By M.M. Johann of The Tenets of Unbiblical Patriarchy. Originally posted here. This is part of a new series critiquing Vision Forum’s Tenets of Biblical Patriarchy. Please remember that while the contributors to this website are united in our belief that there are problems with the teachings of Vision Forum, we come from a variety of diverse perspectives.
Tenet 3. God ordained distinct gender roles for man and woman as part of the created order. Adam’s headship over Eve was established at the beginning, before sin entered the world. (Gen. 2:18ff.; 3:9; 1 Cor. 11:3,7; 1 Tim. 2:12-13)
Gen 2:18 – And the LORD God said, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.”
Who is referred to as “man” here? Some would say all males of all eras, and all women are made to be helpers. But that is not in the text. What it safely and certainly mean, is that God made Adam a helper/ helpmeet, and that helper was female. Beyond that, we try to read things into scripture which is not in there. Some read helping as a defined women’s role, but nothing in there say all females are made to be helpers and no men are.
What is more, nothing in there imply inferiority of the helper, or authority of the helped. The Hebrew word translated as helper is usually used for God. (As in Ps. 121:2 My help cometh from the Lord.) The weak cannot help as that word imply. (Isa 30:5)
Gen. 3:9 – Then the LORD God called to Adam and said to him, “Where are you?”
The idea that Patriarchs have here is that God called Adam because he and Eve had different roles, and different roles make for different responsibilities. But the text doesn’t spell out God’s motive. Other ways Christians understand this we will expand on the point.
I Cor. 11:3, 7 – But I want you to know that the head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God. … For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God; but woman is the glory of man.
These verses were commented on in tenet 2.
I Tim. 2:12-13 – And I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence. For Adam was formed first, then Eve.
When Paul say “I do not permit” he means that Paul does not permit, not that God does not permit. (See 1 Cor. 7:10 and :12 for how he distinguish between his advice and God’s.) Notice, for example, that Priscilla is a co-worker of him (Rom 16:3), who taught Apollos, a man “mighty in the scriptures.” (Acts 18:24,26)
a) God ordained distinct gender roles for man and woman
“Helper” is not directly proven, from the Bible, to be a role of any human beside Eve herself. No role is spelled out in Gen. 3:9. 1 Cor. 11:3 calls either Adam or all men “head” in some way that may or may not have to do with authority. If it is all men, it is a sort of gender role, regardless of what head mean. If it refers only to Adam, no gender role is spelled out there. In 1 Tim 2:12-13, Paul is speaking for himself.
b) as part of the created order.
If man being head is a gender role, 1 Cor. 11:3 doesn’t spell out this role is part of the created order. 1 Tim. 2 mention the creation order, but links it to Paul’s opinion and not God’s will.
c) Adam’s headship over Eve
That is a possible reading of 1 Cor. 11:3, but we have not established what head meant in the Greek the Bible was written in.
d) was established at the beginning, before sin entered the world.
See point b). The same comments apply here.
Other ways Christians understand this:
Gen 2:18 can be interpreted in several ways:
- Man may refer only to Adam, and it may say that God made a helper for lonely Adam. Not for all men, just Adam.
- Or it may say God made helpers for needy men. It does not spell out that all women are helpers, only that God made helpers, and that Eve were the first of them.
- Or it may say that God made a helper for the first human, and still make helpers (of whatever gender) to lonely or needy humans (of whatever gender.)
- Or it may say that men need women, and women were created to be helpers.
What it does not say, is that this help is assistance and obedience. Nothing imply that this kind of help mean lifting a finger. It could be that by her mere essence, she helped the lonely Adam.
As for God calling Adam after they sinned in Gen. 3, it may be that he called both the man and the woman when calling Adam. Gen 5:2 say: Male and female created he them; and blessed them, and called their name Adam, in the day when they were created.
Or he could have called the man first, because the man was guiltier. Kay Bonikowsky gives this answer:
Adam willfully broke God’s covenant. He believed eating the fruit was wrong, yet he ate anyway.
- Adam broke God’s covenant. (Hosea 6:7)
- Adam knowingly disobeyed, and because of this he was held responsible. (Romans 5:14)
Eve was deceived by the serpent into eating. To be deceived means to believe something false. Eve believed eating was good, not wrong.
- Eve was thoroughly deceived when she ate the fruit. (1 Tim 2:14)
- She was led astray by the serpent’s cunning. (2 Cor.11:3)
- She said herself, “The serpent deceived me and I ate.” (Gen. 3:6)
God looks at the heart, the motives. (1 Sam 16:7)
Summing it up
How reliable is this tenet? I will use a color code:
The color code:
This is adequately Biblically defended
It can be Biblically defended, but so can another view
This is not Biblically defended
3. God ordained distinct gender roles for man and woman as part of the created order. Adam’s headship over Eve was established at the beginning, before sin entered the world.