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John MacArthur blames the woman, just like Adam did

Adam and Eve
A museum worker cleans the floor in front of true to scale copies of the paintings "Adam" and "Eve" by Hans Baldung Grien, the apprentice of German Renaissance painter Albrecht Duerer, during a pre-view of the Duerer exhibition at the Staedel museum in Frankfurt October 22, 2013. |

I'm writing in response to some remarks made by John MacArthur who is a well-known Christian broadcaster and author, about issues of gender. I'm not writing about his remark that Beth Moore (another well-known Christian author) should 'Go home!" That has already been dealt with. I am writing in response to the sermon he gave as a 'clarification' issued shortly after the controversy about Mrs. Moore (the full text of which can be found here.

I have adapted a small section of my 240 page STL thesis which I'm telling you for two reasons. First, so you can see arguments which there is not space to present here, and second so you know that I have written a 240 page paper on the Hebrew text of Genesis 1-3 with gender as a major theme. This does not automatically prove me right, but it does prove that I'm not winging it on this topic, and the fact that the academic tribunal of the Collegium Augustinianum awarded the STL degree magna cum laude shows that serious scholars took the thesis as serious work, not yet another "hot take" on a culture war issue.

MacArthur's claim is that "Eve stepped out from under the authority and protection of Adam, she was vulnerable, and she fell.

This is not what the text says at all. Nor does the text of the Bible agree with him that " [Adam] sinned because he couldn’t live without her. ... She had become everything to him."

What the text explicitly says is that Adam's job was to "guard" (shamar) the garden (Gen. 2:15). Guard it from what? My conclusion is that he was to guard it from wild beasts of the field, like serpents. You can read my arguments and you might differ but one thing is clear, if guardianship is anything at all, if we take the obligation of acting as a guard in any serious way, it would imply at a minimum that Adam should have guarded against an evil, talking reptilian creature who was telling blasphemous lies.

Which brings us to what Adam was supposed to be guarding in the garden. He was supposed to keep something bad out to protect something inside. What was he to protect? Well, what was the most valuable thing in the garden? Answer: Adam's wife was the most valuable of the creatures under his protection. Yes, the trees were important, but they were important because of what they meant to the people (Gen. 2:17). The people were not there for the sake of the trees. God could have handled  groundskeeping quite well on his own. Groundskeeping wasn't for God's sake. Groundskeeping was for the sake of the man and woman, so they could learn and mature.

Of course Adam was to guard the whole garden (which is why he erred by even letting the serpent in), but not all parts were equally important. If my wife and I go on a trip and tell our boys to watch the house, we mainly mean for them to protect the people, not pantry. So Adam was supposed to act as a guard to protect his wife from the invasive serpent.

In this, he failed, miserably. The serpent got in. Not only did the serpent get in, the serpent was able to engage in a lengthy subversive conversation with Adam's wife uncontradicted by Adam. Not only does Adam fail to confront the Serpent at the gate of Eden, to lay down his life in combat with the serpent (which I think is exactly what he was called upon to do), he failed even to verbally contradict the serpent's poisonous lies as he stood by listening to the discussion.

Stop and think about that last part again. Adam was there when all of this went on. The account is clear that Adam was "with her" (Gen. 3:6). She did not wriggle out from under his supervision, sneaking out at night like a rebellious teenage girl to get into mischief. The seducer walked in the front door past whatever guard was supposed to be there and he sat there in the kitchen telling the young wife that rat poison is delicious and really good for you and the husband stood there and did and said nothing.

So, let's have no more of this nonsense about "Eve" (which is not accurate anyway — she's not named Eve until later, and details matter!). He failed first. And let's have no more double nonsense about an Adam whose only real fault is that he loved too much. He loved his bride far too little.

We've had too many centuries of Pagan philosophical influence on the church which places the chief blame on the temptress. Yes, she failed too. She was deceived (Gen. 3:13, 2 Cor. 11:3, 1 Titus 2:14). But who was to be her protector? Adam. Who was to be her teacher? Adam. The command was given to Adam (Gen. 2:17, 22). He was to teach it to her. That failed, too. Her knowledge of the command was flawed. She misquoted it, adding to its severity ("nor touch it") and taking away from its consequences — turning down the severity of the threat that the tree would lead to death (Gen. 3:3).

The protecting and the teaching had both failed before anybody ate from the tree. The eating was not the beginning of the fall, it was the climax of the fall.

And the fact that she was deceived and he was not, does not make him less blameworthy, it makes him more so. Who is more guilty: the one who is tricked into sinning or the one who doesn't need to be tricked into sinning in order to get him to sin?

And after and despite all of this, Adam blames "the woman whom thou gavest me, she gave me of the tree …" (Gen. 3:12). I suppose that should come as no surprise. Adam needed a scapegoat.

But now, with the benefit of the Bible in front of us, it should clear that Adam was wrong to blame her. And yet, we just saw one of the most famous of our celebrity preachers (one who even has a study Bible named after him) recapitulate the error and yet again blame the woman.

Don't tell me — let me guess: it's because we men just love too much.

Jerry Bowyer is the Editor of Affluent Christian Investor.

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