I’m going back to the Beginning on this one; back to Genesis. Yes, I know we have science now and complex studies of hormones and luteal phases, estrogen, progestin, testosterone balances and things of this nature…but I’m still going back to the Beginning, for therein lies the truth.
In Genesis 1: 26, God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. V. 27 So God created man in his own image; in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. He commanded them collectively in his blessing to be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth. He gave them collectively the responsibility of having dominion over everything upon the earth.
Notice: He created them in spirit – they are not manifest on the face of the earth yet, as evidenced by Genesis 2:5, wherein it is stated that there was not a man to till the ground.
In Genesis 2: 7, we see the LORD God formed the man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. He actually manifested the man first. There is no mention of him forming the woman from any material substance as of yet.
Notice: God has not yet called man Adam. He has not “named” him.
He then places the man in the Garden to dress it and keep it. V. 15 He also gives man the third command (after the dominion mandate and mandate to reproduce that was spoken over the yet un-manifest mankind) in v. 17; and immediately following this command, God decides that it is not good that man be alone, and he decides to make a helper for him (not yet called woman). V. 18.
Notice: Immediately subsequent to his decision to make a helper for man, God “names” man Adam and his name is mentioned for the first time.
*edit*: upon re-reading the scripture, I noticed that Adam is named immediately following God’s command to him not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil; this confirms to me that God is trying to say something about “authority”: Adam is named subsequent to God’s command about the tree; Eve is named after Adam is given “rule” over her, subsequent to The Fall into sin, as a consequence; a “curse”. In simple terms, God takes authority over man and names him Adam afterwards; sin enters through woman’s deception, and then God gives Adam authority over woman, and he names her Eve. Interesting stuff.
God brings every animal and bird to Adam to name, and (I am speculating – so forgive my loose speculation) – God does this for Adam’s benefit, to show him that there isn’t a helper suitable for him amongst God’s created animal and bird kingdom, since God already knows this.
At this point, the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; v. 22 And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. Immediately upon seeing the woman, Adam declares, This is now flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. V. 23
Notice: Neither God nor Adam has given woman a name yet; only Adam is named. I believe speaks of God’s knowledge that Adam will eventually take full authority over his wife as a result of their sin, and thus become her earthly authority, as the one in authority is the one who gives the “name” to a creature.
God speaks of them in a marriage relationship immediately in v.24-25 as one flesh and their own distinct family as man and his wife.
We know what happens next, but permit me to put scriptures to it:
In Genesis 3:1, the first mention of the serpent and his nature is mentioned, and immediately he comes to the woman and tempts her to disobey God. She is well aware of what God’s command of her and her man is, and recites it perfectly to the serpent. She is wholly accountable for her obedience or disobedience to God, for she is not in any way ignorant of God’s command. Regardless of how she learned of the command (from God directly, or from her husband, Adam – who clearly knew the command firsthand from God, she is accountable herself.)
We see that the serpent instantly twists the Word of God to suit his needs and his agenda, and also to deceive the woman. If he was very “subtil” by nature, according to scripture, he knew who the easy target would be. All he had to do was tell her what was in it for her – her eyes would be opened and she would be as god – knowing good and evil…and she was in!
She ate it, gave some to her husband (who also ate), and their eyes were indeed opened; they experienced shame in their disobedience unto God. They hid. V7. They attempted to cover themselves with something other than the glory of God, which had been their covering prior.
God, of course, knows what has just happened, but he calls unto Adam first. This begins to shed light on more of God’s created order: Man is accountable for what happens within his family – he must answer to God for these things, even if individual members of his family are independently sinning. The buck stops with him in God’s economy. In his sin, Adam gives himself away and condemns himself. He immediately blames the woman and God (indirectly, for he says it was God that gave him the woman!); the nearest target. Odd he doesn’t blame the serpent, but woman does. She knew she was deceived, but she also knew she had sinned.
Interestingly, God punishes the serpent first, then the woman, and lastly, Adam.
In v. 16, God says to the woman that he will greatly multiply her sorrow and her conception; in sorrow shall she bring forth children; also, her desire will be for her husband, and he shall rule over her. (my bible also says, or that she will be subject to her husband.) God does not repeat exactly what the offense of her sin was, as he does with Adam – he simply declares her punishment. This is interesting because I believe it is clear to God and the woman that she knows what her sin was: she knew exactly what God had commanded her NOT to do, and she did it anyway (even though she makes a feeble attempt to cast some blame upon the serpent who beguiled her). There is no need to point out the sin more specifically to her; it is perfectly clear.
In v. 17, God points out that Adam’s sin has been listening to the voice of his wife (rather than to the voice of God), and subsequently he curses the ground, telling Adam that “in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of they life; v. 18 Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field;
v. 19 In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return. Again, it is interesting that God makes a point to specifically mention to Adam that this punishment is befalling him because he listened to his wife, not as in original relationship to his wife, pre-fall. His life now becomes toiling for his wages to provide – but this wasn’t so before sin entered in. God was his provision, as well as Woman’s.
Notice: NOW, after The Fall into sin, Adam calls his wife Eve; he names her for the first time, as mother of all living. This speaks to me of his authority over her; the order that God has now clearly set forth because of their new relationship due to the sin.
God, in his mercy, covers his children in animal skins (a foreshadowing of the sacrifice of the Lamb of God), yet they suffer the full consequence for eating of the Wrong Tree, and they are banished from the Garden forever: the man was sent forth to till the ground from whence he was taken. V. 23 Man became provider (instead of God’s provision for both of them in Eden) after the fall, not prior. Not hard-wiring, ladies and gentlemen. Not created order. A result of the fall. A command of God; he spoke it, and it became so for the man.
Lastly, in Genesis 5: 1-2, again it mentioned that God created of man in the likeness of God; male and female created he them; and blessed them, and called their name Adam, in the day when they were created. Interestingly, this brings us full circle back to the day of creation before describing the generations of Adam – the day where God created male and female in spirit, blessed them, gave them a command to be fruitful and multiply, and gave them a command to have dominion. He spoke these things into their spirit before they were even made manifest in the flesh.
Back to the Feminine Imperative: after praying, and reading, thinking and meditating upon the words of God in Genesis of the creation story, I am now thoroughly unconvinced that the feminine imperative exists as solely a biological construct within women. Period.
It sounds nice, in a psychological sort of way, to say that “women were just hard-wired to desire to have babies and lots of them and then make sure their babies are well cared for (which automatically means the women themselves must be well cared for). That’s where it begins and ends, though, at least for me: I don’t care what “science” says, or a bazillion studies of lizard-brain biochemistry say – women are not naturally submissive, not naturally desirous of many children (necessarily), not naturally desirous of selflessly raising a brood of little angels for Jesus (or themselves, for that matter!)…etc. ad nauseum. It appears to me, from poring over my (almost) favorite three chapters of the Holy Bible once more, that women are sinful, selfish, self-absorbed, self-serving, narcissistic, navel-gazing brute beasts – “naturally”. Period. This is due to The Fall into sin. Not a one of us has escaped. Only Jews and unbelievers believe infants are born sinless!
Now, I agree to a degree with someone on SSM’s site who commented that there isn’t a Feminine Imperative to ensure survival; only a human imperative. This is just a drive. Both men and women desire to procreate because both men and woman possess a strong sex drive – and the natural consequence of a strong sex drive is that babies are going to be born (absent contraception). BUT: I wouldn’t say that specifically WOMEN necessarily desire to ensure that they have many babies and enough cash to care for them: this just can’t be true.
This can’t be true for a number of reasons, but primarily, because God is the one who commanded men and women to be fruitful and multiply. Why would he need to command this if he knew we would just automatically CHOOSE it every time? God is also the one who told the woman that in sorrow she would bring forth and raise children, and she would desire her husband but he would rule over her. Knowing what he meted out in punishment to her, is he going to assume that she is naturally going to desire to have many, many children (which will mean much sorrow – and not just in physical labor!)? Is he going to assume that she is naturally going to be “hard-wired” to do what is required to submit to a man, even though he hasn’t even inspired Paul to write Ephesians yet? Do you see where I’m going with this? There’s no way that an omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent God is going to dole out an unpleasant punishment as part of woman’s consequence for original sin and then “hard-wire” her to desire just the opposite of what he just spoke over her! He doesn’t change his mind; he doesn’t lie. He effectively cursed her with an “unpleasant” family life by any modern woman’s standards, yet we are boldly suggesting that he MADE women to “naturally” desire to pop out a Duggar-sized brood of children and “naturally” desire to be the wife that enjoys the Godly suffering of raising them, under the mere human and fallible leadership of another sinful human being called a man? (Even if she just wants all the little ones without the man, we don’t see women signing up for this in droves, either.)
I am having a tremendously difficult time with that concept.
Now, obviously this is getting lengthy and I could go on and on, but the gist is this: the kind of discussion that is going on at SSM’s and elsewhere has been going on since the first man and woman were before God and the devil in the Garden. “But it was that woman YOU gave me, God! She’s to blame!” or “Well, I know what I did, God, but it was that nasty, tricky devil the serpent who made me do it!”…and on it goes ad infinitum.
I’ve read the scores of interesting comments on the Feminine Imperative. I’ve concluded there is not a Feminine Imperative. There is a Human Drive to Produce Offspring and it is called a Sex Drive, quite simply. We have complicated it because we have so many “choices” – our eyes were opened when Adam and the woman ate that fruit and we have too many choices now, and it brings confusion just as God knew it would. We forget that now we have birth control, and abortion and all kinds of things that are just further evidence of the pure selfishness and sinfulness of women at large (sans rebirth in Christ, of course). If women were “hard-wired” against all else to ensure the survival of their brood and the care thereof, we wouldn’t have so many women killing their offspring without so much as the bat of a pretty little eyelash. It’s not that woman WANT lots of children; they end up having a number of children (if they are promiscuous) because their strong sex drive results naturally in children! That certainly doesn’t mean they want to care for them, or even that they want a good man to care for them. They may wish to sacrifice them to Molech or kill them in the bathtub. Who knows. The nature of women is not to desire to ensure many children and the utmost survival thereof – instead, this is a natural consequence of her active sex life.
The nature of men is not to automatically desire the continuation of his genes: he may end up with fruitfulness and multiplication inadvertently because he has lots of non-contraceptive sex, but I don’t believe for a minute that all men were “hard-wired” to make lots of babies so some of them would survive. We have men abandoning their children left and right (sorry guys, there are plenty of men who aren’t like the readers here). We have an entire black community dominated by women in part because the men have no “hard-wired” desire to care for their offspring. Further again, why would God Almighty have to command him to be fruitful if he was “all in” in a natural sense? I call baloney on that one, too.
Tear it apart, readers. Tear apart my feeble attempt at exegesis of Genesis 1-3, 5. I am in no way attempting to teach anyone anything, or correct anyone either. I am just offering up what I have peace with now in my own heart, because the lack of peace about the matter drove me to my little black bible again. This is what has given me peace: the Feminine Imperative does not exist. For as long as there have been women (and men), women (and men) have been selfish, self-seeking people without rebirth in God through Jesus Christ. This is all I see: selfish, self-seeking women acting as we should expect unregenerate women to act. This includes women in the church; the Churchian women who believe they are “saved” but will hear “depart from Me, I never knew you” on judgement day if they don’t get to a place of repentance. That’s why I write these things; for the sake of the one woman who might wake up because of what I write, if indeed she ever sees it.
The Feminist Imperative (if you wish to call the Feminine Imperative by this name) most definitely exists as a social construct, and we all know who is behind the scenes – he’s been hissing at Woman for all of this time; he’s still busy talking in her ear.
Did you notice that even Adam didn’t blame him? He went for his wife first – throwing her under the bus. Maybe we should try something differently…