I continue to be amazed at the many people who hold Christian women accountable for the sin of Eve in the garden. Earlier this year I was given a workbook at a marriage conference and was shocked to find a full length picture of a woman, arm outstretched, holding an apple. So, fine. Where was the picture of Adam, where was the picture of the serpent? Not depicted, obviously freed from their responsibility in the garden scenario by the creators of the marriage workshop. How many times I have seen and heard this played out, men finding reason to blame women for their own failures, responsibility given to them by the Lord, to love, nurture, protect and guide in all things, the spiritual included; to love them as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for it – Ephesians 5:26-27.
Men who are deceived, leaders following after other false leaders, apostles and prophets who have been given the place of the shepherd, will also be excused from their failure, the blame placed on the woman, or their wife who leads them into deception. Why? Because that is what women do. Men apparently have no responsibility for their actions or decisions, but to lay it upon the shoulders of their women. Really guys?
On a more personal note, the last time I approached a pastor on his decision to appoint a women’s minister who followed after Richard Foster and the Emergent Church, to their so called woman’s ministry, resulting in our decision to leave the church (among other things) and after having given him scriptures instructing us in what we were to do in that situation, I was reminded that – I was a woman – . Wow.
Last night I found a very well written, seven part series on the fall of man, written by Bill Randles, in which part 2 he states:
Responsibility for the fall of man is laid at the feet of Adam, the father of us all, not Eve. Never in all of the revelation of God, is she seen as being primarily the cause of the fall. Adam was the person God called out immediately after the transgression, not Eve. Eve was deceived by the serpent, not Adam. The commission was given to Adam to guard and keep the garden.
Therefore it is interesting that the narrative of the fall centers around the woman. The serpent approached the woman, accused God to her, and presented his arguments to her. We are told in verse 6 that Adam was there with her, but verse six is an account of her inner thoughts which led to the transgression.
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.(Genesis 3:6)
Is this not a warning that one of the tell-tale marks of the serpent is to marginalize the man from his God assigned position of primal responsibility?
When Adam passively allowed his wife to take the lead in the couple’s dealing with the serpent, by default he abdicated his high calling to keep and guard the garden of God. He had been given the Word, and the commission to have dominion over the earth, not Eve.
But through the Serpent, Eve became the priest. It was Eve who mediated the serpent’s false “Word”, and she who “ministered” to Adam the “sacrament”,(ie the forbidden fruit) . Adam perversely took part in the sinful rite which was supposed to “open their eyes” and make them wise, and to become “as gods”.
Personally, I have heard quoted Genesis 3:16 as the base scripture that a woman’s natural desire would be to rule over her husband, usurping his authority, still being under the curse.
Your desire will be for your husband and he will rule over you.
I don’t see the meaning of usurping spiritual authority written in these words. A woman’s desire should be for her husband, to be with him, since she is a part of him, no longer two flesh, but one, created to be that way by God.
The word desire in the Hebrew is teshuwqah which Strong’s identifies the meaning as a stretching out after, longing – desire; and taken from shuq, which is to be in abundance, to overflow.
From my online English dictionary –
a strong feeling of wanting to have something or wishing for something to happen : [with infinitive ] a desire to work in the dirt with your bare hands.
• strong sexual feeling or appetite : they were clinging together in fierce mutual desire.
verb [ trans. ]
strongly wish for or want (something) : he never achieved the status he so desired | [as adj. ] ( desired) it failed to create the desired effect.
• want (someone) sexually : there had been a time, years ago, when he had desired her.
• archaic express a wish to (someone); request or entreat.
ORIGIN Middle English : from Old French desir (noun), desirer (verb), from Latin desiderare (see desiderate ).
Also translated as a longing for:
longing |ˈlô ng i ng |
a yearning desire : Miranda felt a wistful longing for the old days | [with infinitive ] a longing to be free | his tale of love and longing.
having or showing such desire : her longing eyes.
verb [ intrans. ]
have a strong wish or desire : she longed for a little more excitement | [with infinitive ] we are longing to see the new baby.
ORIGIN Old English langian [grow long, prolong,] also [dwell in thought, yearn,] of Germanic origin; related to Dutch langen ‘present, offer’ and German langen ‘reach, extend.’
In all that I still cannot connect the “usurping authority” thing because it simply and clearly is not there. You know how the scripture warns us of other gospels, of another jesus, well, it seems there is another garden scenario as well, another Eve. Lets be careful in how we continue to tell the outcome of this story.
Eve (before she was so named) was created as a helpmeet to her husband Adam, such would be the Godly role for all wives in the future. This is a place of help, just as it implies, not a place of selfish rule or stolen authority, but one to give wise and Godly counsel to him through the various issues and circumstances of their lives together. It is to love him, to honor him and to support him. This role does not imply spiritual authority, but one of submission, she to her husband as to the Lord, and he to her and to the Lord. Submission in that order is most important, one cannot operate without the other.
Wives who are looking to serve their Lord in all that implies, are not looking to control their husbands. It is spiritually impossible. They are looking also to please their husbands, through their own desire and longing for him, expressed in the ways of marriage and in the words “Your desire will be for your husband”.
The second part of verse 16 “he will rule over you” implies the true way of the flesh, manifested in man, which is always to rule over another, very often over woman, or the one who is weaker. God did not create or command one to rule over another in any gender role, but one is to lead in love, the way Jesus lead, in the way of a true servant. So the idea that a husband would rule over his wife, or that a wife would rule over her husband – which is the way often taught, yet not expressed in these words- is completely out of context of the whole counsel of the bible.
I believe verse 16 was a warning to women and to men in the way their lives together would go, so long as there is not proper submission – authority and love, in the manner laid out by God. As long as women are considered as sinners, the relationship between the two will be flawed, whether it be in marriage or ministry. Remember, Adam willingly gave over his God-given authority in a passive manner and Eve stepped in. When the natural course of creation is not followed, the unnatural takes over.
Consider so many women who are abused and battered throughout the world, hidden in their homes, some literally cloaked in black, heavy material constantly carrying the burden of the sin of another on their small shoulders. Consider also the same kind of black, heavy, spiritual cloaking done to Christian women over the years and through the misuse of this scripture, demonically twisted and distorted and taught as truth.
(I am aware of many women who seek to rule over their husbands, their churches and ministries in ways not appointed to them by God. They, however, are not the topic of this discussion.)
To conclude and teach women “Your desire will be for your husband and he will rule over you” is God’s design as part of the curse from the fall, and that she will never be free from the need to control, is nothing short of spiritual abuse and is a lie from the pit of hell. We are not responsible for the sin of Eve, nor for the failure of Adam. We are forgiven and free to serve our Lord as He calls.
When the husband refuses to lead in the spiritual sense, what’s a girl to do? Cling to the One who died for us, who did not count it as loss to give up His place in heaven to die for our sins. His name is Jesus and He counts us a co-heirs with the men He also died for.
I am not Eve, nor are my sisters in Christ- we are free, forgiven, having been washed in the blood, longing for the day when Christ returns, submitted to His will for His purpose, for His glory, willingly laying down our own unfulfilled longings and desires for His. To God be the glory for delivering us from bondage and granting us the leading of the Holy Spirit in comfort, peace and in truth.
Galatians 3:27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.