I’ve discussed authority quite a few times over the course of this blog a few years ago, especially in the context of the the fall. These are Scriptural reasons from Genesis 1-3 and beyond why I believe that to be the case. I posted this on Donal’s but thought it deserved its own post here for posterity.
Adam had headship over Eve prior to the fall based on these Scriptural textual clues:
1. Eve is created as a helpmeet for Adam. Also, she is created second rather than at the same time. (Gen 2, 1 Cor 11)
2. Adam names Eve. Adam also names the animals over which he has dominion. (Gen 1, 2)
3. Eve comes from a part of Adam. Also, man is created in the “image and glory of God,” while woman is created in the “glory of man.” (Gen 2, 1 Cor 11)
4. The case can be made based on the comparison of the creation accounts in Gen 1-3, that it was only Adam that received the commands from God being that much happened between the creation of Adam and Eve and Adam’s responsibility.
We learn that Eve was deceived but Adam chose to sin (Gen 3, 1 Tim 2), and we can see this in how she was deceived: “The Lord God commanded the man, saying, “From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not [n]eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die.” — “The woman said to the serpent, “From the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat; 3 but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat from it or touch it, or you will die.’”
5. Gen 2 indicates that it the man who separates from his parents to create the family unit: “For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh”
6. Text of Gen indicates man(kind) is created in the image of God (distinction in 1 Cor 11). Eph 5 shows us that marriage is a reflection of Christ and the Church. Marriage was present prior to the fall. If there was no headship, then there is no reflection of Christ and the Church. Given that the Trinity is present at creation and that man is created in God’s image, it’s likely that there was headship prior to the fall because it reflection the image of God and the future Christ-Church.
7. When God comes to the garden to talk to them after they sinned, He calls for Adam.
8. The pattern of punishment due to sin is to increase the punishment. God told Adam he would surely die if he ate of the fruit. The other punishments were punishments of increase. The ground was cursed and Adam needed to work harder, as he was already commanded to tend to the garden. Eve’s pain was greatly multiplied in childbirth, as there was already pain prior to the fall. This likely indicates the second half of the punishment — “Yet your desire will be for your husband, And he will rule over you.” — is about the desire and choice of Eve to rebel or submit to her husband while emphasizing the prior relationship (headship). Hebrew word “desire” is used in Gen 4 for Cain’s desire to cause him to sin, and in Song of Songs for sexual desire.
9. Adam is punished for listening to the voice of his wife [and] eating of the fruit. While not definitive, if Eve was of the same position as Adam it’s likely he would have just been punished for eating the fruit. Not for listening to his wife and eating of the fruit.
I think that 4-8 are the most convincing of the points, but all of the arguments together present a solid case. There are no textual clues that indicate that there was similar positioning in the roles of marriage prior to the fall either.
All of these textual clues indicate why there there is probably around a 99% probability of headship prior to the fall.
Why is this important? Egalitarians and/or “christo-feminists” like to argue that since prior to the fall everything was “perfect” that man and woman had equal positions, and that it was only a result of man and woman being cursed that man has authority over woman in marriage.
The textual clues point to otherwise that it was God’s design and creation that man has headship in the marriage in all four distinct states of marriage in the Scriptures: prior to the fall (e.g. Adam and Eve), post-fall pre-law (e.g. Abraham and Patriarchs), during the Law of Moses (rest of OT), and after Christ’s redemption (NT).