Saturday, June 28, 2008

Who is allowed to desire?

There has been some discussion of teshuqa or "desire" in Gen. 3:16 on Denny Burk's blog. I will not enter the fray there on that one. Mainline scholarship still assigns to it the meaning "desire." However, this is the way 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.)

    In the third and only other instance of the term translated "desire" in these passages, Song of Solomon 7:10, the woman exclaims, "I am my beloved's, and his desire is for me." Rather than the woman's desire being illegitimately to control her husband, a restoration of the original state is envisioned in which the husband's desire will be for his wife.
Actually, it is hard to make sense of this, but the implication seems to be that for a woman to desire her husband is manipulative control, but for a husband to desire his wife is a return to paradise. Since marriage, in the Eden state, is an authority-submission relationship, desire on the part of the wife is not in view.

This is a major textbook on marriage for complementarians. That's the problem. From other complementarian writing you get the impression that romantic love is quite important and even possibly a mutual affair.

On the next page, 55, Kostenberger contradicts himself, mercifully,
    Liberated from the self-centredness of sin and from the desire to manipulate one's spouse to have one's own needs met, the marriage partners are free to love their spouse in a spirit that is completely self-giving and hence able to love and enjoy the other person without fear of rejection, abuse, or domination.
Here Kostengerger writes in mutual terms of spouses, not the husband vs the wife, etc. He hits the nail on the head. Both spouses, wife and husband, want to be free from a fear of rejection or domination.


Lin said...

on teshuqa

Bushnell does some research on the translation of this word that is interesting. Seems the early church fathers translated it as "turning".

Suzanne McCarthy said...

Thanks, Lin, it certainly has had a very diverse history.