Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The Gender Consequences of the Fall

I've stated earlier that God knew marriage was temporary (see the link in the title). It will not be our state in eternity, and I am forced to believe that this must have been the case before the Fall, not only after it. Certainly, God not only knows what he's doing, he always knew it and always will (omniscience). If you follow this thought to its logical conclusion, it means that Adam and Eve may have been in good condition, but were not in their ultimate state before the Fall (see 1 Corinthians 13:9-12). Created gender--male and female he created them-- was a purely functional, and merely temporary contrivance.

This fact is verified in the NT by Galatians 3:26-29, which teaches that in Christ (the eternal condition) there is neither male nor female, everyone is merely a son. Gender is not an eternal verity, it is just a passing means to an end; therefore, our born again approach to gender better not rely upon created order, nor current physical reality, or it will miss what is of eternal significance. Doubtless, those considerations have had some value in history, but they will have none in eternity.

Gender authority distinctions were introduced to the human race with the curse. After Adam and Eve were confronted by God for sin (willful independence in opposition to God) they were cursed as follows: the male would rule over the female though it would be her desire [to master him] (see Genesis 4:7 for the grammatical construction). The effect of sin upon the interaction of husband and wife would be the development of a hierarchical relationship which would result in a battle of wills rather than a partnership in mission. Such a structure is clearly the result of sin and the curse rather than the design of God.

So why is gender such a controversial issue in the church today? Egalitarians pay little heed to it, complementarians see it as determinative. I see that sin and the curse have been dealt with in Christ, and that faith embraces the eternal promise of God, even while we still waste away in a world that is still wasting away. For freedom we have been set free. Is it not well past time for the church, particularly her men, to rise up and set the captives free from the gender consequences of the Fall?

Addendum: Check out this post on women leaders in Wesleyan movements.

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