In my first post on the Creation Order, I wanted new eyes. I’ve listened to many expositions on those chapters in Genesis, and it’s hard to read the text without schooled understanding. But using “ignorant eyes” helps me understand what is or isn’t God’s point. I continue in Genesis.
Male patriarchy orders the genders as leader and follower. Because God formed Adam first, does that mean men must claim the chief spot? Because Eve was taken out of Adam, does that mean women must defer to men? The Council for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood says yes. Here’s how the Danver’s Statement words it:
Headship established at creation?
First, how does CBMW define this headship? They mean authority. The husband is in charge. He leads the wife.
Was Adam’s authority established at creation? Based on the definition of establish, that would mean Adam’s authority was instituted by agreement and firmed up beyond doubt. Was male authority something God brought into existence? Did God enact Adam to rule Eve? Do we see Adam and Eve agreeing to this headship institution? Read through Genesis 1 and 2 and the first few verses of chapter 5 again. The plain text reveals no such institution.
What is established?
Marriage unity is established with the words, “They become one flesh.” Joint rule over created things is established with God’s blessing and the words, “Rule over every creature.” There is a creation order; one came before the other. One was formed because of the other; woman to solve man’s loneliness problem. One was required to leave and cleave; man alone is given a duty in the marriage. But I don’t see authority established in any creation passage (Gen 1, 2 or 5). Between the two humans, I only see a joint “other” focus (companionship-union) that would result in the instituted goals: unity and dominion.
Is Adam given authority over Eve?
Nowhere in the plain text does it say Adam is to exert authority over Eve. But there are many who will reason with the text. Here are a few of the favorite reasons given why Adam should have authority over Eve.
1. “And the LORD God commanded the man, “You must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil…” Adam is commanded not to eat the “knowledge” fruit, not Eve. Does this signify God giving Adam authority? Did God make it Adam’s duty to keep Eve away from the fruit? God spoke these words before Eve was taken out of Adam. If God spoke them to Adam AFTER Eve was formed, I’d say without a doubt, yes. But since it happened before she arrived, I don’t think its a clear argument for Adam’s spiritual authority. Here are some other things that occurred before Eve was formed.
- Adam receives God’s breath and lives.
- Adam is commanded to work and watch/protect the garden.
- Adam witnesses the garden planting and creation of animals. He names the animals.
Even though Adam alone did these things, Eve is included in the dominion command in Genesis 1, and she is also called the Image of God… even though Adam alone received God’s Breath. I think we can assume she held equal responsibility for keeping the Fruit Command as Adam, even though she was not physically taken out of Adam yet. But we are in speculation on either side of the argument since the text doesn’t say.
2. Adamnamed his wife Eve. Does Adam gain authority by naming Eve? As above, Adam also named the animals; yet both Adam and Eve are given rule over the animals in Genesis 1. If giving someone a name equaled having authority over them, then Hagar was God’s master. (Genesis 16:13)
3. But the LORD God called to the man, “Where are you?” God called Adam first after they ate of the fruit. This indicates primary accountability. What does that mean? Primary means first. God asked for Adam’s account of things before he asked for Eve’s account. This is logical since Adam holds the primary formation. Adam was formed first. But does primary accountability equal greater accountability; that Adam was accountable for Eve’s actions? I don’t think so. Since God asks the same question of Eve, we know she is held accountable for her own actions. (Notice that Eve can talk directly to God, she does not go through her husband.)
The question for this post is: does the creation order establish that Adam is to have authority over Eve? It isn’t in the plain text. Maybe it can be assumed. But in that case, I wish the Danvers’s Statement would word it that way instead of saying it was established. Unity and joint rule are all I see established by the actual words of God.
Up next: More assumptions from the temptation.