Monday, March 4, 2013

A Man Needs a Maid

I was thinking that
maybe I'd get a maid
Find a place nearby
for her to stay.
Just someone
to keep my house clean,
Fix my meals and go away-  Neil Young

Seems ol’ Neil let us men (and women) down with those popular lyrics.  Not just a little sexist and utilitarian there.  A bit misogynistic, in fact.  

So, why does a maid have to be a woman?  And is that their intended design?

Got to thinking of this song the other day when a mature Christian associate brought up the provocative idea (totally unprovoked) that ‘Adam was “playing with himself” [masturbating] before God decided that he had better get a playmate for Adam.  A human playmate since Adam was not “turned on” by the animals parading in front of him’.  

I replied that. ‘Many men seem to understand that mating purpose of women.  However, many women lean towards understanding that passage to mean that God decided to “get a maid” for Adam’.  A maid to clean up after him.  Cook his meals- then go away.

But God had a far greater purpose for women.   Had a much more complementary purpose for women. So, let’s look at what some of the old commentaries say about that Genesis 2:18 purpose… and let’s start with some female commentaries.

Female founder of Christian Science (an oxymoron)-  Mary Baker Eddy has no actual commentary.   Has no actual Key to the Scripture for this passage (but lots of keys for trivial stuff).  Mary is too metaphysically spaced-out to even consider this particular desire of Adam’s.   
A desire for actual physical companionship.  To spaced-out to recognize that Adam already had the best of the metaphysical world… so why would he have lust for the 'physical illusion’?     

In fact, the existence of this passage destroys the whimsical basis of Christian Science.  Destroys their whims that the metaphysical is all there is and all that there should be.  Such Scientists are mirror images of physicalist- Carl Sagan.  Scientists seeing a mirage. 

And oddly enough, the prolifically visionary founder of Seventh Day Adventism- Ellen G. White had no vision on this passage either.   No vision on a very fundamental passage. 

Fundamental because it reveals our basic ontology.  And reveals a godly ontologyIt reveals our ‘being made in His image’ (Gen. 1:26).  Reveals our not being alone… because God is not alone.   An image pointing to a plurality of persons and functions.

However Ellen would likely maintain her vision that this ‘base desire’ of Adam’s for sex ‘was the result of a carnivorous diet’.  Her vision on masturbation is equally spaced-out.    And despite claims to the contrary, she clearly plagiarizes Matthew Henry on this passage.

As for the guys?  Matthew Henry is extensive but waxes a little too poetic on this passage.  Not as much insight as usual.  John Gill’s later research was more insightful.

Yet, far superior is the insight and research of Calvin before them-
Meet for him . 40 In the Hebrew it is wdgnk (kenegedo,) "as if opposite to," or "over against him." k (Caph) in that language is a note of similitude. But although some of the Rabbies think it is here put as an affirmative, yet I take it in its general sense, as though it were said that she is a kind of counterpart, (ajnti>stoikon, or ajnti>strofon; 41) for the woman is said to be opposite to or over against the man, because she responds to him. But the particle of similitude seems to me to be added because it is a form of speech taken from common usage. 42 The Greek translators have faithfully rendered the sense, Katj' aujto>n; 43 and Jerome, "Which may be like him," 44 for Moses intended to note some equality. And hence is refitted the error of some, who think that the woman was formed only for the sake of propagation, and who restrict the word "good," which had been lately mentioned, to the production of offspring. They do not think that a wife was personally necessary for Adam, because he was hitherto free from lust; as if she had been given to him only for the companion of his chamber, and not rather that she might be the inseparable associate of his life. Wherefore the particle k (caph) is of importance, as intimating that marriage extends to all parts and usages of life. The explanation given by others, as if it were said, Let her be ready to obedience, is cold; for Moses intended to express more, as is manifest from what follows.

Pretty sweet stuff from Calvin.  Very complimentary and complementarian.

And some of this commentary of Calvin’s appears to have been taken from a much earlier (perhaps several centuries B.C.) commentary.  A highly respected commentary… The Onkelos Targum.    This Targum says, “or, as suited to him:  Hebrew, kenegdo, as his counterpart”. 

Yes, a Hebrew word that sorta sounds like a cross between K’Nex and Lego .  Now, I kinda like commentaries that appeal to historical-grammatical construction.  As Calvin says, ‘it fits well with the context too’.

Notable as well- is Calvin’s “cold” contempt of those that think that Adam was “hitherto free from lust”.  Cold contempt for those that thought that women were only intended for “propagation” and “obedience”.  Indeed “some equality” is being promoted by Calvin… an equality that may extend to "all parts and usages of life".

Yet that lust/ masturbating idea of my buddy’s isn’t that far-out either... even  Calvin addressed it.

And in one of the earliest accounts of creation (about a thousand years B.C.) we have a similar idea as well.   A similar idea in an account that seems to plagiarize Moses account of Creation.

Indeed, in the account of creation in the Enuma Elish we are told that everything derives from Atum [Adam?].  Atum who claims, “I am the one who acted as husband with my fist: I copulated with my hand, I let fall into my own mouth, I sneezed Shu [atmosphere] and spat Tefnut [order]”- The Context of Scripture 1.14 , Boston: Brill, 2003 (HT. James Hamilton).

Here we see that Eve was not exactly taken from a rib- but was the ‘spitting image’ of Atum.  An image that was an intimate part of Atum. 

Indeed, a counterpart of Atum’s imagination and lust.  Nothing misogynistic there.  Indeed, she was made of him.

So in response to Neil-

A Man Needs a Mate

God was thinking that
Man should have a mate
Find a place nearby
For her to stay
Not just someone to copulate
Then go away