Death & Life; Names & Vows | Genesis 3.20-21


The man named his wife Eve, because she was the mother of all living. And the Lord God made garments of skins for the man and for his wife, and clothed them.
Genesis 3.20-21

I don’t know why I’ve never noticed this before. Why does Adam only name Eve after they sin? Further, of all the things to do after receiving the curse from God, he does this covenantal, marital act: he gives her a name.

I know this isn’t in this text, nor was it on the mind of the original writer, but it reminds me of the odd line in Revelation where God promises to give each person a new name that only He and they will know.

It seems that in the whole sweep of redemptive history, the Bride of the first Adam received a new name when he brought death, just as the Bride of the second Adam receives a new name when he brings life.

See other Marginalia here. Read more about the series here.

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Male-Only Church Leadership: Blessing or Curse?


michaelangelo-adam-eve-eden-fall

In these discussions on women’s roles in church leadership, a favorite little one-off argument by Egalitarians (and a pretty darn good sound bite) is that the very idea of exclusive male headship is part of the curse laid upon humans in the Genesis Eden story. In Genesis 3, this is what God speaks over the woman as a curse in response to her sin:

“I will greatly increase your pangs in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children, yet your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.”

I’ll be honest with you. I haven’t done the research on the Hebrew or scholarship on those lines to know exactly what these lines really might mean.

Honestly, both sides could use them. Conservatives could say that the curse is that women will desire the authority that God rightfully gave men. Egalitarians would say that man’s “rule” over women is the curse.
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Women & the Church: What’s Adam & Eve got to do with it? [2]


blake-creation-eveYesterday, in our on-going series on women in leadership roles in the church, we began looking at an argument often given by conservative complementarians when presented with the cultural context behind 1 Timothy, some of the most seemingly clear verses in scripture that limit a woman’s role in the church. Oftentimes, egalitarians offer the cultural context to show that these woman-limiting verses are in fact speaking to specific things going on at the time (as I did), rather than some eternal prohibition for all churches at all times.

The conservative response that we began looking at is when they say that the cultural context is all well and fine, but Paul’s foundation for what he says does not appear to be the immediate context at the time, but rather the very structure of creation itself. We looked at those verses to try and argue that this is not at all what Paul is doing in the text.
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Women & the Church: What’s Adam & Eve got to do with it? [1]


durer-bw-adam-eveAs I’ve been looking into these “Women in Ministry” discussions for this on-going series, they usually follow a similar pattern. Conservatives will point to some Bible verses, Egalitarians will point to the context (as I did in our last post), and then, at some point, the conservatives bring up this simple, yet logical and reasoned argument:

Yes, you can point to the cultural context all you want, but at the end of the day, Paul’s reason for what he says, is not the cultural context, but the very structure of pre-sin creation in which God created Adam first. This is something that’s true no matter the context.

Now, I’ve said repeatedly that my egalitarian beliefs come not from desire to move away from the Bible, but my attempts to be all the more obedient to it. And so, I want to take this argument as seriously as possible. I’ll attempt to do that in these posts.

As I started writing up the problems I had with this “creation-order” argument, it became so long, that I had to break it up into two posts. Today, we’ll focus on the particular Timothy passage in question and other related things that Paul writes. Tomorrow we’ll focus on the Genesis story itself to see what it might say to this.
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READ THIS BOOK: “Genesis For Normal People” by Peter Enns & Jared Byas


A theologian whom I respect and a professor with whom I went to seminary have teamed up to offer a really great book on the first book of the Bible. Genesis for Normal People: A Guide to the Most Controversial, Misunderstood, and Abused Book of the Bible is a walk-through of Genesis following its themes and history. They open with these words:

Genesis is an ancient story. This may sound like an obvious or even patronizing way to begin. Of course it’s an ancient story. But once we look at what this means, that short phrase might be the most important thing to remember about Genesis. It will guide the rest of this book, showing us how to approach Genesis and what we should expect from it.

For many, the opening book of the Bible is a little confusing. It reads strangely, it doesn’t “sound” like any other book of the Bible, and, as Christians, we don’t know why we would even want to read it (except maybe for the first few chapters, but even those have a bunch of problems of their own).

Ever wondered what a sane, intelligent, and faithful understanding of Genesis would be in light of the findings of science or history? Ever pondered what the relationship between Adam and Darwin might look like? Have you ever been confused by a random history channel special that cast doubt on some of the stuff in Genesis? Ever tried to read the darn book only to only to ask yourself why you started to in the first place? Do you want to know how it connects to the rest of the Bible? Would you want all this talked about and explained in everyday terms with little prior biblical or theological knowledge needed?

Well, this is the book for you. (If you’re still skeptical, you can read a wonderfully comprehensive review of the book here.)

A quick note for any atheists or skeptics that find themselves reading this: this book is also for you. As a champion of (what I feel are) “not crazy” ways of reading Genesis, I have received a lot of pushback from atheists over the years who try and argue that the only true and faithful ways to read the book are in those (what I feel are) “crazy” ways. They try and say that if you “accommodate” the difficulties in Genesis away, you no longer have the faith you were trying to defend in the first place, and so you might as well abandon the whole enterprise. I challenge you to read this book and walk away feeling the same way.

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As far as obtaining the book, I have good news, and I have bad news:

Good News: it’s only $1.99 (for a limited time, then it will go up to $4.99)

Bad News: at least for now, it’s only available for Kindle E-Readers.

The Good News about the Bad News: you can download free apps on your computer, phone, or tablet to read the book anyway. A recent survey by the Pew Research Center showed that computers were the most popular device to read an ebook on; not a phone, tablet, or even a Kindle. So….you have no excuse.

Weekly Must-Reads {08.11.11} | reasonable Christianity edition (in honor of John Stott)


This week, I wanted to focus on extremely “reasonable” expressions and discussion surrounding Christianity: it’s heroes, it’s application, and how to live it out. This is in honor of a great man we lost recently. A couple of weeks ago, John Stott, a great and fairly unassuming hero of the Church, died. He is very much responsible for the shaping of a Christianity that is both just and intelligent. Even though he did not preach nor speak regularly, and mostly wrote academic books, it is he that laid the theological foundation that has only now finally trickled down to the masses of young and “restless” Christians today–whether we know his name or not. It is the shoulder of this giant of the faith upon which we all now stand. Let us not forget that. I have provided some links to that end.

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John Stott Has Died | Christianity Today

This is Stott’s obituary in Christianity Today. Read up on his life and read some of the homages linked to in this article. He was an amazing man.

Evangelicals Without Blowhards | NYTimes.com Opinion

This is by Bill Kristof, a weekly contributor to the blogs at NYT. He is not a Christian, and yet he devotes this article in honor of John Stott–his work, his influence, and the presence of millions of Evangelicals that are continuing his work today by caring about justice in this world.

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