Shall the husband rule? Or not? Tom the complementarian has challenged and strongly criticized my view. This post is the last part of his remarks. The last of his comments are in direct response to Pinklight, one of the commenters on this blog. Tom has labeled me as a bigot because of my view of mutual submission in Ephesians 5:21-22.
Part 1 answering Tom is here. Part 2 is here. Part 3 is here. Below are the final comments from Tom (part four)
Pinklight: It doesn’t have anything to do with whether Eve’s nature changed. That is because the Bible does not say that. It just says, the husband shall rule. Then, in the New Testament, the passages about submission and covering refere (sic) to
1. the order of creation,
2. the woman being deceived and in the transgression.
That’s all God has told us. See?–what we have to do is not go beyond Scripture and start arguing over surmises and speculations and reading between the lines. Just, “What has my Lord said?”
The comments on the original post have gone over 400 comments and for some reason the original page is not properly loading just by the link so I will need to find out what the problem is. It does look fine when one goes to http://mmoutreach.org/wim and then scroll down to the March 26, 2010 post called “Adam and Eve and the sin nature that comes through the man – how does this affect the issue of women in ministry?” It is loading okay that way so that one can read the post but when one tries to read the comments that page won’t load. **update – It looks like the 175 pages of comments was just too much for the blog post and there is nothing I can do to get the comments to show up. In future I will try to start a second page sooner so that this doesn’t happen again** (Note – Dec 2012: I have updated the blog and I think all the comments are now back.)
In the meantime, the comments can continue on this post.
The dialog has been lively and Mark our regular complementarian blog visitor has been going through his Calvinist proof texts with me as we dialog on John 6 verse by verse discussing sin and free will. Future comments should continue on this new part 2 post.
The path of the last Adam was a path that took Him from Heaven to earth, from the earth to the grave and from the grave to resurrection power on display as our Lord, Savior and King. But a study in contrast with the first Adam shows us the stark contrast to the faithfulness that the last Adam offers us in the place of the failure that we have experienced with our first earthly father.
The question has come up on this blog about whether Adam had a sin nature at the fall that would have been passed on to all of us, and if this is an issue that is important regarding women in ministry. After all, we need to know why it is that only Adam would bring sin into the world and if all of us have something “hanging” onto us from just on man, why is that? We need to know why sin didn’t come into the world through the woman. Is this because she was “under” the man so that anything she did was not placed on her account but on his account? These questions and more will be answered in this post. …
In our continuing topic of common objections to women in ministry, we come to the claim that Eve usurped Adam’s authority when she spoke to the serpent. To deal with this claim, we will be looking at both the claim that Eve rebelled against Adam in the garden and the claim that God gave Adam a responsibility to lead that He clearly denied to Eve.
In chapter 3 of Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood written by Raymond C. Ortlund Jrheadship is defined as a right that the man possesses to lead women in a God-glorifying direction. Ortlund writes:
First, the issue is framed in terms of “equal rights.” That sounds noble, but does God really grant husbands and wives equal rights in an unqualified sense? Surely God confers upon them equal worth as His image-bearers. But does a wife possess under God all the rights that her husband has in an unqualified sense? As the head, the husband bears the primary responsibility to lead their partnership in a God-glorifying direction. Under God, a wife may not compete for that primary responsibility. It is her husband’s just because he is the husband, by the wise decree of God. The ideal of “equal rights” in an unqualified sense is not Biblical.
According to Ortlund’s definition of head, women are not allowed by God to have any part in “competing” with men for the responsibility of leading. This is where the idea comes from that Eve sinned against Adam by taking a leading position. According to this complementarian thinking Eve usurped Adam’s authority and his responsibility to lead the relationship. But is this Biblical fact or complementarian fiction? The only way that we will know is to test this truth claim by the Scriptures.
Is there any Biblical text that gives rules and regulations for Eve regarding who she can talk to? Are there also any Biblical texts that show that Eve could not make any decisions on her own without consulting with her husband?
In our discussions on Genesis, there has been one puzzling question. If Adam alone sinned willfully and the woman fell into sin through deception, then why did God punish Eve so severely for her sin?
I would like to propose that we have had a misunderstanding of what happened when God dealt with Adam, the woman, and the serpent. There are only two acts by God that deal with guilt and curses and not three as tradition has taught us. Let’s look carefully at the passage. First of all, let’s look at how God dealt with the serpent:
Genesis 3:14 (NASB) The LORD God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, Cursed are you more than all cattle, And more than every beast of the field; On your belly you will go, And dust you will eat All the days of your life;
God speaks of blame by saying “Because you have done this…” and the result of the blame to the serpent is a curse. It isn’t a guess that God cursed the serpent because the inspired text says “cursed are you…”
Adam is also blamed by God in a very similar way:
Genesis 3:17 (NASB) 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’; Cursed is the ground because of you; In toil you will eat of it All the days of your life.
Notice again that God says “Because you have…” This is God’s blame and with the blame brings a curse. “Cursed is the ground because of you.” The “you” here is singular masculine, and the ground was cursed because of only one man’s sin. …
Another reason some complementarians claim for denying women opportunities to minister in the church is that it is said that women are more easily deceived than men so men alone are permitted to minister in the church. A good example of this kind of rationale is found here with this excerpt:
But why should Eve’s being beguiled in the Garden of Eden cause Paul to say that women should be silent in church? The answer must be that women in general have a tendency to be more easily duped than men. Because of this tendency, they are not to be teachers, or preachers, or hold an office (which implies authority) in church. …
…we must remember that Paul clearly states that women are to remain silent in church because of the creation order and because Eve was deceived.
Is Paul really saying that women are more easily deceived than men? Let’s examine the text:
1 Timothy 2:14 (NASB) And it was not Adam who was deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression.
Paul clearly says that “Adam was not deceived” but in 2 Corinthians 11:3 Paul specifically lists Eve by name as the one who was deceived:
2 Corinthians 11:3, 4 (NASB)
4 For if one comes and preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted, you bear this beautifully.
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.
So is Paul really saying that Eve was created with a “tendency” to be easily deceived? No, that would be reading into the text something that is not there. Rather than describing a flaw in God’s design of the woman that provided for a deceived Eve, the emphasis is on the cunning, craftiness and trickery of the one who deceived her. She was not created as one who was easily deceived. She was deceived through the cunning, manipulative trickery that was a masterful job in deceiving the very first woman.
One of the positions that complementarians commonly hold is that male and female were created with distinct roles so that one (the male) is said to have been given the authority over the other (the female) and the fact that Adam names Eve is used as proof of the man’s authority. CMBW (The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood) records it this way:
Male and female were created by God as equal in dignity, value, essence and human nature, but also distinct in role whereby the male was given the responsibility of loving authorityover the female, and the female was to offer willing, glad-hearted and submissive assistance to the man. Gen. 1:26-27 makes clear that male and female are equally created as God’s image, and so are, by God’s created design, equally and fully human. But, as Gen. 2 bears out (as seen in its own context and as understood by Paul in 1 Cor. 11 and 1 Tim. 2), their humanity would find expression differently, in a relationship of complementarity, with the female functioning in a submissive role under the leadership and authority of the male.
CBMW’s statement of their position says that Genesis 2 as viewed in its own context will show Adam’s authority over Eve as God’s original design, and this is borne out in the act of Adam naming Eve. Let’s have a close look at the context of Genesis 1-3 to see where Adam could have been given authority over Eve.
In my post on February 17th on Common Objections to Women in Ministry: God’s Design in Genesiswe saw that Adam and Eve were given equal authority over all of God’s creation in the land, air and the sea. If God had wanted to add to Adam’s authority the responsibility to a rule over the woman, Genesis 1 would have been a perfect place to list that authority, but God never gives Adam an authority over his wife in the original design. The authority of rulership for Adam is clearly over animals and the earth, not people. So if God did not give authority for Adam to rule Eve in the original creation, when is God supposed to have given him that authority? Let’s look to Genesis chapter 2 for any evidence of an added authority given to Adam.