Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Why I am a Complementarian (pt4) - Adam and Eve and The Fall

So we are now moving to the next chapter in the Bible (and don't worry I won't be doing a complementarian's take on every chapter of the Bible). Here we see the big event of the Fall. This event has impacted ever single one of us, but thankfully Jesus undoes the curse for us. Like the last two posts in this series, I am not full on hitting the main issues with these passages. You could do a straight forward reading of Genesis 1 and never see what I am taking about, because (and I want to re-stress this point that I made at the beginning) these are not the biggest issues in the Bible. The Bible is primary about God's rescue plan for everyone, it is not primary about gender roles. Some people over emphases this point and build huge theologies off gender roles. The Bible also is not silent on gender roles, but I do want to stress that this series is not an issues of "first importance". Jesus and His resurrection is (1 Cor 15:3-8).

In Genesis 3 we see the serpent temps the woman and then Adam "who was with her" (Gen 3:6). They then hid of Lord causing him to ask "where are you?" (Gen 3:9). After Adam blames, Eve who then blames the serpent (Gen 3:12-13) the Lord curses the serpent (Gen 3:14-15), then the woman (Gen 3:16) and then Adam (Gen 3:17-19). Adam then names the woman "Eve" (Gen 3:20), God makes clothes for them (Gen 3:21) and removed them from the Garden and protects it with a cherubim (Gen 3:22-24).

Lots can be said about this chapter, but I really only have two points.

1) Adam is primarily responsible/accountable for the Fall
As hinted in the last post, it is Adam, not Eve who is responsible for the Fall, even though Eve gave into the serpent first. This is because eating the fruit wasn't the first sin. Adam's neglect was. In Genesis 2:15-17:
The LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. God commanded the man, saying, "You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die."
Eve/the Woman wasn't even on the scene yet. It was Adam's task was to work the garden and to keep (shamar) it. You know when next the word shamar is used? In Genesis 3:24:
He drove out the man, and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim and a flaming sword that turned every way to guard (shamar) the way to the tree of life.
Adam didn't keep/guard/protect the garden, so God placed his cherubim to do the job for him. Adam was not far off somewhere when Gen 3:1-6 went down, he was with Eve (Gen 3:6). The fact that the serpent was already in the Garden in Gen 3:1 shows Adam was not protecting, guarding, keeping the Garden. Also the fact that Adam didn't interrupt the conversation between the crafty serpent or didn't stop his own wife who was bone of his bone, and flesh of his flesh (Gen 2:23) from disobeying God, again shows he was not keeping the Garden. He was responsible for the Garden and his wife, and he failed.

After both have sinned they both try to hide from God. When God comes along he calls out "Where are you?" but note that it is not directed to both, but to the man (Gen 3:9). God was after Adam to give an account for what had taken place in the Garden, not Eve and not both of them together.

The point that Adam brought sin into the world is also not an obscure point in the Bible. Adam is consistently blamed for sin entering this world. Yes, 2 Cor 11:3 does say (only as one example that people get led astray) that the serpent deceived Eve, but to the same people in a previous letter Paul stressed that: 
For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. (1 Cor 15:22)
And a tad latter:
Thus it is written, "The first man Adam became a living being"; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit. But it is not the spiritual that is first but the natural, and then the spiritual. The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven. As was the man of dust, so also are those who are of the dust, and as is the man of heaven, so also are those who are of heaven. Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven. (1 Cor 15:45-49)
To help clarify what the last quote means, with people being "of dust" and "of heaven" I think Paul makes the same point in Romans 5:12-21 in clearer language:
Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned--for sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law. Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sinning was not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come. But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man's trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many. And the free gift is not like the result of that one man's sin. For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brought justification. For if, because of one man's trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ. Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. For as by the one man's disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man's obedience the many will be made righteous. Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. 
Much can be said about Romans 5:12-21 (in fact I have written a 2,400 word essay on it (it also had nothing to do with gender roles)), but for our point it is clear that Adam gets the blame for bringing sin into the world. Eve is absent.

(And on a side point, if you think it is unfair that because of Adam you now have a corrupt nature or have been condemned by his actions, just think it is because of Jesus that you can be restored. Jesus' actions are what save you, not yours. Adam's action may have condemned you, but the good new is that Jesus' actions has provided a way for you to be redeemed, restored, cleansed, forgiven, etc..)

2) The curses frustrates the natural order
We see also in the curses that people's God given tasks have been frustrated. Eve gets increased pain in childbearing and also her "desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you." (Gen 3:16). "Ah" you may say, "here is the point where headship is established, it is a curse of the fall! Surely we should be about undoing the curse and not submitting to it." I agree with the latter point, but not the former.

I think headship has already been establish in the order of creation (Gen 2; 1 Tim 2:12-13); Adam and not Eve been given the law (Gen 2:16-17); Adam naming the Woman/Eve (Gen 2:19-20, 23) and Adam being responsible for sin entering the world (Gen 3:9; 1 Cor 15:22, 45-49; Rom 5:12-21).

So what is the second part of the women's curse about? The "desire" for your husband doesn't really sound too much like a curse. Isn't it a good thing that a wife would desire her husband? I mean who else should she be desiring? The second part of the sentence may give a hint as to the context as it is then about being ruled over. A possible helpful verse in Genesis 4:7 may also help clear this up as it contains nearly all the same words in this curse:
If you [Cain] do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it.
Here sin wants to go after Cain. It is pictured as sitting outside waiting to overpower him. In the curse of the woman, the desire for her husband should be taken in this light, that is, she will be against him, or want to overpower him, but won't be able to succeed as "he will rule over" her.

So with the woman she gets pain increased in labour and the man gets pain increased in working the land, the two things that they were tasked to do in the first creation account in Genesis 1:28. But also we see there is increased pain between husband and wife. This of cause doesn't mean husbands should help the curse along and rule over their wives to increase the tension between the sexes. We aren't to plant weeds among our plants to help the curse along, and so we shouldn't do that in our relationships. There are weeds and tension already, but Christians are to live like the curse has been dealt with, because it has, knowing that one day God will finally clear the remains that we see now. And how are Christian husband and wives to live now?:
Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them. (Col 3:18-19)
Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, when they see your respectful and pure conduct. (1 Pet 3:1-2)
(There of cause is the Ephesians 5:22-33 passage, but that will probable gets its own post - maybe even the next one, I haven't really decided.)

I think it is interesting to note, that Christians are told, after the resurrection of Jesus, after the curse of sin and death has been defeated, now that they are more than conquerors and death has no sting anymore - that wives are still told to submit to their husbands and husbands are told to love their wives. Perhaps that is because that is how it was before the Fall. Neither party was against each other and each had the same goal, while performing different tasks. You know, complementing each other.

(Sorry, it seems there is no way I can be brief on this topic. I can't make any promises about the next post.)

Related links:
Why I am a Complementarian (pt1) - The Issue - Pointing out what this issues is aboutWhy I am a Complementarian Calvinist Amillennial Christian - The bigger intro to this whole


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