Genesis 3:16, The Man Shall Rule Over the Woman

To the woman [God] said, “I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing; with pain you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.”

//This comes from the story of Adam and Eve and the tree of knowledge. God said don’t eat the fruit, they ate it anyway, and consequences came. To the woman, God said your husband will rule over you.

This may not be so much a command as it is a sad prediction. Sin had been unleashed. God in essence says, “I created you as equals, but you’ve gone and screwed everything up. From now on, someone will always want to be lording it over someone else.”

And so it became, particularly in marriage, a sad state of affairs that lasted well into our day. Paul wrote about this, admitting that the woman should submit to the man:

For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. –Ephesians 5:23-24

Paul errs, however, when he provides his reason for this:

For man did not come from woman, but woman from man; neither was man created for woman, but woman for man. – 1 Corinthians 11:9

See also 1 Timothy chapter 2, if you imagine that book to be penned by Paul. Thus, Paul backs up the time of man’s dominion over woman to the day of creation, rather than the day of their sin. But then we have this odd statement by Paul about the new age of Christ:

For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. — Galatians 3:26-28

So which is it? Did Paul misunderstand about God’s intentions about men and women, or did he misunderstand the new age of Christ? Do men still get to lord it over women or not?


  1. Hi, JP! Good link … I didn’t read it all, since gender equality seems self-evident to me with or without a Biblical basis, but certainly we should appreciate the efforts of CBE

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