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…