Sermon audio here.
Adam did battle with Satan in the Garden Paradise and lost. It was a no-contest, really. By the time round two came around, Eden had been a distant memory and Satan had home-field advantage. The desert wilderness couldn’t have been a more ideal setting to tempt the Second Adam.
And once again, the devil used food as bait. This time it wasn’t the delicious fruit of a tree in Paradise, it was mere bread. But after fasting forty days and forty nights, our Lord was famished. Even stale bread would have tasted like a gourmet meal at this point. The first Adam had every advantage and still succumbed. The Second Adam had the deck stacked against Him, yet emerged victorious.
Now you might say, “Wait a minute. Eve was the one talking with Satan in the Garden. She’s the one who fell for the devil’s lie. She ate first, and Adam was just following her lead.”
And that’s exactly the problem. That’s where Adam failed. Satan assaulted Adam all right, but he was so subtle about doing it that Adam probably didn’t even realize what was happening until it was too late. Moses highlights the devil’s ingenuity, telling us that the serpent was craftier than all the other beasts of the field that the Lord God had made (Genesis 3:1).
Satan doesn’t fight fair. He’s like the mob that way. He wanted to get Adam where it hurt, so he went after his family. God made Adam responsible for Eve’s welfare and put him in charge of Eden, but his mind was someplace else.
Eve was under spiritual assault, and where was Adam? If he wasn’t checking Facebook, playing fantasy football, or passed out on the couch, he must have been standing right there while the whole thing happened, listening to the devil’s false doctrine and saying absolutely nothing about it.
It’s no surprise, then, that God holds Adam accountable. In Adam, all die (1 Cor 15:22). Israel transgressed the covenant, just like Adam (Hosea 6:7). God doesn’t say anything to Eve about where she went wrong. She was the victim of her husband’s neglect. Sin would affect her, of course, but Adam’s the one God calls to task. He says, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, ‘You shall not eat of it,’…”
Adam was supposed to listen to God’s voice and uphold His Word. As the head of his household, Adam was the pastor of his house. Ezekiel describes Adam as a priest within a Garden Sanctuary. When God tells the priests and Levites how to do their work, He gives them the same instructions He gave to Adam. The priests were to guard and keep the sanctuary just as Adam was to guard and keep Eden.[i] But Adam let his guard down. He stopped listening to God’s voice, and all creation has been paying the terrible price ever since.
The danger of straying from God’s Word can’t be emphasized enough, especially in a time when God’s Word is usually ignored or met with outright hostility. The lesson we learn from Adam’s sin is simple: no matter how enticing it seems, straying from God’s Word, even in the slightest, will bring nothing but pain and sorrow and death. When you turn away from the Lord of Life, the Lord of Death will be waiting with open arms.
This is where it gets uncomfortable, because when it comes to certain things, we’ve bought into the devil’s lies wholesale. And like Adam, we might not even realize it until it’s too late. Satan’s still using the same old strategy he’s been using since Eden. He started by cutting Adam out of the picture. Then convincing Eve she’d make a great pastor and should be calling her own shots was a piece of cake. Radical feminism didn’t begin in the 60s. It goes all the way back to Eden, when Satan revealed himself as the movement’s founder.
Thanks to Satan’s deception, Eve was no longer content with the vital and blessed vocation God had given her. Before Eve’s creation, Adam was alone and couldn’t find a suitable helper from among the beasts of the field. As fun as swimming with the dolphins must have been, they didn’t exactly make wife material.
It wouldn’t do to leave man alone. So God said, “I will make a helper fit for him.” God made Eve to be that suitable helper (Genesis 2:18–20), to assist Adam as he cared for God’s creation (Genesis 2:16).
This is how God has ordered His creation. He has placed the burden of headship on man and created woman to help ease that burden. Both the leader and the helper are essential; neither is more important than the other. Paradise wasn’t complete until Eve was created. But as we learned in Eden, when either duty is neglected or men and women exchange their God-given roles, all hell breaks loose.
The deliberate rejection of God’s order is at the heart of all sin. Woman wanted to be like man and man wanted to be like God. Men and women are at their best when we embrace our God-given vocations. St. Paul writes, “The head of every man is Christ; and the head of woman is man; and the head of Christ is God,” (1 Cor. 11:3).
The oppression of women is a terrible thing and is explicitly contrary to God’s will. Adam wasn’t given charge of his wife to dominate her, but to love and care for her, to deny himself and put her needs first, and even, if necessary, to die for her. In short, husbands are to love their wives as Christ loves the Church. And men themselves are subordinate to Christ.
Radical feminism is about overturning God’s order. Radical feminism says it’s hateful to affirm the way God has designed His creation. God created men and women with equal value and dignity in His eyes.
Radical feminism isn’t really about equality. It’s about suppressing the distinct, God-given gender identities of men and women. Radical feminists look at what men are doing and say women should do that, too. Instead of embracing womanhood, women are held to an unattainable masculine ideal.
Radical feminism has given us women pastors and sex change operations. It considers pregnancy a disease and regards unborn children as parasites. It says pornography empowers women, and is now threatening to force women into combat by making them register for the selective service.
Women aren’t supposed to be able to do everything men can do, and men aren’t supposed to be able to do everything women can do. The notion that we aren’t equal if we can’t do the same things is a satanic lie.
“Ask your grandfathers why there were no women with them in the trenches, and you’ll find this was because they actually loved their wives, sisters, and daughters, and wanted to keep them safe, not that those patriarchal creeps wanted to hog all the PTSD, bullet wounds, dismemberments, and gravestones for themselves. Don’t believe those who have so little regard for the men who died on foreign soil so their wives and sisters and daughters could live at home…”
“Equality looks like men and women finding equal peace in the distinct roles God has given them. Equality looks like men providing for their families, protecting them, loving their wives, and in so doing, teaching their sons how to treat women and teaching their daughters how men ought to treat them. Equality looks like women nurturing the ones they love, respecting their husbands, nursing their children, and comforting their friends as only they can. In times of warfare, equality looks like men carrying the cross of risking their lives to defend the families of their nation while women carry the cross of preserving the kind of families that make our nation worth defending.”[ii]
Satan delights in overturning God’s order. He loves it when the relationships between men and women break down. He loves it when pastors, like Adam, remain silent in the face of error. He loves it when Christians, like Eve, stop listening to God’s voice and start doing things their own way.
Thanks be to God that our Lord always listened to God’s voice and never did things His own way. Satan tempted Him again and again to act against God’s will. Everything Satan said contained an element of truth and sounded perfectly reasonable. He even quoted bible verses to make it sound good.
But our Lord saw right through Satan’s lies, no matter how cleverly he disguised them. Our Lord remained faithful even when it wasn’t popular or politically correct. He knew God’s will is always best, even when it hurts. Jesus didn’t consider equality with God a thing to be grasped. He accepted the role God had given to Him and was obedient and submissive, even to the point of death.
In this way, Christ has begun restoring order to His creation. On Maundy Thursday, Jesus turned the tables on the devil and tempted him with the cross. It was an offer the devil couldn’t refuse and he had Judas meeting with the chief priests before you could say “Adam.”
But by dying, Christ has broken the power of the devil and overturned those chaotic forces that disrupt God’s will, especially death. The stranglehold death had on humanity has been broken by Jesus’ resurrection.
As a baptized child of God, you share equally in Christ’s life, male and female alike. Christ speaks His Word into upside-down world, exposing the devil’s lies for what they are and forgiving you for those times when you’ve been carried away by them. He welcomes you to His Table along with those who’ve sinned against you and those you’ve sinned against so that we, who are many, might be one Body—each member doing its part, working together in love and harmony according to God’s holy will, to the praise and glory of His Name.
Soli Deo Gloria
[i] cf. Ezekiel 28:11–19. Genesis 2:15 uses the verbs עבד and שׁמר to describe Adam’s work. These two verbs are frequently paired in reference to the duties of the priests and Levites (cf. Numbers 2–3; 18:1–7). See “The Tabernacle as a New Creation and New Eden” by Chad Bird in You, My People, Shall Be Holy (12–16).
[ii] Hans Fiene, “Women Don’t Need to Get Drafted to be Equal with Men,” (http://thefederalist.com/2016/02/11/women-dont-need-to-get-drafted-to-be-equal-with-men/)