This article is a response to an article written by Matt Slick of CARM called Genesis 2, Adam and Eve, and Authority. The article is found here.
In Mr. Slick’s article, he takes the position that God had different roles for the man and the woman right from the beginning. He says:
“Part of God’s command to Adam to keep the Garden was to name the animals. This was not Eve’s role.”
There are no “roles” mentioned in Genesis and Eve certainly could not have a “role” of naming the animals because she didn’t exist at the time that Adam was given the opportunity to name the animals. God’s purpose was a dual purpose. Not only did Adam get the opportunity to name the animals, but he was given an opportunity to discover that he was the only one without a mate. Every animal had its own mate but he did not have a corresponding mate.
Slick goes on to make a distinction between Eve’s work and Adam’s work. He says:
“She was later made to be a helpmate to Adam and assist him in the calling God had given him, not the other way around. “For indeed man was not created for the woman’s sake, but woman for the man’s sake,” (1 Cor. 11:9).”
While Mr. Slick makes only the man to have a distinct calling, saying that the woman was created to “assist” the man in his calling, scripture reveals that they both had the same calling from God.
Gen 1:26 Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”
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.”
Both the man and the woman were given the mandate to rule the animals and both were told to fill and subdue the earth. Scripture does not say that it is only the calling of the male but of them both. Being a “helper” is not a lesser position for the woman since this term is used mostly of God himself in the Old Testament. God “helps” those who need his assistance and who cannot do the job on their own. Adam needed his mate to provide what he lacked. Together they worked on the same mandate to rule God’s creation.
Mr. Slick makes naming the animals as a unique act of authority given to Adam alone.
“Adam named the animals. Eve did not. Naming them was his first act of dominion and it is a sign of authority and it was God who brought the animals to Adam so that Adam could accomplish what God had commanded.”
Now if Adam and Eve had both been around and God had kept the job of naming the animals away from Eve, then men like Matt Slick would have a valid point. However scripture does not say that Eve was kept away from an authority that was kept only for Adam. Scripture is clear that the job of naming the animals caused Adam to see his need for a mate. It is only when Adam saw his need did God put Adam to sleep and create his very own mate from his own body. But scripture does not say that if Eve had been around that she would have been kept away from helping Adam in the same mandate as was given to both.
So how can we know that Eve was not without an authority over the animals because of the naming of the animals? We can know that God did not place Eve in a lesser position than Adam because God gave them the exact same mandate in Genesis 1. She was given authority over all of the animals just as Adam was given this authority. We can also know that Eve was not held back from exercising her God-given authority because she was not in existence at the event of the naming of the animals. Think about it this way…if God had brought Adam to a pear tree to introduce him to this fruit before Eve was created, would this prove that God gave only Adam the authority to eat from the pear tree? That would seem a little silly wouldn’t it? Unless God tells us that an authority is withheld from Eve or God shows us that she was held back when both were there and available, we cannot assume something from the text when the text does not say this. This is an argument from silence. If God wanted us to know that Adam had an authority over the animals that she did not, God would have told us.
In the next post we will continue to look at what authority is claimed for the man alone when the woman is finally created.