Genesis 1 - 3
Dr. S. Lewis Johnson begins a six-part series on the issue of women's equality in the evangelical faith community. Dr. Johnson uses the first message to outline God's purposes in creating the woman as found in the Genesis account.
[Message] Some of you may have noticed that in Christianity Today there was a brief article about Presbyterians endorsing a lesbian as pastor. The first short paragraph is, “The first openly homosexual person ever invited to serve a congregation of the Presbyterian church USA has survived the first round of challenges, but officials the fight is far from over. By a vote of one hundred and five to sixty-six Presbyterian leaders in upstate New York rejected a demand that they rescind their previous endorsement of Jane Spahr of Oakland to serve as one of four co-pastors of downtown United Presbyterian Church in Rochester.”
One of the things about it that interests me is the fact that they go on to say the fight’s far from over, but you’ll notice the vote’s one hundred and five to sixty-six and it should be evident, I think, to anyone that if you can get a hundred and five people in the presbytery to vote for something like that, you have a problem even if they do not endorse the ordination of the lesbian. So, we’ll wait and see what happens, but it’s a very sad thing that’s happening in our churches. Well, it’s 7:30, let’s begin with a word of prayer.
[Prayer] Father, we thank Thee for the privilege of the study of the word of God. We thank Thee for the clarity of the truth. We thank Thee for the Holy Spirit who teaches us the things concerning our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, the triune God, and the elements of the salvation that is found in his saving work of dying for us upon Calvary’s cross. We thank Thee, too, Lord for the encouragement that we receive from the Holy Spirit as we read the word of God to follow our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Help us Lord, for we surely need it, to walk more submissive to Thy word and to Thee through the Spirit. We pray that our study this evening may be helpful to us as we seek to understand holy Scripture.
We ask Thy blessing upon each one present. We especially pray for some who are sick and in the hospital. We remember Glen Smith especially, and Margaret and their family. And we ask, Lord, Thy blessing upon them, in Jesus’ name. Amen.
[Message] Well the subject for this brief series that the elders have asked me to undertake is “Evangelical Feminism and the Bible.” I need to clarify that. It was not they who suggested the title. I suggested the title, but they asked me if I would fill in for a few Wednesday nights. And that’s the title, “Evangelical Feminism in the Bible.” And what I would like to do is to this evening look at the foundational texts that have to do with feminism and then we’ll look at four of the problem passages in the New Testament. But the Old Testament, Genesis chapter 1, 2, and 3 is the foundation for all scriptural thinking regarding the relationship between the sexes. And so, there are several passages that we want to look at this evening. And then we’ll look at the passages that are problems, that have caused a great deal of concern on the parts of many, such as Galatians 3:28; 1 Timothy chapter 2; 1 Corinthians chapter 11; and 1 Corinthians chapter 14. All of them have some rather difficult passages. And we’ll try to deal with them after we have looked this evening at Genesis chapter 1, 2, and 3.
Now, if you have your Bibles, and I certainly that you have, turn to Genesis chapter 1, verses 26 through 28, and we’ll read this as our first passage, Genesis 1: 26-28.
“And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.”
What is the unique significance of our maleness and our femaleness? I think sometimes such fundamental questions are so fundamental that we’ve glossed over them and actually forgotten what is our fundamental maleness and femaleness. For example, let us suppose, as John Piper has several times said in some of his writings on the topic, how would you as father reply if one of your children should come to you, a male, and say, “Dad, what does it mean to be a man and not a woman?” And if it were a daughter, “Dad, what does it mean to be a woman and not a man?” I have the feeling that many of us would stumble quite a bit over that question because we haven’t thought too much about what maleness and what femaleness really mean.
We, of course, understand we have different sexual organs, but maleness and femaleness is something far more than that. We think only of the Lord Jesus Christ who was a male, who never had sexual intercourse with anyone, but yet is probably the most male, surely, the most admired, and the fines and greatest male who ever lived. And sex didn’t enter into his maleness very significantly if at all.
A not very pleasant debate continues today involving the non-evangelical feminists and the evangelical feminists with the evangelic non-femininists. Non-evangelicals, of course, have made a great deal over maleness and femaleness, and their view is essentially egalitarian, that there is no real difference between us except for the sexual organs. But so far as privileges and calling we are essentially the same. And especially those non-evangelicals who are religious, what that means essentially is we would like to serve in the church just as a male, and therefore we believe that the eldership should be open to the men, and to those church which ordain men for the pastoral office we believe that they should be open to us as well.
You’ve read, of course, a lot about it. But even this week in the Wall Street Journal in a very lengthy article on the first page entitled “The Lord’s Name” the subject comes up again; the image of God as “he” loses its sovereignty in American churches. First Congregational Church in Long Beach, California the Sunday Service starts with “May the God who mothers us all bear us on the breath of dawn and make us to shine like the sun and hold us in the palm of her hand,” intones Mary Ellen Kilsby, the pastor. Unorthodox? Well, all of you would probably say, “Of course.” But actually, this is not unique at all, and many regard this as just an ordinary way of opening a church. The ancient western image of God the Father is coming under assault, and surprisingly even among some who profess a kind of evangelicalism there is very much unclarity in connection with the topic.
As a matter of fact, too, in non-evangelical religious people the doctrine of the Trinity is no longer admired and taught. In fact, the doctrine of the Trinity is thought to be really something non-essential. I wonder if you thought about that, if you really thought about why a Christian must believe in the eternal Trinity. I have the feeling that in many of our evangelical churches if an individual stood behind the pulpit on Sunday morning and gave a message on the divine Trinity, that he would not be listened to very well and surely would not be understood very well.
Why is it necessary that we have a Trinity? Well, one of course, can if you’ve done any thinking about it you would probably realize well, it must be important because don’t my Bible teachers say that that’s what the Bible teaches? Doesn’t it teach that there is a Father, there is a Son, there is a Holy Spirit? So therefore we have a Trinity. But why is that kind of a Trinity necessary rather than one in which God is presented under these terms, Creator, Redeemer, Sustainer. Why could we not on Sunday talk about the divine Trinity as the Creator, the Redeemer, and the Sustainer? Why would that not be just as good as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit? Could you answer that question? Do you realize that the Christian faith really depends upon that? If we do not have a divine Trinity in which we have a Father who is God, a Son who is God, a Holy Spirit who is God then we have no certain knowledge of God at all. Why? Well, because you have never seen the Father have you? As a matter of fact, you couldn’t. You know enough to know the Father doesn’t even have a body. He is a pure Spirit.
You know the same with reference to the Holy Spirit. Now, you might say well didn’t Isaiah say something about God? And didn’t Moses say something about God. But suppose I were to say to you, “How do we know that Moses spoke the truth? How do we know that Isaiah spoke the truth?” You see, if we do not have a visitation from God himself, and incarnation in the case of our Lord, an incarnation in which God himself comes into our midst and legitimizes the Old Testament, Moses, the prophets, and as a matter of fact the apostles in anticipation we’d have not certain knowledge of God. We must have a Son who is God who has come and made known the Father to us in the power of the Holy Spirit. And furthermore, we need a Holy Spirit to interpret the things of the word of God for us that have to do with the Father and the Son.
It’s remarkable how God has been feminized. In fact, I read something this very week about some place where they are recommending that we call God the he/she. I have forgotten whether it was the she/he or the he/she but either on is ridiculous. And I suppose it doesn’t make any difference about how we call him if it’s something like he/she or she/he. As long ago as 1972 Helen Reddy, when she accepted the Grammy award for her 1972 song “I am Strong, I am Invincible, I am Woman” said if you remember, “I’d like to thank God, because she made everything possible.”
There is a traditional reading of the Lord’s Prayer, which you are all familiar with. There is a modified reading that has been used. “Our mother God who is everywhere, holy be your names,” plural, “may your new age come, may your will be done in this and in every time and place. Meet our needs each day and forgive our failure to love as we forgive this same failure in others. Save us in hard times and lead us into the ways of love for yours in the wholeness and the power and the loving forever. Amen.” Isn’t that sweet? [Laughter] Doesn’t that really touch your devotional strains, something like that? I think something like, of course it’s apostate, but it’s blasphemous for a Christian. So this isn’t a very pleasant debate.
In evangelicalism today, feminizing of the New Testament is well along the way, not nearly as far as the non-evangelicals, but well along the way to something that is very, very bad. We have professors of theology at Wheaton College, for example, who is an evangelical feminist and writes very strongly against things that the Scripture states, regardless of their meaning. He is not the only one; there is a whole class of such individuals. And it has permeated our evangelical churches, the feminization of God. How many evangelical churches that you know could be called evangelical churches that have female elders? Now, I’m not going to talk tonight about whether that’s valid or not. You know that I do not think it’s valid. But that’s not the purpose of my talk tonight. What I want to illustrate by that is to show you how feminizing has influenced our churches.
In evangelical churches in this city, in the Highland Park Presbyterian church they have women elders. They have some good women elders, too. One of them, at least, listens to our broadcast every Sunday morning. [Laughter] I don’t know whether she went with the new group or whether she stayed with the old one. Martha’s doing her head like this, she knows her personally. She stayed with the older group. But that will give you an idea regarding the fact that there are many real, true Christians, for she is a true Christian, she listens very intently to what we say and repeats these things. And I’m sure that some people in the church have heard her say some of the things that we have said over the Believers Bible Broadcast as being somewhat near scriptural teaching. But in that church, an evangelical church largely, feminism has made its penetration.
Well evangelical have believed that the Scriptures teach that man and women are equal. They have laid great stress on the fact that the equality of man and woman is not at stake, so far as they are concerned. They have been told by others that it’s impossible to have equality and then to have the office of elder reserved for men. Or to put it another way, headship of the man, and equality of man and women is something that is impossible. Evangelicals have denied that and have forcefully stated that we are equal but that certain roles are reserved for men, by God’s direction and his word in the word of God. And headship in the family and in the church is one of them. Evangelical feminists call evangelical non-feminists’ views domination and servility. Evangelicals who are not feminists, of course, object strongly to the term domination. The Bible does not teach domination. The Bible teaches headship, it teaches loving headship, certain responsibility that is reserved for the men. And it does not teach servility. The kind of submission the Bible teaches is a loving response to the authority that God has given to the man in the family and in the church. Of course, in the final analysis it’s what does the Bible say? And that is what we’re interested in, and perhaps all of us, I’m sure that I have somewhere some ideas that need some cleansing by the word of God. So what we want to do tonight is to look at these three passages and the first one is Genesis 1: 26-28.
As you can see the burden of these verses is the equality of man and woman. Listen to what Moses writes again.
“And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.”
So right in the beginning we’re justified in saying that man has been created in the image of God. Woman has been created in the image of God, or put it in the image of Moses; “male and female” individually have been created in the image of God. So equality, both sexes having the divine image is plainly stated here. What is the purpose in creation? Well, it appears as one reads this passage and a few others that the purpose is man’s glory seen in his personal acting. You’ll notice how we read, “Then God said us make man in our image, after our likeness.” And so a plurality in the Godhead, we know the Bible spells that out later on. Even in the Old Testament I think there’s some indication of plurality, and in one passage particularly some suggestion of a Trinity, but most of us who’ve had to study systematic theology know that it’s generally believed the Old Testament does not state plainly and clearly the doctrine of the Trinity that’s reserved for the New Testament in clarifying or expanding upon what the Old Testament teaches. But nevertheless the plurality of the deity is studied right here, “Then God said, us make man in our image.” So it was the glorification of God through the glorification of man who bears God’s image. And so it’s God’s aim and intent to glorify man and to glorify himself, creating man in his image, in his likeness, and further to have dominion over the whole of the creation.
And so, after describing the creation in the earlier part of this chapter, we come to the end of the chapter and the crown of God’s creating work is the creation of male and female, or man and woman. The details are given in chapter 2, in which we read in verse 7, “And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.” And then in verse 18 through verse 25 he describes the creation of the woman. “And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone.” And then he unfolds the creation paragraph. The accomplishment is indicated when he says in verse 27, “In the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.”
Now, one could see here a kind of whisper, as someone has put it, of headship in the fact that he speaks about creating man. And yet at the same time male and female. We read then, “And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.” So male and female he created them, and he blessed them, and he said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply.” The very fact that he called male and female man, for that was the name of Adam, remember. Man, is the whisper of the headship of Adam and the headship of the man. But it’s not stated plainly. The thing the wants to stress is the equality, man and woman both created in the image of God. No woman should ever feel inferior. She is not inferior, equal in all that constitutes a person.
Now then, the second passage we want to look at is chapter 2, verse 18 through verse 25 and this is the creation of the woman, a remarkable passage. And in verse 18 of chapter 2 we read these words,
“And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help comparable for him. And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof. And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an helper comparable to him.”
Now in ancient time, to have the power to name was considered to have a superior power. And one can see perhaps an illustration of this here. But you’ll notice that after Adam has named the animals, the text says “But for Adam there was not found a helper comparable to him.” Now, after Genesis 1, in which we have stressed the equality, now in Genesis 2 we have the head, and to use the term that is translated in my text helper, the helper, the head and the helper, equality, but not an undifferentiated sameness. That’s very important, because that is one thing that feminists do not like to admit, that there is a real difference, and this difference is stated right there. Equality, but not an undifferentiated sameness, a dual modality of male and female cautions us against the undifferentiated sameness of the sexes. Man is to be man. Woman is to be woman. It’s perversion to not make that distinction.
How do you feel when you see or hear of a transvestite? Well, you feel repulsed, most of you in this auditorium. The minute I said the word I could see the expression on the faces of some of you, that you were disgusted. It’s perverse. It’s contrary to nature. You know, it’s contrary to the word of God. And so, what we have when we confuse the sexes is something that is a perversion and it’s a confusion.
Adam is told to name the animals. We read in verse 18, it’s not good that man should be alone. This is God’s word for Adam, “Adam it’s not good that man should be alone.” The animals have been paraded before Adam and he’s named them. You almost wonder, did Adam note his need? As all these animals were paraded before him, was he anticipating finding something that might be similar to him? Or was he totally oblivious to all of this? When that animal came by that was the broncha therociphicus [ph 29:25] and he gave him that name the broncha therociphicus. You know what that is, don’t you? That’s the dog, probably you haven’t called him that too often, have you? But anyway, that’s what Adam called him. I know because that’s the Latin term, and surely they use Latin in the Garden of Eden don’t you think?
But at any rate, all the animals were brought before him, but Scripture says a helper is not found for Adam. “But for Adam,” as a matter of fact, this is an active voice in the Hebrew text, “But for Adam he had not found a helper comparable to himself.” So there was nothing that was similar to Adam. So God engages in the first surgical operation. And so we read in verse 21, ” And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place. And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.”
Now, you can see that Eve gained life from the body and the blood of the first Adam. God himself, as Father of the bride in symbol, leads the woman to the man. That’s why we have the kind of wedding ceremonies that we have. We have the father who walks down the aisle with his bride on his left arm, and at the proper point in the service he responds by giving his daughter to the groom. And so the father takes the place of God in Scripture. The father represents the Lord God; so God himself, as the Father of the bride, leads Adam to his wife in a moment. You can see from this that marriage is a divinely created institution. It wasn’t thought up by men. It wasn’t something that was done simply because it’s customary. It’s something that has come from God. That’s why we call it holy matrimony. That’s what it ought to be, holy matrimony. And those who engage in marriage should approach it as holy matrimony, acting in the grand tradition of the word of God.
Now, Adam said after Eve had been brought before him, “Why?” Now, you don’t think that the text said that, do you? But I want you to know that in the text there is that kind of surprise. If you’ll look at the text it’s something like, “This at last.” In fact Adam’s not used to having this woman before him yet, because he uses the Hebrew zo’th three times with reference to her, which means this. He can’t bring himself to say “she” yet, because it’s this, this, this. Well, it’s translated she, but it’s really this. “This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: this shall be called Woman, because this was taken out of Man.” You can just sense that he doesn’t know exactly what to say. I think I would be speechless, definitely speechless. So what we have is the fusion of two lives. We have the rib from the body and the blood of Adam, by created and made a woman.
And then we read, “This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” The relationship between iysh, which means man, and ishshah is a little questionable. But it’s obvious that in sound they’re very similar. Iysh, noble man; ishshah feminine, and so he’s an iysh, she’s an ishshah; man, woman. So you can see also that Eve is defined in relation to Adam. He’s man, iysh; she’s ishshah. So she’s defined in relation to Adam, equal yet his helper, to be his helper. I know that it’s a problem for people when they hear the expression equal and yet they have different roles. Christians should never have that problem. I’m amazed, for example, that a man, Professor of Systematic Theology or Theology in one of our Christian institutions, and many not just one, can have difficulty. Why should we have difficulty in seeing the difference between equality and sameness and how we can have equality but not necessarily undifferentiated sameness.
Think of the Christian faith. We have, for example, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. If you read the Bible and read it carefully you will see that within the Trinity the Father leads. The Son submits to the Father. The Spirit submits to both. And yet the three persons of the Trinity are God equally in power, authority, and all that goes to make up deity. And yet there is submission; there is role play in the Trinity. We’ll talk about that later on, because that’s stated in Scripture specifically. So we know if we know much about the Christian faith, that there is such a thing as the economic Trinity. That is, the Trinity in its activities, the Father leading, the Son submitting, the Spirit submitting to both. It’s no problem. They’re equal, but they have different roles to play.
Why is it so difficult to believe that men and women are equal but the role of elder is reserved for men in the word of God? Why is that difficult? It’s not difficult. It’s surely not as difficult as thinking of the Son of God, the eternal second person of the Trinity submitting to the Father; so equal, Eve, yet his helper.
Now, let’s look at our third passage in Genesis 3, verse 16 through verse 19. And here we read, of course you know the story of Genesis 3. It’s the story of the fall. Probably if you were to select important chapters on the Bible and number them, maybe half a dozen of them, Genesis 3 would always be one of the six if you knew anything about the Bible at all. Everything that we have seen in the history of man relates to what happened in the Garden of Eden very definitely. Even the politics in the Presidential election of the year 1992 ultimately is related to this, because we’ve got two sinners who will be running, ultimately, maybe three of them. And they’ll all be sinners. They’re all fallen sons of Adam, every one of them. So why do you believe them? Why do you believe they’re going to be totally honest? You see in the Wall Street Journal or the New York Times this morning, I’ve forgotten which; there was a great debate over whether one of the candidates was an honest man. It was true that he had not been honest a half a dozen times, but still he was an honest man. [Laughter] Obviously that individual didn’t know much about Genesis chapter 3.
Well, the story of the fall, we won’t go over that. You know the story of the fall and you know that when Eve sinned nothing much happened. I guess you noticed that didn’t you? If you have been in Believers Chapel a long time, you’ve heard me say something about that. You’ll notice, “And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit and ate.” Nothing happened, nothing happened; she took of the fruit and ate. Well, maybe something happened within, but so far as Scripture is concerned, nothing happened. “She took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat. And the eyes of them both were opened.” Why? Why does God, for example, say “Adam you will die?” He doesn’t say that Eve. But Eve dies. It’s remarkable. You should sit down and ponder some of these things, and you’ll come to the conclusion that I did too long after I first started studying the Bible, that Bible was the head. He was the head of the human race. That’s why our Lord is called the Last Adam. There was a first Adam who also, for the Last Adam was also a head. What we’re talking about is covenantal headship. Adam stands for the race, and when he falls the race falls. As Paul says in Romans chapter 5, in verse 12; a very important passage, one that I think is one of the six or eight most important verses in the Bible, “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.” All sinned when Adam sinned. All were in Adam. He was our covenantal head.
So now the Lord after the sin interrogates. He comes into the garden, called Adam first of all. “Adam, where are you?” “I heard your voice in the garden and I was afraid because I was naked and I hid myself.” He said, “Who told you you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree which I commanded you not to eat?” Oh, the marvelous courage of Adam. He doesn’t have anybody to fear but the Lord God. So what does he do? “The woman that you gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree and I ate.” Oh the hypocrisy of it also. The Lord said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?” And lovely, femaleness says, “The serpent deceived me and I ate.” That was true, at least. “The serpent deceived me and I ate.” So the Lord God said to the serpent, now you can from this that Satan’s lie that “You shall not surely die if you eat of that tree,” Satan’s lie, someone has said, “It was big enough to reinterpret all of life, and attractive enough to redirect Eve’s loyalty and Adam’s from the Lord God to themselves.” The judgment on the serpent is given in verses 14 and 15, ” Because you hast done this, you art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; on your belly you shall thou go, and you shall eat dust all the days of you life.”
I think the author of “B.C.” is a student of the Bible, as you probably know. Every now and then something comes through that’s scriptural, and that serpent is always there that the fat broad beats on all the time. [Laughter] And he manages to stay alive, the serpent. And God said to the serpent, “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.” How important that is, long war faring is prophesied, “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed.” In other words, there’s going to be propagation of snakes and serpents and propagation of individuals, men and women, and there’s going to be enmity between them. So we have enmity a lengthy period of time. Scripture, of course, will tell us how long it is. But we know a long warfare has come even to the present day.
The term seed is both collective and individual. It’s collective because that’s the norman sense of the term seed. When you go out and say, “I’m going to put some seed on my grass,” you use the singular form, but that’s collective. And so, seed in the Bible is like that. It is collective probably more frequently, but then it may refer to an individual upon occasions. It’s an ideal way to express a lengthy unfolding of progeny, which ultimately will come to its head in an individual. And so the long warfare between the seeds, seen in history in God’s elective purpose in the Bible expounds all of that. But there is an individualizing. If you’ll read it carefully you’ll notice he says, “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed. He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.” So even in the language it speaks of a lengthy unfolding of enmity of collective seed here, finally individualizes itself in the head, the heel, and the you. Now, there are some technical questions that we could talk about in this. But that’s unimportant. Those facts are plain and clear.
There’s a long enmity, but there’s also an individualizing, and what we have is one of, it’s the first Messianic promise. It’s called the Proto-Evangelion, the first preaching of the gospel. And it’s the first preaching of the gospel, because it’s the first promise of a Redeemer to come. Now, the Redeemer to come is the one who will crush the serpent’s head, that means a fatal wound, crush a serpent’s head. Did you ever notice in “B.C.” the fat broad always beats the poor serpent, but the head of the serpent is still alive? I’m not attributing spirituality to the author of, Johnny Hart isn’t it, Johnny Hart? But I thought it was rather interesting. Usually you see the head up with the look of pain and the head’s still there but the body is flattened out, nothing much left. So I may forget about the exposition of the Bible if I’m going to think about B.C. now. “You shall bruise his heel.” To crush the heel is not a mortal wound, and so in the crushing of the head there is an anticipation of the death of our Lord on Calvary’s cross. The crushing of the heel is an anticipation of the fact that it will not be a terminal death, but he will survive in resurrection Saviorhood. So we have crush your head, the serpent will be dealt with finally there. The sentence may not be carried out for a while. He still goes around like a roaring lion, but he’s definitely been sentenced, and it’s just a matter of time until God finishes his purpose program. And Satan will find his ultimate destiny. Our Lord Jesus, on the other hand, is resurrected. He was bruised as to the heel, but it was not a permanent wound.
The judgment on the woman, in verse 16 to the woman he said, “I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception, in pain you shall bring forth children, your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.” Two things the woman would suffer. She would suffer in child birth, and she would suffer in conflict with her husband. There is an interesting passage in the next chapter, the seventh verse, related to this. And I don’t have time to go into the details, the verse is the seventh verse, “If you do well will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door and its desire is for you. But you shall rule over it.” That’s very closely related because of the use of a root to “Your desire shall be to your husband and he shall rule over you.” The misery of competition is part of the woman’s judgment. Men that’s why when we say “Let’s do something,” there’s always, “Wouldn’t it be better to do this?” [Laughter] “Wouldn’t it be better to do it this way?” Look at all the ladies around now. [Laughter] That’s perfectly right; we’re going to encourage that ultimately. But nevertheless that’s why. Because woman suffers in the fall, too, and so he says he’s going to multiply your sorrow in your conception. And in pain you shall bring forth children. Later on, one of the texts we’ll deal with in 1 Timothy has direct reference to this, of course. “Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you,” the misery of competition since she abandoned his headship.
Now, it’s possible to understand this as being domination. I’m going to pass by it, because I say it’s a technical question and it’s not really on the point of what I want to talk about tonight. I want to now, just in our remaining few moments to present a question. I, of course, have presented you this as if in creation God made a difference, equality and yet difference. That is, Adam and Eve are equal. There’s no question about that. My sisters demonstrated that to me early in school. I had one sister, who after my father said I’ll give you five dollars for every all A report that you bring to me, and I want you to know in Charleston all A’s meant about twelve A’s each month. And in my whole career I couldn’t get all A’s but once. And the reason I couldn’t, I came very close, I never could do Palmer method writing very well. But my sister just wrote beautifully. Month after month, and this was back when five dollars was a pretty good reward, I was anxious to get it, rarely got it, I think one time maybe, not more than one. But she would every month get it. I learned very quickly that I wasn’t necessarily smarter than her. As a matter of fact, she was probably smarter than I, at any rate equality.
Now, if it’s true that the Bible presents Adam and Eve as being equal in power, wisdom, and so forth, but he has made a difference in their role; Adam, head; Eve being taken out of his side, made from him. If that is so then is it possible for us to say, well it’s true that women are sinners, but as a result of redemption the judgment that is set forth here is canceled out by what Christ has done on the cross, and therefore the submission to Adam is removed? In other words, does the redemptive power of the cross of Christ deliver women from the necessity of the role of helper, or loving responder to the headship of the husband? That position has been given a great deal of popularity and advertisement by some evangelicals and many non-evangelicals. I would like to respond to it in this way, no, it does not. It is true that when a man or a woman comes to the Lord Jesus Christ as his Savior or her Savior and receives the benefits of the saving work of Jesus Christ then the pain in both cases, is assuaged to that extent, but the relationship is still the same.
I would like for you to turn over to the New Testament, and I’ll just look at one of these passages, because the apostles surely taught this, 1 Corinthians chapter 11, and verse 8 and verse 9. 1 Corinthians chapter 11, verse 8 and verse 9, and Paul is reasoning with reference to praying and prophesying, you’ll remember, and we’ll talk about this passage later on, but here verse 8 and verse 9, “For man,” well let’s go back and read verse 7, “For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man. For the man is not of the woman: but the woman from man. Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man.” In other words, what Paul argues is that the pre-fall order is normative for the post-fall life. That’s very important to note that. Later on, I say, we’ll talk more about that. But I don’t want leave men without judgment placed upon them. So we’ll look at verse 17 through verse 19.
“Then to Adam He said, Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying, You shall not eat of it: Cursed is the ground for your sake; In toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life. Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you, and you shall eat the herb of the field. In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread till you return to the ground, For out of it you were taken; For dust you are, and to dust you shall return.”
And so Adam is told that he will eek out a hard, laborious living from the cursed ground. Now, of course, when a man turns to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, but the ground is still cursed and the work is still hard. Isn’t it men, to make a living. What’s the rationale of Adam’s punishment? It’s not that he ate. Notice it doesn’t say “Because you ate.” Oh, I think he could have said that, but what does he say? You listened to the voice of your wife, you abandoned your headship. You listened to your wife. Now, I say I don’t want to make too big a point of this, I’m sure that God could have said, “You did eat in disobedience,” for he was told that. But the step along the way was to listen to the voice of his wife, abandoning his headship.
Well, should we ever listen to our wives? Why, of course we should. A man is stupid if he doesn’t listen to his wife. She’s a helper, and from my experience, often saved my life by good advice and counsel. The marriage relationship is not domination and servility. The marriage relationship is loving headship, and loving response to authority. The position of authority, that’s what the Bible teaches. You’ll notice that Eve is not so addressed. Adam is told, “You listened to your wife’s voice.” Adam’s disobedience is the pivotal factor in it, for the simple reason, remember, he’s the head, he’s the covenantal head. And Adam alone receives the death sentence. “For out of it you were taken; For dust you are, and to dust you, Adam, shall return.” Why? Why Adam only told that you shall die? Well, the members suffer because of the head. So Adam, you shall die.
Well, let me sum up, because the time is up almost. The picture that the Scripture gives is one of masculine and feminine complementarity. I would like you to remember that term. When the council on Biblical manhood and womanhood, of which I’m a member of the executive committee, that’s the term that we have sought to use, complementarity, masculine and feminine complementarity; a complementarity of loving male headship and loving female disposition to yield to the husband’s authority and an inclination to follow his leadership. Fundamental fallacy in the feminist argumentation, and this pertains to the evangelicals as well as the non-evangelicals, is that subordination, submission, the inclination to follow the leadership of her head is denigration or belittling. That’s fundamental to the feminists. If we are forced to submit, well we shouldn’t be forced to start with, but if we are given in Scripture the command to submit that’s denigration. That’s belittling of women.
Now, just think for a moment, we talked about the Father, the Son, and the Spirit. Paul talks abut that in 1 Corinthians 11, so I won’t bring that up. But “Children obey your parents in the Lord.” Don’t belittle the children. Don’t denigrate the children. Don’t discipline them. That’s another translation. Let them run around like wild people. Well, Scripture says, “Children obey your parents in the Lord.” And elders and church members, church members, elders govern us. We are to be submissive to the church elders. Is that bad? Does that belittle me that I have to answer to the church elders? No, it doesn’t belittle me. It’s God’s order within his church. If the elders don’t do their job well, they’ll suffer. Scripture talks about that. Elders can sin too, but that’s God’s way of going things, equality.
Another thing that the feminists have done is to equate equality with indistinguishability. In other words, we can have equality and difference of role. Equality doesn’t have to be defined in terms of position and role, as 1 Corinthians 11 and Ephesians 6:1 say. There are some evangelicals who call this Satanic to insist on submission and to insist on headship. But Scripture we must follow. Our time is up. Next time we’ll take a look at Galatians 3:28, and then we’ll deal with those other passages also that are problem passages. Let’s bow together in a word of prayer.
[Prayer] Father, we are grateful to Thee for the opportunity to study the word of God together. There are many things, Lord, that we don’t understand about the Scriptures. Some things, however, are very plain to us. Thou hast, through the hands of more than person made it very plain that a kind of biblical complementarity between the sexes and especially the husbands and the wives is set forth in the word of God, and help us Lord to follow the Scripture. For we know that the fulfillment of the woman and the glorification and honoring properly, under God, of human beings rests in obedience to the word of God. Give, Lord, the men who have the responsibility of leadership skills and concern and dedication so that …
[RECORDING ENDS ABRUPTLY]