The Subordination Challenge: In Which Proponents Are Asked To Prove Their Case From The Bible. -- By: Gilbert Bilezikian

Journal: Priscilla Papers
Volume: PP 16:1 (Winter 2002)
Article: The Subordination Challenge: In Which Proponents Are Asked To Prove Their Case From The Bible.
Author: Gilbert Bilezikian


The Subordination Challenge:
In Which Proponents Are Asked To Prove Their Case From The Bible.

Gilbert Bilezikian

Challenge #2

Gilbert Bilezikian is professor emeritus of Biblical Studies at Wheaton College (IL) and cofounder of Willow Creek Community Church in South Barrington, Illinois. Among the books of which he is the author are Beyond Sex Roles and Community 101.

Challenge #2

Cite a text from the Bible that assigns women subordinate status in relation to men because Adam was created before Eve.

Presented here is the second of ten challenges being presented in Priscilla Papers to prompt Christians to grapple with biblical facts rather than accepting without question traditional assumptions about female roles and following blindly institutionalized misreadings of Scripture.

The facts

In the first chapter of Genesis, the sequence of Creation moves, in increasing levels of sophistication, from material things to plants, to animals, and finally, to humans. According to chapter two, the process culminates with the creation of the woman. Obviously, chronological primacy was not intended to denote superior rank. No such lesson is drawn within those two chapters from the fact that the man was created before the woman.

In 1 Corinthians 11, an argument is presented for women to wear a head covering during worship. It is based on the differences in status between men and women that derive from the fact that man was created first (v. 7-10).

But according to the same text, all those considerations have been decisively swept aside “in the Lord”; that is, in the Christian community (v. 11). In the new covenant, both men and women are in a relation of originative interdependence since men must recognize that they owe their existence to women just as woman was made from man. Only the primacy of God as Creator of all has significance since all things come from him, including both men and women (vv. 11-12). As a result of this leveling of the ground “in the Lord,” a covering is not even required of women since their hair is their covering (v. 15).

The ministry restrictions exceptionally placed on women in 1 Timothy 2 are not based on the Creation order; they are drawn from the temptation account. No conclusion is made in the text from the fact that Adam was formed first except for the one lesson that Adam was not deceived but Eve was, and she became the first transgressor (v.

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