Is the Bible Sexist? Part 1 of 2

Q. I disagree with 1 Tim 2:14 that “it was not Adam who was deceived. It was the woman who was deceived and became disobedient.” Adam, being older than Eve, should had been wiser than Eve. He should have told Eve not to eat the fruit, unless he wanted to know good and evil himself. Adam was beside Eve the whole time. Being a gentleman, he let Eve take the first bite. He could have refused to take the second bite. His own intention is revealed here. It must had been the delayed effect that Eve, after her first bite, did not immediately realize what she had done wrong. In verse 14, Paul was shirking the responsibility of men of loving and protecting his wife. He condoned the men to blame the women for their own mistakes.

A. We need to observe carefully what the Bible said and what it didn’t say, or we may be wrongly charging God or the human author with error, when the mistake was really in our assumption. The Fall of Man is recorded in Gen 3:1-7, which Paul commented on in 1 Tim 2:14. Note the following:

• Gen 3:1-5 give the dialogue between the serpent (the devil and Satan, Rev 12:9, 20:2) and the woman (Eve, Gen 3:20). We infer from v 6 that Adam was there, but there was no record of any exchange between the serpent and the man, nor between the woman and her husband. Adam may be there all the time as some commentators believe, or he may have just arrived as Eve ate. The Bible is silent and we aren’t sure which is the case.

Gen 3:6 When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate. According to 1 Tim 2:14 Eve was deceived and fell into transgression. Adam was not deceived i.e. he knew what he was doing. It was a willful disobedience of God’s command.

• We don’t know when God made Adam and Eve what age He gave them. Likely He made both in their prime. Other than that all we know is that both were created on Day 6, so we really can’t say Adam was older and wiser. Both were without sin prior to the Fall, and did not know good from evil before they ate the forbidden fruit. God commanded the man not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in Gen 2:17, before He made the woman in Gen 2:22. So either Adam told Eve afterwards, or God told Eve Himself, otherwise she would not have known the prohibition as indicated in Gen 3:3, although she added the “touching” part herself.

• The Bible did not tell what went through Adam’s mind as he ate the forbidden fruit, so we don’t know his intention. Was it being a gentleman and “ladies first” as you suggested? Or was it not trusting God’s words despite His warning? Any imputation of motive comes from us, not the text. We can’t be sure it must be what we assumed, as there is NO hard evidence to back up our claim. The only thing we know for sure is that Adam was NOT deceived, so it was not out of ignorance, but deliberate, and therefore more deserving of blame. So the second option above is more plausible.

(To be continued)

Are You Smarter than a First Grader?

numbered parking a

Received a quiz in my email yesterday. It is supposed to be a Hong Kong Elementary School First Grade Student Admissions Test Question, “What parking spot # is the car parked in?” Please answer within 20 seconds.

My mind kicked into hyper-drive right away. “16, 06, 68, 88, ?, 98” Hmmm … what might the missing number be? I immediately think of possible relationships between one number and the next, scanning first from the left and then from the right. No success. The seconds ticked away. No clue! How hard can it be, if it is a grade one problem? Then all of a sudden time’s up. Still no answer.

I am not as smart as a first grader, until I looked at the picture as if I were driving and looking for a parking space. Since I am north of the parking spaces and looking south, reading the numbers from my left to the right, the sequence is a simple “86, ?, 88, 89, 90, 91”! The missing # is 87! Elementary! My dear Watson! Why didn’t I think of that!

numbered parking b

The problem is one of perspective. When I first looked at the picture, I automatically assumed “me” as the point of reference, since I am at the center of my universe. I therefore read the numbers from left to right, which did not make any sense. I was reading them upside down! However, once I put myself into the picture as a driver, I am to the north of the numbers. Now all the numbers are in sequence and made perfect sense.

Life is often like that. We looked at things from one point of view and can’t make heads or tails of it. Sometimes we even argue with others who looked at it from another angle, and have a different set of assumptions or presuppositions. What if we are humble enough to put ourselves in the other person’s shoes and looked at things his way? May be it will start to make sense and the problem is solved! Wouldn’t that be nice?