Adam had headship prior to the fall

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.

Going back to Creation, there are many textual clues from the creation account in Genesis and other Scriptures that make the case for headship and thus patriarchy from the beginning.

  1. Eve is created as a helpmeet for Adam. She is created second rather than at the same time. Paul affirms this in 1 Corinthians 11 by discussing creation order. (Gen 2, 1 Cor 11)
  2. Adam names Eve. Adam also names the animals over which he has dominion. Parents also name their children, over which they have authority. (Gen 1, 2)
  3. Eve comes from a part of Adam. Man is created in the “image and glory of God,” while woman is created in the “glory of man” though both in the image of God. (Gen 2, 1 Cor 11)
  4. God brings Eve and presents her to Adam, foreshadowing a father giving away the bride to the husband. She passes from her father’s authority to her husband’s authority. (Gen 2, Num 30)
  5. The comparison of the creation accounts in Gen 1-3 may show that only Adam that received the commands from God in the garden based on how Eve was deceived.

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 through subtle wording differences: “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 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.’”

  1. Genesis 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.”

The man breaks off from his parents to establish his own family unit and is joined together with his wife as his helpmeet. The husband is the leader, and the wife is the follower. She takes his name as a sign that she is part of his family. When we decide to follow Christ, we take on His name as Christians as we follow Him.

  1. Ephesians 5 demonstrates that marriage reflects Christ and the Church. Marriage was present prior to the fall. Therefore, man is created in the image of God and joined in perfect matrimony, which means there must be headship prior to the fall to reflect the eventual marriage of Christ and the Church.
  2. John 1 indicates that Jesus was present in the beginning. Jesus existed in the beginning and had authority over man, which foreshadows the Christ and the Church marriage. (Gen 1-2, 1 Cor 11)
  3. When God comes to the garden to talk to Adam and Eve after they sinned, He calls only for Adam.
  4. God told Adam he would surely die if he ate of the fruit. The pattern of the other punishments given to Adam and Eve due to sin is a pattern 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. Something that was “greatly multiplied” is already present in lesser amounts. Some have an incorrect view that pain is “bad,” but the ability to feel pain is a protective mechanism of the body against harm such as avoiding hot stoves, sharp edges, and physical damage to the body. Women’s pain in childbirth was increased from little to much.
  • The second half of Eve’s punishment is of the tree of knowledge of good and evil — “Yet your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.” This punishment to Eve is an increased temptation to rebel against (or submit) to her husband in the context of her prior relationship (headship-submission). The Hebrew word “desire” is used in Gen 4 for Cain’s desire to tempt him to sin and in Song of Songs for sexual desire.
  1. Adam is punished for listening to the voice of his wife and eating of the fruit. If Eve was of the same position as Adam, then Adam would have just been punished for eating the fruit and not for listening to his wife and eating of the fruit.

Overall, the Scriptural evidence supports the headship-submission model. It is consistently affirmed throughout the course of the Scriptures in each of the five distinct phases of Biblical history.

  1. From Creation (e.g. Adam and Eve)
  2. Post-Fall (e.g. after Adam and Eve sinned)
  3. Pre-Mosaic Law Patriarchs (e.g. Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and their descendants)
  4. Mosaic Law (e.g. rest of the Old Testament)
  5. Christ and His resurrection (e.g. New Testament analogy of Christ-Church)
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12 Responses to Adam had headship prior to the fall

  1. donalgraeme says:

    I find your arguments quite persuasive Deep Strength. I really want to explore this further with a theologian, both because it fascinates me and also because I think it will help when dealing with this issue.

    I need to go back and start collecting quotes which discuss this topic so I can do a compare/contrast post at some point.

  2. Lost Patrol says:

    That is very useful. It’s interesting to me that you chose points 4-8 as the most convincing. For me it could not be more crystal clear than what you wrote at 1,2,3. These imply his seniority and authority over her – and his responsibility for her.

  3. @ Lost Patrol

    I think 1-3 are the most obvious (e.g. creation order). However, lots of Christians like to weasel around these, especially misquoting Jesus. For example, “The first shall be last, and the last shall be first.”

    That’s why I picked the last ones. There’s no real counter from the text against them, and they present very strong arguments especially in the context of the rest of Scripture.

  4. @ donal

    Yeah, it would be cool to go over them with a trained theologian… albeit you’d have to find one that is purely looking at the Scripture and apostolic tradition objectively as possible and not influenced by modern culture(s). Hard to find.

  5. SnapperTrx says:

    I’ll really surprised this is even a thing. What sealed it for me was Adam naming Eve. This cemented the fact that he was her authority.

  6. @ SnapperTrx

    If you’re surprised this is a thing, you haven’t debated enough egalitarians or “christo-feminists.”

    They try to weasel out of any part of the Scripture that mentions authority, headship, and submission, and they try to warp things like the creation account to their own agenda.

    I speak from experience.

  7. earl says:

    I’ll really surprised this is even a thing. What sealed it for me was Adam naming Eve. This cemented the fact that he was her authority.

    Not sure if this was brought up in the list but before the fall he called her ‘woman’ too before giving her a name. Another reason to cement he had pre-fall authority.

  8. earlthomas786 says:

    However, lots of Christians like to weasel around these, especially misquoting Jesus. For example, “The first shall be last, and the last shall be first.”

    Boy they really grasp at straws to try and prove that equality is their god.

  9. Jonadab-the-Rechabite says:

    All authority in Heaven and on Earth was given to Christ. He is the head of the church as the husband is the head of the wife. Now I ask, was Christ the head before the fall?

    Egalitarianism leads to the most egregious heresies unless they totally ignore consistency and embrace arbitrariness.

  10. Pingback: Headship in Genesis | Christianity and masculinity

  11. Pingback: A Christian understanding of attraction, and the role it plays in marriage Part 3 | Christianity and masculinity

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