I’m writing in response to some remarks made by John MacArthur who is a well-known Christian broadcaster and author, about issues of gender. I’m not writing about his remark that Beth Moore (another well-known Christian author) should ‘Go home!” That has already been dealt with. I am writing in response to the sermon he gave as a ‘clarification’ issued shortly after the controversy about Mrs. Moore (the full text of which can be found here.
I have adapted a small section of my 240 page STL thesis which I’m telling you for two reasons. First, so you can see arguments which there is not space to present here, and second so you know that I have written a 240 page paper on the Hebrew text of Genesis 1-3 with gender as a major theme. This does not automatically prove me right, but it does prove that I’m not winging it on this topic, and the fact that the academic tribunal of the Collegium Augustinianum awarded the STL degree magna cum laude shows that serious scholars took the thesis as serious work, not yet another “hot take” on a culture war issue.
MacArthur’s claim is that “Eve stepped out from under the authority and protection of Adam, she was vulnerable, and she fell.
This is not what the text says at all. Nor does the text of the Bible agree with him that ” [Adam] sinned because he couldn’t live without her. … She had become everything to him.”
What the text explicitly says is that Adam’s job was to “guard” (shamar) the garden (Gen. 2:15). Guard it from what? My conclusion is that he was to guard it from wild beasts of the field, like serpents. You can read my arguments and you might differ but one thing is clear, if guardianship is anything at all, if we take the obligation of acting as a guard in any serious way, it would imply at a minimum that Adam should have guarded against an evil, talking reptilian creature who was telling blasphemous lies.
Which brings us to what Adam was supposed to be guarding in the garden. He was supposed to keep something bad out to protect something inside. What was he to protect? Well, what was the most valuable thing in the garden? Answer: Adam’s wife was the most valuable of the creatures under his protection. Yes, the trees were important, but they were important because of what they meant to the people (Gen. 2:17). The people were not there for the sake of the trees. God could have handled groundskeeping quite well on his own. Groundskeeping wasn’t for God’s sake. Groundskeeping was for the sake of the man and woman, so they could learn and mature.
Of course Adam was to guard the whole garden (which is why he erred by even letting the serpent in), but not all parts were equally important. If my wife and I go on a trip and tell our boys to watch the house, we mainly mean for them to protect the people, not pantry. So Adam was supposed to act as a guard to protect his wife from the invasive serpent.
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Jerry Bowyer