Adam, Eve & Paul’s 1st Epistle to Timothy
"Paul and Women Teachers"
I recently asked for and received an article ("Paul and Women Teachers") by Dianne D. McDonnell, pastor of the Dallas-Ft. Worth Church of God. Her response was most kind. And while my background and education prevent me from concurring fully with the premise of her article, when spiritual Israel replaced physical Israel as God’s holy nation (1 Pet 2:9; Exod 19:5-6 & Eph 2:15), spiritual circumcision replaced physical circumcision. Circumcision of hearts and minds superceded circumcision of penises under the second covenant mediated by Moses with uncircumcised Israelites (Deu 29:1 & 30:6; Jos 5:2-7). Under this second covenant (to which better promises were added when the mediator was changed from Moses to Christ), uncircumcised Israelites were not physically circumcised until after they crossed the Jordan and actually entered the promised land. Likewise, spiritual Israelites are not again physically circumcised until after Christ returns as the Messiah (Ezek 44:7, 9). Thus, in this age spiritual Israelites are all those individuals who have received the Holy Spirit. Identification is revealed through an individual’s willingness to live within the laws of God that have been written on hearts and minds, the meaning of spiritual circumcision. Biology neither hinders nor helps an individual mature spiritually. Therefore, biological restrictions placed upon which spiritual Israelite can speak or teach require strong textual support. Where that support is either vague or lacking, restrictions become situational. And while it might be lawful to push at certain restrictions, it might not be prudent.
Pastor McDonnell unites a linguistic argument with an historical phenomenon in her premise that the Apostle Paul’s instructions to Timothy that he, Paul, will "not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man" (1 Tim 2:12) is first poorly translated, then second, is a situational solution to a localized problem. While she acknowledges the following three verses about Adam and Eve, she apparently doesn’t recognize the typology involved. Whereas she associates a woman being "saved through childbearing" (v. 15) with the Artemis-cult of Ephesus, she doesn’t seem to associate Eve being saved through childbearing with the greater Church bringing many heirs to glory. The first or physical Eve was saved through physical childbirth, in that she gave "life" (what her name implies) to each generation of human beings that has come after her. The life that she could give was dependent upon male impregnation. And so it is with the second Eve that nurtures the spiritual life of disciples who have been drawn by God the Father and impregnated with His holy breath ["Agion Pneuma]. These disciples who are born-from-above participate in a three stage birth process just as physical life was given to the first Adam through a two stage process (i.e., construction of the body of flesh, then the addition of the breath of life). Born again disciples receive a physical body and breath from the first Eve, the birth stage analogous to the first Adam being made from the elements of the earth prior to him receiving the breath of life. Then this non-living spiritual corpse receives the Father’s Breath when drawn, the stage analogous to the first Adam receiving physical breath. The "spiritual corpse" receives spiritual life and becomes a disciple of Christ’s. Disciples are now the children of the Father, and they are "mothered" by the second Eve, the greater Church. Then in the third stage of the spiritual birth process, the children of God put on incorruptible bodies. They leave behind their corruptible bodies that they received from the first Eve. They have finally reached their spiritual majority. They are ready to inherit everlasting life and the power and authority inherent with being a younger sibling of Christ Jesus, the firstborn of many heirs. Therefore, the salvation of both the first Eve and the second Eve is through bringing many heirs to God; for despite both the first and the second Eve being deceived by the serpent and by Satan, both women are necessary in the spiritual birthing process.
Pastor McDonnell apparently doesn’t understand the spiritual birth process except as traditionally taught by Herbert Armstrong; therefore, she limits Paul’s justification for prohibiting a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man to an extra-textual understanding of the Artemis-cult. When I was in graduate school, I took a course on English Medieval Literature. For that course, I wrote, in lieu of a critical semester paper, a long pamphlet that could have passed for genuine to the 15th-Century. While doing the research for this pamphlet, I read More’s Dialogue with Tynsdale, in which Sir Thomas makes a strong case for the preexistence of the Roman Church. More’s premise was that since the Roman Church existed before Christ, it had authority over how Christ’s teachings should be understood. Thus, the traditions of the Roman Church superceded any reading of text discovered by Tynsdale. Scripture was, then, not the ultimate arbitrator of "truth," but the traditions of the Roman Church decided all questions of truth. In typology, this would be a case of Eve ruling over Adam.
If Pastor McDonnell would have consciously extended More’s premise to the 1st-Century fellowship at Ephesus, her argument could then have incorporated Paul’s justification. The head of Christ is God the Father, and the head of Church is Christ, whom Paul tells us is the second Adam. Thus, Paul’s introduction of the Adam and Eve typology becomes logical.
The Apostle Paul lays the foundation for using typology beyond the study of the temple of God. He writes to the saints at Corinth, "If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. Thus it is written, ‘The first man Adam became a living being’; the last man Adam became a life-giving spirit. But it is not the spiritual that is first but the natural, and then the spiritual. The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven.…Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven" (1 Cor 15:44-47, 49). In addition, Paul writes, "I want you to know, brothers, that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea, and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea….Now these things took place as examples for us, that we might not desire evil as they did" (1 Cor 10:1-2, 6).
In many articles and essays, I have used typology to show that there was first physical Israel, then spiritual Israel, the latter holy nation being a continuation of the first (Exod 19:5-6 & 1 Pet 2:9). Israel is the married woman "bound by law to her husband while he lives" (Rom 7:2), but who becomes free to marry another when her husband dies. The law that made physical Israel the holy nation of God (i.e., the Sinai covenant) has been abolished (Eph 2:15). It exists no more since Israel murdered the Covenantor at Calvary. So spiritual Israelites are dead to this law through the body of Christ (Rom 7:4). That was not the case when mocking Pharisees taunted Jesus after He told the parable of the dishonest manager (Luke 16:1-13). Jesus said, ‘"The Law and the Prophets [i.e., the Old Testament] were until John; since then the good news of the kingdom of God is preached"’ (v. 16). These mocking Pharisees were married to the Law. They were not free to divorce the wife of their youth and marry another: the Son of Man. They would have committed spiritual adultery if they would have attempt to become Jesus’ disciples, for they had not been given to Jesus by the Father--only those Israelites drawn by the Father could become Jesus’ disciples (John 6:44, 65).
Just as there was a first Adam followed by the second Adam, there was a first Eve followed by the second Eve. In all likeliness, Paul understood that the Church was the second Eve (after all, Paul’s epistle to the saints at Corinth is spiritual milk as opposed to meat [Cor 3:1-2]). If Paul didn’t, it was only because the Church hadn’t yet widely accepted Satan’s immortal soul lie. Paul writes from the perspective of the newly created Eve (i.e., the greater Church) still being in spiritual Eden, mostly living within the laws of God. The battle Paul fights is with the circumcision faction, those converted Jews who wanted Gentile converts to first become physical Jews before they became spiritual Jews. So living within the laws of God wasn’t an issue. Having eternal life apart from receiving such life as the gift of the Father, though, was an issue among Hellenistic Greek converts familiar with the writings of Plato. And because the greater Church was expelled from Eden for believing this lie, we can see today how extensive the deception was--and why this deception wasn’t widely recognized by earlier generations of Christians. No one believing the lie of humans having immortal souls would see the deception, or that spiritual Eve had been expelled from Eden.
Applying the concept that the Body of Christ shall not rule over its Head, let us look at what Paul writes to Timothy:
As I urged you when I was going to Macedonia, remain in Ephesus that you may charge certain persons not to teach any different doctrine, nor to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies, which promote speculations rather than the stewardship from God that is by faith.…Certain persons, by swerving from these, have wandered away into vain discussion, desiring to be teachers of the law, without understanding either what they are saying or the things about which they make confident assertions. (1 Tin 1:3-6)
Pastor McDonnell recognizes that there was a doctrinal issue under contention. Her premise is that the issue concerned the Artemis-cult, and that myths and endless genealogies were of the Amazons and how the women of Ephesus were descended from them. But Paul’s instructions to Timothy concern a "different doctrine," not the myths and genealogies to which these persons teaching the different doctrine devote themselves. Paul’s instruction was two fold: first, Timothy isn’t to let a person teach any different doctrine other than "the glorious gospel of the blessed God with which I have been entrusted" (1 Tim 1:11). Second, Timothy is to charge certain persons not to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies. The myths and endless genealogies are linguistically separate from the false doctrine being taught, a doctrine that pertains to the law, the reason for verses eight through eleven of chapter one.
While the false doctrines Paul charges Timothy not to be allowed to be taught might pertain to the Artemis-cult, they specifically pertain to a wrong understanding of the law, an understanding referenced in the clause, "Now we know that the law is good, if one uses it lawfully" (1 Tim 1:8). Two possibilities exist, one that these wrong-headed teachers of law were saying that the law was evil, and the other that the law was still binding upon converts. Since we know that Paul had an on-going running battle with the circumcision faction that was going out from Jerusalem, the most likely possibility was that these wrong-headed teachers were saying that law required all disciples to live by its terms, including physical circumcision. Paul then agrees that the law is good, but he goes on to say that it pertains to "the lawless and disobedient" (v. 9).
Pastor McDonnell cites secular sources to give an overview of the situation in Ephesus at the time when Paul writes. I don’t believe these secular sources are needed, or are particularly useful. We have Paul’s epistle to the saints at Ephesus, and we have his additional instructions to the elders of the Church in Ephesus (Acts 20:17-38), as well as Christ’s letter to the endtime fellowship at Ephesus (Rev 2:1-7), which uses the 1st-Century Church as its antetype.
When Paul, from Miletus, sent for the elders of the Church at Ephesus, he began by reminding them of how he had lived among them, "serving the Lord with all humility and with tears and with trials that happened to me through the plots of the Jews" (Acts 20:19). It wasn’t the Artemis-cult that gave Paul problems when he was at Ephesus; it was the Jews, those physical Israelites still married to the law.
Paul, after telling the elders what would befall him at Jerusalem, inserts an odd passage: "Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all of you, for I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God" (Acts 20:26-27). And from this passage we can begin to appreciate what Paul’s problem was at Ephesus. Paul was being accused of not teaching disciples all they needed to know to be saved. Thus, Paul was, by not teaching all that needed to be known, guilty of the spiritual murder of saints. And Paul says these charges are not true, that for three years he labored with his hands at Ephesus, that he didn’t seek to make disciples for himself, nor did he covet anyone’s wealth, that he was there as their servant.
Now when we go to Paul’s epistle to the saints at Ephesus, we should find both Paul’s problem with the Jews and the basis for the false claim that he didn’t teach all that was necessary for salvation. And the first thing we find in his epistle is, "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him" (Eph 1:3-4). Paul negates, with his opening paragraph, the Jews’ claim of being the exclusive holy nation of God. Paul’s claim is that the saints have been chosen by the Father, whom the Jews never knew and who constitutes a God other than YHWH, Israel’s Elohim (Exod 20:2), from before the foundation of the earth. Paul agrees with Peter that spiritual Israel is God’s holy nation (1 Pet 2:9).
In fact, Paul’s opening paragraphs in his epistle to the saints at Ephesus are an introduction of God the Father, and of the Father’s plan to obtain heirs. Paul writes a wonderful run-on sentence in introducing the Father:
For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. (Eph 1:15-21)
Jews everywhere would have regarded Paul’s introduction of God the Father as heresy. Paul brings to these saints at Ephesus a God other than the YHWH, their Elohim, who was born as the man Jesus of Nazareth (John 1:14). Of course, these saints at Ephesus did not yet have John’s gospel to clarify the relationship between Jesus and the Father--and until the 21st-Century, saints haven’t had the understanding that in the tetragrammaton YHWH, and in word Elohim are both God the Father and His Son, Christ Jesus, along with the Breath of both. (Elohim is the plural [/im/ or in Hebrew //] form of Eloah, which is God [/El/] plus His aspirated Breath/Pneuma [/ah/], so two or more Gods and Their Breaths are present in the word Elohim – and the tetragrammaton YHWH reveals the presence of one deity [/Y/], plus His Breath [/H/], plus a second deity [/W/ or /V/], plus His Breath [/H/], so we know how many Gods are present in the name Elohim – and all of the previous agrees with John 1:1-3, where the Logos is identified as Theos, who was with Theon from the bringing and who did the actual work of creating everything physical.) Therefore, Paul writes from a handicapped position (compared to mine), in that he must introduce to these saints at Ephesus the concept of God the Father. He has only the Law and the Prophets as authoritative written texts with which to work--and in the Old Testament is the unambiguous demand that Israelites be circumcised (Gen 17:9-14). Any uncircumcised male Israelite shall be cut off from the holy nation (v. 14); thus, for Paul to teach that the law separating "Circumcised" from "unCircumcised" has been abolished (Eph 2:15) means that Paul taught, as far as devout Jews were concerned, a doctrine that would cause Israelites to be spiritually rejected by YHWH, their Elohim, who was also the God that Abraham worshiped. Therefore, Jews still married to the Law (Rom 7:1-4) were compelled to oppose what Paul taught and to label Paul a false teacher, a bloody man, a person who would not and did not honor the traditions of the patriarchs. Genealogy now comes into play. These Jews who opposed Paul were descended from Abraham, their favorite claim as Jesus records, even though their father was the devil.
Paul had no long lasting problems with the Artemis-cult as Scripture records:
And when the town clerk had quieted the crowd, he said, "Men of Ephesus, who is there who does not know that the city of Ephesians is the temple keeper of the great Artemis, and of the sacred stone that fell from the sky? Seeing then that these things cannot be denied, you ought to be quiet and do nothing rash. For you have brought these men here who are neither sacrilegious nor blasphemers of our goddess." (Acts 19:35-37)
So the problem Paul had at Ephesus wasn’t because he taught against the Artemis-cult or was a blasphemer of the goddess. Rather, Paul’s problem was with teachers of the law (i.e., the Sinai covenant) that had been abolished with Christ’s death at Calvary. Spiritual Israelites were under the second, or eternal covenant, which is all of the Book of Deuteronomy with better promises added when the mediator changed from Moses to Christ, the primary better promise being the receipt of the Holy Spirit prior to obedience instead of after demonstrating obedience (Deu 30:1-6 – circumcision of the heart and mind [naphesh] is a euphemistic expression for the equally euphemistic expression of the laws of God being written on the hearts and minds of disciples [Jer 31:31-34; Heb 8:10 & 10:16], both expressions meaning that disciples receive the Holy Spirit, or are born-from-above). Spiritual Israelites, whether originally circumcised or not, are no longer under the Sinai covenant, but rather under the Moab covenant (Deu 29:1), made with uncircumcised Israelites (Jos 5:2-7). The Sinai covenant had made circumcised Israel God’s holy nation. But when these physical Israelites killed the Covenantor, Theos born as the man Jesus of Nazareth (John 1:14), the Sinai covenant ceased to exist. It was literally abolished by the covenantee through murder. It ended at Calvary. And for Paul to make such a bold claim, Paul would indeed have problems with those individuals who still believed that they constituted God’s holy nation.
Before returning to Paul’s epistle to Timothy, let us look at what the glorified Christ says about the saints at Ephesus: ‘"I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance, and how you cannot bear with those who are evil, but have tested those who call themselves apostles and are not, and found them to be false’" (Rev 2:2). So there were some individuals preaching to the saints at Ephesus who claimed to be apostles, but were not. This would agree with what Paul writes to the saints at Galatia, to whom another gospel was being preached (Gal 1:6-9) by "those who seemed to be influential" (2:6) who had come from Jerusalem (2:12). This accursed false gospel was taught by the circumcision faction, a body of Jewish converts who insisted that a disciple must first become a physical Israelite before becoming a spiritual Israelite. The circumcision faction had Scripture on their side; Paul had divine revelation on his. And the issue was not even partially resolved prior to the Jerusalem conference, recorded on Acts 15. It wasn’t fully resolved until the greater Church was composed of Gentile converts--and even then it periodically reappears through the teachings of those who interpret endtime prophecies upon the basis that physical Israelites are still God’s holy nation.
Circumcised Israel has no covenant relationship with God the Father, or His Messiah, except as individuals drawn by the Father are placed into the eternal covenant. They, too, must now be grafted onto the true vine, Christ, to become spiritual Israelites. To teach otherwise is to teach an accursed gospel.
Returning to Paul’s letter to Timothy, Paul writes:
First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet [eremon kai hesuchion] life, godly and dignified in every way. (1 Tim 2:1-2)
Pastor McDonnell uses the New International Version’s translation of hesuchion as "peaceful" as the basis for her linguistic argument. Green’s Interlinear, like the English Standard Version which I have cited throughout, translates hesuchion as "quiet," and from the construction of the word, "quiet" seems to be the most appropriate English signifier for the concepts incorporated in the Greek signifier hesuchion. Therefore, as in many other examples, I find the NIV’s assignment of signifier for signifier only marginally acceptable.
Most of Pastor McDonnell’s linguistic claim rests on the assignment of "peaceful" to convey the concepts incorporated in the Greek signifier hesuchion. When "quiet" is the assigned signifier, then Paul’s use of hesuchia in verses 11 and 12 seems appropriately translated in, "Let a woman learn quietly [hesuchia] with all submissiveness. I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet [hesuchia]. And with the assignment of "quiet" for hesuchios/hesuchia, the text is consistent in its assignment of signifier for signifier. The inconsistency that supports the premise of Pastor McDonnell disappears.
Remember, readers assign meanings [signifieds] to letter combination [signifiers]. Words do not come with little backpacks that can be opened to find out what they represent.
If neither the historic phenomenon that Pastor McDonnell cites, nor the linguistic claim of textual inconsistency she makes will withstand close scrutiny, then her argument must be rejected. However, as Paul’s long-running dispute with the circumcision faction reveals, Scripture is not a lifeless document, but the very word of God. It is subject to change, the very meaning of Daniel’s vision being sealed and secret until the time of the end. Only in that endtime period could the Father’s assignment of meaning be attached to Daniel’s vision. Therefore, to reject Pastor McDonnell’s umbrella position that women can teach under the Eternal Covenant requires an even higher standard of textual support than the circumcision faction had for requiring spiritual Israelites to first become physical Israelites. And there is no text other than the writings of Paul that negates physical circumcision. What must be understood is that the second covenant is made with uncircumcised children of the Israelites who left Egypt. And if the second covenant is made with physically uncircumcised Israelites, then the importance of possessing male genitalia is negated. It is on this basis that I remain open to Pastor McDonnell’s claims although I am not ready to concur with her.
The issue Paul apparently wanted Timothy to address at Ephesus was the same one he fought throughout his ministry, apostles or those posing as apostles were coming from Jerusalem and the headquarters Church of James teaching that while salvation was indeed open to all, disciples must first become Jewish proselytes before they could become spiritual Israelites. Jesus, in His Olivet Discourse, warns His disciples not to mislead (Matt 24::4 – all English translations poorly render the sense of the passage: Jesus’ disciples won’t be deceived or lead astray by others; rather, Jesus warns His disciples not to lead converts astray). John tells us that Jesus knew from the beginning which of His disciples believed (John 6:64). So why should we be surprised today when a great portion of spiritual Israel doesn’t believe. In the parable of the pounds, seven of ten servants or disciples will not have the nobleman rule over them. In Zechariah’s prophecy, the Lord will turn His hand against two-thirds of the holy ones (13:7-8). Therefore, if we as disciples do not truly believe, and if we will not listen to the voice of Christ, we will likely find ourselves in the lake of fire. If Christ says that woman can teach, who are we to argue with Him? Likewise, if He says that they should not, who are we to argue? Revelation will, when the Spirit of God is poured out upon all flesh in the last half of the Tribulation, come from the mouths of both women and men (Joel 2:28-29).
A person needs to understand that the Creation account (Gen 1:1-2:3) is the typological abstract of the entirety of Scripture. A major work remains, the conversion of spiritual Israel in the heavenly realm, then the harvesting of the remainder of humanity (this work is typologically represented from Genesis 1:27 through 2:3). During this work that will be accomplished in the Tribulation while the second Eve experiences the hard labor of her birth pains, both men and women will teach. So the time for women to remain silent will come to an end when the second Eve returns to spiritual Eden.
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"Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved."