The Role of Women – Genesis 2:18-22

I am slowly working my way through 9 major passages that I believe are central to the discussion about the role of women in both the church and the home. In my last article, I started off by looking at Genesis 1:26-28 and how the passage lays a kind of groundwork for the discussion.

After careful consideration of this particular Scripture, I believe that one can only conclude that God created both male and female equally, neither one inherently greater than the other in regards to certain leadership roles (or any role for that matter). Of course, the two genders-sexes remain unique and different, each having their own unique role of imaging our Creator. But Genesis 1 sets no precedence for either sex with regards to leadership, headship, authority, etc.

Now, it can easily be recognised that that passage is not as debatable as many others. It lays some important foundational groundwork in the discussion. But the greater disagreement between complementarians and egalitarians can start as one moves into the next chapter of Genesis, and particularly with regards to Genesis 2:18-22, which I quote below:

18 Then the LORD God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” 19 Now out of the ground the LORD God had formed every beast of the field and every bird of the heavens and brought them to the man to see what he would call them. And whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. 20 The man gave names to all livestock and to the birds of the heavens and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper fit for him. 21 So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. 22 And the rib that the LORD God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man.

This passage can usually some to conclude something of this sort: Though men and women are both equally created in God’s image, the male gender is given the greater responsibility of headship and leading.

From this passage, it is obvious that Adam, the male, was created first. Then Eve, the female, was created. Genesis 1:1-2:3 gives an overall summary of the whole creation process, while Genesis 2:4-25 lays out some more specific details, especially in regards to the creation of the woman.

Much understanding of both the complementarian and egalitarian view is wrapped up in the word ‘helper’ found in vs18 and 20 (help meet in the older KJV). Not only that, but because God created woman out of man, by using one of man’s ribs, many times complementarians can deduce that this is a pointer to the subordinate role of woman to man.

But what of this word ‘helper’ in vs18 and 20?

Helper Fit For

In this verse, the full phrase we need to look at is ‘helper fit for’ (ESV), or in other translations, ‘helper suitable for’ (NIV). The word translated as helper is the Hebrew word ‘ezer. Interestingly enough, this word is actually used many times to describe God’s role with us (see Exodus 18:4; Deuteronomy 33:29; Psalm 33:20; 70:5; 115:9-11). And, of course, God is our ‘ezer, our helper! Thus, we should not see the word ‘helper’ as describing a subordinate role here. Millard Erickson summarises this Hebrew term with these words:

‘This would suggest that the helper envisioned in Genesis 2:18 is not inferior to the one helped. Rather the helper is to be thought of as a coworker or enabler.’ (Christian Theology, p546)

The second part of the phrase we are considering contains the words ‘fit for’. In referencing the well-known Hebrew and English Lexicon of the Old Testament, Erickson points out that the phrase ‘fit for’ (neged in Hebrew) would be faithfully translated as either ‘corresponding to’ or ‘equal to’. Thus, the English translation would be: I will make him a helper corresponding to, or equal to, him. Do you see that there is nothing inherent in this phrase to teach who has the lead role amongst the two sexes?

As I stated above, many people will read Genesis 2:18-22 and conclude this: Because woman is man’s ‘helper’, and because she was take ‘out of’ man, being formed from his rib, she is therefore called to a subordinate role to man and cannot take on any leadership-headship role.

But a more faithful understanding of this passage is this: Woman is referred to as a helper corresponding to, or equal to, man. Not only that, but the picture of this specific helper role is strengthened significantly when we realise this word is used quite a few times in describing God’s helper role with us.

Out Of

Next, by reading from the text that woman was taken ‘out of’ man, being formed from his rib, many will see this as a pointer to the subordinate role of women. There could be the assumption that, if woman were to have equal status as man, then God would have formed her out of the dust just as He had formed man out of the dust. Yet, since God formed her after man and out of man, this shows a somewhat inferior status.

But to put such a restrictive conclusion on God’s formation of woman is reading our own presuppositions into the text. In contradistinction to such conclusions, to note that woman had been taken ‘out of’ man is to recognise she, in fact, stands on equal footing with him. Such an action by God was a beautiful statement that man’s equal helper who corresponded to him would come from him. God would grace man with someone of equal standing with him, corresponding to him, since she would be formed from him. This is why Adam could proclaim with excitement and wonder:

This at last is bone of my bones
and flesh of my flesh;
she shall be called Woman,
because she was taken out of Man. (Genesis 2:23)

He was filled with awe at the glorious wisdom of God to make his equal helper out of him. Not only that, but we already saw how both male and female carry the same responsibilities as laid out in Genesis 1:26-28.

Thus, we must conclude that Genesis 2:18-22 does not teach us that women hold a subordinate role to men across general roles or leadership roles. On the contrary, it teaches the exact opposite – men and women, created equally in God’s image, are partners of equal standing.

Naming the Animals

One argument that could arise from complementarians in pointing to the lead role of the male is that Adam alone was given responsibility for naming all the animals (Genesis 2:20). But, what we must note is that woman had not yet been created in the Genesis account. How do you have superiority over another when that person had not yet been created?

As a summary, Genesis 1 has already established that they both had the same mandate to be fruitful, multiply and rule. But, in the more detailed account of Genesis 2, we see that woman had not yet been created when God gave this specific responsibility to man.

Now, we could try and conclude that this means man has a slightly greater responsibility. But this must be proven from the text. And such proof takes a lot of reading into the text. We are not told that, because man got to name the animals, he is thus given a lead responsibility over the woman. It’s not in the text. Matter of fact, after the detailed process of naming the animals, we find these all-important words: But for Adam there was not found a helper fit for him.

Thus, as we saw above, God was about to create an ‘ezer out of man that would be the perfect partner for him in fulfilling the purposes of God. Woman would come out of man, which I said emphasises not her subordination but her equality with her husband. This is the one that would be completely suitable for standing with the man in all he did to fulfil the original responsibility of Genesis 1:26-28. And they did it together.

Therefore, we cannot lean on the argument that Adam’s responsibility of naming the animals was proof of who has leadership or authority over the other. Such a notion fails to be found in the biblical text. We need to let go of that argument.

The Reference in 1 Timothy 2:11-15

The forever debated passage states:

11Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness. 12 I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet. 13 For Adam was formed first, then Eve; 14and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor. 15Yet she will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith and love and holiness, with self-control.

Specifically, we read in vs13 that Adam was formed (or created) first, then Eve. But this does not lay out any precedence for who has the headship role. Does it?

Ah, but one might say, ‘The greater context in 1 Timothy 2, mainly vs11-15 as a whole, shows who has headship and authority, does it not?’

Well, that is the great question to consider. But I believe this passage is greatly misunderstood. Not that I have every single answer, for many a great theologians and scholars have come to similar conclusions but via quite different paths in exegeting the Greek, considering the cultural context, etc. But I believe this passage does not communicate what we think it communicates by simply reading black ink on white paper via our own prescribed lenses. Genesis 1:1 might be a little easier to approach than 1 Timothy 2:11-15.

But, suffice it to say, I will pick up this passage in a few articles down the line to consider in detail what I believe it actually teaches. So be patient with me. For the next article, I shall specifically look at Genesis 3:16.

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37 thoughts on “The Role of Women – Genesis 2:18-22

  1. Excellent treatment of 2:18-22. I was going to mention 3:16 while you were on the topic of Genesis, but I see that you already have that lined up for next time :-).

    Tackling 1Timothy is tricky not only because of the text, but also authorship. Did Paul really write 1Timothy? If yes, does it indeed teach complementarianism? If no, do we still take 1Timothy seriously? And if we do take it seriously despite a non-Pauline authorship, does it teach complementarianism? And if it *does*, does that necessarily mean that *we* must be complementarian?

    Great treatment again of 2:18-22 :-).

  2. “Now, we could try and conclude that this means man has a slightly greater responsibility. But this must be proven from the text. And such proof takes a lot of reading into the text. ”

    You are talking my language. Give me the proof and the facts. Those are the things that matter most!

    Tradition read into the text and presumptions – what a bore.

  3. “Ah, but one might say, ‘The greater context in 1 Timothy 2, mainly vs11-15 as a whole, shows who has headship and authority, does it not?’”

    Where’s “headship” or kephale mentioned? It’s assumed or read into 1 Tim 2.

    Where does it say that man can have the type of authority written about in the passage? There’s only silence.

  4. Hi Scott,

    Perhaps as an interesting off shoot of your discussion, you may consider the following points from a book I came across in my own research called “God is a verb” written by rabbi David a. Cooper;

    The first Adam/Eve is called by Kabbalists Adam ha-Rishon meaning primeval human consciousness. This being was not a human form as we know it. It had stupendous proportions, reaching from heaven to earth; it stood astride earth from one end to the other. (Hagigah 12a.)
    It could see to the far reaches of the universe, for the light at that time was called Ohr Ein Sof, the Limitless Light, a metaphor for pure awareness.
    Adam ha-Rishon did not see with his eyes; it saw with an immeasurable “knowing.” (Zohar I:31b)
    Each and every mortal being is a spark from the original Asam ha-Rishon.
    Adam and Eve were born simultaneously, side-by-side, or back-to-back, attached like Siamese twins. (Zohar I:34b) It says in Genesis, “Male and female It created them.” In biblical language it says that to separate them, God took one of Adam’s “sides”; in Zoharic language, it says, “God sawed Eve off from him.” (Ibid) For those who say Adam and Eve were back to back, this sawing is viewed as the cause of the bumps all humans have along the back of the spine.
    The Midrash Rabbah says, “When the Holy One created Adam ha-Rishon, it was androgynous. God created Adam ha-Rishon double-faced and split him/her so there were two backs, one on this side, and one on the other.”
    Midrash Rabbah, Bereshit 8:1 states; Adam ha-Rishon was androgynous, being both male and female, rather than hermaphroditic.
    Tzela can mean “rib” or “side” as it is used in Exodus 26:20, “For the second side (tzela) of the tabernacle.”

    The idea that Adam and Eve were co-equal at birth is not a Kabbalistic secret; it was openly discussed in ancient midrashic literature. It was known two thousand years ago that that the idea that Eve came from Adam’s rib was a common misunderstanding. The Torah is unambiguous on this point. It repeats a second time, “Male and female It created them.” “and blessed them and called their name Adam on the day they were created.” (Genesis 1:27 and 5:2.)

    In the words of Rabbi Cooper, “Here it is impossible to ignore that the creation of male and female was simultaneous.”

    Mandy
    Hoeilaart

  5. Hi Mandy.

    Thanks for the comment and great meeting you this morning. I have only just now read online a very little bit about the Kabbalist view of things. My concern on the brief reading about it is that it seems a bit heavy Jewish mystic thought. And of course, I am looking to approach things from a Christian mindset that centres all theology ultimately in Jesus and our understanding of God through Him and the New Testament as well.

    So I would desire to quote from the Bible itself. It’s not that we cannot learn from other religious backgrounds and texts and what they stand for. But I am convinced Jesus is the centre for our understanding of God. Sorry I am not more aware of the mystic Jewish thoughts.

  6. Hi Scott,

    It is not necessary to consider the Kabbalist views or go into Jewish mystic thought.

    I reply only for the sake of discussion, not to be controversial. The stories in our Bible were not originally written in English.
    It could then be interesting to consider the original meanings of the words as they were actually written. As much of our Christian history is shared with the Jewish history, a study of their ancient texts can shed light on our own Bible stories which to a large extent were translated from their texts. If there are words, as is the case here, that could’ve been translated otherwise, and indeed were translated otherwise in other parts of our Biblical texts, as this word Tzela was, than it can help us get to the truth of our common human history.
    I just thought that this translation could expand and add an interesting dimension to your study.

  7. Hi Mandy.

    Yes, you are so very right. Getting into the original Hebrew and Greek of the Scripture is very helpful. I try and do it with some study resources I have. We actually recently went through a 4-part series on some of the Hebrew words for praise at Cornerstone. Very insightful. So I do believe that it can be very helpful studying the Bible text in the original language. And it is even interesting to see how other viewpoints and faiths have similar thoughts, as I believe you were doing with the Jewish Kabbalist thoughts. Thanks again for your interaction.

  8. Scott L,

    Sorry I didn’t jump in earlier. But after reading your post and anticipating your discussion of that (in)famous 1 Tim. 2:11-15, I do have a question in reference to Gen. 2:23 in light of 1 Cor. 11:8-10: Paul seems to be concluding that because the woman came from the man she is required to show some (culturally) symbol of authority.

    Verse 10 begins with the Greek dia touto, “for this reason,” making a conclusion from vv. 3-9.

  9. TC –

    We can forgive late-comers. 😉

    I will also deal with 1 Cor 11 after I look at 1 Tim 2, and then specifically on to head coverings near the end of the series. Sorry to make you wait.

    But I might also post up some more thoughts on Gen 2:18-24 (instead of 2:18-22) as I was just reading the text again last night and saw something quite unique to support the equality of male-female. I should put those thoughts up sometime this week.

  10. Pingback: The Role of Women – Genesis 2:18-22 (Part 2) « The Prodigal Thought

  11. Another consideration for the naming of the animals by the man is that in naming the animals, the man would have to view and analyze their traits. This is part of how and why the man found nothing suitable as a companion for himself. Thus we can reasonably consider that the whole purpose of naming the animals was so that the man could learn that being alone was ‘not good’, as God stated. He now understood “not good”.

  12. Hi, Scott! I always appreciate so much a Christian man who is willing to examine these issues in this way; who is not holding onto any advantage that might result to him from the complementarian view.

    With regards to the “one substance” idea (Eve being taken from Adam’s side), I agree that this is a very strong argument for mutualism, not against it. God could have made male and female separate from one another out of two different lumps of dirt. But instead He split one lump, into two. If I take a piece of cookie dough and break off a piece to make two cookies instead of one, there is no way I can say there is any inequality in the substance or nature of the two cookies.

    Scot McKnight (The Blue Parakeet) sees this as a picture that God’s purpose for mankind has always been community and oneness. He made one human and split it into two so that they could come back together as one. The Fall disrupted that unity; man began treating the woman as if she were another of the creatures he was entitled to rule– essentially rendering him alone again. As TL said– not good. 🙂

  13. Pingback: The Role of Women – 1 Timothy 2:8-15 « The Prodigal Thought

  14. Pingback: The Role of Women Revisited, Again | Near Emmaus

  15. I believe that God’s original plan was to create men and women to be equal. He created Eve to Adam, to assist him or oppose him, whatever was required to be a good and strong helper (not a servant helper). However, as we read in Genesis chapter 3, once she ate of the forbidden fruit, sin came into the world and the SIN is why women were made 2nd or subject to the man/husband…Gensis 3:16 says “Unto the woman He said, ‘Multiplying I multiply thy sorrow and they conception, in sorrow dost thou bear children, and toward they husband [is] thy desire, and he doth rule over thee.’ So because she gave into sin and then persuaded Adam to do the same she is no longer equal. Because he ate of the fruit and did not rebuke her or tell her it was wrong, he caused the ground to be cursed and was made to labor hard to eat anything grown from the grown.

    • Cindy, the question then is: In the redeemed community, do Christians counteract this “fallen” state of humanity, and reclaim an egalitarian approach to gender relations?

  16. Cindy –

    Yes. I echo the same sentiment of Aaron. If it is given that Eve’s eating of the fruit brought about the subordination of women to men following ‘the fall’, how now is the new creation community of Christ to live? I believe we are to live in accordance with the age to come of which believers already taste of as new creations in Christ.

  17. Scott,

    The error in your treatment of this issue are the assumptions that you are imposing on the complementarian view. You are doing this by either your intentionally biased or naively biased use of words like you use here, “How do you have superiority over another when that person had not yet been created?”

    Complementarians are not suggesting that men are superior or in authority over women. The key distinction is that of roles and it is clear from Scripture that God holds men responsible and places them in roles of responsibilty. Men and women are clearly equal in value and in spiritual nature and relationship to God. In our relationships in this world however, men are called to lead and are held responsible by God for how they do or do not lead.

    I think your biggest test with your attempt here to deconstruct all of the complementarian arguments by tackling Genesis and Pauline assertions for a complementarian view, will be to answer the question, why didn’t Jesus end this debate and choose ‘equally’ men and women as his apostles?

    You see a typical egalitarian argument for Paul’s writings that clearly feature male headship is that he was simply supporting the prevailing culture and didn’t want to fall on that sword just yet. I hardly think that could said of Jesus. They killed him for being counter-cultural.

    He, the second Adam was victorious where the first Adam failed and he ‘chose’ 12 men to be the founding leaders of His church. I think there is a point being made there. No need to see the word complementarian there just like there is no need to see the word Trinity in Scripture to know that it is both implied and real.

  18. Glenn, the testimony of women was not taken seriously in that culture. Even the 12 disciples didn’t believe the women when they testified that they had seen Jesus alive after the Resurrection! And yet the Scriptures are pretty clear that Jesus deliberately passed over Peter and John, who went early to the tomb with Mary, in order to reveal himself to the women first. I think the message to the 12 was clear: “The world won’t listen to women, which is why I’m sending you. But my church must be different. You must listen to your women, because I’m going to make sure you 12 apostles have to start off by learning that you were wrong when you didn’t listen to them.”

    In other words, there are other explanations as to why Jesus chose 12 males, than that he intended men to always lead. If we followed that reasoning, we’d also have to insist that church leaders be of Jewish descent, because Jesus chose no Gentiles to be among the 12.

  19. Sorry Scott but you have it wrong. The women had not spoken with Jesus but two men, angels and then ran back to the apostles who thought that they were speaking idle tales.

    It was however John who ran to the empty tomb with Peter and the Scriptures say that he saw the empty tomb and the linen clothes and “believed.” Later, Jesus did appear to Mary, but to make the great leap that this was evidence that Jesus was NOW changing the biblical pattern of male headship and leadership is pure speculation.

    “The world won’t listen to women, which is why I’m sending you. But my church must be different. You must listen to your women, because I’m going to make sure you 12 apostles have to start off by learning that you were wrong when you didn’t listen to them.”

    Honestly, Scott, you just can’t do this kind of speculative paraphrasing with Scripture. No, Jesus did not and was not saying that. If he was you would think that later in Matthew 28 when he commissioned his disciples he would have made all of this clear.

    And certainly, he and the Holy Spirit who inspired Paul to write what he wrote would have told him, “hey Paul, don’t forget what Jesus was trying to say by revealing myself to Mary first and not to one of you unbelieving scoundrels that I want my church to be different and not male led. Be sure and not write anything that might confuse the guys into thinking that the qualifications of an elder would be….. see 1 Tim. here!”

    Finally, and once again, if Jesus really wanted what you suggest, he would have chosen both men and women and, if that was part of God’s redemptive plan, they would have listened to the women, then and today. You’re missing the point. It is not an issue of equality with God, it is an issue of roles, headship and submission, all of which are fully evident in the most beautiful way—the Trinity.

    • Glenn, KRWordgazer wrote:

      In other words, there are other explanations as to why Jesus chose 12 males, than that he intended men to always lead. If we followed that reasoning, we’d also have to insist that church leaders be of Jewish descent, because Jesus chose no Gentiles to be among the 12.

      • Hey Aaron, was that a comment, or a question or a request for a comment 😉

        OK – I’ll jump on the latter. What are the ‘other’ explanations ‘other’ than the explanation of the egalitarian viewpoint. Well, we could speculate about all the other 12’s in Scripture, patriarch’s, tribes, men led, and we could certainly fast forward to Revelation where we see that there are a lot of male elders and other males around the throne.

        As for the Jewish heritage of the 12 apostles, Jesus also made it clear that, in fulfillment of prophecy, he first came to preach the kingdom to the lost sheep of Israel, but he then turned to the Gentiles as did his apostles. They of course were quite vocal and clear that when it came to holding to certain Jewishness, circumcision, etc., that nope, this was not the Gospel. So, this ‘insistence’ is not valid.

  20. Glen –

    You said:

    The error in your treatment of this issue are the assumptions that you are imposing on the complementarian view. You are doing this by either your intentionally biased or naively biased use of words like you use here, “How do you have superiority over another when that person had not yet been created?”

    But later you said:

    You see a typical egalitarian argument for Paul’s writings that clearly feature male headship is that he was simply supporting the prevailing culture and didn’t want to fall on that sword just yet.

    Are male headship and authority not synonyms? When I say authority, I don’t mean that compementarians believe women are nothing and that men are their lords. But complementarians would normally point out 1 Tim 2:11 – ‘A woman should learn in quietness and full submission.’ Again, that would be an argument for complementarians that women are to not be in authority but in full submission.

    So, my understanding is that complementarians do believe men are the ones with authority, leadership, headship over women.

    Your question was:

    why didn’t Jesus end this debate and choose ‘equally’ men and women as his apostles?

    I suppose because it was a patriarchal society. Of course Jesus was counter-cultural, as you also suggest. But I do believe Jesus was wise enough to consider what was best for helping establish the church in a patriarchal society. Still, I don’t believe at all that, because Jesus chose 12 men as his apostles, this is a pointer to a command for all time that women cannot lead.

    In your response to KR Wordgazer, you said:

    The women had not spoken with Jesus but two men, angels and then ran back to the apostles who thought that they were speaking idle tales.

    I would encourage you to re-read John ch.20. I can only see it teaching us that Jesus first appeared to Mary Magdelene.

    I also might suggest reading this article in which I list a short summary survey of women used, and used authoritatively and in leadership, within the Scriptural context.

  21. Hey Scott — you asked, “Are male headship and authority not synonyms?” I think that, due in part to our context today, that the word authority carries weight that was not intended. So then, I suggest that no they are not synonymous.

    Male headship is based on order, role and the responsibility that God holds men to lead in the home, church and community. The issue of authority in 1 Tim. that you refer to was specific in context to women having a teaching role over men in the church. He then follows this teaching with an interesting word,

    “For Adam was formed first, then Eve; and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor.”

    Post-fall, post death, resurrection and ascension of Christ, Paul reminds everyone that order, role and headship still apply.

    Let me also make this point here. Your language (and believe me when I say that you are being very gracious and that your tone in rebuttal on this issue is very much appreciated 😉 with words like, ” I don’t mean that compementarians believe women are nothing,” seems to suggest that it is primarily men who are complementarians.

    I lead a growing church plant and I can tell you that the women, mostly young, urban, not all from church backgrounds, are equally if not more complementarian than some of the men. We have churches in our area with 2,000-5,000 attending each Sunday and they are complementarian—men AND women.

    As for Jesus being wise enough to choose men due to the patriarchal nature of the culture in that day, I obviously don’t believe he was concerned about that at all. Let’s remember that of the 12 men he chose all but one were murdered for their faith and leadership of the early church. Jesus knew they would be rejected and murdered just like he was so I think this ‘cultural/patriarchal’ argument doesn’t hold any weight on this issue.

    Finally, I have read John 20 and would suggest that maybe you try reading a harmony of the Gospels. You’ll find a bit of a controversy about the timing of the appearance of Jesus to Mary. Mary went to the tomb with other women and spices and at first did not see Jesus. She came running back and and then went with Peter and John, this time John sees and believes and then Jesus speaks to Mary.

    Regardless, my point still stands. To impose on the Scripture here that the appearance of Jesus to women first is evidence that Jesus was forever changing the creation order, role and headship of men, is quite the stretch.

    In conclusion, and because I know we could go on and on, I doubt that I will convince you that your exegesis and interpretation are the result of a particular lens that you are wearing. Suffice to say that what we should both do is live out to the fullest our convictions on what Scripture is saying on this issue and let the Lord be the arbiter in the end.

    I know that in our context, men have for decades stepped out of the role that God designed them for, in the home and the church. I believe that God designed men to lead and that he holds us responsible for leading in a servant-leadership way, “as Christ loved the church”, and that our abdication of this responsibility has had a negative impact on the home, marriage and families, as well as the church and the community.

  22. Glen –

    Post-fall, post death, resurrection and ascension of Christ, Paul reminds everyone that order, role and headship still apply.

    Can it be shown in Gen 1 and 2 where there the order is that it is male leadership over women? Or are we reading something into 1 Tim 2:13-14 that is not there in the original Gen 1 and 2?

    I’m thinking Paul is addressing something particular in the city/church of Ephesus in 1 Timothy 2, as I show in this article.

    I am very aware that many women are complementarian.

    As for Jesus being wise enough to choose men due to the patriarchal nature of the culture in that day, I obviously don’t believe he was concerned about that at all. Let’s remember that of the 12 men he chose all but one were murdered for their faith and leadership of the early church. Jesus knew they would be rejected and murdered just like he was so I think this ‘cultural/patriarchal’ argument doesn’t hold any weight on this issue.

    Ok, but you didn’t answer my other point, which was this: Still, I don’t believe at all that, because Jesus chose 12 men as his apostles, this is a pointer to a command for all time that women cannot lead. How does this point to male only leadership for all time? It seems you used that as an argument male leadership – Jesus chose 12 men as the first apostles (noting there were a handful or more other apostles at work).

    Finally, I have read John 20 and would suggest that maybe you try reading a harmony of the Gospels. You’ll find a bit of a controversy about the timing of the appearance of Jesus to Mary. Mary went to the tomb with other women and spices and at first did not see Jesus. She came running back and and then went with Peter and John, this time John sees and believes and then Jesus speaks to Mary.

    Read Matt 28:10; Mark 16:10; Luke 24:10 & 22; and John 20:18. I think one gets a clear picture who the first person to see the resurrected Jesus was.

    Regardless, my point still stands. To impose on the Scripture here that the appearance of Jesus to women first is evidence that Jesus was forever changing the creation order, role and headship of men, is quite the stretch.

    I never suggested that Christ’s appearance first to Mary Magdelene was doing such. But you have to establish from Gen 1 and 2 that the ‘creation order’ is male ‘headship’. Where is this in the creation text?

    I agree with and appreciate your 2 concluding paragraphs.

  23. 😉 We need Genesis 1, 2 & 3 to show that plus Genesis 5:1-3 are helpful.

    Gen 1:26, the first hint of God’s character/make-up is made at the same point where the promise to make man is made. It doesn’t say ‘Trinity’ there, but we can certainly see it today. We also know from Scripture a number of key things about the Godhead—3 persons, fully equal but with distinct roles and a clear measure of submission, Father, Son and Holy Spirit—in that order. Now man is created, male and female, fully equal image bearers of God and, although neither the words equality, headship or submission are here, they are hinted at. I am sure you will agree equality is, although the word is not.
    Gen. 1:26, 28 – God puts man over, dominion/rule the birds, fish, all the earth
    Gen. 2:7 – God creates man first and breathes life into him
    Gen 2:16 – God gives the command to the man, no woman yet
    Gen 2:17 – God finds something that is not good, that man be alone and he promises to make a helper fit for him – we won’t go deeply into the hebrew/helper/fit stuff here, but he doesn’t create woman yet
    Gen. 2:18-20 – God gives man the responsibility and right to name the animals. I am sure you know the significance that naming implies but in case it is unclear, it serves two purpose here. One, it affirms man’s dominion/rule and creation order over the animal kingdom and second, it identifies that there is no corresponding being to him. His need for a helper fit for him is realized.
    Gen. 2:21-23 God creates woman ‘out of man’ and brings her to the man and the man ‘names’ her, not God, but the man names her
    Gen 1:24-25 – It is the ‘man’ that leaves his father and mother and holds fast to his wife, and the ‘man’ and ‘his’ wife were naked and not ashamed – man is first in this order
    Gen. 3:1 – the serpent does two things that might be significant – he addresses the woman not the man and he calls into question ‘God’s Word’! These two are tied I would suggest and human history changed because of these two distortions, one of order and headship and the other of questioning God’s Word. Both go on today.
    Gen 3:2 – The woman’s response to the serpent is interesting because she did not hear the command of God directly from God, the man did and yet she knows it but adds to it??
    Gen 3:6 – she eats and gives to her husband who IS WITH HER doing nothing and remaining completely silent and he eats
    Gen 3:9 – the woman was deceived, sinned first, but God goes looking for the man and holds him responsible
    Gen 3:14 – God’s curse on the serpent is to make him the lowest of the low in God’s creation order
    Gen 3:16 – God’s punishment of the woman is increased pain in childbirth AND she will have a continuing desire to step in, rule over and lead her husband. She birthed sin into the world, that’s been painful and she also stepped out of her order/role and chose to take the lead over her husband, although he wimpishly stood by, and so this too will be a part of her punishment
    Gen. 3:17 – God calls the man Adam for the first time and includes a conditional statement on the man that he did not put on the woman, “because you listened to your wife,” he then curses the ground ‘because’ of Adam!
    Gen 3:20 – Adam names his wife Eve
    Gen 3:22-24 – The Word of God only uses the words ‘man’ or ‘him’ or ‘he’ throughout here

    Genesis 5:1-3 are also informative — God chose to name the human race ‘Man’, not Mankind or Humankind, or Woman. Then Adam has a child, a son, his image bearer, a man. Order, order, order from Gen 1-5

    Finally, passages like 1 Cor. 11:3 make sense only if there really is order, headship and submission, “But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife is her husband, and the head of Christ is God.”

  24. Glenn –

    Rather than typing out long comments, I can only ask you to engage with my 15+ articles on the roles of women. I address every ‘normal’ passage that arises in this discussion – Gen 1, Gen 2, Gen 3, 2 Cor 5, Gal 3, 1 Tim 2, 1 Cor 11, Eph 5, etc. I am not even sure how you stumbled upon this particular article to comment on, as it is the fourth in a longer series.

    You can see all my articles my clicking on the Categories drop down menu on the right side of my blog and scrolling down to the topic ‘women’. I deal with all issues pretty detailed in my articles.

  25. Well, I would do that Scott, but I am sure I have heard it all before. I was responding to your request, “But you have to establish from Gen 1 and 2 that the ‘creation order’ is male ‘headship’. Where is this in the creation text?”

    So, that’s what I did. Trinity, equality, words that are not used there, just like headship, order and submission.

  26. Well, not to be arrogant, but I am pretty sure you will interact with stuff you’ve not yet interacted with. Have you ever heard of trajectory theology?

  27. “Well, not to be arrogant, but I am pretty sure you will interact with stuff you’ve not yet interacted with. Have you ever heard of trajectory theology?”

    You’re not arrogant brother. Trajectory yes, I have heard and I have also heard of ‘canon within a canon.’ Gal. 3:28 anyone. I’m older and better read than I sound 😉

  28. Glenn:

    Matt. 28:11 says that after the women saw the angels, as they went to tell the disciples, Jesus Himself met them. Luke 24:4-12 says that the women saw the angels, but the apostles didn’t believe them– but when Peter went and looked, he saw nothing but the linen cloths. John 20:5-18 says that Peter & John came to the tomb and saw nothing– even though John “believed.” But when Mary was alone, she saw first the angels, and then Jesus Himself. Verse 10 makes it clear that Peter and John had “returned to their homes” before Mary saw Jesus. It sure does look deliberate that none of the male apostles saw either the angels or the risen Christ before the women did. Nor does your comment that Jesus knew the male apostles would be rejected and killed for their testimony, hold any water. Obviously there were many who did hear and believe their testimony, starting in Acts 2. It is also a historical fact that the testimony of women was not considered valid in that era.

    With regards to the creation story, you say: “although neither the words equality, headship or submission are here, they are hinted at.” You also talk about how the Trinity is implied in Genesis, and that the Trinity includes a heirarchy, saying the Bible tells us there is “a clear measure of submission, Father, Son and Holy Spirit—in that order.” But when I talk about passages in terms of their implications, you say: “you just can’t do this kind of speculative paraphrasing with Scripture.”

    It doesn’t work for you to privilege your “speculative paraphrasing” while condemning mine.

  29. Glenn, in quoting Genesis 26 and 28, you have conveniently left out verse 27: “So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” And in quoting Genesis 5:1-3, you have left out Genesis 5:2: “He created them male and female, and blessed them and called them ‘Man’ (or ‘mankind’) in the day they were created.” God clearly created “Man” as “male and female.” You seem to assert that females are not “man” — that is, not human. The Hebrew word there means “human.” It has been translated “man” in many older versions because the English word “man” used to mean “humankind.” How can you pick through a passage this way and only quote the part that supports your erroneous conclusion? You’re ignoring the textual data for what it actually says.

    Did it occur to you that possibly God held the man responsible for the sin because the woman was deceived, while the man sinned with full knowledge of what he was doing?

    Many of your other interpretations are based on ideas that the original language was not gender-inclusive, when in fact it was. This includes the gender-inclusive words in 1 Tim. 3:1 “If anyONE desires the position of an overseer. . . ” And “husband of one wife” was actually a gender-inclusive term in Greek that meant “faithful spouse.” 1 Cor. 11:3 is predicated upon an erroneous understanding of the Greek word translated “head” to connote “authority over,” when it did not.

    I know, you’ve heard all this before. Even so have I heard your arguments before. I find them no more persuasive now than I ever have– nor do your “creation order” and “clearly defined roles” actually bear out in Scripture when examined closely– as shown by all the passages Scott lists.

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