Question:

Is God in Genesis 3:16 talking to Eve specifically, or all women in general? If so, how isn't God being the modern term of a sexist?


Answer:

"To the woman He said: "I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception; In pain you shall bring forth children; your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you"" (Genesis 3:16).

When Adam and Eve sinned, God set some permanent consequences for their decisions. The woman was assigned pain in childbirth and subjection to her husband's authority. These consequences are ongoing as can be seen in Isaiah 26:17, John 16:21, and Ephesians 5:22-24, as well as in the world around us today.

In order to be accurately labeled as "sexist," God would need to treat Eve harsher than Adam. "Then to Adam He said, "Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying, 'You shall not eat of it': "Cursed is the ground for your sake; In toil you shall eat of it All the days of your life. Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you, And you shall eat the herb of the field. In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread Till you return to the ground, For out of it you were taken; For dust you are, And to dust you shall return"" (Genesis 3:16-19). Man was given the consequence of having to struggle and labor throughout his life to provide for himself and his dependents. In addition, since his wife is in subjection to him, he has the responsibility to care for her as well (See I Peter 3:7).

Who got the better deal? The woman who has pains for a season of her life, or the man who must labor through his whole life? The woman who has to submit to authority, or the man who is held responsible for how he treats those under his charge?

by Andrew Hamilton

So basically what you are trying to get at is that child-birth and submitting to her husband's authority is equal to hard labor and being held responsible for the wife's actions. I'm a little confused on your statement of  "or the man who is held responsible for how he treats those under his charge." Isn't a woman held responsible for how she treats those under her charge?

The other part I am now having a hard time understanding is the part where he rules over her in the first place. It says earlier in Genesis that man is to rule over all the animals. Now, clearly God didn't make animals and men equal. So when I came to this verse we are discussing now, and the context given, it comes across like He didn't in fact make them equal. (Yes I know I am mistaken and I do believe He made us equal, I just don't understand this verse.)

Thank you for taking the time to respond. This is something I have really been struggling with, and you have provided me with a lot to think and pray about.

Actually the point is that people tend to think that their problems are worse than others. You see the consequences given to Eve's sin and think that God is biased against women while simultaneously ignoring the consequences given to Adam's sin. It is that type of thinking that is biased toward one sex ("sexist") and not God's treatment of sinners.

In America we value the truth that all men are created equal and we try to uphold the principle of equality under the law. But that equality does not mean that everyone has the same job or the same responsibilities. In the church men and women are equal in regards to salvation. "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus" (Galatians 3:28). But that does not mean we all have the same duties or the same responsibilities.

"For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body -- whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free -- and have all been made to drink into one Spirit. For in fact the body is not one member but many. If the foot should say, "Because I am not a hand, I am not of the body," is it therefore not of the body? And if the ear should say, "Because I am not an eye, I am not of the body," is it therefore not of the body? If the whole body were an eye, where would be the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where would be the smelling? But now God has set the members, each one of them, in the body just as He pleased. And if they were all one member, where would the body be? But now indeed there are many members, yet one body. And the eye cannot say to the hand, "I have no need of you"; nor again the head to the feet, "I have no need of you." No, much rather, those members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary. And those members of the body which we think to be less honorable, on these we bestow greater honor; and our unpresentable parts have greater modesty, but our presentable parts have no need. But God composed the body, having given greater honor to that part which lacks it, that there should be no schism in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another. And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it. Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually" (I Corinthians 12:13-27).

It should be obvious that men and women were not made to be exactly the same. Yet a few mistakenly believe that equality cannot exist without every aspect of everyone's lives must be exactly the same. It is a false conclusion.