Barry Newman's Blog

May 28, 2011

Science and Genesis 3: 1 – 24 (part XV)

Filed under: Genesis,Science — barrynewman @ 2:25 am

Yahweh Elohim and his judgment on the woman (cont)

Similar to the serpent, the second part of the judgement on the woman entailed a problem in a relationship. In her case it is the relationship between herself and her husband.  As the text implies, her husband ruling over her seems to be part of that problem but what does, “your desire will be for your husband” mean?

Walton admits that understanding the word translated “desire” is not a simple task (pp. 227-229). The word is found only twice more in Scripture – Gen 4: 7 and Song of Songs 7: 10. In Gen 4: 7 the sense seems to be that of “domination of” – sin has a desire towards Cain.  In Song of Songs 7: 10 the beloved speaks of the desire or attraction her lover has for her. Walton favours the view that the word “refers to one’s basic or inherent instincts.”  He suggests that since there has just been mention of the woman conceiving and bearing a child, the sense of v. 16b is that the woman has a basic drive to want to conceive and bear children but that she cannot do that without her husband.  So she is driven towards dependency on the man with the result that he is “in a position to dominate”.  The judgement would then be seen to be an unavoidable desire for her to have a husband who shall enable her to conceive with the resultant and unavoidable consequence that he shall rule over her. The irony is difficult to miss. Portrayed, upon her introduction into the world, as a “counterpart helper”, she is destined now to be a person of some subservience to the man.

God gives the woman no reason for his judgement on her. We might have expected God to have given her some explanation. Perhaps we are to assume that she already recognises why she is under the judgement of God – that it was obvious to her. Surely hearing God’s judgment on the serpent with its opening words, “Because you have done this” should have given her a strong clue! In a moment, hearing God speak again but to the man will reinforce for her what her involvement in the act was – the man listened to her!  Well, whatever her degree of awareness, God gives to her no explicit explanation as to why she and her seed are to suffer so.

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