Sunday, July 18, 2010



Genesis 3:6 (NASB-U) When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate.

Since Eve led in this disobedience, and if there is no gender authority, then why is Adam/man ultimately held responsible for the fall?

Romans 5:14 (NASB-U) Nevertheless death reigned from Adam until Moses, even over those who had not sinned in the likeness of the offense of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come.

1 Cor. 15:22 (NASB-U) For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive.

The responsibility always ends at the leader’s feet.


Genesis 3:16 (NASB-U) To the woman He said,
"I will greatly multiply
Your pain in childbirth,
In pain you will bring forth children;
Yet your desire will be for your husband,
And he will rule over you."

The New Jerusalem Bible interprets it this way;
Genesis 3:16 (NJB) To the woman he said:
I shall give you intense pain in childbearing,
you will give birth to your children in pain.
Your yearning will be for your husband,
and he will dominate you.

What does this verse say to you?

1. Note the context. Adam, Eve and the serpent are being judged for the violation of God’s law.
2. The consequence for the woman is two fold;
A. In one of the most precious moments of a female’s life (child birth), intense
pain will be present.
B. Your desire will be for your husband and he will rule over you.

The first part of this judgment is not our focus, the second part is where our debate occurs. There is brief but uniform biblical information to clearly understand what is implied in this second judgment.

The word used for desire is teshuwqah, from Hebrew 7783 (shuwq) in the original sense of stretching out after; a longing: intense desire. It is used only two other times in scripture;

Genesis 4:7 (NASB-U) "If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it."

Here, the ‘intense desire’ is that of sin for Cain.

Song 7:10 (NASB-U) "I am my beloved's, And his desire is for me.

In this passage, the beloved has ‘intense desire’ of love for her.

We must ask, what is the subject of the ‘intense desire’ in Genesis 3:16, “Yet your desire will be for your husband” ?

The traditional interpretation is this; The woman will have an intense desire to usurp the rule of her husband (Since the exercise of authority is the context it is used in.).

I hold this interpretation for at least four reasons.

First, because the line of verse declaring desire is directly connected with “and he will rule over you.” It is important to note that Scripture teaches that Adam already had authority over Eve. Adam’s authority was not a new consequence of Eve’s sin, her fallen nature’s response to that authority was new.

1 Corinthians 11:7-10 For a man ought not to have his head covered, since he is the image and glory of God; but the woman is the glory of man. 8 For man does not originate from woman, but woman from man; 9 for indeed man was not created for the woman's sake, but woman for the man's sake. 10 Therefore the woman ought to have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels.

1 Timothy 2:12-13 But I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man, but to remain quiet. 13 For it was Adam who was first created, and then Eve.

This curse indicates a shift, not in the order of authority, but the response of woman to that authority. She now had an intense desire to rule that would be frustrated.

Second, the word desire also has the closest proximity to the second use of the word (Gen. 4:7) where it is a wrong desire. The use of the word is also set in a negative context of judgment.

Third, Paul confirms that interpretation and consequence in the authority structure of gender.

1 Tim. 2:11-15 (NASB-U) A woman must quietly receive instruction with entire submissiveness. [12] But I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man, but to remain quiet. [13] For it was Adam who was first created, and then Eve. [14] And it was not Adam who was deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression. [15] But women will be preserved through the bearing of children if they continue in faith and love and sanctity with self-restraint.

Please note that in verse 13 the order of creation is first given as a reason for gender authority. Then in verse 14 Eve’s deception is given as a second reason for gender authority, and tied into New Testament application with clear consistency. It even includes the context of childbirth! It also clearly extends gender authority into the Church structure.

Fourth, I also think the truth of this judgment of tension in the exercise of authority between husband and wife is inferred in a number of biblical passages and incidents.

Proverbs 27:15 (NASB-U) A constant dripping on a day of steady rain And a contentious woman are alike;

Amos 4:1 (NASB-U) Hear this word, you cows of Bashan who are on the mountain of Samaria, who oppress the poor, who crush the needy, who say to their husbands, “Bring now, that we may drink!”
Here the sense of the female struggling to assert their will is indicated.

Certainly Delilah is an example in her devious badgering of Samson,

Judges 16:16 ( NIV ) With such nagging she prodded him day after day until he was tired to death.

I think Sarah (Pursuing offspring through her handmaiden.), Rebekah (Putting Jacob ahead of Esau.), Miriam (Seeking along with Aaron to displace Moses.) and certainly Jezebel to name a few also show examples of ungodly desires to subvert gender authority.

Col. 3:18-19 Wives, be subject to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. [19] Husbands, love your wives and do not be embittered against them.

In the context of commanding wives to submit, embitterment would be a natural reaction against an un-submitting wife.

Fifth, the unauthorized assertion of authority to encourage rebellion makes this judgment a profoundly appropriate consequence of both Eve & Adam’s sin. The desire to dominate will be unquenched in the woman, and the responsibility to lead will be unendingly challenged for the man.

Genesis 3:17 (NASB-U) Then to Adam He said, "Because you have listened to the voice of your wife…”

Do not cultures throughout history confirm the truth of this tension? There is both the female desire for authority, but male authority ultimately superceding, over and over. I have even wondered if one of the effects of the fallen nature is not just the female tendency to pursue obtaining authority, but also for the male to abdicate authority.

I also wonder if in the very situation where man abdicated leadership under God, we are not presented a new opportunity to stand up for biblical truth when women assert leadership over men. Instead of repeating the silence of Adam, when female leadership over males is presented as a God-given right is it not a time to say, “No, God does not allow that!”


Genesis 3:16 simply states that authority resides in the husband with a frustrated tension from the wife. That gender authority is specifically confirmed in the New Testament in I Timothy 2, which also then carries that same authority structure and practice from marriage into the Church structure.

If the authority of the husband over the wife is marked by tension as a result of the fall, does it not make sense that we will see that tension at work in the Church structure?

There is an additional verse in Genesis that makes a powerful assertion for gender authority based on purpose.

Genesis 2:18 (NASB) Then the LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him.” There are many ideas of what position of authority the helper holds in this passage, but the overt assumption in any other setting is that it would be a position under authority.

The specific position of this helper is defined in 1 Corinthians 11:8-9 For man does not originate from woman, but woman from man; 9 for indeed man was not created for the woman's sake, but woman for the man's sake. The context of this argument is found in verse three where Paul asserts that man is the head of woman.

This interpretation in no way supports a degrading view of woman. The continuing context of the passage elaborates the special, sacred creation of that relationship.

Genesis 2:20-25 (NASB) The man gave names to all the cattle, and to the birds of the sky, and to every beast of the field, but for Adam there was not found a helper suitable for him. 21So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; then He took one of his ribs and closed up the flesh at that place. 22The LORD God fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man. 23The man said,
“This is now bone of my bones,
And flesh of my flesh;
She shall be called Woman,
Because she was taken out of Man.”
24For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh. 25And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.

Solomon also gives beautiful expressions of the role of ‘suitable helper’ when he states, “Two are better than one…”, and the wonderful passage in Proverbs 31.

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