Is Paul a Male Chauvinist? Part 2 of 2

(Continued from yesterday)

• You may be reading too much into 1 Tim 2:14. All it said was Adam was not deceived but Eve was. It said nothing about Paul’s attitude towards women, that he was a woman-hater as some feminists claim, or at least a male chauvinist. Paul was not married (1 Co 7:8) so he never had the responsibility of a husband to protect his wife, nor did he condone men blaming women for the husbands’ mistakes. My opinion is based on:

1. As a Pharisee who knew the Law (Php 3:5), he understood fully a husband’s “covering” of authority over his wife:
Num 30:6-8 “However, if she should marry while under her vows or the rash statement of her lips by which she has bound herself, and her husband hears of it and says nothing to her on the day he hears it, then her vows shall stand and her obligations by which she has bound herself shall stand. But if on the day her husband hears of it, he forbids her, then he shall annul her vow which she is under and the rash statement of her lips by which she has bound herself; and the LORD will forgive her. (Also Num 6:10-12)
If Adam were there all the time, since he said nothing and did not forbid Eve, he gave his tacit approval by his silence and eating the fruit himself; he cannot avoid his responsibility. I understand the Law came later, but the principle is the same.

2. Paul was the one who penned:
Eph 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her,
• Eph 5:28 So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself;
• Eph 5:33 Nevertheless, each individual among you also is to love his own wife even as himself, and the wife must see to it that she respects her husband.

As such, it is highly unlikely that he would condone husbands blaming their wives for their own mistakes.

3. Although Eve sinned first, Paul never charged woman with greater responsibility. The primary responsibility of sin and death entering the world rest with Adam as head of his family and mankind:
Rom 5:12 Therefore, just as through one man (Adam) sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned
• Rom 5:17 For if by the transgression of the one (Adam), death reigned through the one (Adam), …

So I find faulting Paul for something he never did, or even stood against, to be an unfair accusation. Hope this helps.

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)

Keeping Secrets

keeping secrets 8

Q. I want to share a problem about a teenager with our elder looking after youth, but he said he shares everything with his wife. I feel uncomfortable about that as it does not concern her. Is he right in doing that? Is it biblical?

A. There are at least two issues involved:
• Counselor-counselee confidentiality;
• Keeping secrets between spouses.

First, between you and the teenager. I assume the teen confided certain problems with you as her youth counselor.
• If she is being hurt e.g. abuse, you have a legal duty to report which overrides any duties of confidentiality.
• If she is not in danger, then has the teen consented for you to share with others in authority to resolve the problem?
• If you have promised her not to tell anyone and she has not relieved you of that promise, then you should not tell others, provided she is not being hurt in the mean time. Work with her to resolve the issue, or get her concurrence to involve others.

Concerning the elder in charge, while in general it is good for husbands and wives not to keep secrets from each other, this extends only to issues between them i.e. spousal relationship matters. It should not extend to everything as he had suggested, as there are matters which do not concern the spouse. I would consider it a breach of trust if, for example, what I shared with my pastor or doctor got passed onto his wife, then inadvertently through her to others.

What are the biblical principles involved? On the one hand, we should speak the truth:
Eph 4:15 but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ,
• Eph 4:25 Therefore, laying aside falsehood, SPEAK TRUTH EACH ONE of you WITH HIS NEIGHBOR, for we are members of one another.

On the other hand, that does not mean there should be no secrets:
Deut 29:29 The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our sons forever, that we may observe all the words of this law.
• Prov 11:13 He who goes about as a talebearer reveals secrets, But he who is trustworthy conceals a matter.
• Prov 25:9 Argue your case with your neighbor, And do not reveal the secret of another,

God Himself does not reveal all things to us because we do not have the capacity to handle them. He wants us to obey by faith. The trustworthy are those who can keep secrets.

We are not required to disclose secrets to those who are not entitled to them e.g. military secrets to enemies, because to do so would breach national security and endanger the lives of many. Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you, and use your judgment to discern what to disclose and what to conceal. Hope this helps.