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?

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;

In Genesis 1:27, 28 God creates both the man and the woman and blesses them. After he creates them he says several things to them (plural). In verse 29 God says something that it not recorded in chapter 2 at Adam’s creation.* This is certainly not a contradiction but a piece of the story that is not given in chapter two. In verse 29 of chapter 1, God tells both the man and the woman that they are given every plant yielding seed that is on the surface of all the earth. They are also given to eat from every tree which has fruit yielding seed. What does this tell us? The word “given” in the Hebrew means the granting of permission. So God gave permission for both the man and the woman to eat from all the herbs of the field that has seed in it and from the every single tree that has fruit yielding seed.

Notice two things about this passage. The first thing that we notice is that it is God himself telling them what they can eat. It doesn’t say that God gave Adam directions to tell his wife what to eat. The passage has God giving explicit permission to eat. So who told the woman what she could eat? It was God himself.

The next thing that we can see from the passage is that permission was not given to eat from any plant that did not yield seed. We also can see that permission was not given to eat from any tree that did not have fruit that yielded seed. So we have permission that is not given regarding food in chapter 1.

What else can we note from this passage? We can note that God spoke to both Adam* and his wife and gave them both permission to eat from every single tree that bears fruit that yields seed. God said that every tree which has fruit yielding seed was given to them by permission. Since we know from chapter 2 that there was only one tree forbidden to Adam (and thus also his wife), we can rightfully conclude that every fruit bearing tree had seed except for one. There was only one tree that did not have life in it.

So coming to the text itself we can clearly see that God himself gave the woman permission to eat. We can also see that God himself did not give the woman permission to eat from any tree that did not have fruit yielding seed.

What about the idea that Adam was responsible to give the instruction to his wife about what she was allowed to eat? The passage itself does not identify any such command from God to Adam. The passage itself does not identify Adam as being the one who instructed the woman. The passage itself identifies God as the giver of this knowledge and the woman was given permission to eat herbs and fruit that yields life (yields seed). Can we now confidently say that it was not Adam who instructed his wife on God’s permission to eat but God himself? Yes, we can confidently say this because it is scripture itself that instructs us on what happened.

What else can we see from the passage that relates to men and women and God’s design? We can also note that when God has both the man and woman together after creation, he does not instruct one to rule over the other. When they are both together, God also does not favor Adam and give him authority that he does not give to Eve. God does not have a personal relationship with Adam that he withholds from the woman. Lastly God does not have a relationship with the woman through Adam. God is her authority, not Adam. God gave permission to the woman. Adam did not dole out permission. God treated them equally and instructed them equally.

When one submits one presupposition to the text itself, God’s word is the one that corrects all error.

End note:

*God created the man and the woman in the beginning and called them both “Adam”.  Chapter two is specifically highlighting the man’s creation and the woman’s creation from the body of the man giving them a one-flesh union from the beginning.

24 thoughts on “Eve and God

  1. This is an interesting post! I have often discussed this subject with my bible study class (adults – coed!!). The simple fact is that while we have the account in Gen. 1 it is completely different than the account in chapter 2. Different aspects, different angles, whatever you want to call it.

    We just can’t use anything in chapter 2 other than assumptions on who told Eve what. We do see in Chapter 2 that God tells Adam that there’s one fruit he can’t eat. Eve, or rather, the woman who is as yet not named, seems to be aware of this information as evidenced by her discussion with the serpent. There are three possibilities for why she seems to have more knowledge. Either she got that from God, from Adam or she made it up herself. But the text does not say. Any one of those arguments is equal to any of the others. We just don’t know.

    I like how you concentrated on what we DO know as evidenced in chapter one which the comp camp usually leaves out of any gender discussion. Great post!

  2. Cheryl,

    I agree completely with your study so you won’t be surprised when I say…”you nailed it.” Good work. It does take an eisegesis of the passage, as you point out is often done, to see it differently IMHO.

  3. Cheryl,
    I agree with what you wrote, except for one tweak, the name Eve was given later, so I use the terms “the man” and “the woman”.  Yes, many call it the story of Adam and Eve, but that is just tradition.

  4. P.S. Both the man and the woman were named Adam by God, Gen 5:2.  So she did have a name, but this can be confusing as the names are the same.

  5. Tami,
    It is indeed important to not ignore chapter 1 in our understanding of the original purpose of the male and female and marriage.

    There are three options regarding why the woman had more information that what appeared to be given to Adam.  Since I will be discussing these things in the next post, I will leave my comments for my article.

    Pastor Paul,
    Thanks!  I have also wondered how people could add so much into the actual text without paying attention to what the text actually says.  I know I used to believe differently because I was taught man’s tradition instead of digging myself into the text.  What I found by checking the text and the context made me very surprised.

    Don,
    I have changed the article to reflect for the most part “man and woman” with only Eve added in the beginning.  I like that you reminded me that God gave them both the name “Adam”. One name and one authority.  Kind of reminds me of the Trinity.  One name and one authority.

  6. Also for those who have been following the on going saga of Matt Slick and CARM, I would like to say that finally after months of trying to get Matt to do his obligation towards me in order to resolve the hostile name calling and attacks that started on his radio show and carried forward onto his discussion board (I didn’t even know that I was being pulled onto his discussion board until I was notified on this blog that Matt had posted several “To Cheryl” posts on CARM’s discussion board), Matt Slick has finally agreed to meet me in person to have a Matthew 18 meeting.  He is refusing to bring his wife along with him stating that he wants to protect her from me (?) but he will bring along his own pastor.  I spoke to Matt’s pastor this morning to set the meeting for the last week of August.  The exact date will depend on when my pastor will get back from vacation.

    The interesting thing about all of this is that my pastor was a complementarian a year ago.  He had been looking for help to refute my DVDs and was expecting to get some substantial help from Matt Slick because of the radio debates scheduled.  My pastor was very disappointed in Matt’s performance and wrote Matt that nothing he said in the debates was helpful at all in refuting me.  However the debates did help him to see the vitriol that has one side of the debate (complementarian side) attacking the other side without Christian charity.

    Recently my pastor has announced that he has become a full egalitarian.  Praise the Lord!  We had many opportunities to debate this issue and issues surrounding this one and I want to publicly state my great respect and love for my pastor who has come a long way in his understanding of women in the church.  While we had many passionate debates together, he has never run away from me or treated me as if I was the enemy.  Even in the beginning he amazed me by saying that some of the things that he heard on the DVD set were the best teaching that he had heard on a particular passage (1 Cor. 14). 

    So things have come full circle.  We arrived in our new city just over a year ago, and it has taken about one full year to go from having a pastor who was passionately fighting for complementarianism to someone who has become a friend and supporter eager to go with me to confront Matt Slick on his sin.  I am overwhelmed.  All I can say is praise the Lord!

  7. Wow!  Great news!

    I do not see any particular reason why Matt’s wife should be or not be at your meeting.  If she wanted to be, that would be fine and if she does not want to be, that would be fine.

  8. Don,
    I believe in a one-flesh union and if one member is being called to account for his/her sin, the other member should be there.  That gives them the opportunity to support their spouse and/or understand why the discipline is being given.  I will be calling Matt Slick to publicly repent of his attacks against me.  If he does not do that I will have no further option but to go to the church (the body of Christ) and give the details of what Matt has done.  I am hoping that he will chose to repent and make his repentance public.  I am not holding my breath.  Whatever the outcome, I believe that the public repentance or public rebuke (taking it to the church) will help others see the folly of attacking Christians over something that is not an essential of our faith.  I hope too that it will be encouraging to other women also fighting the same battle of attacks from the complementarian camp.  Enough is enough.

  9. One other piece of news that won’t be a surprise. Diane Sellner from CARM withdrew my ban from the CARM discussion boards for a short while. This allowed me a way to respond to the continuing attacks against me on that board. Diane continues to say that this blog attacks Matt and herself and that people here speak hateful things against them calling their motives evil. I asked her to prove her accusations or apologize. She banned me again. I guess she isn’t planning on apologizing.

    I have really appreciated the gentle nature of the people who post here. For Diane to accuse the lot of you as people who attack others and who attribute evil motives to herself and Matt is way over the edge. I think your restraint has been godly and your Christ likeness has been very encouraging to me. The bible does say that good will be spoken of as evil and evil as good. I have come face to face with this very thing this past year after having tried my best to speak respectfully to someone who has made this an issue to divide over:

    Isaiah 5:20 Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness; Who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!

    This verse brings me great hope:

    2 Corinthians 6:8 by glory and dishonor, by evil report and good report; regarded as deceivers and yet true;

    We move on no matter what the opposition is. The Trinity DVD is being edited as we speak and the opposition against me because of the DVD that has been so oppressive to me has finally lifted! I can only give God the glory for giving me mercy to carry on. When we are called names for the sake of righteousness we will have the opportunity to grow the fruit of the Spirit because of the trials we endure. God allows trials for our own good. He also gives us strength to endure. It is a joy to suffer for Christ but sad that it is at the hands of someone who calls themselves a brother in Christ.

  10. When Ananias and Saphira were called to account, they were separate, even in the case of both sinning.

    I believe in a one-flesh union also, but I see it meaning less than you I guess.

  11. In the case of Ananias and Sapphira, they were both guilty of sin.  Each was called to account separately and one did not answer for the other.  In Matt Slick’s case regarding his wife, I am not calling her to account.  I am concerned that she could be a good influence on him and help him with the needed changes that he needs to make.  If she is unaware of the full process that may be hard to do.

    In the case of erring pastors, their wives are usually called by their side to be a part of the healing process.  This is my heart.  Spouses can be key to helping one see past one’s own blind spots.  She may not be able to help him, but from what I have heard of her from the radio when she did one show answering questions, she sounds like a lovely lady and one who wouldn’t be in favor of personal attacks and name calling.  I see her as being a stabilizing influence on Matt and he really does need all the help he can get.

  12. Cheryl,

    Not that it’s all that important to say, but, I think I agree with Don basically here. The gentleman’s wife may or may not be a help to him in such a meeting, but I think that is for them to decide. Of course, I understand why you would desire her to be present. But that can be a legitimate desire on your part, expressed, without it being an ought or should or must in this situation. [I don’t hear you making it any one of those three things at all.] In fact, I would hold the same for your husband’s presence. [All this is with the information I’m working from that she’s not part of what he’s being called on in the Matt. 18 experience.]

  13. Pastor Paul,

    Thank you for your input.  I have not made it mandatory for Matt’s wife to be present because I have no power or authority to do that.  I do feel it is important for my husband to be there and my pastor.  I would not want to confront Mr. Slick on my own.  I believe him to be a very angry man who has no problem in verbally attacking another
    Christian.  I do not know if he would be physically violent but I would not want to be alone with him.  Angry men need to be confronted but it is wise for a woman to get support.

  14. ‘There are three options regarding why the woman had more information that what appeared to be given to Adam.  Since I will be discussing these things in the next post, I will leave my comments for my article.’
    The last paragraph of your article above revealed alot.

    Am looking forward to your next article. 🙂 Can’t wait!

  15. I can see how it would be nice for you if she was there, she might be a moderating influence.  And I can see why you might want your “protector,” he might be a moderating influence also.  And this is in line with taking 2 or 3.  And having his pastor there can also be very useful in various ways.

  16. Don,
    If I were not dealing with someone who is refusing to admit his own faults it would not have taken me this long to have a meeting with Matt Slick. I cannot judge his heart to know why he is like this, but I do believe that having others there may help him to see another perspective if he is open to others. I believe that he has already shut his heart to me and if it were only Matt and I, I may as well save my breath and just finish with the final step. But I do not want to do that without making absolutely sure that I have done every possible effort possible to bring resolution and change. It will cost us a great deal to travel and stay over at least one night but this is my commitment to resolution and following the full Matthew 18 route. It is the way that Jesus set things up for disputes between brethren. If I had pegged Matt as an “enemy” as his vice-president has already pegged me, then I would not need to waste my time, money and energy. I know that some who are supporters of Matt and who watch everything done on this blog have already made judgment calls about my motives. I do not concern myself with people who think that they have a godlike gift of reading hearts. I have only to concern myself with pleasing my Lord and keeping watch on my own attitude. It isn’t easy, but I have a strong desire to serve others including women who may find my pursuit of this matter helpful to their own situation. Jesus must remain front and center as my example and my goal.

    Don, I appreciate that you were able to see my point of view. As I said, I do not have the authority to make the decision for him but I can request what I believe to be wise.

  17. I did not realize there was a large cost factor.

    One thing that MAY be a factor with him is he does deal with heretics and nonbelievers of various sorts, so “adding one more to the pile” might seem an easy thing to do and even make it easier on him in his analysis, but we should not do this.  That is, he is not making distinctions that he should make.

  18. Cheryl,

    I could not agree more with your statement about angry men. I’m praying for you as this comes about. I’m also praying for the one you are confronting that the Spirit will remove scales from his eyes and that his heart will be opened to you as a sister in Christ. It sounds like you are moving thoughtfully and scripturally. Good for you.

  19. Don,
    Amen!  The miracle is that the one who is unlimited could possibly use the ones who are so very limited.  I need to continue to remind myself that all things are possible, not by me, but by and through HIM!

  20. This morning I received another fresh insight into what God has already written in scripture. I am eager to post my thoughts in the next article. If I get a chance I will do so today.  My children are coming today for the weekend so that makes my time very tight.

  21. Cheryl, excellent job on this one. The angle of who gave permission settles it well.

    And Don, I think it is a huge point that GOD named them both Adam in the beginning. Because God named them both Adam, it is kind of like two people having the name of Terry/Terrie.  When the name is called they both respond. God also designated gender/sex and gave it a name: male and female, masculine and feminine, man and woman.  These were things that God did, not the first human.  And then there is the point that the name of Adam given by God is the same kind of name that the first human followed suit to give to the animals; it was the name of their race or kind, ‘human’. So when God called out ‘human’, they knew he was referring to them, not any of the other created creatures.

     Whether the man followed suit and called the first woman “woman” because God gave him the example in the animals or because God presented her as “woman” (from man) is difficult to decipher. But I don’t think it matters much in the grand scheme of things and making it into a point of authority as the hierarchalists do is really fantasy ridiculosity also known as selfish wishful thinking, perhaps even the beginning of a psychosis.  🙂

  22. Ishah (woman) coming out of ish (man) is a wordplay, as “ah” is a normal hebrew way of feminizing something, so the man is saying that she is a female man, like him in many ways but unlike him in her femaleness.

    The whole sentence is also a “Wowie Zowie” statement, recall the man had gone thru all the animals naming them and not finding a partner.  When he finally sees her, “Wowie Zowie” was appropriate.

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