Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Beauty in Submission- pt. 2

So, back to Genesis.  Back to the basis of the controversial passages of Peter and Paul.  Their inspired understandings of Genesis.

In this examination of Genesis we will be looking at Bruce Waltke’s  award winning commentary on Genesis.  Looking at his comments on the beauty of submission.  Of submission to God and to man.  And his comments on role-playing as well.

But first, in Deidre Richardson’s blog she rightly grants that women are to be submissive in the home due to “the curse” of Genesis 3:16 yet- 

1.   She accuses Waltke  of an unqualified leap from headship-in-the-home to headship-in-the-church [as if headship-in-the-home cannot subvert headship-in-the-church].  
2.  She accuses Waltke of an unqualified appeal of the “creation order” [though the Apostle Paul used this same appeal in 1 Cor. 11:8] to justify mans “symbol of authority”.   
3.  Of Waltke being unqualified to use   a rational argument [though Paul also appealed to reason in 1 Cor. 11:14] to support his case.    
4.   And of Waltke basically being a slave to “old Southern tradition” [as if this issue is just a Southern thing].  Ouch!

Now, Deidre has other arguments as well such as-

1.  Maintaining that Paul doesn’t mandate women to wear head coverings [that’s not what better Greek scholars think ]
2.  And maintaining that the ink in verse 11 nullifies the ink of verse 10 [supposedly a waste of ink and inkling].  

But let’s look at Waltke’s ink on Genesis 3.

Waltke begins by telling us of the poignant wordplay in the very first verse.  Of a word pregnant with meaning- `arum.  Of the wordplay between “nude” and “shrewd” (`arum” and `árûmmîm) of the previous verse.   

Waltke goes on to tell us of the wordplay of “man” and “woman” (´îš and  ´iššâ) and how they were supposed to play together [and yes, the word Islam means ‘submission’ as well].  

How ´îš and  ´iššâ didn’t play well together- then felt a need to “protect their vulnerability” with clothing.  So they sewed fig leaves for “barriers” (p. 103).  That these “barriers” were to cover their shame.  That they lost their “openness and trust” (p.90).  Hiding from each other.  And especially hiding from God.

“Who told you that you were nude”, is the poignant question.  And the obvious answer is that God did- through The Tree. 

Now what is interesting is that this realization of nudity came directly to ´iššâ- even though it appears that The Prohibition “not to eat of that tree” did not come to her directly.  It appears that The Prohibition was relayed to her indirectly from ´îš.   

Indeed, it appears that The Prohibition was relayed to her indirectly from “the priest of The Garden” (p. 81, 87)… from Adam. Whose responsibility it was to communicate The Prohibition fully and faithfully to her.  A responsibility which he appears to have fulfilled (she even knew which tree was prohibited).

Now I’m just speculating here, but I suspect that this sense of nudity came to Eve immediately after eating the fruit of The Tree.  Just as our sense of sin is rather immediate.  And that she cajoled Adam into eating of the fruit some time afterward.  After having sensed her own nudity.  After having been convicted by the Holy Spirit.

Here Waltke notes that ‘it appears that Adam was not exactly with Eve at the time that she was tempted’ by the serpent.  That “the narrator of Genesis may have been [merely] verbalizing the psychological dynamics of temptation” although “the serpent was a real, historical figure” (p. 91).  Waltke goes on to say that “probably Adam, who is with Eve… hears and sees nothing; he is not deceived” (1 Timothy 2:14).  And Waltke suspects that this may be similar to ‘other biblical instances’ when bystanders are left ‘out of the loop’ (1 Sam. 28:3-25 and Acts 22:9).

However, I would be inclined to take this deception by the serpent far more literally (as prominent biblical commentator John H. Walton might).

I would be far less inclined to imply a charge of writer redaction in such a pivotal account.  Less inclined to attribute “psychological dynamics” to this chapter as Waltke did.  Less inclined to recognize the dynamic to be floating from the real to the surreal  quite so readily (since very little of such dynamic is evident in the previous two chapters).  Less inclined to suggest self-deception on Eve’s part.  Particularly in light of her own confession of being deceived "by the serpent” (Genesis 3:13).

I am more inclined to think that there were actual physiological dynamics involved here (as those ‘other biblical instances’ actually suggest).  More inclined to recognize (using Waltke’s hermeneutic of Parsimony- p. 43) that the serpent was a real beast.  A shrewd beast. That the serpent actually spoke those deceiving words.   

Words that Adam would have actually heard- had he actually been present.  But I sense a complaint of  'not actually being with her' (cf. Gen. 3:12).  And I sense a complaint of being 'left alone' with the use of the singular pronoun in the following verse.  Common male and female refrains.

Am more inclined to think that this was not merely a ‘psychological expression of Eve’s rabid imagination’ (I would give a perfect woman far more credit than that).  More inclined to think that the serpent was shrewd enough to know to ‘separate-in-order-to-divide’ man from woman.  Shrewd enough at twisting the truth.  Truth that Eve had little reason to twist [unless of course, Eve was an untamed shrew already bitter from the painful stretch of child-bearing; which would explain Paul’s peculiar comment in 1 Timothy 2:15… but that’s a bit of a stretch :)].    

Am more inclined to think that Eve’s lack of submission (submission being a “principal concern of the book of Genesis”- p. 45) was immediately apparent to her.  More inclined to think that following Eve’s insubordination (p.94) to ‘her priest’, that she soon cajoled ‘her priest’- in order to be equally yoked in sin.   A cajoling which “spoiled” (p. 81) her relationship with Adam as well as with God.

Spoiled her relationship with the one who actually followed the divine precept to be the “priest of The Garden” (2:19).  Her relationship with the one who actually followed the divine principle to be the “priest of the home” (Waltke cites Genesis 3:20 as well as the fascinating Numbers 30:6-8 passage).  With the one who actually established the precedent of being a “priest of the O.T." ("the first Adam"- 1 Cor 15:45).  And Waltke insists that there were “no women priests or apostles in the O.T. or N.T." (p. 88).

However, regardless of your understanding of culpability and responsibility in this Genesis 3 account- the operative question on this current female-submission issue actually ought to be, “Is this Curse now rescinded this side of The Tree?  Is this Curse now rescinded this side of the nude man on The Cross?”  “Is there now a new precept, principle and precedent for our present age?”

Well… there doesn’t appear to be.  The old Curse remains. 

Women continue to have ‘pain in childbirth’.  The ground continues to be ‘cursed’.  Women continue to have a “desire to dominate their husbands” (p. 94). And ‘a desire for their husband’s role’ as priest. 

A desire which women like Deidre often endorse due to pragmatics.  Pragmatics which supposedly didn’t apply on the dark side of The Cross.  Yet a feminine priesthood that appears useful this side of The Cross.

Well, this new pragmatism sure looks tasty, pretty and advantageous- like a tempting little fruit.  But let’s have a closer look at this novel paradigm...