Was the man given authority to rule the woman?

Was the man given authority to rule the woman?

This is the fifth and final response to Matt Slick’s article called Genesis 2, Adam and Eve, and Authority

Matt quotes Matthew Henry who said:

“They [women] must be silent, submissive, and subject, and not usurp authority. The reason given is because Adam was first formed, then Eve out of him, to denote her subordination to him and dependence upon him;”

Scripture never says that Eve was formed out of Adam to denote her subordination to and dependence upon the man. Rather scripture shows that Eve was created out of Adam so that they would be a one flesh union. Adam recognized this fact when he said that Eve was bone of his bone and flesh of his flesh. He did not say that she shall be called woman, because she is a subordinate to him. She was his flesh and bone, not his subordinate. In this area Matthew Henry and Matthew Slick are both wrong.

Matt also quotes from D.A. Carson from CBMW as saying:

“The prohibition of women teaching men seems to belong to the same context, although Paul here appeals more to what is appropriate and cites the Genesis story of creation. Two facts are brought out—Adam’s priority and Eve’s weakness in being deceived.”

1 Timothy 2:11-15 does not say that Eve was weak and this is the reason that she was deceived. This is reading into the passage a conclusion that the apostle Paul does not make. In 2 Corinthians 11:3, Paul again talks about Eve and his conclusion is that it was the craftiness of the serpent that deceived Eve, not her weakness of character.

2 Corinthians 11:3 But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ.

Sound doctrine will keep us safe from deception. One’s gender (i.e. male) will not keep one safe from deception. In the same way, it wasn’t Eve’s gender that caused her to be deceived and Paul never makes this claim.

Lastly, Matt quotes K. Weust as saying:

“This prohibition of a woman to be a teacher, does not include the teaching of classes of women, girls, or children in a Sunday School, for instance, but does prohibit the woman from being a pastor, or a doctrine teacher in a school….The reason for the above position of the man in the Church and that of the woman, Paul says, is found in the original order of creation, and in the circumstances of the fall of man.”

Matt says:

“Can this be any clearer? I don’t see how it could be.”

The problem is that it would be far too clear and would give us far too little evidence to use women at all. If a universal prohibition is what Paul meant, then would it not be “clear” that taking it back to creation would affect the entire world not just the church. How so? It is because if Paul was really stopping a woman from teaching because of the original order of creation and because of the circumstances of the fall (i.e. her weakness) then it is unreasonable to allow women to teach children (who are the most impressionable members of our Society and who would be influenced by the deception of women) and other women (who apparently would also be easily deceived). An appeal to the circumstances of the fall does nothing to allow women to teach anyone especially those who are easily misled. Someone who is easily deceived isn’t qualified to teach men or children or other women. However if Paul’s reference is not to a universal application taking the deception of one woman deceived by the craftiness of the evil one, and applying that to all women, then it is understandable that it is applicable in the context to a specific situation in Ephesus that both Paul and Timothy were aware of.

Under “Objections answered” Matt writes that:

“Men who abuse their authority are in sin. The Bible clearly teaches that men are to love their wives as Christ loved the church. It is not the patriarchal teaching that promotes male abuse, but the failure of men to live all of Scripture in that of selecting only parts of it to justify their sin.”

While this is a common “answer” to an egalitarian objection, the fact is that “taking authority” over a wife against her will is abusive even if it is done with a belief that one is doing it as a loving act. Jesus did not take authority over his disciples to force them against their will to do what is right. Jesus lovingly spoke the truth and persuaded his disciples concerning what is right. Jesus did not make decisions for his disciples against their will. Anyone who believes that the scripture gives them the right to “take authority” over their wife against her will is not following true biblical love and the “authority” that they are exercising is not godly authority.

Lastly Matt deals with point #3 the objection that authority was not shown in Genesis before the fall. This is a straw man argument. No one says that authority was not shown in Genesis before the fall. God certainly showed his authority over creation and he gave the man and the woman authority to rule God’s creation. The question is whether authority of the man over the woman was shown before the fall. The answer is “No”. There is nothing in scripture that would show that God gave Adam authority over his wife. Matt says:

“God gave instructions to Adam and Adam gave God’s instructions to Eve. We know this because in Genesis 3 we see where Satan tempts Eve and Eve repeats the instructions God gave to Adam in Gen. 2:16. This means that Adam transmitted the instructions of God to Eve and Eve repeated them to Satan. Adam served as God’s authoritative representative to Eve.”

The fact is that scripture does not say that Adam gave God’s instructions to Eve. Rather, scripture shows that Eve’s testimony is that “God said…” not “Adam said…” Also Eve’s testimony is that God said that she wasn’t even to touch the fruit. These are not the same words as were given to Adam in Genesis 2:16, however they are words that Eve testified that God said. Either Eve’s testimony is true that God said these words to her or she lied or she added to God’s word. Since God did not accuse Eve of lying or adding to his words and the only thing that she was judged for is eating the fruit, we can be sure that God did indeed speak to Eve and give her the prohibition just as he also gave the prohibition to Adam. For more information on this subject, go to the post “Wasn’t Adam the only one given God’s prohibition in the garden?”

The issue of primacy and authority was settled by God in Genesis chapter 1. God gave both Adam and Eve primacy and authority over creation. Man may not take away what God has granted. While some men would like males to have preeminent rule over women given to them not by the sinful nature inherited at the fall but by God himself as a part of the original creation, scripture shows that the man’s sinful rule that made him want to dominate, control, rule and take authority over the woman was not an authority given to him by God.

35 thoughts on “Was the man given authority to rule the woman?

  1. The creation narratives do not tell us everything we might wish to know about creation, that is, from our perspective there are gaps in the stories.  How we fill in these gaps tells us more about ourselves than about the narratives.  It is quite amazing how a little filling in here and a little more filling in there will result in distortion, as it cascades.  It is so easy to say that God did X for Y, when the text just says God did X, etc.
    On what the woman said God said, besides being a liar or stating the truth, she could just be mistaken, to be a liar you need to say something that you do not believe to be true.

    To say that Gen says that the man taught the woman is simply not in the text, it is possible, but is far from sure.  When one is not sure, then the right answer is that one is not sure, and not to pretend being sure.

    The key question is why would God be so vague about authority if this is supposedly so essential?  And as you point out, how does the man even know if he is in sin when he uses it?

  2. Cheryl, is there a way you can fix the comment? I have links to smilies and I think the comment editor took out the html brackets.

  3. “Two facts are brought out—Adam’s priority and Eve’s weakness in being deceived.”

    Your response is right… as Carson takes being ‘deceieved’ by the serpent as the universal weakness of all women. But they ignore something even MORE powerful in their illogical stance:
    If Adam knew better and sinned outright knowing the truth THEN using their reasoning… all men… for all time cannot be trusted even if they are saved. It is the same logic they are using for women.

  4. Fixed it for you Paula.


    Regarding whether Adam gave the prohibition to Eve, we have evidence from scripture that we need to look.  We know for a fact that Eve knew the prohibition.  Did she get it from Adam and she got it wrong?  How is that possible?  If she couldn’t get a simple command right, then how could God say that she was one who had the capabilities of giving the needed assistance to Adam?  That would make her rather like a two year old who needs to be carefully watched and looked after so that she doesn’t bumble along making a mess of everything she does.  It would make the needed helper into one who was helpless.  No, the good creation of God was fulfilled in Eve.  She knew the command and she said that “God said…”  We have no reason to believe that she added to God’s word (a sin) or messed up a simple command that Adam gave her ( a command that even a two year old could understand thus making her a full-fledged idiot) or lied to the serpent (there was no reason to lie and she was a sinless woman at the time).  Since we also know that God personally gave information to both Adam and Eve regarding what they could eat (Gen. 1:29) there is no reason to assume that he left out the most important information about the prohibition.  After all Eve’s testimony is that “God said…”  When our prejudice causes us to distrust what women say then we will also distrust a sinless woman’s testimony.  How sad.

    Now regarding Adam’s “authority”, we have no direct evidence that God gave him this authority over Eve neither do we have any evidence from God’s testimony when he confronted both of them.  Adam did not speak about Eve’s failure to follow his “authority” and Eve did not give a testimony that Adam failed to take authority over her.  The only “evidence” one can have is what one reads into the text.  Don, you are certainly right in that the way one reads into scripture says a lot about their own thought process.  If we want women to be in subjection to men, we can make a subjected Eve through out own presupposition.

  5. Lin,

    This is the fallacy of the comp argument.  If they are willing to make Eve “weak” because she was deceived, even though Paul said that it was the crafty serpent who was responsible, then they have to be consistent in saying that all men cannot be trusted to spiritually protect women since the first man failed to publicly identify error and deal with it.

  6. The creation stories do not have all the info we would wish.
    It is possible the man taught the woman wrong.
    It is possible the woman misunderstood.
    It is possible that God gave the woman a different command from the man.  FWIIW, I consider this the most likely, but I am not 100% sure.

    There might be other possibilities.  These stories are stripped down to essentials and some would say less than essentials, but I think God knew what he was doing, as the Bible is a mirror and reveals us.

    For example, we see examples where Matt Slick claims God said something but God did not actually say it.  I think Matt just misunderstands and perhaps this is because he was taught wrong.  In other words, it is a shorthand to say “God said X” when X is really our interpretation, possibly wrong.

  7. I believe that the creation accounts have all the information that we need. 1 Cor 10:11 says that the things written were written for our instruction. If we needed more, more would have been written.

    “It is possible the man taught the woman wrong.”

    The prohibition was a simple command. There were not multiple trees to avoid but one tree with one fruit. If the fall of Eve was due to the man’s failure to communicate then man was created incapable of even leading in a small way. It would make man an incredible goof-up and I don’t believe that God created the male that way.

    “It is possible the woman misunderstood.”

    This isn’t possible unless the woman was created childlike and incapable of understanding a simple command. If she couldn’t even get a simple command right from Adam, then how could she be depended on to raise children and help Adam rule the world? She would be an albatross around his neck because he couldn’t trust her to “get” anything right if she messed up on a simple command. No I don’t think there is any evidence that the woman misunderstood. Neither God nor Adam claimed that she misunderstood the command. The only claim is that the serpent deceived her by his craftiness.

    “It is possible that God gave the woman a different command from the man. FWIIW, I consider this the most likely, but I am not 100% sure.”

    We already have documented evidence that God gave the command regarding what to eat in different ways and at different times. In Genesis 2 God spoke to Adam before Eve was created and told him what he could eat. In chapter 1 when God spoke to both Adam and Eve, God gave them additional things to eat and he encompassed the prohibition in the specific kind of fruit that they could eat. Since we can see that God gives his instructions multiple times (repetition is for our safety Paul says) and in different ways, we can be assured that the woman’s testimony about what God told her is true. I believe that this is the only proper conclusion to come to since God did not charge Eve with sin or stupidity or failing to obey Adam.

    The difference between what Matt Slick does and what I do is that Matt Slick takes his presuppositions and makes them into facts. What I do is start with the documented facts and then rule out conclusions that do not match the facts. What is left is the conclusion that the documented facts leads to. If my view of the “facts” is wrong, I am always willing to be corrected. Yet I throw out conclusions that distrust the documented facts. For example I throw out the conclusion that Eve didn’t understand a simple command because there is no evidence for this, God created her one who has the gifts and abilities to provide assistance to the man in his areas of need. Such a one couldn’t possibly be a child-like one without a statement in scripture to tell us this. It just doesn’t fit the facts.

  8. Good thinking all!  One of the hallmarks of abusive sects, churches- mega and small, is that they all require the suspension of one’s critical thought faculty.  Reason and common sense are frowned upon, and are equated with rebellion and witchcraft if they diverge from accepted dogma.  Even the vaunted Luther took a dim view of reason and common sense in his last sermon at Wittenberg: …”But since the devil’s bride, Reason, that pretty whore, comes in and thinks she’s wise, and what she says, what she thinks, is from the Holy Spirit, who can help us, then? Not judges, not doctors, no king or emperor, because [reason] is the Devil’s greatest whore…”  Funny how he wasn’t ashamed of her when he used her to go against papal authority and teaching.  Reason is what keeps us from taking what the Bible does not say and turning it into an absolute belief system that is above all question and examination.  Keep fighting the good fight Cheryl, the reformation is far from over…

  9. Thanks Greg!  I had a seminary prof dialog with me on the Genesis account and I asked him who told him that Eve messed up God’s command by adding to God’s word?  He had never thought this one through before and he admitted to me that he believed it because he had been taught it.  When I went through my reasoning with him from the scriptures (not from tradition) he said that my point was well taken and well argued from the scriptures.  He said that I had really pushed him to think outside the box.  Up until that point he had not realized that his thinking about Eve was from tradition and not from the documented scriptural facts.  It has really made me wonder how much I am guilty of accepting tradition in areas that I may still be blinded to my own faults, instead of reading critically through the text.  I want to root out any false presupposition that I have so that I can understand what God has to say on the matter.  What God has to say should be sufficient for us to understand what God wants us to see.  Since God is the only one living who has given us his word about what happened in that creation period, I do not want to let any person influence me to doubt God’s word.  I want God’s word to be true even though every man could be flawed with their own false thoughts.

  10. Cheryl wrote:

    the fact is that “taking authority” over a wife against her will is abusive even if it is done with a belief that one is doing it as a loving act.

    The way that the hierarchalists get around this is to tell their women that they HAVE to give their husbands and sometimes all hierarchalist men (only those who believe like they do) authority over them. If they do not do this, then they will be in sin. In this way they can say they have been given the freedom and right to take authority over their wives, thus they are in the right to do so. This is in principal the same as BDSM only the wives have no “safe” word when it gets to be too much. So, the teaching in itself is abusive. But women who are caught up in it have difficulty seeing that as they focus on wanting to be good Christian women.

  11. Tiro,

    I agree that women who are caught up in the hierarchical mindset have difficulty seeing the abuse that is inherent in that system.  Often these are precious women whose only desire is to be pleasing to God and to their husbands.  They are also the ones who can feel their own condemnation if they don’t submit with a good attitude.  It is difficult at the best of times to have your person taken over by another person’s will without freely making each choice along the way yourself so that it is then a joint decision.  Sometimes it takes years to see this system for what it is.  Sometimes a woman will go into depression and not even know why.  In listening to several CBMW tapes where some of the key players of the hierarchy movement admitted that their marriage was in trouble and they had to seek help.  The problem was their making decisions for another person in essence dismantling the wife’s own personhood.  She may as well be a robot because her decisions are not used.  The leaders who spoke about their marriages had to back off and give their wives more room to be a person.  What does this tell us?  It tells us that even those who are dedicated to making hierarchy a godly system are incapable of taking authority over a woman without it affecting their marriage and her very being as a person.  The entire system is flawed because no matter how much they push this as godly, it is not God’s way. 

    God’s way is for the two to work together as a one flesh union each honoring the other and making decisions together.  Sometimes the solution is that we just don’t wait on the Lord for help when we cannot come to a joint decision.  To give all the power to the one who has been prophesied in scripture to be an abuser of that power, is not a wise move.

  12. And if the truth be known, what they teach is exactly what God advised Eve NOT to do: follow their husband and go “through” him instead of keeping that direct relationship with God.

  13. On what the woman and the man were capable or not capable of, since they blew it bigtime when it counted, I would not want to assume much else.  Gid gives us the ability to be mistaken.  Of course the woman was to be a ezer/help but she would not be a perfect help.  This is one of the amazing things about God, we are imperfect and he still loves us and works with us.

  14. Paula,
    Yup, Eve did follow Adam out of the garden so she did “turn” towards or “longed for” him as God predicted in Genesis 3:16.

    I think one thing that we need to realize is that we are created imperfect.  Eve was created without sin and as perfect as a woman can be without a sin nature.  Without the mental deterioration that we all have as we grow older, she would not be forgetful or ignorant of simple facts.  She was an amazing perfect woman who was deceived by the master deceiver without anyone to come to bat for her to reveal the deception.  As a helper, she was a perfect fit for Adam with a perfect ability to meet his needs.  A perfect woman is not incapable as we are.  If we measure Eve by our standards, I think we will miss the entire picture.  We are imperfect yet God loves us, yes.  Eve was perfect and became imperfect only after sin entered the picture.  Before she ate the fruit, there was nothing bad that we could charge her with.  She understood God’s simple command and she spoke with faith to the serpent.  Her faith was destroyed by the destroyer, not because of any inherent weakness in her humanity.

    I think this is where we miss the boat sometimes.  We look at the creation of the earth and of humanity and think that they were somehow exactly the same as us with our weaknesses.  That isn’t so.  We can hardly even imagine what it would be like to be sinless even for a day, yet they experienced it.

  15. I guess you see the woman being sinless as being errorless, but I do not see these as being the same.  One can make an error (in various ways) but it is not (necessarily) a sin.

  16. What is error?  If I have two choices of colleges to go to and I pick one over the other, is that an error?  Perhaps I missed the better opportunity but I don’t see this as an “error” but rather one is a better choice than the other.  Today we make many errors because we still struggle against the flesh.  We have temptations all around us to sin and so we make sinful decisions. 

    The question is whether Eve had any struggles against the flesh and had any limitations that would produce forgetfulness.  I don’t think that we can find an indication in scripture that she was in the category of a senior citizen’s forgetfulness.  God made Eve to be a “helper” to Adam, one who could provide what he needed.  Eve then was a strong woman who was able to rescue Adam in the areas where he needed help.  There is no doubt in my mind that if Eve had seen the things that Adam saw (the creation of the garden of Eden by God himself and the creation of the second “act” of animals after Adam’s creation), she would have been a successful defender of God’s character.  The fact that she started out as a defender but fell through her inexperience with God doesn’t lessen her strength at all but is a good example to show the absolute necessity of sound doctrine.  Sound doctrine can make the weak strong and the strong stronger.

    Lastly I don’t think that Eve was any kind of a woman that needed to be watched to make sure that she didn’t forgetfully wander off into forbidden territory.  I believe that she was a strength for Adam in every way.  For centuries we have sidelined women’s strength believing that the strength of the man is all that we need for spiritual maturity.  But God has a different plan.  His plan is that we inherit the kingdom together and that each one’s gifts are to be valued as well as needed.  When we do “church” without the spiritual input of women, we miss out on some of God’s special blessings.  Together we are strong.  One gender alone is not so strong.  We need each other very, very much.

  17. We do know the woman was deceived.  Being deceived means that you think something is true that is false or is false that is true.  However, it was not until she ate the fruit of the TOKOGAE that she sinned.

  18. Don, are you saying she may have been deceived when she responded (about what they were given permission to eat, and what God said) to the serpent? Even if you are not, because I have heard this argument before, I would like to answer to some extent at this time.

    Who deceived the woman?

    Did she deceive herself regarding what God said? Or did the serpent deceive her (about God’s character)?

    She said the serpent (the character, who said, ‘you will not surely die…you will become like God knowing good and evil’) deceived her. If she was right when she said this to God (and we accept that she was right when she spoke to him), then she wasn’t deceived when she responded to the serpent as that would make her rather to have deceived herself. But if we were to say that she deceived herself, then we would have to say that she did not deceive herself into eating the fruit (as her response hardly counts as an action of eating) but rather that she deceived herself into believing that she/they must not touch the fruit.

    If one of the arguments is that she was deceived by, the first thing that the serpent said, the serpent’s question (twist of God’s word) then we would have to see what in her full response reflects any of the twist of the serpent’s question (as it was deceptive and twisted to be sure). And I see absolutely nothing except her answering the serpent’s question using the words the serpent did (which he got from the command God gave the man) ‘in the garden’.

    And we CAN see that when she goes to eat, what the serpent said the second time he spoke to her, IS reflected in how she views the fruit, so we can know that she was deceived when she goes to eat. But there is no evidence whatsoever that she was deceived when she answered the serpent’s twisted question.

  19. I have a question for, Don.

    I’ve been thinking about how you’ve said that she could have been just ‘mistaken.’ And thinking upon it, I cannot see how in any way. I’ve tried. So can you explain or help me understand how she could have been mistaken? I’m asking because I want to be able to at least see the perspective. But I cannot see it, if I don’t know how she, a perfect creature, without the bombardment of today’s noise could have been. And like how could she have forgotten all that God said about what they could not eat?

    For example, I’m bombarded every day with so much information coming from a million different directions, so I could forget something when I use my memory, but how could Eve forget so little? Actualy that last question was a poor one, because, it wouldn’t be a matter of forgetting what God said, but rather a matter of remembering what ONLY he said. So how could the perfect creature, in the garden, not remember ONLY what he said?

    If it’s not a matter of memory than what is it a matter of? Like when you say ‘mistaken’, what kind of ‘mistake’ do you mean?

    Let’s assume for arguments sake that she was ‘in error’, well what do you mean by that or by she was not ‘errorless’? In what way was she not ‘errorless’?

  20. One other thing, if she was ‘mistaken’, and this ‘mistaken’ was not a matter of memory or medical brain malfunction, then it could only have been a matter of self deception. Anyone, correct me if I am wrong here, please, but I cannot see what else ‘mistaken’ could mean.

    List of possible perspectives
    medical brain malfunction
    bad memory (‘mistaken’?)
    self deception
    she was correct

    Did I miss any perspective in the list?

  21. I see that I missed in my list, a perspective, being her interpretation of what God said to them/alone man?

    But I have to wonder, how would the perfect female fit in ‘nor touch it’ into the command that God gave to the man (assuming she knew what God said, word-for-word, to the alone man even though she was not alive to hear it and assuming that’s what she was adding to)when God did not speak those words from his mouth to him or use those words at all when he spoke to him, and in light of her having actualy distinguished the difference between what they could eat (first part of what she said) from what God said, hence, ‘BUT God did say…’ (2nd part of her response)?

    I can see the first part of what she said to the serpent as her conclusion on what they could eat drawn from what she did know or the knowledge she had from what God said, which would be interpretation on what they could eat, but again, this interpretation on what they could eat is differientiated by her from what ‘God said’ because she makes the differientation.

  22. 1. She tells the serpent they have permission to eat. ‘We may eat’
        God gives them permission to have food in Gen 1. ‘I give you (pl).’

    2. She tells the serpent what they may eat. ‘We may eat fruit’
        Gen 1 talks about fruit.

    3. She tells the serpent they have permission to eat, fruit, from the 
        trees (pl).
        God gave them permission in Gen 1 to have for food fruit from 
        every tree on the entire planet. This then is her ‘interpretation’,
        but not a paraphrase.

    4. She tells the serpent they have permission to eat fruit from the
        trees ‘in the garden’.
        The serpent specificaly asked about prohibition in ‘the garden’,
        so the woman simply answers the sepent’s specific question of

    5. The woman’s words continue to speak surrounding location being
         ‘the garden’ (since the serpent asked), by saying, ‘But of the fruit
         of the tree which is in the midst of the garden’,

    6. Then the woman quotes God.
       ‘God has said, “You (pl) shall not eat of it, nor shall you touch it,
       lest you die.’

    The woman then tells the serpent they have permission to eat, because God told her so in Gen 1, using the knowledge she was given by God on what she could eat, since God told her he gave them fruit for food, while placing her ‘interpretation’ of ‘every tree on the planet’ into the serpent’s question of location in ‘the garden’, which becomes, ‘trees of the garden’ which she contrasts with what ‘God has said’ thereby differientiating all of that from what God said.

  23. If we allow that Eve was mistaken, especially since there is nothing in all the Bible to hint that she was, then we must also give this excuse to Adam for not guarding. It could be inserted anywhere there is something we don’t have a clear Biblical statement about something.

    But I agree that there is no reason for Eve to be mistaken. How many commands had God given? Did He create her with a faulty memory, to the point of forgetting something so simple even a child today could remember it?

    But I disagree that she was “perfect”. Adam and Eve are never called perfect, but clearly they were created “innocent”– they did not yet know good from evil. They were also intelligent: their progeny could not have exceeded them, and look in the following chapters of Genesis for what they invented, especially knowing it was all truly new. So being innocent, intelligent people and with nothing to distract or confuse them, Adam and Eve could hardly be mistaken about anything God had expressly stated. We have to be careful not to project current conditions onto the pre-sin environment or people.

    Again, since there is no hint anywhere in the Bible to the contrary, we must conclude that Eve accurately stated God’s command. All else is pure speculation, and largely motivated by attempts to put blame on Eve.

  24. pinklight,

    I am very impressed with you. You are reasoning from the scriptures using the inspired words and the inspired grammar.  You are then taking these inspired words and working through each one to come to a solid conclusion not adding to or taking away from scripture.  This is good and it is biblical.  The Christian Church has long taken the tradition of an accusation against Eve for granted without carefully mapping through the inspired accounts piece by piece, word by word and the inspired grammar as the verification point.


  25. Paula,

    But I disagree that she was “perfect”. Adam and Eve are never called perfect, but clearly they were created “innocent”– they did not yet know good from evil. They were also intelligent: their progeny could not have exceeded them, and look in the following chapters of Genesis for what they invented, especially knowing it was all truly new. So being innocent, intelligent people and with nothing to distract or confuse them, Adam and Eve could hardly be mistaken about anything God had expressly stated. We have to be careful not to project current conditions onto the pre-sin environment or people.

    I would call this “perfect”.  It is “perfect” in our way of measuring things.  In God’s books they were not perfect, of course, because no one and no thing is perfect except for God.  So both Adam and Eve were innocent, intelligent, without sin at their creation, and had no bodily or mental defects. In our books, we could call them “perfect” as they represented “human” perfection, the very highest that we could ever attain to.  We do know that when Jesus comes back we will be much better than that because we will be like him in his resurrected body which goes beyond our standard of human perfection.

    Good points, though, and I heartily agree.  I think it is time that we do not give a foothold to the hierarchists who insist on denigrating Eve with either a childlike inability to get a simple command right or who charge her with sin against God by importing into scripture a charge that Eve added to God’s words without one speck of evidence to support the claim and three witnesses (the serpent, Adam and God) who all were silent on any claim that Eve added to God’s words.

  26. I am egal, not a hierarchicalist.  I just do not want to claim more than the text says.  If I claim the hierarchicalists do this (and they do, they add to the text), I do not want them to come back and say I do the same or similar.

    The integration of the 3 origins stories in Gen 1-5 is non-trivial and open to alternatives, as they do not state everything we might wish they did.  That is, we have questions that the text does not answer, trying to force fit an answer in this case goes beyond the text.  Of course we can use all the inspired text and grammar and comparisons with pagan origins stories to help us do our best to try to see what it meant to the original reader.  As this discussion is a major tangent to the title of this thread, I will simply point out that there were 2 trees in the middle of the garden and mentioning a tree in the middle of the garden is true but ambiguous.

  27. Don,

    I just do not want to claim more than the text says.

    That is why I believe it is vital that we do not claim that Eve added to God’s word since the text does not say this.

    The integration of the 3 origins stories in Gen 1-5 is non-trivial and open to alternatives, as they do not state everything we might wish they did.

    I prefer to see Genesis 1 & 2 as looking at creation from two different directions for two different purposes.  One would be the big picture while Genesis 2 hones in on some very important specifics.  We need to consider all of the inspired words when we make a conclusion regarding the women’s purpose and whether she sinned against Adam or against God.  We simply cannot charge her with sin without a good foundation for that charge from scripture itself.

    I agree that the early chapters of Genesis do not give us every detail that we would like.  These chapters also do not give us every conversation that God had with Adam and his wife including what God said to Adam when he brought the woman to him.  However we do know one thing for sure.  This is that the details that we do have are there for our instruction and for our correction.  I think we have everything we need to make wise decisions and proper judgments regarding the charge of sin.

    trying to force fit an answer in this case goes beyond the text.

    I certainly agree.  We should not force a restriction on the woman or a charge or guilt against Eve into the text when the text gives no indication of this addition.  If there is evidence for a view, then we should allow a conclusion on the evidence.  If there is no evidence then we can dismiss a forced view onto the text.

    Of course we can use all the inspired text and grammar and comparisons with pagan origins stories to help us do our best to try to see what it meant to the original reader.

    Historical sources are very helpful but they are not the word of God.  I believe that the word of God comes first and we can also consider other sources but never to allow them to contradict the word of God.  For example Jewish stories allow for a second creation of the woman.  Adam’s first wife, according to their tradition, was Lilleth who was not submissive to Adam and left him.  If I remember the story right, she flew away into the sky.  I think she was also created from the dirt as Adam was.  So God then created a woman from Adam’s side and this was Eve.  There is much more in that tradition that can be of interest, but it cannot come alongside of scripture, nor can it add to the scripture something that the scripture does not allow for.

    Yes, you are right that there were two trees in the middle of the garden.  We do know that only one tree in the middle of the garden was forbidden.  We know this because God gave Adam permission to eat from every tree except for one.  We also know that God gave Adam and his wife permission to eat from every tree that had seed bearing fruit.  This must mean that the tree of life also had seed bearing fruit as Adam was given permission to eat from it before sin entered the world.

    Fascinating topics and very lively discussions.  It gets my mind going and I love to discussion these things with people who also love the Lord Jesus as I do and highly respect the inspired word.  Thanks!

  28. The text does not say the woman added to God’s words and it does not say she did not.  This is where I see that the Bible is a mirror and whichever way you go shows something about you.  This is why I prefer to just point out that we do not know what we do not know.

  29. We have to be careful not to equivocate on terminology. If we can call Adam and Eve “perfect” before sin, then we need to always add the part about not claiming divine perfection but more on the order of “flawless”. A flawless diamond can be marred so it wasn’t “perfect” in the sense of being impossible to ruin. The concept is the same in the NT, where all believers are to strive for “perfection” and it carries the meaning of completeness or maturity.

    The reason for this nitpicking is to not leave ourselves open to criticism. Just as women have to work twice as hard for the same pay, egals have to be twice as careful just to be heard.

  30. Don, in 29, your point is extremely important, as is Paula’s in 30, because we are in a position of defense or offense as the case may be, and the other side is definitely scrutinizing.  The more we can explain our case in terms that are indisputable, or at least plainly in or not in the bible, cultural record, lexicons, inter-linears, etc., the tighter it will be.  That is a good thing-not for the sake of ‘winning’ but for the sake of truth.  The cleaner our track record, the better.  I know that within my realm, presumpions and assumptions are quickly spotted, and I have to be very careful of what I use or exclude from my ‘presentations’.  Rightly so, for I do the same in reverse. 

  31. We are in a debate for hearts and minds and the model they choose makes a difference.  So we need to be extra careful.  We get to scrutinize the other side of the debate and they should be expected to return the favor.  Iron sharpens iron.

  32. Years ago, I read a book that helped me become an egalitarian.  It’s called “Why Not Women?” by Loren Cunningham and David Hamilton.  I have heard other women say that this book really helped them, too.  Cunningham and Hamilton take the line that Adam was guilty of faulty teaching.  God told Adam quite specifically to not eat from the Tree of the Knowlege of Good and Evil.  There is nothing in the text to indicate that He spoke to Eve.  And indeed, when Eve speaks she does not specify a tree but is rather vague (“the tree in the middle of the garden”) and adds a prohibition (“not to eat or touch”).  Therefore, it’s perfectly plausible to me to believe that she was trying to remember something Adam had told her but didn’t get it quite right.

    C & H say that this ties in with Paul’s words about women not teaching men.  In the specific context of the Ephesian church, Paul was worried that a particular woman (whom he does not name) might teach wrong things.  Since women were mainly illiterate back then and could only learn from men, the men would implicitly be responsible if they allowed this woman to get up and teach these things.  That would reflect badly on both the woman and the man who taught her.

    As for the claim that “this means all men must be” I find that to be as spurious as the comp claim that “all women must be…”  The Bible nowhere makes generalizations about either gender.  Rather, it says that a specific woman made a mistake and listened to the serpent, just as a specific man made a mistake by not speaking up and mutely following his wife.  Throughout scripture, both men and women are praised for speaking well and rebuked for speaking unwisely.

  33. Hello Lolly,


    This is one of my favorite topics!

    What I want to share is that it IS plausible indeed that Adam added to God’s word and then told Eve a wrong command, and it is equally plausible that neither God nor Adam told her anything at all therefore she knew nothing at all about what God said, but these ‘plausiblilities’ can only be plausible outside of what we are given in the text itself that is, a perspective outside of the bible. In other words, anything is plausible, and I mean anything, from Genesis to Revelations, but if what we think and believe is bound by the text itself with all that it does and does not give, then such ‘plausibilities’ become ‘impossiblities’ biblicaly speaking. Does that make sense? It’s plausible that Adam got it wrong and told Eve, but is it biblical? No, because the bible doesn’t tell us this nor even give a slight indication or hint of it. ‘Plausible’, yes, biblicaly plausible, no.

    Also I see what the woman said as more than an indication that God spoke to her that is, I see it as her very testimony of what God said, because she said, ‘God said’. And I don’t see an indication that Adam told her what God said, since she did not say, ‘Adam said, God said.’ So at the very least, with what we have in Gen 3, what she said, IS indicative that Gid did speak to them both and that God himself added to the command he had given to the man when he was alone, before the woman was created. So we have indications of who said what and to whom, but they do not include the man telling the woman what God said.

  34. On what was said, ‘the tree in the middle of the garden’, did God say it or the woman? Was that part a quote of God or her own words describing the forbidden tree? I don’t read Hebrew, so I cannot say either way (so I see both at this point as possible untell decided) and translations differ so they confuse. 

    I’m left with this question, were there 2 trees or 1 at the time, when the woman spoke, in the middle of the garden? Surely the tree of life was able to reproduce, but not the tokogae because it had no seed (life) to do so.

    Anyone read Hebrew? Is there more that than meets the eye in English?


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