Here are her key points to be celebrated (because I agree):
1. The gender power-struggle is a result of the fall.
A judgment of the fall upon the woman in Genesis 3:16 is that her “desire will be for [her] husband, and he will rule over [her].” There, in a nutshell, is the gender power-struggle. Many scholars have observed the paralleled sentence structure between Genesis 3:16 and Genesis 4:7. In that passage sin (personified) desires Cain, and he is instructed to master it.
|Genesis 3:16||Genesis 4:7|
|… Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.||… [sin] desires to have you, but you must master it.|
“Desire” should not be understood as the poor loving wife who simply want’s to be with her husband while he’s hell-bent on ruling over her. He is hell-bent on rule her, of course, and he has the sheer strength to do so (generally speaking). But the woman has much more conniving, less direct ways to rule her husband. Genesis 3:16 describes a power-struggle between the sexes, of which the man has historically come out on top.
Evans rightly condemns the power-struggle in which men come out on top and advocates “a harmony like we see in Eden.” Amen.
2. The effects of this power-struggle is clearly evident in the Old Testament.
She observes how women could not inherit property, but in fact they themselves were seen as property. They were abused, taken as plunder (while the men were merely killed! BTW), and easily traded in for a newer model or sometimes kept around for her usefulness (keep in mind that average or poor men usually had one wife they cherished and adored in most ANE towns, but their stories are not normally told). Evans offers a slew of biblical examples. Rather than take up space in this article, I recommend you go there to read them.
3. Around the world women have been forced to succumb to the power of men.
She lists the statistics many of us have seen but should never become desensitized to. Every 9 seconds a woman is assaulted or beaten in the U.S. One in three women worldwide have been beaten, coerced into sex or “otherwise abused in her lifetime.” Again, for sake of brevity, I recommend you go to her article to read the statistics.
THE “MY VERSES VERSES YOUR VERSES GAME”
Jesus changes everything, she insists. I agree. We live in the tension of already but not yet, and it’s the “already” part that we should strive to live out. If Jesus’ coming means an end to the effects of the fall, an end, that is, to the power-struggle of the sexes, than the people of God should live in the already. That is a part of what it means for the Kingdom of God to be realized on earth as in heaven.
But I couldn’t help notice Evans version of the Jesus story. It includes the account of Mary Magdalene as the first witness and reporter of the resurrection. How the early church included female apostles, deacons, teachers, and church planters. And how Peter and Paul broke the culture-mold of the household by instructing men, women and everybody else to submit to each other. And to numerous passages about how we are all one in Christ.
However, the temptation here is to remind Evans that the story of Mary Magdalene is more than matched by the story of the twelve apostles. That the narrative of Romans 16 is matched by the narrative of 1 Timothy 2. That the “submit one another” passages are matched by the “wives submit to your husbands” and “children obey your parents” passages (1 Cor. 11, Eph. 5:22; 6:1). And that “all are one in Christ” does not rule out any idea of hierarchy since certainly there remains a hierarchy between children and parents, slaves and masters (… and I better stop there, you get the point).
At least I hope you get my point. Evans article, her telling of the story, her version of the events are as imbalanced in one direction as John Piper is in the other. Just as Piper likes to selectively tell his version of the events, so does Evans. And this is precisely why I’m a functional egalitarian. Because I don’t like “my daddy is stronger than your daddy” games, especially when we’re discussion scripture.
Evans is right, that the power struggle is the result of the fall. The Old Testament people of God miserably failed to live up to God’s ideal (not just in their treatment of women, but in almost every other way too). And as far as the gender power-struggle has played out in the world, we shouldn’t be surprised though we should be sickened by it. But unfortunately Evans illustrates her original point as long as she continues to be locked in a power-struggle over the Bible with Piper et al. by only telling half of the story. Watching Evans and Piper is like having front row tickets to the drama that is Genesis 3:16.
I think the only way for the gender power-struggle to end, and for true mutuality to happen, is when we stop playing fast and loose with our favorite Bible passages, stop trying to recruit Jesus and Paul to our side and to begin to live in the tension of the scriptures, as functional egalitarians.