You are hereAll About Eve and Me: Genesis 3:16

All About Eve and Me: Genesis 3:16

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By Virgil - Posted on 03 March 2009

by Julie Bogart

“To the woman he said, "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” (Genesis 3:16). “When the Bible is approached as both an ancient document with original meaning and a living message with contemporary significance, the bridge to a comprehensive and satisfying biblical hermeneutics may have been found. The reader’s
final focus is not upon the original circumstances but upon the text in the contemporary context of reading.” (McKenzie and Haynes 239) Interpretations of particularly well-
known passages of the Bible, like Genesis 3:16, must be grasped on multiple levels in
order for them to break through with relevant meaning for us today. In my reading of
Genesis 3:16, I journeyed through three distinct stages of interpretation that have enabled
me to move from a literalist, ideological interpretation to the quest for finding my own
voice as an interpreter of the Bible. I began with an evangelical, patriarchal interpretation
of the passage, followed by an examination of the text using the historical-critical method
which uncovered the hidden ideology in that literalist interpretation, and most recently,
have become interested in the ways the “curse on Eve” has mirrored my journey as an
interpreter of the Bible in my own right. Autobiographical criticism offered me a vehicle
for critical reflection on the process of interpretation so that I might explore the biblical text confident in my powers of reading without being controlled by those voices to which
I had delegated authority in the past. This process has opened a way for me to continue a
relationship with the Bible that informs and creates meaning in my life.

The critical methodology of autobiography may be meaningful to the task of
interpretation as a way of throwing light on the “complexity and ethics of our
appropriation of [the Bible]” as over and against new insight into the Bible itself
(Anderson 253). It is this bird’s eye view of the interpretive process that has proved so
beneficial to my reflections in this paper. In order to shake the influences of twenty plus
years of biblical literalism, I had to come to terms with my personal and spiritual history
that enabled those interpretations to be meaningful to me. In the Semeia issue devoted to
autobiographical methodology, Jeff Stapley, one of the editors, asserts, “No one
autocritographer’s reading can or should ever represent the only way to read a given text”
(11). I am less attached to a right “for all time” interpretation (even my own) as a result.

One of the compelling reasons to examine the Bible autobiographically is that
produced meaning results in real life choices. For instance, we can argue over whether
the readings offered by evangelicals are faithful to the original intentions of the authors,
but we cannot ignore the meaning-making, life-altering results of their literalist
interpretations. Without a more self-conscious interpretive hermeneutic, evangelicals will
continue to believe that their interpretations of the Bible are from God, and therefore will
order their lives and seek to order the culture accordingly. Stapley reminds us that
“[a]utocritographers must critically reconstruct their own historical circumstances and
those of the interpretive communities to which they belong, as well as those of other
places and times. They must engage in critical self-reflection” (14). In using the autobiographical model to do this kind of work, I evaluated my relationship to
evangelical teachings and found the process liberating. I was able to shed the lingering
power of ideological interpretations while creatively exploring alternatives. The
historical-critical methodology did not result in that same kind of discovery for me. It led
to a death of a particular ideological viewpoint, which was essential to my ability to see
anything new in the text, but it stopped short of awakening my imagination and
relationship to the Bible so that I might interpret it newly, in my own voice.

At the point that the reader experiences a shift in her reading (moving from
devoted, theologically-interested, ideological reading to dispassionate, historical,
scientific criticism), questions emerge, of what good is this text now in my life? Do I have
a relationship to it any more, or am I free to discard it and go on without it?
Many
former literalists have done just that. The wreckage of their faith at the hands of the
historical-critical method has caused them to abandon Christianity all together. They
defend the scientific discrediting of the Bible with the same zeal they once defended the
inspired tradition. There is relief at being freed from the prison of literalist
interpretations, but often there is no alternative vision offered for engaging with the
Bible. Ironically, post-evangelicalism may be the perfect home for autobiographical
criticism since “an exploration of the personal and personal testimonies are part of the
[evangelical] tradition” (11). Stanley Grenz (evangelical theologian and author of Primer
on Postmodernism
) admonishes evangelicals to move beyond modernist tendencies in
biblical interpretation: “Rather than yielding a collection of isolated facts designed to
enhance our knowledge, theology [ought to become] the delineation of a "mosaic" of
interrelated beliefs, the goal of which is wisdom for living as Christians.” Grenz hints at what the autobiographical approach asserts outright—that our theology ought to be more
than the unpacking of right doctrine or the accumulation of biblical facts.

Initially, the dispassionate, scientific method breathes some space between the
vested reader and the dominating Christian community’s interpretation that was handed
down as from God. The historical-critical method is seductive because it unhooks the
“binding” text from its doctrinaire force in an individual’s life. Of all the methodologies I
have used, the historical-critical method has been the most effective tool for disarming
the text. However, as I have reviewed my interpretive journey, I noted a fundamentalist
tendency in myself that wanted to supplant one authority with another. The historical-
critical method can lead to a different kind of allegiance. Without having mastered the
languages myself, without the academic skills necessary to evaluate scholarly claims, I
yield my perspective again to an authority outside of myself. I give up being an
interpreter and the text remains external to my life and imagination. In both cases
(literalist and historical-critical interpretive methodologies) there is a tacit agreement that
the lay interpreter is not adequate to the task of interpretation. The lay reader must defer
to either the voice of God or the academy rather than struggle with the text herself.

The unfortunate fact is that interpretations lead to lived lives so that the
appropriation of someone else’s interpretation causes me to make life choices that don’t
come from within, but rather are created by conforming to external sources of power and
authority. Should I let those authorities define who I am? Or should I take the risk to
become responsible for the interpretive choices I make that shape how I live my life?
Autobiographical criticism allows the interpreter to examine how an authoritarian
interpretation becomes entangled in the individual’s life so that she can then choose to divest it of its usurping power and open the door to alternative interpretations.
Autocritography suggests that we examine more than our doctrine. We must also make
visible our motives, our experiences and our needs so that these become dialog partners
rather than invisible influences on our reading of the Bible.

Using one’s life as the heuristic lens for biblical interpretation is something
anyone can do. It is inherently democratic in that it allows multiple voices to exercise
their relationship to both the biblical text and their personal choices in matters of faith
and practice. Autocritography affirms that a person’s life experiences and level of
education help to create readings that have intrinsic value, even if they are deeply
personal. In this paper, then, I intend to look at my journey through three stages of
interpretation of the passage Genesis 3:16 as influenced by my history as a white, middle-
class, evangelical woman who grew up during the women’s rights era of the 1970s. My
attempt to read Eve in Genesis 3:16 comes out of my desire to account for how someone
of my background would accept a patriarchal interpretation of that passage seemingly out
of step with my autobiographical details. I cycle to the present to show what steps in my
process freed the text from the prison of limited self-awareness and literalist ideology.
Finally, I reconstruct my reading of Eve based on my new set of experiences that open
the text to me. In that process, I discover Eve as a mirror for the experience of wrestling
with how to make interpretive choices as I study the Bible today. My ambition is to show
an autobiographical journey of interpretation that changes with personal and academic
growth as a way to imagine the task of interpretation—not a once for all time definition
of meaning, but a living and breathing exercise that is created by the reader through
taking responsibility both for the meanings I have appropriated into my life in the past as well as my current choices. Eve becomes, for me, an appropriate archetype for that self-
discovery.

Following the third wave of feminism, at least two reactions to Genesis 3:16 function
in my peer group (white educated women in their forties): debunking the text by asserting
one’s female identity while rejecting the traditional interpretation of the passage, versus
the need to retreat from the battle to emerge as a self-determined woman in a man’s
world. My interest in Genesis 3:16 began when I first encountered the Bible after my
conversion to Christianity as a college student. My aunt and my mother were role models
of feminism for me. Each one kept her maiden name when she married and both managed
to raise children while working in fields they found meaningful. They sought egalitarian
marriages where both partners cooperated in decision-making and earning. My mother
came to these attitudes later in life. She had lived the traditional model of marriage for
nineteen years and it failed her. She developed a career in the mid 1970s and became
more assertive in her marriage. My father rewarded her self-affirmation by leaving her
for another woman. When my mother remarried several years later, she entered that
marriage on different terms. She reclaimed her maiden name, continued her career and
kept her own bank account.

My mother’s experience was the most powerful in my life at the time. Because of her,
I saw myself as a competent person first, and secondly as a woman. On the other hand, I
feared that marriage would be a dangerous place to be an assertive woman. When I
converted to Christianity in college, I hoped that by joining a movement of young adults
committed to moral ideals, I might avoid the pain my mother had suffered. An entire
theology of a woman’s role in the Christian evangelical community had been developed and was repeatedly taught until I accepted it—namely that God had instituted an order for
the family with men as the heads of household, and that this order would protect
marriages from failure while bringing about social harmony. Why would a young woman
with wonderful role models of self-sufficient women be drawn to a movement of
Christians who viewed women as “the glory of man” rather than the “glory of God”? (1
Corinthians 11:7 NIV) Evangelicals use the biblical texts ideologically. Michèle Barrett,
in The Postmodern Bible, defines ideology as "a generic term for the processes by which
meaning is produced, challenged, reproduced, transformed" (272). Evangelical women
find a surprising sense of power and meaning in challenging the cultural shift to feminism
by choosing to be on the lower rung of the patriarchal power structure as an act of
personal transformation under their control. My “choice” to be subordinate in my
relationship to men could not have occurred without the feminist revolution. During the
women’s rights movement of the seventies, white middle class women were thrust into
the cold world of male dominance and often were left high and dry by their husbands in
the process. The resulting insecurity of place for women drove many of my peers (the
offspring of these newly liberated women) to a surprising snap-back to pre-feminist
values. The difference for us, however, was that we chose to be subordinate.

Genesis 3:16 was read, therefore, prescriptively for how women (daughters of
Eve who caused the fall) could reclaim their right relationship to man and to God. We did
so through a rejection of feminism and a rigorous submission to a patriarchal model of
faith and life. Evangelical pastors, theologians and women Bible study leaders used New
Testament commentary on Genesis 3:16 to direct the reader how to understand the
passage (1 Corinthians 11: 8-12, 1 Timothy 2:13-15). A vision of a restored order where harmonious relationships reigned sustained this interpretation for women like me. We
had the power through our choice to “be last,” to “self-sacrifice” in order to bring about
the transformation of the family and society.

My first pregnancy, however, provoked me to re-examine the fall passage. The
suggestion that pain was my due in childbirth as a consequence of Eve’s sin did not sit
right with me. I discovered that while men had consistently searched for ways to ease the
toil of working the land to produce food (reversing their particular curse in Genesis 3:15),
centuries of Christians had used Genesis 3:16 to deny women pain relief in childbirth.
One famous case occurred in the late sixteenth century. Eufame MacLayne took an herb
to lessen her labor pains, but when the church fathers found out, they claimed Eufame
had violated Genesis 3:16 and called her use of the herbs sinful. Her twins were forcibly
removed from her and she was chained to a stake and burnt to ashes (Gundry, ch. 5).
Until Queen Victoria used painkillers for her births, the use of pain relief for childbearing
was thought to be an act of defiance against God.

As I used my limited skills to look at the terms in Genesis 3:16, one idea became
clear. The word translated sorrows, pain, toil or labor can be understood to mean
physical pain or increased work (Strong 109). Both the man’s increased “toil” in working
the fields and a woman’s “pain” in childbirth come from the same root word: issabon.
The development of agricultural technology that reduced a man’s toil in the fields was
lauded as progress while generations of Christians resisted similar advances in pain relief
for women giving birth. These sorts of discoveries led me to reconsider the ideological
bent of the literalist interpretation of the Bible. In peeling away the layers of
authoritarianism and biblical inerrancy through the continued use of the historical-critical method, I became disillusioned with evangelical teachings and lost touch with the Bible
as relevant to my life. Was there any more to say about Genesis 3:16, for instance, now
that the literalist interpretation was discredited? Or was it time for me to move on and
leave that passage behind?

Recently, I returned to the text in question and the surrounding narrative. In Genesis
2:21, I noted that Eve is second-made, formed from Adam’s rib. Elizabeth Johnson, in
her seminal work She Who Is, counters that impression saying, “...[T]he Yahwist author
of Genesis 2 constructs the narrative in such a way that the ‘earth creature’ does not
become sexually differentiated until the divine act radically alters ‘adam to create woman
and man together as one flesh” (70). She argues that both the Genesis 1 and Genesis 2
creation accounts show man and woman as acts of simultaneous creation, therefore not
sequential, therefore not indicative of hierarchy. While I appreciate this insight, my
reading of the passage through the lens of autobiography has led me to a different
interpretation, which helps to explain my interpretive journey. Eve’s extraction from man
is hauntingly similar to the experience of white middle class women in my age group as
we faced the ramifications of the third wave of feminism. Eve joins Adam in the garden
after Adam has already lived there, has already made it his home. Eve did not receive a
boundless paradise to explore because she was created in relation to another, in relief
against man. The story suggests that for women, learning to negotiate the world means
navigating previously established rules, relationships and routines while simultaneously
hewing out space for an original self. Likewise, for my peer group of white middle class
women, we are conscious of being second to the playground of work and the academy.
Our choices will continue to be measured against another’s, our achievements compared to the work of men who have gone first. In that sense, we were not free, like Eve, even if
of equal value.

This perspective is born out in the garden pericope, Genesis 2:4b-3:24a. The reader is
not told whether Eve was given the direct command from God to not eat of the tree of
knowledge of good and evil. She misquotes the instructions (Genesis 3:3), which leaves
us wondering if she heard them secondhand and therefore heard them incorrectly. In
either case, it is a disturbing moment for a modern woman reader. Who is responsible for
woman’s actions? Is she accountable to man or to God for her limited knowledge? What
is inherently wrong with her desire for knowledge or wisdom? The story implies that Eve
is meant to interpret her world in the same way Adam is commanded to, yet the story
does not report direct contact between Eve and the divine source. She is at a clear
disadvantage.

Embedded in this story is woman’s deference to those in authority over her—God,
Adam, even the suggestions of the serpent. This is similar to how women read and
experience many male-generated interpretations of the Bible today, as well. We are not
urged to make the connections for ourselves. We intuitively know that we are supposed
to listen to the male voices or the academic voices or the theologically powerful voices
that have come before us, and take them in as definitive, or at least as the important
counterpoint to our own. There is no open playground for us. We interpret the Bible and
our lives in relief against already established authorities. Elizabeth Schussler-Fiorenza
puts it this way: “One of the major tasks of feminist bible study consists in making
conscious the mechanisms and implications of oppressive modes of knowledge
production. Wo/men and other theologically muted persons must learn to demystify the dominant structures of knowledge in order to find our own intellectual voices, exercise
personal choice, and achieve satisfaction in our intellectual work” (34).

The temptation of the serpent, then, comes as a very real voice to me as a woman.
Like Eve, I have had to ask myself: What will I risk for the sake of knowledge I can call
my own? Can I stand my ground before God, before the academic community, before
male theologians of the past and present? Can I carve out space for an original work in
spite of the “Adams” in my life? Women know that if we do not take the risk, we live in
man’s shadow. Yet if we do, we risk death—death to a safe way of living and knowing.
Choosing the evangelical interpretation of Genesis 3:16, then, was a choice to live and
know in safety. To choose to create meaning for one’s self, to risk the knowledge of
“good and evil” means to die to that safety. The garden pericope lands the ill-impact of
Eve’s decision on Eve. We modern women identify with the “damned if I do, damned if I
don’t” position Eve is put in.

Today, in looking at Eve, I saw the “curse” with new eyes. My life’s see-sawing
struggle between self-affirmation through personal responsibility versus my retreat into
the shadows of male leadership was played out in this powerful Genesis narrative.
Perhaps the story created the conditions I found myself in. Past interpretations have
conspired against women, creating and facilitating a culture that leaves them without
voice or place in a man’s world, even in the field of biblical interpretation. Feminist
interpretations rework this passage in order to restore dignity of origin and place to
women today. Yet it is only in recognizing myself in Eve that I was able to find resources
in Genesis 3:16 that freed me from the twin dangers of interpreting this passage: a choice
to submit to men, or a rejection of the passage entirely as out of step with my 21st century life. Instead, I now read the passage as a clarion call. God describes Eve’s predicament
and it is one with which I identify. I have desired the “rule” of a husband—that is, an
authority, interpreter, biblical scholar, priest or doctrine—which will chaperone me
through life. It is risky bringing forth personal insight in biblical studies. But rather than
accept Genesis 3:16 as my fate, I am challenged to “reverse the curse” for my own sake
as well as for the women who will come after me, namely my two daughters.

Eve attempts to dethrone the powerful voices in her life when she chooses to eat the
forbidden fruit to gain knowledge. She suffers for it. God promises that she will give
birth, even while it will be painful to her and warns her that she will want to scurry back
to safety—the rule of her husband. I identify with Eve. In challenging the Adams of my
life, I must choose to face the pain of labor so that I might produce an original work of
interpretation that will express my unique constellation of personal history, education and
spiritual autobiography. I look forward to entering that journey more fully, east of Eden.

Works Cited

Anderson, Janice Capel, and Jeffrey L. Stapley. “Taking it Personally.” Semeia 72 (1995).

ATLA Religion Database. EBSCO. Xavier U, Cincinnati, Ohio. 27 Mar. 2005
=rfh&an=ATLA0001020494>.

Grenz, Stanley. “Engaging our Postmodern Culture: An Interview with Stanley Grenz.”
Interview with Rogier Bos. The Ooze 2 Oct. 2002. 27 Mar. 2005
.

Gundry, Patricia. “Medicine.” Woman Be Free. Suitcase, 1993. N. pag. Biblical Equality
for Women. 27 Mar. 2005
.

Johnson, Elizabeth A. She Who Is. 1992. New York: Crossroad, 2002.

Life Application Bible, New Internaitonal Version. Wheaton: Tyndale, 1991.

McKenzie, Steven L., and Stephen R. Haynes, eds. To Each Its Own Meaning.

Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 1999.

The New Oxford Annotated Bible, Revised Standard Version. 1991. New York: Oxford
University, 1994.

Schussler Fiorenza, Elizabeth. Wisdom Ways. Maryknoll: Orbis, 2001.

Strong, James, LL.D., S.T.D. “Sorrows.” The New Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of
the Bible. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1996. Used for translations.

The Bible and Culture Collective. The Postmodern Bible. New Haven and London: Yale
University, 1995

---------

Julie Bogart currently resides in Cincinnati, OH. She has an MA in theology from Xavier University, is a homeschooling mom and owner of Brave Writer, a company which helps and nurtures homeschooling families with writing arts.

Virgil's picture

Julie, as I mentioned to you today, I find your understanding of the curse absolutely fascinating and refreshing. I always had a hard time with the idea that Genesis 3:16 was a literal curse related to how a woman's body processes pain during childbirth, but you are providing a new perspective which I have never considered before - maybe because I am a man? :)

Also, the story of Eufame MacLayne and the Church's reaction to her actions is very interesting. It shows how we have accepted the fallness paradigm unquestionably, and consequently we have refused to challenge it in the very least.

Could it be that the very nature of the Kingdom of God involves an ongoing process to overturn and undo what went wrong to begin with, a process which we are partners with God in? I would say, Yes. Your article gives us some answers which have been needed for a long time. Thanks!

Barry's picture

Hey Virgil, forgive me for butting in.
Quote:
It shows how we have accepted the fallness paradigm unquestionably, and consequently we have refused to challenge it in the very least.

Could it be that the very nature of the Kingdom of God involves an ongoing process to overturn and undo what went wrong to begin with, a process which we are partners with God in? I would say, Yes. Your article gives us some answers which have been needed for a long time.
end quote.

Could it be that the outworking that is taking place, is not so much a overtuning but a realization that such has been overturned.

We do not make Unity, we realize it.

Just a thought,
Barry

we are all in this together

Virgil's picture

Barry, that is certainly something I would agree with - however we continue to be part of that process as well in my opinion. If I didn't believe that, I'd be under the shade of a palm tree on some island right now without a care for anyone or anything around me :)

Barry's picture

Hey Virgil,
Great thoughts, imho.

Perhaps there is a health balance to the whole matter.
Being content to do what we can without dare I say, having a messiah complex and trying to save the world all over again LOL!

If we see that things are evolving, (and I believe they are) then such would not mean, either that we try to get too far ahead of ourselves or that we sit back and just wait as if we ourselves have not "realized" a thing about God and His love.
A certain simultaneous excitement and peace about the whole thing. God's in charge and still love constrains. Content to participate in our appropriated generation. Excited "in the Lord" to see things continue to develop and expand and evolve, beyond our allotted time. Know that such touches upon our own involvement in our own time. While living in the conscious benefits of kingdom realization.

Just some thoughts mind you :)
Blessings Barry

we are all in this together

JulieUnplugged's picture

Hi Barry.

I'm still figuring out this site's comment function. I think I missed this one. I liked what you said here:
If we see that things are evolving, (and I believe they are) then such would not mean, either that we try to get too far ahead of ourselves or that we sit back and just wait as if we ourselves have not "realized" a thing about God and His love.
To me, the heart of the Gospel is that wisdom to love others (and ourselves) as they (we) are, while simultaneously calling them(us) to similar action on behalf of the less fortunate.

Part of that process requires reflection on self and our personal engagement with the resources of faith... while trusting in the larger concepts that overarch our own experience.

Good comment.

Barry's picture

Hey Julie,

You are a walking dictionary girl! (friendly complement)
I like it :)

Hope you don't mind my reflections on your comments from my own perspectives.
Someone said once, (Me LOL) if you dig deep enough we will all disagree somewhere.

Is it not interesting how we so try to go deep enough? :)

Quote:
To me, the heart of the Gospel is that wisdom to love others (and ourselves) as they (we) are, while simultaneously calling them(us) to similar action on behalf of the less fortunate.
End quote.

Yes indeed.
From my own perspective, this is the realization of the applied result of the fulfilled gospel.
That being that the kingdom of heaven has already come.
Having thus moved us from the transition of the ages when the apostles were living and writing to the point where everything has been made new (and so now evolving which it never did before).
IMHO they were not mistaken that the end was near.
[not sure of your view on this but I did see something in another post of yours that brought up my curiosity]

What I liked so much about your approach is the willingness to look to and explore the heart of the matter as such impacts the reality of our surroundings or environment.

Examples:
Quote: Julie
The unfortunate fact is that interpretations lead to lived lives so that the appropriation of someone else’s interpretation causes me to make life choices that don’t come from within, but rather are created by conforming to external sources of power and authority. Should I let those authorities define who I am? Or should I take the risk to become responsible for the interpretive choices I make that shape how I live my life?
End quote.

Indeed.

Quote: Julie
I discovered that while men had consistently searched for ways to ease the toil of working the land to produce food (reversing their particular curse in Genesis 3:15), centuries of Christians had used Genesis 3:16 to deny women pain relief in childbirth. One famous case occurred in the late sixteenth century. Eufame MacLayne took an herb to lessen her labor pains, but when the church fathers found out, they claimed Eufame had violated Genesis 3:16 and called her use of the herbs sinful. Her twins were forcibly removed from her and she was chained to a stake and burnt to ashes (Gundry, ch. 5).
End quote.

Yes.

Quote: Julie
We intuitively know that we are supposed to listen to the male voices or the academic voices or the theologically powerful voices that have come before us, and take them in as definitive, or at least as the important counterpoint to our own. There is no open playground for us. We interpret the Bible and our lives in relief against already established authorities.
End quote.

I don't listen to established authorities :)

As we both know however rejection is not an answer in and of itself. It can be a beginning, or it can be a dead end.

The answer is love and thus the appeal and direction of love. You said "something" like this didn't you? :)

Really nice to meet you.
Might as well, we are stuck with each other for all eternity. :)

Please keep writing.
Barry

we are all in this together

JulieUnplugged's picture

What a truly wonderful post to read. I have no time tonight to reply, but couldn't help but gush a bit. :) Thanks for your thoughtful interaction with my ideas. This is a gem: As we both know however rejection is not an answer in and of itself. It can be a beginning, or it can be a dead end. Finding a way to integrate what served us once but then no longer suits or serves is what mental and spiritual health is all about. Knowing what to leave behind and what to take with us: discernment.

tom-g's picture

I say, right on Julie.

Unfortunatly......She seems to have overlooked the fly in the ointment. That little thing of the unintended consequences of the equal and opposite reaction of men now going through the same role of autocritography.

The examination of men of the question why they should totally submerge their male self in the desire to build and secure their wives and children's future and well being?

The shiftless, vain, self indulgent life of the male as he invests all of his emotional and economic resources totally upon himself, is now being recognized by men as the ideal life.

Men have always known that they require very little to live a good life, They don't even need a home, an itinerant life, flitting from place to place with no obligations to a wife and family is the unrealized dream of men. And many are now waking up to the fact that it is time for them to ditch all of these pressures and responsibilities and begin again doing only what they want with no one else to worry about. and thanks to Julie's movement they can now get all of the milk they want without buying the cow.

Keep up the good work Julie. It's too late for me, but now there is hope in the future for my great grand sons.

Tom

JulieUnplugged's picture

Tom, so are you saying that mutuality and partnership are not values men have? They need to be coerced into a headship role (stroking their egos) in order to want to share in a life with a wife (nurturing, supportive, reciprocally challenging and stimulating partner) and children?

Somehow that seems to underestimate the needs of men who are members of the same human race as women. I think when we are on shared footing of our common humanity (needs and strengths both offered to the relationship), we free both men and women to become their most authentic selves.

I don't think men and women are that different in that craving to know and be known, to give and receive, to experience love and support, to be appreciated and to admire another's gifts.

tom-g's picture

Thanks Julie,

No, I don't think that is what I was saying. I was saying that there is nothing more useless, vain, self centered and detrimental to social cooperation than an adult man who is not performing his god ordained role as the head of his family as husband and father. I'd like to have a dime for every time I have heard a man say he was tired of always working his butt off all his life and never having anything for himself, he was going to start living for himself. shortly thereafter I would hear of a split or a divorce. Men can pick up and leave with no repercussions or fear of survival in their God created hunter provider role. Women require the security of a fixed residence in their God created and ordained role of reproducing and caring for the survival of the species in their God created and ordained role of multiplying and replenishing the earth. God's punishment in removing Adam from the garden was economic, his punishment for Eve was reproductive. The two are not the same as you have pointed out. But, the difference creates a very different set of freedoms and responsibilities for each with the male having the easiest ability to cut and run with impunity. when either sets in motion a philosophy that they have the individual ability to alter this God ordained system, chaos and evil results. You in your vanity may think you have autocritographically discovered the way to subvert God's ordained plan, but you have not, nor can any man or woman. Just look around at contemporary society and you will see the evidence of that.

I continually remind my wife that in her wedding vows she promised to love, honor and OBEY me. I also remind her that any controversy she has with this is not between her and me, but between her and God. and anytime she would so choose, I would ask God to put me back to sleep and give me back my rib.

Tom

Virgil's picture

"I continually remind my wife that in her wedding vows she promised to love, honor and OBEY me. "

How far does that go? Does she have any opinions on anything or they are all bound to this obedience she promised?

tom-g's picture

Virgil,

I run a very democratic house. I ask my wife's advice on everything, my children also. I take all of their comments into consideration and then proceed along the course as I had already predetermined to take.

The degree that Christ is the head of man is the same degree that man is the head of woman.

Tom

Virgil's picture

It sounds like OBEYING is not really up to her at all uh?

tom-g's picture

Virgil,

Obedience is always an act of voluntary cooperation on the part of the individual or group that is involved in obeying.

That is the fundamental premise of the scriptural story of the relationship of God with his creation. Obedience or voluntary cooperation, permits a oneness of relationship, whether it applies to God and man; husband and wife; parents and children; or citizen and government.

Lack of voluntary cooperation, or disobedience, whether it is isolated and temporary or all encompassing and permanent, always results in the separation of that which requires obedience and the disobedient. Again whether it is God; or husband; or parent; or government.

Thus, I can confidently proclaim that my wife obeys me, this is both a definition and an example of the law of non-contradiction. To claim a oneness between husband and wife when non-voluntary cooperation, or disobedience is present is a contradiction.

I would never affirm that voluntary cooperation, or obedience, is not true of my relationship with my wife also. I have always affirmed the truth of the three laws that apply to a married man:
1) A man who freely and voluntarily admits that his wife is the boss.
2) A man who is afraid to admit that his wife is the boss.
3) A man whose wife has not yet given him permission to admit that she is the boss.

I, obviously, am a member of the first group.
Tom

JulieUnplugged's picture

:) I think you might want to count your ribs. He (sic) did give it back.

tom-g's picture

Thanks Julie,

Nope! No changes. She's still happy.

BTW, I grew up in Cinci. I left to cleave unto my wife. God certainly knew what he was talking about on that issue. Had I removed her from the security and love of her family and friends and brought her to my home, I don't know if our 50+ years of marriage would have survived. She would have been in a completely strange environment without the security and support of her loved ones, while I would have had all of my family and many bosom buddies with places to go and things to do and people (female?) to see. Bad situation, as God realized when he set down the correct pattern we are to follow. God wanted to make it clear that men were to cut Mama's apron strings if a marriage is to survive. How many times have you seen the disastrous results of violating that command?

Tom

Jamie's picture

May I point out that the command is more for the woman to OBEY her husband than for the husband to actually enforce it? I think thats what it is more about. God commands us women to let our husbands lead and for us to be supportive but I don't think he commands the husband to force us or whip us into shape. It says something about our hearts as women wanting to obey God by obeying our husbands (as both are our protectors)

I try my best to obey my husband, support him and stand aside so he can properly 'lead' me and our household. By doing this, I am obeying God. I am not even sure if this is very relevant to this conversation and I am no expert but this came into my mind when I read your post.

JulieUnplugged's picture

Hi Jamie.

So much hinges on your theological outlook (from what is it derived)? Most of us carry an uncritical, unreflective theology handed down to us from our pastors, the writers of books and websites, Bible studies for women and so on. We accept what we are taught and do our best to honor it.

Theology is the intersection of Scripture, Tradition, Experience and Reason. These each play a role in how we see our relationship to God and the Bible - how we create a theological and spiritual worldview. The invisible partners in shaping our theology come from education, culture, language, economics, gender, social location and more (these could be put in the category of experience too, but I tend to think of experience as being related more to "personal, direct" experience that challenges or reinforces assumptions).

So when you talk about obeying your husband, that comes out of a set of beliefs you've cultivated in the world you're in and it matches your current understanding of faith, the Bible, and your identity. I relate a lot to that.

This article tells the story of how I journeyed through changes in my relationship to the Gen 3:16 passage. It's not a template but a testimony. :)

Jamie's picture

Hi Julie,
I don't know if what I said makes much sense but that came to my mind when Tomg said what he did about him reminding his wife to obey him. It just sounded to me like someone trying to force it out of their wife. And I think I posted it in the wrong place. But maybe I misunderstood him. But thats what came to my mind. Its about me obeying because I am listening to God, not because my husband says I have to.

amie's picture

I read the conversation concerning obedience and have some thoughts if you will.

Firstly, where is anyone getting the idea that wives were ever to be "obedient"? Any silence or submission was related to the law, ie:

1Co 14:34 Let your women be silent in the assemblies, for it is not allowed to them to speak, but to be in subjection, as also the Law says.

The things under the law were types which pointed to realities. The roles that women had under the law were played out during the transition in that they were modeling "bride behavior" for the church who was the bride in reality:

2Co 11:2 For I am jealous over you with a jealousy of God. For I have promised you to one Man, to present you a pure virgin to Christ.

Even concerning so called "submission", Paul reveals a mystery explaining that reality:

Eph 5:32 The mystery is great, but I speak as to Christ and as to the assembly.

Holding fast to the shadow is the equivalent of sacrificing animals as sin offerings. Practicing that not a sin, as the law itself was not a sin:

Col 2:16 Then do not let anyone judge you in eating, or in drinking, or in part of a feast, or of a new moon, or of sabbaths,

If it works for a couple, that is great. I think that the "voluntary cooperation" that even Tom acknowledges was not an option when it was law. It was "do or die" period. I am thankful for choice and liberty.

Even the women who had been actually bound by law were able to take advantage of their God provided grace and prophesied and lead as apostles during the transition. From one of my articles:

In Paul's letter to the Romans, Chapter 16 verse 1, Phoebe is commended as a "Diakonos", commonly translated "servant" in this scripture. When referring to men, it is typically translated "Minister" or "Deacon" (you can find examples of such in Ephesians 6:21 and 1 Timothy 3:12).

He goes on to greet Prisca, Junia, Julia, and Nereus' sister, who worked and traveled as missionaries in pairs with their husbands or brothers. He tells us that Prisca and her husband risked their lives to save his. He praises Junia as a prominent apostle, who had been imprisoned for her labor. Mary and Persis are commended for their hard work.

In many translations, Junia is given a male name because she is called "Apostle". Common names in place of "Junia" are "Julius" and "Junias".

Of the approximate 29 of the co-workers in spreading the Gospel singled out and specifically greeted by Paul in Romans 16, 10 were women.

Since there is nothing wrong with practicing those roles in this age, the only reason that I am interested in bringing this out into the open is to inform people who feel that there is no choice - that they are not pleasing God or that God would not approve if they chose to live otherwise.

Also - The whole "woman desiring her husband to rule over her" thing was the result of her consumption of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. It was a problem, beginning in the garden, and long since solved.

As for the "head" thing, that has to do with source like a river's head. It would be seeing through the lens of good and evil which would create the perception that being born first somehow made you authoritative or more favored by God. In the Kingdom however, first would be last.

Amie

When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at, change.

[url=www.bugsinheaven.com]www.bugsinheaven.com[/url]

Jhedges's picture

Hezekiah 4:8 And women shall always be in submission to men, as it shall be forever.

Im still #1 sw fan

: )

Grow's picture

Wow.

Usually I turn off the "I am woman, hear me complain about suffering" speech pretty early. I gave this the benefit of the doubt, expecting some sort of love-oriented point to pop up. I expected better of the preterist community (certain comments, though, have proven the sillyness of that assumption). But, instead, it became a claim of pride and a demand for attention.

"In challenging the Adams of my life, I must choose to face the pain of labor so that I might produce an original work of interpretation that will express my unique constellation of personal history, education and spiritual autobiography. I look forward to entering that journey more fully, east of Eden."

Seriously? You feel the need to CREATE your own whatever in life? You feel so prideful that you declare that you'd prefer to be outside the Garden? Jesus' sacrifice was to bring us back in to the Garden. Paul continually tells us ALL to submit to earthly authorities, in order to maintain peace, through which we can better demonstrate God's love through our lives. Even the slaves he calls to obey masters: are you comparing your lot in life to that, claiming worse conditions, in fact, because some men you may have encountered might not care what you think or believe? No one, male or female, is called to "create something original". Where's your humility?

As for the overly-exhausted "damned if you do..." complaint; that's merely an excuse to give reason for caving to peer pressure. Is your goal in life to have everyone approve, or to love everyone? Maybe you should look deeper in to why you need others to recognize you for your personal achievements. I certainly am grateful of the apostles' unwillingness to give in saying, "Well, I'm damned if I do, so I might as well take the path of least resistance."

And, by the way, Solomon already pointed out, there's nothing new under the sun. So don't go wasting too much time on the "original creations" you seem to believe THE MAN has been keeping you from.

I really thought about whether to post this reaction or not. My first thought after re-reading it was that I should delete it and go on. Thus, avoiding the hypocrisy I may be exhibiting be posting this. But I really think this is an issue that needs debating via Scripture, not per emotional attitudes based on everyone wanting to feel equal. We all have a part that matters, yet we are not all the same, therefore not all equal. It's time to stop blaming others and get on with it.

Barry's picture

I'm trying to find a point that you are not actually wrong on from a full preterist view, but I'm having difficulty.

Ecc 1:9 The thing that hath been, it [is that] which shall be; and that which is done [is] that which shall be done: and [there is] no new [thing] under the sun.
Ecc 1:10 Is there [any] thing whereof it may be said, See, this [is] new? it hath been already of old time, which was before us.

Mat 12:42 The queen of the south shall rise up in the judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: for she came from the uttermost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and, behold, a greater than Solomon [is] here.

Rev 21:5 And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.

Blessings Barry

we are all in this together

Grow's picture

Very well, ONE new thing happenned since Solomon's statement. That doesn't really discount my point, but actually helps it, as the ONLY new thing mentioned in all Scripture had to come about through Jesus. In fact, one could argue the ONLY new thing EVER required all of Scripture to even understand it. AND even with that Scripture, we still have difficulty understanding it. I don't see how this allows for personal human creation. I only see how this inhibits such a view.

Also, you didn't mention the other points I was wrong on.

Paige's picture

Grow,

Could you explain how "all" things being made new boils down to just "one" thing being made new? Scratching my head a bit over that...

Paige

Grow's picture

The all in this context is a reference to "how things work" spiritually. The change was the connection between God and people. That change had to do with God's love being made present in people, therefore changing everything else through that ONE action. A single change that altered spiritual reality. Even if you argue that "all" references anythign we do now, you'd still never be able to show that "leaving Eden" would be a way of making something new. Leraving Eden meant leaving God's presence. Staying in God's presence means everything one does would be via God. Thus we cannot, no matter how you look at it, make anything new OURSELVES, which is the state of being indicated by "leaving Eden".

Barry's picture

Grow
The following are my personal sentiments and my own personal opinions.

I love you without condition. But I must say, you are not imho doing yourself any favors by going on an a attack spree.

In both style and substance your post was harsh, judgmental.

Your post was not just a "disagreement". It amounts to an attempt to suppress biblical discussion from alternative points of view. That being alternative from your own perspective, apparently.

Quotes: Grow,
""I am woman, hear me complain about suffering""
"instead, it became a claim of pride and a demand for attention"
"You feel so prideful that you declare that you'd prefer to be outside the Garden?"
"Maybe you should look deeper in to why you need others to recognize you for your personal achievements"
End quotes.

Your behavior is "bullish" in characteristic.
The level of intelligent discussion is near none existent and the level of personal attach is quite overwhelming.

Theologically speaking:

Quotes and responses:

"I expected better of the preterist community"
Really?! It's good you let us know!

"Jesus' sacrifice was to bring us back in to the Garden"
Not to the Garden of Eden. And from what I could see the subject was the Garden of Eden.

Christ is the last Adam.
No serpent.
No tree of knowledge of good and evil.
And many other points that could be made.
Apparently you are having some difficulty with the fact that everything has been made new.

"Paul continually tells us ALL to submit to earthly authorities, in order to maintain peace, through which we can better demonstrate God's love through our lives"

Yes and no. It's not that simple actually IMO anyway.
Christ put down all authority, in AD 70. That is why over the last 1900 years we have evolved and still are in the direction of democracy (and many other attached areas). Where "heads of state" are the SERVANTS of the people.

"Even the slaves he calls to obey masters"
Tell that to "Laxmi".

http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/specials/1357_slavery_today/page4.shtml

I don't find your points here as connecting very well to what the original article actually says for our day and time. It's more like what you want to read into it as opposed to what it really says.
And it's more like you are defending the status quo as you see it, instead of genuine discussion and disagreement.

"Very well, ONE new thing happened since Solomon's statement. That doesn't really discount my point, but actually helps it, as the ONLY new thing mentioned in all Scripture had to come about through Jesus."

Mat 12:42 The queen of the south shall rise up in the judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: for she came from the uttermost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and, behold, a greater than Solomon [is] here.

Greater than Solomon, and thus greater wisdom. This wisdom is what in part is inferred in that everything is made new. The kingship of Solomon ("666") is replace in fulfillment with the kingship of the "king of kings".

Thus bring the wisdom of that world, that age to nothing. (1 Cor. 1:18-29). Notice that that text has both covenantal and universal implications.

Barry

we are all in this together

Virgil's picture

That has to be one most poorly-written comments and responses I have seen here in a long time.

Grow's picture

If they were written better, per your preference, would they then warrent attention? Maybe the style matters more than the substance, then?

JulieUnplugged's picture

You said: "It's time to stop blaming others and get on with it."

Though it appears to you that I'm blaming "the man," in truth, I feel exactly as you say here. I'm way past blame and right into the joyful realization of liberation through Christ. "It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore stand firm, and do not be subject again to the yoke of slavery." (Gal 5:1)

Feels great.

Grow's picture

I apologize if I came accross like I was attacking you. In retrospect, I shouldn't've posted my response. I hold to the views I mentioned, but not to the attitude with which I presented them. And I did not mean to attack you personally, but rather the position. I'm glad it looks like you found no offense to take.

I am confused how you can agree with me, yet also claim that which I was railing against. Seems to me that saying Eve didn't understand the rules (or that she was opressed by God aparently, as she didn't have a say in the rule's establishment), or women get negative responses no matter whether they're trying to get in to the "man's world", or staying safe in "their own", are both ways of "blaming the man" for the problems women have in life. If you truly believe, as I do, that our personal freedom to choose to love, brought to us via Jesus, and therefore nothing else in the "freedom" department technically should matter, then there doesn't seem to be any need to bring up anything about Eve, let alone to seemingly blame her actions on misunderstandings, or oppression by the "men" in her life.

Also, do you believe people can "create"? How much faith did Jesus say that'd take? A mustard seed's worth? Who did he think had that faith? I thought it wasn't any one. Seems to me that no man can keep a woman from creating, but her own faith would be the preventer.

JulieUnplugged's picture

I honestly don't follow your line of reasoning. It sounds like you are presenting part of a larger theological construct so that may be why we're missing. I think we all have the capacity to create, I see freedom as the aim of the trajectory of the biblical narrative (liberation of oppression) and that it is up to us to identify the sources of oppression, to speak to them and to creatively seek liberation from them.

All of us live under systems that limit us. Identifying what those are allows people to act (rather than unconsciously react). It matters that we be about the shaping of history (as Bonoheffer says) rather than merely riding through it.

So that's a bit more of where I'm coming from. I realize that if you are male, perhaps you feel personally attacked. I don't mean that either! In the western world, male voices have dominated both the writing of Scripture and theological reflection. It's a recent phenomenon (on the time line) to give women a chance to bring their perspective to the table. I find that an exciting development.

Grow's picture

I'm not all that great at articulating ideas in written form. I'm actually not all that great at articulating in any form. I tend to jump past conclusions I've already made, without explaining them.

Here's my thought on the Biblical narrative. The entirety of the whole thing is about gaining freedom, in this we agree, but not freedom from man, but from "the wages of sin". We are free to love and be loved by God. That's the whole of it. The material ramifications are left to us. The freedom we have is from spiritual death, not systems of control. I'm all against any systems of control, from governments to churches to social rules, but I cannot find anywhere in the Bible where God granted freedom from these things. At least not in the way you speak. Rather, we ARE free of those things when we realize they truly do not matter. When we see personal achievement as prideful, and turn to a life oriented toward loving others as God loves us all, THEN we become free from all bondage. Paul told slaves to stay slaves, not bring political upheaval by speaking or acting out, but by showing a love toward their masters that their masters should never expect. This is the mystery that is the New. I'm no advocate of slavery, nor do I feel women "have a place", but I can't find where Scripture tells us to overthrow those aspects of society if it means causing conflict and adversity. Paul said to avoid adversity at all costs. I am indeed male, which, like everything else about everyone else, alters my view. The main way it does in this case, is that I've heard all through my schooling, and continuously through the media, that, as a white male, I am the cause for all social injustice. The very term "minority" simply mean "not white male", thereby forces segregation and adversity. The attitude of the "affirmative action" crowd has made me very callous to any claims by any "minorities" about any social issues. This is an issue I know I have, and am working on; but it's quite hard, as the slanting screaming about injustice permeates everything, making it hard to see the truth of most issues. I do offer, though, that women in America tend to be blind (seemingly intentionally sometimes) to WHY things are as they are. For example, the reason men "run things" is based on a time with less technology and health understanding, which meant men were better at the physical labor required for the family to eat, and women, who actually had the babies, stayed at home with them, because they ACTUALLY HAD THE BABIES. (Sorry I went off on a tangent there.)

I still don't get the thing about Eve, though. I understand where you're coming from on freedom. You apply freedom to material world in addition to the spiritual, but I just don't get the implication that Eve is better off outside the "man's world" of the Garden.

As for shaping history, rather than riding through it: seems to me that the desire to shape history is a personal desire, since the Scripture shows us that God's in control. And, if you'd like to offer that God's control over history is carried out THROUGH people (which I believe), then maybe it shouldn't matter which gender has the most members in the "history shaping" category?

Another thing. We can do as much, if not more, good personally, with the people we directly encounter, than we can ever do for people down the line, who will consider us history.

JulieUnplugged's picture

Again, we may have some common ground, but articulate it differently. How do you see sin? Is it personal sin (as in, I lied, therefore I sinned) or is it systemic sin (Egyptians enslave Hebrews) or is it community sin (Corinthians permitting sexual promiscuity without community accountability)?

Sin manifests in many ways. If Jesus liberates us "from sin," it is more than "my sins." What if my race or gender or nation is a part of a sinful act? For instance, when southern whites wanted to preserve the right to enslave, northern whites had to make a choice (to sin by ignoring this injustice) or to stand with righteousness and oppose slavery. The Exodus was the chief narrative used by the African Christian slaves to validate their self-emancipation.

What you say about men is true - for a long period of history, men bore the chief responsibility for providing for their wives and children. Yet in that time, not only did they provide, they also subjugated them (education was not available to women apart from nobility for most of western history). Laws were made to protect women as property owned by men. In America, women didn't have the right to participate in the vote until the 1920s.

Paul's admonition to sit tight and not upset the status quo is rooted in his firm belief that the end was nigh. He didn't think we had long to wait! But clearly that has not been the case, and his larger pronouncement (there is no Greek or Jew, slave or free, male or female) is far more relevant today.

Of course it matters who is shaping history. :) Men, women... nature! The question is how do we interact with those movements? Is religion meant to be a comfort or a challenge? What is the role of the prophetic church?

These are a few of the ideas I think about when I read the Bible and that were prompted by your reply. What do you make of it?

amie's picture

Julie,

"Eve’s extraction from man is hauntingly similar to the experience of white middle class women in my age group as we faced the ramifications of the third wave of feminism. Eve joins Adam in the garden after Adam has already lived there, has already made it his home."

Maleness is assigned to any undetermined pronoun in Hebrew ("he", "him", "his") and is not supportive of a determining factor for the sex of any individual or thing. Context determines that, and when context is unclear, they default to male pronouns. A "cloud" therefore, would be assigned a male pronoun.

The parenthesis are mine so that you might see the original words and meanings used in the text.

Gen 2:21 And Jehovah God caused a deep sleep to fall on the man (adam = humanity), and he slept. And He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh underneath.
Gen 2:22 And Jehovah God formed the rib which He had taken from the man (adam = humanity) into a woman (iysha = woman), and brought her to the man (adam = humanity).
Gen 2:23 And the man (adam = humanity) said, This now at last is bone from my bones, and flesh from my flesh. For this shall be called Woman (iysha = woman), because this has been taken out of man (iysh = man).
Gen 2:24 Therefore, a man (iysh = man) shall leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave to his wife (iysha = woman) and they shall become one flesh.
Gen 2:25 And they were both naked, the man (adam = humanity) and his wife (iysha = woman), and they were not ashamed.

The woman isn't even called "Eve" until she is named here:

Gen 3:20 And the man (adam =humanity) called the name of his wife (iysha = woman), Eve (chavah = conceiver); because she became the mother of all living.

So, how was woman "of man" as Paul has it? Who was this "adam" that was born before Eve? Genesis 1:27 and 5:2 has "adam" as both male and female. I wouldn't see that as a literal hermaphrodite, but as a group of people consisting of both men and women. I know that considering these things is somewhat of a side issue, I just think that they're worth considering because the story itself could be misunderstood.

Grow's post, to me, sounded as if he were feeling very defensive though he may have been lacking the ability to articulate just why that is. My heart goes out.

"Our choices will continue to be measured against another’s, our achievements compared to the work of men who have gone first. In that sense, we were not free, like Eve, even if of equal value. "

This is not my experience, though I'm a couple of years your junior. Many women have succeeded in the work place and created new standards in so doing. The precedence of male success in no way hinders our ability to succeed.

"Embedded in this story is woman’s deference to those in authority over her—God, Adam, even the suggestions of the serpent. "

I have a mind of my own and am responsible for my own choices. Eve is not less. She did not defer to the authority of the serpent or to her husband at first. She made up her own mind, though she was "beguiled" (fooled) and believed the lie that she was told. The man didn't tell her to eat up, the man didn't tell her that not eating that fruit was his rule and law - he conveyed instructions from God.

"This is similar to how women read and experience many male-generated interpretations of the Bible today, as well. We are not urged to make the connections for ourselves."

Why should we be urged? Since when are our choices the responsibility of anyone besides us?

"We intuitively know that we are supposed to listen to the male voices or the academic voices or the theologically powerful voices that have come before us, and take them in as definitive, or at least as the important counterpoint to our own. There is no open playground for us. We interpret the Bible and our lives in relief against already established authorities. Elizabeth Schussler-Fiorenza puts it this way: “One of the major tasks of feminist bible study consists in making conscious the mechanisms and implications of oppressive modes of knowledge production. Wo/men and other theologically muted persons must learn to demystify the dominant structures of knowledge in order to find our own intellectual voices, exercise personal choice, and achieve satisfaction in our intellectual work” (34). "

To view one's self as oppressed is to live as an oppressed person. Are you familiar with how it is that people who have experienced abuse of any sort move psychologically from "victim" to "survivor"? We are only muted if we continue to close our mouths.

"The temptation of the serpent, then, comes as a very real voice to me as a woman. Like Eve, I have had to ask myself: What will I risk for the sake of knowledge I can call my own? Can I stand my ground before God, before the academic community, before male theologians of the past and present? Can I carve out space for an original work in spite of the “Adams” in my life?"

"In spite" is quite emotive language. It is suggestive that all men would do anything less than support us in our successes. Sure there are many who would try, but reality, at least in most countries, recognizes our humanity. The world at large is growing in the awareness of it. Every time a woman does get out there and speaks into any facet of the world, other women see it happen and it matters.

Let's be fair in that we have not been out there alone. Many, many supportive men have worked to make that happen even in the face of all of the adversity they experienced for it.

"Yet if we do, we risk death—death to a safe way of living and knowing. Choosing the evangelical interpretation of Genesis 3:16, then, was a choice to live and know in safety. To choose to create meaning for one’s self, to risk the knowledge of “good and evil” means to die to that safety. The garden pericope lands the ill-impact of Eve’s decision on Eve. We modern women identify with the “damned if I do, damned if I don’t” position Eve is put in. "

Perhaps not all "modern women" identify as you are representing? I don't and if that means that I am not modern, I'm cool with that. I am not big on labels.

I do not think that choosing to create meaning, to get educated, or even to own a point of view has anything to do at all with "good and evil". I find life in living authentically. I do not see this as a choice to submit vs a choice to reject the passage entirely as I am here testifying that I see things a third way. I'm willing to bet that other women see things in other ways as well other than only the two that you are addressing.

In lieu of fulfilled eschatology, the prophesy given Eve is fulfilled in the biblical church. She experiences the "throes" of child birth, IE:

Mat 24:7 For nation will be raised against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; and there will be famines and plagues and earthquakes against many places.
Mat 24:8 But all these are a beginning of throes.

The word translated "throes" is the Greek "odin" and is literally labor pains.

Peter was interested in stopping the deliverance of people by stopping the pains related to it also, and Jesus calls him out as adverse/satan.

Life is the result of laboring pains - you were there for that twice. It doesn't matter how much science pushes forward in effort at making our literal pains easier, and as I see it, it has - I took advantage of the "epidural" twice - would we trade them for our child's lives? I think not. Nor would God.

Who was the bride? Who was the bridegroom? When was the consummation? Did life come of that union? Was it difficult for the bride to submit to the bridegroom? <--Tthose things are answered via context and they are the things that literal labor pains, literal brides, literal bridegrooms, etc symbolized.

Amie

When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at, change.

[url=www.bugsinheaven.com]www.bugsinheaven.com[/url]

JulieUnplugged's picture

Long reply and I just noticed it. Sorry. I'll get back to this later, but I welcome the engagement (agree about undifferentiated sexuality of "adam'). So we can start from there.

Btw, are you in my age group? Forties?

Julie

amie's picture

Julie,

I'll be 39 in August. :-)

Amie

When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at, change.

[url=www.bugsinheaven.com]www.bugsinheaven.com[/url]

Barry's picture

Wow Amie!
You are slowly catching up to me. :)
Barry

we are all in this together

JL's picture

Slowly catching up to you? Why in August, you, me, and Amie will all be the same age as Jack Benny!

Blessings,

JL Vaughn
Beyond Creation Science

JulieUnplugged's picture

I added a reply under Amie if you're interested. :)

JulieUnplugged's picture

Ah. I'm back.

You know I do think there is a shift going on. The younger you are, the less "oppressed" you feel as a woman. When I read _Dance of the Dissident Daughter_ by Sue Monk Kidd (who is about 12-15 years older than me), I couldn't always identify with the categories of frustration she experienced as a woman in church. There was plenty of overlap though. I remember on missionary support raising being asked by an elder of a church why I was allowed to speak from the pulpit. Another one told me that his denomination was about to alter their constitution to read "men and women" and he thought that was a mistake because "then all the minorities would have to be represented: Mexicans, blacks, Asians, etc." Women = minorities in his view... as though all of humanity isn't covered when we say "men and women."

Anyway, my pt is this. The purpose of autocritography (personal autobiography as a lens through which you view Scripture) is to help you integrate your experiences, your theological influences and your current spiritual condition into a refreshed outlook. It is not the only method of interpretation and it is not authoritative in the sense that it has binding impact on you or anyone else.

Rather, my paper is meant to model and express what happened when I (one person) coordinated her spiritual journey and socially-located experience with Scriptural interpretation. What new insights would break through that I missed using other interpretive models?

In a way, this paper is an invitation to do a similar exploration... and I would imagine your conclusions would naturally be different! For some women, I give voice to an experience they have also had. But I don't aim to speak for all.

Does that make more sense?

amie's picture

Julie,

I think that it is important to empathize with the story and the characters within that story. Recently I shared what I imagined as a mom, that God must have been going through with Cain and Abel. Even if a child of mine killed someone, they wouldn't loose my love. And I would be really ticked if I had to send them away not knowing that yet to protect them from the "righteous".

So, I do get it, and see the value in it. I also think it's important not to make it too subjective. Like, Paul's letters are not to "us" on our timeline. Though we can empathize with the receivers of those letters, to completely identify ourselves as the addressees creates some misunderstandings to say the least imo.

Amie

When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at, change.

[url=www.bugsinheaven.com]www.bugsinheaven.com[/url]

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