Ten Reasons: The Primary Acountability

The fifth reason the author gives to prove headship existed before the fall is:

The primary accountability: God spoke to Adam first after the fall … Even though Eve had sinned first, God first summoned Adam to give account for what had happened in his family. Adam was the one primarily accountable … An analogy to this is … When a parent comes into a room where several children have been misbehaving and have left the room in chaos, the parent will probably summon the oldest and say, “What happened here?” Though all are responsible for their behavior, the oldest child bears the primary responsibility.

Blaming the oldest sibling for his/her failure to keep the rambunctious younger siblings in check never is proof of the authority or headship of older siblings over younger siblings. There’s a reason why younger siblings always play the “You’re not mom or dad!” card – it effectively destroys the ability of the oldest to control the youngest who now believe they’re under no obligation to listen to anyone who isn’t mom or dad. So when inevitably the two youngest break something fragile and the oldest gets the blame because there was nothing s/he could have done to stop it – it results in a no-win, unfair, blanket punishment that couldn’t have been avoided no matter what. All it proves is that parents who rely on the chain of command unnecessarily punish the oldest every time the youngest siblings fail to submit to authority they don’t believe in. Not all parents are like that – sometimes parents realize that no matter what the oldest says, the youngest won’t listen and therefore they cannot be held responsible for whatever gets broken. At any rate, it’s terrible analogy to compare with Adam and Eve. But he’s not finished yet:

“In a similar way, when God summoned Adam to give an account, it indicated a primary responsibility that belong to Adam in the conduct of his family. This is similar to the situation in Genesis 2:15-17, where God gave commands to Adam alone before the Fall, indicating there also a primary responsibility that belong to Adam. By contrast, the serpent spoke to Eve first (Genesis 3:1), trying to get her to take responsibility for leading the family into sin, and inverting the order That God had established at Creation.”

The God of Genesis 3 doesn’t come to the Garden of Eden planning to summon Adam to give an account of his and his family’s actions – he’s there to take a walk:

Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?” (Genesis 3:8-9)

Here is where we don’t have a picture of what would have happened had Adam and Eve not sinned – but here’s a guess:

Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they ran up to him dancing and chattering excitedly about the creatures they had played with, the plants they had tended, and the beautiful sunsets and sunrises they had seen since yesterday. The Lord God smiled for his creation was good. The next day, the Lord God went for a walk in the garden in the cool of the day. Something was not quite right for the man and the woman were nowhere to be found. He called out to the man “Where are you?”

Nowhere does it say: “For God asked the man to give an account of his sin and of his wife’s sin because he was responsible for it as the leader with headship over his wife.” As I pointed out yesterday – the verses that lay the blame upon Adam aren’t written until the New Testament, so people who didn’t see those verses wouldn’t assume that Adam was held responsible and therefore had headship in the hundreds of years between the time that Genesis and Romans were written. Fortunately for us, this time he didn’t opt for the original reader’s argument; and it’s a good thing too, because the original readers didn’t believe in original sin as it’s an entirely Christian teaching.

Yes, Adam (the man) was the only adam (human being) in existence when God gave him the one prohibition. That doesn’t suggest primary responsibility for keeping the rule any more than the woman being second suggests secondary responsibility for keeping the rule or that any else had tertiary responsibility for keeping the rule. It also doesn’t equate primary accountability any more than the woman has secondary accountability and the serpent has tertiary accountability. Each of them were responsible and each of them were accountable, not for the others, but for themselves. God doesn’t say something like:

Adam you have failed in your responsibility and now you must held accountable. Because you have sinned, you shall have to work the ground and contend with thorns. Because Eve sinned you will have to pay the price. Because the serpent deceived her, it will be as if you yourself were the one deceived and you are now doubly cursed … Eve, serpent, I’m very disappointed in you two for your failure to submit, but I’m more disappointed in Adam because he didn’t servant-leadership you correctly.

What is it called when someone isn’t punished for the actions of others? Not being held accountable. Since Adam wasn’t held accountable, then the only responsibility he bears is his own.

His final point is to contrast these ideas saying that original order is Man then Woman, but that the serpent asks the woman first therefore inverting the order to be Woman then Man. What he fails to understand that the serpent asks both Man and Woman at the same time using the plural ‘you’ or ‘y’all’ or ‘you guys’. So his point falls flat given the reality of the language used and the lack of a plural you in English. Perhaps he means to say that as the man with headship, Adam failed to answer the serpent for his wife or failed to tell her to remain silent and thus left an opening for sin.

These reasons are falling like dominoes – this is the half-way point and there’s nothing so far that stands as a strong proof. Some of these that he said shouted male headship seem more like whispers indistinctly and the ones that whisper now seem to fall silent altogether. No reason alone seems strong enough, and when combined they don’t amount to very much proof.

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