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Month: July 2008

The case against Eve

The case against Eve

In this continuing look at the creation and fall of man, today we come to the conversation between the woman and the serpent.

The first thing that we notice about the question that the serpent gives to the woman is that it is an attack on God as the source of supply for both Adam and his wife.  The serpent asks:

“Indeed, has God said, ‘You shall not eat from any tree of the garden’?”

What the serpent is saying to the woman is that God has not given them permission to eat at all.  Is it just one tree that he says they are not to eat from?  No. The serpent says that God hasn’t given them permission to eat from any tree.  At this point the woman doesn’t quote from God, but she gives her conclusion.  Remember in Genesis 1:29 God said:

Genesis 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;

Notice that in Genesis 1:29 God didn’t say to Adam and his wife that they could freely eat.  He said they were given permission to eat from every single tree that passes the test.  The test is that it must have fruit that yields seed.  That is pretty understandable isn’t it?  The woman understood it and she applied it.  So when the serpent questioned her saying that God hadn’t given her permission to eat, she states that she does have permission to eat.  She knows she has permission to eat because she has applied the test that God gave her and because she did what God asked of her, she ended up with the conclusion that she has permission to eat from the fruit of the trees in the garden.

At this point the woman now quotes God.  She says:

Genesis 3:3  but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat from it or touch it, or you will die.'”

There are several options regarding why the woman said what she did, but I will only be discussing two diametrically opposed options that leave the woman either faultless or guilty of a crime against God.

The first option that I will look at very carefully is the very common argument from hierarchists that the woman added to God’s words.  The claim is that the words “or touch it” was not recorded in scripture anywhere else saying “God said” therefore we must believe that the woman’s testimony is not true.  She is presumed to have added words and illegally attributed them to God.

Now let’s think this one through.  Does God make adding to his words a prohibition? Absolutely, yes he does.  It is given as a prohibition three times from Deuteronomy and Proverbs and then specifically later on it is given about the words in the book of Revelation:

Deuteronomy 12:32  “Whatever I command you, you shall be careful to do; you shall not add to nor take away from it.

Deuteronomy 4:2  “You shall not add to the word which I am commanding you, nor take away from it, that you may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you.

Proverbs 30:6  Do not add to His words Or He will reprove you, and you will be proved a liar.

In Proverbs we see that the result of breaking God’s prohibition is a reproof from God and God will prove the person is a liar.  Thus those who add to God’s words are liars and will be disciplined by God himself.

This is an extremely serious sin and not one to be taken lightly.  Is the woman guilty of adding to God’s words?  One thing we know for sure.  We cannot find someone guilty of sin without two or three witnesses:

Deuteronomy 19:15  “A single witness shall not rise up against a man on account of any iniquity or any sin which he has committed; on the evidence of two or three witnesses a matter shall be confirmed.

We can see from God’s standard that the woman cannot be found guilty of any sin unless there is evidence of two or three witnesses.  It is through two or three witnesses that we will find the matter confirmed or without these witnesses the matter is unconfirmed and the accused person goes free.

Is it a serious matter to charge someone to be guilty who is not proven guilty by the required witnesses?

Deuteronomy 19:16  “If a malicious witness rises up against a man to accuse him of wrongdoing,
Deuteronomy 19:17  then both the men who have the dispute shall stand before the LORD, before the priests and the judges who will be in office in those days.
Deuteronomy 19:18  “The judges shall investigate thoroughly, and if the witness is a false witness and he has accused his brother falsely,
Deuteronomy 19:19  then you shall do to him just as he had intended to do to his brother. Thus you shall purge the evil from among you.

Here we can see it is an evil thing to accuse someone of a sin without the matter being established with two or three witnesses.  We cannot just accuse someone of sin without a solid foundation of evidence.

Since this is a serious matter, let’s take God’s method of judging the matter and apply it to the case against Eve.

Okay, let’s list two witnesses since that would be the minimum witnesses that are required for a finding of guilt against the woman.

Who is the first witness?  Who charge the woman with adding to God’s word?

The first person to interact with the woman was the serpent.  Did the serpent charge the woman with adding to God’s words?  No he didn’t.  Isn’t this odd?  Satan himself speaking through the serpent didn’t even charge the woman.  Let’s move on to the next witness.

Did Adam charge the woman with adding to God’s words?  No he didn’t.  When Adam faced God he did not say “The woman who you gave to be with me is more guilty than I am because she added to your words.”  No Adam was silent about the woman’s guilt.  No witness here either.

Well what about God Himself?  Surely God himself would follow his standard and reprove her of adding to his words and thus prove her to be a liar, right?  (Proverbs 30:6)  Did God reprove Eve?  Did God say that the woman was guilty of adding to his word?  No one, not even God Himself charged the woman with adding to His own words.  Do you know what this means?  It means without a single witness against a person charging them with sin, we are forbidden by God’s word to attribute guilt to them.

The question is, what will you do?  Will you take the position of accuser?  Will you be a malicious witness falsely accusing the woman of sin when there are no witnesses charging her with sin?  I think those of us who love God’s word and hold to the scripture’s authority would not want to be the one to cast the first stone.  There are no witnesses that can be found in scripture that charge the woman with adding to God’s words.

My view is that if there are no witnesses to charge the woman with adding to God’s word (and there are no witnesses) then I accept her word that she told the truth.  Indeed God did speak to both Adam and his wife and even though these words are not recorded elsewhere in scripture, we can accept the record of God’s words by the testimony of the woman.

Now where do you stand?

The unfaithful Watchman

The unfaithful Watchman

In the last article we saw that God gave additional information to Adam and his wife regarding what they were allowed to eat and God gave freedom for them to be fruit inspectors as he gave them a test to know what was good food.  In another post we will talk more about Eve’s words to the serpent and what happened that caused her to change her method of testing fruit.

In this article we will be discussing God’s requirements for Adam as watchman and the reason why God held Adam accountable for bringing sin and decay into the world. In Genesis 2:15 God sets up Adam as the very first watchman of the garden of Eve. God said:

Genesis 2:15 Then the LORD God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it.

The Hebrew word translated as “keep” is “shamar” which means guard or protect as a watchman or doorkeeper.

Darby’s translation renders Genesis 2:15 this way:

(Darby) Genesis 2:15  And Jehovah Elohim took Man, and put him into the garden of Eden, to till it and to guard it.

The exact same word is used in Genesis 3:24 as God sets up the second watchman in the garden of Eden after the sin of the first watchman.

Genesis 3:24 So He drove the man out; and at the east of the garden of Eden He stationed the cherubim and the flaming sword which turned every direction to guard the way to the tree of life.

The word translated “guard” is once again the Hebrew word “shamar”. Whenever God appoints someone as a guard, that one is held responsible for guarding and sounding the warning.

Ezekiel 3:17 “Son of man, I have appointed you a watchman to the house of Israel; whenever you hear a word from My mouth, warn them from Me.
Ezekiel 3:18 “When I say to the wicked, ‘You will surely die,’ and you do not warn him or speak out to warn the wicked from his wicked way that he may live, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity, but his blood I will require at your hand.

God required Adam to be loyal to him and to be a faithful watchman. In Hosea 6:6, 7 God speaks about a level of unfaithfulness that God calls treacherous.

Hosea 6:6 For I delight in loyalty rather than sacrifice, And in the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.
Hosea 6:7 But like Adam they have transgressed the covenant; There they have dealt treacherously against Me.

God specifically identifies Adam was the one who dealt treacherously against God. Adam was the one who was found unfaithful. Here God likens the treacherous actions of those who knew the truth but who did not act on the truth to the action of Adam in the garden. Adam knew the truth about God but he did nothing with the knowledge that he had.

Instead of guarding the garden against the enemy, Adam was silent. Remember Paul identifies Adam as the one who was not deceived in 1 Timothy 2:14. Adam knew the truth but he kept silent. Is a watchman supposed to keep silent?

Read again from Ezekiel 3:17 and 18 to see that a watchman is required to warn of danger. Adam was required by God to warn of danger and guard the garden against danger. Adam failed God and his failure was a spiritual abandoning of his wife. Adam failed to defend God and he failed to defend his wife.

Adam’s covenant relationship with his wife started when God created a special mate for him from his very own body and personally brought her to the man. Adam accepted her as his mate and as one who was flesh of his flesh and bone of his bone. God then sets the parameters of this one flesh union.

Genesis 2:24 For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.

God says “For this reason” the man is to be joined to, cleave to or “be glued to” his wife. The reason is found in the previous verse, that the man accepted her as his wife and this acceptance brought a marriage covenant relationship. This means that he is to treat her with love and respect as his very own body. Adam failed to love and respect his wife as he allowed her to be led astray.  In essence Adam not only sinned against God by eating the fruit but he sinned against his wife by spiritually abandoning her with no intervention at all, into the “hands” of the serpent.

God especially holds Adam accountable for his failure as watchman.

Genesis 3:17 Then to Adam He said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree about which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat from it’; Cursed is the ground because of you; In toil you will eat of it All the days of your life.

God identifies the sins that results in a curse on the earth.  God said that because Adam listened to the voice of his wife, and because Adam deliberately ate the fruit, God curses the ground that Adam was taken from.  Adam was an unfaithful watchman. God held Adam accountable for the blood of his wife and God identifies his listening (but without actions as a faithful watchman) as treacherous.

Next post we will continue with the words of Eve to the serpent and God’s words to her after the fall.

Adam and Eve as fruit inspectors and God's prohibition

Adam and Eve as fruit inspectors and God's prohibition

In my last post I showed how in Genesis 1:29 God spoke to both the man and the woman directly and told them both what they were given permission to eat. This effectively destroys the argument that Adam was the one delegated to give direction to the woman regarding what she could and couldn’t eat. God did not delegate this important instruction but took the initiative to make sure that the woman also knew from his own mouth what was permitted. In the permission given in Genesis 1:29, God said that they could eat from two different categories of food. The first category was an addition to what God had previously told Adam. God added permission to eat the plants of the field that yielded seed. The second category of food was the qualification which added the information that they could eat from every tree that had fruit yielding seed. This was additional information given to both the man and the woman but not given by God to Adam alone when God first created Adam. God had not stated at that time any information about the seed bearing fruit neither did he say anything about permission to eat from seed bearing plants. Thus more information about permissible food was given at a subsequent time and God saw no problem in repeating himself or adding additional information. The permission given by God in chapter one in essence made the woman a fruit inspector. She was to inspect the fruit to see if it qualified as good food permissible to eat.

Now let’s explore this further and look at what transpired in Genesis chapter 3.

Genesis 3:1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, “Indeed, has God said, ‘You shall not eat from any tree of the garden’?”

Here the serpent questions God’s permission for their provision. What the serpent was saying is “What are you doing? Hasn’t God told you that you do not have permission to eat from the fruit of any of the trees in the garden?” Remember that God spoke directly to the woman in Genesis 1:29 and gave her permission to eat from every tree that has seed bearing fruit. The serpent is not directly questioning the prohibition of one tree, but questioning the permission to eat at all. He is questioning the goodness of God as their provider and source. The woman’s answer reflects the permission that she has been given:

Genesis 3:2 The woman said to the serpent, “From the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat;

How does she know that she is allowed to eat from the fruit of the trees of the garden? She knows that she is allowed to eat because God has given her permission to be a fruit inspector. She is to inspect the fruit, see that it is seed bearing and then understand that this fruit has been given to her by God’s permission to eat. From the woman’s answer we can understand that she has been busy as a fruit inspector because she knows that she has permission to eat from the fruit of the trees of the garden.

The next piece of information is once again an addition to the basic information that God gave Adam. The woman continues:

Genesis 3:3 but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden…

In chapter 2 after God had created Adam and placed him in the garden, God caused the growth of the fruit trees:

Genesis 2:9 Out of the ground the LORD God caused to grow every tree that is pleasing to the sight and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

Here we have identified two trees in the midst of the garden that are outside of the normal fruit trees. They were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Adam was told that there was only one tree that had fruit that was not given by permission. God did not say the location of the tree but that would not have been needed since Adam was there when God created and named the trees including the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. While these trees were created after Adam was placed in the garden, the woman was not there to see the creation of the trees. She was the one who needed to know where this special tree was located.

The woman identifies that the location of the tree was given to her by the words of God. It is her testimony that “God has said”. The woman now identifies to the serpent the only exception to her position as a fruit inspector.

Genesis 3:3 but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat from it or touch it, or you will die.'”

The woman said that “God has said” that they (plural) may not touch the fruit from this special tree. If they are not allowed to touch this fruit, then it is to be noted that they must now accept by faith that this fruit does not have seeds. They were allowed to inspect all of the fruit for seeds on every tree except for this one. All of the other trees had life in their seeds, but the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil did not have the life seed in it. We know this by putting together the two pieces of information that God has given at different times from Genesis 1:29 and Genesis 2:16, 17. God now is giving them a test of faith. They must accept that there is no life in that fruit without having to inspect it for themselves. They are not allowed to touch this fruit and so they are not allowed to inspect the fruit for seeds.

In this account we have the opportunity to learn several important things about God. We can learn that God gives his permission and lack of permission in several different ways and at different times. We can see that God added permission regarding what to eat when Adam and his wife were both together in his presence. God gave them additional food to eat when he added permission to eat from seed bearing plants. We can also see that God gave additional information to them about testing for seed bearing fruit as God added information previously not given to Adam alone. God chose not to give this important information to Adam alone but waited until both Adam and his wife were together.

In addition to the new information added in Genesis 1:29, the woman also reveals that God gave them both more information about the prohibition. In Genesis 3:3 she reveals that God gave the location of the forbidden fruit and God also gave a restriction that disallowed them from touching the forbidden fruit thus forbidding them to test the forbidden fruit to see if it had seeds. They must now believe in God’s testimony that this one fruit did not have life because it was the only one without seed bearing fruit. They were to accept what God said by faith.

What we can see from this added information from Genesis chapter 1 and Genesis 3 is that God is capable of adding information regarding his permission to eat and he is not restricted from the words given originally to Adam alone. The information that is added in Genesis 1:29 to both the man and the woman is not a contradiction of the information given to Adam in chapter 2. God gave the basics to Adam and added to it later. That is God’s prerogative and it is one way that God repeats the important information for their benefit (Phil 3:1 Paul by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit confirms that repetition is a safeguard for us).

There are some who try to make the woman’s words in Genesis 3:3 to be a fabrication by the woman to add to what God himself had said. They take this position because they have been taught that the man alone has been given the words of God and he was given authority over his wife to instruct her in God’s words. Because they focus on God’s words to Adam alone and they assume that this is all of God’s revelation to the man and the woman, they make Eve out to be an unfaithful witness. To those who believe this way, I would like to ask these questions:

1. Where does it say that God gave Adam authority to be the priest represent God to the woman?

2. Why do we test the woman’s testimony only by what God told Adam in chapter 2? Shouldn’t we consider that Genesis 1:29 shows that God is capable of adding to the word that he gave to Adam?

3. What reason did the woman have to lie about what God said?

4. Why did God not mention the woman’s addition to his words when he confronted her? Is it not a principle of God’s that he will reprove those who add to his words? Was the woman found to be a liar by God? No. God did not charge her with this sin.

The woman directly quoted God. Is there any reason not to accept the testimony of a woman who was sinless at the time, who was not accused of the sin of adding to God’s words by God himself, and had no reason to sin?

Proverbs 30:6 Do not add to His words Or He will reprove you, and you will be proved a liar.

Was the woman found to be a liar by God or did his silence about this “sin” show that she was innocent of the charge of adding to God’s words and thus she was a true witness of words that God himself spoke to them after her creation?

5. If God trusted both the woman and the man to be fruit inspectors and spoke to them both about his permission for them to eat, then why have we accepted the tradition that God speaks to the woman through the man? Have we not added to the scripture and invalidated its truth by our own traditions?

Matthew 15:6 … And by this you invalidated the word of God for the sake of your tradition.

We must not test the woman’s words by only one witness that God gave to Adam alone. God has shown us through scripture that he has multiple testimonies and all these testimonies are true and do not contradict each other. God is capable of adding to his permission and adding to his restriction and this is clearly what he did with Adam and his wife.

Now let’s consider another claim of hierarchists that Eve was not lying but that she was mistaken about what God said. Is this possible and is there any evidence of this from the context? First of all we have already considered that Eve heard directly from God about what was permissible for food and what was not permissible. We also know that God gave the woman to be a helper to Adam. A helper in scripture is one who brings resources to the one who has a need. If God had made the woman to be a childlike one who could not get a simple command straight, how is it that she could be a helper to Adam? The truth of the scripture is that the woman was never charged with being mistaken, wrong or lying. No one made a charge that she did not get God’s command right including God himself. Without a charge from Adam (that she misrepresented him) or God (that she misrepresented God), we are forced to conclude that there is no evidence at all to believe that she was either lying or mistaken about a very simple command that a child could understand.

Another question that some ask is why Eve is given a command that is different that the one we have recorded in scripture by God’s command to Adam? Eve is not given a different command than was given to the man. The woman clearly said that God said “…you shall not eat from it or touch it” and this is the plural form in Hebrew showing that it was spoken to both of them. There is no different rule for man than for woman. The rule is the same. It is an addition from what was stated to Adam in chapter 2 but in God’s sovereignty he can add to his own commands without contradiction. We cannot assume that God spoke only one time about his permission and his non-permission when the text says otherwise.

In another post we will be talking about the consequence of sin, Satan’s strategy and how hierarchists have distorted the events of the fall.

Eve and God

Eve and God

One’s world view can cause one to have presuppositions that bring set patterns of reasoning that have nothing to do with the text of scripture. One of these areas is with Eve’s relationship with God and whether God placed the man in charge of her basic knowledge. Some think that God created the woman to be led by Adam so that Adam was given the responsibility to tell the woman God’s prohibition. Hierarchists (or complementarians as many call them) start with the world view that God gave Adam authority over the woman and this gets factored into their view. Let’s take one step away from our presuppositions and look at a question that many have not pondered before. The question is “Who instructed the woman on what she could eat”? Note this is not a question on what she could not eat, but regarding what she could eat.

So who instructed the woman on her diet? Was it God or was it Adam? Hierarchists normally assume that it was Adam. After all if God gave Adam authority over his wife, instructing her on the things that God had already spoken to Adam about, would seem to be obvious. But rather than assuming things, why don’t we look at scripture to see what God has revealed?

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Women in ministry – asking the right questions

Women in ministry – asking the right questions

Have you ever found that your discussions with hierarchists goes nowhere fast because they say they have heard the egalitarian arguments before and they are not willing to listen to what you have to say? Perhaps we are missing an opportunity to engage them because we are wanting to teach them first instead of letting them teach us. What would happen if we let them teach us by asking them the “right” questions?

Those who believe in the hierarchical view which has restrictions on women that forbid women from teaching the bible to men, base their belief primarily on one verse – 1 Timothy 2:12. Instead of debating with them what this verse means, why not take one step back and ask them two important questions? First of all ask them if 1 Timothy 2:12 is a law of God that forbids godly women from teaching biblical doctrine to men? When you have established that 1 Timothy 2:12 is a law of God forbidding this activity, ask them when this “law” came into existence? Did it come into existence before Paul wrote it to Timothy or did it come into existence at the time that Paul wrote 1 Timothy 2?

Let’s consider the ways that this question could be answered.

1. If they say that this “law” came into existence at the time that Paul wrote 1 Timothy 2, then it means that there was no “law” prior to the its creation with Paul. This means that women prior to New Testament times had no restrictions on teaching the bible to men. Does this make sense? Is it possible for Old Testament women to have more freedom than those women who became believers in Christ through Paul’s ministry? This doesn’t seem logical. Why would God allow women for thousands of years the freedom to teach the bible to anyone without regard to gender and then suddenly this bible teaching becomes a sin? If it was a sin, how would the women believers who were there before Paul wrote the “law” in 1 Timothy know that it was a sin? Priscilla apparently had no idea that her teaching the bible to Apollos and her correcting his doctrine was a wrong thing to do. Priscilla taught the bible with authority by correcting error.

2. If they say that the “law” that stopped women from teaching the bible to men was created before Paul wrote it down in 1 Timothy 2, and Paul was merely referring back to a “law” that already existed, where is this “law” written down? There is no such “law” in the Old Testament that could possibly be linked back to. If they try to say that the “law” was recorded in Genesis 3:16 with the phrase “he will rule over you”, remind them that this could not possibly be a “law” that forbids women from teaching the bible to men. After all if Genesis 3:16 was really God’s will that wives were to be ruled by their husbands, then women would have to obey their husband’s command to teach the bible to men.  My husband, for example, has been very strong in encouraging me to teach men and women alike with the gifts that God has given me. If I am to obey my husband I will teach men the bible instead of turning them away.

So instead of quibbling about whether there is a “law” that forbids women from teaching the bible with authority, why not ask them when this “law” started? See if they can figure it out.

Today I had the opportunity to read a blog where Bob Cleveland posted a comment that I really appreciated. It is located here.

Bob commented:

If a woman has the gift of teaching she oughtta teach; to anybody who wants and needs to benefit from her God-given gift.

This really touched me. It puts the onus on the one who wants and needs to benefit from her God-given ability. I believe that this is why scripture tells us to submit to one another. We cannot take authority over someone else and force them to listen to us. The power is in the hands of the one who submits. The submission is not so that we can be under someone’s thumb. The submission is so we can benefit from what God has given as a gift to them for our benefit. When God has given his precious gifts of teaching and insight on the scriptures to a woman, we should honor God by submitting to learn. Do you want to benefit? Don’t accuse a godly Christian woman of being in sin because she has been given insight into the bible. This gift from God through her is given freely to anyone who is willing to receive it. If you want it, you should be able to freely receive.

Scripture also tells us that all of us are “needed”. God has placed his children into the body with a special gift given to each one for the benefit of the body. We are not allowed to say that some members are not needed for our benefit. Each one has been placed in the body and each one is to function for the common good.

1 Corinthians 12:21 And the eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you“; or again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.”

When a man turns away from learning the bible because it is being taught by a woman, he is not really rejecting her but God who gave her what is needed for the health of the body. He is saying that others may need her, “but I don’t need her”. By refusing the good gift, he is refusing to submit to receive from God and he is judging God because of the vessel that God has himself chosen to use. Such a one has broken a direct prohibition of God given in 1 Corinthians 12:21.

If there are any complementarians or hierarchists reading this who would like to answer these questions, please feel free to interact on this post. I believe in treating brothers in Christ with respect even if they disagree with me on these secondary issues. Each of us is a member of the same body, bought by the shed blood of our precious Lord and Savior and I desire to honor other members of the body of Christ who are not the same as myself.