Thursday, March 12, 2009

Scripture to the Rescue!

I’ve been reading a book the last two days called “The Innocence of God” by Udo Middleman. At first, I regretted the idea of having to read ANOTHER BOOK for my Christian Philosophy course called “The Problem of Evil.” However, I am so thankful that I picked up this $20 book and began to read.

I just finished reading chapter two, called “A Just God in an Unjust World,” where Middleman discusses that God is not responsible for sin, but humanity is. He goes into great detail explaining Genesis 3:16. For our purposes, we are only gonna quote a small portion of his response:

“Even in their relationship they[Adam and Eve] would face problems which they must iron out. The man will, unhappily, often, rule over the woman. IT IS IMPORTANT TO NOTE THAT THIS IS A LAMENT, NOT A COMMAND; IT IS A RESULT OF THE FALL, NOT A COMMAND
FOR MARITAL SUBMISSION!” (Udo Middleman, “The Innocence of God,” pg. 46).

What does God say in Genesis 3:16?

“"I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing;
(A) in pain you shall bring forth children.
(B) Your desire shall be for[a] your husband,
and he shall(C) rule over you."

God says that the man would rule over the woman. But who does He say this to? He does not say this to Adam—He says this to Eve: “To the woman he said…”
God said to the WOMAN that her husband would rule over her; but what does God say to Adam? Does He tell Adam to rule over His wife? Does He make Adam responsible for Eve? Does He chide Adam for not “stepping up to the plate,” for neglecting his role as the head of the marriage? No. Instead, God punishes Adam and creation:

“17And to Adam he said,
"Because you have listened to the voice of your wife
and have eaten of the tree
(R) of which I commanded you,
'You shall not eat of it,'
(S) cursed is the ground because of you;
(T) in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life;
18thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you;
and you shall eat the plants of the field.
19By the sweat of your face
you shall eat bread,
till you return to the ground,
for out of it you were taken;
(U) for you are dust,
and(V) to dust you shall return."

God tells Adam two things: first, creation would be punished because of him; secondly, God tells Adam that he would have to work harder in order to bring forth yield from the ground. However, God mentions NOTHING about Adam needing to take control of the household, be a man, and defend his family. Yet and still, this is what men are taught today. This is what they are told in conservative circles—that they need to “step up,” be a man, act like they are men!

I believe complementarians (as evidenced from an earlier post I wrote on “Biblical Foundations for Manhood and Womanhood” (Grudem), in their discussion of Adam as being the head of the marriage BEFORE the Fall, attempt to do this in order to “muster” more evidence for their position. But in so doing, they butcher the context and desecrate Scripture.

As a good rule of thumb, let me say that whenever approaching a concept or passage of Scripture, the key to interpretation is to make sure such an explanation doesn’t contradict other parts of Scripture. To maintain their understanding of 1 Timothy 2, complementarians have to violate Scripture from Genesis 3. And they call themselves the master exegetes…


  1. ? Have you really thought this through? Do you not have to twist this scripture from Genesis and skip over a load of other scripture in order to maintain the "spiritual equality = gender role equality" understanding? Does this writer teach that "God made them man and woman, but... not really"? Or that "God made man first, and the woman for the man, but... not really"? I see that you have studied this for 3 years now, and I must ask - are you searching to reinforce your ideas and your desire to be a public teacher and modern theologian, or are you being very careful yourself to understand what is being said by God in order to apply it in daily family and personal life? As you say, "the key to interpretation is to make sure such an explanation doesn’t contradict other parts of Scripture". I've studied and lived this for many more than three years myself. This interpretation that "God mentions NOTHING about Adam needing to take control of the household, be a man, and defend his family," though it is not in this passage in Genesis, clearly contradicts many other examples and instructions in God's Word; I know you know them. Be careful, as James taught, what you teach.

  2. Dear Anonymous,

    Have you read Udo Middleman's book called "The Innocence of God"? I highly suggest you read this book.

    Next, you have failed to provide an argument regarding what I've said. All you've said is that I contradict other passages of Scripture. Please reference those in your post as well as answer the question of how I'm wrong in the matter.

    In addition, what I did in this blog post was discuss the error in Wayne Grudem's writing regarding the Genesis event. Adam was given headship over creation first-- this occurred in Genesis 1. Adam was not given headship of the family until Genesis 3:16. If God gave headship of the family to Adam before Genesis 3, why does God not mention it (as He does man having dominion over the earth and multiplying seed)? To claim that headship of the family is an IMPLIED command is to state that God failed to address it-- which means God forgot to tell Adam and Eve something necessary. And that places blame on God, which makes God the guilty party (despite the fact that God is innocent).

    God does tell the man to protect his family and love his wife, He does not tell the husband to RULE over his wife. The idea of "rule" is placed in Genesis 3 among the punishments of God to Adam, Eve, and the serpent, and is, in the words of Udo Middleman, a "lament," not a command! You have to prove to me that God's words to Eve regarding Adam ruling over her are a universal command-- which means you have to provide evidence from other parts of Scripture. And you failed to do this, making your "argument" nothing at all.

    I suggest that when you respond in the future, as does anyone posting to the blog, that you provide Scripture references and a NAME of the person writing the comment. Otherwise, I will not respond.

    Please feel free to write back (and introduce yourself) in the future.


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