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Those of TEH LEFT often criticise Christianity or the Bible for supposedly teaching that Eve was responsible for corrupting Adam and that therefore that Christianity or the Bible teach that women are the corrupters of men. In this way, TEH LEFT imply or plainly state, the Bible is a misogynistic document.

In this post I would like to argue that the Bible does not teach that Eve corrupted Adam and that therefore the Bible does not teach that women corrupt men.

An Example

The blog Still Life With Cat (SLWC) posted an article “Biblical world view legitimised: Australian feminist icon turns in grave” in which the above view, that the Bible teaches that women corrupt men, was posited. The author wrote:

I’m not really all that surprised that the 2009 Miles Franklin Literary Award has been won by what was by far the safer choice of the two front runners, a novel in which a bitter, twisted woman called Eva (geddit? geddit?) corrupts the young hero, takes away his innocence and warps his psyche for life with her nasty dangerous bent sick non-missionary sexing-on ways. She robs our hero of Paradise, that’s what she does; she pushes him into his fall from grace.

Because, as we all know, that’s what women do. The Bible tells us so.

Here’s another example on the prominent Australian Left blog, Lavartus Prodeo, in the comment by ‘Acerbic Conehead’.

A Challenge
I challenged SLWC to provide a scriptural reference that supported her assertion; she came back with Genesis 3:11-13.

And God said, Who told thee that thou [wast] naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat? And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest [to be] with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.
And the LORD God said unto the woman, What [is] this [that] thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.

In addition to the above scripture, SLWC adduced that the church has centuries of teachings and songs that state that Eve corrupted Adam.

Genesis 3:11-13 does not teach that women corrupt men.. The passage in question records Adam trying to blame Eve for his actions in eating the fobidden fruit, God asking Eve her side of the story who, in turn, blames the serpent.

God is unimpressed with the cowardly blameshifting of both Adam and Eve and punishes them both. Both are banished from the Garden. Nowhere does the text say that Eve corrupted Adam. Rather, both are found guilty for their own actions.

The Bible is clear that Adam was complicit in the fruit incident. From Genesis 3:6

When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.

Adam was there all along. He should have tried to prevent Eve from eating the fruit and he certainly should not have eaten the fruit himself. Eve at least had the partial excuse that she had been deceived by the serpent. Adam ate in the full, clear knowledge that what he was doing was wrong.

Both ate. Both did wrong. Both were punished. There is no suggestion in God’s reaction to the incident that Adam was a victim of Eve.

Who Was Responsible ?
In fact, contra the position of Still Life With Cat and many leftists, the Bible explictly ascribes responsibility for for Original Sin to Adam, not Eve (and also not the serpent). As Romans 5:12-14 puts it:

Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man…Adam…

So SLWC and leftist fellow travellers have actually reversed the teaching of the Bible. The Bible says Adam was the responsible party in Eden; SLWC says the Bible blames Eve. That is simply a reversal of the Biblical text.

Now, SLWC asserted in correspondence that the traditional Church has taught that Eve corrupted Adam That may be correct; but in her original post the blogger stated that the Bible teaches that Eve corrupted Adam. That is simply not true.

Eve is presented in scripture as a model of the danger of becoming spiritually deceived (see 2 Corinthians11:1-4), not as the corrupter of Adam and not as the author of Original Sin. That distinction is reserved for Adam.

The Garden Of Eden passages thus cannot be asserted to be misogynistic.

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4 Comments

  1. If you’re going to quote me, Baraholka, please quote me accurately and use the King James Bible, as I did and as all English speakers have done until very recently. The implicit blaming of Eve has been subtly reduced in the language of the tin-eared and simple-minded modern English version, from which all nuance and all poetry has been stripped. And surely you must know that even with the poverty-stricken modern version it is possible to continue a war of quotations endlessly, for the simple and obvious reason that the Bible is self-contradictory at every turn, as one would expect of a document written by many different people in many different languages. When you and I say ‘the Bible’ we are quite obviously talking about two quite different things, and even if we weren’t, the fact that you apparently believe it’s the Word of God means we have no common ground on which to argue.

    • baraholka1
    • Posted July 7, 2009 at 4:16 am
    • Permalink

    Hiya PC,

    Thanks for dropping by.
    I will update your quotation to be the KJV as you request, though it makes no difference to the discussion.
    The meaning of the KJV text is the same as that of the NIV text.

    The version I used was the NIV which is a respected, scholarly translation, though I agree with you, not nearly as poetic as the KJV.

    The issue of ‘poetic’, however is irrelevant to the most important aspect of translation which is, ‘does it accurately convey the meaning of the original text’. If you really believe that the NIV misrepresents the original text I would be interested in hearing your reasons.

    Finally, it is entirely possible to have a discussion about what the text of the Bible means without asserting or believing it is the Word of God.

    Best Regards,

    Barra

  2. Barra, your whole thesis is completely irrelevant. It’s a fine thing to go back to the original text and submit *your* interpretation of what the meaning actually is, but the misogynist interpretation of that biblical story *historically* is what has had a deleterious impact on the attitude towards women, even if the original intent had been different. In other words, you seem to think that if you’ve found the true meaning of the passage, and previous interpretation is wrong, then that will retrospectively somehow change the attitudes of people throughout history who have interpreted it in the misogynistic way. Truly magickal thinking.

    • baraholka1
    • Posted July 30, 2009 at 4:45 am
    • Permalink

    Hiya Helen,

    Thx for dropping by. I appreciate your interest in the topic.

    I do not pretend that the Bible verses you have quoted have not been used to justify misogynistic behaviour or attitudes. In fact I expressly recognised that to be the case. I am arguing, however, that such interperetations are incorrect and in truth distort the passage.

    It is not difficult to find persons other than myself, reputable Bible scholars, who interperet the passage the same way I do. In fact, I would be very surprised if any mainstream denomination interperets those passages misogynistically today. The misogynistic interperetations are an ancient and medieval relic, the result of pre-existing misogynism being imported into the text.

    Jesus regularly rebuked the religious authorities of His day for distorting the scriptural text. I imagine he would kindly have corrected Origen and his cohorts had he been physically an earth at their time and place too.

    Helen, you critice the Bible for being misogynistic, but I have asked you to reevaluate your thinking on this passage at least. It’s the misuse of the Bible that has been misogynistic not the Bible itself, Jesus or God.


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