Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Sound Scholarship Again Contradicts Debbie Maken

I have been doing a lot of research for my exegetical paper which is due on Tuesday, and, as part of my research, I was examining the methodological section of C. John Collins' Commentary on Genesis 1-4. It is a 300+ page commentary on the first four chapters of Genesis by a professor of Old Testament at Covenant Seminary [incedentially, the same seminary that Debbie Maken's church, the PCA, supports].

All of you who have read Debbie Maken's book at this point are aware of this quotation:

Adam was in the garden with Eve, had been given headship over her, watched the entire conversation (with a talking snake!), and yet did nothing. No intervention, no "Stop talking with that animal!" It's like he sat back, popped open a beer, and then when everything went to pot complained, "The woman you gave me..." [Getting Serious about Getting Married p. 67]

Contra Debbie Maken, C. John Collins, an Old Testament scholar, says that this is what is called a "gap." He writes:

A gap is something left unresolved; when it is intentional, it makes us wonder about it. Since the question here is an obvious one, it may well be the author's intent to say to us, "I know you are curious about this, but since the purpose of the account is elsewhere, I will not satisfy your curiosity." Other gaps in this account include: what is the origin of the evil that possesses the serpent; whence came the woman's willingness to entertain the temptation; and what was the man doing when he was "with her" (3:6)? [Collins, C. John. Genesis 1-4 A Linguistic, Literary, and Theological Commentary. Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing. Phillipsburg, New Jersey, 2006 p. 172 n. 60].

With regards to Genesis 3:6 he writes:

And what of the man's part? He enters in Gensis 3:6, where we read "she also gave some to her husband [who was] with her, and he ate." If he was "with her," what was he doing when Eve was being led astray? Why did he eat-did he put up no struggle? Again, I do not think our author has given us the wherewithal to answer these questions. Instead, the focus is on the other factors: namely, that the couple sinned freely, that is, without any compulsion or pressure from God or their created nature. [ibid, p.173 Emphasis mine].

Notice that, unlike Debbie Maken, C. John Collins is not so quick to rule out the idea that Adam might have put up a struggle. In fact, one of the interesting things about this is that John Calvin, who Maken quotes [and misuses over and over again] contradicts her here:

And gave also unto her husband with her From these words, some conjecture that Adam was present when his wife was tempted and persuaded by the serpent, which is by no means credible. Yet it might be that he soon joined her, and that, even before the woman tasted the fruit of the tree, she related the conversation held with the serpent, and entangled him with the same fallacies by which she herself had been deceived [from http://www.ccel.org/ccel/calvin/calcom01.ix.i.html].

In other words, here is a possible reconstruction of these events:

1. The woman is tempted.
2. Adam sees that his wife is being tempted, tries to stop her, but she doesn't listen, and persists in speaking with the snake in spite of her husband's strong protests.
3. After she eats of the fruit, she is mad at her husband, and they quarrel. In the midst of that quarrel, she ensnares him in the very same errors of which the serpent had convinced her.
4. After she has deceived her husband, she gets some fruit, gives it to him, and he eats of it.

This senario definitely fits with everything that is said in the text. The point that Dr. Collins is making is that the Bible does not tell us what Adam was doing when he was with her. We can take it as a sinster, anti-male senario. Or, we can look at Adam as being deceived by the very same lies by which the woman was deceived. Of course, we know that the shaming that Debbie Maken does of single men is definitely indicative of which position she is going to take. However, if we are going to be honest exegetes, we are going to have to admit that we have no idea what Adam was doing when he was with her. The point is that the couple sinned freely, and we in turn have inhereted a sin nature because of it.

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