God’s Design, Headship, Complementarianism, Biblical Gender Roles, The Fall
This series is a review of God’s Design, a children’s book which teaches children about complementarity. For an introduction of the book, click here. All of the titles below are chapters in the book.
Today, children, we are going to learn about how man and woman rebelled against God’s design. Spoiler alert!…We’ll talk about one more than the other.
Rebellion Against God’s Design
This is where Satan enters the picture to trick the man to turn away from God. But, does Satan go to man first? No. He goes straight to the woman. Honestly, I’m surprised that Satan doesn’t receive much more credit than this. With all of the articles on Desiring God’s site about Satan and spiritual warfare, I was certain that Satan would be given much more of a platform. But, no, we’re left with this:
When Eve took the fruit and ate it, she was saying no to the authority of God in her life. She believed that life would be better for her if she did whatever she wanted to do. She rejected the headship of God over her, and also the headship of her husband, by taking the lead and doing what her heart told her to do. She took the lead and led both herself and Adam into sin.
The account goes like this: (Genesis 3:6) “When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.” Is it a fair conclusion by the authors that Eve took the lead and followed her heart? I can see how one might come to this conclusion by reading into the text. But, it isn’t good textual scholarship, especially when dealing with a Jewish text.
As far as Adam is concerned, his main problem was that he decided to join Eve in her sin. Adam did not maintain his God-given design to protect and lead Eve.
In the end, the authors could have focused this chapter mainly on how sin entered the world. Instead, they focused on how Adam and Eve decided to go against God’s order by not following their roles.
Continuing Rebellion in Man
There really isn’t much to say about this chapter, except that it annoys the you know what out of me. There are 10 paragraphs: three cover what happens to man as a result of his rebellion, and one covers what happens to the serpent. That leaves six, yes, SIX paragraphs that are dedicated to woman’s punishment. Isn’t this a chapter about man?
About the only thing talked about in terms of man is that now he would have to work hard when he doesn’t want to, and instead of serving as the head of the family, he will want his wife to take the lead. Seriously. That’s it.
I’ll leave this section short by including one of the follow-up questions to the chapter:
“Besides passivity, what other type of sin can men fall into because of the power of sin now at work in our hearts? (See Genesis 3:16.) What does it mean for a husband to ‘rule’ over a wife in a ‘domineering’ way? How is this a distortion of God’s good design for men and women?”
Continuing Rebellion in Woman
Do we really need this chapter? Haven’t we already covered how woman is the cause of all the evil in the world? Sigh…let’s move on…
The authors provide a great rhyming mnemonic device to help us remember what happened to woman when she sinned in the garden. Really, the book says:
You can remember this if you memorize these rhyming words: pain, reign, disdain, and in vain. Repeat these rhyming words and try to memorize them to remember this true story.
What, no clever, catchy memory trick for Adam passive aggressively letting Eve start the whole process of getting kicked out of the garden?
The authors reference Genesis 3:16 (ESV) for our fun learning activity: “To the woman he said, ‘I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children. Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.'” Notice that this book was written before the new change to this verse which will now read: “Your desire shall be contrary to your husband, but he shall rule over you.”
Back to our memory trick:
pain = Childbirth
reign = Woman will want to be in control of her husband. Betty Friedan is brought up as an example of the dreaded f-word (quietly whispers, feminist). This books seems to be targeted to young elementary age children. Do they need Betty Friedan slammed down their throat at this age?
disdain = The feminists! Again! Especially those who complain about being led by men. Oh, and women’s rebellion has brought so much sadness to the world. Feminists have brought abortion, blaming men for their problems and leaving their husbands, as well as not believing in submitting to men or wanting their protection or leadership (note: men and not husbands).
in vain = Nothing good has come of women being in rebellion.
I am getting the sense that this entire book is meant to teach little girls their place in the Christian home and church. Whenever the authors mention anything about men the text inevitably leads back to the design or problem of women. Nothing good is going to come of this book the longer that it is in my possession.
The final activity in this chapter is: “As a family, take part in a prolife activity or do something to support prolife efforts.”
I wholeheartedly say, “Yes!” Take part in prolife activities! Go to a nursing home and regularly visit an elderly person who doesn’t have family living near by. Take in a young pregnant woman who needs a safe home. Volunteer at school for kids who need extra tutoring. Support organizations such as Doctors Without Borders or Medical Teams International who are fighting in war-torn areas to save lives. Visit people in prison. There are so many “prolife” activities that parents can get their kids involved in.
If you would like to read prior reviews on God’s Design, here are links in the order of the book chapters: