The Reversal of Roles

Ever since Adam and Eve sinned in the garden of Eden in Genesis 3, we have seen a cultural role reversal of male and female. I (Aaron) have heard Genesis 3 preached several times, each time seemingly with the same idea about Adam: Where was Adam while Eve was being tempted? The pastor or presenter will follow by saying, “Adam failed because he wasn’t with his wife”, or “if only Eve had kept by Adam’s side”. Where Adam was is a good question, but it is often missed. Let’s review Genesis 3, in case you are unfamiliar with the passage.

Genesis 3:1-6 (ESV) – 1Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” 2 And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, 3 but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’” 4 But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. 5 For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” 6 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate.

Did you catch it? Where was Adam? Adam was with his wife! Since the beginning of humanities sinfulness, the man (and woman) has neglected and abandoned his role as the leader of his family. Ephesians 5:23 says “for the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church.”

The purpose here is to point out that God created men and women with equal dignity, worth, and value, but with different roles. Most basically, this difference is seen in basic anatomy. Men and women are different, and it is good! In fact, God steps back after creating male and female (God’s last piece in His creation), and declares it VERY good! Men were created to be manly. Women were created to be womanly.

What I am not saying is that men are better, or that women are better. I hold to a complementarian view, which means I believe that men and women are created equally as God’s image (Genesis 1:27), but that God created men with a distinct purpose (Genesis 2:15) and women with a distinct purpose (Genesis 2:18). This does not mean that the role of men is more important than the role of women, or that the role of women is more important than the role of men. What it means is that the roles complement each other.

It is the nature of sin to fail to do what we were created to do. When men act like men and do things that God created men to do, it is actually an act of worship to God. When women act like women and do things that God created women to do, it is actually an act of worship to God. This is what Adam and Eve failed to do. Adam was with his wife! He failed to lead her away from the serpent. He knew God’s law which forbade them from eating the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 2:16-17), but he stood by Eve, SILENTLY! And Eve, created to be a helper for Adam, which was a very good thing as declared by God, decided she would take the lead role and eat first (Genesis 3:6).

The culture we live in is a reflection of Genesis 3:1-6. Either men over-rule their wives (not lovingly, not serving them), or they completely give their responsibility over to women. Either women overly submit (not joyfully, but begrudgingly), or they completely give their responsibility over to men. Often, it is a case of both! And so, sinfully, the man gladly lets his wife lead while his wife gladly lets her husband submit! I (Aaron) will be writing a series over the next few weeks based on this, covering issues ranging from boys who refuse to become men, men who refuse to work, the role of men in the home, and the responsibility of spiritual leadership given to men.

I believe the church needs men to stand up and act like men. 1 Corinthians 16:13 says “be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.” If men will begin to flourish in the role God gave them, I believe we will see more churches begin to flourish. When Matthew and I were beginning to talk about different purposes for this blog, one of the things we wanted to do was to give good resources that will further equip the saints in the church of God. A few timeless resources dealing with biblical manhood (and womanhood) are as follows:

  • A Guide to Biblical Manhood by Randy Stinson & Dan Dumas
  • The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (, found on the side tab under “blogs we follow”

Grace and Peace to you my brothers and sisters!


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