Foundations of Sexuality (Part 5): Sin’s Effect on Manhood and Womanhood

Posted on 05/30/2014 by



We have been looking at some Biblical foundations of sexuality in the last few posts. Those foundations we tried to establish were that God created men and women with equal dignity, with distinctly different roles, and to mirror the trinity. Today we would like to see the effect of sin on men and women through the lens of the Fall story in Genesis 3.

Once again, I want to state that most of this material will be coming from a Secret Church on Family, Marriage, Sex, and the Gospel by David Platt from 2011. I highly recommend that if you want to know more about this topic that you visit where video streams and other materials are available for download. Additionally, I have found most of David Platt’s work to be extremely grounded on the Word and without a lot of fluff.

Now 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’? ” And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, 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.'” But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” 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. Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths. –Genesis 3:1-7

Passive Men: Spineless Abdication of his Responsibility

If we look at this passage to look at sin’s effect on men, we get the picture of probably most men today. Adam was the first passive husband. He didn’t really do anything here to protect Eve from Satan’s temptation yet he was there and appears to go along without any questioning. David Platt says that Adam is seen here, “sinning passively through a spineless abdication of his responsibility.” It is apparent that Satan’s strategy was to go outside of God’s design by approaching the woman, but Adam never showed any hesitancy to going against God’s command. If you read Genesis 2 below, you can see that God’s command was directly given to Adam before Eve was even created.

And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” –Genesis 2:16-17

So, we can see from here that a passive man can be characterized by having a spineless abdication of responsibility. Today, passive men can be seen everywhere. They refuse to lead and they refuse to take any responsibility for the spiritual well-being of their families. They serve themselves and seek to set themselves apart from responsibilities.

Aggressive Men: Selfish Abuse of his Authority

Let’s look at the opposite end of the spectrum and evaluate the aggressive man. The aggressive man may be characterized as showing a selfish abuse of his authority.

To the woman he said, “I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children. Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.” –Genesis 3:16

David Platt describes the use of “rule” here as, “literally meaning to assert by power or strength or force, sometimes used in the Old Testament in an oppressive way. So, Adam, in his manhood, would rule with a harshness and a forcefulness that is not the design of God, a picture of domination.” It is important to clarify here that there is a difference in headship and authority and domination and force. Headship and authority is characterized in a good way in Genesis 2. In Genesis 3, because of sin, we see the selfish abuse of authority where man will seek to control woman and abuse his position as authority in their relationship. The sins from the beginning are still very much man’s worst issues today: Passivity and Abuse.

And to Adam he said, “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,’ cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life; thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” –Genesis 3:17-19

This passage explains God’s gender specific punishment for sin. Sin’s effect on man creates pain in breadwinning. Just think, you are living in the Garden of Eden and now because of sin you have to become a farmer to provide food. Beyond that, you don’t have any Miracle-Gro soil, herbicides, Roundup, or insecticide on the farm.

Passive Women: Spineless Dismissal of any Responsibility

Let’s look at sin’s effect on woman, now. We will look at this through the passive and aggressive lens. David Platt turns back to Genesis 3 here and describes woman’s actions as, “spineless dismissal of any responsibility.” Platt points out that man is certainly looked at in Genesis 3 as ultimately responsible and accountable. I think it is very important to point out Platt’s next statement, “When you see this picture of womanhood, particularly, when it comes to submission, sin distorts this role and causes some women to think, ‘Okay, then. If I’m the helper, he’s the head, and then I’m not accountable for what I do. I’m just the helper.’ Maybe a woman sees her husband or children doing something wrong, and she doesn’t do anything about it. Or maybe her husband is sinning against her, abusing her, and she sits idly by thinking, ‘Well, this is what submission is about.’ That is a tragic distortion of biblical womanhood. God did not create any woman to be a doormat, and God holds women responsible for the way they think, they live, the choices they make, the way they use their bodies and present their bodies.”

To the woman he said, “I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children. Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.” –Genesis 3:16

Passive Women: Selfish Defiance against Authority

So, let’s look at the aggressive lens. Platt calls this a, “selfish defiance against authority.” David Platt points out the use of “your desire shall be for your husband” in the verse. I naively looked at “desire” as a good thing but he points out that this same word is used in Genesis 4:7 to describe sin as having a “desire for you. He goes on to describe this as, “sin desires you in bad way, in a way that wants to oppose you, in a way that wants to work against you, the picture is that woman, as a result of sin, has a tendency to work against man’s leadership, to want to oppose man’s leadership. Your desire will be to rebel against him, to overpower him, to usurp his rule in your life.” What is woman’s gender specific punishment for sin? Woman will experience pain in her role of childbearing.

As we can see, manhood and womanhood have been infected to the core by sin. Sin is present and exhibited in different ways by men and women. Men and women have been battling Satan’s attacks on God’s design from the beginning never seeming to find the balance between passivity and domination.