What Does “He Shall Rule Over You” Mean for Women?

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Last week we discussed the first half of God’s judgment on Eve after the Fall in Genesis 3:16: she will have an inherent, unrecognized desire to control her husband, and men in general. Today, we look at the second half of God’s pronouncement to Eve:

2. “He shall rule over you.” Eve was created to help Adam in his task of ruling over the earth. However, fallen Eve, with a new desire (even a compulsion) to be the leader and not the helper, will not be ruling “with her husband,” as she was naturally created to do. With her new desire to lead herself, she now must somehow be ruled over “by her husband.” 

In God’s original plan, this was never meant to be. Adam and Eve would rule together, each supplying what the other lacked. Adam would provide vision, leadership, strength, stability, and unemotional decision making. Eve would provide the more practical, daily, emotional aspects of feeling, empathy, compassion and sensitivity. Both sets of characteristics are absolutely essential for Jesus’ rule to be present and effective, on-site, because He Himself had both!

Satan used some of these natural-born, God-given characteristics to tempt Eve to eat of the fruit, she did so and became the family leader. Adam did not stop her, (despite the fact that his natural-born male characteristics were prompting him to do so! – 1 Timothy 2:14), but yielded his leadership completely to her, and actually followed her in a satanic role-reversal. Eve won their initial leadership skirmish!

His words to God when God later confronted them boh is so typical of today’s men when faced with their obvious marriage problems. My limited experience in marital counseling situations over the years is that the husband’s invariable response is some version of Adam’s to God’s initial confrontation in Genesis 3:12 t:  “Then the man said, ‘The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate’” 

With man’s new, natural propensity, since the Fall, to determine “good” and “evil“ for himself, including constantly judging who is in each category, his universal response, when confronted with marital difficulties, has been, “It’s her fault!” My counselees over the years have overwhelmingly corroborated this! 

So, rather than his rule over the earth being limited to every non-human, living creature, and every plant, herb and tree, as God originally designed and Genesis 1:26-30 tells us, man’s rule now will also include the ones God created to rule with him—woman! 

Instead, she will contest him for it, and Islam’s tyrannical treatment of women is a model for how men, not living by faith, will “rule over them,” as God’s judgment on Eve tells us they will do (Genesis 3:16). 

We are in a pickle! The discrimination against women and their supposedly complete subjugation, as practiced by Islam, is said to be the primary cause of female persecution and gender conflict. On the other hand, today’s anti-patriarchal, gender-fluid, feminine-dominated, beta-male culture, even in many of our churches as well as in the general populace, goes completely unrecognized as any kind of a problem whatsoever. 

However, there is a glorious solution to our pickle—RULING BY THE TRUTH!

A few weeks ago, I stumbled on a verse I had read a thousand times—John 1:17: For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.” 

It hit me, for the first time: the holy, perfect, righteous, eternal Law of God is different from the Truth of God. They were each given to man at different times. First, the Law of God came through Moses on Mt. Sinai, and the Truth of God—that very same Law of God, but this time bundled with God’s limitless grace embodied fully in Jesus Christ—some 1500 years later! 

It is the same today. As the Law of God is proclaimed by humans who are energized by the Holy Spirit within them by faith, that law becomes The Truth. Without both edges of the Sword of God’s Word at work, law and gospel, there is no Truth! 

This is so often the case with much of evangelical Christianity today; the .Sword does not swing both ways—law and gospel! 

But when it does, this is what Jesus says will happen: “I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father (and send the Holy Spirit back to live in you!) (John 14:12).

 This is how we rule over the earth—by the Truth of God. That rule will not be like the rule that is a part of God’s judgment on Eve, and demonstrated by Islam—one member of mankind ruling over another—but, together, ruling with both God’s law and God’s grace over situations, organizations and institutions. 

The family, civil government, the church, the marketplace, medicine, athletics, the arts, or wherever humans meet together, rule is necessary so that order is preserved and the group is able to function to accomplish its objective. 

In the process, it will be necessary for one man to rule over another, but it is not a personal rule over individuals but a rule that is mutually agreed upon by all participants in order to accomplish their objective of that particular organization. If an employee is chronically late, when his employer fires him it is not personal rule, but organizational.   

Rather than being implemented by the use of the Law of God, it is activated by The Truth of God. The former brings death; the latter, life:  “For the letter (the Law of God) kills, but the Spirit (the grace of God alive in the human heart) gives life” (2 Corinthians 3:6). Next week we will look at how “the rule of God” looks when it is applied by the Truth of God!

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