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An ‘aha’ moment

Recently Liz and I visited one of our sons (who is the senior pastor of a beachside resort town church) and his family for a weekend. The last time we were there, about 2 months ago, we heard him begin a series on foundations in Genesis where he touched on men and women as God created them and some of the myths and erroneous marriage practices that arise out of incorrectly interpreting this passage of Scripture. He did the introductory message very well but we were unable to be there for the next instalment so we ordered a CD of the next message which we only listened to on our return, journey.

It was while listening to that message on the CD that I asked Liz to pause it for a moment, I had just had an ‘aha’ moment of something that really struck me while Lee (our son) was expounding this passage. He was talking about the word ‘desire’ in Genesis 3:16, and how it had been wrongly translated to suggest that women now have a desire to ‘rule’ men, pointing out that this mistaken belief had found its way into some paraphrases, like the New Living Translation for example. (In the current version it is a footnote) Our son was explaining that a more correct view of the word ‘desire’, as it appears in Genesis 3:16, is a ‘turning towards.’ It has the sense, in this context of the woman ‘turning towards’ her husband and relying on him rather than relying on God. It could even be seen as a form of idolatory where the man is sought out as the completer of the woman rather than God being her all in all.

The ‘aha’ moment, or Spirit directed insight was this.  It just occurred to me, while the exposition was happening, that from a gender hierarchialist perspective, that’s exactly what men are being asked to be, the ‘go to’ persons between women and God. If, as the ‘turning towards’ translation suggests, women want a man to complete them, rather than God, then for men to rule would mean that they are embracing an undesirable pattern. We are very familiar with the fact that preparation for worldly marriages idealise this concept in that from a very young age girls are groomed to need to be married and to dream of the ideal man to marry. The prince charming who will sweep them off their feet. The perfect guy who will fulfil all of their dreams, desires and needs. From my perspective expecting men to rule is a huge deficit in the gender hierarchialist view in that it actually feeds this suggested inordinate desire in women rather than providing a God honouring corrective alternative. This would be that a woman be encouraged that she can be complete, as an individual in God through Christ as her sin bearer, then, out of that completeness God can give her a like-hearted partner with whom to share her life.

Men who rule, however they rule, be it gentle or harsh, are taking the place of God in the lives of the women whom they rule which means they are filling this ‘turning to’ need that is described by God as what would happen as a direct result of the fall. Rather than rule, both should be encouraging each other to hear and obey God for themselves and to bring to the relationship their shared understanding, oneness and the empowerment of living in mutual submission together under the direction of God by his Spirit. This was God’s original intention and it was lost with the introduction of sin and disobedience. To put those most basic of relationships right is part of the purpose of the redemptive work of Christ and it is surely the ‘heart’ and ‘passion’ of God to see humanity fully restored and living life as he intended before the fall.

Perhaps others of you have come to a similar understanding. Share with us your thoughts.

 

23 Comments

  1. Michelle
    Comment #96361 posted May 29, 2012 at 10:54 am

    Oy, not “option”–”alternative” to the book you mentioned.

  2. Comment #96364 posted May 29, 2012 at 6:14 pm

    We have the “Think Again” series by Joy & Bruce Fleming and they are so clear, concise and easy to read. They may still be available from CBE

  3. Liz B
    Comment #96365 posted May 29, 2012 at 8:57 pm

    CBE Bookstore also carries Bruce Fleming’s “Women and Men in the Light of Eden.” The “Think Again” series unfortunately is out of print.

  4. Michelle
    Comment #96366 posted May 29, 2012 at 9:32 pm

    Thank you for the information! A search on amazon reveals at least some of the “Think Again” series available on the Kindle.

  5. Don Johnson
    Comment #96367 posted May 30, 2012 at 6:19 am

    The “Light of Eden” book is Bruce’s latest on 3 of the 6 gender passages he covers in the “Think Again” books.

  6. Comment #96425 posted June 24, 2012 at 6:15 am

    When Jesus told Martha that Mary chose the one thing necessary (Luke 10:42) He was referring to Mary being His disciple. Therefore everything else is secondary, even male-female relationships. Part of the Fall was placing the male-female relationship above that of God-individual human being. We were made to be complete only in our direct communion with God. Other relationships are blessed when our one necessary relationship is in its proper place.

    It’s interesting that Eve would still stay with Adam even though he had just betrayed her. When confronted with his sin, Adam argued that it was God’s fault for making Eve in the first place and Eve’s fault for giving him the fruit to eat. Adam knew that he deserved death for his sin, but chose to put Eve’s guilt in the limelight perhaps hoping that by so doing God would only punish her and spare him. Adam was willing to sacrifice Eve (part of his own body) in order to save himself. In contrast, the Second Adam, Jesus Christ, sacrificed Himself in order to save His Body, the Church.

    I think the Genesis 3 passage explains some of the results of the corruption of the male-female relationship, not God’s original intent. To stay under the rule of one who is willing to have you killed in order to protect himself shows a deep perversion of the pre-Fall attitude of Adam when he rejoiced over Eve and viewed her as part of his own flesh, someone to love and nourish.

  7. Comment #96426 posted June 24, 2012 at 6:27 am

    I meant to say in the last sentence that Eve’s attitude of being willing to follow the one who tried to sacrifice her for his own self-preservation shows her corruption in contrast to Mary’s desire to follow Jesus, her Savior. And the second corruption is that of Adam, who was originally more like Jesus but now is a destroyer more like Satan.

  8. Comment #96520 posted July 28, 2012 at 4:24 am

    yes, this is exactly how I read that verse! Good on your son!

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