Genesis 3: The Fall of Man
So, reading about the Fall of Man in Genesis 3, this is what I was thinking about and focusing on.
In vs. 16, Eve is given the consequences of eating the fruit. Specifically, God says that He will “greatly increase your pains in childbearing; with pain you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.”
First, although there is no mention of Eve having kids before this time (and perhaps she didn’t) the fact that God says that He will increase the pains of childbirth implies that there was access to less painful childbirth before. This sort of mildly contradicts the popular Mormon idea that Eve could not have kids until after they ate the fruit. (The LDS thinking that some people believe—including me when I was LDS—is that God gave two conflicting commandments—don’t eat the fruit, and be fruitful and multiply. However, until they ate the fruit, they would not have been able to have kids.)
Next is the feminist problem–God says that Eve’s desire will be for her husband, and he will rule over her. Now, I think that it is commonly held that the consequences for both Adam and Eve have sort of held true historically for gender throughout—having kids is really painful (and dang it, so is breastfeeding!), and men have traditionally taken on the physical roles of growing food, and otherwise providing for their families (although obviously less so right now in our society) (see vs. 17-18).
But does this mean that Kullervo rules over me? I mean, he’s an intelligent, sexy stud, so of course my desire is for him. But does he rule over me? Should he? What did God mean by that?
I think that one could interpret it in more ways than it seems with the first read through. Some options:
1. Woman was the one who introduced the fruit and offered it to Man. Thus, Woman appeared to have more power. Putting Man in charge officially sort of equals out those roles that they fell into.
2. God was not saying how it necessarily should be. What if God was saying that the way that it will wind up being is that Man thinks he gets to club Woman over the head barbarian style… and that style has continued in complementarian Christianity, as well as plenty of other religions and cultures, for a really, really long time. So, perhaps God was letting Eve know about the de facto future where men sort of have a tendency to dominate.
3. God thinks Man should be in charge.
4. A synonym for ‘to rule’ is ‘to predominate’. And men sort of rule the Bible—there aren’t a ton of stories about women. So, maybe a consequence is that women don’t get their stories told.
Now, for me, I’m sort of cool with being dominated. (haha! I couldn’t resist the sexual innuendo there, so, let me give an official ‘just kidding’.) In all seriousness though (or as much as I can muster at any given point in time, anyway), I do think that men and women are different and there are different gender roles that we tend to fall into. I’m okay with that. I embrace my femininity, and I like Kullervo’s manliness. (And while I know this isn’t PC, I really, really don’t know what to do with a crying grown man, and that’s sort of part of it, and I very much appreciate that Kullervo doesn’t cry about his feelings—only about war movies.)
I don’t know if God thinks men should be in charge. And I don’t really care one way or the other. Practically, I think that couples need to figure out the best way that they interact and work together with their unique strengths and weaknesses, and do it that way. And that God is probably more concerned with people making it work than with who is presiding over whom. For Kullervo and me, this means that he does the dishes and takes out the trash and I sit around eating bon bons and yelling at the kids. What? Don’t judge me.