Men and women: the state of our disunion (I)
(NOTE: This is part of a series titled, “The state of our disunion.”)
Under my thumb
The girl who once had me down
Under my thumb
The girl who once pushed me around
It’s down to me
The difference in the clothes she wears
Down to me, the change has come
She’s under my thumb.
God created man and woman and made their home in the Garden of Eden. There they lived in a state of perfection—man and wife.
God made Adam first and Eve his second. Then God named the race for the first, calling Adam and Eve and all their seed, “adam.”
All was well with those two lovers there in Eden. They had perfect union with God and perfect intimacy with each other. They were naked and unashamed.
It all went evil when the Serpent “deceived” Eve and she ate the fruit of the single tree God had forbidden them. This might have been remedied had the next thing not occurred: Eve commended the fruit to Adam and he “listened” to her. Thus he ate the fruit also.
This brought on a horror the likes of which the world has always known, but never wanted to acknowledge.
Because Adam was Eve’s head and representative before God, when God came to the Garden to discipline their rebellion, God spoke to Adam alone. This is counterintuitive. Despite Eve’s primacy and leadership in that rebellion, God addressed the “one man” Adam, asking him alone whether he had eaten from the tree forbidden him:
Then the LORD God called to the man, and said to him, “Where are you?”
He said, “I heard the sound of You in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid myself.”
And He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?”
Of course God knew, and of course Adam knew God knew. But note how it all went down, getting ever worse. Adam admitted his rebellion, but blamed it on Eve (and even on God):
The man said, “The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me from the tree, and I ate.” 1
This is the beginning of the Red Pill and MGTOW movements.
Eve had her part in leading this rebellion. She was deceived by the Serpent and she spoke her words of rebellion against God to her husband. True enough.
But what about Adam?
As was pointed out in a previous post, one of the bitter man’s habits is to deny his moral agency. He learned this from Adam. Or I should say, we learned this from Adam—every last son, brother, husband, and father of us.
Adam was the leader there in the Garden. Let’s hammer this down:
God made man first and woman second, thereby assigning man the responsibility and authority recorded for us when we read that God came to man to account for the sin his wife and he had committed in solidarity with each other.
Adam tried to play the victim, but God would have none of it. Rather, He prefaced His curse of the man with this explanation of his failure:
Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree. 4
A short story.
Years ago, a small group in our congregation read a book together called Reforming Marriage. I thought highly of this book. Some years earlier, I’d looked through a chapter in which the author walked the weak and abdicating husband through confessing these sins to his wife. Then the chapter laid out a helpful process for the husband to promise to begin to acknowledge and use the responsibility and authority God assigned him for the nurture, protection, and wellbeing of his wife and children.
This seemed wonderfully helpful to me at the time. There were so many husbands living in rebellion against God, refusing to acknowledge or use their male authority, and thus allowing their wives to belittle, mock, and bully them verbally and emotionally (and surprisingly often, physically, also). It was apparent that men needed to regain the reins in their homes, wearing their responsibility and authority delegated them by God for the blessing of their households.
Not being in the small group, I was surprised to hear that one of our congregation’s deacons hated the book and was angry at its author.
It happened the author was a good friend of mine (as his dad had been a good friend of my dad when the two of us were growing up), so I took our deacon’s anger against the book and its author personally. I didn’t appreciate him dissing my friend to his small group. (Some of us weak men can lower ourselves to such embarrassing subjectivity.)
Lots of the information of troubles in the congregation arrives through my wife, Mary Lee, so I asked Mary Lee what the deacon’s issue was? What did he dislike about Reforming Marriage and why was he angry at Doug Wilson?
Of course her report was only secondhand, but she told me our deacon’s anger was due to what he reported as the book’s declaration that any problem in the home was the husband’s responsibility, and therefore the husband’s fault.
I remember puzzling over that one. If the good reader can believe it, I was mystified. Of course the husband is responsible for his home and household, so why was this man so worked up about the book making this clear? Sure, I could understand how a man might resent the fact, but Scripture made this clear and, as I saw it, this order of creation dignified man, actually.
It sure ran against the grain of our culture and I would have thought this would be an encouragement to this man who had just completed a graduate degree at Indiana University and was almost pugnaciously conservative in his politics. He wore a buzz cut, loved football, and drove a studly red car, so why would he get hot and bothered over a book saying he was responsible for his marriage and family?
(First in a series; to be continued.)