In a recent post, I mentioned I read through a commentary of Genesis by Derek Kidner in the Tyndale OT series. It is copyright from 1967. The point in noting its older date, is that I was surprised (pleasantly) by some egalitarian or progressive thoughts on the opening chapters of Genesis.
In the introduction Kidner states, in regards to the Fall:
“The shattering of the harmony of man and wife, not by any mutual disagreement but by their agreeing together against God, proved at once how dependent it had been on His [God’s] unseen participation. Without Him, love would henceforth be imperfect, and marriage would gravitate towards the sub-personal relationship foreshadowed in the terms ‘desire’ and ‘rule.'”
Kidner goes on to say that the rest of Genesis confirms this tendency. “Polygamy is partly to blame for this, but polygamy is itself the symptom of an unbalanced view of marriage, which regards it as an institution in which the wife’s ultimate raison d’etre is the production of children. Where God had created the woman first and foremost for partnership, society made her in effect a means to an end, even if a noble end, and wrote its view into its marriage contracts.”
In regards to the creation of the woman in Genesis 2:18-25, Kidner further states:
“So the woman is presented wholly as his partner and counterpart; nothing is yet said of her as childbearer. She is valued for herself alone.”
Wow. Aren’t these interesting thoughts?
Note that Adam and Eve together are responsible for the Fall – and not Eve alone is blamed.
Note the value given to woman, in and of herself alone, and not only in her ability to bear children.
Note that “desire and rule” is noted to foreshadow how the Fall would effect human relationships, in particular marriage, henceforth. Although not out rightly said, the clear point is that Adam was not Eve’s ruler prior to the Fall.
As Christians we should not be basing our marriages on the curse, but seek to emulate relationships that have been redeemed by Christ, reflecting pre-Fall harmony between husband and wife.
Of course, we remain sinful people, but why would we seek to model our marriages on men ruling and the subjection of women? Why would we want to do anything to encourage a gravitation towards the sub-personal relationships of desire and rule?
Our goal should be marriages of mutuality and partnership.