to be responsible for her sin?

  137. I Timothy 1:12-14
    “I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me faithful, appointing me to his service. 13Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief. 14The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.”

  138. Mark writes: “TL,
    “The woman was never stated to be the man’s helper.”
    Really? Gen 2:18b…”I will make a helper suitable for him.”

    I believe I stated that the Bible does not say that the woman was to be the man’s helper as in assistant. “Helper” in English means assistant. Ezer in Hebrew does not mean assistant, but rather strong help.

    TL writes””Rather the timing of her creation was after the man realized what aloneness was and how it was not good as God stated, and then the woman was created to allay the man’s aloneness. ”
    Mark responds: Where is this in the bible? I dont see anywhere, where Adam said he was lonely. What i do see is God’s comment “that it is not good for ‘the man’ to be alone.” It’s got nothing to do with what Adam wants, but solely what God wanted and ordained”

    1. God says (presumably for the benefit of the man to hear) that It is not good that human should be alone, and that God will make him an ezer kenegdo – a strong help equal/comparable to him.
    2. God then lets the man view all the created creatures and see what he might name them.
    3. After the man was done, he notes that there was no strong help among the creatures that was equal or comparable to him. Thus, he has discovered he was alone and what it feels like. It is easy to see that if the man did not find anyone to be his partner or companion, then he is alone and knows it.
    4. At that point, God then causes a deep sleep upon the man and takes from his side, flesh and bones and reforms them into a female who God then presents to the man.

  139. #138 Mark,
    You said:

    When God created the human, God created the human as male and female. And God named them human. This is all gender inclusive.

    God didn’t create one person as two genders in one. That has been tried by some egals in their comments on this blog and I don’t accept that egal position. God create a male and he called him human. In creating them male and female He called them both human. God didn’t take the female out of Adam. He took a rib out of Adam and from the rib God created the woman.

    My sentence was regarding Gen 2&3 where the grammar is definatley ‘the man’ not ‘man’ or ‘human’

    I agree that the grammar is “the man”. This refers to none other than the male man. (Now no jokes, guys, about this being the “mail man”!)

    But i think it would be good to discuss what does ‘read into’ mean? 2 options in my opinion.
    1. read into a passage something that is not consistent with scripture.
    2. read into a passage something that IS consistent with scripture (my view).

    You forgot a third option.
    3. read into a passage something that is not in the passage at all.

    I believe that you are doing #3.

    Any time we deduct a meaning from a passage it is vitally important that we look at it inductively- that is, in the broad spectrum of the rest of scripture. My view does this.

    If this was so, Mark, then we would find somewhere where it says that Adam was created to be the authority over the woman. Or we would find that the man was to have authority over all women. Both the man and the woman are said to be the ruler over the home but the man is never said by God to be the legitimate ruler over the woman.

    For example, if we read the book of James just on its own it would appear we have a works based salvation. However if we try to understand it in relation to saved by grace alone, accompanied by obedience to God and His commands, then we are reading the passage inductively before drawing out our deduction. This is faithful to understanding scripture and what my position does in relation to Gen 1-3.

    I appreciate that you are trying to do this but in adding to Genesis an authority of the man over the woman, it is contradicting the passage. Contradictions are not acceptable.

    i.e Cheryl’s big emphasis on inspired words and grammar. But i have shown how this fails simply in Gen 3 with the grammar contradicting her understanding of the passage.

    Actually the grammar does not contradict my view at all.

    The grammar of Gen. 3:22 is obscured but is clear in the actual Hebrew. Man “was” like God.
    Hebrew: “was”, “come to pass”, “came”, “has been”,

    The literal is that the man “was” like God in the original creation but now he has intimately experienced good and evil (implying that he is no longer “like” God as he was created to be). The rebellion of the man brought him into a new dimension and he took on a sin nature that would take the male away from his first created roots. Only the male took on the sin nature of rebellion. The female indeed sinned but she did not do so in direct rebellion so no sin nature was passed on from her to her descendants.

    The grammar is of utmost importance. I will see if I can get a copy of the Hebrew phrase marker analysis into a comment field so you can see it.

  140. #138 Mark,
    You said:

    When God created the human, God created the human as male and female. And God named them human. This is all gender inclusive.

    God didn’t create one person as two genders in one. That has been tried by some egals in their comments on this blog and I don’t accept that egal position. God create a male and he called him human. In creating them male and female He called them both human. God didn’t take the female out of Adam. He took a rib out of Adam and from the rib God created the woman.

    My sentence was regarding Gen 2&3 where the grammar is definatley ‘the man’ not ‘man’ or ‘human’

    I agree that the grammar is “the man”. This refers to none other than the male man. (Now no jokes, guys, about this being the “mail man”!)

    But i think it would be good to discuss what does ‘read into’ mean? 2 options in my opinion.
    1. read into a passage something that is not consistent with scripture.
    2. read into a passage something that IS consistent with scripture (my view).

    You forgot a third option.
    3. read into a passage something that is not in the passage at all.

    I believe that you are doing #3.

    Any time we deduct a meaning from a passage it is vitally important that we look at it inductively- that is, in the broad spectrum of the rest of scripture. My view does this.

    If this was so, Mark, then we would find somewhere where it says that Adam was created to be the authority over the woman. Or we would find that the man was to have authority over all women. Both the man and the woman are said to be the ruler over the home but the man is never said by God to be the legitimate ruler over the woman.

    For example, if we read the book of James just on its own it would appear we have a works based salvation. However if we try to understand it in relation to saved by grace alone, accompanied by obedience to God and His commands, then we are reading the passage inductively before drawing out our deduction. This is faithful to understanding scripture and what my position does in relation to Gen 1-3.

    I appreciate that you are trying to do this but in adding to Genesis an authority of the man over the woman, it is contradicting the passage. Contradictions are not acceptable.

    i.e Cheryl’s big emphasis on inspired words and grammar. But i have shown how this fails simply in Gen 3 with the grammar contradicting her understanding of the passage.

    Actually the grammar does not contradict my view at all.

    The grammar of Gen. 3:22 is obscured but is clear in the actual Hebrew. Man “was” like God.
    Hebrew: “was”, “come to pass”, “came”, “has been”,

    The literal is that the man “was” like God in the original creation but now he has intimately experienced good and evil (implying that he is no longer “like” God as he was created to be). The rebellion of the man brought him into a new dimension and he took on a sin nature that would take the male away from his first created roots. Only the male took on the sin nature of rebellion. The female indeed sinned but she did not do so in direct rebellion so no sin nature was passed on from her to her descendants.

    The grammar is of utmost importance. I will see if I can get a copy of the Hebrew phrase marker analysis into a comment field so you can see it.


  141. I am worried about the theology that Eve was just ‘decieved’ and Adam deliberately sinned. They both deliberately sinned!”

    Eve said she was deceived and Paul in 1 Tim. Agrees that she was deceived. She was deceived and fell into sin. This is different from Adam who was not deceived and deliberately with full awareness (not deceived) choose to sin. You cannot really get around that one. There is a Scripture I think in Hosea, which says that Adam dealt treacherously with God. However, it does not matter how we come to sin, we will still reap the fruit of it if we sin, which is death.

    As for them being banished from the garden, I do think they both needed to leave as it would be dangerous for either one of them to eat from the tree of life in their sinful condition. Perhaps, God knew that the woman would follow him. I don’t know. But it does say that the man was banished and says nothing about Eve.

  142. oops messed up my formatting……

    Mark writes: ”I am worried about the theology that Eve was just ‘decieved’ and Adam deliberately sinned. They both deliberately sinned!”

    Eve said she was deceived and Paul in 1 Tim. Agrees that she was deceived. She was deceived and fell into sin. This is different from Adam who was not deceived and deliberately with full awareness (not deceived) choose to sin. You cannot really get around that one. There is a Scripture I think in Hosea, which says that Adam dealt treacherously with God. However, it does not matter how we come to sin, we will still reap the fruit of it if we sin, which is death.

    As for them being banished from the garden, I do think they both needed to leave as it would be dangerous for either one of them to eat from the tree of life in their sinful condition. Perhaps, God knew that the woman would follow him. I don’t know. But it does say that the man was banished and says nothing about Eve.

  143. Okay, hopefully the graphic came through on everyone’s computer especially for Mark. This is the best way to show the specific grammar of this passage and you should be able to see clearly that the man “was” like God not “is now” like God. You see Jesus told us that there is no truth in satan. He is the father of lies and he did not get this one right. God did not agree with satan that man “had become” just now as God was. No, no, no! Man was created in the image of God and when man rebelled against God and experienced evil, he was no longer “like” God in the same way as he had been created.

    There is so much more that I would like to share. I think pinklight found some of my older posts and linked to them. I would recommend that you read the linked posts as they will shed some light on this important topic. I may sound like a broken record, but the grammar is of key importance. We cannot completely understand these passages until we get the grammar right. It is too bad that our bibles make it seem like man had “just become” like God. That is not what the Hebrew says. Satan is and always has been a liar and God and satan were not agreeing with man would become like God by eating of the fruit.

    I really have to run. I am not yet back for my next flight and time is running out on me tonight. I really love this conversation because it is respectful, deep, passionate and it challenges us all to dig into God’s Word! Keep digging because the deeper we go, the more the Word opens up for us to trust God!

    I will get back to you as soon as I can.
    Cheryl

  144. http://strivetoenter.com/wim/2008/08/25/satan-the-liar-2/

    Earlier I posted the following comments at the link above and have copied and pasted them here since they are relevent to the discussion.

    “Behold the man was like one of us…”

    Cheryl,
    I’m wondering, could this mean that Adam alone became unlike “one of us” because he alone and not the woman ate while not deceived? So Adam alone experienced evil (unlike God) because he ate while not being deceived?? Or am I way off base here?

    “What the serpent is saying is that God experientially “knows” evil as well as good.”
    God does not experientially “know” evil. So Adam alone, and not the woman experientially “knew” evil because Adam alone ate willfully??

    “God is saying “Behold the man was like one of us…” God is not agreeing with satan that the likeness with God came on the day of their eating the fruit but the likeness started on their day of creation. They were like God in the beginning.”
    So God was saying this about Adam but NOT the woman and which has to do with why God did not bannish the woman from the garden – because she did not experience evil like Adam did because she was deceived. So it could not be said by God that the woman “was like one of us” because she did not sin the same way Adam did.
    So while the woman was still like “one of us/God” Adam no longer was???

  145. pinklight,

    Both the man and the woman were “like” God in the beginning, but only the man experienced rebellion “evil”, treason, treachery. This is why only the man was said to need the tree of life guarded by the angel so that he couldn’t get to it. The woman was not in rebellion and was not a threat to disobey God’s withholding the tree of life from the dying pair. Only the man passed on the sin nature to his offspring. It was the woman who experienced deception, while the man experienced evil. Who can understand why he chose to experience evil? Maybe we will have to wait until we are in heaven to ask God why Adam rebelled in such an evil way by letting his wife be destroyed by the enemy.

  146. pinklight,
    The word for “know” here is an intimate experience of. God has no experience with evil since He cannot sin. Adam experienced this evil when he rebelled. The “knowing” or experiencing of evil is what made Adam “unlike” God even though he was made to be “like” his Creator.

  147. If I’m going to be consistent and the man alone was banished which according to the grammar only he was, then also only the man had become unlike God.

    How do I know that “the human” in Gen 1 is inclusive meaning “humankind” while not in Gen 3 where “the human” is banished and has become unlike God? After all, I absolutely believe that Gen 1 is just a further view of the creation account while Gen 2 is a close up of it. So how do I determine when “the human” is inclusive and when it isn’t used in that sense? I think I can now get an idea of why some egals have argued that when God made “the human” in Gen 2 that he made the first singular human being both male and female? So now it appears in my mind as I’m thinking about it presently that in Gen 1 “the human” stands for the very first singular human being made and NOT both of the humans.

    So God made the human in his own image, in the image of God he made him, male and female he made them.

    K, here’s what I think Gen 1 is saying. God made Adam, the singular human being from Gen 2 in his image. So the first person ever made, his HUMANITY was made in God’s image. Then Gen 1 goes on to say that he made “them” male and female, which means that the female has the EXACT(!!) same “humaness” as the male (like a cloning process) therefore since the image of God is their HUMANITY and NOT their gender as they have the exact same flesh and bone therefore there was no need for God to say he made “the humanS” (pl) in his image in Gen 1.

  148. When it says “the human” in Gen 1, 2 and 3 I think they all refer to the singular Adam exculding the woman. Even in Gen 5 when God names them it’s “human” not “the human”.

  149. pinklight,
    You said:

    How do I know that “the human” in Gen 1 is inclusive meaning “humankind”

    “The human” is not plural. It is Adam alone. It doesn’t mean mankind. It means “one of” the human race, in particular the first man Adam.

    So how do I determine when “the human” is inclusive and when it isn’t used in that sense?

    This is pretty easy. When the Bible says “the human” it is specific to one. When it says “them” it is more than one human. When the Bible just says “man” it can mean generic mankind or a specific person. The context will tell us whether “man” means more than one, or generic man, or a specific man. But “the man” can never mean anything else but one specific man.

    So God made the human in his own image, in the image of God he made him, male and female he made them.

    We could translate this verse as “God made the first human in his own image, so that in the image of God, God made him and God made them (male and female God made).

    So that it is exactly as you summarized – that it was humanity that God made in his image. The first of humanity was the man and the male and female were both in his image as both were made in their humanity in the image of God.

  150. If Gen 1 is the same story as Gen 2 but just told in a different way then “the human” in Gen 1 refers to the first person ever created and not the second who was created FROM the first.

  151. pinklight,

    When it says “the human” in Gen 1, 2 and 3 I think they all refer to the singular Adam exculding the woman. Even in Gen 5 when God names them it’s “human” not “the human”.

    You got it!!

    I am going to head off to bed as I have an early start tomorrow. Keep on working through this one because it is important to realize that the grammar is not hit and miss. It is specific and paying attention to the definite nouns will help us to know when God was meant Adam specifically. Those who disregard the grammar will readily accept tradition and it’s interpretation rather than God’s interpretation by the grammar that He inspired.

    I have yet to see that paying close attention to the grammar has ever misled me. I trust that God inspired His Word exactly as He did for a reason. Because of this I want to dig deeply to know what God said so that I can hold on firmly to what is good and let go of what is mere human wisdom which holds to human tradition instead of the wonderful inspired Word of God.

  152. OH, thanks Cheryl for #155! We agree! 🙂

    I do not think that “the human” in Gen 1 should be translated “humankind”.

  153. #156 pinklight,

    If Gen 1 is the same story as Gen 2 but just told in a different way then “the human” in Gen 1 refers to the first person ever created and not the second who was created FROM the first.

    Yes, yes, yes! You got it! Eve is never called “the human”. She is called “woman”. No need for the definite term as there was only one woman there at the time.

  154. Let me add to #158 – Besides even in Gen 2 the progression is from 1 human being to 2, and Gen 1 speaks the same, from the singular “the human” made in God’s image to the plural, 2 (male and female he made them).

    Thanks Cheryl for responding. Night!

  155. A quick response…

    If Adam and Eve’s sin is so different, i.e his is deliberate and hers isnt, why does Eve hide? If Eve’s heart was innocent, she would have had no need to hide or be ashamed.

  156. Cheryl,

    I do believe that my view is consistent with the rest of scripture and im more than happy to begin looking at other texts aswell to help Lauren better understand my position.

    I am still concerned from what you wrote in relation to your doctrine of adam and eves sin if im going to be honest. I’m failing to see how you hold to Eve being a sinner and yet say “At the time that she ate she fully believed that there was no command that brought death. She believed that God was just directing them away from the fruit that would make them equal with God. She no longer believed God meant the command because she was deceived. By being deceived, Eve now believed that what she was doing was a good thing and not a disobedient thing.”

    There is a lot of Eve ‘believed’ this and that in what you are saying. Is this not equally reading into the text?

    In choosing to believe the tempter over God, she rejected God-that is the essence of sin. She had 2 choices, what God told and what the serpent told her, in choosing one, she rejected the other. I cant help but feel you are watering this down. Maybe i am misunderstanding you, i dont know. Are you saying Eve accidently sinned?

  157. #161 Mark,

    If Adam and Eve’s sin is so different, i.e his is deliberate and hers isnt, why does Eve hide? If Eve’s heart was innocent, she would have had no need to hide or be ashamed.

    Eve was not innocent. She sinned. Even though she didn’t sin in a willful way by being rebellious, but because she was deceived, the fact that she sinned cannot be disputed. She fell into transgression through deception and when her eyes were opened to the fact that she had been deceived and she had transgressed God’s laws, she was afraid of God. She knew that she was naked and she was ashamed at being naked in the presence of God. This is what sin does to us.

  158. #162 Mark,

    I am still concerned from what you wrote in relation to your doctrine of adam and eves sin if im going to be honest. I’m failing to see how you hold to Eve being a sinner and yet say “At the time that she ate she fully believed that there was no command that brought death…Eve now believed that what she was doing was a good thing and not a disobedient thing.”

    There is a lot of Eve ‘believed’ this and that in what you are saying. Is this not equally reading into the text?

    I do not believe that this is reading into the text and the reason is because we are told that Eve was fully and completely deceived. So let’s take the time to ask ourselves what she was deceived about? Let’s take this passage apart piece by piece to understand Eve’s deception.

    Gen 3:4 The serpent said to the woman, “You surely will not die!

    The first thing that Eve was deceived about was that she would not die from eating the fruit. God had said that she would die if she ate the fruit, but the serpent said that she would surely not die! Because she believed the lie, she would of necessity no longer believe that there was a consequence to eating the fruit since death was the only consequence that God gave them.

    Gen 3:5 “For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

    Here the serpent tells her what “God knows”. God knows, he said, that you won’t die but He knows that you will be like Him if you at the fruit. This is what Eve believed. She believed that God knew more than He had been telling them. His “scare tactic” was that they would die if they ate the fruit, but the “real” truth was that they would be given the key to be equal to God. Eve believed this. And believing the lie she not only believed that there was no bad consequence for eating the fruit, but there was a huge prize awaiting her if she would just reach out and touch and eat. We know this because she was deceived by the lie and we know what the lie was.

    Gen 3:6 When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes,

    Eve was deceived by the appearance of the beauty fruit and she was deceived to believe that beauty was equal to “good for food” even though God said that the fruit that they were allowed to eat came from fruit trees that had seed bearing fruit. Since we know for sure from the Scripture that God gave Adam and Eve permission to eat from every tree that had seed-bearing fruit (Gen. 1:29), and since we know from chapter 2 that there was only one tree that they were forbidden to eat from, we can be certain that the tree of the knowledge of good and evil did not have seed-bearing fruit. So no matter how beautiful the fruit looked, we know that Eve was deceived to believe that this fruit was “good for food” when it was not good for food.

    Gen 3:6 …and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit

    Eve was fully deceived to believe that the fruit from this tree was “desirable”. This was a passionately desirable thing because it would give her something that was desirable.

    Gen 3:6 …she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate.

    The term “gave” means to present to someone something as a present or a payment. We know for a fact that Eve was fully deceived and she believed the serpent. Her actions after she was deceived was to offer her good fortune to her husband as a gift to him.

    So what do we know for sure from the text? We know for sure what Eve believed because she was deceived to believe what the serpent was saying. Since the serpent contradicted God and Eve believed the serpent, we can know that she stopped believing what God said was true. There may be more that Eve believed but anything that we could add to her belief that is not in the text would be reading into the text.

    In choosing to believe the tempter over God, she rejected God-that is the essence of sin.

    I think that is a leap from the known to the unknown. The text doesn’t say that she rejected God. What we do know is that she believed the serpent’s word that she would be Elohim. The term “like” isn’t actually in the text. The literal Hebrew says that she will be Elohim (God). It is a grammatical plural so it implies that she will be what God is. She isn’t so much rejecting Him as wanting to stand there right beside Him, in essence she would be just as He is.

    She had 2 choices, what God told and what the serpent told her, in choosing one, she rejected the other.

    You are right in that to believe one means not to believe the other, but there is a huge difference in not believing God and outright rejecting Him. After all if she wanted to be God alongside Him, how was that outright rejecting Him? After all they were going to be buddies, right? Side by side gods at that!

    I cant help but feel you are watering this down. Maybe i am misunderstanding you, i dont know. Are you saying Eve accidently sinned?

    I am not watering down her sin. She absolutely sinned. And she suffered the consequences of her sin. But her sin was a result of being taken captive by the enemy without her even knowing that he was the enemy. Paul brings out this point when he writes:

    2 Cor 11:3 But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ.

    Eve was “led astray” into sin. She did not conceive of her sin by herself as Adam did. She was roped into sin and dragged there by having her mind taken over by an expert liar.

    The fact is that God has made a difference between unintentional sin and defiant sin.

    Num 15:28 ‘The priest shall make atonement before the LORD for the person who goes astray when he sins unintentionally, making atonement for him that he may be forgiven.

    Num 15:30 ‘But the person who does anything defiantly, whether he is native or an alien, that one is blaspheming the LORD; and that person shall be cut off from among his people.

    Let’s look again at Eve’s sin. What did God curse because of her sin? God cursed the earth because of Adam’s sin but He did not curse anything on behalf of Eve’s sin. For some reason we have been deceived to believe that God treats all sin in the exact same way. That is not true. Defiant sin is treated as much more severely than unintentional sin.

    Is unintentional sin an “accident”? Well the word “astray” in the Hebrew means to “sin ignorantly”. The Hebrew word for “unintentional” sin means:

    unintentional wrong, accidental error, i.e., a mistake which has culpability, yet the wrongdoing has not been made by intention or commission
    Dictionary of Biblical Languages with Semantic Domains : Hebrew (Old Testament)

    In 2 Cor. 11:3 where Eve is said to have gone “astray”, this word means:

    To corrupt, with the meaning of to subvert or corrupt opinions
    The complete word study dictionary

    1b to lead away a Christian church from that state of knowledge and holiness in which it ought to abide. 1c to be destroyed, to perish. 1d in an ethical sense, to corrupt, deprave.
    The exhaustive concordance of the Bible

    Since those who are led astray are ones who have sinned unintentionally, I think that we can have full confidence that Eve being led astray by the serpent, sinned unintentionally. She still suffered the consequences, but the fact that God held the serpent responsible and God cursed the serpent and all animals because of what one animal did, shows that the blame was laid at the feet of the serpent, not at the feet of the one who sinned unintentionally.

    Does this make more sense? It shows that Eve’s sin was very bad, but the fact that she was led astray allowed God to provide a sacrifice for her unintentional sin that led the way for the Messiah to come through the one who had been deceived. I love this part…the deceiver is destroyed by the seed of the one who was deceived. What the deceiver meant for harm, God has turned around for good for all of us who have faith in the Lord Jesus, our Kinsman Redeemer.

  159. Mark,
    You wrote: “If Adam and Eve’s sin is so different, i.e his is deliberate and hers isnt, why does Eve hide? If Eve’s heart was innocent, she would have had no need to hide or be ashamed.”

    As a concrete example: a little girl who is deceived into sexual favors by a man promising candy and toys will still feel “dirty” when the deed is done.

  160. “Since those who are led astray are ones who have sinned unintentionally, I think that we can have full confidence that Eve being led astray by the serpent, sinned unintentionally. She still suffered the consequences, but the fact that God held the serpent responsible and God cursed the serpent and all animals because of what one animal did, shows that the blame was laid at the feet of the serpent, not at the feet of the one who sinned unintentionally.”

    Cheryl,

    If I may reiterate – many people ARE being taught that God’s words to Eve were “a curse” and not an explanation of the consequesces. But we can read, right there in Genesis 3, that God says only the serpent and the ground were cursed.
    vs.17 “cursed are you above all the wild beasts” & vs.19 “cursed is the ground”

    You wouldn’t believe the surprised responses by fellow Christians when I asked them to read that aloud.

  161. Kay,
    Yes it does surprise people to see that only two things were cursed. For those who still resist, I ask them to look at the words “because you have done this” in Genesis 3:14 and “Because you have…” in Genesis 3:17. I ask them to show me where God said to Eve that anything is being done because of what she did. It isn’t there.

  162. Mark,

    I’d like to say that I really appreciate your obvious devotion to the Lord, your careful attitude concerning sin, and your willingness have respectful discussions without the usual name-calling that degenerates into personal attacks. It is refreshing to find other like-minded believers who want to be Bereans.

  163. I am heading out on the next leg of my trip to Pennsylvania. If you don’t hear from me for awhile, this is why. I will try to pop in now and again and will be back by next Wednesday for sure.

  164. …that will be right after “What is the name of the fruit Eve picked in the Garden of Eden?” a. apple, b. pear, c. forbidden, or d. show me the verse

  165. “Since those who are led astray are ones who have sinned unintentionally, I think that we can have full confidence that Eve being led astray by the serpent, sinned unintentionally.”

    The serpent seems more aware of what the Lord God said than the woman was and then adds to what God said. In Matthew 4 Jesus is victorious because He knows the Scripture better than Satan (well, of course) – so I take that as a lesson for staying out of deception. Study the scriptures.

  166. Mark said (a bunch of comments ago, not sure which number it is)

    Do egalitarians believe…
    1. That women only were under men because of the fall. Pre-fall they were totally equal.
    2. With the new covenant of Christ, women were redeemed from the curses of Gen 3, therefore we are again all equal in every aspect of life? Help please!

    Answer:
    1. God never mandated that women were to be under men either before or after the fall. Men and women have always been equal and even in the future in the coming kingdom men and women will rule together.

    2. Women had no curse place on them. In fact neither did man, however God did curse the earth because of Adam’s sin. In the new covenant, God is working from the inside out freeing the last vestiges of man’s tradition.

    Thanks for asking these questions! I do appreciate your input also. It is so good to have someone questioning what we (I) believe in a respectful fashion. Mark you are appreciated!

  167. Mark,

    Also Cheryl, how have you come to the conclusion that the curse of the woman is not a mandate given by God, but just a prophecy of what fallen man would do? Could you point me to the text where it explains this?

    I don’t think I answered this one yet.

    There is no “curse” on the woman first of all and the prophesy given to the woman is never given as a command. The woman is not told to be under her husband and God did not command the man to rule over the woman. If it was a mandate, then it would seen terribly odd that God never gave the mandate to the man. God also did not tell the woman how she must react to the man’s rule. He did not mandate her response because he was not commanding her but giving her a prophesy. A prophesy is telling the future in advance. Did God tell Eve what her husband would do in his rebellious, sinful state? You bet!

    I am always happy to entertain questions, challenges or just plain passionate discussion. Sure wish I had the ability to keep up with the conversation while I am away on ministry business.

    Anyways, go ahead and respond to each other. I have to be up at 3 am for an early flight.

    ZZZZzzzzzz……..

  168. I would like to echo Cheryl. Yes, Mark you are appreciated. Sometimes, it seems like you might be irritated with the conversation in your answers. But I still see you make the efforts to be respectful in your disagreements and questions.

    blessing to you, brother in the Lord…

  169. Dear Egalitarian friends,

    Thankyou for your kind words.

    I have no quirks in understnading that God judges sins differently. What i am trying to point out is that ALL sin has the same result- seperation from God. So my concern lies in Cheryl believing that Eve could have stayed in the garden because she wasn’t a threat. This is disagree with.

    I do believe Eve was deceived into sinning. I do believe Adam was held more accountable. But i don’t beieve that Eve wasn’t banished. If i understand that Eden was where God dwelt on earth with perfect sinless people, then it is incomprehensible to think Eve ‘could’ have stayed in the garden as a sinner in the presence of God. SO therefore they both must have been banished.
    It seems far more reasonable to me that ‘the man’ is spoken to for the precise reasons we have already discussed. He ‘listened’ to his wife instead of God. He is held accountable for this. He indeed is the ‘head’ of Eve if i can throw that in. As such God deals with him in this way as the leader.
    I am truly intersted in further discussing the idea of ‘head’ as i think Kay brought it up earlier in relation to Corinthians. Any thoughts.

  170. I am also more interested in the idea the Eve wasn’t a part of a curse and therefore what God said to her was a prophecy not a curse.

    With the flow of the passage i struggle to see this. Eve’s ‘talking to’ falls directly under the curses of the serpent. However before God issues the curses in relation to Adam there is disruption in the flow where God address’ Adam for listening to Eve. So it is sensible to see why God has to re-address the use of the word ‘curse’ It seems hard to me to seperate the flow of the chapter between the serpent and Eve. What is discussed with her fits snuggly into the flow of the chapter and the curse of the serpent. Perhaps someone can show me in the text why we should make this seperation. Is there any indication in the Hebrew that what is addressed to Eve doesn’t fall under the banner of ‘curse’ with the flow of the text.

    I know the argument of it doesn’t say ‘curse’ with eve, but what i am asking is, is there any indication in the Hebrew to seperate the 2

  171. Mark,
    While all sin shows that we all need a Savior since sin separates us from a Holy God, not all sin affects us the same way. We all fail daily to live up to God’s perfect standard, but there are practiced sins listed in the Bible where practicing such sins will remove us from the kingdom of God.

    So my concern lies in Cheryl believing that Eve could have stayed in the garden because she wasn’t a threat. This is disagree with.

    Mark, where do you get the idea that the garden was where God lived? The garden was man’s home, not God’s home. God met man there because this is where man was. It is very important to pay attention to the text because it will correct our errors.

    The issue is why was Adam kicked out of the garden? It wasn’t because God walked with Adam there and so Adam needed to be away from the presence of God. The text specifically says that Adam had to be kept from the tree of life so that he would not live forever in his sinful state. The text does not say that he had to be kept from the garden because that is where God was.

    Eve was not kicked out of the garden because her sin separated her from God so that she could no longer be in the garden. Keeping people away from God is never, ever said in the text. I challenge you to read it again and show me where God separated Himself from man. Remember it is the man and the woman who hid from God, not the other way around. God did not hide Himself from them. He came into the garden to talk to them and confront them even though He knew that they had sinned. God did not separate Himself from their sin. He confronted them and He provided a covering for their nakedness.

    So the issue of whether Eve was kicked out of the garden has to center around eating of another now forbidden fruit. It has nothing to do with walking with God or forgiveness. It has to do with obedience. Adam was willfully disobedient with the first tree that was forbidden. The very fact that God did not say that Eve may reach out her hand and take of the fruit of the tree of life reveals that there was no rebellion in her heart. Now that Eve knew the truth of her deception, there would be no problem of her obedience in obeying God’s command to not eat from the tree of life should she have stayed in the garden.

    Again, please note that the issue was not the garden home. The issue was eating the fruit of the tree of life when God told them that they would die if they ate of the forbidden fruit. There was no need to banish Eve unless she had a rebellious nature. The fact is that she did not. The rebellion did not come into the world through the man and the woman. Scripture is very specific that it came through the man alone. Each was treated as an individual and if sin came through the woman as an inherited rebellion, then the Scriptures would have told us this truth.

    If i understand that Eden was where God dwelt on earth with perfect sinless people, then it is incomprehensible to think Eve ‘could’ have stayed in the garden as a sinner in the presence of God.

    Where do you get this from? God has always showed Himself to sinful man since all men are now sinful since the fall. The Scriptures teach us about many humans who walked with God. God did not stay away from them just because they were sinful. That may be a tradition, but it isn’t the truth of Scripture.

    If God could not walk with man at all if man is sinful, then the last episode of God walking in the garden calling for the man and then speaking to Adam and Eve would not have happened. God does not hide Himself from sinful man.

    You say that Eve was banished from the garden, but reason alone will not do to prove your point. Where does the text say that Eve was a threat to the tree of life or that Eve was banished from the garden? I don’t think that we are allowed to bring on Eve restrictions that God didn’t give her. The issue of restricting women outside of the text starts right from Genesis. This is one of the reasons why this blog exists. Tradition tells us that Eve was kicked out of the garden, that Eve deceived Adam into eating of the forbidden fruit and that Eve was just as sinful as Adam was. This is tradition, but it is not Scripture.

    It seems far more reasonable to me that ‘the man’ is spoken to for the precise reasons we have already discussed. He ‘listened’ to his wife instead of God.

    The problem with this view is that Eve is not said to have spoken to Adam when she gave him the fruit. The only voice of Eve’s that is recorded is when she was talking to the serpent. Adam “listened” to Eve talking to the serpent and he listened while she was being deceived, but he did not “listen” to his wife while she tried to convince him to eat. Adam did not say that Eve begged him to eat or convinced him to eat when God questioned him on what he did. He merely said that she gave him the fruit and he ate. If we add to the text, then we add a sinful action that is not recorded in the Scripture.

    He indeed is the ‘head’ of Eve if i can throw that in. As such God deals with him in this way as the leader.

    God says not one word about Adam being the leader. If this was true, then please tell me why Adam was not called to account to speak for Eve? Surely if we can add to the Scriptures that Adam was the “leader” then why did Adam not act as a leader and why did God not hold him accountable for anything other than his own sin? This is a very important point and needs to be addressed.

    Thanks for your consideration in proving your view from the Scriptures. I look forward to hearing what else you have to say and the Biblical proof that you have for your view.

    And yes, if anyone should be thinking why I am not sleeping, I am sleepless tonight. Hubby woke up with feeling sick from a cold and he is here reading a book while I am typing. I think this is going to catch up to us for the weekend. Hopefully we can sleep on the plane.

  172. Mark,
    You said:

    With the flow of the passage i struggle to see this. Eve’s ‘talking to’ falls directly under the curses of the serpent. However before God issues the curses in relation to Adam there is disruption in the flow where God address’ Adam for listening to Eve. So it is sensible to see why God has to re-address the use of the word ‘curse’ It seems hard to me to seperate the flow of the chapter between the serpent and Eve. What is discussed with her fits snuggly into the flow of the chapter and the curse of the serpent. Perhaps someone can show me in the text why we should make this seperation. Is there any indication in the Hebrew that what is addressed to Eve doesn’t fall under the banner of ‘curse’ with the flow of the text.

    I know the argument of it doesn’t say ‘curse’ with eve, but what i am asking is, is there any indication in the Hebrew to seperate the 2

    Yes there is indication in the Hebrew and in the English. The separation in the text is God’s direct words to each individual. God speaks to each “sinner”. The serpent is told that he is cursed and the curse is directly related to what he has done. “Because you have done this…” God said. Adam is addressed and God deals with his sin and curses the earth because of what Adam did. God also deals directly with the woman. God does not deal with the woman through the man. He deals with her regarding her sin and her claim to having been deceived. He accepts her claim and he curses the serpent without a word from the serpent. He gives a prophesy to the serpent but related to the woman that her seed he will be destroyed. God gives no prophesy to the man and God gives no positive outcome that would come from the man.

    The verses are broken up into the persons whom God spoke directly to and nothing can break this “flow”. One cannot bring a curse on the woman because of God’s curse on the serpent. God brought a blessing through the woman, not a curse. She would bring the Messiah and the Messiah did not come through a cursed human being.

    Later when Adam names Eve, he admits by naming her that she is the mother of all living. Adam on the other hand is father of all the dying. Through Adam we did. Through Eve and her seed we live. When we treat Eve as equal in sin with Adam we will fail to see that God’s mercy came through her and her seed while Adam’s treachery brought sin into the world. If Adam and Eve’s sin was the same, then there cannot be any reasonable explanation for God treating them differently. After all are we willing to say that had Adam as Eve’s “head” sinned and she had not, that Adam’s sin would have been imputed to her? Eve was not “in” Adam when he sinned so Eve could not have had sin put on her account because of Adam.

    I hope this helps. The issue of the authority of the man is a very important issue. I will be dealing with this as soon as I can when I am back at home. I will deal with the man’s authority in the issue of the man’s “covering”. I think it will be a very interesting discussion and I sure hope that you stick around Mark. I would love to have you participate.

  173. Mark,

    Your wrote:”So it is sensible to see why God has to re-address the use of the word ‘curse’ It seems hard to me to seperate the flow of the chapter between the serpent and Eve. What is discussed with her fits snuggly into the flow of the chapter and the curse of the serpent. Perhaps someone can show me in the text why we should make this seperation.”

    So, are you saying, you think that God had a plan of male leadership that was a blessing before the Fall and then a curse afterward?

  174. “If i understand that Eden was where God dwelt on earth with perfect sinless people, then it is incomprehensible to think Eve ‘could’ have stayed in the garden as a sinner in the presence of God.”

    Jesus was God and he lived among us.

  175. “With the flow of the passage i struggle to see this. Eve’s ‘talking to’ falls directly under the curses of the serpent.”

    Why would you think that God’s curses are thrown around without discretion? Cursing is serious. Adam and Eve were forewarned what would happen if they ate the fruit. It was a test. They failed and reaped the results. They were babes. God was just.

    The serpent (and Satan) however may not have been been part of the test for the humans. We don’t know. He may have just inserted himself in the whole thing wanting God’s new creatures to fail because he was jealous that they were made in the image of God, which he was not. So, it was just for the serpent to reap a result for his part in deceiving the woman. And that result would be one that would be a reminder that such evil intents don’t get a free pass, slithering along the ground on his belly for ever.

    Then when God was talking to the man He notes that Adam deliberately disobeyed and God specifically cursed the ground (because of him) and not Adam (which interestingly also affects the serpent since he would now slither on the ground). God said nothing of this sort to the woman. All of God’s words to the woman are a warning of how life would now be.

  176. ““If i understand that Eden was where God dwelt on earth with perfect sinless people, then it is incomprehensible to think Eve ‘could’ have stayed in the garden as a sinner in the presence of God.””

    That is a reasonable point. But the fact still remains that God addressed only the man to send him, not them, out of the garden. Perhaps, he wanted to see what the woman would choose to do, perhaps she needed to make her own choice in it, and also God likely knew that she would follow him.

  177. TL: “All of God’s words to the woman are a warning of how life would now be.”

    Men (not all. Like not you Mark and many of the good, godly men who comment here.) tend to be obsessed with “Who’s the boss.”
    They (the obsessed ones) get all in a twist over who has the last word, who has the veto power etc.
    They (the obsessed ones) really need to examine their hearts as to why their position of authority is so important the them that they need to add to God’s words in order to defend their privilege.
    They (the obsessed ones), at least some of them, will not acknowledge the bitterness and insecurity within their own hearts nor will they admit they need healing.
    They (some of the obsessed ones) would rather blame women or God for things than deal with darkness within themselves or false doctrine in the teachings and traditions of men.

    My words may sound bitter. And I apologize.
    My name means bitter and God is still working with me on it. I’m better than I used to be. But I still have a ways to go.
    But one thing I know.
    Women are not the only ones that deal with bitterness.
    Mark, I’m not blaming you in any way of either being bitter or causing bitterness in others. But since I know bitterness, I recognize it very well in others. Again. Not you. You have been gracious and decent in all your words here. But in most all of the men who proclaim male headship loudly and defend it vehemently, there is a root of bitterness which springing up defiles many.

    Bless your heart, Mark.
    May the Lord lead you in all truth, as I hope He leads us all on this path of Life and Light.

  178. Wow have you all been busy. I have been spending a long weekend with my wife on a belated 25th wedding aniversary in AZ and have fallen far behind. So, I will not try to make up ground, but simply join the discussion in progress.

    Cheryl – as a side note, I see parts of Genesis 3:17 as prophetic for the man. Actually, there is a poetic flow to the Genesis 3 account in my opinion. Let me share:

    vs 14a – Charge against serpent – The LORD God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this,”
    vs 14b – Curse against serpent – “Cursed are you more than all cattle, And more than every beast of the field;”
    vs 14c – Punishment against serpent – “On your belly you will go; and dust you will eat all the days of your life;”
    vs 15 – Prophecy for serpent/Eve – “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, and you shall bruise him on the heel.”
    vs 16a – Punishment against Eve (females) – To the woman he said, “I will greatly multiply your pain in childbirth, in pain you will bring forth children;”
    vs 16b – Prophecy for Adam/Eve – “Yet your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.”

    Vs 16 completes a pattern – Charge, Curse, Punishment, Prophecy, Punishment, Prophecy. In verse 17 the pattern begins again.

    vs 17a – Charge against Adam – Then to Adam He said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree about which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat from it’;”
    vs 17b – Curse against Adam – “Cursed is the ground because of you;”
    vs 17c – Punishment against Adam/mankind – “”In toil you will eat of it [the ground] all the days of your life”
    vs 17d – Prophecy for Adam/mankind – “Both thorns and thistles it shall grow for you”
    vs 17e – Punishment against Adam (males) – “By the sweat of your face You will eat bread”
    vs 17f – Prophecy for Adam/mankind – “Till you return to the ground, because from it you were taken”

    Furthermore, each of the 4 punishments outlines a difficulty in life:
    For the serpent in 14c – difficulty surviving (or, perhaps, thriving)
    For Eve (females) in 16a – difficulty accomplishing the population mandate for humanity.
    For Adam and mankind in 17c – again, difficulty surviving
    For Adam (males) in 17e – difficulty accomplishing the dominion (over the earth) mandate for humanity.

    Note that the mandates are given to man and woman equally, but the difficulties in each seem to have some (although not universal) gender specificity.

    And each of the 4 Prophecies outlines a type of warfare in life:
    For the serpent and Eve in 15 – warfare in the spiritual realm
    For Adam and Eve in 16b – warfare in marriage
    For Adam and mankind in 17d – warfare with the earth (ground)
    For mankind in 17f – warefare within our mortal bodies (which we will lose)

    Just some food for thought. Of course, Cheryl’s points are so important – each character in the drama is addressed directly and individually, Adam does not speak for Eve, nor Eve for Adam, nobody gets off without punishment, but only the serpent and Adam are charged and have curses related to their actions.

  179. gengwall, I’m going to respectfully disagree with you on some things in your outline. While I recognize some careful thought in it, I also see some problems.

    First some foundational thoughts. God stated the punishment for disobeying Him clearly and repeatedly to both the human and his woman. Disobedience would bring death. God’s punishments are not the same as a human parent spanking a child to dissuade him/her from doing wrong. Basically, God does not punish. God judges and rewards according to the bent of what was done. It is more in line with and similar to reaping what we sow. So no more reward for disobedience than death was due to humanity for their disobedience. Death is sufficient; in fact more than sufficient. It’s all part of a supernatural plan to produce godly seed, and godly people for God. God does not go on and on and add punishments upon punishments just because He is upset with them. He is clear. He was clear. Disobey this important test (but not just a test because it had to do with life everlasting and knowledge of good and evil), and there would be bad results, they would die. God did not say that they would also be punished in various unstated ways. They were clearly warned.

    The serpent (and Satan) was not warned. They jumped into the picture on their own. The serpent as the cleverest of all creatures acted on his own willing initiative (though I believe with Satan’s help) and cooked up a scheme to cause and encourage the humans to disobey. Likely, all the heavens heard God’s warnings to the humans not to eat. The serpent (and Satan) wanted the humans to disobey. He acted with malice, great malice. God judged him and rewarded him with a curse that really was not equal to the judgment the serpent caused the humans to bring upon themselves, but would last equally throughout history. Serpents would from then on slither in the dirt on their bellies. This was a just reward. And because Satan had participated in making himself an enemy of the race of humans God had created in His image, then God would say that now Satan would become the enemy of the future Messiah and that the Messiah would win. Bruising the head was akin to crushing it IMO.

    When God addressed the woman, He did not phrase it as a curse. Neither did He say, “because you have done this”. These are both formulae for a legal statement. Instead God warned the woman what would come. All of what was said to the woman was/is a result of death. Pain, toil, travailing, etc. are all part of death, not part of life. In heaven all pain, toiling, tears, travailing, torments, etc. will be done away with. They are part of death and something not experienced in Eden. Mashal, is what the husband would respond to the woman’s turning and yearning toward the man, and means harsh rule or domination. This is also part of the result of death of their spirits and living in a dying body.

    When God addressed the man, He used both formulae of “because you have:”, and “cursed is”. But God did not curse the man, and instead cursed the ground which would again affect the serpent who would be crawling on his belly on it for all of his life on earth. (remember when Christ cursed the fig tree for not producing?) IMO, this is the place we need to put our brains to work to wonder about.

    1. What does God mean by ba’avurekha, on account of you, or for your sake?
    2. Is this something to protect the man and humans from the serpents?
    3. Are not thorns and weeds part of death, just like flies are born from death?

  180. TL – Thanks for the input. It is a work in progress and very much a “draft”. I am not hung up much on terms, but a “judgement” to me is “you are guilty” (a foregone conclusion within the charge “because you have done”, IMO), while something like “I will greatly multiply your pain” sure sounds punishing. But “tomAtoe, tomatoe”.

    “When God addressed the woman, He did not phrase it as a curse…”

    I believe I have said as much. Nowhere do I claim a “curse” for the woman in the outline.

  181. yes, a work in progress for all of us, gengwall. 🙂

    I have trouble with the idea that the woman is punished in being a woman, by making birthing specifically troublesome. IMO it is much much more attributable to the outcome of death in the world, the same as disease, birth deformities, pain and toil.

  182. Good stuff, gengwall.
    I find all the patterns in Hebrew literature fascinating. Understanding how the ancient Hebrews wrote matters greatly in comprehending the meaning. Ancient Hebrews used their literary conventions to impart meaning to their careful readers. But today, we read the Bible and expect to fully understand it on the first reading. But the Scriptures were never meant to be understood that way – they were meant to be poured over, to be wrestled with, to be an integral part of peoples thoughts.

  183. Yeah TL – I don’t really have a problem with that per se, although, as you have said, death in itself is the ultimate punishment. But one can’t deny that the specific whatever-you-call-it, i.e. “pain in childbirth” is uniquely female and appropriately directed only to Eve (and women). That is a reality you need to account for, whatever the terms you use. I will point out that I do see a parallel for men.

    The point is that neither gender gets “off scot free” for their sin. But as Cheryl has said, the judgement, if you will, for the woman has a strikingly different structure to it than what befalls the man and serpent. I think on that we agree without question.

  184. TL,

    I’ve wrestled with that pain in child birth issue and I can’t look for it at the moment…but there is evidence in some ancient Hebrew man. that what is being referred to is not necessarily the actual labor and delivery birth process, but the painful process having one son kill the other.

  185. Kay – I have heard a semi-parallel interpretation, in that it is the “pain” in raising children in a fallen world. In that way, it is less universally female (certainly men are involved in such activities), but still possibly a burden borne more by women than men. Likewise, the burden of wrestling with the soil, while not universally male, is somewhat borne more by males. I know that such ideas raise a whole other boat load of concerns, caveats, and complaints, but they are part of the whole interpretive melieu.

  186. “They shall not labor in vain,
    or bear children for calamity…
    The wolf and the lamb shall feed together,
    the lion shall eat straw like the ox…” (Isaiah 65:23-25)

    “Unto the woman he said, “I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children.”

    The KJV actually comes closer to the original intent than many other translations. The word translated sorrow in the KJV and pain in the NIV is used only 3 times in the Bible and while pain is a possible meaning, it isn’t translated that way anywhere else. The KJV’s sorrow is the preferred use.

    By the way, the second time the word pain appears in the NIV’s version (with pain you will give birth to children) it comes from a different Hebrew word, used 7 times in the Bible. But that one isn’t translated pain anywhere else either. Again, sorrow is preferred as in the KJV rendering. Both these words come from the Hebrew root atsab. It appears 17 times, ten of which are rendered grieve, and once again pain is never used.
    Which begs the question: were the modern translators more influenced by their perceptions and/or personal experience concerning childbirth than by the intent of the Hebrew?

  187. It is best that we not go off on bunny trails. There are several core assertions by Mark and responses by Cheryl that need to be concluded. One in particular interests me (mainly because I too believed it for a long time): that is that Adam is the “leader” of Eve (and the first family). Only one point from Genesis 3 has been put forth to support such an idea: Adam was approached first which designates him the leader.

    We do know that Adam was approached first. There is no argument on that point. The question is why (assuming God had a reason and did not simply address the two randomly)? Although “Adam is leader” is certainly possible, Cheryl’s assertion that Adam committed the more egregious act is equally as possible and, I believe, more plausible given the supporting text. What do we have left that can help us determine the proper answer? Cheryl adds the following to her argument:

    Adam was not called to answer for Eve (something any leader must do)
    Eve was addressed separately and equally by God, both during the “trial” and during “judgement”.
    The consequences from Adam’s act were far greater than from Eve’s (bringing death to the world, bringing a curse onto the ground, bringing eviction from the garden, whether for him alone or for them both)
    Every biblical writer who has commented on Genesis 3 comes to the above conclusions. Likewise, no biblical writer says one word about Adam being the pre-fall leader of Eve, or of him being accountable for her actions.

    My reading of the text, whether in Hebrew or English, accords these arguments the status of fact. Although Mark has rumbled a little against them, I don’t see how anyone can deny that that is exactly what happened.

    Conversely, the only argument from the subsequent text that seems to support Adam’s leadership is “he shall rule over you”. Mark takes that as a remedy. I see it as a prophetic consequence. In either case, it is post-fall, so it can’t possibly be used to establish Adamic leadership pre-fall.

    So, the only position that garners any evidence from the entire passage is Cheryl’s. Scripture remains mute on any leadership role for Adam pre-fall but has plenty to say about Adam’s crimes. I would maintain that, at the very least, the preponderance of evidence indicates that God sought out the more craven criminal first.

    Frankly, if I look at this from a dramatic point of view, I imagine Eve being still a little shell shocked by the whole thing, while Adam knew what he had done all along. It is only fitting that God would deal with the intentional perpetrator before the deceived one.

    I would hope that would settle the question. Although some people continue to hold out hope that Adam was Eve’s superior in the garden, it is still a baseless hope. At any rate, God did not deal with Adam in the same way He has dealt with every other accountable “leader” throughout history. That fact in and of itself should eliminate an Adamic leadership paradigm from our minds. If Adam wasn’t called to be accountable for Eve, then Adam simply wasn’t accountable for Eve.

    And I hope that the “Eve was deceived; Adam intentionally sinned” debate would be soon resolved. I simply can’t see any other possibility. Frankly, any good complimentarian can’t come to any other conclusion, since, in their interpretation, “Adam was not deceived, but the woman [Eve] was deceived and fell into temptation [in the garden]”. Now, I don’t subscribe to Eve being “the woman”, but a true complimentarian must. Anyway, interpretations of 1 Timothy 2:14b not withstanding, there is a huge amount of evidence just with Paul that Adam’s sin had a different dynamic than Eve’s.

    p.s. Thanks Kay – it is actually our 26th this year but we didn’t do anything for our 25th when we, along with the rest of the world, were tightening our belts, so this was out belated celebration.

  188. “Conversely, the only argument from the subsequent text that seems to support Adam’s leadership is “he shall rule over you”. Mark takes that as a remedy. I see it as a prophetic consequence. In either case, it is post-fall, so it can’t possibly be used to establish Adamic leadership pre-fall.”

    That is why I posed this question to Mark:
    So, are you saying, you think that God had a plan of male leadership that was a blessing before the Fall and then a curse afterward?

  189. Mark,
    ” I would maintain that, at the very least, the preponderance of evidence indicates that God sought out the more craven criminal first.”

    That makes excellent sense to me.

    ” Frankly, if I look at this from a dramatic point of view, I imagine Eve being still a little shell shocked by the whole thing, while Adam knew what he had done all along. It is only fitting that God would deal with the intentional perpetrator before the deceived one.”

    Exactly!

    ” I would hope that would settle the question. Although some people continue to hold out hope that Adam was Eve’s superior in the garden, it is still a baseless hope.”

    And pointless of eternal holy values as well. Such a proposal only supports and promotes negatives in life: pride, arrogance, controlling attitudes, demeaning the value of woman’s input, silencing women, giving women personal devalue problems, and great opportunity for abuse from those so inclined.

    Kay, this is an excellent Scripture:

    ” “They shall not labor in vain,?or bear children for calamity…?The wolf and the lamb shall feed together,?the lion shall eat straw like the ox…” (Isaiah 65:23-25)”

    It sounds to me as if Isaiah had a different understanding of the Gen. 3 Scriptures than we do today. Isaiah makes good sense.

  190. Cheryl, thaankyou for your questions and answers,

    I see the garden as the place where God dwells with man- i think we would agree with this. I also agree that it was Adam and Eves home not God’s, for God is not physical, nor is he bound physically. But what i do see is the resemblance of this situation in the tabernacle, the temple, in Christ. The garden was where God dwelled unhindered by sin with mankind. Except God was bound in the temple etc because of hi holiness and our sinfulness.

    I don’t dispute you in regards to the tree of life needing to be protected, but in the bigger scheme, as with most scholars, what i am suggesting is consistent. As such Eve, as a sinner, was most definately a threat to the tree. If i understand sin to be a total corruption of our original nature, and complete seperateness from God, then i can’t agree to your interpretation. Regardless of whether her sin was intentional or not, she was still a sinner. Sin corrupts us, so she was most definately a threat.

    “Now that Eve knew the truth of her deception, there would be no problem of her obedience in obeying God’s command to not eat from the tree of life should she have stayed in the garden”

    Cheryl do you think that as sinners we can be obedient to God? Just because Eve supposedly ‘knew’ her deception, does that negate what sin does to us? Sin makes us to everything contrary to what we should be doing. It is only by the grace of God, and HIs spirit that we are able to obey Him- it has absolutely nothing to do with us. I have emense trouble agreeing with your understanding of sin and its effects.

    “There was no need to banish Eve unless she had a rebellious nature. The fact is that she did not. ”
    Is sin not precisely a rebelilon against a Holy God. She 100% DID have a rebelious nature. If she didn’t then she wouldn’t have been a sinner. Even if you want to claim she didn’t rebel before the fall, it is very incosistent with the nature of sin to claim that as a sinner she was not rebellious.

    “The rebellion did not come into the world through the man and the woman. Scripture is very specific that it came through the man alone.”
    I agree with you on this, but not in the way you might think. I agree that scripture does say that sin came through ‘one man’. This is indeed supportive of the comp position also which holds the man as the leader. So guess you read it very literally, and i see it as metaphoric in relation to his role as the man.

    “Where do you get this from? God has always showed Himself to sinful man since all men are now sinful since the fall. The Scriptures teach us about many humans who walked with God. God did not stay away from them just because they were sinful. That may be a tradition, but it isn’t the truth of Scripture.”
    God has never walked with sinful man in ALL hs glory as with Eden. What is Ezekiel adn Isaiah’s response to seeing the ‘likeness’ of God in their visions. If God as a holy God, and man as sinful can walk hand in hand in the way you seem to be suggesting, then God is indeed not Holy and man not sinful.

    “God says not one word about Adam being the leader. If this was true, then please tell me why Adam was not called to account to speak for Eve? Surely if we can add to the Scriptures that Adam was the “leader” then why did Adam not act as a leader and why did God not hold him accountable for anything other than his own sin? This is a very important point and needs to be addressed.”

    Cheryl this does indeed need to be addressed. It needs to be addressed because you don’t seem to understand the comp position. Please show me where any true comp claims that the man is resposible for the woman’s sin. We don’t hold to that. Eve is accountable for her sin like Adam. Adam is also held accountable for his lack of leadership in this situation. That is why he is the primary person dealt with in the Genesis account.

    ” He gives a prophesy to the serpent but related to the woman that her seed he will be destroyed. ”
    So your happy Cheryl to throw what is said to the serpent to relate to Eve, but not happy to understand what is said to Eve in relation to the serpent? Seems like you are picking and choosing.

    “If Adam and Eve’s sin was the same, then there cannot be any reasonable explanation for God treating them differently. ”
    Of course there can be- they are different people with different roles. Take the Kings as an example. They were equally guilty of sin as the Jews, however their ‘role’ as leader made them particular responsible for God’s judgement upon the nation. Your argument does not hold up.

    I think we need to keep in mind, why this was written, who it was written for, the historical context it was written in, before taking a direct literal rendering of the passage. None the less Cheryl, you continue to be challenging and i hope your trip goes well.

  191. Kay,

    I think the pattern of leadership which emerges throughout the rest of scripture teaches us something about Eden.

    I believe that yes Adam was the leader before the fall. I believe the fall corrupted this leadership- i’m not sure whether i would use the word ‘curse’ in my description though.

  192. gengwell,

    i appreciate you attempt to resolve the issues above. It was very well written and easy to read. Obviously i disagree with your conclusion. Let me first start by critiqing and then giving my opinion.
    1. Where in Gen 3 does it say Adam ‘intentionally’ sinned. He is charged for ‘listening’ to his wife. This is ‘read into’.
    2. Cheryl’s literal approach has failed to recognise the great implications of sin, since she insists that Eve was not a ‘threat’ to the tree of life. I totally disagree with her doctrine of sin, and as such her analysis of the banishment is suspect in my opinion.
    3 ALL the key passages for ‘equality’ have not been proven to show this. The’image of God’ has failed to be shown as equal. Adam’s exclamation of Eve really does nothing to promote total equality without distinctions of roles. The ‘one flesh’ verse is never used in scripture to promote the egalitarian view of equality.
    4. I am hesitant to understand if Cheryl believes that the ‘death’ that was promised from God was only physical or spiritual aswell.

    Now my view
    1. Adam is made first, spoken to first, the primary recipient of God’s banishment. This creation ‘order’ is significant once we begin a looking at other passages. Paul most definately sees a creation order in 1 Cor 11
    2 God give’s Adam the primary role of the ‘caretaker’ of the garden, and Eve is made as his helper. This does not contradict the mandate to subdue the earth, but fits with it. This is significant if we are going to see that God does actually designate ‘roles’, although we are equal in essence.
    3. Adam is the only one who ‘names’ the animals. Likewise Adam ‘names’ his wife. That is a role Eve doesn’t have
    4. Both are equally sinful by rejecting what God has said (there eyes were opened), and in Eve’s case listening to the serpent, and Adam listening to his wife.
    5. The ‘one flesh’ verse is used by Paul to demonstrate the covenant with Christ and the Church. This is most definately not ‘equal’ as im sure we will discuss further on.
    6. I think an obvious one we didn’t discuss is the physical differences. God coud have made babies any way he wanted, but he chose to make male and female different. Why can you accept that there are obvious physical differences, but God wouldn’t give other differences. This is contradictory to what we know about the different natures, emotions etc that men and women have.

    What i am certain of is this. Both sides ‘read’ into the text to prove there points. I hope that you can all see this. This has been one of my main issues when egalitarians only claim that it is comps who read into texts. Ultimately we can never be 100% certain that our view is right- but what is more consistent with scripture is the key. I hope our furhter discussions reveal this.

  193. One last point

    ” Frankly, if I look at this from a dramatic point of view, I imagine Eve being still a little shell shocked by the whole thing, while Adam knew what he had done all along. It is only fitting that God would deal with the intentional perpetrator before the deceived one.”

    Nothing in the text makes us think it unfolded this way. Both their eyes were opened. They both made clothes to cover BOTH their shame. They both hid in the garden. Nothing in this makes poor little Eve sound ‘shell shocked’. SO therefore it is most dinately NOT fitting to come to this conclusion why God spoke to Adam first. This comes dangerously close to saying that Eve didn’t infact sin. There is nothing innocent about sin. It is a rejection of God. I hope we can all agree on that. Being ‘decieved’ doesn’t make her innocent.

  194. sorry one more last point.

    TL, im sorry you even said this

    “And pointless of eternal holy values as well. Such a proposal only supports and promotes negatives in life: pride, arrogance, controlling attitudes, demeaning the value of woman’s input, silencing women, giving women personal devalue problems, and great opportunity for abuse from those so inclined.”

    Again i will say it. Perhaps you need to better look at what comp teaching is. Frankly to introduce the idea of fostering abuse is offensive to the position- it does no such thing if actually understood. I could equally bring in the arguments for egalitarianism= homosexuality acceptance which has historical accuracy. But i think these arguments are actually damaging to us understanding what the other believes. I dont think you promote homosexuality(well i hope not) nor do i think what i say promotes abuse. Both extremes of each others so called positions are hardly an accurate analysis of the views.

  195. Perhaps you misunderstand me, Mark. I am not suggesting that all comps foster abusiveness. I am saying that the teachings of male rule of women sets up a paradigm wherein those who are inclined toward abuse find it supports their inclinations of abusiveness. Sadly, I do believe it to be so. This does not negate the many comp men who believe their ‘ruling’ to be benign and benevolent and supportive of women. In many cases it seems so. But not in all cases. I have seen too much heartache to forget.

    I am in my sixties now and retired. Traditionalism, including male leadership in home and church is what I was raised on. I do understand the teachings well. In addition I also understand the teaching of the modern complementarian teachings of equal but different, which basically support old traditionalism. And my first church in Christ was steeped in the Shepherding movement.

    I also understand the desire to equal the scales by claiming that equality in home and church sets up a paradigm that supports homosexuality. But that is all it is, an attempt to balance the differences. It isn’t true. Spiritual equality in Christ does not include sin.

  196. ” There is nothing innocent about sin. It is a rejection of God. I hope we can all agree on that. Being ‘decieved’ doesn’t make her innocent.”

    No one has suggested that there is anything innocent about sin or that being deceived makes her innocent. Many times over, several have pointed out that both suffered the consequences of sin – death. That is the judgement that God forewarned them would happen if they ate of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil.

    Please read what Cheryl wrote over. I think you will see that.

  197. “I believe that yes Adam was the leader before the fall. I believe the fall corrupted this leadership- “

    Please cite the Scriptures where God appointed the man as the leader of the woman. I think that will clear this confusion up quickly.

  198. TL,

    Thankyou for clearing up this mis-communication. I thought that i made it clear that my understanding of Adam’s leadership stems from what i understand that to be as expressed throughout all of scripture. Likewise i pose the question, where in the text does it talk about total equality?

    Just another thought about understanding how we understand what is meant when Paul talks about ‘sin came into the world through one man’-Rom 5:12- it came to me while cooking dinner 🙂

    If we talk this literary it must be false. Because we know in Genesis that Eve was indeed the first to sin, so sin actually entered the world first through Eve. So what does it mean. Perhaps some may say it is ‘intentional sin’. So maybe it should be translated- ‘intentional sin came into the world through one man’ since you are all claiming Eve’s wasn’t intentional, and indeed she isnt a man. Should we then seperate what sin Paul is describing here?
    How would Cheryl or others understand this? See i think it makes perfect sense if we understand Adam is recongnised as the one resposible for sin entering the world, although Eve indeed did sin first. Adam is responsible for the act of sin entering the world, not Eve’s specific sin. I’m interested how an egalitarian would reconcile this?

    TL- i am glad that we are agree that spiritual equality in Christ doesn’t allude to sin. The point i was making was that historically when a church has accepted or ordained women pastors and the like, homosexuality acceptance has followed. And that is precisely why it is not good to argue down these lines. IF i did that i am diverting from what egalitarianism actually teaches. And so i say the same for comp teaching. It doesn’t support abuse, even though some have abused under its title. But again it is not representative of the true view.
    So you might say it is a reality that abuse has occurred and i have no doubt. It is equally a realtiy that acceptance of homosexuality has followed supposed egalitarian teaching. Thats why it is important to steer clear of these type of arguments

  199. Mark,

    You wrote: “Is sin not precisely a rebelilon against a Holy God. She 100% DID have a rebelious nature. If she didn’t then she wouldn’t have been a sinner. Even if you want to claim she didn’t rebel before the fall, it is very incosistent with the nature of sin to claim that as a sinner she was not rebellious.”

    Again, as a concrete example: a little girl who is deceived into sexual favors by a man promising candy and toys will still feel “dirty” when the deed is done.

    She is not acting out of rebellion, but in deception. Is she?

    Mark wrote: “They both made clothes to cover BOTH their shame. They both hid in the garden. Nothing in this makes poor little Eve sound ’shell shocked’. SO therefore it is most dinately NOT fitting to come to this conclusion why God spoke to Adam first. This comes dangerously close to saying that Eve didn’t infact sin. There is nothing innocent about sin.”

    Sinning by deception WILL make one want to cover “shame” with clothes and hide in the garden.

    Although outwardly, we see no differance between suffering the affects of sin by deception or by rebellion, there is difference between the two.

  200. Mark wrote: “I believe that yes Adam was the leader before the fall. I believe the fall corrupted this leadership- i’m not sure whether i would use the word ‘curse’ in my description though.”

    Why not ‘curse’? (I thought your stance was that Eve sinned rebelliously)

    How could we now expect to have a different outcome if a present day “Eve” gives some forbidden fruit to her “Adam” husband?

    So, God wants us to continue to use a model that didn’t work in its pure pre-Fall form and on top of that now it’s also “corrupted”?

    Are we to believe 1 Timothy 2:12-14 is saying that it’s somehow better to follow “Adam(s)” who sin knowingly, rather than risk sinning due to deception? I just can’t find anything in Scripture that says sinning on purpose is superior to sinning due to deception.

    Since that model did not work for Adam and Eve, then it makes no sense to say that somehow it’s God’s will to continuing to follow it.

    Mark wrote: “I think the pattern of leadership which emerges throughout the rest of scripture teaches us something about Eden.”

    Yes, I agree – the pattern of male leadership is a corruption of
    “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it.”

  201. Mark wrote: “Adam is made first, spoken to first, the primary recipient of God’s banishment.”

    Doesn’t Genesis 1:21 say that the serpent was made first and 3:14 say the serpent was the first cursed?

  202. Mark wrote: “Why can you accept that there are obvious physical differences, but God wouldn’t give other differences. This is contradictory to what we know about the different natures, emotions etc that men and women have.”

    Mark,

    Really?? What different nature does a man have that a woman does not? Or what nature does a woman have that a man does not?

    What different emotions does a man have that a woman does not?

  203. I LOVE Lists!

    1. Where in Gen 3 does it say Adam ‘intentionally’ sinned. He is charged for ‘listening’ to his wife. This is ‘read into’.

    I think we have a symantic disagreement only. Adam was not deceived. This we can agree on, yes? Therefore, when Adam ate the fruit he did it with full knowledge of the consequences. He knew he was going against God. He knewe he was “sinning”. One way to describe that is that he ate the fruit with “intention” to sin because he did indeed know it was against God to do so. But I am open to other word choices. The point is that Adam and Eve sinned from two starkly different standpoints in relation to the sin itself. This is what Cheryl is saying and what I find indisputable.

    2. Cheryl’s literal approach has failed to recognise the great implications of sin, since she insists that Eve was not a ‘threat’ to the tree of life. I totally disagree with her doctrine of sin, and as such her analysis of the banishment is suspect in my opinion.

    Cheryl will have to respond to this one. I did not appeal to this part of her argument per se in my attempt to gather us together.

    3 ALL the key passages for ‘equality’ have not been proven to show this. The’image of God’ has failed to be shown as equal. Adam’s exclamation of Eve really does nothing to promote total equality without distinctions of roles. The ‘one flesh’ verse is never used in scripture to promote the egalitarian view of equality.

    I would strongly contend that Genesis 1 and 2 shows us something about how Adam and Eve interrelate. You seem to believe that the chapters have nothing to say about how they interrelate. Correct me if I am wrong. Going on my presupposition, the verses that convey relational insights – 1:27-28; 2:18, 23-24 – can only show one of two different kinds interrelatedness: equlity or hierarchy. Certainly, you can not show any hierarchy within these verses. I believe you have admitted as much. What astonishes me is that you don’t see equality in phrases such as “This [is] now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh”, “[the man] shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh”, and “I will make a ezer neged [helper/partner/companion/friend/ in front of] for him” to relieve his aloneness. Again, you seem to believe these words say nothing about how Adam and Eve relate to one another. I can;t wrap my mind around that position.

    4. I am hesitant to understand if Cheryl believes that the ‘death’ that was promised from God was only physical or spiritual aswell.

    I’m sure it was both, but I will let her answer.

    Now my view

    1. Adam is made first, spoken to first, the primary recipient of God’s banishment. This creation ‘order’ is significant once we begin a looking at other passages. Paul most definately sees a creation order in 1 Cor 11

    My brief response is “so what”. Where does the bible say that order=hierarchy? I give a more detailed reponse to the order argument in this post on my blog: http://gengwall.blogspot.com/2008/09/equality-in-original-marriage-design.html. I don’t mean to start yet another debate, but you may want to read it and comment back here. My question to you would be, naturally, what do you make of the fact that the animals were created before man? (I know, or believe, that Cheryl contends the animals, at least in the garden, were created after Adam, but I suspect you do not agree.) And what do you make of all the figures in biblical history that were “created” (i.e. born) after people they subsequently were superior to? And what to you make of Jesus’ decree that “the last shall be first”? I ask those rhetorically. My point is that there is no universal biblical principal and no biblical teaching at all that says first in order means first in hierarchy.

    2 God give’s Adam the primary role of the ‘caretaker’ of the garden, and Eve is made as his helper. This does not contradict the mandate to subdue the earth, but fits with it. This is significant if we are going to see that God does actually designate ‘roles’, although we are equal in essence.

    I fail to see what Eve’s “role” is then, unless it is secondary caretaker of the garden. But that certainly is not the type of “role” that ezer denotes. And again, I still fail to see how being caretaker over the garden makes Adam the authority over Eve. But I suppose this argument is what men often use when they demand their wives go out and mow the lawn while they sit in their recliner watching the ball game. Is that how you view Adam and Eve’s relationship? Of course, I know you don’t. So I still fail to see any hierarchy or authority even if I accept (which I do) that Adam was primary caretaker of the garden.

    3. Adam is the only one who ‘names’ the animals. Likewise Adam ‘names’ his wife. That is a role Eve doesn’t have

    Again – “so what”, and also not true. Eve names both Cain and Seth (at least), so she does have a naming role. I address this argument in the same blog post. Again, there is no biblical teaching that says naming something gives you authority over it.

    4. Both are equally sinful by rejecting what God has said (there eyes were opened), and in Eve’s case listening to the serpent, and Adam listening to his wife.

    This takes us all the way back to your first point at the top of the post. I would tentatively agree that they are equally sinful. I don’t believe there are greater or lesser sins. But the standpoints from which their sin emerged are opposite. One was deceived and one was not. I don;t see how there can be any disagreement about that. And therefore to say that they both “rejected” what God said, while true on the surface, is not exactly equivalent in the details. There rejections were very differently motivated. At any rate, this has little to do with hierarchy, which is at the core of our discusision

    5. The ‘one flesh’ verse is used by Paul to demonstrate the covenant with Christ and the Church. This is most definately not ‘equal’ as im sure we will discuss further on.

    You correctly sense my disagreement. In the marriage relationship with His church, I do believe that there is equality. But as you suggest, I will leave that to another day.

    6. I think an obvious one we didn’t discuss is the physical differences. God coud have made babies any way he wanted, but he chose to make male and female different. Why can you accept that there are obvious physical differences, but God wouldn’t give other differences. This is contradictory to what we know about the different natures, emotions etc that men and women have.

    I am so glad you finished in this manner. I absolutely do accept that there are differences beyond the anatomically obvious ones between men and women (I’m not sure why you think otherwise). And I understand that this is a main point underlying the use of the term “complimentarian”. I don’t disagree with that at all. BUT, (warning, other shoe dropping) what of those differences is “superior” in one gender which justifies giving them authority over the other gender? That is the question posed when using the term “egalitarian”. Don’t believe the propoganda from paranoid complimentarians that all egalitarians are radical feminist “sameness” advocates. I have never heard anyone here make the “sameness” argument, and Cheryl in particular is a great advocate for our God designed differences (other contributors are less impressed with the differences and less convinced of their gender universality, but they admit differences beyond the outwardly obvious never the less). But the response to those differences remains – “so what”? How does that give one gender authority over the other?

    One last point

    ” Frankly, if I look at this from a dramatic point of view…”

    Nothing in the text makes us think it unfolded this way. Both their eyes were opened. They both made clothes to cover BOTH their shame. They both hid in the garden. Nothing in this makes poor little Eve sound ’shell shocked’. SO therefore it is most dinately NOT fitting to come to this conclusion why God spoke to Adam first. This comes dangerously close to saying that Eve didn’t infact sin. There is nothing innocent about sin. It is a rejection of God. I hope we can all agree on that. Being ‘decieved’ doesn’t make her innocent.

    LOL – Like I said, this is me being “dramatic”. I make no claim that this is so. But I just get a feeling that Eve was still not quite all there. Two people can go into a battle and its aftermath and yet be in vastly different psychological states when it comes to the debriefing. Anyway, my point wasn’t that God talked to Adam first so that poor little Eve could get her wits about her. My point was that, regardless of Eve’s state of mind, it was Adam who knew what he was doing at the point he did it and therefore his undeception based sin was more egregious. Nothing I said could be construed to suggest Eve didn’t sin, as she was questioned in turn.

  204. Hey Mark, generally misconceptions take a while to clear up. That’s my experience. 🙂

    ”I thought that i made it clear that my understanding of Adam’s leadership stems from what i understand that to be as expressed throughout all of scripture.”

    My understanding of the basic equality between men and women, I believe to be expressed throughout all of Scripture as well. I am interested In what things you see that say to you God has expressed a requirement for men only to lead and women to follow men. One problem I have with that right off, is that God is not facetious. If God makes a rule of righteousness, He does not hide it but makes it plain so that His people can follow it and achieve righteousness.

    ”If we talk this literary it must be false. Because we know in Genesis that Eve was indeed the first to sin, so sin actually entered the world first through Eve. ……..See i think it makes perfect sense if we understand Adam is recognized as the one responsible for sin entering the world, although Eve indeed did sin first. Adam is responsible for the act of sin entering the world, not Eve’s specific sin. I’m interested how an egalitarian would reconcile this?”

    This is not something that we get to decide. True, that Adam is not responsible for Eve’s sin. The serpent is responsible for Eve sinning, but not for her specific sin. Hosea 6:7 says that Adam dealt treacherously with God. In the Hebrew, the part that NKJV interprets as being unfaithful to God, the Hebrew uses the word treacherous in God. So, we know that Adam’s choice being that he was not deceived, was treacherous toward God. Now that is concrete evidence that sinning deliberately (with full knowledge as Adam had) is different and in God’s eyes is treacherous. In Hosea, Gilead is portrayed as full of people that deliberately commit evil. That is what Adam did. We don’t know why. Not knowing why, many have tried to soft peddle it. Eve, on the other hand, was tricked into making that choice to disobey by the treacherousness of the serpent. They both sinned and both suffered death, the promised result of disobedience of eating forbidden fruit. But the delivery was different. All sin is not the same. Yet all sin will reap the results of that sin.

    1 Tim. 1: 13 although I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an insolent man; but I obtained mercy because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. 14 And the grace of our Lord was exceedingly abundant, with faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. 15 This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief. 16 However, for this reason I obtained mercy,….”

    Here we have Paul telling Timothy that he, Paul, obtained mercy because his sinning was ignorant (not aware) and in unbelief. But of course we know that he still reaped the just rewards for his sins. But God was merciful toward him because he was not fully aware of what he was doing. Good thing too because Paul had been persecuting God’s servants.

    Eve’s sin fell in the same category. Because she was deceived by the most clever of all creatures, she was not fully aware of what she was doing even though she did it. This did not take away the consequence of the sin, but it did allow God to have some mercy upon her. And, it laid the responsibility for the sin passing into all humanity upon Adam who was not deceived and was completely and fully aware of what he was doing. He dealt treacherously with God. That is why Scripture says that it was through Adam that sin passed into the world. It came through his DELIBERATE FULLY AWARE treacherous treatment of God.

  205. ” TL- i am glad that we are agree that spiritual equality in Christ doesn’t allude to sin. The point i was making was that historically when a church has accepted or ordained women pastors and the like, homosexuality acceptance has followed.”

    Now that was a bit confusing. Yes, spiritual equality doesn’t allude to sin. Women are indeed equally valuable to God and equally available to God to use to minister to His people. It is true that some confused people have yielded to some clever deceptions that homosexuality is not a sin so therefore homosexuals should be accepted. But the problem here is not the question of being equally accepted, but of what is sin and what isn’t. Homosexuality is sin, period. And it has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with women pastors “and the like”.

    ” So you might say it is a reality that abuse has occurred and i have no doubt. It is equally a realtiy that acceptance of homosexuality has followed supposed egalitarian teaching. Thats why it is important to steer clear of these type of arguments”

    These two hypothetic views are not equal. Abuse occurs more often (it will still occur) when men, who are the primary abusers (because of natural strength superiority and generally more social status and power), are told that they have sole privilege to lead, to decide, to direct and control their wives. That privilege denied women puts men in the place where Satan has a door to influence. Wrongful and too much power is dangerous for most people.

    The reason it is wrong for active homosexuals to be in leadership is because they are living a life of gross sin. Homosexuality is sinful. Women leading the people of God is not sinful, because being born a woman (living life as a woman) is not sinful. If a particular woman was leading a sinful life (or a particular man) then she should not be allowed to be leading the people of God, because of her sinful life. I wish we paid more attention to that because there are far too many men leading sinful lives who are leading God’s people.

    Women teaching and preaching is no more sinful than men teaching and preaching. Teaching and preaching is not sinful. Maleness and femaleness are not inherently sinful. The question must only be, who is called and anointed by God. There have been fewer women used of God, but still many more than most Christian’s are aware of.

  206. ”The’image of God’ has failed to be shown as equal. Adam’s exclamation of Eve really does nothing to promote total equality without distinctions of roles. The ‘one flesh’ verse is never used in scripture to promote the egalitarian view of equality.”

    I strongly dispute that there is inequality in the image of God. God is a perfect unified ONE. There is no inequality in Him/Them (Eloheim).

    Yes, the fact that both man and woman were created in the image of God is the first place to show of their equality. We are all human first and foremost. Maleness and femaleness do not detract from our humanness or being in the image of God.

    The second place to show of their equality is that they are both to govern the earth and it’s creatures. Together, the first mandate of God is to rule as guardians over the creatures of the earth. “Rulership”, guardianship, leadership are abilities all humans are capable of. It is in our genes.

    The third place to show of their equality is that the woman is presented to the man as the ezer (strong help – not helper or assistant) kenegdo (equal to, counterpart to, corresponding to, facing) for him. It is the Hebrew neged that brings this element to their relationship. Interestingly, it is out of this root word, neged, that another word , nagid, arises which means prominent one, ruler and leader. Both of these words, neged and ezer, are strong words describing the one who is to allay or fix the human’s need of an other. Humans were not meant to be alone. We are meant to live in community. But that community ideally is not supposed to be one of superiors and inferiors but equals living in mutuality and harmony each blessing the other.

  207. “This did not take away the consequence of the sin, but it did allow God to have some mercy upon her.”

    Yes, the suffering the consequence of sin is not the same as being punished for sin. Back to my example of a child being deceived into sexual favors by a man – and then suffering the consequence of contracting a sexually transmitted disease.

    The disease was not a punishment, but a consequence of sin.

    The same as sinning by deception will make one want to cover “shame” with clothes and hide in the garden. While outwardly, we see no difference between suffering the affects of sin by deception or by rebellion, there is difference between the two.

  208. Good point Kay. 🙂

    Regarding the hiding from shame. The fact that they both never noticed that they were naked until they had sinned brings up another question. God told them that they would die. Death was the primary result of sin. We know that death is far reaching affecting many areas of life including one’s inner person, emotions, intellect as well as so many ways physically and spiritually. So, the question is, what died immediately upon their completion of the disobedience? I’ve often thought that being pure and without sin, that they were clothed in a spiritual light similar to the angels of God. If so, when they brought death upon themselves, that light of holiness and purity likely went out.

    what do you think??

  209. “If so, when they brought death upon themselves, that light of holiness and purity likely went out.
    what do you think??”

    Hmmmmm…mulling, mulling…

  210. Although it has been done to death, I feel again it is important to completely explore ‘ezer in order to understand that it does NOT mean helper in the sense that complimentarians mean it, i.e. subordinate.

    In Exodus 18:4, God is the ‘ezer of Eliezer and His “help” is described as “deliverance” from “the sword of Pharoah. An ‘ezer is a deliverer from harm.

    In Deuteronomy 33:7, God is the ‘ezer of Judah, helping him “contend…against his adversaries”. An ‘ezer is a co-contender for a goal or prize and against enemies.

    In Deuteronomy 33:26, God is the ‘ezer “who rides the heavens to your help”. An ‘ezer is a rescuer.

    In Deuteronomy 33:29, God is the ‘ezer, “the shield of your help”. An ‘ezer is a protector!

    And it goes on and on. There is nothing in scripture that possibly can attest to ‘ezer being a subordinate or servant. Surely God is not under the authority of those he helps! Nor is Adam’s ‘ezer, Eve, under Adam’s authority. It would nearly blasphemous to say so. Of course, neither is Adam under Eve’s authority. The whole idea of ‘ezer in relation to God is that he partners with those he helps to accomplish a goal. There is no exerciseing of authority at all in these relationships. Certainly, God is in authority over us in the grand sense. But God is not exercising authority when he is our ‘ezer, he is exercising partnership. Authority or any other hierarchical structure simply is not an element of the word ‘ezer.

  211. And as far the ‘ezer’ defined simply as a ‘helper’ –
    If she’s the ‘helper’ well, how much help is it for a man to have some else to look after besides himself?
    Is it like giving your child a pet so they can learn to be responsible?

  212. If sex (like the male and female sex of animals – Gen 1) were made in God’s image, then the comp argument of “role differences” based on sex could have some merit. So I think what comps fail to understand is the foundational teaching that our humanity was made in God’s image, NOT our sex. Comp doctrine is BASED on sex differences. Why is it that it is NOT based on what the image of God is??

  213. So the core of comp doctrine is based on what isn’t even a part of the essence, nature of God – sex.

  214. “Yes, the fact that both man and woman were created in the image of God is the first place to show of their equality.”

    I agree and it’s the most important place to show their equality.

  215. “So, the question is, what died immediately upon their completion of the disobedience?”

    What could it be other than thier innocence?

  216. “So, the question is, what died immediately upon their completion of the disobedience?”

    “What could it be other than thier innocence?”

    There’s a knowledge or “knowing” that Adam did not have before he ate, and he ate with knowledge of the truth since he wasn’t deceived into eating. Hum…

  217. I’m back to thinking on why Adam alone became unlike God, Gen 3. It seems it has to do with him eating knowing the truth because he wasn’t deceived and the result of that along with his eating fruit of “knowledge of good and evil”.

  218. It looks like there have been lots of comments since I last checked the blog. I haven’t had a chance to read them yet and the conference will be long hours for me. If I can carve out some time, I will read and comment.

    It is snowing really hard here in Pennsylvania. We haven’t experienced this kind of snow before in this area this early and I wish I had brought my snow boots.

    Love from a very cold Canadian,
    Cheryl

  219. “It makes sense that sin would come into the world through the one who became unlike God.”

    And then add that to the prophecy that Christ would come through the woman’s seed alone and not man’s.

    Still thinking out loud…

  220. It makes sense that sin would come into the world through the one who became unlike God.

    Now that I think about it, how else could sin enter?

  221. I would just like to import some important terminology so you can all understand my position, because from your comments i fear i haven’t been very clear- for this i apologise.
    1. I will now try to use ‘Total Equality’ to mean that male and female are equal in essence and function.
    2. I will also use ‘Equal in essence’ in relation to understanding how i think male and female are equal in essence only, not function.

    What i think is clear with Gen 1:26-27 is that male and female are equal in essence. I believe this to be so because i understand our image to be in relation to our souls not physical differences. However i do not see anything in this explicit text or how it is understood throughout the rest of scripture to come to the conclusion that we are equal in function. Likewise i do not see anything in this explicit text to show hierarchy or authority.

    Gen 2:23 likewise is evidence in my mind that we are equal in essence, but again there is no indication to show equality in function.

    Gen 2:24 i don’t think has anything to do with equality in essence or function, because it is never understood this way by other authors in the bible. It is a picture of marriage, sexual relations and Christ’s coevenant with the church.

    Therefore i come to the conclusion that we are indeed equal in essence but there is nothing in Gen 1-3 to show or explain total equality. But there is evidence to show that Adam and Eve do indeed have different functions which i have shown already. Whether the significance of these roles indicates any type of authority is another question.

    I would also like to re-state that i do not see any text explicitly in Gen 1-3 to state hierarchy or authority. I understand from other texts which we will further discuss as to why i can ‘read into’ Gen 1-3 that Adam was indeed the leader.

    So to conclude
    1. We are equal in essence in my opinion.
    2. Nothing explicitly in Gen 1-3 shows equality in function
    3. Nothing explicitly in Gen 1-3 shows authority between genders
    4. There is most definately different roles for Adam and Eve.

    So i ask this question to egalitarians. Do you agree that there are different roles/functions for Adam and Eve? Can we agree that your view of total equality and my view of authority are both read into this text from our greater understanding of the bible.

  222. I would also like to back up gengwell in his definition of ‘ezer’ in Gen 2. I agree that it is wrong to understand this to show Adam’s authority as some comps might do. I equally see it as wrong to see it as an explanation of total equality, because as we understand it in relation to God being our ‘help’ He is most definately not ‘equal’ with us.

    So i do not think that ‘ezer’ can convincly be used to support either sides argument. What it does show is that Eve had a different role/function to Adam which is what i have maintained all along. Adam is not the ‘ezer’ in this situation, Eve is.

    I do not attempt to use it to support my view and i think it is equally wrong to attempt to use it to show total equality.

  223. Mark,
    You say that men and women are not equal in “function”. Let me ask you the question then, what gender is the one which has the “function” of using their gift to teach? What gender has the “function” that allows them to use their gift to speak in God’s name? These are the “functions” that we have been talking about.

    Also there is no prohibition unless it is specifically stated. In other words Eve is not forbidden to teach Adam or to lead Adam. God does not give a “function” to one that He forbids to the other. Where would Eve had gotten the idea that she was forbidden to “teach” Adam? Where would any woman have gotten such an idea in the OT? No formal prohibition is given for all women that sets them up in opposition to all men. Not one single prohibition. Why is this? Even the priesthood cannot be used because not all men were allowed to be priests. Also in the New Testament men and women are in the priesthood of the believer.

    Mark, It would seem to be far better to leave aside the assumptions of a “function” that essentially forbids women from operating in that “function”. It would be far better to try to argue that God created prohibitions for women after the fall. Even this argument has many holes that cannot be answered but to try to say that God created differences of “function” where one is forbidden to operate in the same “function” i.e. teaching, is unsupportable by the Scriptures.

    As far as “ezer” goes, I believe that Adam would have been an “ezer” to Eve if he had spoken up and told Eve about the lies of the serpent. The fact that Adam did not speak up showed that Adam failed to be what Eve needed at that time. It does not prove that Adam could not have been an “ezer” because it was the women’s “function”.

    Lastly, whose “function” is it to learn? If a woman is going outside of her “function” to be a teacher, then is it a sin for a woman to go outside of his “function” to listen to a woman’s arguments? If he allows her to teach him anything is the man in sin? If it isn’t a sin for him, why not? How can it be a sin for her to teach, but not a sin for him to learn?

    Sorry, this is all I can do tonight. It has been a long night and a short morning awaits.

  224. Cheryl,

    You ask good questions and very similar to what i have seen you ask in previous dialogues with people. You again slipped in the idea of ‘gifting’ which i think is a good topic that we should discuss at some point aswell. For example you asked who’s function is it to use their gift to teach? This is very broad and needs to be narrowed. After all there are many non christians who can stand up in front of a crowd and teach- should we assume the are using their spiritual gift. We need to be able to distinguish what is truly something given by the Spirit of God before claiming someone is just using their gift.

    But again like i said to Kay, before we get to hypothetical on how these functions play out, let’s investigate if this is what the bible teaches first. If it is, then we can begin to see how to practically apply all these varius senario’s that you suggest.

    Also before we begin trying to catalogue what constitutes a ‘function’ i think it is important to primarily focus on issues such as teaching, preaching, eldership… rather than trying to throw learning and things like this into the category to distort what i am saying.

    I look forward to our discusions. Can i suggest we begin by looking at 1 Corinthians 11

  225. “So i ask this question to egalitarians. Do you agree that there are different roles/functions for Adam and Eve? Can we agree that your view of total equality and my view of authority are both read into this text from our greater understanding of the bible.”

    Do you mean, Mark, like roles/functions that cannot be interchangeable because it would be sin? No. Could Eve protect the garden? Could Adam be a help to Eve? Would either be sinning if either did such things? Could Eve protect the garden just as well as Adam and could Adam be a help to Eve just as well as Eve could be to Adam? These thing can be interchangable because we are talking about human capability made in God’s image (total equality), not capability determined by gender. So now, is total equality read into the Gen text? How can it be without prohibition or lines drawn? And who’s drawing the lines? In other words what’s read into the Gen text is (comp) prohibition and lines are drawn here and there when such boundaries are not given by the words of the text itself.

    What’s total equality? It’s the lack of prohibition because it’s TOTAL. So what’s read into the Gen text? Your view of authority which comes down to – prohibiton or drawing lines where they are not drawn by the words of the text themselves. “Roles/functions” (like guarding the garden and being a help) don’t matter unless it can be proven that they are prohibitons for one sex so as to be a matter of sin.

  226. Total equality = no prohibitions (like protecting, helping, teaching, leading etc) placed on one gender. If there is no total equality then it must be that prohibitions are placed and sin is the result, but that would need to be proven, but it can’t.

    Had God prohibited this and that for women? No. Are they free to do this and that. Yes. Why? Because God has not given prohibitons because there is no sin.

  227. “However i do not see anything in this explicit text or how it is understood throughout the rest of scripture to come to the conclusion that we are equal in function. Likewise i do not see anything in this explicit text to show hierarchy or authority.”

    Mark, you mean like “equal in function” in the sense of assingment by God, right? I hope I have this correct as to what you mean.

  228. “I would also like to back up gengwell in his definition of ‘ezer’ in Gen 2. I agree that it is wrong to understand this to show Adam’s authority as some comps might do. I equally see it as wrong to see it as an explanation of total equality, because as we understand it in relation to God being our ‘help’ He is most definately not ‘equal’ with us.”

    I agree here but I would use stronger words and say that ezer doesn’t prove total equality or an authority of Adam’s. It doesn’t show any of it because it doesn’t prove any of it.

    “I do not attempt to use it to support my view and i think it is equally wrong to attempt to use it to show total equality.”

    Me too! The tighter the argument, the better. Where’s the proof is what it all comes down to for me.

    I think that in your last comments you’ve made some great points, Mark! 🙂

  229. Mark,

    I like the way that pinklight said this:

    “Roles/functions” (like guarding the garden and being a help) don’t matter unless it can be proven that they are prohibitons for one sex so as to be a matter of sin.

    This is exactly what I am saying, but pinklight probably said it better than I did. An attempt to try to prove gender “functions” in anything other than physical sexual functions must be accompanied by prohibitions for to show that one gender can do something without also showing that the other gender is forbidden from doing something does not prove a unique function.

    Also I think that it is wise to keep our discussions within the Christian context. The gifting that I am speaking of will be in the context of gifts given to the Christian.

    1 Peter 4:11 Whoever speaks, is to do so as one who is speaking the utterances of God; whoever serves is to do so as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.

    Since we are given the permission to use our gifts for service, to prohibit these gifts would require a prohibition from God as He is the one who made us all in the image of God and for His glory. After all we are told that we cannot say to one member of the body of Christ that we do not need them. If we can now set up a system that deems the gifts of some as necessary for men and others as unnecessary then we are saying that some members are not needed for some other members of the body of Christ. Yet we are told that we cannot say that. Neither Paul nor any other apostle set up prohibitions on the use of the gifts of the Spirit according to race, age, gender or social standing.

    I have taught extensively on 1 Corinthians 11 including an entire section in my DVD set and there is nothing in this chapter that limits the gifts of the Spirit by gender. Just like Genesis where the there is no prohibition in “function” for either Adam or Eve, there is also no prohibition in “function” for gender in 1 Cor. 11. Neither is restricted from ministering in the congregation in prophesying and Paul gives full permission to all in 1 Cor. 14 to use their gifts for the benefit of all.

    I am always fascinated at how a complementarian has to work so hard to try to find prohibitions that don’t exist. I am always willing to entertain the facts of God’s Word so if you can find such a prohibition, please do share it with us.

  230. This post has really grown to a huge amount of comments. I think that it will be helpful to continue the comments on another post. I have created a new post so that those who are new to my blog can find our current discussion listed under a current post. Here is where I am asking everyone to put their new comments so that we can all be on one page with anyone new visiting http://strivetoenter.com/wim/2009/10/16/do-the-genders-have-different-functions/

    So Mark, you are special! You get a new page dedicated to discussions with Mark on different functions in the body of Christ. I think that this has been a wonderful discussion so far and I look forward to all the other comments that will be posted at the new location. When I do get major time to comment on the old posts I will put the comments on the new post too.

  231. ”Therefore i come to the conclusion that we are indeed equal in essence but there is nothing in Gen 1-3 to show or explain total equality. But there is evidence to show that Adam and Eve do indeed have different functions which i have shown already. Whether the significance of these roles indicates any type of authority is another question.”

    For the purpose of our communication, I am assuming also that you would understand total equality to mean “same as”. That really should be thrown out the window though because no on believes men and women are identical.

    I also do not believe that people are born to “functions”. IMO that is like bringing in the old class distinctions. People were born into a class and could never rise above it to improve their status in life. Even Japan and China have it to some degree with their school system. One must get certain grades in school in order to get work in the better corporations. Didn’t matter if they could do something better, they simply were never given the opportunity. We used to believe that blacks were born to be slaves. Rather than all that controlling of people, I believe that each individual should be given opportunity and encouraged to use all the gifts, skills, and ingenuity they have.

    “I would also like to re-state that i do not see any text explicitly in Gen 1-3 to state hierarchy or authority. I understand from other texts which we will further discuss as to why i can ‘read into’ Gen 1-3 that Adam was indeed the leader.”

    I don’t see how you can claim that God restricts women from being leaders simply because you assume that things the first man did were leadership like. Even if things Adam did were leadership like, that really has nil to do with all men for all time. It only had to do with Adam’s situation.

    ”So i ask this question to egalitarians. Do you agree that there are different roles/functions for Adam and Eve? Can we agree that your view of total equality and my view of authority are both read into this text from our greater understanding of the bible.”

    The total equality may need to be defined from our perspective, because I am not sure that we are on the same page there. I agree that all humans are equal in essence regardless of our many differences.

    No, I do not believe in roles and functions restricting and limiting only one gender. I do not believe in limiting people from doing what they are capable from doing unless it is a matter of sin.

    ”because as we understand it in relation to God being our ‘help’ He is most definately not ‘equal’ with us.”

    True, God is not equal with us in any way. He is Creator. But the word ezer is not the one that is about being equal. Kenegdo, from neged is the word that shows us equality between the man and woman. And I think you will have a very difficult time trying to deny the meaning of that word.

    May I ask why is it important to you for women to not be equal in stations in life and abilities. Why is it important to you for women to be restricted and limited in what ‘functions’ they perform in the marriage relationship. And why is it important to you for women to be restricted from teaching and leading men in the church (I assume you may think it acceptable in other areas) in Scriptural and spiritual matters. Do you really truly think that only males can understand truth and only males are capable of teaching truth and leading other men toward the truth and toward God?

    Mark, I also want you to know that I am not interested in “winning” this discussion. It isn’t about winning and losing to me. It’s about understanding what is real and truthful. Women are hurt from the outcomes of these discussions.

    It’s not simply about men being abusive. It’s about the loss of life, living life to the fullest for women. Growing up in the Catholic traditions and their demeaning restrictions on women destroyed my life until God set me free. These beliefs of womanly restrictions and manly privileges harm both men and women, but most often women. They set women up in negative attitudes. They choke the life out of women so that far fewer women will grow into the full person of God they were meant to be.

  232. to answer nt’s question (on the old site) of whether there is some middle ground where both can work together. Unfortunately, there is no middle ground on disallowing someone their freedom to move in the giftings that Christ has given us all in the Holy Spirit. As a person who has struggled against the constant resistance to allow women to speak, teach and preach in the Body, it is like someone who cannot breathe. I live beneath where the air is free. I must constantly search for a hole where I can grasp a few breaths and breathe deeply for as long as that opportunity is available.

    I am certain this is how black Americans lived while the free whites argued over whether or not these inferior humans should be allowed any amount of the freedoms the whites lived with.

  233. I am going to re-post a question here that I had on what was apparently an old thread. Keeping track of the different discussion with so many of the same participants is getting challenging 🙂

    Greetings all,
    I have been reading the conversation threads on all the posts on this site. Digging heavily into the essence of the differing points between the egal and comp assertions regarding Genesis especially. Granted all other Scriptures must be taken into account.

    I have been following along trying to discern if there is a middle ground between the two sides. In many ways there exists only a slim gap between the two positions, although the points pertaining to “leading” or “headship” seem to be dichotomous. When I look at Jesus’s life and what he taught, it is often that the choice is neither A or B but a third and radically different choice. I’m wondering if the restoration of the Kingdom as it existed pre fall, and our participation in the restoration process necessitates us looking for a third way. Can there be a middle position on this that is a reasonable compromise? Honestly I haven’t been able to conceive of one, and every compromise I have heard offered seems to directly offend a deeply held view of scripture on for one side or the other.

    Perhaps some of you have given this some thought or have seen it worked out practically in some way that allows for both sides to work together as the Church.

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