Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Curse of Eve

This past Fall, I was fortunate and blessed to take the Theology of Women class at SEBTS in the Baptist Women's Institute under Christina Middleton. I went into the class thinking, "Okay, I am a Christian I know all about submitting to my husband and loving him, blah blah blah." I read Radical Womanhood by Carolyn McCulley and loved the book, I agreed with everything in it and I thought, "This is going to be a breeze." 
However, after I began to read Equal Yet Different: A Brief Study of the Biblical Passages on Gender by Alexander Strauch, I was incensed. I literally had to put the book down and stop reading, I would get so angry at what he wrote. But after hearing Middleton explain in class the same passage Strauch would go over, the Lord opened my eyes. 
I learned through the study of God's Word, Strauch, and Middleton (thank you) that women are created in God's image equally with men, yet created for a unique and beautiful purpose designed by God for women.
From the beginning in Genesis 2 we see that God created woman as a helper for man. God established Adam as the head of all creation, including Eve. Genesis 2 reveals the beautiful picture of God bringing Eve to Adam and presenting Adam with his perfect match and helper. This is something I stress to teenage girls and single women. God has a perfect match for you, just wait for God to bring him to you or you to him.
Unfortunately, Eve with the help of the Deceiver, sins by not only disobeying God's directive to not eat of the tree, but also by trying to usurp Adam's role as head and leader of mankind and creation. In the curse of Eve, God tells her that she will "desire her husband." This is not the physical desire that I always perceived. This "desire" is the woman's urge to take the lead in the husband/wife relationship. God is telling Eve, and the rest of mankind to follow, that women will try to rule over her husband and household.
The curse given to Eve and all her female descendants has been groaned over for centuries. I always thought the worse part was the pain in childbirth, but after having two children and gone through almost ten years of marriage, now that I know what the "desire her husband" part of the curse really means, I can honestly say that is the most difficult part.
It is a constant battle to allow my husband to take the lead, to trust him enough to get everything done and to make the right decisions for our family. It is a daily struggle, but I am working on it with Christ's help. Now that I understand this desire to make the decisions and wear the pants in the family is a sin, and one that I share with all womankind, it is easier for me to recognize when I am trying to take the reigns and for me to let go and let my sweetheart lead.
We see throughout scriptures women continually trying to take the lead in a relationship with their husbands/sons and trying to lead them from God's plan. A few chapters later we see Sarah imploring Abram to take Hagar so that he could bare Sarah children through her servant, trying her idea of completing God's plan, instead of waiting on God and her husband. Lot's daughters, Rebekah, Miriam, and many others in the Old Testament manipulate their husbands/heads so that their needs and wants are met or their ideas are pushed forward.
In the New Testament we see the fulfillment of God's plan in Jesus Christ, who comes to bring Salvation to all mankind. We see Him defend women, widows and children. He helps to take undue burdens from women's shoulders. Jesus' sacrifice is the culmination of Genesis 3:15 “And He will crush your head and you will bruise His heal.” Christ came for all mankind.
Paul continues Christ work through his missionary journeys, taking the Gospel to all the known world. In many of Paul's letters, including Timothy, Ephesians, and Galatians, he issues warnings to female believers so that they can stand out to the world they live in as pure and holy, as the church was to be pure and holy before Christ. Paul states in several letters that women are to be taught the Word and are to be workers in the church. In Titus, Paul outlines traits and characteristics that Christian women should have so that they can teach others to love their families so that the Message would not suffer. 
This correlates with Proverbs 31, where we see a verbal portrait of the godly woman, wife and mother. The character traits listed are still viable today, because the focus is her inner beauty as pointed out by the theme of Proverbs stated in 1:7 “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,” and reiterated in 31:30 “Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting, but a woman who fears the Lord, shall be praised.”
As women of Christ, we need to resist the sinful tendency to rule over our husbands. This is a major factor in many marital problems today. On TV, in movies and in society we see women as the head of the house, making the important decisions about finances. Sadly, in the Church, we see the same wrong model of women leading the families spiritually. This is wrong. Women are not to be the heads of the family or the church, we are to be nurturers and helpers.
If we are constantly berating them for making the wrong decision, not making a decision or just taking over and doing it ourselves, we are not only displeasing God, we are discouraging our husbands and causing strife in our marriages. We need to stand aside and allow our husbands to be the God appointed leaders in our families and churches.
If we follow the biblical model of marriage, women are set free by Christ to serve God, the church, our husbands, families and communities so that the Kingdom can be expanded and the Great Commission carried out. 

1 comment:

Ardentgailla said...

I agree completely with you!

I have also come to understand that desire for the husband is in reality the desire for the husband's role. I have to say that it becomes increasingly difficult for women to trust in their husbands (as God should be leading them) due to the many failures society has to offer.

My parents have always taught me to keep a separate bank account...just in case. I never did during my marriage, but after divorce, and finding myself without food and other necessities, I had wished I listened to them. However, I have always known that husband and wife are one, and hiding money to prepare for a "safe" way out is a no-no. It's also shows a lack of faith in God's provision over all. This is just one of many (and I mean MANY) examples.

Marriage is the closest thing we have to demonstrate the relationship between God and his church. God is the Head, shows unconditional (and sacrificial) love to His bride, and keeps His promises.

The very sins Adam and Eve struggled with in the beginning seem to be hard-wired in the rest of us. Not something we can breed out of ourselves or take a pill for. We (as the bride) have to constantly remember to trust and follow Him as He leads us to everlasting life.

Sometimes, how we approach God translates to how we approach those around us (and vice versa). I think if more people understood God's design for marriage, they would come to understand a few other things about His nature as well.