Ordination of Women and the Old Testament
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Ordination of Women and the Old Testament
In the Bible, neither blessings nor curses are arbitrary, but are directly determined by one's relationship to God's law. “Behold, I set before you this day a blessing and a curse: the blessing, if you obey the commandments of the Lord your God, and the curse, if you do not obey the commandments of the Lord your God” (Deuteronomy 11:26-28). The same commands bring a blessing if followed, or a curse if violated. The curse is the law's application to a rebellious heart. Christ takes away the rebellion from the heart, so that we may realize the blessings of obedience.

What we often call the curse in Genesis 3:16, “Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you,” is part of a broader description of the results of their rebellion on the man and woman's pre-Fall functions. For example, God had commanded them to “be fruitful and multiply.” Now, after sin, Eve's part in that function would be by pain and labor (Genesis 3:16). Likewise Adam had been placed in the garden “to till it and keep it” (Genesis 2:15). But now, after sin, his efforts would be laborious, the ground would bear thistles, and he would survive by “the sweat of [his] face” (Genesis 3:17-19). The man and woman are not given new functions here, but sin's effect on their established functions is spelled out. In this setting the “rule over” statement appears. What had been a natural and happy leadership before the Fall would now have to be asserted in conflict, as a result of the spirit of rebellion and the desire for supremacy that sin has brought into the human heart.

When Jesus quells the rebellion in the heart, He docs not free woman from the travail of giving birth nor man from the laboriousness of his toil. Indeed, they may each find blessing there. Neither does Jesus change the structure of the man-woman relationship. But He changes the quality of that relationship to reflect His submission and self-sacrificing love. Under His lordship, and within this structure, He has provided for us to live happily together until He makes “all things new,” and “there shall be no more curse” (Revelation 21:5; 22:3).