“Some of us are becoming the men we wanted to marry.” ~Gloria Steinem
One of Paul’s most in-your-face comments in 1 Timothy 2: 13-14. The apostle writes, “For Adam was formed first, then Eve; and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor.” Utter those words and the Gender Police immediately storm the room to charge you with sexual stereotyping and demand an apology or a retraction. Nevertheless, it’s apparent to reasonable minds that this “offensive” New Testament has improved the lives of women wherever it has taken root. And there’s no doubt among people who actually study the Bible that everything it contains has been inserted by God for a specific reason. So I wonder what Paul is suggesting here, and what God has in mind.
Eve was deceived by the serpent. Genesis affirms that she believed Satan’s promise that eating the fruit would open her eyes and enable her to be like God. That’s obviously why she succumbed to temptation. But Scripture also makes it clear (3:6) that Adam was standing beside her when the serpent baited her with misinformation. Yes, Eve was deceived, but Adam was simply willful. He had been given complete instructions about this tree earlier in Genesis 2:16. Eve was not created until some time later in Genesis 2:22. We can’t be sure she even knew all the laws of Eden, but her husband did. Why did Adam fail her?
All these centuries later, we find the principles of Genesis are still true: women tend to sin when they are deceived or seduced, while men more commonly make very deliberate, willful choices to disobey God. No, women aren’t ignorant. They are simply more relational while men are more competitive. Relational people tend to put more stock in the promises other people make. Women tend to care about needs in other people’s lives, and offering assistance. Nobody who is paying attention was surprised by the informal survey that made headlines this week with the claim that women are “more moral” than men. It’s a fact that rape, molestation, and pornography are almost entirely male offenses. Granted, a lot of rugged guys don’t give in to urges like these, but women virtually never do. Our nation will never be embarrassed by headlines about a dozen female Secret Service agents soliciting prostitutes in Colombia.
On the other hand, women still fall victim to lies foisted on them by people who gain a foothold in their lives. For example, shacking up has numerous advantages for men and virtually no benefits for women. Guys get free sex, no commitments, a better diet, free laundry, plus throw pillows on the bed; and often times get free room & board, and access to her credit cards as well. Women just get delayed and often completely shafted. Watch two or three TV courtroom shows and count the number of young women who come to court trying to get money, cars, and some degree of satisfaction from men who moved in, ate their food, borrowed their money, maxed out their credit cards and then moved on. Woman, thy name is Legion!
My point here is not that all women are gullible or that all men are arrogant. Rather, I find it insightful that God’s Word observed these general trendlines among the sexes just about 2,000 years ago. I wonder how many other timeless, practical insights we might harvest from the Bible if we dared to take off our blindfolds, read it objectively, and discuss it honestly. It might actually be liberating to confess that while God made men and women equal in his sight, he did not make us identical or interchangeable. Think about it.
And lift up the cross!