These are some of the questions I am asking myself. I will post excerpts from a variety of sources, but here is one I don't want to lose. In this passage women do not have equal rights with men,
- The idea of "one flesh" must be given proper emphasis, especially in light of the common understanding of chapter one's emphasis on equality. The term, "equal," is never used in these two chapters, but "one flesh" is used. Unity of the two distinct roles of the man and the woman is more strongly emphasized than equality. The emphasis is not on two individuals who are equal, leading according to their individual strengths, but rather on two individuals who are "one," the man leading and the woman complementing.
The intent in the garden is not to have a man and a woman co-ruling with equal rights, opportunities, and authority based on perceived strengths, but rather to have a man and a woman co-ruling, with the man as leader and the woman coming alongside of him in his tasks based on the mandate of the Creator. Their "togetherness" is not a 50-50 relationship, comprised of two individuals who maximize their effectiveness by focusing on strengths to determine who takes the lead, but rather a complementary relationship with the man leading and the woman completing under the authority of God. Again, the man and the woman will know joy most fully as they learn to live in the manner God created them to live.
Clearly, in this passage, women do not have equal rights with man. Man has the right to be a leader and decision-maker, and woman has the right to help man.
I will be looking at many other kinds of rights in the future, not only gender-based rights.