Archive for February, 2009

Garden Principles I: The Curses of Adam and Eve Explained

It is truly amazing just how much we can learn from the first 3 chapters of the Bible. It’s jam-packed with so much information and explanation, if we only open our hearts and pay attention! 🙂

There is just TOO much to talk about in one post, so I will be doing a series of posts on this topic. This first one will focus on qualities of men and women, and specifically the dynamics between husbands and wives.

So, a few weeks ago, I attended a Christian Conference on the East Coast. Since it was over Valentine’s Day, the focus was on Gospel-Centered Relationships.

On the first day of the conference, the pastor focused on the importance of the marriage vows and how it mirrors Christ’s covenant with His bride, the church. (Beautiful, right?) But… I will talk about this in a future post 🙂

On the second day, he discussed the Garden, Adam, and Eve. Let’s begin…

So, looking at Genesis 1:27-28, we know that men and women were created as equals and, more importantly, without distinction beyond their physical capacities (i.e. childbirth = female specific). It tells us:

(27) So God created man in His own image, in the image of God created He him; male and female created He them. (28) And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.”

So, with that passage, we see that in the Garden, God did not make a distinction between men and women when he commanded “replenish the earth, and subdue it… and have dominion over…” He did not specify that only Adam or only Eve would have dominion, but rather, that they will both have dominion.

Now, let’s fast forward to the fall in Genesis 3. The pastor brought up an extremely convicting question that I had never before thought to ask. When discussing Eve’s temptation by the serpent in Genesis 3:6, he asked, “Where was Adam when all of this was happening?” We are always so quick to see Eve’s action and blame her for the fall, but where was Adam when she was being tempted? This is a point that stuck with me, and it will come up again shortly.

Next, we discussed the curses that God imparted on Adam and Eve, which was the beginning of non-physical distinctions between the sexes. To Adam, in Genesis 3:17-19:

(17) And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; (18) Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; (19) In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.

Thus, the pastor explained that Adam’s curse is job-oriented:  he will struggle to work the land (have a job) and will be concerned about providing for his family (being successful). This can be seen in men today. Men are more task-oriented than women. And not to say that women are not ambitious or do not value their jobs, but research has supported that men are more systematizing. The pastor mentioned research by Carol Gilligan (In a Different Voice), which I have read and definitely agreed with most of it. There has been some controversy over her work, fueled by the fact that she for a long time refused other researchers’ requests to view her data. But, if you want a more modern source, check out Autism researcher Simon Baron-Cohen, PhD. Absolutely amazing theories (and evidence) on differences between the “male” and “female” brain.

To Eve, in Genesis 3:16:

(16) Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.

Now, when he talked about this verse, he brought up an extremely important observation. If we fast forward to Genesis 4:6-7, we see that the same phraseology is used to describe the relationship between sin and Cain. God says:

(6) And the LORD said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen? (7) If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.

The same language! Just as sin desired Cain, God cursed Eve to desire her husband. Now, our fleshly reaction as women (and men too) is to be upset that we would be compared to sin or said to have the same action as sin, but I would encourage you to stay open and stay with me here!

The pastor broke down what exactly is implied by desire. When we think about sin, what does it aim to do? It tries to manipulate us, control us, have authority over is. This is it’s desire for us. Thus, in the same way, women are cursed to try to manipulate, control, and exert authority over their husbands, but again mirroring Genesis 4:7, her husband will rule over her:

Ephesians 5:23 – For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he (Christ) is the Saviour of the body.

Thereby, the pastor explained that women would hence be focused on her relationship with her husband and their family dynamics. She would be more invested in the emotional sector of their relationship. I think that most of us can see this in our lives today. For evidence, just look to your friendships and the other social networks that women form with each other to vent about what? Their relationships. Their family-life. How they are feeling.

This is a good point to break on (and plus I have to run out for a meeting!). But this was the primer. In the next post, I’m going to talk about what God revealed to me  from this pastor’s teaching and how understanding the Adam and Eve’s relationship in the Garden is 1) crucial for understanding a husband and wife’s relationship today and 2) crucial for viewing and accepting Ephesians 5 within a Christian context. Actually, in my opinion, Ephesians 5 shouldn’t ever be taught outside of Genesis 3. But we’ll discuss that more later.

1 John 2:17 – And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof:  but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.

New Face!

The Blog has a new face! I’m liking this one. I needed a change. And I think this will make me more excited about visiting the site.

I really do want to be better about writing in here. I have some things that I would like to share. God has been revealing a lot to me lately, and I need to use this outlet to process it all. These include:

Biblical intentions for Men vs. Women (2/26 & 3/24) <- although, i suppose i still have more to write on this… but God is moving me away from these gendered topics

Can we mix? Christian Male-Female Friendships and Implications for Dating (4/14)

– Purpose of Children in a Marriage

– Kingdom Principles for the Body of Christ

– Radical Honesty

– Purging Thoughts about My Parent’s Marriage –> not so much how I’ve been affected… I’ve already done that post… but rather, thoughts on what good things I have learned

– The Father-Daughter Relationship (specifically mine)

– Raising a Strong Christian Man and the Importance of Men in a Woman’s Life (this will touch on my brother and the awesome man he is becoming)

– Overcoming an Inferiority Complex *(esp. for students)

– Gay Marriage and Christianity – The Paradox of Supporting without Supporting

So, those are the immediate things I want to talk about in the future. I figure if I outline it here, then I’ll feel more inclined to keep my word and actually write about  them!

Love is…

“Love is not an emotion… it’s an ability.”

~ Dan in Real Life

Love Is Like Old Wine...

Revival

Wow, so I haven’t been on here in a while! Well, I plan to change that. God has really brought me to a point in my life where I am just relishing in Him. I’ve made some new friendships with brothers and sisters and am so grateful that I have surrendered to this change in my life.

I’ve been yearning something, and I think I know what it is now. I’m longing to just talk about Him. To talk in depth and at length about my King. To challenge others with and be challenged by His word. And I guess I am a little discouraged because I don’t have any one person that I can talk with like this. My mom is SO unbelievably busy, working to support my whole family now that my dad has lost his job. She’s very tired, and though of course we talk about Him, we don’t have the time to talk at length and in depth as we used to be able to do. And then my Christian friends here at school are so busy preparing for graduate school admissions exams, among the other million things they’re involved in. So I can’t talk with them because they don’t have the time. Friends at other schools have their own Christian friends and have formed their own deep bonds with them. So, they don’t have the time to go in depth with me, when I’m sure they’re doing that with others at their university. SO, I am left alone in this. But not so alone 🙂 God will have to be my Bible study buddy, and, well, who better to have, right?!

I imagine this must have been how my mom felt when my brother and I were younger and she started to seek God more deeply. My dad wasn’t in the picture spiritually, and since they had just moved to a new area, she didn’t know anyone who she could talk with about the Lord. From what she has shared with me, it didn’t seem like her old friends were at a point of seeking the Lord just yet. So she was alone… as I am now. But of course, not alone, because He was there, as He is here for me now.

I think I’m just a little saddened and frustrated because I am so used to going to people and talking with people about God. So to not have anyone to talk to feels so different, and a little off. But I think this isolation is only good for me. Because people are not going to always be in the picture. They’re not always going to be available to converse with me… so in such situations, what will I do? I need to be less dependent on others and solely dependent on God.

Wow, Lord… I think I get it now. I think this is why I am here this semester. See, I was supposed to be abroad in England right now, but I couldn’t because of financial problems at home. The disappointment of not being able to go abroad is a pain that I’ve kind of filed away in the back of my mind because facing it is too sad for me. I’ve never been out of the country nor had an experience so independent of family and friends, so my heart was really broken when I couldn’t go. I think this disappointment is manifesting itself this semester by my lack of drive. I am literally pushing myself through all of my work. I am really not excited about pretty much anything I am learning… except perhaps the new language I’m picking up. But, I even have to push myself on that. I guess you could say I’m experiencing a little depression. And although I have not turned these sentiments into anger toward God, I have been questioning Him on why this couldn’t work out for me. All throughout college, I have felt like I was at least a step behind the other students in terms of experience/academic background. So I was really looking forward to 1) getting away from university and 2) having an experience that would be mine, all mine… something worthwhile that I could finally talk about with my more experienced peers. But now that I type that out, it really seems like my motivations were fueled indirectly by others. I’ll have to think about that. But yea, so I’ve been deeply disappointed and wondering why God has me here. I think it’s for this isolation. I think it’s because He wants me to dig deeper into Him, to find myself in Him and Him alone. I think it’s because He wants me to face the pain in my life. Rather than running across the ocean to get away from thoughts of my parents’ bad marriage and my feelings of being caught in the middle, I think He wants me to stand here and face it and make room for His healing.

So, although I am still disappointed, I won’t turn away from Him. I’ve been there done that and only know that that leaves me empty and dark. No, this time, I will look to Him and trust that He will turn this disappointment into the purest joy and contentment in Him. After all, I did set the new year’s resolution that I would become the best version of myself yet… I think God’s got me on the right track for that.