Sunday, June 29, 2008

A complementarian Gen. 3:16

The theologians on teshuqa

Kostenberger, page 53-54, explains this word,
    Subsequent to the Fall the judgment pronounced on the woman included that her desire (t'shuqa) would be for her husband (Gen. 3:16), which in all likelihood conveys the woman's sinful desire to manipulate and control her husband rather than to lovingly submit to him. This is suggested by the close parallel in the following chapter, where it is said that sin's desire is for Cain, clearly in the sense of desire or mastery (gen. 4:7.)
Grudem writes,
    Susan Foh has effectively argued that the word translated "desire" (Heb. teshûqah) means "desire to conquer," and that it indicates Eve would have a wrongful desire to usurp authority over her husband. (Systematic Theology. page 464)
    The consequences of the fall affect us today. Women experience pain and sorrow n childbearing. Historically, they have sought to usurp male authority and leadership, only to be crushed and oppressed. Men in turn, have abused their God-given role and have been oppressive, domineering, unfair, and unloving. They have often wrongly pronounced women inferior. The modern feminist movement has risen in the past few decades to combat male chauvinism and domination. However, the principle of men ruling over women and women fighting back to overcome this rule cannot be broken by our own efforts. This is not something that has evolved historically and culturally. It is a principle deeply engraved into our sin nature. It is a direct result of the Fall and the judgment of God. Women, Creation and the Fall 28-30
Bruce Ware
    Sin introduced into God's created design many manifestations of disruption, among them a disruption in the proper role-relations between man and woman. As most complementarians understand it, Gen. 3:15-16 informs us that the male/female relationship would now, because of sin, be affected by mutual enmity. In particular, the woman would have a desire to usurp the authority given to man in creation, leading to man, for his part, ruling over woman in what can be either rightfully-corrective or wrongfully-abusive ways.


Just A Berean said...

Interesting how each of them have added to the meaning of teshuqua by defining what is undefined ... the "to". Teshqua means desire, turning, craving, etc. But WHAT is desired must be defined by another word. They seem to think they can just assume what it is that is desired.

According to a more precise reading of Genesis, the woman simply turns toward and desires her husband, there is no desires "to" do anything to him.

Suzanne McCarthy said...

I know - its sad.

Ruth said...

I understand it to mean a woman will desire from her husband what she should only desire from God.
I have seen that in countless marriages, including my own. Women turn to men to give them a reason to live. Men dominate them.
Most "lack of submission" comes from selfishness or as a response to domination.

I'm no linguist, so this is just a reasoning of my own, based on what I've observed.

The complementarian understanding of that verse is very worrying because it sets up the wife as the one who causes marriage discord or a man's wimpish behavior. To be honest, wanting to have his own way is very immature and pretty wimpish too.

Gem said...

This very point was where I first found myself in disagreement with the comp view. Awhile ago, I was (uncritically) reading this article at CBMW:
Love and Respect in Marriage.

QUOTE: From the context of Genesis 3:1-13, where God is pronouncing curses rather than blessings, we can see that the desire mentioned here is not benevolent and healthy; rather it is a compelling urge to control, to dominate, and to master. That is the effect the Fall has had on wives -- the joy and blessing they would have derived from submission within the authority structure of marriage (established by God before the Fall; Gen. 2:18) has been replaced by an innate desire to control and dominate their husbands. This is why wives so easily chafe under authority, even when husbands exercise it in a legitimate way -- as a result of the Fall, submission has become distasteful, not just in marriage, but in all authority structures (just ask your children!). This is why Scripture repeatedly reminds and exhorts those under authority (citizens, members of churches, wives, and children) to overcome their tendency to rebel against it. ENDQUOTE

I live in a woman's skin and this quote struck me as so wrong. It did not resonate at all with my experience. My experience of the destructive form of "desire" is the desire to please, to satisfy, to be "enough" for my husband, no matter that the personal cost to myself was the loss of my identity, personhood, spiritual authority, spiritual inheritance in Christ. :(

Lin said...

"I understand it to mean a woman will desire from her husband what she should only desire from God."

And to make it worse, these people are teaching women to do just that. They have turned the husband into a variation of Christ and the Holy Spirit to his wife! So she is constantly looking to her husband, thinking she is following the Word.


Doug said...

They really are barking mad, aren't they? I must say I think a far simpler reading would suggest that both the woman's desire and the man's rule create a new and unhealthy relationship of male dominance and that this is the result of the curse.

Suzanne McCarthy said...

Yes, they are barking mad. This is deep-seated misogyny and the women who suffer under this teaching are deeply scarred by it. Something needs to be done about it.


I am just horrified by that quote of yours. It is absolutely horrifying.

Danni said...

I heard this interpretation of "desire" all my life in church. Fairly recently I studied it for myself and was surprised to discover the same word is used just 2 other times in the Old Testament. It is used in Gen 4 in a conversation between God and Cain, when God tells Cain that Abel will "desire" him, which cannot logically be interpreted to mean desire to control or manipulate, but would make more sense to mean desire to befriend or be reconciled to. It is also used in Song of Solomon 7:10 in a context which clearly means sexual desire. Now, I guess theologians who believe that sexual desire is inherently and universally sinful might lump this in the same category, but I don't believe that interpretation is justified.

It just makes far more sense to understand the word "desire" to just mean "desire" -- to strongly want something. And in the context of Gen. 3 the juxtapositioning of Eve's strong desire for her husband (relationally? which would balance with both Gen. 4 and Song of Sol. 7) against her husband's new compulsion to rule her is synonymous to the enmity between the serpent and Eve. There will be tension between the two for the rest of time, both between Eve and the serpent, and between Eve and Adam.

But to interpret "desire" as somehow equal to a Satanic compulsion to control and manipulate goes WAY past the literal interpretation these theologians pride themselves on.

-- Danni