This is written in response to some dialogue with a fellow Christian who believes that women are created to be subjugated to men. The original teaching is from: biblestudyproject.org
The Author wrote: “The specific fundamental
underlying theological reasons that are given for the necessity of the
subjection of the woman to the man are “
And ..... “Six of the seven passages appear in the context of the subjection of women to men in the local congregation.”
Since the key principal stated here, is that all women are to be in subjection to all men, that is the first point I will address. Stated simply, I do not believe that women were created to be in subjection to men.
Note: it is not clear yet, whether the author is meaning women are only in subjection to men in an assembly of Christians or generally in all Christian activities and relationships (everywhere in everything) in addition to specifically in marriage.
My First Responses.....
A. All humans were created for the pleasure of our Creator. God made us male and female for companionship. Gen. 1:26-27, Gen. 2:18. Ha-adam (the human) means humanity, not a male human. The first human represents all humanity. God names both the man and the woman “human”. Gen. 5:1-2.
B. There is no ‘headship’ in the creation of humanity. Humans were given dominion/guardianship together over the earth and its creatures, not over each other. Gen. 1:28. Together humanity as a whole, including both men and women, is to exercise guardianship type dominion over the care of the earth (beginning with the garden) and over all the creatures of the earth. That is actually the first mandate given to humanity.
C. The claim that 1 Tim. 2:13 is a statement of headship is neither anywhere in 1 Tim. or in Genesis.
D. There is a reason (which can be discussed later) why Paul is making the statement that “For Adam was first formed, then Eve.” but it had nothing to do with any perceived headship or authority of men over women.
E. In 1 Tim. 2 Paul is not discussing male authority over women and God did not mention anything about giving men authority over women in Genesis.
F. There was a reason that God made the genders separately, but it was not about establishing male authority over women. It was about helping the male understand that it was not good to be alone. Gen. 2:18 After the man understood that he was alone and it was not good, then God proceeded to form the woman from the very substance of the man.
a. “I will make him a helper comparable to him”
ezer – fr. azar – help, succour…. Used about 20 times in the OT primarily about God and military aid. It is not a word of a person who is under someone else’s authority, but of one who gives strong aid to another who is in need. The English word ‘helper’ does not do justice to the Hebrew because the English sense is one who is an assistant of another. And that is NOT the case with ezer.
Ex. 18:4 And the other was named Eliezer, for he said, "The God of my father was my help, and delivered me from the sword of Pharaoh.
“Again we see that ezer refers to someone who has the power to help. Then why do some insist that woman’s being an ezer to man means that women should be subordinate to men, and women’s judgment restricted to issues involving child rearing and house keeping. If anything the Biblical evidence supports her full participation in partnership with men, to carry out God’s commandments to humanity. Woman being made not only in God’s image, but also an ezer made in God’s image, is to be a powerful ally and partner for the man.”
b. Kenegdo – comparable, corresponding to, equal to, matching. Kenegdo modifies the strength and power of the word ezer, so that the woman is a help that is not superior but equal to, matching , fit for, meet for, etc. the man.
G. Quote from What Paul Really Said About Women by John Bristow: (pages 58-60 of the hardcover edition)
"In 1 Cor 11:9 , Paul reminded his readers that woman was created because man needs woman. The Authorized (King James) Version misses the force of the words in Greek. It reads simply, 'Neither was the man created for the woman, but woman for the man.' Many modern translations render Paul's words more accurately: 'Neither was the man created for the sake of the woman, but the woman for the sake of the man.' What Paul was unmistakably stating is that men need women. . . Paul was reminding his Jewish readers that before God said said that Eve's desire should be for her husband, Adam already needed Eve. And Paul was reminding his Gentile readers that the Stoic disdain for women is unrealistic and unnatural. . . Paul added in 1 Cor 11: 'Nevertheless, neither woman without man nor man without woman in the Lord.' Each needs the other. Paul was writing this in the context of discussing public worship. His words opposed the pagan practice of excluding women in worship and the synagogue practice of relegating women to a side chamber. . .
H. After the fall sin comes into their relationship. As a result of this sin God curses the serpent (3:14) and the earth upon which he is cursed to crawl (3:17). Adam and Eve’s punishment had already been established: spiritual death. To the man and the woman God explains what life will now be like. Some Christians misinterpret God’s words as prescriptive. But that is not the case, rather God is describing the future.
a. To the woman who acknowledged her error in being deceived, God gives the first promise of rescuing. Between her seed and the seed of the serpent there will be enmity. He also explains that her toil/grief and conception will be increased. There is no explanation why, just the warning that it will happen.
b." And to your husband will be your desire (teshuqua – basically turning towards, desire, longing) and he will rule/dominate (mashal – harsh rule, have dominion) you". This is God speaking to the woman warning her that there will be a negative change in her relationship with her husband. When she turns toward him (perhaps a comparison to her turning away from God and putting a longing that should be for God upon her husband) his response will be to dominate. Some say this is an indication that her longing/desire is bad and others say it is from innocence, and others that it is an inordinate (out of balance) desire for the husband to provide something he cannot. We do not know for certain.
c. Richard Hess, fr. Discovering Biblical Equality pg. 92 ……… “Rather, Genesis 3:16-17 is best understood as a description of the new order of things, of how life will be lived as the result of the Fall, rather than how it should be lived. It is not a command for one sex to rule over the other any more than Genesis 3:17-19 is a command for all Israelite men to be farmers or a prohibition of the use of weed-killer. These are not God's decisions on how things must be, such that violation of them would be sin.”
There is more that can be said on the creation of man and woman, humanity, but I will let that suffice for now.
In closing, here is a quote from a free online article: Man and Woman at Creation: A Critique of Complementarian Interpretation
“In Genesis 1 and 2 we discover God’s perfect, pre-fall intentions for the world and all its creatures, including God’s intentions for human identity and human purpose. When we know what something is (identity) and what it is mean to do (purpose or calling), we have the basis for knowing our proper expectations of, and obligations toward, that ‘something’. Thus, only when we have grasped the created purpose and identity of humanity as male and female are we able to make faithful judgments about the many normative questions facing us today. What do the creation texts reveal? And what light do they shed on whether or not a universal, fixed exclusion of women from (some) leadership reflects God perfect intentions for womanhood?”
I believe that man and woman, as equal partners in humanity, were meant to complement one another in mutuality to achieve common goals; and in marriage to complement one another in their differences so as to live as if they were one.