ESSAY
John MacArthur, Like Adam, Blames the Woman | Part 3 |Alienation Between Man and Woman
POSTED
January 21, 2020

In the previous part of this series, we showed how the serpent, through Adam’s failure to protect his bride and her subsequent deception, alienated man from woman. It’s difficult to overstate the consequences of man’s disobedience: disregarding God's commands begins to break down the order which He created. God said that it was not good for the man to be separated, therefore it should not be surprising to learn that man's disobedience leads directly to a separation, a bāḏal, between male and female. This disobedience also leads to the emergence of the ego, the separately calculating self, as shown by the first appearance of the first-person pronoun in the mouth of Adam after he hid himself: 

And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden. And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou? And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself (Gen. 3:8-10 KJV).

Note the subtle discrepancy between the narrator's objective account of the encounter and Adam's own subjective account of the encounter. According to the narrator they both hid, but according to Adam he hid himself. This is a definite difference in emphasis. Adam and his wife both hid, but (at least in Adam's view) they were not hiding together. They are alienated from one another. This alienation did not start with this encounter; it went back at least as far as the temptation. The serpent attacks the bride while Adam simply stands by and watches. How do we know that Adam stood by passively through the temptation? The passage says so: "she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.” (Gen. 3:6 KJV). 

The climax of the temptation story dramatically reveals a fact which puts the whole story retroactively in a different light. The man was present, and yet inactive while his wife was being deceived. There was already alienation at that point, even before the disobedience of the eating of the fruit. But the disobedience then occurs and strongly intensifies the alienation. Why else should they cover themselves with leaves? To hide from God? Perhaps, but God was not “present” yet; He had not yet had His procession into the sanctuary. The only protection which the leaf aprons immediately offered was to protect each of them from the gaze of the other. They were now ashamed of their nakedness and they did not want the other to perceive it.

This means that there will be a division in humanity going forward. The “seed of the woman” will be in contradistinction to the work of the serpent. It will be a community of life in contrast with the work of the serpent which brought a cursed death. Please note that it is not until after this promise has been given, the promise of the defeat of the serpent, that the woman is named Eve. She had not yet been called Eve at that time. At her creation, Adam named her ʾišāh, not Eve. In keeping with the pattern which we see throughout the creation account, deeds of naming are associated first with deeds of dividing. When God brought her to Adam after her creation, the woman had just been divided from the man by being drawn out of his side. God, the great High Priest gave names in Genesis 1, whenever a division occurred. Just so, in Genesis 3, after another division was put by God into humanity, Adam named his wife again. 

In the proto-evangelium, God introduces a separation into the world between the seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent. This is a newly divided humanity. With the new division comes a need for a new name. But what name? Eve, Havāh, means “life” or “community” or better yet, both: Living Community or Community of Life.

Eve (who was deceived), not Adam (who self-consciously disobeyed) will bear life into the world, by bearing into the world the undoer of death. This is how she becomes the mother of life. She is the mother of all living from henceforth because only through her Seed will life for humanity be possible. Eve sinned, yes, but Adam sinned first: it was Adam’s sin, his failure, his allowing of the serpent into the garden, and his dereliction of duty in teaching and protecting his bride, that led to the Fall.

In contrast to John MacArthur’s reading, there’s nothing in Genesis about Adam sinning because he simply loved his wife too much and couldn’t live without her. Such a reading ignores what the Bible tells us, and asserts many things it does not.

MacArthur is doing exactly what Adam did: blaming the woman.



Jerry Bowyer is Editor of Town Hall Finance, serves on the Editorial Board of Salem Communications, is Resident Economist with Kingdom Advisors, and is President of Bowyer Research. He holds a Sacred Theology Licentiate from the Collegium Augustinianum and a Bachelor’s degree from Robert Morris University.

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