Did Adam rule the animals and the woman at Creation?

Did Adam rule the animals and the woman at Creation?

kittens on Women in Ministry by Cheryl Schatz

Adam the ruler of the animals AND the woman?

Those who argue for the permanent subordination of women will frequently use the argument that  Adam named the animals and that this showed his unique “role” given to him by God.

In a CBMW article written by Bruce Ware, Dr. Ware makes it clear that Adam was given authority in the beginning of creation that the woman was not given.

Under the heading B. Fallen Disruption of God’s Created Design, Dr. Ware states that there is an authority given to Adam at creation that is not given to Eve.

Gen. 3:15-16 informs us that the male/female relationship would now, because of sin, be affected by mutual enmity. In particular, the woman would have a desire to usurp the authority given to man in creation…

What authority is Ware talking about?  Both the man and the woman were explicitly given the rule over animals in Genesis chapter one. However Ware believes that no one knows how Eve was going to rule, but Adam was special, and as the designated ruler of the world he had the right to rule by naming the animals.  Ware writes:

And remember, although animals were created before Adam, Adam was told to name the animals and this clearly indicates his headship over them.

Ware misnames “rule” and calls it “headship” a term that God never identified for Adam’s rule.  Adam is not the “head” of animals and animals are not the “body” of Adam.  However, Adam was the “ruler” of the animals just as God gave both of them the rule.  Was it legitimate for Adam to “rule” the animals and identify their name?  Sure.  We know that God is the one who initiated the naming of the animals.  God Himself did not name any of the animals, and instead, God formed the animals from the ground and then brought them to Adam to  “see” what Adam would name them.  I will be using throughout this post the Dictionary of Biblical Languages with Semantic Domains: Hebrew Old Testament to bring out the Hebrew meaning of several important words.  I think you will find it fascinating to discover what the actual words mean in this passage.

So God would “see” what Adam would name the animals. The Hebrew term for “see” means:

see, look, view, i.e., use the perception of sight to view objects and make judgments based on the perceptions

In Genesis 2:20 it says that Adam “gave names” to the animals.  Giving a “name” in Hebrew means:

the proper designation of a person, place, or thing

With each animal that Adam named, Genesis shows that there was not found a helper for Adam.  “Found” means:

to be discovered, be detected

Adam’s mate was not discovered or detected amongst the animals.  Adam was looking for a “help and help means:

strength, formally, help, i.e., power to accomplish a task

Adam was not looking for a weak partner but one who had the strength and power to stand by him to accomplish the task.  The helper was to be “suitable” for Adam.  “Suitable” means:

before, in front of, straight ahead, i.e., pertaining to a spatial position anterior to another object, implying a public or open position, and so often being in the presence of another

So the one that Adam was looking for was to be “the strength and power of one who helps” and this future mate was to be one who was before him, in front of him and in his presence in a public or open position.  As God watched Adam, Adam named each animal and then rejected each one of the animals as none of them proved to be suitable because none were in his category.

Then God put Adam to sleep, and He took out Adam’s rib.  “rib” means:

rib, i.e., bones and cartilage around the heart and lungs of the human body Gen 2:21, 22

God then fashioned the woman fashioned means:

make, form i.e., make something new, with a possible implication of using prior existing materials Gen 2:22

He fashioned her into a woman.  Notice that God Himself identifies her as “woman” before she was ever brought to the man.

Genesis 2:22  The LORD God fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man.

The man agrees that she is indeed the one he has been looking for and he identifies her first of all by saying that she is “bone of my bones” – This means in Hebrew:
substance, “very,” i.e., the essence or essential nature of a thing, a marker of which something consists as the same
and Adam says that she is also flesh of his flesh which means:
near kin, close relation, flesh and blood, formally, bone and flesh, i.e., one who is a blood relative of a next generation, as a figurative extension that a person has the same corporeal mass that has been passed on through the seed of reproduction Gen 2:23
When Adam “calls” her “woman” it doesn’t say that he names her (he doesn’t do his naming of her until after the fall when he “names” her Eve).  Adam is merely agreeing with God who has already called her “woman.”  Adam is identifying her as his own flesh and blood kin perfectly matched for him.
Continuing under B.  Evidence that God’s design was for male/female role differentiation, Bruce Ware writes at point 4:
4) Adam’s naming of Eve indicates, in an OT cultural context, Adam’s right of authority over the one whom he named. And interestingly, Adam named his wife twice, first when she was formed from his flesh (2:23), and second after they had both sinned (3:20), indicating that his rightful authority over her continued after sin had come. (emphasis is mine)
Now, let’s test this by the Scriptures.  First of all, we can see that God Himself identified her as “woman” before He even brought her to the man.  Secondly, Adam identifies her as a complete equal, not as a being who is under his authority.  After Adam’s poetic exclamation about his delight in the woman, the next verse shows a contradiction of Bruce Ware’s position that Eve was under Adam’s authority from creation.
Genesis 2:24  For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.
Immediately after Adam identifies the woman as his very own flesh and blood relative, it is related “For this reason” the man is to “leave” which means:
leave behind, abandon, i.e., cause an object to stay in a place while the participant leaves
Because she is his equal made from him, he is to bring himself to her to bond with her.  A man is to do this by leaving his father and his mother so that the man can be joined with his wife.  “Joined” means:
be united, joined, i.e., be in a close association, implying a normal continuing relationship (Ge 2:24); be associated, formally, bind, i.e., be in a close association as a figurative extension of a belt fastening objects together
Notice that the man comes to her to be associated with her where she is.  He is the one that has to leave.  He is the one who cleaves to her. He gives up himself for her to be with her.  This is the opposite of how a patriarchal system was set up as.  In that system, the woman left her family and joined herself to the man.  But that was an aberration of what God intended.  God’s original plan before sin entered the world was that the man would come to her and abandon all that he had to be with his wife.   She was to be his focus.
There is not one piece of evidence that the man was to rule the woman as Bruce Ware states.  If that were the case, then she would have to bond with him and he would take authority over her.  In God’s original plan the man laid down what he had.  He gave up for her.  This is still the way that God has planned marriage.  Jesus showed God’s plan by leaving everything He had to come here to gather His bride. Jesus gave up everything that He had. Jesus came as a servant and not a ruler, and He is the one who comes within us and gives us everything that we need as He bonds our hearts together with His.
In contrast, Bruce Ware believes that it is a necessity that the man rules over the woman.  He has no idea of how God intended them to rule the earth together, and He doesn’t believe that God explained any details of how this could work out.  He writes:
How they are, together, to rule the earth on God’s behalf, is not here explained.
But Bruce Ware apparently does “know” that God made it necessary for Adam to rule over Eve.
Most complementarians understand the curse of the woman in 3:16 to mean that sin would bring about in Eve a wrongful desire to rule over her husband (contrary to God’s created design), and that in response, Adam would have to assert his rule over her.

The very beautiful original creation where God identified and named the woman as the one who had the strength and the power to provide Adam what he needed and the very one whom Adam would cling to and join himself to, is now turned into a distorted picture of a powerful ruler who rules the animals along with his rulership over the woman.  What Ware has done is take the sinful affects of the fall as the norm and the power of Eve’s place as Adam’s Ezer (powerful helper) is replaced with a subordinate, easily deceived woman who is not allowed to talk to the animals without permission from her ruler-king.

The complementarian view of creation is not Biblical.  When they can make the woman as the needy one needing to have a ruler over her and the weak one who had no power or authority to do anything without permission from her kingly ruler, their entire foundation for their view of women is faulty.  No wonder CBMW (the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood) has struggled to try to figure out what women can and cannot do.  They see her as having no authority to do anything without permission, and they struggle to find specific permission for women in the Bible to do the simple things like being an usher who passes the offering plate from front to back.  So while they are unsure about whether a woman can be an usher or lead in prayer, their predicament comes because their very foundation is built on sand. They have a faulty view that God created a dependent human being who was not meant to be a powerful support for Adam. Instead, she was meant to be a dependent of Adam’s who was unable to have any authority on her own to act without supervision.  When the foundation is weak, the doctrine based on that foundation will be distorted.  It is time that we help complementarians to see the beautify of the creation of woman from the beginning.

37 thoughts on “Did Adam rule the animals and the woman at Creation?

  1. I’m so glad you followed up your last post with this one. The patriarchal view of Genesis 1-3 is so distorted and unfounded that it makes me want to scream. Well done as always.

    I wrote a refutation some time back on the various patriarchal arguments for male rule. Here is a little of what I had to say on this particular idea (naming means ruler):

    “Your Delta Tau Chi name is…”

    In the movie Animal House, there are several ways in which the fraternity members exercise authority over their new pledges. One of them is by giving each pledge a new name. This concept of “naming = possession of/authority over” is certainly not new. Like birthright, it has been a staple of societies throughout history. Even our common practice of having the new wife “take the name” of her husband is a reflection of the patriarchal notion that a woman is the property of her husband. So goes the naming argument when applied to the first marriage. Because Adam named Eve (twice, no less), he automatically assumes a position of superiority, authority, and ownership over her, and she becomes subservient to him. So what is wrong with this reasoning?

    First of all, it is again, man made. God has never said that naming something gives you dominion over that something. Humans don’t have dominion over the animals because Adam named them; they have dominion because God delegated it to them. The dominion would exist whether Adam named the animals or not. The naming of the animals was simply a function that Adam performed – part of his on the job training. Moreover, as we have already discussed, the dominion role was given to all humans, male and female. Presumably, if there were animals left to name, Eve would have been just as qualified and empowered to name some of them.

    In fact, nowhere in the bible does it say that it is the male’s unilateral job to name anything, nor does it say anywhere that naming something gives you authority over or possession of that thing. That is a cultural standard, not a biblical teaching. In fact, there are many significant cases of women naming things (mostly children). Are we to assume that Eve had sole dominion and authority over Able and Seth (Genesis 4:1, 25) because she named them instead of Adam? What about the command of the angel that Mary was to name Jesus (Luke 1:31)? Did that cut Joseph out of the picture in terms of having authority over his son? In reality, the naming of something does not grant any authority that does not already exist. Parents have authority over their children not because they name them but because they simply are their parents. Humans have dominion over creation not because we name the animals but because God has designated us to rule over the earth. Naming is simply a necessary task with no inherent godly grant of superiority associated with it at all. The fact that we attach human significance to the act of naming does not impress God.

  2. Gen. 3:15-16 informs us that the male/female relationship would now, because of sin, be affected by mutual enmity. In particular, the woman would have a desire to usurp the authority given to man in creation…

    Most complementarians understand the curse of the woman in 3:16 to mean that sin would bring about in Eve a wrongful desire to rule over her husband (contrary to God’s created design), and that in response, Adam would have to assert his rule over her.

    What an extraordinary contradiction. Ware conceeds that Genesis 3:16 outlines “a mutual enmity” between the man and the woman but then goes on to describe Adam’s “enmity” as a positive remedy to Eve’s. If rularship is an act of “deep-seated…hatred” (American Heritage Dictionary – “enmity”) on the part of Adam toward Eve, then how can it be a positive godly remedy to Eve’s corresponding enmity? Maybe Ware has not ever heard that “two wrongs don’t make a right”.

    Moreover, if this was to be a God directed remedy to Eve’s rebellion, why did God not issue the command to rule directly to Adam? After all, Ware claims that “Adam would have to assert his rule over her”. That presumes it was not asserted prior to the fall (although, mysteriously, was available as an option for Adam???) Since God is now dictating that something needs to happen that has never happened before, wouldn’t you think God would give Adam a little shove? Does God think Adam will just pick up His meaning and run with it?

    Of course, this is all absurd. God’s chastisement of the parties involved with the fall contains nothing positive to say about any of them. “Desire” and “rule” are consequences of sin entering the world. The marriage relationship, which was once selfless, loving, and EQUAL, would now be full of pettiness, selfishness, and enmity (Ware got that part right). Patriarchialists basically are equating sinful consequences with godly remedies. Can these two coexist? No, the correct question is even more dire: can they be synonymous? As Paul might say: “may it never be!” There simply is no good news in Genesis 3:16 (the good news came a verse before), and any attempt to find virtue in fallen humans in that verse is not only folly, it is fantasy.

  3. Since I just recently ran across this site, may I ask a couple of questions?

    Based on my previous comment, you have probably figured out that I think men and women are equals, including in the church. Gender should not be a consideration in any role or position in the church (unless we’re talking about who sleeps with the kids in the boys or girls cabin at summer camp, or some such thing) in my understanding. Understanding the Scripture to teach otherwise, in my opinion, is to misunderstand Scripture.

    Likewise, I understand men and women to be equals in their relationships to each other, including in marriage. I think it reasonable that husbands and wives should submit to each other in some ways, but think it unreasonable that women alone should submit to or obey their spouses, as apparently some teach.

    Therefore, I am wondering who your readers and and those who comment are. Are they women in ministry positions and or/leadership positions or ???? I have read that there are 300,000 to 350,000 “churches” in the USA. Do you know what percentage of them do not allow women equal access to leadership roles? I grew up in a denomination where this has never been an issue, and did not even know it was an issue in some denominations until I was an adult. Of course I now know that there are churches that subscribe to all manner of strange teachings, and often claim to find these teachings in the Bible.

    Then my primary question – Why on earth would any woman put up with this nonsense? But then I suppose that goes to the question as to why anyone would put up with any sort of an abusive relationship.

  4. Hi Sam,

    I will let my readers respond to your questions, however not everyone reads the comment section and not everyone who reads the comments even feels comfortable to comment.

    As far as the complementarian position in the Evangelical Church, it is a big position in the Southern Baptist Convention, and according to wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Complementarianism):

    Groups of churches that broadly support this position include some members of the Southern Baptist Convention,[2] the Presbyterian Church of America, the Anglican Diocese of Sydney, Conservative Mennonites, Newfrontiers, the Dutch Reformed Church, and Sovereign Grace Ministries, among others. A moderate form of complementarianism is espoused by the Calvary Chapel movement.

    The couple whose loss of friendship that I endured that pushed me into this area including my DVD series and this blog were from a Calvary Chapel church.

    Why do people (women) put up with this nonsense? That’s a good question. I know that for myself I am always wanted to please and standing up for myself really wasn’t an option. It appears that I am not unusual as there are many women who have put up with all kinds of abuse and still came back with the thought that it has to get better. I think that this is the way many women are “wired”.

  5. gengwall,

    Maybe Ware has not ever heard that “two wrongs don’t make a right”.

    Well he apparently doesn’t “get it” even if he heard it.

    Moreover, if this was to be a God directed remedy to Eve’s rebellion, why did God not issue the command to rule directly to Adam?

    That is a key point that comps have never adequately answered. They have no reason for why God warned Eve about what the future would be like, yet never commanded Adam to rule over Eve.

    After all, Ware claims that “Adam would have to assert his rule over her”. That presumes it was not asserted prior to the fall (although, mysteriously, was available as an option for Adam???)

    Perhaps they would say that he just had to assert it in a stronger way after the fall. But if Adam was made the ruler over Eve, then what kind of ruler was he if he didn’t take his authority over her? And is he supposed to be a good “ruler” know that sin has distorted his ability to rule? Why would God set a sinner who had failed in protecting the garden over his wife? His failure certainly would have proven his inability. So should God tell Adam to take a harsher rule with Eve now that Adam is a confirmed sinner? None of this makes any sense and makes God to be a poor manager of people.

    Since God is now dictating that something needs to happen that has never happened before, wouldn’t you think God would give Adam a little shove?

    You would think so, wouldn’t you?

    God’s chastisement of the parties involved with the fall contains nothing positive to say about any of them.

    I think God said something positive to the serpent about Eve by predicting that the serpent’s demise would come through her seed. The only hope that we have as the human race will be through the Messiah who will one day end all of this bickering and bring an end to our sin nature that we fight with. Boy won’t that be a wonderful day when we can look at all of our brothers in Christ without seeing a spirit of prejudice and arrogance in them! I can’t wait for that day!

  6. I can not speak from the woman’s perspective, but I can share a couple of observations in general.

    Many people are fairly content in the complimentarian life style and church because the men in their lives don’t “lord it over” them. The women are happy to have a strong leader to look up to and don’t themselves feel qualified to lead. (I’m not making a statement as to whether or not that is positive, just that it is a reality). Unless real abuse is taking place, these women are…well…happy. Some would say that their happiness is a fantasy, but I disagree. I really do think they are satisfied with that life style. Now, it could be argued that they could be far more satisfied if they were able to live life to the fullest and “be all they can be”. But they would argue in return that they are allowed that, and how there are is how they want to be. I would describe my wife’s grandparents on her mothers side (I never knew her other set) as this type of couple. He was definately the patriarch, but he was loving and supportive of his wife (she had many hobbies and an in home business) and they did not appear to be in want of anything from a relational aspect.

    There are others who look to be living the complimentarian life style on the outside (husband is provider/protector, wife is home maker/nurturer) but if you examine their day to day living, you see that they are actually quite egalitarian. Though they may look traditional (and patriarchal), they have an equal partnership. I would describe both sets of my grandparents, and my and my wife’s parents in this category.

    Then there are those who, because of the cherry picked teaching they have been brought up with, simply believe this is how God designed it. Although they are not quite content, and although they are not quite equal, they still have a good life and believe all is well and godly. (Maybe Cheryl’s marriage fits most closely with this). Still, there is something that just isn’t quite right, but because they are taught that this is the way it should be, they can’t quite put their finger on why they feel so unfulfilled.

    Now, all three of these situations lack any abuse. Obviously, there are other paradigms that come into play that cause a woman to stay in an abusive situation. But these are three fairly normal reasons why I think they may stay. Others here have much more despicable situations that they have lived through and I’m sure will fill you in.

    And this says nothing about how the church operates. As I said before, the church we have attended for years is complimentarian “light”. They allow only male elders and pastor, but in all other visible ways, seem very egalitarian. I have commented here before that I am actually almost completely ignorant of strict complimentarian churches, despite the various denominational backgrounds I have been exposed to through my marriage and family.

  7. We’ve had only one experience with a complimentarian group. When we first visited the group, some were very friendly. We asked for a statement of belief and any other materials that would explain their beliefs and teachings. They were very careful not to mention anything about their positions on the role of women.

    We saw women on the platform and assumed that women were equally involved. Wrong! We eventually figured out that the group had a complicated set of unwritten rules. The only thing that mentioned anything in writing, we (much) later learned, was one word – ONE WORD – in the bylaws, under the qualifications for elders that said “men”. Like who visits a church and asks for a copy of the bylaws before deciding to attend again?

    Women could only teach women and children (and boys only up to a certain age). Women could sing on the platform, but not lead singing, in case they made a comment that might be interpreted as teaching. Women could speak on the platform if they were answering questions from a man in an interview, which was considered “covering” her. Women were allowed to speak in a Bible study, but not teach if men were present, although women were encouraged to attend only womens’ Bible studies. Etc. Etc. Etc.

    There were many other issues with the group – Which could mostly be summed up by saying it was a social club with a central core of club members. Other people were allowed to attend mostly to help pay the bills and do jobs, but you had to be dumber than dirt to figure out they were really not part of the “in” group.

    So we moved on once we figured out this stuff, as over 98% of all new people did (I kept the statistics and this is a correct number). The church was losing people and I actually heard one of the two or three most powerful men in the church say that he wasn’t concerned, because “giving hasn’t gone down and they aren’t core people anyway”.

    I suppose we were a bit slow to figure out their actual stance on women, but it seemed that there were those who understood it clearly and that was why they attended. The way some of these men treated their wives and daughters was uncomfortable and we took away the idea that a group that holds such a position on women tends to attract some men who have unhealthy attitudes toward women. They seem to especially like churches that they feel back them up with teaching and their interpretation of Scripture. This is not to say that all of the men in such a group are this way.

  8. Sam,
    Thanks for sharing your story! I think it would be a good idea at some point to cover the issue of a woman’s “covering” to see where these groups get such an idea and why it is unbiblical. When I am not so busy, I would like to work around that one.

    I also believe that there are some men who are prejudiced and arrogant (sorry for being so blunt) who will not attend a church that has women involved where a man has to encounter her gifts. The abusive churches are filled with these kinds of men. I have met a few through other on-line venues as well a few have shown up here. One called Happy Promise Keeper was an especially abusive sort. He spoke for God in denouncing women but the fact is that he went around looking for women to denounce. He purposely chose to visit women’s blogs and spout off. I think it gives them a sense of power.

    Men who are not respected in one or more areas of their lives are also susceptible as they use abusive encounters to meet a need in themselves for controlling something or somebody. I have learned that those who come here to abuse me or other women will not be tolerated as l have found that letting them speak this way just gives them a platform. While I consider myself a nice person, I have also learned that niceness is not a virtue if it tolerates abuse.

  9. This is totally off topic, but I have posted a preview of the video on youtube that I just finished editing http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KDW-2MTrHr0 It is Lorri MacGregor’s script which is a documentary on Word Faith. Now you can see what I was working on until all hours (1 a.m. to 3 a.m. at the end of the project). It has gone off for replication and I can now concentrate on other things and trying hard to work on my own book on the issue of women in ministry. Never a dull moment around here 🙂

  10. “Then my primary question – Why on earth would any woman put up with this nonsense? But then I suppose that goes to the question as to why anyone would put up with any sort of an abusive relationship.”

    Hi Sam,

    I have a bit of a different take on this question. My background includes marketing a lot of comp seminars and materials in mega churches. They were big money makers for the churches and those who have comp ministries.

    Why are these venues sold out? (And there are a ton of comp authors and ministries out there and folks flock to them)

    Because people love formulas, rules and roles to live by. They are always looking for the magic formula to make everything perfect. That is why self help books sell well. Same reason. We just took self help formulas, twisted scripture and applied it to the marriage.

    One of the most popular pink and blue ministries even has a charge for accessing his website community. It is HUGE business. And marriage books in Christendom are hot commodities if they are in the pink and blue vein. If not, they are immediately branded as liberal and heretic by the big names and the publishers shy away.

    I wish you could have seen the money these folks raked in.

    But all these rules, roles and formulas are much easier than the hard work of constantly Abiding in Christ, constantly seeking the Kingdom. But if each person is doing just that, their marriage will thrive because they will be automatically putting Christ first and consequently each other will benefit.

  11. “I think it would be a good idea at some point to cover the issue of a woman’s “covering” to see where these groups get such an idea and why it is unbiblical. When I am not so busy, I would like to work around that one.”

    That would be great, Cheryl, and I will wait with great anticipation for that. I have been working on an Genesis 2/Ephesians 5 marriage model for about a year now. As I fiddle with certain terminology to convey certain ideas, on term I came up with for the positive masculine contribution to marriage was “covering strength”. I will look forward to your ideas on “covering” to see if it you find it universally unbiblical in regards to men or only unbiblical in the way that complimentarians are using it. (I especially am curious about your take on Ezekirl 16:8 and God’s “covering” of Jerusalem in a clear metaphor for marriage). I know it is a little OT here, but I am glad it is on your list for future commentary.

  12. Cheryl, since you and gengwall have covered so many aspects of how complementarians, in a very contradictory fashion, treat Gen. 1:26-30 and 2:15-24, I don’t think there is much more I could add.
    Yet I will make these two brief, though obvious, observations:
    1. If it weren’t for the assumptions they make about 2 Tim. 2:12-15 as their intepretive lens, complementarians could not interpret these Genesis texts in the way they do. First of all, the rule of man and woman over the rest of creation is not only delegated to them both from God, but it is also a shared ruling between those who equally bear the image of God; there is nothing in Gen. 1:26-30 itself that would indicate that the man possesses more of the image of God than the woman, or that the man has been delegated more authority than the woman. This is obviously a foreign idea that complementarians have imposed on these texts from some other source; it does not naturally flow out of the text itself.

    2. Maybe it’s because how some translations render katergo ezer (forgive my poor transliteration of the Hebrew) in Gen. 2:18. But if you carefully study Gen. 2:18-24, I think it becomes clear that God intended Adam to go through this process discovery and confirmation, so that he would learn 1) that there was no companion among the animals that truly corresponded to him and could be his partner and ally; and 2) to make him that much more appreciative of the companion whom God would provide, one just right for him. I think the following rendering brings this out well:

    The LORD God said: “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a suitable partner for him.” So the LORD God formed out of the ground various wild animals and various birds of the air, and he brought them to the man to see what he would call them; whatever the man called each of them would be its name. The man gave names to all the cattle, all the birds of the air, and all the wild animals; but none proved to be a suitable partner. So the LORD God cast a deep sleep on the man,…took out one of his ribs, and…then built up into a woman the rib that he had taken from the man. When [God] brought her to the man, the man said, “This one, at last, is bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh; This one shall be called ‘woman,’ for out of ‘her man’ this one has been taken.”
    Gen. 2:18-24, NAB

    How anyone can read this passage, and think Adam believed and regarded Eve as anything other than a wonderful companion and partner, given by God to be such from the beginning; well, all I can say is the teaching that he regarded her as his servant and lacky, contrary to the divine intention of this text, is just plain stupid!

  13. Frank,
    The only thing that I can come up with, is that an “agenda” has blinded some to the beauty of the one who was turned into two and then back into a united oneness as anything other than equality. A boss and a follower has no beauty in it but when one wants the preeminence, it is amazing to what extend that one will go to hold on to that preeminence.

  14. ezer neged

    I don’t mind the NASB – “helper suitable”, although the use of “suitable” might make one think of a suitable servant or something of the sort. It also doesn’t exactly capture the idea of neged. The New KJV comes closer yet, with “helper comparable”. scripture4all.org’s literal translation is “helper as in front of him”. With that literal definition (neged is often translated “opposite” or “before”, i.e. in front of), I like “corresponding” as a closer translation of neged. That would render it “helper corresponding to him” or “corresponding helper”.

    Some others that aren’t bad.
    NLT – “a companion who will help him”
    Young’s – “to him an helper — as his counterpart”
    Darby – “a helpmate, his like”
    CEV – “suitable partner”

    That last uses the questionable “suitable” but also introduces a stronger word for ezer. In this verse, ezer potentially needs some power behind it since “helper” tends to bring to mind subservience. (It of course couldn’t be viewed that way if someone studies the use of ezer throughout the scriptures, but I am assuming that a student is looking at Genesis 2:18 as a standalone) “Partner”, I think, still carries the spirit of ezer but entirely eliminates the thought of hierarchy.

    Therefore, my preferred translation of ezer neged is “corresponding partner” or “partner corresponding to him”. That is a bit clinical, I confess, but for me it captures the truth of what Eve was created to be. Most of all, in my mind, it conveys the essence and fullness of God’s creative work in humanity. Man and woman are equal; “partner” leaves no doubt about that. But “equal” does not mean “same”. “Corresponding” captures the idea of two unique but matching parts that, put together, make a perfect whole.

  15. As usual, gengwall, a good commentary on a thorny subject: good translations vs. poor translations of the original texts. And thanks for correcting my language error in such a gracious way; somehow I misread neged ezer as katergo ezer. I guess I’m just not able to read the Hebrew text as well as I can read the Greek text. And even though it is a “clinical” translation, “corresponding partner” not only conveys the truth of what God intended, but sums up best those concepts that egalitarians, contra complementarians accusations, have always recognized in Gen 1:26-30 and 2:18-24: Equality, complementarity, sexual differentiation, and unity under God, working as God’s partners and allies, as so beautifully set forth in the book, THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO RUTH. So it is a perfectly good translation, for these very reasons.

  16. #16 Kay,

    Normally I would be typing as fast as I can, but this is an extremely busy time of year for me. We leave tomorrow for Canadian thanksgiving with family and just as soon as we come back we are heading off for another ministry trip to Pennsylvania for almost another week so my time is extremely limited right now.

    When I get back I will be concentrating on my new book and will try to fit in time for my blog as well as research for my next DVD series. I hope I do well at balancing all of the balls I currently have up in the air 😉

  17. Cheryl, just watched your YouTube clipping. I haven’t heard of all the individuals you named at the end. Are you suggesting that all of them are Word Faith and off base in prosperity and certain other doctrines?

  18. Hi TL,

    The script and research is Lorri MacGregor’s and not mine but yes, the individuals are Word Faith proponents. Not all of them are featured in clips in the DVD, but some are. The off-base doctrines that are the most serious are the doctrine of who Jesus is and on the resurrection.

  19. Was Adam ruling over the woman? NO. Both of them were subject to God as their authority. When she made the choice to eat, she took it upon herself to become like God. She defiled God. God was the one that told them what to do. The woman told Adam what to do. She established herself as deity, god. The authority over Adam. All thru the bible it is clearly stated that God expects worship from his creation.
    Women feel this strong pull towards being idolized. They feel like they need this feeling of power over men. The Cindarella complex, the Princess complex. Why did Eve eat the fruit? What was her motive?
    What is the one thing that women to this day desire most? To be worshipped. They think of themselves as goddesses. The elusion of being a Princess.
    Is that not what the serpent offered her? When you eat you will be like God. The concequences of these action threw off all of God’s perfect human ecology. Women are focused on their man and desire his attention. He focuses in his newpaper or watching sports. Her main objective is the relationship. What do women talk about when they get togethere? Relationships. What are soap operas about? Relationships. Same goes with Romance novels. Because Adam listnened to the womans voice he focuses his whole attention to his vocation, job or profession. A never ending issue of argument. “We don’t spend enought time together”

  20. “What is the one thing that women to this day desire most? To be worshipped.”

    And men don’t?

  21. So, was it just a matter of who got to the fruit first? Why did the serpert approach the woman and not the man? There has to be a misssing link in our whole understanding or the passage. Was it a tug of war between Adam and the woman? Was the serpent evaluating Adam and the woman to see where the weakness was?
    Our whole understanding of romatic human relationship has gone haywire because of this whole incident. Why was Paul so much aganist women leading the congregation? Women must cover their head for fear of the Angels? What did he mean by that? Women have been the target of rebel angels. Did Angels mated with women (Before the flood) because there was something about them that appeals to the fallen spirits the same thing that lured the serpent to the woman (Eve)? I there a relation to the great obsession young and mature woman have for these new, seductive, evil, violent vampire novels? All this has to offer some relation to the whole incident in Eden. Why did Eve eat the fruit???
    Why not Adam???? She took the lead. Most women fight for control in the relationship but don’t really want it. Was there a flaw in Adam that force the woman to take the lead? If there was then God failed in creating a perfect man and woman. Was there a flaw in the woman? What exactly did the serpent reveal to her in those hidden, vague, metaphoric words, “You will be like God”.

  22. “I there a relation to the great obsession young and mature woman have for these new, seductive, evil, violent vampire novels? All this has to offer some relation to the whole incident in Eden.”

    Really, why?

  23. “Why was Paul so much aganist women leading the congregation?”

    Paul was not – although some people interpret what he wrote to imply that.

  24. gengwall,
    Thanks for your honesty. Self-centeredness and the quest for preeminence certainly isn’t gender specific.

  25. Javier

    First of all, many of your questions are being discussed in the most recent couple of posts by Cheryl. You may want to review those posts as well as you could “kill two birds with one stone” by joining the conversation there.

    Now to your questions

    “So, was it just a matter of who got to the fruit first?”
    Was what just a matter of who got to the fruit first? I don’t understand what you are getting at.

    “Why did the serpert approach the woman and not the man? There has to be a misssing link in our whole understanding or the passage…Was the serpent evaluating Adam and the woman to see where the weakness was?”
    A couple things. First, the serpent approached both of them. The text is clear that the man was with the woman as she had her conversation with the serpent. Now, why he engaged the woman in the conversation and not the man is not clear. But what we do know is that the woman was deceived by the serpent, while the man was not. It may be simply a case, as you suggest, of the serpent attacking the one who he was most likely to deceive. That does seem sensible, but we may never know for sure until we get to heaven and can ask.

    “Was it a tug of war between Adam and the woman?”
    That is what many assume but that also presumes a hierarchy in the relationship. Neither a pre-fall hierarchy or a tug of war between Adam and Eve are supported in the bible anywhere.

    BTW – I’m not sure what any of this line of questioning has to do with women wanting to be worshipped. But I’ll plow ahead.

    “Our whole understanding of romatic human relationship has gone haywire because of this whole incident.”
    Actually, I would say that the reality of romantic human relationship has gone haywire because of this whole incident. I’m not sure our understanding of either pre-fall or post-fall marriage is altered because of the incident. But the marriage relationship as acted out in fleshly, fallen humans, definately changed from the cooperative partnership that existed in the garden.

    “Why was Paul so much aganist women leading the congregation? Women must cover their head for fear of the Angels? What did he mean by that? Women have been the target of rebel angels. Did Angels mated with women (Before the flood) because there was something about them that appeals to the fallen spirits the same thing that lured the serpent to the woman (Eve)? I there a relation to the great obsession young and mature woman have for these new, seductive, evil, violent vampire novels?”
    Again, this is being discussed in detail in the latest thread. I suggest you go there for your answers. (And it is presumptuous that women alone are attracted to the latest vampire craze).

    “All this has to offer some relation to the whole incident in Eden. Why did Eve eat the fruit??? Why not Adam????”
    Scripture is clear, she ate because she was deceived. I think the flaw in your perspective is that you believe Eve ate because of some fleshly desire that existed in her. She did not. She ate because the serpent tricked her into eating. Adam, on the other hand, ate knowing full well the implications and seeing thru the serpent’s lies. His was the more serious sin and that is whay all sin entered the world thru him even though he was the second one to eat.

    “She took the lead.”
    No, the serpent took the lead. Your statement assumes a conscious decision on Eve’s part to usurp some Adamic authority. But the bible nowhere states that Adam was in authority over Eve. There was no leadership in the first couple for her to grasp. You also fail to consider that she was deceived. Unlike Adam, she did not commit an act of willful rebellion. You must factor in that she was deceived when trying to analyse this passage.

    “Most women fight for control in the relationship but don’t really want it.”
    That is a common presumption but anecdotal at best. I can tell you that most women in this blog will tell you anecdotally that they most certainly do not fight for control in the relationship.

    “Was there a flaw in Adam that force the woman to take the lead? If there was then God failed in creating a perfect man and woman. Was there a flaw in the woman?”
    Again, the woman did not take the lead, so the first question is based on a false presumption. Now, was Adam or Eve flawed? That’s touchy. Depends on what you mean by a “flaw”. What we do know is that Eve was deceived, so there may have been either a lack of knowledge or resistence to deception. Either could be called a “flaw”, I suppose. Considering Adam’s longer tenure with God and Adam’s observation of many of God’s creative acts and Adam’s almost certainly greater exposure to the serpent and his tricks, it seems likely that it was a lack of knowledge that left Eve vulnerable.

    “What exactly did the serpent reveal to her in those hidden, vague, metaphoric words, “You will be like God”.”
    I’m not sure. What I know is that she bought it and Adam knew it was a lie.

  26. “Most women fight for control in the relationship but don’t really want it.”

    Really? Which Bible verse tells us that?

  27. The woman ate the fruit first. Did her eyes opened? I believe not. It was not until Adam ate that their eyes opened. We are aware of the concequences of what the woman eating the fruit brought about. What would had happened if Adam would had eaten first?
    I was under the belief that man and woman were equals and God was their authority. However, if both were equals why was Adam responsible for what the woman did? Granted she was tricked and he ate freely and willingly, still aparetnly he carry the whole responsability.

  28. Javier,
    Eve’s eyes were not opened until the fruit was being digested so that it was becoming a part of her. Same for Adam. It happened to them together. If Adam had eaten first and the women ate right after him, it would have been the same eyes opening as the fruit acted as a poison not immediately but on digestion into the body.

    However, if both were equals why was Adam responsible for what the woman did?

    The Bible doesn’t say that Adam was responsible for what the woman did. God did not ask Adam what Eve did. God asked Eve what she did. God called Adam to account only for what He did or what He didn’t do but not for what Eve did. He carried the responsibility because he deliberately ate with his eyes wide open without deception.

  29. Thank you Sheryl. Good points. I’ve been fascinated by this whole fallen man thing since I was a kid. I’ve read many different explanations or interpretations and they are base on conjecture. There is something we are missing in this whole story. I appreciate your approach to it and I am taking in your insight.

  30. Thank you Javier! It is my opinion that we miss a lot if we skip over the exact words used in Genesis. There is no need to base our view on conjecture when there is so much already given to us in the Scripture if we would only pay attention. The exact words and the exact grammar dispel the myths that we have created.

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