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Thursday, August 23, 2007

Is Adam our ruler?

In thinking about and reading the first few chapters of Genesis, in conjunction with 1 Cor. 15, I found myself surprised that we are "living beings" just like the animals. And yet we are to rule the animals. If, as some argue, naming the animals indicates dominion over them, and Adam names Eve, then does he have dominion over her? Is the relationship somehow comparable? Same but different? Does a man have dominion over his wife in the same way that people have dominion over animals?

I have to leave that for a bit and think again about Adam - this time as "head" of the human race. Does this make him ruler of mankind? Does Adam, the head of mankind, function as ruler of all his descendants?

Or are all Adam's descendants of the same flesh as him? Eve is certainly of the same flesh as Adam. She is from him, of the same species, and this is the basis for marriage, that the man and woman are of the same flesh, and become one flesh. They are not one single body, but they are in kinship, together they are of the same species.

So Adam and Eve have a kinship that they do not share with the animals. Adam recognizes Eve as being in kinship with him, having likeness with him. Together they have dominion over the animals whom they do not have kinship with. Nonetheless, animals are "living souls" and part of God's creation, but Adam is not the head of the animals, they do not share his flesh. They are not of him.

Adam, with Eve, is the ruler of the animals but not their head. He is the head of Eve but not her ruler. Until the curse, that is, then kinship is broken. If people do all the things that people do, and we know that the possible transgressions of one spouse against another are many, then one person may to try to rule the other, to create a false kinship, a domination.

Here is a passage from Cyril of Alexandria (died AD 444), De Recte Fide ad Pulch. 2.3, 268. He is struggling with describing how Christ is the head of man. He concludes that it means that Christ became human and took on kinship with man.

In this passage the Greek word ἀρχή is translated two different ways. In this first version it is translated as "source" and in the second, it is translated as "ruler". Which of these two versions makes sense? Then I will tell you who translated them. You are welcome to put your guesses in the comment section. Maybe it is obvious.
    Therefore of our race he become first head, which is source, and was of the earth and earthy. Since Christ was named the second Adam, he has been placed as head, which is source, of those who through him have been formed anew unto him unto immortality through sanctification in the spirit. Therefore he himself our source, which is head, has appeared as a human being: indeed, he, being by nature God, has a head, the Father in heaven. For, being by nature God the Word, he has been begotten from Him. Because head means source, He established the truth for those who are wavering in their mind that man is the head of woman, for she was taken out of him. Therefore one Christ and Son and Lord, the one having as head the Father in heaven, being God by nature, became for us a “head” accordingly because of his kinship according to the flesh.


    The one of the earth and dust has become to us the first head of the race, that is ruler: but since the second Adam has been named Christ, he was placed as head, that is ruler of those who through him are being transformed unto him into incorruption through sanctification by the Spirit. Therefore he on the one hand is our ruler, that is head, in so far as he has appeared as a man; indeed, he, being by nature God, has a head, the Father in heaven. For, being by nature God the Word, he has been begotten from Him. But that the head signifies the ruler, the fact that the husband is said to be the head of the wife confirms the sense for the truth of doubters: for she has been taken from him. Therefore one Christ and Son and Lord, the one having as head the Father in heaven, being God by nature, became for us a “head” accordingly because of his kinship according to the flesh.
My sense is that God is always our ruler. But only through Christ becoming human, did God, in Christ become our head, or the head of the human race. That is, "head" means to have kinship with, rather than to rule. We rule animals, but are not their head, God rules us but is not our head. God is the head of Christ because Christ is of the same substance as God. And woman is of the same substance as man. But only by Christ becoming human, could humans be of the same substance as Christ. To bridge the gulf between God and humans, Christ became human and thus our "head". This is how we can take on immortality ourselves, through Christ becoming our head.

This interpretation requires two things. First, I understand that "flesh" means "species" or "kind in Gen. and in 1 Cor. 15. Next, it is possible that there is little difference much of the time in the scriptures between ἀνηρ and ἀνθρωπος. Adam was the former head of mankind, the human race, and now Christ is the new head of the human race. It finally dawned on me how infrequently man, the male, and man, the human, are really distinguished in the Bible by a strict lexicography. Not so much. Christ is the new head of humanity, the true second Adam. He humbles himself and takes on a human form and human mortality. This is how he becomes our head. This is "headship."

10 Comments:

At Fri Aug 24, 11:09:00 AM, Blogger Peter Kirk said...

God names Adam. Adam names Eve. Eve names Cain, but Adam names Seth. Most of the sons of Jacob are named by his wives. Both Rachel and Jacob name Benjamin, but the latter name prevails. Very rarely does a man name his wife. What does all this have to say about different patterns of "dominion" in the family?

 
At Fri Aug 24, 01:36:00 PM, Blogger Suzanne McCarthy said...

And Naomi names Obed. I'm not sure why the naming thing gets mentioned but it is considered by some to be significant.

I have not really given much thought to translating κεφαλη as "source" before. However, I decided to read Grudem's paper on kephale, which I quote from here, and I am persuaded by his examples that the idea of using "source" deserves some thought. Grudem's paper is a good advocate for the use of "source" I thought.

Wolters may be a friend of Grudem's because Grudem writes in this paper,

Professor Al Wolters has pointed out to me in private correspondence (Dec. 7, 1997), however, that the
recognition that Herodotus 4:91 speaks of the “sources” of the Tearus River with the plural of kefale is rather standard in Greek lexicons in other languages than English.


I would guess that this was a friendly letter designed to help Grudem out.

BTW, the first version of Cyril's passage is done by the Kroegers and the second, of course, by Grudem. I did not find it particularly coherent myself. I had expected Grudem's Kepahle paper to be quite good from things that are said about it, but I found it to be on par with his other writings.

 
At Fri Aug 24, 01:55:00 PM, Blogger Suzanne McCarthy said...

PS. The comment about Wolters belongs with the previous post. I got a little mixed up.

 
At Fri Aug 24, 04:21:00 PM, Blogger martin shields said...

And Hagar names Yahweh (Gen 16:13)...

 
At Fri Aug 24, 05:35:00 PM, Blogger Suzanne McCarthy said...

Hi Martin,

I forgot that I had started reading your thesis a few weeks ago. I just now got to where you write,

The most striking example of name giving which cannot reflect dominion over the recipient of the name appears in Genesis 16:13. In this passage Hagar, who has fled from Sarai’s abuse, has had the angel of Yahweh speak to her. In response, she names Yahweh. The text reads:

ותקרא שם יהוה הדבר אליה אתה אל ראי

It would be entirely inappropriate to understand this text to be suggesting that Hagar somehow claimed authority over Yahweh. Rather, the explanation furnished in the text suggests that the name given to Yahweh by Hagar is based upon her observation of his character. Consequently this instance of naming reflects the character recognition aspect present in some of those instances in the second group, although any notion of dominion is conspicuously
absent.

 
At Fri Aug 24, 10:53:00 PM, Blogger martin shields said...

Hi Suzanne,

I think that name-giving is fundamentally a recognition of character, not an exercise of dominion. Dominion is expressed sometimes, but I don't think it is supported by the context of Gen 2. The thesis argues that at length.

What I do also note is that many books like Recovering Biblical Manhood & Womanhood find a number of aspects of Gen 1-3 which supposedly reflect the woman's subordination to the man (such as naming) but which are never picked up in the NT.

 
At Fri Aug 24, 11:43:00 PM, Blogger Suzanne McCarthy said...

Martin,

I have learned a lot about Gen.1-3 by reading 1 Cor.15.It seems to me as if the important thing is our place in the order of things as earthy, and being our own species, not being animals, but not being like God. Then Christ comes to be like us, so we can be like him. Gender doesn't really enter into this part of the discussion. It cleared the air for me a bit to then read your paper.

I was especially interested in where you explain the meaning of תְּשׁוּקָתֵךְ teshukah as control or dominate in Gen 3:16. Waltke mentioned that in class. However, he then said that the cause for the increased divorce rate was because of women wanting to control their husbands, and abandoning their proper "role". I actually started to shake. In fact, I had a little talk with him. Not a good scene.

After all, why aren't divorces caused by men who rule their wives and finally the wives have enough equality in law to make good their escape? Well, I guess it can work either way.

I see in your paper that it sounds a bit more balanced, each person trying to boss the other and both are doing wrong. Not so one-sided. ;-)

I will post a link to your paper in my next scratches. Its very good.

My pastor is from the Sidney Diocese but I finally decided that I would have to leave that church. Too bad.

 
At Sat Aug 25, 06:26:00 AM, Blogger martin shields said...

Hi Suzanne,

I was especially interested in where you explain the meaning of תְּשׁוּקָתֵךְ teshukah as control or dominate in Gen 3:16. Waltke mentioned that in class. However, he then said that the cause for the increased divorce rate was because of women wanting to control their husbands, and abandoning their proper "role". I actually started to shake. In fact, I had a little talk with him. Not a good scene.

That strikes me as a rather odd conculsion to reach: I'm sure the increased divorce rate is the result of many, many differing factors. It is easier to get divorces, both legally and socially, now than in the past, but ISTM that doesn't reflect wives abandoning the "proper role." Gen 3 is all about the breakdown of relationships, so I think it tells us that there have always been tensions in marriages, increased divorce just reflects this ease of availability, not a sudden mutiny by wives.

My pastor is from the Sidney Diocese but I finally decided that I would have to leave that church. Too bad.

I assume that you're referring to the Anglican Diocese. I'm not Anglican.

 
At Sat Aug 25, 06:34:00 AM, Blogger J. K. Gayle said...

The naming of Jesus is interesting in light of your post and comments. God tells an angel to tell Joseph to name Jesus / Joshua. Does that give the earthling step-father dominance over this earthling son of God? Matthew goes on to translate "Joshua" (1:21) and goes on further to quote Isaiah (7:14) and to translate "Immanuel" (Matthew 1:23). Matthew, Joshua's disciple, by translating is naming his master in a way.

And our master, Joshua aka Jesus, re-names some of his disciples (i.e., Peter, "Rock" and those two "sons of thunder"). And he calls his obedient followers his "mother and brothers."

Naming does seem to be an aspect of the image of God, which male and female earthlings participate in. The question of dominance and dominating by naming is a good one!

 
At Sat Aug 25, 02:13:00 PM, Blogger Suzanne McCarthy said...

Martin,

I agree with your assessment of divorce and I am incredibly grateful that it is easier to get a divorce these days. I am not one of those who lobbies for the "good old days."

I read somewhere on a blog recently that a person felt they were quite justified in getting remarried themselves because their spouse had an affair, but an abused wife was bound for life to remain single.

Then I walked into a store and watched an Oprah episode about a woman whose husband had shot their kids and planned to shoot her. Years later she was happily remarried and had just had a baby. Now imagine some Christians saying that she was still legally bound to her ex-husband for the rest of her life! Ugh.

I mentioned Sydney because I found your thesis through a blog that mentioned it was in Moore College. I guess I just assumed that there was some connection.

Anyway, it was a very favourable review.

From Grudem's Systematic Theology,

Adam named Eve. The fact that Adam gave names to all the animals indicated Adam's authority over the animal kingdom, because in Old Testament thought the right to name someone implied authority over that person (this is seen both when God gives names to people such as Abraham and Sarah, and when parents give names to their children.) Since a Hebrew name designated the character or function of someone, Adam was specifying the characteristics or functions of the animals he named. Therefore, when Adam named Eve by saying, "She shall be called Woman, because she ws taken out of Man" Gen. 2:23), it indicated a leadership role on his part as well. This is true before the fall, where Adam names his wife "Woman," and it is true after the fall as well, when "the man called his wife's name Eve, because she was the mother of all living"(Gen.2:23). page 463

Then he goes on to say that it is all right for a mother to name a child because the parents together have parental authority over the child. However, the husband still has authority over the wife.

If, as David says, all such questions are peripheral then I think it is a shame that we all can't share a common Bible version, one that graciously translates anthropoi as "humans" and adelphoi as "brothers and sisters."

 

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