This is the sixth in a series of simulated interviews with the Apostle Paul taken from the position of what he might say if we could transport Paul from the New Testament account through a time tunnel into our present day.
Doug, a strong complementarian has been patiently waiting to question Paul on his reference to the order of creation in 1 Timothy 2:13. Let’s listen in. (The previous interviews are linked at the bottom of this post.)
Paul: Grace and peace brother Doug.
Doug: It has been days since you were here last. I was worried that you might not come back. What took you so long?
Paul: I was apprehended by a group of “Who would Jesus knock down?” thugs. It seems that some people in the twenty-first century do not accept my authority regarding the gospel. Remind me to tell you about it before I leave today.
Doug: It appears your journey into our time has been very eventful.
Paul: Cultures change and times change but the attempts of some to add to the gospel has not changed. I didn’t put up with it in my time and I won’t put up with it now either.
Doug: I look forward to hearing about that story later. Right now I am anxious to follow through your reasoning concerning why you connected the prohibition of 1 Timothy 2:12 to the order of creation.
Paul: I was expressing the basis or the foundation for my ruling. The importance of Adam’s first creation cannot be underestimated. Let’s look at the verses again.
1 Tim 2:13 For it was Adam who was first created, and then Eve.
1 Tim 2:14 And it was not Adam who was deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression.
Adam was formed before Eve. The emphasis I made was on the timing.
Doug: So Adam was the most important?
Paul: No, that is not what I was saying. I did not write that the prohibition was about Adam’s importance but it was all about timing. Follow with me through the flow of thought from verse 13 to verse 14. There is a logical relationship between these verses. I used a connective conjunction in Greek to draw together the additional idea of deception to the previous idea of timing.
First in time = not deceived
Next in time = deceived
Doug: Are you saying that all women are deceived because Eve was created second?
Paul: No, not at all. I did not use the generic here as if Adam was representative of all men and Eve was representative of all women. I was referring to an actual event in history that had an application to another deception.
Doug: Are you saying that you were not setting up a primary role for the man?
Paul: There is nothing in my words that indicate a “role” that is being established. The connective words leads to the picture of deception. Notice that I presented a contrast. It was not Adam who was deceived, but the woman being deceived… This contrast refers to the opposite state of affairs between one person from the past and the other from the ongoing problem. I contrasted the “not” deceived state of Adam with the continued state of the woman.
Doug: What do you mean “continued state”?
Paul: When I wrote that “the woman” was deceived I used the “active” form which means that she is in the state of deception. And because she is deceived she is in the place of transgression. I used the perfect tense for “transgression” to emphasize that her deception occurred in the past but it has produced a state of existence for her at the time I wrote it. It is her “state of affairs” and it is the problem that Timothy had to deal with.
Doug: How could Eve still be deceived and in her transgression?
Paul: She can’t be. This isn’t about Eve. Don’t you understand? While I mentioned Eve in verse 13, in verse 14 I go beyond Eve. I drew the connection between the very first act of deception and the current deception.
Doug: Are you tying in Eve’s deception to all women?
Paul: No this isn’t about all women. The grammar is specific. It is about the “state of being” in transgression that is the result of a deception. Not all women are deceived. And the bible never says that women inherit transgression from Eve. You know that not all women are deceived, don’t you Doug?
Doug: Of course I know that all women aren’t deceived. But I don’t understand your reasoning. Why did you bring Adam into this equation if this isn’t about men’s roles or about the weakness of all women?
Paul: Let’s go back to Genesis and you should be able to see the connection that I made. Let me ask you a question first that should set the stage. We can both agree that Eve was deceived by the serpent, right?
Paul: How would Eve not have been deceived?
Doug: I suppose if Adam would have spoken up and revealed the deception then she would not have been deceived.
Paul: You got it! God job. Now tell me, Doug, why was Adam not deceived?
Doug: Hmmm….that question isn’t so easy to answer.
Paul: Let’s rule out some things. Was Adam not deceived because he was better than Eve?
Doug: They were both created perfect and without sin. Can perfection be better in one person than another?
Paul: Good question! The only way that Adam could be better than Eve would be if she was created with a weakness. Is that what happened?
Paul: Okay, good. Now let’s look at Genesis. Let’s start in Genesis 2:6 that sets the stage for the creation of man.
Gen 2:6 But a mist used to rise from the earth and water the whole surface of the ground. Gen 2:7 Then the LORD God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.
In Genesis 2:7 it says God “formed” man and “breathed” into his nostrils. The Hebrew verbs for “formed” and “breathed” are prefixed sequential verbs. This means that the actions happened one after another in order.
Doug: No problem with that. So after the watering of the ground, then God created the man next and after he created him he breathed God’s breath into him.
Paul: Yes, that’s what happened. Here the story line is sequential so we can know that one thing happened after the other because of the specific Hebrew grammar. Now let’s look at verse 8.
Gen 2:8 The LORD God planted a garden toward the east, in Eden; and there He placed the man whom He had formed.
Here it says “planted” and again this is a prefixed sequential verb. It means that after man was created, God planted a garden. Take a look at the next phrase where it says God “placed the man whom he had formed”. The verb “put” is another prefixed sequential verb but “had formed” is not sequential, it is a suffixed verb.
Doug: I am not that good with grammar. Are you expecting me to understand this?
Paul: It really isn’t all that hard. Let’s make it easy by saying a verb can be either sequential or non-sequential. God “put” Adam into the garden after the garden was planted. That is sequential. It happened one event after the other. He put the man whom he “had formed” into the garden. “Had formed” here is not a sequential verb. Instead this verb means that the forming had already done done.
Doug: Okay, I can go along with you there.
Paul: If God created man before he planted the garden of Eden, would Adam have seen a fully created garden when he was first created?
Doug: Well, no. The garden would have been created after Adam was formed if we can believe the Hebrew grammar.
Paul: Good. What day was man created on?
Doug: Day six.
Paul: And what day were plants created on?
Doug: Day three. That is found in Genesis 1:11-13.
Gen 1:11 Then God said, “Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees on the earth bearing fruit after their kind with seed in them”; and it was so.
Gen 1:12 The earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed after their kind, and trees bearing fruit with seed in them, after their kind; and God saw that it was good.
Gen 1:13 There was evening and there was morning, a third day.
Paul: Right! Now notice that God created the seeds on day three but the plants themselves didn’t show up until day six.
Doug: How do you know that?
Paul: Because the seeds that God created in Genesis 1:11-12 were tree seeds and plant seeds and vegetation seeds that had not yet sprouted up as plants. They were all in their original seed form only. That is what God created on day three. God tells us in Genesis 2:5 that these seeds that God created had not yet sprung up as plants and why they were still in the ground as seeds.
Gen 2:5 Now no shrub of the field was yet in the earth, and no plant of the field had yet sprouted, for the LORD God had not sent rain upon the earth, and there was no man to cultivate the ground.
Doug: So the earth would have looked bare?
Paul: Yes until after the creation of man. What did Genesis say was the sequential event that happened just before God created man?
Doug: Genesis 2:6 – the whole surface of the ground received water.
Paul: Yes and then man was created from that moist earth. The earth was now watered but there was no visible vegetation showing as the plant seeds had just received their moisture. Now Genesis 2:5 says that there were no shrubs and no plants yet when Adam was created even though God created them on day three. They were still in the seed stage and since the world was barren of grown plants at this point, would there have been anything to obstruct Adam’s view when God planted the garden of Eden? What do you think that Adam was privileged to see?
Doug: I never ever thought of it that way. Adam would have seen the very first plants come to life and he would have seen God plant the garden of Eden. But what would he have eaten? Would that have left Adam without food for a long time while the garden grew?
Paul: No because the garden of Eden was a miracle that God created. The Scriptures tell us that there was no plant in the field when Adam was created so there was nothing for Adam to eat there, but God planted a garden after Adam was created and this garden grew in a way that the other plants did not. The other plants were created by seed and grew through the normal plant cycle, but the garden that God planted grew up right before Adam’s eyes. God made those trees to grow so that when God placed Adam in his new home the trees were already full grown enough to have their fruit at the stage where it could be eaten. Adam was there before the tree of life was planted and before the tree of the knowledge of good and evil became a tree full of forbidden fruit.
Doug: Wow! That would have been an amazing sight to see creation first hand!
Paul: No other human has ever been privileged to see the creation of the plants right before his eyes. But there was something else that was very special that Adam was given the privilege of seeing.
Doug: What was that?
Paul: Let’s take a look at Genesis 2:18-19.
Gen 2:18 Then the LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him.”
Gen 2:19 Out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the sky, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called a living creature, that was its name.
The verb “formed” in verse 19 is once again a prefixed sequential verb. This means that the animals that God formed on day six were created after Adam was created. They were formed out of the ground and then brought to Adam. Both the forming and the bringing are prefixed sequential verbs so the actions were done in a sequential manner one after the other.
Doug: Are you trying to tell me that Adam saw the creation of animals too?
Paul: This is what the inspired grammar of the bible says. We all knew this because we could read the Hebrew and knew what it said. And Timothy was Greek so he could also read the bible from the Greek Septuagint as well. The Greek version of the Hebrew bible shows the grammar as God “is forming” the animals. (See the English version of the Hebrew here http://scripture4all.org/OnlineInterlinear/OTpdf/gen2.pdf )
Doug: You are blowing my mind! You mean Adam would have seen God’s creative acts with both plants and animals?
Paul: Adam was there before the plants were visible on the earth. There were animals created just before Adam was created but we also know that all the animals were also created after Adam was created. It wasn’t until after Adam was created and God had sent water for the seeds in the field to grow plants, that animals were given the plants for their food.
Gen 1:27 God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.
Gen 1:28 God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
Gen 1:29 Then God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the surface of all the earth, and every tree which has fruit yielding seed; it shall be food for you;
Gen 1:30 and to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the sky and to every thing that moves on the earth which has life, I have given every green plant for food”; and it was so.
The food given to the animals in Genesis 1:30 is also a prefixed sequential verb. The food given to the animals is given after Adam’s creation.
Doug: But how could God create animals at two different times both before Adam and then after Adam’s creation? This doesn’t make any sense.
Paul: Let me ask you a question. Did God create mankind before or after the garden of Eden was created?
Paul: Are you sure?
Doug: Well we have just seen from the Hebrew grammar that God planted the garden after Adam was formed so mankind was created before the garden.
Paul: What about Eve?
Doug: She was created after the garden was created.
Paul: Is Eve part of the original creation of mankind?
Doug: Yes. She is the female part of mankind.
Paul: So was mankind created before or after the creation of the garden?
Doug: Okay, I see what you are getting at. Mankind was created before AND after the creation of the garden of Eden.
Paul: So were animals created before or after Adam’s creation?
Doug: Well, if God created the male and female at separate times, then it wouldn’t be a problem for animals to be created both before and after the creation of Adam.
Paul: You got it! It is not a contradiction for animals to be created both before and after Adam. We just take the bible for what it says and believe it. Now brother Doug, tell me, what education would Adam have had about the person and work of God since Adam was there before the garden was planted by God and before the complementary animals were created?
Doug: Oh boy, Adam would have seen God in action in a way that no other human being has ever seen! Adam would have seen the Creator creating. Adam would have realized that he was a work of the Creator’s hand and he would have known that there was no one like the Creator. He would have seen the Creator as separate from His creation and the creation as the work of God’s hands.
Paul: Absolutely! Adam would also have seen the Creator’s special care for him by the creation of a special spouse that was created from his very own body. No other mate was created in this special way. Only the woman was fit for the man and from the man in a way that no animal was created. So when the serpent came into the garden to deceive and to tell the woman that she could be like God and that God was holding back his best from her that she could just take for herself, why wasn’t Adam deceived?
Doug: Well it is obvious. Adam was not deceived because he saw the difference between mere creation and the Creator. He saw the works of creation so he knew that he could not be the Creator. He also saw God’s loving care in giving him the very best mate that was suited just for him so he knew that God wasn’t holding back His best from him.
Paul: That is absolutely right! Adam had a unique educational opportunity that was unlike anything that the woman experienced since all of creation was finished by the time that Eve was created. Adam was not deceived because he had sound doctrine of who God is based on his experience with the Creator and the creation. Adam was not deceived because he was smarter than Eve or because males are created without the ability to be deceived. Adam was not deceived because he was created first.
Doug: Now tell me how you tied that in to the deception happening in Ephesus?
Paul: The situation in Ephesus was just like the situation in the garden all over again. Adam knew the truth but he kept silent while his wife was being deceived. He had the truth about who God really was but he didn’t educate his wife or stop her from swallowing the lie. His silence allowed her to become completely deceived and then he allowed a deceived woman to give him the forbidden fruit and he ate of that fruit without ever opening his mouth and speaking the truth. The woman in Ephesus was also completely deceived and her husband was also silent. He allowed her to practice her deception by repeating the false doctrine as she taught it to him and her teaching the error to her husband just solidified her indoctrination in the lie. I had already told Timothy that she was to learn in quietness.
1 Tim 2:11 A woman must quietly receive instruction (learn) with entire submissiveness.
Learning in this verse is a verb that is present, active and imperative. Learning is a command by Paul. The learning implies a reflection on the information so that she can come to understand the truth. She must also learn in quietness. Quietness is a noun that means quiet circumstances and a lack of disturbance. She cannot be teaching her error and learning the truth at the same time.
Doug: I have never seen these things in the way that you have presented them before. I have to meditate and think my own doctrine through. I have always believed that it is a sin for a woman to teach any man and now you are rocking my world.
Paul: We must all be willing to have our world “rocked” because truth is of utmost importance. What is founded on a lie must be demolished because the truth is so important.
Doug: But something still doesn’t make sense to me. If the woman is equal with the man in spiritual matters, then why was only the man credited with bringing sin into the world?
Paul: That is a great question and deserves more time for us to consider God’s word.
Doug: Okay, then let’s talk about this next time. Before you go can you tell me who is not accepting your word about the gospel?
Paul: Do you remember that I was invited to speak at Mars Hill by the pastor called Mark Driscoll?
Doug: Yes, I remember you said you were going. What happened?
Paul: I had to stand up and rebuke him. He added to the gospel and reinvented a meaning for heretic. He said:
A heretic is one who proclaims one thing and lives another way. Any man who doesn’t sacrificially lovingly lead his wife and children, he is a heretic. His life preaches a false gospel. He denies Christ with his actions. It is a very serious matter. It is not just an alternative marital arrangement. It is a heresy.
This is an addition to the gospel and it is not the truth. I just about became unglued when I heard him teach that women need to be led and that this is part of the gospel. The bible never says that a man is to “lead” his wife nor does it attach any such “leading” to the gospel. It is a hypocrite who proclaims one thing and lives another way – not a heretic. To state that any man who doesn’t agree with him as denying Christ is a very serious matter and I opposed him to his face.
Doug: I have listened to Mark Driscoll for many years and I really respected his strong stand on men’s roles, but I never heard him call this role as a part of the gospel before. I am going to see if I can get a copy of that statement on video tape. This is indeed a very serious matter to attach a personal conviction to the gospel.
Paul: Amen! I must be going now. I will come back again to discuss the issue of man’s responsibility for sin.
Doug: I look forward to it.
(The first interview with the Apostle Paul and Doug is located here. The second interview is here. The third interview is here. The fourth interview is here. The fifth interview is here.) Part seven is located here.