Be-Ware of Assertions!
Recently I came across a list of “ten reasons God designed there to be male headship” by “complementarian” Bruce Ware. I will list and comment, because it’s a good study in how people eisegete (read into) the scriptures their preconceived agenda.
- The order of creation, with the man created first, indicates God’s design of male headship in the male/female relationship (Gen 2; 1 Tim 2:13).
- The means of the woman’s creation as “out of” or “from” the man bears testimony also to the headship of the male in the relationship (Gen 2:23; 1 Cor 11:8).
- While both man and woman are fully the image of God (Gen 1:26-28), yet the woman’s humanity as “image of God” is established as she comes from the man. Adam names her “isha” (woman) because she was “taken out of ish (man)” (Gen 2:23; cf. 5:3).
- The woman was created for the man’s sake or to be Adam’s helper (Gen 2:18, 20).
- Man (not woman) was given God’s moral commandment in the garden; and woman learned God’s moral command from the man (Gen 2:16-17).
- Man named the woman both before and after the entrance of sin (Gen 2:19-20, 23, 3:20).
- Satan approached the woman (not the man) in the temptation, usurping God’s design of male-headship (Gen 3; 1 Tim 2:14).
- Although the woman sinned first, God comes to the man first, holding him (not her) primarily responsible for their sin (Gen 3:8-9; Rom 5:12-19; 1 Cor 15:22).
- The curses on the man and woman indicate the fundamental purposes for which each was created, respectively (Gen 3:16-19).
- The Trinity’s equality and distinction of Persons is mirrored in male-female equality and distinction (1 Cor 11:3).
There is no such stated or implied “headship” anywhere in Gen. 2 or 1 Tim. 2:13. These are the passages being debated, not undisputed ones. So this is an example of presuming the conclusion in the premises, or circular reasoning. The facts about the order of creation are just that: order, chronology. There is no hint of authority or rule between humans in the creation account at all. Instead, in Gen. 1:28 God explicitly gives both male and female rule over creation.
Gen. 2:23 simply says Eve was made for Adam, nothing more. Verse 18 has God stating the first thing that is “not good”: that the man should be alone. So the man needed help, and Eve was it. The Hebrew indicates one who stands facing another, an equal or comrade-in-arms, a partner. And the Hebrew word for “help”, ezer, is used often of God Himself, proving that the helper is equal to or greater than the one in need. And the fact that Eve was made from Adam proves her equality to him, being of exactly the same “flesh and bone”.
Both male and female were made in the image of God directly (1:27) and there is no fine print or disclaimer to state any difference between them in this regard. Ware’s reference to 5:3 is to the terminology of children being made in the likeness of their parents-- NOT their spouses! Eve came from Adam but she was not his child, so the reference is meaningless to prove Ware’s point. There is simply no way to squirm out of the plainly stated fact that Eve was made directly in the image of God exactly as Adam. His naming of her as “woman” is never, anywhere in the Bible, called an act of authority. Not once. In fact, Abraham’s slave Hagar named God (Gen. 16:13), but who would take that as an act of authority?
Yes-- because Adam needed help, and Eve could provide whatever he lacked. This in no way indicates inferiority of position or of being a mere assistant. No scripture ever portrays Eve as being inferior to Adam. The assertion being imposed here onto scripture is that helper must always mean assistant, and some complementarians have gone so far as to make God inferior to man when He helps him! (see This Article)
This is pure fiction. No place in scripture ever says Eve lied or was mistaken when she said that GOD told her the command (Gen. 3:2). Eve never attributes the command to Adam or as coming through Adam.
So? Does scripture say this was an act of authority? No, it does not.
Scripture never states why the serpent approached the woman, but it does say Adam was standing right there next to her (Gen. 3:6) during the entire temptation. He said nothing; he did nothing; he showed no authority or backbone at all. There is no hint of “male headship” in the passage whatsoever; Ware simply made this up.
Both Adam and Eve were directly held responsible for only their own sin; Adam was never held to account for Eve’s sin. But if Ware is right, then he just shot down his own assertion that Eve didn’t get the command from God but from Adam! She could not have SINNED against anyone but God (Psalm 51:4), so she can only be charged with sinning first if she had gotten the command from God. And was Adam not sinning as he failed to exercise his alleged responsibility for / authority over Eve, who never tempted Adam but simply handed him the fruit, which he ate without hesitation?
No, they indicate the difference in their sins and responses to God. Adam sinned with his eyes wide open and blamed both Eve and God for it (Gen. 3:12), and never tried to complain that Eve had usurped his alleged authority. God never said anything to Adam about failing in his responsibilities to lead and protect. But Eve stated the truth: that the serpent had beguiled her and so she ate (Gen. 3:13). She never tried to complain that Adam had failed to instruct her properly about the command, or that he failed to protect her. There is not one shred of support from scripture for Ware’s assertion.
Distinction, yes-- hierarchy, no! Ware can make inferences till the cows come home but the fact remains that all members of the Trinity make up one God-- not three, as the ancient Arian heresy being revived today claims.