Sunday, 30 November 2014

Why Men Need Women: A Brief Reflection on Genesis 2:15-25

According to Genesis 2:18, ‘the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper as his partner.”’ But why isn’t it good for the man to be alone?

There are two possible answers that stand out to me. First, in Genesis 2:15, the Lord God takes the man (’ādām) and places him ‘in the garden of Eden to till it and keep it.’ Humanity (’ādām) has responsibilities; it is to ensure the garden flourishes; and the presence of another from the man (’ādām), an other from the same, the woman (’îššāh) alongside the man (’îš), will enable humanity (’ādām) to fulfil its duties.

The second possible answer is this: given the Lord God’s requirement that the man (’ādām) should not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (2:17), the man (’îš) needs another – the woman (’îššāh) – to help him resist any temptation to eat from this tree. Perhaps this is why the serpent targets the woman (’îššāh; 3:1). The woman is the man’s helper (‘ezer; 2:17); there is no reason for the man to doubt the woman’s good intentions when she passes him the forbidden fruit (3:6). In much the same way, the woman had no reason to doubt the intentions of the serpent.

Whatever else might be extrapolated from these verses about gender roles and the place of women in ecclesiastical authority and leadership, it seems to clear to me that men and women are to worship (‘to till it and keep it’ evokes the language of temple worship) together and to avoid sin together.

1 comment:

  1. Please find an Illuminated Understanding of Adam & Eve in the Garden of Indestructible Light
    Of course the entire Christian world-view and thus its applied politics is generated by the ancient "spirit" (nervous system) versus "flesh" warfare.
    This masculine antagonism towards the "flesh" is also the root cause of the entirely irrational "catholic" opposition to women being priests.
    Eve also represents in very "concrete" terms the left side of the body.
    The Latin word for left is sinister.
    Once upon a time left-handers were treated with great suspicion. Even having to undergo brutal attempts to "cure" them of their "malady".
    There is of course tremendous opposition in the Western world re anything to do with left-wing (feminized) politics.