From Bondage to Blessing

Chapter 6 - The Deteriorating Status of Women As Sin Has Multiplied

"For the wages of sin is death..." (Romans 6:23)

Sinful patterns began to operate in the lives of Adam and Eve after the fall, working spiritual death into all aspects of their lives. Indeed, these patterns became intrinsically woven into the fabric of the carnal human nature. Dysfunction characterized by fear, mistrust, competition, blame, deception, selfishness, stubbornness and domination became a part of the human condition and the relationship between men and women. The enemy's strategy was to separate man, male and female, not only from God, but also from one another! God's plan to establish them in joint dominion and authority over the earth, to be interdependent, cleaving to and helping one another, seemed to be successfully blocked. As time marched on, the sin operating to isolate, divide and separate men and women from one another progressed to unbelievable proportions. According to one authority on repeated patterns of sin and curses:

"Generational influences multiply ... a curse becomes magnified as it is relived in each succeeding family. Sin begets sin. There is a law of increasing returns with each generation."1

Certainly, we see this pattern in the historical record of the Bible. By the time Noah came along, sin had multiplied so greatly that,

"the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the LORD was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart."(Genesis 6:5-6)

Noah, however, found favor with God. The Lord identified Noah as a man of justice and integrity (verse 9). When the He decided to wipe out the human race and start all over again, He preserved the life of Noah and his family to be those who would once again replenish the earth. Within a matter of generations, however, mankind was expressing his sinfulness again by exalting himself, trying to make a name for himself and endeavoring to save himself through his own efforts at the Tower of Babel (Genesis 11:1-9).

The entire Old Testament is a record of the downward spiral of mankind, the nation of Israel in particular, into the labyrinth of sin. It is a testimony of the generational legacy that became part of our earthly inheritance at the fall, revealing clearly our need for redemption and for a Savior.

In this chapter, we shall see how the position of women grew increasingly worse as sin multiplied. We shall trace the thread of oppression through Greek culture to its influence on the rabbis of the pre-Christian era, on the Church Fathers and, ultimately, on the church leaders of the modern day. We shall also look at how the status of women worldwide has been affected by the progression and multiplication of sin in human relationships.

Old Testament examples

We see Scriptural evidence of the worsening plight of women as sin propagated greater sin. The following examples from the Old Testament reveal the growing alienation between men and women, resulting in degradation and abuse of women.

  1. Genesis 19:8 - When Lot's home was surrounded by the men of Sodom who wanted to have sexual relations with the angels who were staying with him, Lot offered them his virgin daughters.
  2. Genesis 38:24 - Judah operated by a double standard - He was ready to have his daughter-in-law Tamar burned because she had prostituted herself, even though he had himself visited a prostitute (whom he later found out was Tamar in disguise). Once his own sin was exposed, he graciously did not follow through with the order to have her burned!
  3. Judges 19:22 - 20:5 - When a travelling Levite was surrounded by the men of Benjamin who wanted his host to throw him out to them so they could have homosexual relations with him, the host pleaded with the men to take his virgin daughter and the Levite's wife instead. When the men would not listen, the host threw out the Levite's wife anyway and the men of Benjamin gang-raped and abused her throughout the night. She died the next morning.
  4. 2 Samuel 16:20-22 - Absalom publicly raped the ten women whom king David had left in charge of the household in Jerusalem to assert his right over David's kingdom.

The Bible does not condone these acts. It merely records that they happened. However, all Scripture is profitable to us - "for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness" (2 Timothy 3:16). Do you think it is possible that these things were recorded so that we might see how horribly far we have fallen and repent?

Greek philosophers' views on women

As early as the 9th century B.C., the Greek bias towards women was evident. The story of Pandora's Box (circa 800 B.C.) was a Greek myth that promoted the idea that women were responsible for the evil in the world. It is Katherine Bushnell's contention that the rabbis, influenced by this Greek tale and its underlying philosophy, began to conform the story of Eve to that of Pandora.2 Pythagoras (580 B.C.) similarly taught that Adam would have remained happy and immortal if there had been no Eve.3 We see a melding of this Greek myth with Judaism in the apocryphal book Ecclesiasticus (also called Sirach). Susan Hyatt marks this as the first recorded reference to Eve being evil and responsible for all the evil in the world, like Pandora.4 Ecclesiasticus was written about 250 B.C., during the Intertestamentary period.

The foremost Greek philosophers who influenced ideas about women for centuries to come were Socrates, Plato and Aristotle. Plato was teaching about the time that the scribes (who would later become rabbis) were being raised up under the leadership of Ezra after the Babylonian captivity.

Plato (428 - 347 B.C.) studied under and was a disciple of Socrates, who is said to have "immortalized the Athenian disdain for women."5 Although Socrates thought that everyone should perform the responsibilities of citizenship, he did not believe in equality. Socrates expressed his view of male superiority by saying things like, "Do you know anything at all practiced among mankind in which in all these respects the male sex is not far better than the female?" He also said that being born a woman was divine punishment since women are halfway between a man and an animal.6 Another disciple of Socrates', Xenophon, is quoted as saying that the ideal woman was one who "might see as little as possible, hear as little as possible, and ask as little as possible."7 Aristotle, a disciple of Plato's said the "inequality" between male and female "is permanent" and used the same analogy to describe the husband/wife relationship as he used to describe a master/slave relationship.8 He described females as deformed males and believed they were inferior to men in their ability to reason.9 Aristotle's bias towards women is illustrated in his study of bees. He unquestioningly assumed that since swarms of bees followed one leader bee, this leader must be a male. Centuries later, of course, it was discovered that this "king bee" was really a queen bee!10

Respectable Greek wives were forced to lead secluded lives. They could take no part in public affairs, could make no appearances at meals or social occasions, had limited social contact and communication, and received no education. Only the courtesans or high class prostitutes were allowed more freedom. Pericles, the principle ruler of Athens was quoted as saying that the duty of an Athenian mother was to live a life so retired that her name would never have to be mentioned by men for any reason.11 In other words, a woman's duty was to be a non-person! Greek Stoic philosophers developed the conviction that women were just a temptation and distracted men from higher pursuits. They taught that sexual intercourse was justified only for the purpose of procreation. As John Bristow writes, "In subsequent centuries, the essence of that appeal was felt within the Christian Church ... the finest and most devout men and women would forego sexual intimacy and marriage for the sake of higher spiritual goals."12 It was through these Greek philosophers that women came to be seen as the source of sin.

The influence of Greek philosophy on Judaism

Greek philosophy continued to be a pervading force in shaping cultural norms and perspectives well into later centuries. There was a tremendous Hellenization of Jewish thought after Alexander the Great's conquest of Judea in the fourth century B.C. J. Julius Scott, in researching the Second Temple Period, noticed that the view of women in Judaism appeared to have degenerated considerably. He goes on to say, "Clearly something happened between the testaments that affected the perception and status of women." He identifies this "something" as the coming of Hellenistic culture.13 Indeed, Longenecker identifies the third and fourth centuries B.C. as the time in which "an ominous note arose within Judaism, which widened the traditional division between men and women and provided a twisted rationale for male chauvinistic attitudes."14 The effect of sin on men/women relationships was now given sanction and justification through pagan philosophy! Bushnell claims the Jews were fascinated with Greek culture, leading them to try to reconcile the biblical worldview with the paganism of the Greeks. There were political advantages that supported this process of Hellenization.15 Edersheim likewise notes the reconciliation of Greek philosophy with Jewish thought during the apocryphal period. He concludes, "Thus, the theology of the Old Testament would find a rational basis in the ontology of Plato, and its ethics in the moral philosophy of the Stoics."16 We may see evidence of this in 1 Maccabees 1:11-15 (NJB):

"It was then that there emerged from Israel a set of renegades who led many people astray. 'Come,' they said 'let us reach an understanding with the pagans surrounding us, for since we separated ourselves from them many misfortunes have overtaken us.' This proposal proved acceptable, and a number of the people eagerly approached the king, who authorised them to practise the pagan observances. So they built a gymnasium in Jerusalem, such as the pagans have, disguised their circumcision, and abandoned the holy covenant, submitting to the heathen rule as willing slaves of impiety."

Bristow agrees that the influence of Greek thought on Judaism was both subtle and far-reaching, citing the obvious influence of this philosophy upon the monastic Essenes, thought to be producers of the Dead Sea Scrolls (between 200 B.C. and A.D. 68) and Philo's attempt to marry the teachings of the Old Testament with the teachings of the Greeks.17 Philo taught that the proper relationship of a woman to her husband was "to serve as a slave", using the argument that women are more easily deceived than men. He also taught that the only purpose for marriage is procreation18 and that the creation of woman was the "beginning of all evils."19 As mentioned previously, Jesus ben Sirach, authored an apocryphal book written in the second century B.C. which illustrates the far reaching effect of Hellenism on rabbinical thinking. He wrote, "Woman is the origin of sin and it is through her that we all die."20 Here we find blame on Eve and women in general for all the sin in the world.

Influence on rabbinical teaching

Rabbinical commentary found in the Jewish oral law also reveals clear influence from the Greek philosophers. The different Talmuds are rabbinical commentaries on the Mishna, which is itself a commentary on the Torah (the Law of Moses). These commentaries became what is known as the Jewish "oral law", rabbinical traditions which were passed down from one generation to the next.

Jesus made it clear in Matthew 5 that rabbinical teaching on the law of God missed the spirit of the law and was bereft of an understanding of the heart and mind of God. When the men brought the woman caught in adultery to Jesus in John 8:3-12 and urged Him to condemn her to stoning according to the oral law, He exposed the double standard of this oral law and the men left ashamed and convicted by God. The rabbinical teaching condemned only the woman and not the man - in opposition to Leviticus 20:10. When the Pharisees rebuked Jesus for not subscribing to this oral law (Mark 7:3, 5), He in turn rebuked them for following it. He quoted the prophet Isaiah and told them that Isaiah was talking about them when he prophesied,

"This people honors me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men" (Mark 7:6-7).

He also told them that they preferred their traditions over the commandments of God (verse 9) and that they made the Word of God of no effect through their tradition (verse 13). Will Varner, a scholar familiar with the Hebrew culture, has written, "These rabbinical strictures were not inspired by God and often reflect a wrong attitude towards women..." In fact, he goes so far as to say the oral law "certainly went far beyond what the Old Testament taught" and should not be identified as biblical.21

Trombley lists "Ten Curses of Eve" from Genesis 3:16 which are found in this tradition, having been excerpted from a Talmudic commentary on the book of Genesis. Looking at just a few of these curses, we find that the rabbis advocated conception only at the husband's choice and discretion, the concept that childbirth was a punishment on women for Eve's sin, the husband would rule over the wife since she was his property, the wrapping of woman like a mourner, and confinement to the house.22 The mindset of the rabbis regarding women is clearly revealed in these "Ten Curses".

Bristow notes that the rabbis were often called "the bruised and bleeding ones" because they would shut their eyes whenever they saw a woman on the street and run into walls and houses!23 He also notes that they used the tenth commandment (Deuteronomy 5:21) to validate their view of women as property of their husbands. But he shows how the rabbis took this commandment out of context of the Ten Commandments as a whole to arrive at their erroneous conclusion. He asks, "How could dedicated scholars of Hebrew Scripture make this kind of blunder in interpretation?" He suggests that perhaps it was because they approached the Scriptures with a fundamental belief in the inferiority of women (a belief, he says, which had its origin outside of Scripture) and then imposed that belief on the Scriptures. In other words, they read into the Scriptures, rather than reading out of the Scriptures.24 Fuchsia Pickett asserts that in her fifty plus years of ministry, she has found that many Christians today tend to do the same thing. She has discovered that people quite often "study their Bibles through the eyes of their own prejudices, customs and traditions."25

We also see the rabbinical prejudice and distaste towards women in other parts of the oral law. A few examples are in order, not for shock value, but to gain a feel for what was thought and taught. We must remember that "out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks" (Matthew 12:34):

  1. "When a boy comes into the world, peace comes ... when a girl comes into the world, nothing comes."26
  2. "Rather should the words of the Torah be burned than entrusted to a woman ... Whoever teaches his daughter the Torah is like one who teaches her obscenity."27
  3. "All women are nymphomaniacs."28
  4. "A woman is a pitcher full of filth with its mouth full of blood, yet all run after her."29
  5. "He that talks much with women brings evil upon himself ..."30
  6. "All we can expect of them [women] is that they bring up our children and keep us from sin"31
  7. A husband could divorce his wife and not return her dowry if she "goes out with her hair unbound ... or speaks to any man."32

Rabbinical interpretation of Scripture regarding women was at least partially rooted in the philosophy of the Greeks. It is also important to emphasize that rabbinical interpretation, with its inherent bias, greatly influenced attitudes towards women over the following centuries. Some have noted the similarities between comments made by the rabbis and comments made by the early Church Fathers.33 These similarities can even be found in some teachings of the modern day Church. One rabbi who did not agree with the Aristotelian view of women, however, was Gamaliel.34 He provides a noteworthy exception, since he is the rabbi under whom the apostle Paul studied! Later we shall see that Paul, despite what we have thought and taught, was likewise at variance with the Greek attitude towards women.

The influence of Greek philosophy on Christianity

In the preface to his book, What Paul Really Said About Women, John Bristow maintains that Greek philosophy has infused Christian theology, and boldly proclaims that "this same Greek philosophy is often preached from Christian pulpits, innocently assumed to be biblical theology."35 A popular encyclopedia similarly states, "Platonic ideas have had a crucial role in the development of Christian theology", noting that early Church Fathers such as Origen, Augustine, and Clement of Alexandria were "exponents of a Platonic perspective."36 How can this be? Could a pagan philosophy developed centuries before Christ really be influencing Christian doctrine and practice today? One scholar has put it this way: "The shadow of Plato is 2,300 years long, and has not faded. His thoughts have perhaps had more effect upon the way Westerners think and act than any single mortal man in history."37 The Greek philosophers thus laid a lasting philosophical foundation for the premise that women are inferior to men. We can actually trace the thread of it from Socrates, Plato, Aristotle and the Stoic philosophers through Judaism and its influence upon the rabbis, to the early Church Fathers and its influence upon them. The writings of these men formulated the thinking of successive generations, becoming almost as authoritative for the Church as the Bible itself!

Origen (A.D. 185-254) was a student of Clement of Alexandria and became his successor as head of the catechetical school of Alexandria. He became Bishop of Alexandria in A.D. 247. While a strong Christian leader, Origen was also influenced greatly by Gnosticism and Greek philosophy. Some sources identify him as a follower of Plato who endeavored to combine this philosophy with that of Christianity.38 He saw women as earthly, fleshly and evil. He claimed God would never stoop to look at anything feminine and wrote, "It is not proper for a woman to speak in church, however admirable or holy what she says may be, merely because it comes from female lips."39 He also said, "What is seen with the eyes of the creator is masculine, and not feminine, for God does not stoop to look upon what is feminine and of the flesh."40

Tertullian (A.D. 160-230), called the Father of Latin Theology, was also a Roman lawyer schooled in Stoic philosophy. We see the Stoic influence in his words, "woman ... do you not know that you are (each) an Eve? The sentence of God on this sex of yours lives in this age: the guilt must of necessity live too. You are the devil's gateway: you are the unsealer of that (forbidden) tree: you are the first deserter of the divine law: you are she who persuaded him whom the devil was not valiant enough to attack. You destroyed so easily God's image in man. On account of your desert - that is, death - even the Son of God had to die."41 He blamed Eve for the fall of mankind, for sin and even for the death of Jesus Christ - then laid the guilt of it upon every woman who has ever lived!

Iranaeus (A.D. 125-165) was, in the earlier years of his ministry, a well known theological teacher and writer. He was one of the foremost representatives of the school of Asia Minor. Later, he moved to France and became Bishop of Lyons, where he served for about 25 years before being martyred. Iranaeus was another Church Father who placed blame for the fall squarely on Eve's shoulders alone. He wrote that by Eve's disobedience, she was the "cause of death both for herself and the whole human race."42

Clement of Alexandria (A.D. 150-215) was a founder of the famous Alexandrian school of theology. He taught, "Man is stronger and purer since he is uncastrated and has a beard. Women are weak, passive, castrated and immature ...".43 Clement didn't blame women for killing Jesus as did Tertullian. He simply used hairiness as a criterion for superiority! He is also quoted as saying that men should "turn away from the sight of women. For it is a sin not only to touch but to look."44 Doesn't this sound like something straight out of the Talmud or the Mishna?

Epiphamus (A.D. 315-403) became Bishop of Cyprus and later Salamis. He wrote, "For the female sex is easily seduced, weak and without much understanding. The devil seeks to vomit out this disorder through women..."45

John Chrysostom (A.D. 345-407), nicknamed "the golden mouth" because of his eloquence, became the Bishop of Constantinople in A.D. 398. A man of apparent contradictions, he encouraged the work of deaconesses and yet he made statements that indicate an underlying bias towards women. For example, he said, "God maintained the order of each sex by dividing the business of human life into two parts and assigned the more necessary and beneficial aspects to the man and the less important, inferior matters to the woman."46 He also compared going to a woman for instruction to that of going to the "irrational animals of the lower kind" such as the ant in Proverbs 6:6.47 He further insisted that "there is one excuse for marriage, namely, avoiding fornication."48

Ambrose (A.D. 340-397), Bishop of Milan, is credited with the baptism of Augustine. He wrote, "Thus woman is inferior to man, she is part of him, she is under his command. Sin began with her, she must wear this sign, the veil."49

Jerome (A.D. 340-420) was known as one of the foremost scholars of the western Church during his time. He was responsible for producing the Latin translation of the Bible called the Vulgate. The Vulgate was the basis for the King James Version of the Bible produced in the 17th century. Jerome seemed to share the low view of women characterized by the other Church Fathers. He said, "Woman is a temple built over a sewer." He further commented that women, especially those who assumed leadership roles in religion, were "miserable, sin-ridden wenches." He felt that if a woman wanted to serve Christ, "she will cease to be a woman and will be called a man."50

Augustine (A.D. 354-430), Bishop of Hippo, probably had the greatest influence of all the early Church Fathers on modern Christianity. John Calvin and Martin Luther, leaders of the 16th century Reformation and fathers of the Protestant Movement, were both close students of Augustine. Manichaeism, a Persian dualistic philosophy that incorporated some Gnostic elements, heavily influenced him and his teachings. He was also influenced by Neoplatonism.51 Augustine believed that women were not created in God's image - only men were, and that the Gnostic concept of evil flesh was embodied in woman whereas the concept of pure spirit was embodied in the husband. As a result, he believed women had no spiritual authority, disqualifying them from teaching or being witnesses for Christ.52 It is important to note that the Lord did not seem to share Augustine's viewpoint! He chose women to be witnesses of Christ's resurrection, with the responsibility to share the good news with the rest of his disciples. Also, Augustine's statements conflict with the practice of the Church at that time, as it is historical record that women were ordained as abbesses who ruled and taught both men and women until about the 8th century.53 They also functioned as teaching deacons through at least part of the third century.54

The rise of institutionalism

By time of Augustine's death, the Church birthed in Pentecost had undergone a complete transformation. It had changed from a thriving, living organism, sustained by the power of God, rooted in His love as expressed through relationship and community, with a decentralized base of control ... to a cold, dead institution, bereft of life and power, with liturgy as a substitute for relationship, and dominated by a hierarchical structure of control. As a result, lay ministry by both men and women began to disappear. It was replaced by the professional minister who was qualified by education, title and position rather than by gifting or anointing. It was replaced by people ordained of men rather than of God.

I was delighted one day in December 1997 to find a remark on the Internet credited to David (formerly Paul) Yonggi Cho, made during a church growth conference in Helsinki. He said, "If you want to build an organization, work with men. If you want to build Jesus' Church, work with women." While I was initially taken aback that such a prominent figure would make such a bold (and perhaps unpopular) statement, I could instantly see evidence of the truth of his statement in Church history. When women were an active part of the early Church, as we will see in more detail in later chapters, the Church was living and growing. But when the philosophy of the Greeks, with their disdain for women and conviction of their inferiority, finally impacted Christian doctrine and practice, the Church became an organization and an institution with a great deal of structure and no life.

During the sixth century, the Church entered what is known as the Dark Ages. As the infusion of paganism and Greek philosophy into Christian theology choked out biblical truth, the life and freedom Jesus came to bring was lost. In A.D. 567, for example, the Council of Tours blamed women for luring men into sin and compared them to serpents who "make themselves more alluring by shedding their skin."55 Christian women were back in bondage again, held in chains by the tenets of a pagan philosophy cloaked in religious jargon.

Thomas Aquinas and pagan philosophy

In the later years of the Dark Ages, Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) was instrumental in securing the melding of Christian beliefs with Greek philosophy.56 He was a Dominican monk appointed by the Pope as an authoritative teacher of Roman theology. As Bristow has summarized,

"Aquinas did more than any other to systematize Christian beliefs and to harmonize them with Greek philosophy. In this monumental task, Aquinas interpreted the writings of St. Paul through the mind of Aristotle, and the Greek deprecation of women became solidly infused within Christian theology. Since that time, both Catholics and Protestants have tended to read Paul's words through the eyes of pagan philosophers who lived 5 centuries before the apostle!"57

What was the fruit of this "harmonization" of Christianity with Greek philosophy? Susan Hyatt identifies one poisonous fruit as a result of this unholy matrimony. She calls attention to the fact that the Medieval Church sanctioned the beating of wives based on the "headship" supposedly espoused by 1 Corinthians 11:3 and on their concept of woman's sinfulness. She continues on to explain that in the 13th century, "the Laws and Customs of Beauvais advised men to beat their wives 'only within reason' since an excessive number of women were dying of marital chastisement."58

As sin multiplied: domination of women a cultural norm

Multiplication of sin and man's domination of woman has stretched through the centuries to impact the world, inflicting great pain and suffering on women. These tragic patterns continue today. Lorry Lutz cites figures that are astounding. She notes that approximately one quarter of the world's women are violently abused in their own homes. Statistics reveal that in Papua New Guinea, 60% of women are violently abused, in Thailand 50%, in Korea 60%, and in Pakistan a whopping 80%. She also notes that in 1996, almost 2 million girls around the world were forced to undergo genital "circumcision", a mutilation process that is said to "make girls more desirable for marriage, ensure virginity, and keep them from sexual wrongdoing." Nigeria, Ethiopia, Egypt, Sudan and Kenya are apparently the worst offenders.59 As Jane Hansen points out, "The fact that sex will be excruciating for them the rest of their lives is of no consequence."60

Hyatt cites a Time International special report, which revealed that the international sex trade sold no less than 30 million girls between 1991 and 1993.61 Further, in Bosnia, 20,000 women have been raped "as part of Serbian ethnic cleansing."62

Buddhism, Hinduism and Islam all teach that women are inferior to men and a source of disdain. A Sri Lankan proverb says, "She is born a woman because she committed a thousand sins in the previous world."63 Sri Lanka is a predominantly Buddhist nation. In Hinduism, women are of less value than a cow. "Her husband is her god," writes Lutz, "and serving him is the only way to gain merit." She quotes the Indian government's Department of Women and Child Development as saying, "In a culture that idolizes sons and dreads the birth of a daughter, to be born female comes perilously close to being born less than human."64

Islam likewise devalues women. The majority of female genital mutilation cases seem to occur among Muslims. Also, the highest incidences of violent abuse against women seem to occur among Muslims. Here is just one example. As recently as 1998, a petition was circulating on the internet regarding the sub-human treatment of women in Afghanistan since the Taliban took power in 1996. This petition was to be submitted to the U.S. government, asking for intervention in the plight of women in that country. The petition compared the treatment of women to the treatment of Jews in pre-Holocaust Poland. As the petition explained, "Homes where a woman is present must have their windows painted so that she can never be seen by outsiders. They must wear silent shoes so that they are never heard. Women live in fear of their lives for the slightest misbehavior ... It is at the point where the term 'human rights violations' has become an understatement. Husbands have the power of life and death over their women relatives, especially their wives, but an angry mob has just as much right to stone or beat a woman, often to death, for exposing an inch of flesh or offending them in the slightest way."65 This sort of treatment is just the natural progression of the Islamic mindset that looks upon women as property and valuable for four reasons: her money, her family, her looks or her religion.66 Interestingly enough, according to Abdiyah Akbar Abdul-Haqq, an evangelist whose family converted from Islam, the prophet Muhammed was greatly influenced in his development of Islamic doctrine and practice by Christian and Jewish thinking of that time (6th-7th century AD).67

Even more recently, the Egyptian rape law has come to the forefront of the news. Men can be sentenced to death if convicted of rape, but there is a loophole. If the perpetrator, or one of the perpetrators in the case of gang rape, marries the victim, then all are set free! The shame and stigma of rape falls on the young girl or woman in this Muslim society. Often she is killed to restore honor to her family. As an alternative, she is often forced to marry the rapist. Supporters of this law say it is in the best interest of women - they need not be killed (for being the victim) and they have perhaps their only opportunity for marriage (to their attacker). Say's one women's counselor in Egypt, "It is not enough that she was [emotionally] slaughtered by the rape. By marrying the rapist, she has the opportunity to be slaughtered again..." Thankfully, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak issued a decree to end this loophole. As of April 1999, the decree was awaiting legislative approval.68

Summary

While God had a plan for joint dominion and authority, for mutual honor and submission, for unity and intimacy, Satan had a plan to block it and bring separation, enmity and hurt between the sexes. What came in seed form at the time of the fall, blossomed into sheer ugliness with the multiplication of sin from one generation to the next.

The Old Testament records the downward spiral of the nation of Israel into sin, revealing clearly mankind's need for redemption. This downward spiral was revealed in many ways, one being the way in which men in the Old Testament often treated women. There are a number of examples of women offered for men's sexual pleasure and abuse, of double standards, of public humiliation and victimization of women. The Bible does not condone these things. It merely records the fact that they happened.

Satan's seed fell upon fertile ground in the hearts of the Greek philosophers who lived centuries before Christ. Most influential among these were Socrates, Plato and Aristotle. The bias, loathing and disdain they had for women were evident in their remarks and teachings. Greek philosophy became a force which pervaded and shaped cultural norms throughout the coming centuries. There is clear evidence that the Greek view of women had a penetrating influence upon rabbinical thought. The rabbis identified woman as the source of sin, blaming Eve for the fall of mankind. Ultimately, the thread of oppression promoted by the Athenian mindset worked its way through Judaism into the thinking and attitudes of the early Church Fathers. However, the early Church Fathers were directly affected by the Athenian mindset as well, since many of them were schooled in Greek philosophy and advocates of the Platonic perspective. Finally, the philosophy of the Greeks wound its way into western thought and the Church teachings of our modern day. Sin was, in effect, given justification within the Church by a pagan philosophy, which has subtly shaped interpretation of the Scriptures. God's heart and original plan and purpose for women were lost as the Scriptures have been interpreted out of a mindset that sees women as inferior, sinful, weak, and disqualified.

The multiplication of sin through the centuries has also led to the establishment of domination and abuse of women as a cultural norm in many eastern cultures. Buddhism, Hinduism and Islam all teach that women are inferior to men and a source of disdain. Shame, abuse and captivity are the logical conclusion of a sinful mindset that sees women as objects or possessions rather than people with an inherent value, dignity and worth. Jesus came to restore that worth and to bring a re-expression of the Father's heart towards women, as we shall see in the next chapter.

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Chapter 6 notes

  1. Dan LeLaCheur, Generational Legacy (Family Survival, Inc., Eugene OR, 1994), p. 49.
  2. Katherine C. Bushnell, God's Word to Women (1923, reprinted by Ray Munson, N. Collins NY), par. 118.
  3. Lorry Lutz, Women as Risk-Takers for God (World Evangelical Fellowship in assoc. with Paternoster Publishing, Carlisle, Cumbria, 1997), p. 29.
  4. Susan C. Hyatt, In the Spirit We're Equal (Hyatt Press, Dallas, 1998), p. 238.
  5. John Temple Bristow, What Paul Really Said About Women (Harper Collins, San Francisco, 1988), p. 3.
  6. John Temple Bristow, What Paul Really Said About Women (Harper Collins, San Francisco, 1988), p. 4-5.
  7. John Temple Bristow, What Paul Really Said About Women (Harper Collins, San Francisco, 1988)., p. 5.
  8. John Temple Bristow, What Paul Really Said About Women (Harper Collins, San Francisco, 1988), p. 6.
  9. John Temple Bristow, What Paul Really Said About Women (Harper Collins, San Francisco, 1988), p. 111.
  10. John Temple Bristow, What Paul Really Said About Women (Harper Collins, San Francisco, 1988), p. 5
  11. John Temple Bristow, What Paul Really Said About Women (Harper Collins, San Francisco, 1988), p. 6-7.
  12. John Temple Bristow, What Paul Really Said About Women (Harper Collins, San Francisco, 1988), p. 8.
  13. J. Julius Scott Jr., unpublished paper Wheaton College Graduate School, "Women in Second Temple Judaism: Some Preliminary Observations".
  14. Richard N. Longenecker, "Authority, Hierarchy and Leadership Patterns in the Bible" in Women, Authority and the Bible, Alvera Mickelsen, Ed. (InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, 1986), p. 69.
  15. Katherine C. Bushnell, God's Word to Women (1923, reprinted by Ray Munson, N. Collins NY), par. 86.
  16. Alfred Edersheim, The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah (McDonald Publishing, McLean, VA, no date, originally published 1883), p. 31-32.
  17. John Temple Bristow, What Paul Really Said About Women (HarperCollins, San Francisco, 1988), p. 24.
  18. Richard N. Longenecker, "Authority, Hierarchy and Leadership Patterns in the Bible" in Women, Authority and the Bible, Alvera Mickelsen, Ed. (InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, 1986), p. 70.
  19. Elaine Pagels, Adam, Eve and the Serpent (George, Weidenfeld and Nicolson, Ltd., London, 1988), p. 64.
  20. Sirach 25:24
  21. Will Varner, "Jesus and the Role of Women", Israel My Glory (August/September 1996), p. 20.
  22. Charles Trombley, Who Said Women Can't Teach? (Bridge Publishing, South Plainfield NJ, 1985), p. 30.
  23. John Temple Bristow, What Paul Really Said About Women (HarperCollins, San Francisco, 1988), p. 20.
  24. John Temple Bristow, What Paul Really Said About Women (HarperCollins, San Francisco, 1988), p. 22-25.
  25. Fuchsia Pickett, "Male and Female Created To Co-Labor with God", Spirit-Led Woman (June/July 1999).
  26. Babylonian Talmud, Niddah 31b.
  27. Babylonian Talmud, Kiddushin 70a.
  28. Babylonian Talmud, Ned 20a.
  29. Babylonian Talmud, Shabbath 152a.
  30. Mish Aboth 1:5.
  31. Bab Yebamoth 63a.
  32. Ketuboth 7:6.
  33. Ruth A. Tucker and Walter Liefeld, Daughters of the Church (Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, 1987), p. 89-90.
  34. John Temple Bristow, What Paul Really Said About Women (HarperCollins, San Francisco, 1988), p. 27.
  35. John Temple Bristow, What Paul Really Said About Women (HarperCollins, San Francisco, 1988), p. xii
  36. Microsoft (R) Encarta, "Plato", Copyright (c) 1994 Microsoft Corporation. Copyright (c) 1994 Funk &Wagnalls Corporation.
  37. Christian Overman, Assumptions That Affect Our Lives (Micah 6:8, Chatsworth CA, 1996), p. 150.
  38. Microsoft (R) Encarta, "Origen", Copyright (c) 1994 Microsoft Corporation. Copyright (c) 1994 Funk & Wagnalls Corporation.
  39. Charles Trombley, Who Said Women Can't Teach? (Bridge Publishing, South Plainfield NJ, 1985), p. 203.
  40. Leonard Swidler, Biblical Affirmations of Woman (The Westminster Press, Philadelphia, 1979), p. 342.
  41. John Temple Bristow, What Paul Really Said About Women,(HarperCollins, San Francisco, 1988), p. 28.
  42. Ruth A. Tucker and Walter Liefeld, Daughters of the Church (Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, 1987), p. 95.
  43. Charles Trombley, Who Said Women Can't Teach (Bridge Publishing, South Plainfield NJ, 1985), p. 202.
  44. Ruth A. Tucker and Walter Liefeld, Daughters of the Church (Zondervan Publishing House, 1987), p. 97.
  45. Leonard Swidler, Biblical Affirmations of Woman (The Westminster Press, Philadelphia, 1979), p. 343.
  46. Ruth A. Tucker and Walter Liefeld, Daughters of the Church, (Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, 1987), p. 124.
  47. Ruth A. Tucker and Walter Liefeld, Daughters of the Church, (Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, 1987), p. 125.
  48. Ruth A. Tucker and Walter Liefeld, Daughters of the Church, (Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, 1987), p. 126.
  49. Charles Trombley, Who Said Women Can't Teach (Bridge Publishing, South Plainfield NJ, 1985), p. 205.
  50. Susan C. Hyatt, In the Spirit We're Equal (Hyatt Press, Dallas, 1998), p. 55-56.
  51. Microsoft (R) Encarta, "Augustine, Saint", Copyright (c) 1994 Microsoft Corporation. Copyright (c) 1994 Funk & Wagnalls Corporation.
  52. Charles Trombley, Who Said Women Can't Teach (Bridge Publishing, South Plainfield NJ, 1985), p. 206.
  53. Ruth A. Tucker and Walter Liefeld, Daughters of the Church, (Zondervan Publishing House, 1987), p. 135.
  54. Leonard Swidler, Biblical Affirmations of Woman (The Westminster Press, Philadelphia, 1979), p. 313.
  55. Susan C. Hyatt, In the Spirit We're Equal (Hyatt Press, Dallas, 1998), p. 58.
  56. John Temple Bristow, What Paul Really Said About Women (HarperCollins, San Francisco, 1988), p. 29.
  57. Susan C. Hyatt, In the Spirit We're Equal (Hyatt Press, Dallas, 1998), p. 59.
  58. Ruth A. Tucker and Walter Liefeld, Daughters of the Church (Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, 1987), p. 131.
  59. Lorry Lutz, Women as Risk-Takers for God (World Evangelical Fellowship in assoc. with Paternoster Publishing, Carlisle, Cumbria, 1997), p. 33
  60. Jane Hansen, Fashioned for Intimacy (Regal Books/Gospel Light, Ventura CA, 1997), p. 65.
  61. Susan C. Hyatt, In the Spirit We're Equal (Hyatt Press, Dallas, 1998), p. 5-6
  62. Susan C. Hyatt, In the Spirit We're Equal (Hyatt Press, Dallas, 1998), p. 6
  63. Lorry Lutz, Women as Risk-Takers for God (World Evangelical Fellowship in assoc. with Paternoster Publishing, Carlisle, Cumbria, 1997), p. 34
  64. Lorry Lutz, Women as Risk-Takers for God (World Evangelical Fellowship in assoc. with Paternoster Publishing, Carlisle, Cumbria, 1997), p. 34.
  65. Melissa Buckheit, Brandeis University, Petition: The Taliban's War on Women (Email petition circulated, 1998).
  66. Anne Cooper, Ishmael My Brother (STL Books/Operation Mobilisation, Kent, England, 1985), p. 113.
  67. Abdiyah Akbar Abdul-Haqq, Sharing Your Faith with a Muslim (Bethany Fellowship, Minneapolis MN, 1980) p. 13-15.
  68. Tarek el-Tablawy (Associated Press), "Marrying Victim No Longer Option for Egyptian Rapists" (Washington Times April 19-25, 1999), p. 25.

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