One of the most interesting things about the curse that God pronounces on Adam & Eve after the Fall is how He just doubles-down on everything He told them before the Fall.
In the beginning, when everything was still very good, God’s first instructions to mankind were to be fruitful & multiply and to take dominion over the earth. Adam was placed in authority to this end with Eve given to him as his beloved helper. And while many women complain about taking their husband’s surname today, in a perfect and sinless world, the first husband unilaterally decided on his wife’s entire name.
After the Fall, God informs the two of them that they’ll be doing exactly the same things as before, except now it’s going to hurt. Adam will still be tending the ground, but now it’s going to be toil ending in death. Eve is still going to have babies, but now it’s going to be painful.
And of course, the other clear point is that God pronounces that Adam is still in charge, but now Eve is going to resist that and try to take charge of her husband. That is what’s going on when He says “Your desire shall be contrary to your husband, but he shall rule over you.” (It’s the same phraseology God uses in the next chapter when warning Cain that sin desires to control him, but he must rule over it instead.) Once again, the original order of creation is maintained, but because of sin, it will be typified by conflict rather than unity.
And just like the never-ending thistles in my garden prove that Adam’s curse is still ongoing, feminism never stops finding novel ways to demonstrate that Eve’s curse is likewise still ruining everything.
But the most recent attempt to control men that caught my eye is an odd duck, even by modern standards. Apparently men are now sinning against women… by struggling against lust. The complaint comes from Sheila Gregoire, who has a history of pushing anti-Christian stupidity onto gullible Christians.
Lust is not just a sin against your purity. Lust has a VICTIM. When you say you struggle with lust, you’re saying you struggle with treating women with respect, as whole people.
Instead of battling “lust”, why don’t you try to practice respect?
— Sheila Gregoire–The Great Sex Rescue is here! (@sheilagregoire) December 13, 2021
There’s so much wrong in so few words, it’s hard to even know where to begin. Does she imagine that lust will go away if men just stop struggling with it? Does she think shaming men for struggling against lust will somehow spare the women she considers victims of that lust? Does she think denying the obvious differences between male and female sex drives will make them go away? Does she think that her plea to respect women as whole persons but ignore their sexuality is even coherent?
But as is often the case, people aren’t really senseless even when they’re being senseless. Even if all the words and thoughts are an incoherent mess, there’s still a key–a reason they’re all being spewed out together. And as you might have already guessed, in this case, that key is Eve’s Curse. Gregoire’s related blog post (in which she says men’s claims to struggle with lust are toxic and lists the ways women are hurt by it) makes that pretty clear.
Ever since the Fall, women want to be able to control the men in their lives on some level. They know we’re stronger than them; and when trust falters to any extent, they begin to fear and want to keep themselves safe by keeping us in line. So when they hear that men are subject to this force that men themselves have difficulty managing–and it’s something that directly concerns women to boot–it seriously enflames their fear and that sinful desire for control.
Ironically, that desire seems roughly as pervasive as lust is for men. The big difference is that while most men learn how to manage their errant desire with varying degrees of success, contemporary women actively work against learning how to struggle with their own lust for control.
The Bible says older women should be teaching the younger how to be submissive to their husbands–how to restrain their sin. But the ubiquitous feminism of the Western world has older women teaching younger that its actually abusive for their husbands to rule over them as God commanded. Their sinful desire for control is deliberately fed instead of mortified.
The upshot is that Gregoire’s mess of words isn’t really an argument. It is bleating meant to do two things: 1) reestablish control over men by trying to invoke some kind of shame which will alter our behavior; and 2) alert women to circle the wagons in response to the “threat” and magnify that shame to make it more effective. There’s really nothing more to it than that.
How then ought Christians respond to such nonsense? Well, like so many of the other things I’ve addressed to far, it really depends on whether that Christian is a man or a woman.
To men, I say this: Believe it or not, there is actually a useful takeaway form Gregoire’s nonsense: Don’t overshare with women. You don’t need to tell women about your struggle with lust. They’re not equipped to truly understand it, and their lack of understanding could lead them to some really weird places. The bizarre testimonies in her blog post are ample demonstrations of that.
I know why you’re tempted to do it anyway; you’d really appreciate women’s help in your struggle. But be realistic. God has already commanded women to do this, yet most Western women react to calls for modesty or recognition of marital duties like vampires reacting to a cross. If they aren’t even interested in obeying God, then they won’t be interested in deliberately helping you.
Even contemporary women can be convinced to be chaste, but most won’t do it for the sake of responsibility the way you would. Yes, there are exceptions–women who have been raised well and faithfully submit to God’s Word–and God bless those of you who find such precious gems. But for the most part, men need to find other approaches if they want to see women become chaste again. Remember that she’s just a woman.
So respect the weaker vessel and don’t enflame her sinful desire. Share with other men when you need to share your struggles or need support. Yes, in an age of social media, jackals will drag it before women like a carcass even when you never intended it for them. But arguing, justifying, and trying to get them to be reasonable just enflames Eve’s Curse more. You don’t owe women an explanation for your struggle with lust–only repentance if your failures in that struggle have done them serious harm.
To women, I say this: Avoid spiritual predators like Gregoire; they are the false teachers Jesus warned you about. They know they can gain status by preying on your fallen nature. It’s easy to get caught up in the antagonism the devil has created between the sexes and get your licks in for “your side.” But these false teachers are just Satan’s tools for burying you in resentment. There’s nothing enjoyable about living in bitterness towards the men in your life–especially over something as stupid as the “sin” of trying to avoid treating you improperly.
Also remember something about the various men you’ve found attractive over the years: none of them were particularly submissive. Sure, there were many times when you wished you were able to control the behavior of a man you already found attractive. But I’d wager there were few if any times that a man you already found submissive to you was also attractive.
As a rule, male submission is fundamentally repulsive. Could you successfully shame the men in your life into submission? Maybe, maybe not. But try to remember that while there are times you want obedience from a man, you do not really want to make men obedient.
And to everyone, I say this: It is blatantly obvious that our civilization is catastrophically broken with respect to sex. We mostly stopped reproducing, we think lifelong marriage is unrealistic, and many people can’t even tell the difference between men and women anymore. Satan has won that battle for the time-being.
But our lives go on, and so the war does as well. Now more than ever, you need to look to God’s Word to reset your overton window on the subject because you will get little more than garbage from your culture. And you’ll need to look at natural law in light of God’s word as well to recover the practical know-how. Yes, you’re going to hate a lot of His instructions–that’s because Satan has you well-trained. But faithfulness demands that Christians become truly counter-cultural and be discipled by Jesus Christ instead.