Because I never learn to simply shut up and walk away, I think I shall rehash an old debate that is still raging on. First off, I was quite surprised to discover some Christians really do subscribe to curse of Eve theories, Eve as permanently marked inferior, defective, easily deceived, with a desire to control men.
So what do I think about all that? Well I think that is total bunk, heresy even. God didn’t curse either of His children in the garden, He cursed the serpent and He cursed the ground. So even if we are going to insist that there was a curse, Jesus Christ broke it, just as sure as He rent the temple curtain. Eve and her daughters as somehow outside of His salvation and redemption? That’s crazy talk and rather ugly crazy talk, too.
I actually gently wrote letters, attempted to engage with a few people, some even pastors, who were putting forth such ideas, either intentionally or not. I had varying degrees of success. Ha! Mostly failure. When you believe someone is, “inferior, defective, easily deceived, with a desire to control men,” you aren’t exactly going to welcome them with open arms, now are you? Sheesh.
On the bright side, I seem to a have a real knack for walking right down the middle of the road and somehow uniting all the extremists, from both sides…….against me. See, unity really is possible.
So, from the more egalitarian side of the Christian equation, we have some push back against this curse of Eve stuff, and I empathize deeply because there should be push back. It isn’t biblical, it isn’t sound doctrine, and it isn’t kind towards women.
Not that anyone will listen to me anyway, but I want to speak specifically to the egalitarians, those whose complaints tend to revolve around objecting to the statements, “Women are naturally inclined to want to be in control of men and women are easily deceived.”
If you are truly interested in something resembling some version of “equality,” then you have to look at those ideas with some non-gender biased eyes. Aren’t men naturally inclined to want to be in control? Are they not easily deceived? It seems to me as if they often are, those two things being a part of the human condition. So women are also naturally inclined to want to be in control and easily deceived.
Those people, both men and women, who are gracious, able to relinquish control, and dedicated to pursuing truth rather than deception, are generally God nourished, Divinely inspired, and even sanctified perhaps. Our natural state as people is anything but those things.
Of course women are control freaks, and culturally, socially, even biologically, we are actually compelled to influence men. It’s practically our job. Women are naturally inclined to want to be in control of men. How else would centuries of women have been able to get any of their needs met?
I jest a bit here, “control” is a harsh word, so “influence” is a gentler one. To try to influence people, including men, is quite natural, normal, to be expected really. Perhaps even to be celebrated and rejoiced as evidence of having been fearfully and wonderfully made.
As to being easily deceived, well some 80% of advertising is actually targeted towards women. In a marketing sense this is very cost-effective and somewhat mercenary. Not only is it much easier to target women on an emotional level, we can then also influence the men in our lives to purchase even more stuff. Women are a marketing dream. We have the scars to prove it, too.
Sadly too, almost nobody sets out to deliberately get into abusive relationships either, so at some point in that journey we were deceived.
So the statement, “Women are naturally inclined to want to be in control of men and women are easily deceived,” is somewhat true. There is ample evidence of it all around us. It does no good to try to dispute what appears to be true to most people who have the eyes to see it. The problem is not in that statement at all, the problem is that there are some men, some, a small handful, who apparently believe women are to be feared, or evil, women being downright dangerous, and so much more horrible than they themselves are.
I call that a plea bargain. That’s where you try to offer someone else up as the excuse for why you are the way you are. “This woman you gave me…..” Plea bargains are not healthy for anyone and neither is fear.
A while back I wrote about “Susan Foh” with even more links to others who have done far more research into this matter than I have. In the ESV we went from “desire FOR your husband” to “desire CONTRARY TO your husband.” Somewhere in the process we arrived at “women want to control all men.”
Here is something I find rather interesting about all that. By far, the biggest advocates, proponents, teachers of this stuff, happen to be WOMEN. By far. Ironic, but it is often women who are putting forth this misunderstanding, this mistranslation, this deception.
The origins of this issue soon begin to look very much like a comedic Greek tragedy, a woman in 1974, one who is actually arguing against feminism, was deceived in her biblical interpretations, and proceeded to go forth to influence a whole bunch of men, who were quite happy to be deceived by her biblical interpretations, too.
There must be a suitable word for when a woman does exactly what she says women should not be doing, in such a perfect demonstration of why we should not be doing it in the first place.
I would be able to laugh a lot easier if I had not seen this tragedy play out and impact real people’s lives so terribly. Here we are some 40 years later, women still being separated from the church, pulling away from false teaching, feminism attacking everyone, and abuse victims reporting how much they have been harmed by these interpretations and attitudes. That’s a lot of suffering and misery.
I think what astounds me so much is that none of this would have ever gotten so crazy if people had, you know, just read the bible for themselves.