Sunday, January 25, 2009

Comments on Schreiner's "An Interpretation of 1 Tim. 2:9-15"

“Paul Barnett intriguingly suggests that the point of the text is that Adam was not deceived first, but Eve was deceived first. The word ‘first’ (‘protos’ in the Greek) would be implicitly understood from verse 13…but Barnett’s suggestion is a possibility when we recall that Paul was writing to Timothy, who was quite familiar with his theology. Paul would be reminding Timothy that Eve transgressed first, and yet Adam was held responsible for the sin that was imputed to the whole human race (Romans 5:12-19). The reference to Eve sinning first along with the recognition that Adam BORE PRIMARY RESPONSIBILITY for sin entering the world (note in Genesis 3 that God approached Adam first after the sin) reveals the reality of male headship. In this scenario, then, verse 14 would function as second argument for male leadership in teaching” (114).

Thomas Schreiner, author of the chapter entitled “An Interpretation of 1 Tim. 2:9-15” in his (and Andreas Kostenberger’s book) called “Women in the Church,” takes time here to consider the ideas of Paul Barnett. Paul Barnett argues that Eve was deceived first—but that this doesn’t mean Adam was not deceived.

First of all, this CLEARLY CONTRADICTS Scripture, for Paul writes, “And Adam was not deceived…” (1 Timothy 2:12b).

Scripture presents problems for this argument by Barnett that Schreiner endorses and shows its flaws. When God confronts Adam about his sin, Adam responds,

“The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate” (Genesis 3:12, ESV).

Adam doesn’t mention his deception. But notice what Eve says when God confronts her:

“The serpent DECEIVED me, and I ate” (Gen. 3:13b)

Eve mentions her deception by the serpent, but Adam doesn’t mention that he is deceived—instead, he simply turns and blames his wife as the culprit responsible for the sin. In addition, God’s words to Adam show us that Adam was not deceived, but sinned willfully:

“17And to Adam he said,"Because you have listened to the voice of your wifeand have eaten of the tree(R) of which I commanded you,'You shall not eat of it,'”

God’s problem with Adam was that he “listened to the voice” of his wife, did what his wife wanted him to do. Adam bore PRIMARY RESPONSIBILITY because he was the only one (between he and Eve) that heard the commandment from God back in Genesis 2:16.

Nevertheless, notice what Schreiner says to cover Adam’s tracks:

“What Paul emphasizes is that it was Eve (not Adam) who was deceived by the serpent. Thus, WE NEED NOT CONCLUDE THAT ADAM WAS UNDECEIVED IN EVERY RESPECT…the latter would contradict Romans 5:12-19, and the former is hard to understand in any case, for it seems that all sin involves deceit. Do people sin with their eyes wide open, understanding the nature and consequences for their sin?” (114, 115).

It is amazing to me that now, Schreiner attempts to cover Adam’s sin by making him deceived like Eve was! The only problem is, that there’s a difference between Eve’s deception and Adam’s responsibility.

Looking up the word “responsible” in Merriam-Webster’s dictionary, I found this definition:

“able to answer for one's conduct and obligations.”

What does this tell us about Adam? Adam was obligated by God’s commandment to him in Genesis 2 to make the right choice; however, he didn’t make the right choice. Adam is responsible for his sin because he knew that he had a choice not to eat from the tree, and he knew the consequences of so doing.

I also looked up the word “deceive” in Merriam-Webster’s dictionary:

deceive implies imposing a false idea or belief that causes ignorance, bewilderment, or helplessness .”

Eve was deceived, meaning that the serpent tried to make her sound ignorant, as though she knew nothing—and he knew everything! The serpent painted God as though He was withholding something from Adam and Eve—and only God and the serpent knew what it was! The serpent gave her a false idea—that she could achieve Godhood!

What amazes me the most is that Schreiner goes so far as to ask the question, “Do people sin with their eyes wide open, understanding the nature and consequences for their sin?”

The answer to this question is a resounding YES! Adam sinned with his eyes wide open; he knew what the sin would be and its consequences: for God told him, “in the day you eat of it YOU SHALL SURELY DIE” (Gen. 2:17b). How hard is it to understand this as God’s promise for punishment? Contrary to Schreiner, all sin does not involve deceit. Deceit is only involved when someone is lied to about something. This clearly occurs in Eve’s case, for the serpent outright lies to her about her achieving Godhood; however, Adam isn’t lied to by God—he is told the consequences for his sin! And even hearing the serpent (with his wife), he had a marker (God’s words) by which to weigh his decisions. Eve didn’t have that—all she had was second-hand information.

Finally, Schreiner makes one more comment regarding Adam and Eve that shows his presupposition: that Adam’s being held responsible for the sin of humankind shows the “reality of male headship” (114). But I have a question: how does this show the reality of male headship? God made Adam the lord over all creation, and thus, when Adam sins, he is responsible for how sin affects all of creation! Only because he is created first and given explicit instructions by God is he responsible for all of creation. Genesis records nothing of Adam being head by virtue of his gender. And, as I’ve mentioned so many times before, if Adam is the head because he is a man, tell me why, even when God officiates the first wedding in Scripture, He does not place Adam as head over his marriage? God surely could have done it then; however, He only does it after Eve sins. So, in all honesty, the man’s headship is because of Eve’s sin. Male headship is not shown in Genesis to be something that is a blessing…and yet, so many men make it out to be this way!

Notice that God doesn’t confer the blessing on Adam, but instead, gives the news to Eve (Gen. 3:16).

Schreiner, however, focuses on a word that I think plays an important part in how to interpret 1 Tim. 2:12—RESPONSIBILITY!! Notice that Schreiner uses Romans 5:12-19. I think this is a fitting passage to deal with the passage in 1 Timothy.

Let’s take a look at Romans 5:12-19--

“Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned…” (Romans 5:12, ESV)

It wasn’t through two men that sin came into the world, but one. In looking at the Greek text, the word here in Romans for “man,” the reference to Adam here is the word “anthropos,” referring to “human,” not the Greek word for “male” (aner). We can see from this that the emphasis of Scripture is on humanity as a whole, NOT gender. Romans 5:16 talks about “the man” Christ Jesus, but the reference uses the word “anthropos,” which stands for “humanity,” not a male. I don’t see how Romans 5 shows the “reality of male headship.”

Let’s look at 1 Corinthians 15:45—

45Thus it is written,(BB) "The first man Adam became a living being";[e](BC) the last Adam became a(BD) life-giving spirit.

The word here for “man” in reference to Adam is “anthropos,” referring to “human,” not “male.”
Let’s look once again at 1 Timothy 2:5—

5For(H) there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man[a] Christ Jesus,

Christ is called “the man” here as well, but, like the others, the word for “man” here is not “male,” but instead, “human.”

The emphasis on Scripture seems to be that Christ is “human,” not “male.” Although Christ was circumcised, and is called “the Son of God” and “Prince of Peace,” this is not what’s most important about Christ; rather, it’s His HUMANITY that is most important.

As a result, therefore, nothing of Scripture confirms male headship EXCEPT that of Genesis
3:16. Even then, however, male headship is confirmed ONLY in the home, for “Christ is the head of the church” (Ephesians 5).

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