Yesterday evening, I finally looked at the responses to the article on Eve and the apple I posted on Friday. To my surprise, it had generated an intense and fascinating discussion. One of the commenters was my oldest son, Jon who blogs here. Some of his comments were so outstanding I’ve compiled them together to create a guest post. Here’s what he wrote:
Some people say from the Genesis account that women are by their nature gullible and need a man to guide them in making decisions. Really? Perhaps it’s us men that are more gullible if we believe someone who tells us that :). I think this is a great example of exactly what God said the result of the fall would be…men trying to rule over and belittle women.
Don’t misunderstand me, there are clear differences between men and women…some areas where women tend to be stronger and other areas where men tend to be stronger. But I’m married to a women and she’s anything but gullible. The truth is I need her as much or more than she needs me when we’re making decisions.
When God created man in his own image, he specifically said “male and female he created them.” There’s something about the different sides of God and his character and personality of which both men and women are each uniquely created to be image bearers.
But I’m tired of men putting down women and using scripture to defend it. That’s exactly the sort of thing that really pissed off Jesus.
It’s interesting to note that Adam and Eve were standing in the garden together when the servant tempted Eve. It’s not like he pulled her aside or away from Adam to tempt her–we know that from the text. “When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, WHO WAS WITH HER, and he ate it.” I think they’re both equally guilty, Adam could have easily stepped in and saved Eve; he heard the same speech, but he didn’t step in.
I don’t know if we’re supposed to walk away from the first three chapters of Genesis thinking that somehow man or woman screwed up more or less. However, I think the real gold is in what happens next, because it’s here we understand what the curse was about.
I understand it this way…
The way God designed it was that both genders would get their identity and value from Him and Him alone. To see this just read through the first two chapters of Genesis and you’ll see God’s design for men and women and their lives together. Let US make them in OUR image… let THEM rule. It’s a model of unity, of co-leadership. My friend Morgan wrote a great post about it here.
I think the really interesting part in the light of trying to understand the history of Gender Inequality is what happens later in the story when God shows up and explains what the curse is about. He says, the serpent will become enemies with the woman (we know all about that), that the women’s desire is for the man but he will rule over her, and that man will desire the ground but have to work to get food from it.
And from that point on in history women have not only tried to get their identity from men but been held captive and ruled over by men…not the way God designed it at all. This isn’t a good thing; this is the curse. As we read the rest of the story and look at human history it’s clear that women have been the most abused, the most enslaved, the most held captive of any group of people. This isn’t the way God designed it at all; this is exactly what the enemy wanted.
But there’s good news…and the good news is that Jesus came to free us from the curse. When he came he announced his mission with a passage from Isaiah 61, and that passage says He came to heal the broken hearted and to set the captive free. TO SET THE CAPTIVE FREE. The question is who was the most captive since the curse? Who had been most mistreated and enslaved throughout human history? Women, right? The good news was that Jesus came to set the captive free.
Just look at how he treated women compared to society of his day. The women at the well, the women caught in adultery, Mary and Martha…and on and on. He treated women as equals in a society that didn’t.
I’m not sure that I walk away from the first three chapters of Genesis thinking that somehow Adam or Eve screwed up more or less…but I do walk away understanding the origins of all the mistreatment of women that we’ve seen since that time and even today. And when I read the rest of scripture (and for that matter look at human history) with that understanding, with the understanding that so much of what I see is a result of the curse that women will be ruled over by men, it helps me understand human history and patriarchal societies, and even the present day abuses of women. And it makes me want to stand with Jesus and fight to see the captives fully set free, so that men and women can be equal the way the God intended it. As Paul put it in the letter to the Galatians, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”
That’s the good news.