Learning to thrive in the new life Jesus offers us – 2 Corinthians 5:16-17

The Point of Naming the Animals in Genesis 2

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I like what Dr Martin A. Shields writes in a 2013 blog post with the intriguing title “finding too much sex in Genesis 2“. In this post Martin addresses several common misconceptions concerning Genesis 2. One of these is the belief that naming the animals is an expression of man’s authority. Martin states that this misconception “completely misses the point of the naming episode.”

He continues:

The first mistake is the presupposition that naming in the ancient world always served as an expression of authority. This is not true (just see Gen 16:13 for a good counter-example). More fundamental to naming was the aspect of character recognition. Names reflected something of the character or nature of that which was being named. This is seen in numerous names and name changes, think of Noah, Abram/Abraham, Isaac, and so on.

Next, take a look at what’s actually going on in Genesis 2 before the naming: God declares that it is not good for the man to be alone. What follows (the naming of the animals) is the first step in resolving this problem: God has the man examine the various animals he brings to him in order to determine whether any will fulfil the shortfall in creation. Naming the animals is an act designed to depict to the reader this close examination of each animal. It’s not simply something God gives the man to take his mind off his problems, it is an activity designed to scrutinise the animals to determine whether any would be a suitable companion for the man (note that it does not include naming of all animals, only those with which the man could feasibly form some form of attachment). In the end, no animal is found that is suitable and so God moves to plan B, build a companion from the side of the man.

Claiming that this is primarily about authority makes the whole naming of the animals an irrelevant aside in the story. Correctly understood it serves as a search for the missing element in creation, and highlights the unique place in creation the woman occupies, for no animal is a suitable companion for the man.

I don’t accept that making the woman was God’s plan B, but I do agree with Martin that the naming exercise serves to highlight the woman’s, as well as the man’s, unique place in creation: they were distinct from the animals. Note that, according to Genesis chapter one, both men and women have a joint authority over the animals (Gen 1:26ff).

The naming exercise highlights the mutuality, affinity and compatibility of the first man and woman (Gen 2:18-25). We don’t want to miss or minimise these points.

You can read the rest of Martin Shields’ interesting blog post here.


Related Articles

Adam named Eve because . . .
The Complementarian Concept of “The Created Order”
A Suitable Helper
Kenegdo: Is the woman subordinate, suitable, or similar to the man?
Was it Adam’s responsibility to relay God’s command to Eve?
More article about gender in Genesis 1-3 here.

Posted January 4th, 2016 . Categories/Tags: Equality and Gender Issues, Gender in Genesis 1-3,

Unkind, judgemental, bizarre, and off-topic comments will be deleted.

53 comments on “The Point of Naming the Animals in Genesis 2

  1. Guy Coe says:

    The whole concept of, supposedly, “exercising authority” without, first and foremost, appreciating the natural world for its God-given grandeur and marvel is also part of the narrative. How can one serve as a “caretaker,” by virtue of being made in God’s image, without having this kind of appreciation for the animals in the first place? And, what better way to demonstrate to the first man how unique a gift the companionship of a woman would be. Adam’s reaction is not, “Ah, finally someone who’ll cook and clean for me, have my babies, and satisfy my every desire,” but “Aha! Finally, a partner, co-laborer, co-regent, and true companion. Now, I don’t feel so alone, because one so very like me yet so different, is here.”

    • Marg says:

      Following on from your co-regent thought, Genesis 2 shouldn’t be read in isolation from Genesis 1, even though they are two separate accounts. In Genesis 1 men and women are given authority over the animals.

      • Steve says:

        In my study of Genesis 1 and 2 over the last year, I’ve really begun to see the Genesis is about God ordering the universe and giving functions. For something to function means that it fulfills the purpose for which it was created. Then Genesis 2 is about the form God gives to man – he’s made of the earth but has a heavenly, spiritual component – and needs a partner – a woman – for the form to be complete. A complete, proper form gives expression to the function. Or, the correct form allows one to function properly. Conversely, a broken form leads to improper functioning. That’s what we see in Genesis 3-11.

        So, I’ve seen the naming of the animals as man beginning to function properly. Then when woman is made from his side man will truly be able to function correctly. Note that at this time man calls her Woman. But, after the form is broken (sin), Adam “names” his wife, treating her just like he did the animals. I haven’t sorted all of this out yet, but I think there is something to naming the animals, calling her woman, and then naming her Eve after sin entered.

        • Donald Johnson says:

          I am learning from John Walton to see the early Gen Creation stories as temple texts with create meaning functionally create. I agree with you.

    • Cassandra Wright says:

      From how I see the Man’s declaration after the creation of the Woman, he didn’t mention any thing about a difference. This always strikes me, as we know that they were both naked, and differences would have been obvious. Instead of saying, “Vive la difference,” the Man simply said, “This is me.” After seeing all the animals, he knew that this new person wasn’t just like him, but was the same.

      • judy says:

        What an interesting perspective because ever since, Complementarians have focused eternally on the differences. I just can’t see that their definitions are based on reality or that their definitions are any more than a restrictive mold that they insist fits all real men and women when it clearly DOES NOT.

        In fact, I think men and women are far more alike than different or their children would be increasingly and exponentially becoming more and more different…instead they continue to have faces, bodies, legs, eyes, brains, etc…all exactly the same and often male children think like their mothers and girls think like their fathers…and yet remain able to reproduce in kind.

        I think the title “Beyond Sex Roles” by Gilbert Bilezekian is the perfect title for us all to “get over this ridiculous determination to divide men and women and create war when, as Christians, we are to be at peace…through Christ “who has broken down the wall of partition between us…making us one”

        • TL says:

          well said Judy. I agree “Beyond Sex Roles” is the perfect title to help those who are willing to learn, what God’s Word says about our relationships as fellow humans.

      • Marg says:

        I couldn’t agree more, Cassandra.

        I’ve heard plenty of sermons and jokes about Adam’s supposed reaction to seeing the first woman, but none come close to what the Bible says. Adam saw in the woman remarkable, kindred similarities. He didn’t remark on their differences.

        I wrote about this here: http://newlife.id.au/equality-and-gender-issues/gender-emphasizing-our-differences-or-similarities/

  2. judy says:

    Furthermore, since the woman was not even formed at the time HOW could the man naming the animals indicate that he had authority over HER? This just shows how desperate some people are to find a needle in a haystack to prove their superiority over another. How deep-dyed a sin is this to trample the Word of God over just to make a ridiculous point of un-entitled entitlement.

    • judy says:

      And, notably,the woman was still IN THE MAN, an integral part of him when he named the animals…she was internally partaking in the naming, essentially as his fellow, created also to have dominion over the other creatures.

      • Patti says:

        So happy you pointed that out. I hadn’t thought of that before, until this post sparked that idea. The comp teaching makes it sound like the only part we got from man was his rib and the rest was a brand new creation out of thin air form our brains.

        • Marg says:

          Hi Patti, you may be interested in this article: http://newlife.id.au/equality-and-gender-issues/human-man-woman-genesis-2/

          The Hebrew word traditionally translated as “rib” more usually means a side or a part. I think we are meant to understand that the woman was made from a chunk of the first human’s bone and flesh (cf. Gen 2:23).

          Perhaps we are even meant to interpret Genesis 2:21-22 as saying the first woman was made from one side of the first human. This idea has been lightheartedly referred to as “splitting the adam”.

    • Marg says:

      This idea is such a long bow with no scriptural support. I am always astonished to discover an intelligent person who actually believes the Bible teaches such a thing.

  3. Alina H. says:

    At least since the 1980s, I have heard the teaching that God was stimulating in Adam that desire for a companion. By bringing the animals with their mates for Adam to name, an awareness of loneliness may have been awakened, which would then lead to a heart-cry that would be fulfilled by God in the making of male and female.

    • Marg says:

      I also think the exercise intensifies the theme of loneliness, especially for the reader. Even though it is a very short story.

      There is a problem (aloneness) . . . then some frustration and suspense in having the problem resolved . . . but finally the problem is wonderfully solved when God makes a partner from the first human’s own body, a partner who is received with rapturous appreciation: “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; this one shall be called Woman, for out of Man this one was taken.” This sounds like a heart’s cry to me.

  4. TL says:

    I usually teach that the naming of the animals is God’s first lesson to the first human. He is to learn that he is alone and aloneness is not good. He must experience it to understand it. When the man has learned this lesson, then God proceeds to fashion a woman from the first mans own flesh and blood; and then presents her to Adam as his counterpart created from his own flesh, an ‘issha’ from ‘ish’.

    • Marg says:

      That’s a great observation, TL.

      Throughout the Bible we see that community is God’s intention for all people. We need one another! The occasional hermit (e.g. John the Baptist) is the rare exception, not certainly not the general rule.

  5. You’re right, of course, Marg to point out that “Plan B” was not well stated and it doesn’t really convey the meaning I intended.

    Another point of interest in regards to naming in Genesis 2 is that while quite a few scholars appeal to naming as a reason why the woman is subordinate to the man, even in those passages in the NT where some read Paul as making that point he never appeals to naming.

    • Marg says:

      Hi Martin, thanks for clarifying. Perhaps “stage 2” was what you meant(?)

      The whole “naming implies masculine authority” idea is bogus. I don’t know why otherwise intelligent people keep running with this idea.

  6. Donald Johnson says:

    I will be a naysayer to the premise. I think naming or renaming usually implies authority in cultural context. If there seems to be an anomaly, then this is an indication to dig deeper in the immediate context of the seeming anomaly and/or refine the naming due to authority idea.

    A child is named by their parents, once they get old enough, they can change their name if they wish, this is the default naming scenario. God gave new names to Abraham and Sarah and Israel. Simon was given the name Peter by Jesus and Jesus had the authority to do this, along with the “Sons of Thunder” this also indicates closeness.

    I see Gen as “extended covenant preamble” to the Sinai covenant text found in Ex-Lev-Num. One of the things a preamble typically does is give earlier examples of covenant faithfulness between the parties or their representatives, who of course are identified and part of this identification is based on their previous actions. So the God is Israel when the Sinai covenant is happening is identified as the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

    So what is happening in Gen 16:13 with Hagar? One of the themes is that God’s name has yet to be revealed, so Hagar comes up with a “nickname” based on what she understands God to be doing with her, since she does not know God’s “real” name. This is along the lines of entity identification based on previous actions. It is also used to explain the name of a place, it is an origins story, how this famous place got its name. When one passes by this place, one is supposed to remember the story and be reminded of God.

    So what is going on in Gen 2? There is a 2 stage process to the story, firstly God forms a human to irrigate the garden but wait: something is “not good” (everything is not yet fully functional) so secondly God splits the human into male and female. The male looks at the female and says, “Wowie Zowie!” and this is where marriage comes from, two separate halves unite to become one whole. And there is a word play when spoken (but not when written, but recall Torah is to be spoken every seven years) about woman being a feminized man, typical origins story stuff.

    So what do I see going on in Gen 3 when Adam names the woman Eve? This is a naming, but I do not find anywhere that God authorized this. So it is the first example of “he will rule over her.” There is also a hint in the name Eve “mother of all that live” being in contrast to Adam, who continues to sin and so he can be considered the “father of all that die”. I see it as the first morality play in Scripture.

    • judy says:

      So Adam named all the animals…if you are right then he had authority over all the animals…but not over Eve.

      I can assure you that even though I name my cat, the crazy thing has authority over me☺

    • Hi Donald,

      While I’d agree that naming sometimes, perhaps even frequently, incorporates an expression of the authority of the namer over the namee (if such is a word) in the Bible, I’m not convinced that this is the basic function. Furthermore, proponents of the claim that naming inherently conveys authority typically don’t present any substantial evidence to support the claim.

      What the claim fails to appreciate is that even in instances where naming ostensibly expresses authority it still reflects some degree of recognition of the character of that which is being named (as is evident in the examples you’ve cited). And Gen 16:13 is by no means the only example of where authority is unlikely to be inherent in the act of naming (I’m also unconvinced by your explanation of the significance of Gen 16:13). You might recall that Yahweh, through the prophet Nathan, tells David that his son will be named ‘Jedidiah’. Yet David seems to ignore this and name him ‘Solomon’ anyway (2Sam 12:24–25). Other examples could be given. Perhaps the most important study on this topic is George W. Ramsay, “Is Name-Giving an Act of Dominion in Genesis 2–3 and Elsewhere?” CBQ 50.1 (Jan. 1988) 24–35. Ramsay concludes that “if the act of naming signifies anything about the name-giver, it is the quality of discernment.” (You’re example of a child being named by their parents and then changing their name when they are old enough doesn’t seem to reflect — at least as far as I can recall — any incident that is recorded in the Bible, so it seems anachronistic.)

      I’m also at a loss to understand what you make of the naming of the animals in Genesis 2 — you don’t seem to have provided any explanation for that incident. My explanation seeks to recognise the plot of Gen 2–3 and the functions of the naming incident (to get the full version you’d need to read my dissertation on the topic which can be accessed from http://bible.shields-online.net/dlreq.php). Nor am I clear on what it is you think is a verbal word play about woman being a “feminized man” (there are a number of word plays in Gen 2–3 so perhaps you can explain which one you’re referring to). Perhaps you could elaborate on that one?

      • Donald Johnson says:

        I see the early Gen stories as doing multiple things at the same time, as well as seeming to have gaps which mean they do not answer questions we might have. The gaps in turn mean that the text acts like an ink blot test as we fill in the gaps with whatever seems plausible to us and often do so automatically or think things are “just obvious” even when they are not. Contrasting with that is the idea of cultural context or worldview, where many things are just known to be true in a culture and so do not need to be explicitly stated, but then when read by someone in a different culture may not be so obvious. These types of things can mean that different believers each trying to be faithful interpreters of an ancient text can end up with very different understandings.

        Not to be gross, but God inspiring a story in Gen 2 about animals not being suitable for a mate for the human is a teaching about sex which is made explicit later in Lev. It is also a story about the human having discernment to be able to assign appropriate names to the animals. I also see it as an example of ruling, of dominion, as God’s regent, and so it agrees with Gen 1 in that respect. So there is a lot going on. I see all 3 things being taught and to do it so compactly indicates a master storyteller to me.

        Eve names her kids Cain and Seth in Gen 4. I think this is a part of the culture/worldview that a parent has the authority to name a child. But this is the thing about such unstated cultural assumptions, if another does not agree, then they do not agree.

        Ish compared with ishshah SOUNDS like ish has the feminine suffix “ah” added to it, even though one can tell this is not really true from the written words, so it is a sound wordplay, not a written one, as I see it.

        • TL says:

          to what in Leviticus are you referring Don.

          As for a man and woman’s relationship being all about sex and procreation, I don’t agree. There is nothing in the words ezer or ‘kenegdo’ that has anything to do with sex. I see the main component being one of aloneness. The human is not meant to be alone but in community, the smallest community being two.

          As well, I agree that part of sex is for procreation. But if that were it’s only purpose or even it’s primary purpose then why would we be able to have sex without producing an offspring. For humans sex is part of the closeness of marriage. But it is not the only purpose for two people being together.

          • Donald Johnson says:

            Lev 18:23 And you shall not have sexual relations with any animal, becoming unclean with it; and a woman shall not stand before an animal to copulate with it—that is a perversion.

            I do not think the relationship of a man and a woman is all about sex, I think a marriage is much more than sex, but normally includes it and therefore also normally includes a chance for procreation.

            I learned from John Walton to read Gen 1-5 are functional so a part of the relations between a man and a woman includes the possibility of sexual relations; of course a marriage covenant between the two is the way to do it.

          • TL says:

            I wondered if that is what you were referring to. However, that does not change the focus of Genesis from mutual companionship to sex helper. I think Leviticus does draw the concept that humans were not made to share sexuality with the animals. But it does define the “ezer’ that the woman is to the man. Both man and woman are to rule, guide, and protect the earth. Both man and woman are to populate the earth with their own kind. Both jobs are a mutual responsibility. The fact that God decided to emphasize the lesson of aloneness, does not suddenly make everything the mans job to which the woman helps him accomplish. It only emphasizes that no human is meant to live life alone, but rather in community. And for one man, one woman is his perfect community.

          • judy says:

            Too often, I believe that the idea ‘he shall rule over you’ is taken as a prophecy for all time…ironically, Adam may have ruled over Eve but I would guess that perhaps half of marriages are ‘ruled’ by the wife…whether some like to admit it or not.

            So if that is the case, what did God mean by it except as a warning to Eve?

          • TL says:

            Judy, you asked: “So if that is the case, what did God mean by it except as a warning to Eve?”

            What God said to Eve and to Adam was not a commandment, but a warning. If God had meant to command the man to rule Eve, He would have spoken to the man. IMO God was warning them both that now that they had sinned, life would be different. Their relationship would be different. The world would be different. Be prepared.

          • Judy, I discussed the meaning of this in a comment on another page on Marg’s blog, here: http://newlife.id.au/equality-and-gender-issues/teshuqah-desire/

            Basically, I understand the Hebrew here to be presenting an account of the alienation introduced in the marriage relationship by sin: the wife will seek to control her husband, and he will seek to rule her. Each then represents a corruption of the intimacy of the relationship depicted in Gen 2.

          • TL says:

            Martin, this idea that God is suggesting that the woman will seek to control the man was introduced some years ago by Foh. However, the word teshuqua does not carry a double verb. It only carries the concept of turning toward, which is often translated as desire. If God were suggesting as Foh was thinking, there would have had to be another verb. But desire and turning toward are not equal with controlling. In Gen. 4:7 the concept of control is seen because “sin” crouches at the door. Neither Eve or women in general are depicted in Scripture as sin or as “crouching” to jump to control and/or dominate.

            If there is any corruption of intimacy in the picture of the woman yearning toward her husband, it can be a veiled reference to turning away from God and turning toward the man and expecting too much of him.

          • TL, your analysis of the noun commonly translated ‘desire’ in Gen 3:16 is incorrect (in my opinion). We’ve discussed this on the appropriate thread on this blog (see http://newlife.id.au/equality-and-gender-issues/teshuqah-desire/). I also have an extensive discussion in my dissertation (available from http://bible.shields-online.net/dlreq.php).

          • judy says:

            Desire or no desire…the words spoken in Gen 3:16 are not referring to ‘a woman’ or ‘women’ but to Eve. Why must we automatically suppose that this will refer to either all women or even possibly to all descendants of Eve. Is it possibly not a prophecy at all?

            It was Eve who turned toward her husband. Are all women just carbon copies of Eve…Are all men carbon copies of the man Adam?

            Was this just an observation because Eve chose Adam over God? Do we all do choose our husbands over God? I don’t think so.

            Could this just not be a warning to put God first in our lives?

            Surely a God of mercy would not make an endless promise, especially since some women have little trouble with carrying and delivering babies while others have extreme trouble. I don’t believe God is so ‘mechanical’, or locked into what we think, in his treatment of human beings.

          • Hi Judy. It’s not a prophecy per-se, but rather a description of life after the fall: the intended intimacy depicted in Gen 2 has been damaged. The marriage relationship is marred by discord and self-interest (the Hebrew has nothing to do with ‘turning toward’). Childbirth is accompanied by intense pain. Working the ground becomes arduous. And then we die. None of these are desirable, nor are they inevitable in every instance. Nor, for that matter, is it wrong to seek to alleviate them.

            But Gen 1–11 is filled with aetiological tales, and there’s a strong case for reading Gen 3:16b as aetiological. Certainly every other part of the penalties pronounced in Gen 3 are not restricted to the characters in the story.

          • judy says:

            In reply to Martin Shields:

            Then what do you do with this? Consider this Psalm:

            “I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.” Psalm 37:25

            Where is the sorrowful spirit of Genesis 3:17-19 here? Also, Psalm 92 says:

            12 The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree: he shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon. 13 Those that be planted in the house of the LORD shall flourish in the courts of our God. 14 They shall still bring forth fruit in old age; they shall be fat and flourishing;

            There is no continuing struggle with a cursed ground here, it seems. While Genesis 3:15 is definitely a prophecy of God that has been fulfilled, I believe in Genesis 3:16-19 we have specific prophecy for Adam and Eve combined with the sentence of death on all mankind, in Adam’s loins. Those who are living for God are not under the specific penalties of Adam and Eve in Genesis 3:16-19 as Psalm 37 and 92 indicate. In fact, God “maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.”

            What do you think of these?

          • Marg says:

            I think the Psalmist wrote that when he was having a good day. I live in a prosperous country and I’ve seen people begging for bread.

            I think Paul expresses the difficulty, sorrow, and frustration well in Romans 8:18-24. I share in Paul’s frustration and “groaning” while waiting for the culmination of our salvation, full shalom, that will come on the Day of Christ.

          • Hi Judy, great question and I’m not sure that I can give you an entirely satisfactory answer and be brief at the same time, but I’ll try! (Actually, I was initially perplexed when I read your quote of Ps 37:25 as “have I not seen the righteous forsaken” instead of “I have not seen…”!)

            There are a few things to note about Ps 37. First, psalms are generally individual reflections, so we have one man’s experience which may or may not readily be expanded to all people.

            Second, this psalm is written in the context of life under God’s messiah (in this case king David) in God’s promised land. Theologically this reflects a stage in the implementation of God’s plan of redemption for creation and so a step along the path to reversing the Fall. It is an idyllic situation in the land flowing with milk and honey, living under God’s king.

            Third, the Bible records examples of the most devoted and faithful of God’s people suffering terribly (Job, Jeremiah, other prophets, and many in the NT), so while it is clear that Ps 37 reflects an individual’s experience, it is by no means a rule by which the world is to be measured. Yet even in this setting I’m pretty certain that childbearing was accompanied by great pain, and so on. As a wisdom psalm it does establish a principle, but as with biblical wisdom elsewhere it ought not to be read as a hard and fast rule (as Job makes clear).

      • Hi Donald,

        I agree that readers make inferences when reading based on their presuppositions where there are gaps in the text. In fact, there’s some discussion of this in my dissertation linked to above (in particular in the appendix). There’s also some discussion of this on my blog (http://blog.shields-online.net/ — in particular in my foreignising translation of Genesis 1). Hence my point about the idea of a child growing and changing their name as anachronistic, because that’s an example of making inferences from contemporary culture and (at least potentially) imposing them on the ancient text.

        Aside from that, I’d note that you’ve emphasised ‘sex’ in Gen 2 in your assessment that God creates the animals as a suitable ‘mate’ for the human. But that is not what the search is for, it is for a ‘suitable helper’ (עזר כנגדו, ʿēzer kĕnegdô). But I agree that the story is about discernment — that’s exactly what I’ve argued is the appropriate reading of the story. If there are other significances they are less prominent than this because this aspect is integral to the plot. Again, there’s a significant discussion of this in my dissertation.

        Eve does name Cain, but not Seth (we’re not told in Gen 4, but in Gen 5:3 we’re told Adam named Seth, although I wouldn’t interpret that as definitely meaning it was Adam alone who was responsible for the name). But what is the cultural significance of naming? The only evidence we have is the texts that have been preserved, and I think that analysis of those shows that the foundational meaning is related to discernment, not authority. Ramsay identifies four different contexts in which naming appears, and certainly some do probably convey authority, but it does not appear to be foundational or universal. Nor does it make best sense of the present context.

        • Steve says:

          Martin – Is there a difference between calling and naming? I haven’t studied this but I’ve been drawn to the difference between the two in Genesis 1-3. I’m wondering if there isn’t something akin to “I call this a dog” to “I name this dog Spot” going on with the man and woman/Adam and Eve. Certainly, my example shows a difference between calling and naming. I just don’t know if that is implied at all in the Hebrew or ANE worldview.

        • Donald Johnson says:

          Yes, I failed to make clear that the idea of an adult changing his name was a contemporary idea. Thanks for pointing this out.

          I have learned from John Walton to read these ancient Creation texts functionally. So “not good” I read as “not yet fully functional according to God’s plan”. This includes sex and propagation. Ezer kenegdo is an equal helper in carrying out God’s plan, which includes sex and procreation.

          Gen 4:25 Then Adam knew his wife again, and she gave birth to a son. And she called his name Seth, for she said “God has appointed to me another child in the place of Abel, because Cain killed him.”

          I see “called his name” as the main naming formula.

  7. Tim says:

    To see naming animals and naming Eve as a sign of authority also does injury to God’s statement that both women and men are made in his image. The authority angle says Eve is like the animals, which is ridiculous since God said Eve is like Adam.

    • judy says:

      Thanks, Tim, for a voice of reason and empathy. It seems that authority is always at issue when it comes to It is enough to make a woman’s desire be, to be celibate! ☺…a desire to be free to be oneself and have choices! Yet it is for liberty Christ has set us free…why is this never a part of the discussion…why must the man always be free and the women always in a box?

      • Marg says:

        Man doesn’t come out unscathed by the Fall. He now has to work hard. The consequences of the fall made life difficult for the man and for the woman. But we must do all we can to alleviate difficulties for both men and women.

      • Marg says:

        Just saw that Martin said much the same thing (but expanded) a few minutes earlier, and further up the page.

      • TL says:

        Judy, I understand the frustration. While some people may view it that way, Marg has the balanced view. God is after all just in His dealing with us even when we have difficulty seeing it.

    • Naming does seem to be an action of authority but it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s God authorized. Did God authorize Nebuchadnezzar’s eunuch to rename Daniel – Belteshazzar, and his 3 friends (Dan 1:7)-essentially removing references to Himself from their names.
      Adam did name the woman and may have presumed authority over her – but did that make it right and actual in God’s sight?

      • Marg says:

        Thanks for pointing out Daniel 7:1, Tiana. It certainly has relevance to this discussion.

        I wonder why the eunuch changed their names of the four Hebrews? Perhaps the Babylonians couldn’t pronounce the Hebraic names? Or perhaps it was part of their new identity and initiation into their training to be Babylonian scholars? You’ve got me thinking.

  8. judy says:

    In Genesis 8:21, we read: ” and the LORD said in his heart, I WILL NOT AGAIN CURSE THE GROUND ANY MORE FOR MAN’S SAKE; for the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth; neither will I again smite any more every thing living, as I have done.”

    Does this mean that the curse on the ground is over now? Is this not perhaps why we have it so good these days, not having to till the ground ourselves,(many city children think meat comes from the grocery store and NOT from animals!)… and having so many things to ease the pain of childbearing…I know women who said bearing children was ‘easy peasy’…they just fell out ☺ ! Who knew?

    • That’s a really good question. Whatever it means it’s difficult to conceive of the notion that the consequences of the curse on the ground were undone following the flood — certainly anyone who worked the ground in the ancient world could relate to the hard labour involved. I think Gordon Wenham probably has it right when he notes that there is an implication in the Hebrew that is lost in most English translation. He says:

      It is important to note the position of ‏עוד‎ in this sentence, coming after ‏לקלל‎ to “curse,” not after ‏אסף‎ “do again” as in the parallel clause “Never again shall I smite.” This shows that God is not lifting the curse on the ground pronounced in 3:17 for man’s disobedience, but promising not to add to it. The flood was a punishment over and above that decreed in 3:17. This is further confirmed by the milder word for “curse,” ‏קלל‎ “treat lightly, disdain,” used here as opposed to the graver term ‏ארר, used in 3:17; cf.J. Scharbert, TDOT 1:405–18; C. A. Keller, THWAT 1:236–40. Both terms are found in 12:3 (q.v.). Furthermore, it is also quite apparent that the curses pronounced in Gen 3—weeds, toil, pain, death, emnity with serpents—are part of man’s present experience, so that 8:21 cannot be stating they are lifted after the flood.

      (Gordon Wenham, Genesis 1–15, WBC 1, p. 190)

      So a better translation of Gen 8:21 is something like:

      “I shall not curse the land again any further because of man, for the ideas of man’s mind are evil from his youth, and never again shall I smite every living thing as I have done.”

  9. judy says:

    While God required Adam to name the animals…God was the authority over Adam. However, most naming is done presumptuously.
    For example: “To name and shame is to “publicly say that a person, group or business has done something wrong”. It is used to discourage some kinds of activity.” So naming can be an act of aggression.

    Naming can be done to elevate or to debase, to describe or to ascribe something. It really has no bearing on the one receiving the name unless that person accepts the name.

    It is bizarre to make a doctrine out of the one example in Genesis of Adam naming the animals as a sign he had authority over the woman. God did not TELL him to name her…he just did this on his own. Surely men have something better to do than continually argue for their dominance. But it is not irrelevant until they realize they are fighting Satan’s battle, not God’s.

  10. […] Hagar (the Egyptian slave of Sarah) gave God a name, a significant name that has been recorded in Scripture. Yet no one can rightly suggest that Hagar had authority over God just because she named him (Gen 16:13-14). [More on Adam naming the animals and Eve here and here.] […]

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