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.
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.
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.
Yesterday, 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.
As 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.
The Timothy Passage
I found this at the site of Michael Spencer (a.k.a. The Internet Monk). This guy is having an increasing amount of influence and inspiration on my thinking as a Christian in this world. You find him at The Internet Monk. Anyway, I love this piece of art and the poem.
Crayon & pencil drawing by Sr. Grace Remington, OCSO. Copyright 2005, Sisters of the Mississippi Abbey
My mother, my daughter, life-giving Eve,
Do not be ashamed, do not grieve.
The former things have passed away,
Our God has brought us to a New Day.
See, I am with Child,
Through whom all will be reconciled.
O Eve! My sister, my friend,
We will rejoice together
Life without end.
— Sr. Columba Guare copyright© 2005 Sisters of the Mississippi Abbey
This was found by Michael Spencer at Inside Catholic.