God’s Role for Women
This is a Bible study that I originally did for myself many years ago after my divorce. I hadn’t grown up in a Christian home nor did I have a very good relationship with my mother. In addition my marriage had ended because of abuse. My self-esteem was in the negative. So, I went in search of what God expected of me as a woman and of my legacy as a woman of God.
I began with what I knew of women’s roles in society. All through history until the latter 19th century men’s and women’s roles had been fairly consistent. Fathers taught sons and mothers taught daughters what their responsibilities were by simply putting them to work beside them most the time. They taught by example and experience. Because life was very physical and very hard children didn’t have time to become bored. Hard work, honesty and commitment were valued and divorce was the exception rather than the rule. With the rights movements of the 20th century the pendulum has swung far to the opposite end and many of these values are being thrown away. Marriage is now simply a trial that can be ended due to “no fault” divorce laws, if people even bother to get married.
Yes, this is an oversimplification but this is a blog not a book.
Because society’s expectations were so confusing I decided that to know what God expected of me I needed to study his word and see what He wrote about women and thus began my study of women in the Bible.
Obviously the first woman I studied was Eve. We find Eve in the book of Genesis 1:26, 27 and 2:18-25 and Genesis 3. Eve was the mother of all living; the first woman; the last work of creation. She was made specifically for Adam to be his help meet. She was not made just out of the dust of the earth but from Adam’s rib. She had the privilege of living in the Garden of Eden, walking in the cool of the day beside her husband with the God of creation. She and Adam were made by God, perfect and unblemished by the world and sin. At least in the beginning that was true. We don’t know how much time passed before they committed sin because time wasn’t measured in the Biblical accounts of Adam and Eve.
Eve gets a lot of bad press because she is blamed for all the sin that entered the world. She is solely blamed because she gave in to temptation first. But, I like to look at people in the Bible and try to put myself in their position. It’s too easy for us today to criticize people of old based upon our experience.
Let’s look at what happened. Eve was out walking by herself when it happened. You’ll notice that the serpent didn’t try to deceive her and Adam together but just her by herself. He is still using those tactics today – divide and conquer and isolation. He’s not very inventive is he? So, he came up to her and started asking her questions about God and caused her to question God’s intent. Satan still does that today. He causes us to question and doubt God. And, keep in mind that she and Adam didn’t have the written word to read or memorize so they could quote it back at him the way Jesus did when he had his 40 days of temptation in the wilderness. So, Eve gave in to temptation, ate the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil and Loved It. She loved it so much she took it to Adam.
Now, here we have to take note. Adam could have stood up as the “man of the family” and “head of the household” and told her no he would not join in her sin. But, he didn’t do that. He ate the fruit also and Loved it. Immediately they both recognized their sin and covered themselves and hid from God. When God came looking for them He knew what had happened, why and the consequences.
But God called them out and he asked what happened to see what they’d say. Well, Adam blamed Eve telling God he had been led into sin by “that woman you gave me”. He basically blamed God for the woman God created for him. Eve admitted the serpent had deceived her. The serpent of course took no blame for himself.
He had to abide by the laws He set into motion otherwise they would mean nothing. So, he killed an animal to give them skins to wear and cast them out of the Garden with the accompanying punishments.
But, if you look at the punishments Eve was not the only one punished. God punished each sinner uniquely. All were put out of the Garden. Adam was then to till the land and do hard labor his whole life. Eve was to have pain in childbirth. She was subject to her husband and he was now over her. The serpent was now to crawl on his belly. And her heel was to one day bruise his head. Even though this prophetically speaks of Christ overcoming through his death and resurrection it also shows an enmity against women from that point on taught by the serpent, or Satan as we now know him to be, forever.
So, Eve did commit the first sin. But, Adam didn’t exercise any leadership but simply followed her.
God had set Adam and Eve in the Garden side by side. Sin put a divide between them and God had to set up a family order. But, God’s plan was that Adam was to provide and protect Eve to prevent a repeat of what happened in the Garden and Eve was to submit to that leadership. She was also to be the mother of future generations.
Next week we’ll look at some of the challenges that Eve faced in their new life outside the Garden.
Please read these scriptures and feel free to comment and discuss within this blog.