Was the first man needed to give woman her self-understanding? According to Raymond C. Ortlund Jr. pastor of Immanuel Church in Nashville, the answer is yes.
Ortlund has written chapter three of Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood CBMW’s book. In this chapter, Ortlund says:
In designating her “Woman” the man interprets her identity in relation to himself. Out of his own intuitive comprehension of who she is, he interprets her as feminine, unlike himself, and yet as his counterpart and equal. Indeed, he sees in her his very own flesh. And he interprets the woman not only for his own understanding of her, but also for her self-understanding. God did not explain to the woman who she was in relation to the man, although He could have done so. He allowed Adam to define the woman, in keeping with Adam’s headship. (emphasis mine)
Let me ask a couple of questions. Who explained to the man who he himself was for his own self-understanding? …
This is a quickie post because I couldn’t resist allowing my four year old grandson Isaac to teach us all some of the basics. Ready? Here goes:
Trying to figure out what boys and girls are…he says, “Mom, if boys are MALE, then girls are EMAIL, right?”
So why do we have to go to the complicated complementarian rule book? Let’s just learn from nature and ask a four year old!
If you have some cute kid’s sayings about male and female, just post it here and let all of us enjoy it!
Oh and by the way, you might want to know what a four year old hockey fan calls not wearing clothes? Ready for this one regarding Adam in the buff? It is a good one! Answer: PUCK naked. (For those of you who don’t get these four year old sayings, just think about how a small hockey fan would interpret “BUCK naked”.
In our discussion of CBMW’s book Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, continuing on in chapter 3 in the writings of Raymond C. Ortlund Jr., Mr. Ortlund redefines the creation account in such a way that God’s creation of the male first is said to be necessary in order that the nature of the male and female is not obscured. Ortlund writes on page 102:
God did not make Adam and Eve from the ground at the same time and for one another without distinction. Neither did God make the woman first, and then the man from the woman for the woman. He could have created them in either of these ways so easily, but He didn’t. Why? Because, presumably, that would have obscured the very nature of manhood and womanhood that He intended to make clear. (emphasis is mine)
Ortlund’s presumption here is quite clear from this chapter. God made man first, according to Ortlund, to show that woman-
…was not his (man’s) equal in that she was his “helper”.
A man, just by virtue of his manhood, is called to lead for God. A woman, just by virtue of her womanhood, is called to help for God. (my emphasis)
When Ortlund says that creating man and woman at the same time would have obscured the very nature of manhood and womanhood, what is he talking about? Ortlund is not defining “manhood” as being male or “womanhood” as being female. He is defining “manhood” and “womanhood” by the preconceived “roles” that he has assigned to each one. “Manhood” is now the responsibility to take dominion over the female and to lead her in ways that she supposedly was created to need leading in. Roles then, assigned by the timing of the creation of humanity, are what separates the genders and what creates the priority for the male. But is this truly why God created the male first? Was God giving us a hint that there was a priority in rule and leadership given to the male because he was created first from the dirt?
Let’s reason from the scriptures and think these things through thoughtfully and carefully. First of all, we have to agree with Ortlund that God could have created the man and the woman from the dirt at the same time. We also can ask the same question, why did God choose from his own sovereign will to create the man and the woman at different times and in different ways? Why did God not create the woman from the dirt just like he had created the man?
First of all let’s look at all the bible verses that say that the male is to have leadership over the female because of his first creation. There are exactly zero verses in the scripture giving first creation status to the male for leadership over the female. The only verses that talks about a cause and effect regarding the order of creation are in 1 Timothy 2:13, 14.
1 Timothy 2:13 For it was Adam who was first created, and then Eve.
1 Timothy 2:14 And it was not Adam who was deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression.
Here we see that the discussion of the second one created is tied to deception and the first one created is tied to not deceived. There is zero connection to male leadership. The fact is that male leadership would have to be read into the passage instead of pulled out of it because leadership of the male is certainly not in the passage.
So if the first one created is never tied into leadership, then what was the point of creating the man first? Why couldn’t Eve have been created at the same time right there beside Adam from her side of the dirt bed?
The reason is because God sovereignly chose to create the woman from the man’s body for two reasons and the reasons have absolutely nothing to do with leadership.
1. The woman was created from the man’s body in order for her to be identified as belonging to him in a one-flesh union with the man in the most intimate of relationships.
If the woman had been created from the dirt beside the man, she would not have been flesh of his flesh and bone of his bone. So if God wanted the woman created not as separate flesh, but in an unmistakable identify with Adam, God had to create him first so that there was a rib that could be taken out to create the woman. By creating the man first and by allowing him to take on a task designed to show him his lack of a mate, the man was prepared to receive his one-flesh partner.
2. The woman was created from the man’s body in order for her to be a physical descendant of Adam through whom the Messiah could come but without the taint of Adam’s sin.
Before God created Adam and Eve, he knew that the fall would happen and it was his own plan and design that the Word of God would come to take on the flesh of humanity as a true Kinsman Redeemer. This Redeemer was to be both God and man, but it was also necessary for the Redeemer to have a physical blood line back to Adam, yet without the taint of sin. In God’s divine plan, it wasn’t an option that Eve was created from Adam’s body, but an absolute necessity because of the pre-planned salvation of mankind. You will need to click on the image below or on the highlighted words to go to the illustrated post where God’s sovereign plan is diagrammed showing how the Messiah came as a son of Adam but without the taint of Adam’s sin.
After viewing the diagrams of God’s wisdom in the order of creation, isn’t God’s plan for mankind and the redemption of mankind marvelously revealed through the Designer’s plan of Eve’s creation from Adam’s own body? When you viewed the illustrated post linked above, were you able to see God’s ultimate design plan that was designed to effectively bypass the stain of Adam’s sin? Does this make much more biblical sense than the unscriptural idea of assigning the role of “leader” to the first one created when God never assigns this role to the male in creation? Can you see how the physical connection of Eve back to Adam is not an unplanned side thought but rather God’s wonderful pre-planned design?
Instead of considering the plan of salvation that was designed before the world was created, Ortlund sees the first creation of the male as a sign of power and rule and primary responsibility. He reasons that having woman created at the same time would “obscure” manhood and womanhood because then primary “roles” could not be assigned to the first and the second. For Ortlund, having Adam and Eve created at the same time with both of them from the dirt would be a missed opportunity for God to hint to us that the second one created was made to be “inequal” in leadership behind the first created. But may I respectfully say that what Ortlund has completely failed to present in his chapter in CBMW’s book is the redemptive reason for Eve’s creation second as God’s pre-thought-out creation to come from Adam’s own body.
Instead of giving the Designer praise for the plan of redemption mirrored in the order of creation, Raymond C. Ortlund’s focus is on a prideful “royal prerogative” extended to the man.
Next post we will be continuing on in chapter three of Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood and I will throw out for discussion the different theories about what came out of Adam that was used to become the woman.
In the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood’s book Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, chapter 3 is written by Raymond C. Ortlund, Jr. and called “Male-Female Equality and Male Headship Genesis 1-3” but honestly, I think it could be retitled “The Emperor has no clothes” a thoughtful comment from a child in the fairytale, “The Emperor’s New Clothes“. This chapter in CBMW’s book is one of the most fanciful reworking of the Genesis account that I have ever seen. Take for example the reworking of sin to be “operating on Eve’s mind” even before sin entered the world.
On page 106 Ortlund writes:
Eve hadn’t even known that there was a “problem”. But the Serpent’s prejudiced question unsettles her. It knocks her back on her heels. And so the Serpent engages Eve in a reevaluation of her life on his terms. She begins to feel that God’s command, which Adam had shared with her has to be defended…Eve’s misquote reduces the lavish generosity of God’s word to the level of mere, perhaps grudging, permission…
After the words “which Adam had shared with her”, Ortlund inserts a note number 39 and the end notes from chapter 3 note 39 reads: …
The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood has published a book called Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood and on page 73, John Piper and Wayne Grudem write that Adam was ordained as the one responsible for the life of the garden. The reference is in response to a quote from 1 Timothy 2:14 where Adam is said to have not been deceived. Some take this as a proof that women are more gullible than men and easier to deceive, but Grudem and Piper say that this is not so. Instead, CBMW brings a new meaning to “not deceived”. They say “not deceived” means that Adam was not approached by the deceiver. They write:
If this is the proper understanding, then what Paul meant in 1 Timothy 2:14 was this: “Adam was not deceived (that is, Adam was not approached by the deceiver and did not carry on direct dealings with the deceiver), but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor (that is, she was the one who took up dealings with the deceiver and was led through her direct interaction with him into deception and transgression).”
Since when does “not deceived” mean that you must have a direct interaction with the deceiver? …
The story of Deborah and Barak in the book of Judges has caused many hierarchists to assign the God-given work of judge delivering the people of Israel to Barak while denying that God raised up Deborah as a deliverer. By assigning a calling to Barak that scripture never assigns, it appears that the example of Deborah and Barak is a clear example of reading into the text the tradition of men and failing to identify in the text God’s own inspired words which give the calling to Deborah. In the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood’s (CBMW) Journal article, Barbara K. Mouser writes concerning Barak:
Barak is a weak man who does the will of God when paired with a righteous and wise woman. He does the job of deliverer-judge, makes the roll call of faith, but suffers a loss of glory because of his lack of zeal and obedience.
Barbara Mouser also denies that Deborah is a God-given judge who is raised up by God to deliver Israel:
Deborah is Not a Judge
She is not a judge in the sense that the book of Judges defines a judge; she is not a military deliverer.17 Rather she is a prophetess, and as a prophetess, she commands and exhorts Barak with God’s own words and authority.
The amount of “reading into” the text is astounding in this article. For example, where is Barak said in scripture to be “raised up” by God as a judge? Barak is never called a judge but Deborah is and Judges chapter 2 makes it very clear that all the judges were raised up by God.
Judges 2:16 Then the LORD raised up judges who delivered them from the hands of those who plundered them.
The raising up must include all of the judges and in this account of deliverance it is only Deborah that is identified as a judge, not Barak.
Next the CBMW article identifies women as a sign of degeneracy:
Isaiah tells us that the rule of women is a sign of degeneracy, not liberation (Isa 3:12).
The issue of women in ministry allows us to the opportunity to ask questions about the hard passages of scripture and to work through these passages to discover God’s intended meaning through the inspired context. But in many quarters, questioning is a “sin” that will get a reprimand from a strong authoritarian leader. Is it really a sin to ask questions? The New York Times has produced an article by Molly Worthen called Who Would Jesus Smack Down? In a surprising view of “the cussing pastor”, Mark Driscoll is not only against women pastors and what is called the feminization of the church, but he also refuses to tolerate any opposition to his views. In The New York Times article Molly Worthen writes:
Nowhere is the connection between Driscoll’s hypermasculinity and his Calvinist theology clearer than in his refusal to tolerate opposition at Mars Hill. The Reformed tradition’s resistance to compromise and emphasis on the purity of the worshipping community has always contained the seeds of authoritarianism: John Calvin had heretics burned at the stake and made a man who casually criticized him at a dinner party march through the streets of Geneva, kneeling at every intersection to beg forgiveness. Mars Hill is not 16th-century Geneva, but Driscoll has little patience for dissent. In 2007, two elders protested a plan to reorganize the church that, according to critics, consolidated power in the hands of Driscoll and his closest aides. Driscoll told the congregation that he asked advice on how to handle stubborn subordinates from a “mixed martial artist and Ultimate Fighter, good guy” who attends Mars Hill. “His answer was brilliant,” Driscoll reported. “He said, ‘I break their nose.’ ” When one of the renegade elders refused to repent, the church leadership ordered members to shun him. One member complained on an online message board and instantly found his membership privileges suspended. “They are sinning through questioning,” Driscoll preached. John Calvin couldn’t have said it better himself.
Recently I was contacted by Dr. Barb Orlowski who has compiled her research on spiritual abuse into a manuscript that will form the basis of a yet unpublished book called “Ministering Restoration: Recovering Spiritual Harmony”. Dr. Orlowski wrote to me because she is interested in the issue of women in ministry as it was part of her study on spiritual abuse by authoritarian and abusive leadership in the church. In her on-line book in chapter three “What does the Bible say?” she lists the inherent weakness of the hierarchical/authoritarian model of leadership. These models can be used as a way to abuse the flock if the leadership demonstrates power driven or controlling tendencies. Barb writes:
Hierarchical and Authoritarian leadership can often slip into abusive patterns. What appears to be a reasonable system of church governance can often get molded instead to suit the designs of certain types of leaders. Unfortunately, these leaders distort church authority in ways that eventually misrepresent biblical principles for church governance. Leadership then becomes a command and control style which slowly erodes the effectiveness of that church body and leaves those under that regime dependent and immature in their Christian lives.
One of the ways that these leaders become abusive, according to Dr. Orlowski, is by not allowing others to participate and these “authorities overstep their bounds and use their position of leadership to mistreat those under their care”. …
Complementarians claim that 1 Timothy 2:12 is universally applicable because they say it was written for the church to know how to behave. According to John MacArthur, in God’s High Calling for Women part 1, 1 Timothy was written to “set the church in order”.
First Timothy 3:14-15 gives us the overall intent of the letter: “These things write I unto thee, hoping to come unto thee shortly; but if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth. ” First Timothy was written to set the church in order.
MacArthur appears to deny that Ephesus had godly women as he states that the Ephesian women were “desecrating” the worship service.
First Timothy 2 focuses in on another problem involving women. Under the pretense of coming to worship God, they were flaunting themselves and desecrating the worship service. Their dress and demeanor betrayed an evil intent rather than a heart of worship.
While John MacArthur’s exegesis of 1 Timothy 2:9ff is about women with an “evil intent”, a statement completely foreign to the text, yet he claims that the prohibition that follows in verse 12 is all about the “biblical role” of all women in the church.
From his discussion of the problems women were causing in the worship services, Paul branches out into a discussion of the biblical role of women.
In the “biblical role of women” given universally for the church, the apostle Paul, according to John MacArthur, states that women must come to church with a “proper sense of shame”. …
Very few people quickly admit their beliefs are wrong
This blog has been a meeting place for many who have received huge challenges to their view of women in ministry. Here I receive questions about how to deal with a spouse or a pastor who is strongly opposed to allowing women to freely serve the body of Christ with their God-given gifts. How does one deal with opposition even when one has presented well-reasoned arguments and the other person is unwilling to engage the arguments or is unwilling to really listen to what you have to say?
Today I would like to call attention to a very gentle apologist who has written some really great tactics that are very encouraging to me in how to deal with those who oppose women in ministry. While I understand that some people are so abusive and unChristlike that it is better to stay away from them rather than engage them and risk being personally attacked yourself, sometimes it is impossible to stay away from strong opposers because they are part of our family or the church family where we worship.
In today’s issue of Stand to Reason’s (STR) “The Page”, Greg Koukl’s email updates sent to subscribers, Greg gives some wise advice on the issue of why change is so hard and how to handle opposition. …
In the beginning God made male and female. Together they were to do God’s work on earth but unfortunately the fall happened and their work done together as equals was challenged by the man who took the sole rule for himself. Society became strongly patriarchal, and men were seen as the only ones who were capable of speaking for God and interpreting his word. But without the female complement working together with the male, some scriptures took on a decidedly male bias that is foreign to the context. For example, look at 1 Timothy 2:9 to see Paul’s instruction given to godly women.
1 Timothy 2:9 Likewise, I want women to adorn themselves with proper clothing, modestly and discreetly, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly garments,
1 Timothy 2:10 but rather by means of good works, as is proper for women making a claim to godliness.
We can note from 1 Timothy 1:2 that Paul is writing to Timothy. In chapter 2 Paul gives a standard for godly women to show their Christian maturity from the inside out. Women are to adorn themselves modestly and discreetly as is proper for women who make a claim to godliness. This is where some veer off into male bias.
The male bias reads a sexual temptress instead of godly women into this passage.