Can “Daughters of Eve” Never Be Free from The Curse? Exploring “Rule” and “Desire” in Genesis

Until now, I have avoided blogging about “the woman issue” in the church because, frankly, I grew tired many years ago of being “the issue” and just decided to fulfill my calling. No need for further debate. Just lead by example and move on, I convinced myself.

Recently, however, one of the young women I used to mentor told me she would be using the book Captivating by Stasi Eldredge for a women’s Bible study she leads. I told her to be sure she sought out other sources for a balanced view. The very same day, I ran across Samantha Field’s blog and connected her to it since Field is currently running a series reviewing the Eldredge book.

I’ve had several follow-up conversations with the young woman as she’s gone through her studies. This has taken place in a private Facebook group we share with several other women. What has struck me in this group discussion is that, no matter how many voices there are out there encouraging women, the voices that seem to penetrate deepest (probably because they’ve heard them the longest) are those that tell them to “stay in their place.” This grieves my heart. And so, with that, I add my voice to those calling out for the redemption of the “daughters of Eve.”

As a starting point, I’ve chosen to add some commentary to Field’s most recent post. Here’s the excerpt from her post that prompted me to write today.

From Field – The next two pages are Stasi Eldredge sounding exactly like Helen Andelin (“It was a brilliant trap, well set,” because women should “cunningly” ensnare their husbands with manipulative traps), and then she relates a story about “Betsy” who was married to a “verbally abusive man” who was an elder, “mean,” who “villainized her to their children, their church.” But what did Betsy do– and what all women in her situation should do? She “didn’t seek divorce”; instead she: invited him to feel the weight of his consequences … She fasted and prayed … She gave him many tastes of what life could be like together …

The advice from Eldredge sounds a lot like the consequences of the curse for the relationship between men and women. When studying the curse and specifically the word “desire” in Genesis 3:16 (“Your desire will be for your husband, but he will rule over you.”), it is interesting to see the wording of that passage is almost identical to Genesis 4:7 in the story of Cain and Abel. There, sin is said to be desiring to overtake Cain, but he can master it. It seems like Eldredge is advising women to give in to the ungodly desires and tactics brought on by the curse.

A third parallel passage to this usage of “desire” (the only three times this word is used in the Bible) is found in Song of Solomon 7:10. There it says, “I am my beloved’s and his desire is for me.” Note the positive image of desire in Song of Solomon, as well as the role reversal. The context is a picture of a mutual relationship – She is his; he does not have to make her submit. “Rule” is not found, or needed, here. The context of Song of Solomon would indicate that this is a description of what the redeemed male-female relationship should be like, a contrast to the fallen state. It is a beautiful image.

But alas, most patriarchists would have women forever bound to the curse. “Daughters of Eve” are never to be free – not even in Christ.

6 thoughts on “Can “Daughters of Eve” Never Be Free from The Curse? Exploring “Rule” and “Desire” in Genesis

  1. Amen. I don’t see where women are “released” from trying their best to stay married to their men. NEITHER ARE MEN. God meant for us all to live in harmony with Him. period. We should ALL try our best in this fallen but redeemed world. The problem is that we don’t know how (or we’re too lazy) to give “our very best” because relationships are hard. Commitment is hard. Hearing God’s voice over anyone else’s is hard, because it takes time. Time is a commitment and commitment is hard…


  2. I’ve been following Field’s reviews as well. Someone had given me the book and highly recommended it, but I had never gotten around to reading it. I gave “Wild at Heart” as a Christmas present to my brother once. It’s eye-opening to realize that “popular” doesn’t necessarily mean “good.”


    • Ha, yeah, I worked at a Christian bookstore for seven years and learned the lesson of “popular doesn’t necessarily mean good” all too well. In fact, I actually developed an automatic response something like “if it’s too popular, I’m automatically suspicious.”


  3. Pingback: 5 Controversial Statements about Race and Gender I’ve Really Wanted to Post on My Blog but Haven’t – Until Now | Pull Up a Chair

  4. A closer look at Genesis 3 reveals an interesting fact: God never curses Eve or Adam. Only the serpent and the ground are cursed. What God does for Adam and Eve is describe what their life will now be after introducing sin into the world. What He says to Eve is a description of how her relationship with Adam will now change. It is not prescriptive, but descriptive. Why people insist that it’s God’s new (and eternal) rule for women is beyond me. You can’t get it from Genesis 1-3, if you are doing honest exegesis. Great post, by the way!


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