Was a woman created subordinate to a man? Part 2

In the last post we clearly showed that a woman was indeed created equal but opposite to a man. We saw that both women and men equally need each other in order to equally comply with God’s instructions of being fruitful, to multiply and rule. Something happened after the creation and this is something that we will discuss in this message. 

After Adam and Eve were placed into the garden, God gave them a command not to eat from the tree in the middle of the garden and after the snake deceived Eve, Eve ate from the tree and gave to Adam and Adam also ate. This was in breach of God’s command. As a result God decided to punish them. We see God’s punishment to a woman in Gen 3:16 and to a man in Gen 3:17-19. After this, God chased them out of the garden. This is called “The Fall”.
Gen 3:16 will be our point of discussion today. 
Genesis 3:16 (ESVST)
To the woman he said, “I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children. Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.”

To the woman God said that she will greatly multiply her pain in childbearing. I think all our mothers out there can testify to this pain. We as men can only imagine it. 
Secondly, God said that the woman’s desire will be for his husband and he shall rule over her.
Let’s look closely at these words. The Hebrew word used for the word desire means a longing or a craving. It means to long for something, to desire something or to crave for something. Now most people say that this word desire is used to mean that the woman will sexually desire her husband and they use Songs 4:10-11 as the basis for this interpretation. 
Song of Songs 7:10-11 (HCSB)
I belong to my love, and his desire is for me. 11 Come, my love, let’s go to the field; let’s spend the night among the henna blossoms.
The problem with this interpretation is that firstly, it assumes that there was no sexual desire between Adam and Eve before this. This assumption would be wrong since God said that Adam and Eve should multiply. Secondly, it does not make sense to say that a woman will sexually desire her husband and then the husband will rule over her. The two don’t make sense. How would the husband rule over his wife because his wife has sexual desires for him? Clearly this does not make sense. Another place where this word desire has been used is in Gen 4:7
Genesis 4:7 (ESVST)
If you 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.

One can see a lot of similarities here. This is what God said to Eve: Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you. Can you see the similarity? Good because they are similar. What does it mean though? God told Cain that sin was crouching at his door and it’s desire is for him but he must rule over it. In other words Cain must not allow sin to take control of him, to over power him, but he must rule over it. This clearly shows us that the usage of the word desire here is in the sense that, sin will desire to control Cain but Cain must rule over it. This is the same usage in Gen 3:16. It simply means that the woman will desire to control her husband but the husband must rule over her. Remember that this is part of the punishment. This is not something that a woman must like otherwise it won’t be a punishment. 
Now, let’s look at the word “rule”. The Hebrew word used for rule is a verb denoting to rule, to reign, or to have dominion over. So we can now explain God’s statement in Gen 3:16 as: Your desire shall be to control your husband, and he shall rule or have dominion or have authority over you.
This is how the latest translations have translated this verse: 

Genesis 3:16 (NLTse)
Then he 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.”

Genesis 3:16 (NET_FL)
To the woman he said, “I will greatly increase your labor pains; with pain you will give birth to children. You will want to control your husband, but he will dominate you.”
The above translations come from the New Living Translation 2nd Revision and the New English Translation. 
So, although the woman was created equal but opposite to a man, as part of the punishment, God decided that the woman will desire to control her husband but she will not succeed because, the man will have dominion or authority over her. If the woman succeeds in controlling her husband, then God’s punishment would have failed. God changed the equal dynamics that were there by making the man an authority figure over the woman and making the woman not to like it as part of the punishment. This is God’s will. Any attempt by men to reverse this or to let go of their authority, will be to go against the will of God. Any attempt by women to reverse this, is normal and shows that they don’t like it and also shows that the punishment is working. As long as they don’t succeed. 
So in conclusion, it is not by creation that a woman was made unequal to a man but it was by God’s sovereign decree. 
Was this punishment between a husband and his wife only or was it between a man and a woman even outside the marriage institution? 
Since Jesus paid a ransom for our past, present and future sins, does it mean this punishment is no longer applicable?
Find out next in Part 3

Posted in Christian living, Selected Scriptures.

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Was a woman created subordinate to a man? Part 1

This is by far these days the most controversial topic in the world of Christianity. We have churches split on those that believe that men and women are equal in all respect and those that believe the opposite. There are women groups that are fighting for women’s rights with some men saying, it is unbiblical. Let’s get right into it. The first question we ask is:

1- Was a woman created subordinate to a man?
What does the bible say? Let’s see. 
Genesis 1:27 (NIV)
So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.
So, we can see that when God created mankind, he created mankind in his own image. The word mankind refers to all humanity, both males and females. This is confirmed by the rest of the verse when it says, that God created them in his image and then it says again that both male and female, God created. So, three times in one verse is the statement that God created both male and female in his own image. So, now we know that in terms of creation, women were created in the same way as men were created and that is in the image of God. 

Genesis 1:28 (NIV)
God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”
After God created male and female, God gave them an instruction. God did not give a male only the instruction but God gave then both an instruction to fill the earth, subdue it and rule over all other living creatures. This was an instruction given equally to both male and female. 
Now, let’s look at the specifics of the creation of man and woman. Starting with the man.
Genesis 2:7 (NIV)
Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.
This is how a man was created. 
Genesis 2:16-17 (NIV)
And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; 17 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.”
This is the command that was given to the man, his name, Adam.
After this, God said:
Genesis 2:18 (NIV)
The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”
Now, let’s examine this verse thoroughly. The word used here for good is a Hebrew word “tob”, a verb meaning to be happy, to please, to be loved, to be favored, to seem good, to be acceptable, to endure, to be valuable, to do well, to do right. So, in the context of this verse this word would mean that it is not a happy thing, it is not pleasing, it is not a loving thing, it is not fabourable, it is not acceptable, it is not right. Therefore one can read the verse like this, it is not fabourable or a right thing or pleasing for a man to be alone. It was not the man who saw it unpleasing or unfavorable or not right to be alone. The man never complained about being alone. It was God himself who saw that it was not pleasing or fabourable or right for a man to be alone. 
God then said that he will make a suitable helper for him. The word used for suitable is the Hebrew word “neged”, a preposition indicating before, in front of, opposite or corresponding to. It literally means “according to the opposite of him.” Translations such as “suitable [for]”, “matching,” “corresponding to” all capture the idea. So clearly one can see that suitable here literally means that Eve was created as the opposite of Adam or as someone who corresponds to Adam or who matches Adam. All these words without a doubt indicate that Eve was created equal but opposite to Adam. It clearly and without a doubt show that Eve was not created subordinate to Adam. If something is opposite to another thing, it means that thing is equal in every way but just opposite. Light or dark, hot or cold, strong or weak, and so on.
The word helper means exactly that, a helper. This word in no way means subordinate. To help someone does not and cannot mean that you are subordinate to that person. God helps us all the time, does it mean that God is subordinate to us, no way! So the fact that Eve was created a helper, does not mean that she is subordinate. 
So, if we now go back to the verse, we can now read the verse as: since God saw that it was not favourable or pleasing or right for Adam to be alone, he was going make an equal but opposite helper for him. 
Genesis 2:22-25 (NIV)
Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man. 23 The man said, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken out of man.” 24 That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh. 25 Adam and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.
After God decided that he will make an equal but opposite helper for Adam, God created a woman called Eve out of a man’s rib. Now, again, simply because a woman was created out of a man’s rib, does not mean that a woman is subordinate. The important thing to note here is in verse 24 where it says that a man and a woman will become one flesh. If the man and a woman are one flesh, then it is impossible for a man or a woman to be subordinate to each other. After all, they are one flesh.
So clearly from creation, a woman was created equal but opposite to a man. There is no evidence that a woman was created subordinate or inferior to a man. 
What about this verse, what does this verse mean now? Well, wait for part 2 of the message to find out.
Genesis 3:16 (NET_FL)
To the woman he said,
“I will greatly increase a your labor pains; b
with pain you will give birth to children.
You will want to control your husband, c
but he will dominate d you.”

Posted in Christian living, Selected Scriptures.

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