Why God named the race 'adam'...

(Tim: this is a rerun) The Apostle Paul prohibits the exercise of authority over man by woman, saying "I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man, for Adam was created first, then Eve." (1 Timothy 2:12a)

With this simple statement, Paul explicitly affirms what is implicit throughout God's Word: that the order of creation establishes patriarchy as God's pattern for leadership in human relationships. Addressing the matter of propriety in prayer, the Apostle Paul again emphasizes this order: "For man does not originate from woman, but woman from man; for indeed man was not created for the woman's sake, but woman for the man's sake" (1 Corinthians 11:8,9).

Imagine a new believer, thoroughly confused by our disordered world, discovering the truth of passages such as 1Corinthians 11:3-16, 14:34-35, Ephesians 5:22-33, 1Timothy 2:9-15, and 1Peter 3:1-7. What a deep sense of relief to discover that the order of creation gives us universal principles for the relationships between men and women.

But while the facts of Eve's creation are instructive for establishing proper order between man and woman, Genesis goes on to reveal another important biographical note about Adam and Eve. The significance of this biographical detail, also, is revealed more fully in the New Testament.

The first hint of this element comes after the Fall when God, walking in the Garden in the cool of the day, inquires of Adam, "Where are you?" When Adam responds by explaining that he and Eve found themselves naked and hid, it is notable...

that God directs His follow-up question again to Adam, asking him, "Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?" (Genesis 3:11). [Footnote 1]

It was Adam, not Eve, who was required to explain the tragic alienation from God they both had suffered, and this despite Eve having been the one deceived, [Footnote 2] the first one to sin, and the one who enticed her husband to follow her into that sin. This is neither a small nor unimportant aspect of the Genesis account: it was Adam God first held responsible for the Fall despite Adam being the second sinner in the Garden.

The Holy Spirit records that it is because of the sin of Adam--not Eve--that the race of Adam remains under the curse of judgment and death down to this present day.

Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned--for until the Law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law. Nevertheless death reigned from Adam until Moses, even over those who had not sinned in the likeness of the offense of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come. (Romans 5:12-14).

A quarter-century ago, now, my father noted that, despite efforts to neuter the language of our Faith, he had yet to hear anyone propose that the Church become a 'he' or Satan become a 'she.' Similarly, it seems ironic feminists don't object to the essential inequality between the sexes revealed by this portion of the Biblical account of the Fall. Shouldn't Eve be recognized as the leader in the Garden? Shouldn't Eve have been penalized more severely since she was the one who took the lead in the sin of the Garden? Aren't we being patronizing when we attribute the cosmic penalties of the Fall to Adam's account?

Perhaps feminists fail to argue the issue because this particular point happens to be one where they rather like the clear meaning of God's Word. There's no question but that the Bible is clear enough on this issue... as the New England Primer puts it succinctly:

In Adam's fall

We sinned all.

God's Word makes clear that because God made Eve for Adam and placed her under his authority, it was Adam whom God called to account for the Fall. Adam was the patriarch of his home and his race. This is not to say that Eve escaped personal accountability; in Genesis 3 we read that God also placed Eve under a curse--the punishment that even today brings suffering to all women in childbirth. So too the serpent and his descendants suffer under God's judgment. Yet it is through Adam alone that death comes to all men, it is because of Adam's sin that all creation groans awaiting its release from the corruption of sin (Romans 8:22,23), and it is in Adam that we all die:

For since by a man came death, by a man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive. (1 Corinthians 15:21-22).

One might think Adam's fatherhood over us all is neglected in the Church today because it reinforces patriarchy. I think it more likely that we neglect Adam's federal headship in preaching and teaching because individualistic autonomy is written deep in the hearts of modern man.

Consider, for instance, how long it has been since this kind of theological understanding has appeared in services of infant baptism (or dedication): "O merciful God, grant that the old Adam in this Child may be so buried, that the new man may be raised up in him." [Footnote 3] Federal headship is a doctrine modern man finds hard to swallow. As a result, the significance of Father Adam to his human progeny is slipping away within the Church, just as in the world, leaving the imputation of Adam's sin to all mankind just one more antique notion rooted in the culture of the Biblical writers and needing revision by today's dynamic equivocators.

For centuries Americans have been enamored of the legend of the autonomous loner. It's a cultural ideal we've propagated worldwide. Consider loner movie stars such as Bruce Willis, Clint Eastwood, John Wayne, or Humphrey Bogart, look back on what you remember of character development in the novels of Ernest Hemingway, not to mention Hemingway's personal life, think about Mother Earth News and the idyll of natural self-reliance it and similar cultural organs promoted throughout the Seventies; in each case individualistic autonomy serves as a fairly good interpretive grid for American culture. And it goes without saying that the ideal of the autonomous loner and the doctrine of federal headship are worlds apart.

Yet avoiding the doctrine of Adam's federal headship over all mankind brings harm in three ways. First, we hide one of the principal supports for the patriarchal ordering of the race of Adam which God has written on the hearts of all men. Second, as the federal headship of Adam becomes an obscure doctrine rarely mentioned, the corporate nature of God's ordering of human society which God's Word reveals also is obscured. Third, as the Church, out of a mistaken sense of what is and is not fair, backs away from the imputation of Adam's sin to all men, it must also inevitably back away from the similar imputation of the righteousness of Jesus Christ to His elect.

Feminism is not taking aim simply at the practice of assigning leadership roles by sex; it also is attacking the corporate solidarity of marriage and family life which, historically, has led to so much real suffering on the part of wives and children. Consider, for instance, the misery endured by Abigail while she was married to Nabal; the suffering of Jephthah's daughter;[Footnote 4] or the shame endured on August 17, 1998 by President Clinton's wife, Hillary, and daughter, Chelsea, when the head of their home went on international television to confess he had committed adultery in the Oval Office. Why should the destinies of wives and children be tied to such men? In fact, in such a context who really would have any trouble understanding Chelsea Clinton going back to Stanford and joining the local chapter of the National Organization of Women?

Feminism, then, is bound up with a revolt against these twin pillars of the Biblical account of creation: federal headship and the corporate nature of human society. Both egalitarianism and the autonomous individualism at the heart of feminism are at war with the Biblical story of Adam. But though feminists have not fully recognized it, any attempt to alter the story of Adam involves a parallel destruction of the salvation brought by our blessed Savior. Today those called to preach and teach God's Word must resurrect all the doctrines connected with our father Adam; not just the doctrine of essential patriarchy, but even more importantly, the doctrine of federal headship. Pascal wrote:

Certainly nothing jolts us more rudely than this doctrine, and yet, but for this mystery, the most incomprehensible of all, we remain incomprehensible to ourselves. [Footnote 5]

God has named the human race "adam." This name reinforces what the account of the creation of Adam and Eve reveals; that the first woman was made after and for the first man and that for all time this structure is to be mirrored in the lives of God's people by their living together under patriarchy rather than matriarchy or a utopian egalitarianism. Further, this name also makes clear that every woman or man ever to live has been born under the curse of a God-decreed solidarity with the First Adam, our federal head, and that only those who come under the Head of the Second Adam can be saved. John Murray wrote,

The principle of solidarity is embedded in the Scripture and is exemplified in numerous ways. It is not necessary to enumerate the instances in which the principle comes to expression. It is a patent fact that in God's government of men there are institutions of the family, of the state, and of the church in which solidaric or corporate relationships obtain and are operative. This is simply to say that God's relations to men and the relations of men to one another are not exclusively individualistic; God deals with men in terms of these corporate relationships and men must reckon with their corporate relations and responsibilities. [Footnote 6]

We may very well wish to deny our solidarity with the First Adam but it is fruitless and futile; in him we all died having been one with him in his rebellion in the Garden.

Yet God from the riches of His mercy also calls us to solidarity with the Second Adam through Whom we may have imputed to us, immediately upon faith, a perfect righteousness which is effective "far as the curse is found."

* * *

[Footnote 1] U. Cassuto, A Commentary on the Book of Genesis (Jerusalem: Magnes Press, 1998), part 1: From Adam to Noah, pp. 155-156. Also Nahum M. Sarna, The JPS Torah Commentary: Genesis (Philadelphia: The Jewish Publication Society, 1989), p. 26. See also Raymond C. Ortlund's, "Male-Female Equality and Male Headship: Genesis 1-3," in Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, John Piper and Wayne Grudem, eds., (Wheaton: Crossway Books, 1991), pp. 95-112.

[Footnote 2]2Corinthians 11:3; 1Timothy 2:14.

[Footnote 3]Anglican Prayer Book (1611 edition). Note: this is a prayer of desire, not a declaration of faith.

[Footnote 4] Judges 11.

[Footnote 5]"For it is beyond doubt that there is nothing which more shocks our reason than to say that the sin of the first man has rendered guilty those who, being so removed from this source, seem incapable of participation in it. This transmission does not only seem to us impossible, it seems also very unjust. For what is more contrary to the rules of our miserable justice than to damn eternally an infant incapable of will, for a sin wherein he seems to have so little a share that it was committed six thousand years before he was in existence? Certainly nothing offends us more rudely than this doctrine; and yet without this mystery, the most incomprehensible of all, we are incomprehensible to ourselves." (Blaise Pascal, Pensees; vii.434, W. F. Trotter, trans.) With thanks to S. Lewis Johnson in Bibliotheca Sacra, October-December, 1975. pp. 316-327.

[Footnote 6] John Murray, The Imputation of Adam's Sin (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1959), pp. 5,22.

Comments

"Some years back my father noted that, despite efforts to neuter the language of our Faith, he had yet to hear anyone propose that the Church become a 'he' or Satan become a 'she.' Similarly, it seems ironic that feminists do not object to the essential inequality between the sexes revealed by this portion of the Biblical account of the Fall."

Tim, I wish I had known your father. This observation is brilliant in its simplicity. It's a wonder we haven't had Cathie Kroeger writing about how we've misunderstood this passage all along and how this particular word doesn't really mean what everyone has always figured it meant. Or had a lecture by Mimi Haddad about how we need to start referrring to Satan as "her" in order for us all to feel the warm fuzzies of inclusion. Or yet a book by Bill Webb expounding on the trajectory of bride imagery really showing us how this will abolish all sexual designations.

Well, let's jut say I won't hold my breath waiting for any of that, right?

Kamilla

I never know what to say to egalitarians who say that the account of Adam and Eve in Genesis is fictional. I.e., they hold that the initial chapters of Genesis is NOT fact-narrative.

So when I'm emphasizing Adam, they say that it's a literal interpretation that they themselves don't hold to.

Then we have to go down the hermeneutical discussion trail whilst I labor under the (usually unspoken) epithets of "literalist" or "creationist".

Tim,

I must admit that sometimes I begin to doubt and think you hit these matters too hard. But then I run across something like the blog post I discovered today in which a group of women students at one of our "finer" Evangelical institutions of higher learning delight in denying their femininity, their very womanliness. Instead, they think it's "cool" to decribe their feminist student club by the acronym -- BUFF.

How very sad. It makes me so thankful for your faithfulness, even when you take so many hits, still you stand.

Kamilla

Tim:

I've been reading your blog for quite some time, and I find it very refreshing to see a pastor that is holding true to the scriptures. Though I do not believer the problems that we face in the PCA are just limited to egalitarianism, but is the merging of two philosophy, that being paternalism and egalitarianism. Churches that have merged these two belief system have definitely lost their moorings, and are a drift. The mixture of these teachings have resulted in my pastor, a pastor that is thought of well in the PCA, to inform my wife that it is not sin for her to divorce me, even thought I have not committed adultery or willful desertion of her.

I have complained about this in accordance to the BCO, but I fear that any final ruling on this complaint will be ruled in favor of my pastor. The SJC has already ruled my complaint out of order, even though I have complained to Presbytery twice in accordance with our BCO prior to complaining to the GA.

To learn a little more about my plight, please visit www.spepchurch.com...

Tim;
You're dead-on when you write "those called to preach and teach God's Word must resurrect all the doctrines connected with our father Adam; not just the doctrine of essential patriarchy." Essentially patriarchal Christianity is indeed. You reminded me of this from Margaret Daphne Hampson, a leading British feminist-theologian and former Christian:
"It is conservative Christians who, together with more radical feminists, perceive that feminism represents not just one crisis among many. For the feminist challenge strikes at the heart of Christianity. Christianity, and Judaism, are religions which reflect a patriarchal world: God is represented as male, and in bibliclal religion men and women are often conceived to be differently placed both in relation to God and to one another. The religion of the Hebrew bible largely concerns the relation of a (male) God and His sons. In Christianity the basic symbol of the religion has been the trinity, the relation of Father and Son, through whom humanity is said to be taken up into God. Women may well not have much interest in this whole symbolic order" (Theology and Feminism. Blackwell, 1990, pp. 1-2. Available via Google Books). I wonder how many egalitarian evangelicals really understand where guild-feminism is leading them?

This is somewhat related to my comment above....

Please take a look at this post about Professor Tremper Longman, who may be a PCA pastor (I'm not sure), who is not certain about the historicity of Adam:

http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/justintaylor/2009/09/21/tremper-longman-on-the-historicity-of-adam/

What say thee Tim about this?

No Adam.... then there goes one of the big arguments against the egalitarians and egalitarianism.

Tremper Longman has been bad news for years. Back in the day, I remember him holding court at GA with all the young dudes who opposed our church witnessing against our wives and daughters being drafted and serving as military combatants.

There was a large sigh of relief at Westminster Philly when he left for Westmont. Westminster's gain and Westmont's loss, although Westmont wouldn't see it that way.

So now you report Tremper's questioning the historicity of Adam. If so, someone in his presbytery needs to make use of our denomination's much-vaunted "connectionalism." But no need to talk about him. He's proven yet again to be a man incapable of deep thinking. Robust orthodoxy is not to his liking. He's a little man--little courage and little faith.

Sincerely,

If I had to choose between what's worse between

(A) Tim Keller and unordained women deacons

or

(B) Tremper Longman and his teaching and waffling over the historicity of Adam

... both of which are connected in the argument against egalitarianism and WO, then I'd probably say (B) is worse.

>>Tim Keller and unordained women deacons

That's only a small indicator of Tim Keller's errors.

But if there were some hypothetical PCA teaching elder whose error was simply the promotion of woman deacons, I'd choose his error over Tremper's every single day. The good thing is that Tremper's only an academic, and therefore largely impotent.

Love,

Tim Bayly: "That's only a small indicator of Tim Keller's errors."

Errors.

That leads me to ask the following question: What is the difference between theological error and theological heresy?

How does one know whether a teaching and/or practice is theological error or theological heresy? And how much worse is heresy than error?

>>How does one know whether a teaching and/or practice is theological error or theological heresy? And how much worse is heresy than error?

Not sure, dear brother, but I have some thoughts. Sadly, I'm up to my eyeballs...

Love,

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