Your Biblical Belief is 42 years old …

In “What is the Woman’s Desire?” By Susan Foh, the question about the meaning of the word “desire” is answered:

“What Young considers an obviously impossible meaning for “desire,” the meaning which “desire” has in the same syntactical setting only 15 verses away, is not impossible. The woman has the same sort of desire for her husband that sin has for Cain, a desire to possess or control him. This desire disputes the headship of the husband. As the Lord tells Cain what he should do, i.e., master or rule sin, the Lord also states what the husband should do, rule over his wife. The words of the Lord in Genesis 3:16b, as in the case of the battle between sin and Cain, do not determine the victor of the conflict between husband and wife.

These words mark the beginning of the battle of the sexes. As a result of the fall, man no longer rules easily; he must fight for his headship. Sin has corrupted both the willing submission of the wife and the loving headship of the husband. The woman’s desire is to control her husband (to usurp his divinely appointed headship, and he must master her, if he can. So the rule of love founded in paradise is replaced by struggle, tyranny and domination.

Experience corroborates this interpretation of God’s judgment on the woman. If the words “and he shall rule over you” in Genesis 3:16b are understood in the indicative, then they are not true. As Cain did not rule over sin (Genesis 4: 7b ), so not every husband rules his wife, and wives have desires contrary to their husbands’ and often have no desire (sexual or psychological) for their husbands.

As we have stated earlier on the basis of context, the woman’s desire does not contribute to the husband’s rule; the opposite is the case. The two clauses, “and your desire to control shall be to your husband” and “but he should master you,” are antithetical. The presence of the personal pronoun xvh (htx in Gen. 4:7) supports this understanding of the relationship of the two clauses. ”

Before Foh pioneered this meaning for the word desire in 1975; the main school of thought was that ‘desire’ referred to a woman’s sexual desire for her husband; though Calvin thought that it meant that a woman will desire what her husband desires and will have no desires for herself. Some thought that women will be plagued with desire itself bordering on a disease. What wasn’t up for debate was that whatever it meant, men had to rule over women as a result of desire.

So if you believe that a man is the head of his family, that the curse on women was to be in rebellion against her husband’s headship because her desire was to be contrary to his headship and the man would rule over his wife, your Biblical belief is somewhat older than I am. Ain’t that something?

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9 thoughts on “Your Biblical Belief is 42 years old …

    1. Thanks! Sometimes when people believe something about the Bible, they tend to believe that belief was always that way and never understood differently.
      Though I had to read the original work a few times myself because it’s not the easiest to follow. I find that there’s a tendency to use doublespeak even when it’s not necessary just so people can have it be flexible. You never quite know how you’ll need to twist the Scriptures in the future and it’s always a good idea to keep your options open.

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  1. Here are my thoughts and observations, when it comes to gender roles. I see two very dangerous extremes hiding behind the labels of egalitarian and complementarian. For many egalitarians, women are their own gods. They seem to be more concerned with the glorification of self than glorifying God. Men get somewhat lost in the shuffle. I’ve seen several egalitarian women accuse men of “mansplaining” for simply quoting Scripture.

    On the other hand, many complementarians have a misunderstanding of what God has ordained for men and women. These genders are frequently abused, by both men and women. I see men using their “headship” to silence their wives (and other women). I also see women manipulating their husbands because they know he should sacrifice for her.

    What are my beliefs? Well, this is where I’m never interested to hear your thoughts. Yes, I am a complementarian. But, not like most. Yes, I do believe God has ordained gender roles. When I study Scripture objectively and wholly, that became clear to me. However, I believe roles for men and for women are often misunderstood.

    I don’t believe men need to be domineering manly man. They should be meek, gentle, loving leaders in their home. Women should not be weak doormats, but strong, wise, and willingly submissive.

    I’m just curious what your thoughts are on gender roles as a whole. Has God ordained them? Do we do away with gender roles as a whole? Do we abuse gender roles?

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    1. I’ve been in an extended conversation on another subject, but the idea of it was that God put into place certain limits in order for people to choose to move beyond the institution itself. I can see the same thing as being a possibility here; God knew that the men and women of the ancient world lived in a time where gender determined your place in the world and what you could do; but he wanted people to choose to do away those limits when they were ready. As a child does away with training wheels once they learn how to maintain a proper balance on their bicycle. But some were determined to remain literal to the letter of the law even though others perceived the spirit of law.
      One way of looking at it as if there is a trajectory; the Bible starts the pitch and the church is expected to continue on course ending up where God planned us to be. Some limit themselves to the pages of the Bible, getting stuck into a time-loop that doesn’t bring this teaching to completion and keeps us stuck in mid-air.
      I think that there were a lot of cultural issues at play behind the scenes as well; in Jesus’ day, speaking with a woman in public was scandalous, her going outside without a head coverings was grounds for divorce, but Jesus broke an awful lot of the rules governing conduct between men and women. When men and women both look to Jesus in christlike-ness, the line between them gets blurred as he’s an example to all of us.

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  2. Jamie as I read through this I noticed how the wording “rule over” occurred twice. Here’s what I’m wondering about…man is to “rule over” woman…Cain is to “rule over” sin…So “man” is analogous to “Cain” and “woman” is analogous to “sin”? Is that what some of these people are teaching? If so, what a totally messed up way of looking at things! All based on “rule over” in two different contexts! S(till it would explain the faulty thought process and the way some groups demonize women.)

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