II Timothy 4:3-4 NIV For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.One of the most devastating passages The Church of the Itching Ears uses to keep women in bondage is Genesis 3:16:
Unto the woman he (God) said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.Because of their itching ears, they conclude that God is commanding husbands to rule over their wives. When the result of this teaching is domestic violence, we must re-examine our interpretation of scripture. The result of that examination shows that there are major problems with this interpretation.
First, nothing is said in this passage about this ruler behavior being passed on to future generations, yet multitudes of generations later, men still extrapolate from this that because God says this to Eve, that God is saying it to every wife.
Second, they act as if it is a command to the husband. Compare this verse with Genesis 2:16, “And the Lord God COMMANDED the man saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: but of the tree of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” Notice the clear statement that God commanded these things. For verse 3:16 to be taken as a commandment, it would have to say:
Unto the woman God commanded, saying, Thou shalt make thyself exceedingly sorrowful and thou shalt multiply thy conception; thou shalt make thyself sorrowful when thou bringeth forth children; and thou shalt place all thy desire upon thy husband, and obey him as his slave and let him rule over thee.But Genesis 3:16 is not a command. It is a prophecy! It is prophesying of the effect of sin on Adam and how that sin will effect Eve. Remember, Romans 5:12-21 states that sin entered the world by one man, Adam. Some would declare that sin came though Adam AND Eve, but scripture says sin came through ADAM. Genesis 1:27 specifies when MAN means both male and female: “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.” Since there is NO specific spelling out that the word Adam in Romans is referring to both Adam and Eve, and because the text is saying sin and death came to all men by ONE man, and that through ONE man, Jesus, many are made righteous, I have to conclude that sin and death came through Adam, not through Eve. As someone explained, God commanded Adam to not eat of the tree; He did not command Eve. The words Eve spoke to the serpent are likely those Adam passed on to her, and they are not accurate. If Adam indeed passed on to Eve an inaccurate account of God’s command, something about the way he said it would sound “fishy” or ridiculous, which would give Eve reason to lack that absolute conviction of its validity, making her vulnerable to the serpent’s questioning. God knew that, and would not hold Eve accountable for having received sloppy reporting.
Third, there is no command to Adam to rule his wife. Genesis 3:17
And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast harkened unto the voice of the wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying Thou shalt not eat of it; cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of they life; Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; 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.The Church of the Itching Ears adds:
“And God commanded Adam, thou shalt rule over thy wife all the days of thy life.”Or
“A new commandment I give thee: thou shalt rule over thy wife and increase her sorrow.”God never tells Adam to rule his wife; instead He tells Eve that Adam will rule over her.
Nowhere in the Bible does God tell men to rule their wives. But there are many passages The Church of the Itching Ears uses to try to SAY God is commanding husbands to rule their wives. But actually, the statement is a prophecy of the sinfulness of husbands. As the bride of Christ (and that includes men who follow Christ) purity, sinlessness, and Christlikeness is our goal. Husband authority, power and control over his wife misses the mark and must be rejected both as doctrine and as action.
Waneta Dawn is the author of "Behind the Hedge, A novel,"a story about a woman who grapples with her husband's demands that she submit--no matter what. Please visit www.wanetadawn.com