As clearly portrayed in Genesis 3, terrible things can occur when women are on their own, independent of the protection, involvement, and leadership of husband or father.
This is a truth which Satan understands very well. While this is the case, it is also a truth which Christendom has largely forgotten, much to its detriment. Without a sturdy, solid, balanced, and fair understanding of this truth, Christendom begins to be chipped away and attacked by the Adversary, with his minions and ploys.
Now before I continue, I want to make something very clear. The belief presented above is not to say, as the wicked Islamist does, that women have half the brain of man and so therefore must be carefully scrutinized and meticulously controlled, so as to prevent them from making stupid mistakes and blunders which will completely destroy the family. It is likewise not to say that women should be under the domineering, watchful eye of a controlling man every minute of every day. Such is a terribly confused misunderstanding propounded by those, such as the Islamist, who rely upon their own man-made belief systems rather than upon the sure foundation of God’s Word. Now that that has been understood, we can proceed with today’s lesson.
This chapter is perhaps the worst in all of Scripture in terms of the events told of therein. In this passage, man falls from a state of purity and innocence to one of total depravity, rebellion, and wickedness. In this chapter is presented the account of how sin entered into the world and the terrible consequences brought about by it. Verse 1 says, “Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said unto the woman, “Yea, hath God said, ‘Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?’” This verse is noteworthy for several reasons, but for our particular study today, we will only discuss two of these.
Notice first how the serpent, possessed by the Devil himself, is described: he is said to have been more subtil than any other beast. Some translations describe him as being tricky, cunning, deceitful, or crafty. All of these words describe him well, and this subtlety has been what the Adversary has used ever since to slyly deceive and ensnare countless people-even those who claim the name of Christ. Satan is portrayed elsewhere in the Scriptures as parading around as an angel of light (2 Cor. 11:14). This craftiness and worldly wisdom provided him with a method to use in his mission to tempt mankind into committing sin and rebellion against God. What did Satan’s sly, seducing “smarts”, if you will, lead him to do? Go straight to the woman!
This is the second issue to contemplate. Verse 1, after describing the serpent as being subtil goes on to say that he “said unto the woman”. This was by no means a mere coincidence or even a mistake! Satan knew exactly what he was doing when he planned his scheme of deception so as to launch it when he found Eve alone. This is precisely what he wanted, for he knew that he would be far more successful in his mission to deceive mankind and to drive man into rebellion against God if he sought to tempt Eve when he found her alone, at a time when she was without the companionship of her husband, Adam. Speaking on this very issue in a wonderful sermon, Dr. John MacArthur says the following [presented in transcript form from a sermon on the fall of man]:
As we have established previously in this series and as Dr. MacArthur articulated above, God has designed the family in such a way so that women, regardless of age or marital status, will be protected and led by either husband or father. Granted, we live in a fallen world and so having a godly father or husband to lead you may be rare these days (we will discuss that in a future article). However, we cannot take this consequence of sin and use it as an excuse to live however we want to, independently from the family. Two wrongs do not make a right. Interestingly, if we as daughters strive to live independently from our families due to what we see as “less than perfect circumstances” or our own whims, then we are falling into the very trap of Satan with which he ensnared Eve. God desires for daughters to be under the care and authority of their fathers until they are given to their husbands in marriage. As Dr. MacArthur stated above, this is a beautiful and wonderful design! Ladies were created and designed by God to be more emotional that they might be true nurturers, characterized by understanding, sympathy, deep, abiding love, caring spirits, sensitivity, compassion, and tenderness. With this emotional nature, however, also comes vulnerability in some ways. How often have we heard stories of women opening their doors to door-to-door salesmen and, instead of refusing to buy whatever it was due to not having a need for the item or else not having the finances for it, proceeded to buy the worthless item because she “felt sorry for the salesman”? Instances similar to this are very common; they come as a result of our caring nature! However, it can also get us into deep trouble, as well! As Kay Arthur has explained, women are, by nature, more subjective, while men are more objective. Men see the facts that are associated with this choice or that, this event or that, while women are more likely to see another person’s feelings and think of how a certain choice might affect another person’s happiness. This can lead to dangerous situations.The Lord understands this (as did Satan, didn’t he?), and therefore has so ordered matters as to provide the woman with a strong, logical companion to protect her from seducing schemes and dishonest, untrustworthy people. Without this covering, terrible things can occur, and we females can find ourselves in dire circumstances. This is precisely the reason why the laws outlined in Numbers 30 were issued to us by our all-wise God! This is also the reason why we must take seriously the fact that when women are left alone (or go off alone), unwanted events can occur, much as they did in the Garden of Eden.
Some would deny that Eve was alone in the Garden when she was tempted by the Devil, appealing to Genesis 3:6 for support. This verse reads, “And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.“ At first glance, this passage could be made to suggest that Eve was not in fact alone, for Adam was right there beside her in the Garden when the serpent came. However, there are a few issues with this interpretation, which can be outlined as follows.
Following Eve’s sin and her subsequent enticement of Adam, which led to his own disobedience, Adam gives an account to God of what took place and why he committed his act of sin. Genesis 3:11b-13 says, “’Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat?’ And the man said, ‘The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree and I did eat.’ And the Lord God said unto the woman, ‘What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, ‘The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.’” Nowhere does Adam speak of being with Eve when the serpent suddenly appeared and deceived them. Adam was not somehow standing close to Eve when she was being deceived by the Devil, simply whistling and minding his own business (thereby somehow not being deceived) while he watched the deception taking place. He simply was not there with her when the deception occurred! Eve was deceived, but Adam was not. After being deceived, Eve gave the fruit to Adam and he ate. Obviously, shortly after the deception, Eve either went to find Adam to give him the fruit, or perhaps he appeared not long after. Either way, Eve was alone when the deception took place, for Adam testifies plainly that he was not deceived by the serpent-he simply took the fruit that Eve offered him. The way the verses read, it even appears that perhaps Adam did not yet know about the serpent’s appearance, for he speaks solely of Eve giving him the fruit-he does not mention a serpent deceiving Eve. Eve is the one who places the blame on the serpent; therefore, it is perfectly valid to state that perhaps Adam had not yet been notified of the serpent’s deception. Another proof of the fact that Eve was alone when she was deceived!
The verse speaks for itself-Adam simply was not deceived. Had he been present with Eve when the deception took place, the entire account would have likely been different-he may have been deceived, as well. But he was not. This is not to say that man is infinitely stronger than woman when it comes to dealing with temptation and that Adam would have definitely resisted the deception had he been with Eve when it occurred. However, based on this verse, we can know without a shadow of doubt that Eve was in fact alone when the serpent seduced her.
The phrase “with her” does not have to (and Biblically speaking, cannot) be taken to mean that Adam was right by her side in the garden when Eve was deceived by the serpent. Furthermore, it is perfectly understandable for verse 6 of Genesis chapter 3 to say “with her” when we understand that Adam was in the same garden as Eve, the Garden of Eden. Therefore, for the verse to say “with her” is not deceptive in any way. Adam was certainly “with her” in the garden. He simply was not in her presence at the time of the deception.
What do we always hear from feminist circles? What is a notion that is always taught in each and every feminist circle, regardless of how liberal or conservative they may be, their race, religious worldview, etc.? That women should be free to be on their own, living independently from any father or husband, that they should freely make all their own decisions without seeking the advice, wisdom, or input of husband or father, etc. As we will study further in a future article in this series, our modern day feminism has its roots in the pagan Gnostic religion of the late 2nd and 3rd centuries, a pagan witchcraft religion which Satan used (and is still using to this day) to attempt to weaken the Church. Clearly, Satan is using the same ploy as he did in time past-lure the women away from the home and family and, by so doing, influence them with the lies of Satan. The women, in turn, (as Eve herself did) will heavily influence their families with the lies of the Devil. This is the second reason why stay-at-home daughterhood is so very crucial to the kingdom of God. Not only is this doctrine presented throughout the Scriptures as we outlined in the first part of this article, but stay-at-home daughterhood also protects daughters from the vile, seducing wiles of Satan. Undoubtedly, between the time of the fall of Satan and the fall of man, the Devil had been eagerly waiting for the perfect time to tempt mankind to rebel against God. Evidently, he had been waiting for the perfect time to pounce, so as to assure victory. What was that perfect scenario? The time when Eve was separated from Adam and alone, without his leadership, covering, and protection. All of this is not to say that women are weak-minded and weak willed and are nothing more than little children when it comes to standing up against temptation. Throughout the Scriptures, we are given examples of strong, feminine, women who fought bravely against the Devil and his attacks. However, as stated above, women tend to be far more subjective than men, and therefore more readily give in to situations that may not be the wisest, simply because they feel sorry for someone else. For this reason, God has given husbands and fathers to guard, protect, and lead their wives and daughters. Again quoting Dr. MacArthur, “She [Eve] was the object of his attack, being the weaker one [this is perfectly true-1 Pet. 3:7-and does not go against what I just said above!] and needing the protection of her husband. He found her alone and unfortified by Adam’s experience and counsel.”2 He goes on to say, “By leaving Adam’s protection and usurping his headship, she was vulnerable and fell, thus confirming how important it was for her to stay under the protection and leadership of her husband.”3
Sadly, in our day, the Christian church is experiencing a dangerous, very destructive problem. There are, thankfully, people who readily admit, as Dr. MacArthur does above, to the need wives have for their husbands to lead and protect them. However, these very same people, many of whom may be good Complementarians, when it comes to the topic of stay-at-home daughterhood, angrily shake in their boots at the very thought, proclaiming that the doctrine is legalistic and that it deprives daughters of the opportunity to do and be everything they should. I’m sorry to say, there is a major disconnect here. Are we supposed to think that daughters do not need the protective oversight and wise leadership of a father, when we know that a wife needs her husband’s leadership and protection? Are we going to say that somehow wives are in great need of that leadership and protection, but that daughters (who are generally younger and more naïve, I might add!), are not? That it is somehow ok to ship them away from home to do their own thing and take full care of themselves immediately following high school graduation? Excuse me for ranting, but how dare we be so foolish! How can we even begin to think that a husband is sinning if he is not lovingly leading and diligently protecting his wife and yet not think the same of a father who sends his daughter off to live on her own? It is high time that the Christian church be Biblically balanced rather than being contradictory and picking out the Scripture passages that they like and ignoring the ones they do not. It is high time we follow God’s Word rather than the idol of self or the idol of the world and its teachings.
Not only do we see in Genesis 3 the importance of women remaining under the protection and leadership of husband or father, but we also see the crucial importance of husbands and fathers actively leading and protecting. I will not dwell on this for very long, as it is not my jurisdiction to teach men. However, I do want to point out to the daughters, for a minute, the importance of that protection-that it is not something to shirk or disdain or even run away from. Rather, it is something to joyfully, wholeheartedly embrace and something in which to delight. Had Adam been actively fulfilling his duty to lead, protect, and guard Eve, the deception would have been far less likely to have been victorious. However, Adam was being negligent in that duty. He then went so far as to, rather than being a man and bearing his responsibility manfully, blame Eve for his eating of the fruit. “The woman whom Thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat. (Gen. 3:12)” Ever since that day in the Garden, men have struggled with refusing to strongly, yet tenderly, lead their families. Instead, ever since that day, men have largely been either domineering tyrants or else couch potatoes who refuse to actively lead, but instead negligently do their own thing. Likewise, ever since that day, women have largely (either simply inwardly in their hearts, or blatantly like the modern day feminist) disdained the authority, leadership, and oversight of men.
May we, the Church of Jesus Christ, refuse to continue wallowing in the mire of those paths! May we, as young women, instead learn to view male leadership, protection, and active involvement in our lives as a great blessing from our Lord Who desires to protect us from the wiles of Satan to which Eve fell prey!
2. John MacArthur, The MacArthur Study Bible -NKJV (Word Publishing, a division of Thomas Nelson, Inc., 1997), pg. 19
3. Ibid., pg. 1864