One of the arguments I often read in feminist or egalitarian blogs and publications is something like the following:
- Assertion: Leadership and teaching are two necessary and important functions in the life of a family and the life of a church.
- Assertion: Women are capable of being excellent leaders and teachers.
- Assertion: God would not give women the ability to lead and teach if He didn't intend them to use those gifts!
- Conclusion: Therefore, women should lead and teach their husbands in their homes; and they should lead and teach their fellow Christians in their churches. To restrict them from doing so is to thwart God's purpose, to deny the spiritual gifts God has granted, and is just plain mean. Let the women lead and teach whenever, wherever, and however they want.
Now, there are plenty of biblical reasons for short-circuiting the conclusion above, such as by citing Scriptures which directly contradict the assertions or the conclusion, or by looking at the biblical texts on the creation of man and woman and their intended roles, etc.
But I would like to bring up a biblical narrative example that, by analogy, contradicts the third assertion: "God would not give [someone] the ability to [do something good] if He didn't intend them to use those gifts!"
Our texts for today are:
- Genesis 6:1-9 (The sons of God had children by the sons of men - these were the Nephilim, fallen ones, giants, men of renown; wickedness increased; only Noah was of pure lineage)
- Genesis 14:1-7 (King Kederlaomer and his ally kings (representing Babylonia, Ellasar, Elam, and Goiim) fought against an alliance of kings from Nephilim origin (Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, Zeboiim, and Bela) and partially destroyed their peoples: Rephaites, Zuzites, Emites, Horites, Amalekites, and Amorites).
- Genesis 15:16 (The sin of the Amorites in Canaan was not yet full)
- Genesis 18:20; 19:1-29 (The destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah because of their great wickedness; note that in the narrative, the men of Sodom tried to have sex with angels)
- Numbers 13:30-33 (The Hebrew spies were afraid of the Nephilim giants in the land; they feared the Nephilim (referred to here as the descendants of Anak) more than God and so their generation did not enter the Promised Land)
- Deuteronomy 2:10-12; 20-23) (A recounting of some of the offspring races of the Nephilim: Emites, Anakites, Rephaites, Zamzummites; it seems that the Horites, Canaanites, and Avvites may also linked to the Nephilim.)
- Deuteronomy 3:8-11 (Israel utterly destroyed all the people of the Amorite kings Sihon and Og (see Gen 15:16 above). And King Og was a Rephaite (descendant of Nephilim, see Deut. 2:11 above)).
- Joshua 11:21 "During this period, Joshua destroyed all the descendants of Anak (see Numbers 13:33), who lived in the hill contry of Hebron, Debir, Anab, and the entire hill country of Judah and Israel. He killed them all and completely destroyed their towns. Not one was left in all the land of Israel, though some still remained in Gaza, Gath, and Ashdod."
- 1 Samuel 17; 2 Samuel 21; 1 Chronicles 20 (David kills Goliath, a descendant of Anak; David and his men kill off other giant descendants of the Anakim and Rephaim)
- Amos 2:9-10 (The Amorites may also have been giants: they were tall like the height of the cedars)
- 2 Peter 2:4-8 (Three instances of God's judgment that are conceptually linked: God's judgment on angels when they sinned; God's judgment of the ancient world except for Noah; God's judgment of the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. These may all be instances or results of sinful angels defiling the human bloodline with their angelic seed.)
- Jude 1:6-7 "And I remind you of the angels who did not stay within the limits of authority God gave them but left the place where they belonged. God has kept them chained in prisons of darkness, waiting for the day of judgment. And don't forget the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah and their neighboring towns, which were filled with sexual immorality and every kind of sexual perversion. Those cities were destroyed by fire and are a warning of the eternal fire that will punish all who are evil."
It's all pretty esoteric. But in summary:
- Angels were capable of having sex with women and reproducing demi-human offspring, the Nephilim, the heroes of renown, the giants
- God saw this as pollution and wickedness and wiped out the first batch with the Flood
- Peter and Jude, both inspired by the Holy Spirit, point to this angelic act as a great sin that was punished by throwing the angels into everlasting darkness and chains
- The tainted human line had to be wiped out with the Flood and also afterwards, at various times, as God helped the descendants of Abraham to wipe out Amorites, Anakites, Rephaim, Horites, Canaanites, etc., all of whom were polluted with this mixed, adulterous lineage
- Sodom and Gomorrah were implicated in the defilement as well: both Peter and Jude mention them in the same breath as the fallen angels (and Peter includes the flood). The biblical text even shows how the Sodomites tried to rape the angels who came to rescue Lot before God's wrath destroyed those cities.
- God later used the Israelites after the Exodus to wipe out most of the rest of these descendants of the Nephilim; both during the conquest by Joshua, and during the time of King David.
OK, so here's my takeaway from this and the relation to women in leadership and teaching in the home and in the church:
- God commanded mankind to be fruitful and multiply. Having offspring is a good thing!
- Angels were capable of having sex with women and producing offspring. (Surely God would not have given them that gift if he had not wanted them to use it! /s)
- Angels did indeed have sex with women and produce offspring. But from God's point of view, those offspring were evil and a defilement. Jude states that "the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day."
- Those offspring, the results of angels using their God-given ability in a way that was against God's instruction, actually resulted in endless torment for themselves, and great tribulation for humanity and God's people: Tartarus for the angels; the Flood for the Nephilim descendants and corrupted humanity; then all these wars and "genocides" to kill off the remnants or re-emergences of Nephilim after the Flood.
So this should be a warning also to women when they "reject authority" (Jude 1:8):
- God does give beings that he creates powers that He also commands them to keep in check under the authority, rules, order, and roles that He has established.
- The narrative thread of the angels who abandoned their station and co-mingled with human women shows the long-lasting evil that can result from defying God's order.
- In the same way, women who abandon their station as helpers, submissive to their husband and submissive to church leaders will also bring about torment for themselves and long-lasting evil, corruption, twisting, and defilement if they take up the authority to lead and teach that was not assigned to them by God.
- One actual interpretation of 1 Corinthians 11:3 ("For this reason the woman ought to have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels") is actually that the 1 Corinthians passage is in parallel to 2 Peter 2:4 and Jude 1:6. A woman should be in submission and not exceed her authority, because otherwise what happened to the angels could happen to her! She could bring torment on herself and destruction to her progeny and many faithful believers after her.
Well, RPChristians, what do you think? Is this analogy helpful? Of course there are plenty of other arguments, like "Because God said so" as to why women should be submissive and not teach or lead their husband or their church. But what do you think of this analogy as a warning of the devastation that can occur when we go outside God's bounds and use our "gifts" for something God has not authorized us to do?