Genesis 1-3 and the Male/Female Role Relationship -- By: Michael F. Stitzinger

Journal: Grace Theological Journal
Volume: GTJ 02:1 (Spring 1981)
Article: Genesis 1-3 and the Male/Female Role Relationship
Author: Michael F. Stitzinger


Genesis 1-3
and the Male/Female Role Relationship

Michael F. Stitzinger

An examination of certain considerations in Genesis 1–3 {Gen 3} contributes to a proper view of a hierarchical distinction between male and female. Genesis 1 primarily emphasizes the relationship of spiritual equality. Genesis 2 focuses upon the positional distinction in the area of function. Contrary to the feminist position, several indications reveal that a hierarchical relationship exists prior to the fall of mankind. The New Testament consistently upholds this same relationship between male and female. Genesis 3 indicates that the sexes reversed their respective roles with their fall into sin. An aspect of the curse that is subsequently placed upon the woman is Genesis 3:16b, which indicates that sin affected the hierarchical relationship, but did not disannul it. Thedesire of the woman provides a reminder to all women that the subordinate role still remains as her correct posture. As a consequence of sin, man will often abuse his headship, exercising hisrule harshly over the woman. Together, the first 3 chapters of Genesis {Gen 1-Gen 3} consistently argue for a continuing hierarchical order between male and female.

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I. Introduction

One of the most important subjects of our day is that of the role of women. Our society is in the midst of a sexual revolution. Increasing confusion has developed about our identities as men and women. A diminishing influence of the Judeo-Christian heritage, the rise of the feminist movement, and pressure for the Equal Rights Amendment have called into question traditional understandings of sexual roles. This has created great uncertainty in our contemporary situation both inside and outside of the church about what it means

to be a man or a woman.1 As John Davis observes, “The proper roles of men and women in marriage and family, in the church, and in the wider society are the subject of an ongoing debate that has touched us all.”2

Under the guise of the term “evangelical,” many current writers are advocating positions that are acceptable to the women’s liberation movement. Individuals such as Paul Jewett,3 Virginia Mollenkott,

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