There’s been some interesting (polite, but at times, heated), discussion in the comment section on some of my recent posts (see here and here, for example). Mostly this discussion hinges around Genesis 3:16.
Then he [God] said to the woman, “I will sharpen the pain of your pregnancy, and in pain you will give birth. And you will desire to control your husband, but he will rule over you.”
The idea that several have expressed is that the other effects of the Fall are still with us–pain in childbearing for women and man having to contend with thorns and thistles etc. Therefore the verse in Genesis 3:16 about men ruling over women should be adhered to.
A couple of points:
- The physical effects of the Fall: If we really believe that we shouldn’t try to combat the effects of the Fall, then women shouldn’t take painkillers during labor, and men shouldn’t use weedkillers or agricultural implements. Until we experience the new heavens and a new earth, we’ll have to live with the physical effects of the Fall, even as God, in his love and mercy, gives us tools like medicine to mitigate them.
- The relational effects of the Fall: The relationship between God and humankind was broken, and the relationship between humans (think Cain and Abel), including between men and women was broken. I believe Jesus dealt with the relational consequences of the Fall through his death on the cross and subsequent resurrection. We now have the privilege of having God live within us by his Holy Spirit. And I believe that we can now go back to God’s pre-Fall purposes for men and women, that they can work together as co-equals. Peter preached that the impact of Pentecost was God pouring out his Spirit on all flesh, both men and women. Baptism rather than circumcision became the rite of entry for the people of God.
After all, we pray that God’s Kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven. We in the church are supposed to demonstrate the Kingdom to the world. What does this mean for men and women?