Re: ADAM AND EVE, THE BIBLE, SEXISM, AND RASTAFARI
Posted By: Summer In Response To: ADAM AND EVE, THE BIBLE, SEXISM, AND RASTAFARI. (Ras Tyehimba)
Date: Friday, 28 February 2003, at 5:44 a.m.
In Response To: ADAM AND EVE, THE BIBLE, SEXISM, AND RASTAFARI. (Ras Tyehimba)
Firstly, grasp the idea that understanding the Christian religion is a separate notion from understanding the Christian faith.
You began your thesis by saying that you “will never be able to accept the bible in its fullness and say that it is the perfect will of God” I admit that to counter this assertion is very difficult not to mention tricky. I must ask you, what exactly is the ‘perfect will of God’? I sure you will agree with my definition that God’s will is an ultimate and conclusive design for the fate and existence of all creation, intended for its well-being and benefit and being a product of his awesome, inconceivable wisdom. So then, do you truly, really believe that the perfect will of God has been revealed?
If it were so, we would have no reason to exist would we? We would be Gods ourselves. We would know what is going to happen to us tomorrow when we wake up. We would have no reason to seek after knowledge and thus write emails such as the one you wrote, because we would already have all the answers. There would be nothing to seek after, nothing to find out. We would possess knowledge of our futures and nothing would be a mystery to us. Therefore, to make a statement like the one you did is to assume that you do know the perfect will of God when in fact you don’t. You may be thinking to yourself ‘well considering that I have a knowledge of the nature of God, I think I at least have an idea of what his perfect will would be’. Well, thinking this is null and void because you already have a preconceived idea of the nature of God- that is to say, who and what God is. You have already been conditioned in what you perceive God to be. So have I. So has everybody. The fact of the matter is that God is a matter of personal experience. The scope of your belief in God, or your theory of what his ‘perfect will’ might be, is only a product of his manifestation in your life as it has been thus far. What or who ever you conceive God to be, don’t underestimate his/her/it’s/? absolute power and right to define perfection. Who knows, maybe your idea, as it stands, of this ‘perfect will’ may actually be abhorrent in the metamorphic ‘eyes’ of your God. Remember, God knows sooooooo much more than we will ever. Think about it…
Secondly, I cannot agree when you say that ‘the bible promotes sexism’. Ironically, I have recently been studying the whole story of Adam and Eve myself. Maybe you should have said ‘ the practice of the Christian religion, has over the years of its existence, promoted sexism’ I would not counter such a statement as the last.
You must remember that religion is a concept or an invention of mankind and the handiwork of man is practically always flawed
Back to the idea of the ‘perfect will of God’. If we agree on anything, it is that, NO, God did not intend for the female race to be inferior to the male line of creation. So, let us consider what God said to Eve when he cursed her for eating the fruit of the Tree of life.
‘I shall give you intense pain in childbearing,
You will give birth to your children in pain
Your yearning will be for your husband and he will dominate you’
So what God was saying was that man would be emotionally superior to woman and that he would have power over through her yearning for him. We all accept as a generalized fact that man is woman’s physical superior. So what we have here is the creation of a situation where man is given all-round supremacy over woman. Notice this phenomenon of male supremacy came about as a result of Eve’s disobedience to God. Because Eve (and Adam too) erred from the will of God, she was punished. Had she not erred, she would have retained her position as Adam’s equal, for God took a rib from Adam’s side in making Eve; the bone used to make Eve was not taken from Adam’s skull. No doubt, Adam was not designed to be the head of Eve, but to exist at his side. Life in the Garden of Eden as it was before the serpent tempted Adam and Eve gives us an idea of the perfect will of God. Had the first humans not sinned, we might have lived out that perfect will. Women would not be considered as inferiors in society. They would not experience intense pain in childbearing. Men would not dominate their female counterparts. As it stands however, we do not even know what the perfect will of God is. The bible says that when Adam and Eve ate the apple, ‘their eyes were opened’. They were made like Gods ‘knowing wrong from right’. Mankind eyes were opened in that they now possessed understanding of their own. We no longer needed to rely on God’s understanding. So maybe it is because you lean onto your own understanding that you believe that the bible promotes sexism. The question is, which understanding would you ultimately prefer: yours or God’s?
You point to the verse in I Corinthians where it is said that
‘ Woman was created for the sake of man’
And also to Ephesians where is stated that
‘Wives should be subject to their husbands as to the Lord, since as Christ is head of the Church and saves the whole body, do is a husband the head of his wife’
But the same verse in Corinthians goes on to say that
‘However in the Lord, though woman is nothing without man, man is nothing without woman, and though woman came from man, so does everything come from a woman, and everything comes from God’
And the same verse in Ephesians goes on to say that
‘Husbands should love their wives just as Christ loved the Church’
‘Husbands must love their wives as they love their own bodies; for a man to love his wife is for him to love himself. A man never hates his own body, but he feeds it and looks after it’
So don’t be too quick to claim that the Bible supports the substandard position of women and undermines the essentiality and reverence that surrounds the female being. Maybe you should consider the fact that men wrote the Bible. Distinction must be made between the messengers of the Bible and the message of the Bible. You ask if woman is destined for a life of eternal servitude and the answer is NO. I Timothy 2: 15 says:
‘She (woman) will be saved by child-bearing, provided she lives a sensible life and is constant in faith and love and holiness’
Woman, like man, can invalidate the curse on her existence through
‘The cleansing water of rebirth and renewal in the Holy Spirit, which he (God) has so generously poured over us through Jesus Christ our Saviour so that justified by his grace we should become heirs in hope of eternal life’
Thus, there is a counter-curse for the curse the female race received on the day Eve offended God- Jesus Christ. The ‘eternal life’ spoken of in Titus is a return to God’s initial perfect will, whereby women and men are equals. As for the idea that the only way for a woman to get to God is through man, this is one of the greatest misconceptions of the Bible. Woman knows God because God is in man. She does not go through man to get to God, but with him. She perceives God in man because man is- or I should say man should be- ‘the image of God and reflect his glory’. So it is not that woman’s experience of God is limited. She is not dependent on man for spiritual fulfillment, but on God, who by nature, manifests himself in man. Man is merely the forum. Without man God still exists. Do not believe that God would limit himself to the male being as the sole means of his manifestation to his other, female, creations.
So examine the personalities and personal philosophies of the great female figures of our time; women like Cleopatra, like Hasheput and Queen Candice and ask yourself; what makes a strong woman? What you call sexism in the Bible is really just the female doctrine of humility. Humility is the creator of great wisdom. It is not humility towards men as you interpret it to be, but humility towards God, which is in man. The great women of times gone by were great because they knew the value of humility. Remember: the wise of heart takes orders, but a gabbling fool heads for ruins and that pride comes first; disgrace soon follows but with the humble wisdom is found. All women should be respected and men should never take advantage of their Sistrin, but women shouldn’t fall victim to the old story of self-pity. They shouldn’t be made to believe that their position in life is unfair and feel spite because some men regard them as inferior. If our sisters concentrate on spiritual emancipation from the constraints of the image biblical history has created for them, then they would need to worry about sexism. They would rise up as individuals worthy to be honored and respected because of their God-given grace of humility and the wisdom born of humility. Our brothers would recognize the need to treat them well. Maybe then, woman could slowly but surely regain her position at man’s side as his emotional equal and humanity would have moved one step closer to recreating God’s perfect will for mankind.
Remember, the female principle will be emphasized in God’s own divine timing, according to his will. Eyes will be opened, but for now patience is essential.
So Tyehimba, continue your quest for mental emancipation and illumination. I heard somewhere that ‘if you keep your mind sufficiently open people will throw a lot of rubbish into it’. Always keep that in mind when you go looking for answers to all the questions. Keep sending those emails. I appreciate them greatly and it’s good to know some brothers appreciate their Sistrin…maybe we already on our way to the perfect will then.
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