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)

God’s Calling

God's call 18

Q. What does the Bible say about God’s calling? Does God call us to do specific things? If yes, where does our freedom to choose come in?

A. The Bible has a lot to say about our calling, with respect to both our salvation and service.

Regarding salvation:
1 Co 1:2 To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus, saints by calling, …
• 2 Tim 1:9 who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace …

And concerning service:
“the word of the LORD came” to His prophets e.g. Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Jonah, Haggai, Zechariah etc.
• Acts 13:2 While they were ministering to the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.”

For service, the call could be specific, as in the examples cited above, or general e.g. the Great Commission (Mt 28:19, Mk 16:15, Lk 24:47, Jn 20:21, Acts 1:8).

The calling does not depend on how good or bad we are, and is irrevocable, but those called are required to make certain about the calling, and live up to it:
1 Co 1:26 For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble;
• Rom 11:29 for the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.
• 2 Pet 1:10 Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you; for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble;
• Eph 4:1 Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called,
• 2 Thes 1:11 To this end also we pray for you always, that our God will count you worthy of your calling, and fulfill every desire for goodness and the work of faith with power,

What happens to our freedom to choose? We still have it, within the limits God gave us:
Deut 1:26 Yet you were not willing to go up, but rebelled against the command of the LORD your God;
• Isa 30:15 For thus the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel, has said, “In repentance and rest you will be saved, In quietness and trust is your strength.” But you were not willing,
• Mt 23:37 Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling.

God gave us a choice and we can freely choose to obey or disobey. However, when we disobey we have to pay for the consequences of disobedience ourselves.

Knowledge of Good and Evil (2 of 2)

knowledge good evil 1

(Continued from yesterday)

I think the figurative meaning fits the serpent’s temptation better, because if the literal meaning was meant, why should Adam and Eve’s desire to know good from evil be a sin? Isn’t moral knowledge good? When Solomon asked God for wisdom to discern between good and evil, wasn’t God pleased? Isn’t the ability to discern good and evil for the mature? So why would God punish Adam and Eve for desiring a good thing? The problem is not with the tree of the knowledge of good and evil itself. There is nothing inherently bad about the tree. God could have used any tree to test Adam – whether he will trust and obey God.

However, if the figurative meaning was intended, then the serpent’s suggestion makes sense:
Gen 2:17 but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die.
• Gen 3:5 For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.
• Gen 3:7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; …

The serpent insinuated that God had an ulterior motive in forbidding them to eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil – to prevent them from knowing all things and become omniscient like God. The sin is in disobeying God and believing in Satan, the very sin of pride Satan himself committed:
Isa 14:14 I will make myself like the Most High;
• Ezk 28:2 Because your heart is lifted up and you have said, ‘I am a god, … although you make your heart like the heart of God;
• Ezk 28:6 Because you have made your heart like the heart of God;
• Ezk 28:9 Will you still say, “I am a god”;

Prior to Gen 3:6 Adam and Eve knew good and evil only cognitively. They knew to obey God is good and to disobey is evil, and the consequence is death or alienation from God. After they ate they knew it experientially. They became aware that they were naked. Previously the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed (Gen 2:25); now they are ashamed and covered themselves up.

Lastly, what does Gen 3:22 mean – Then the LORD God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of Us, knowing good and evil”? God could not have meant Adam and Eve had become omniscient like Him and knew everything. They are creatures and will forever be finite, and could not possibly have infinite knowledge, i.e. become omniscient. Never! The serpent was dead wrong. I believe the literal meaning was intended and God simply meant Adam became like Him in the sense of being able to discern good from evil. Unfortunately of his own free-will he refused good and chose evil. Some commentators added that God might be stating this in a mocking tone i.e. the man has become like one of Us – NOT! but we have no way of ascertaining whether this is the case as the text did not say.