I originally planned to do this series as three posts. I now realize point 7 needs its own post. The point I try to make is that the assertion Grudem made in this point is completely unsupported, that everything under the header is a red herring. To do that, I need to quote Grudem extensively, to prove I do not leave out the significant part of his argument. Before giving the mic over to Grudem, so to speak, I will show a similar argument:
“The Derickson brothers were born to be house painters: The Derickson brothers vandalized houses of immigrants by painting swear words on them. [Newspaper quote on the Derickson brothers being caught for vandalizing houses with spray paint.] The judge sentenced them to community service. [Another newspaper’s quote on what the judge decided.] The newspaper uses the word ‘fitting’ to describe what the judge said of their punishment. Fitting means [quote from Webster’s Dictionary]. This shows us that the spray painting was a perversion of their God-given purpose to paint houses, house painting was not new to them.”
The problem in the previous paragraph, as you can see, is that not a single shred of evidence is given that the Derickson brothers were indeed born to be house painters. Plenty of evidence is given of their crimes and the sentences they got, none that house painting was their life purpose prior to the crimes. Even if every quote is accurate, it would not prove the header. With that in mind, read Grudem’s argument, or lack of it, while remembering the header of his list (“Ten Reasons Showing Male Headship in Marriage Before the Fall”), and of point seven.
7. The conflict: The curse brought a distortion of previous roles, not the introduction of new roles.
After Adam and Eve sinned, God spoke words of judgment to Eve:
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.” —GEN. 3:16
The word translated “desire” is an unusual Hebrew word, teshûqåh… in this construction, it probably implies an aggressive desire… [It] is highly unlikely … that “desire” in Genesis 3:16 refers to sexual desire…
Then God says with regard to Adam, “and he shall rule over you(Gen. 3:16). The word here translated “rule” is the Hebrew term måshal… [T]he word does not signify …
…One aspect of the curse was imposing pain on Adam’s particular area of responsibility, raising food from the ground: …(Gen. 3:17-19).
Another aspect of the curse was to impose pain on Eve’s particular area of responsibility, the bearing of children… (Gen. 3:16).
…A third aspect of the curse was to introduce pain and conflict into the relationship between Adam and Eve. Prior to their sin, they had lived in the Garden of Eden in perfect harmony, yet with a leadership role belonging to Adam as the head of his family. But after the Fall, God introduced conflict in that Eve would have an inward urging and impulsion to oppose Adam, to resist Adam’s leadership (the verb teshûqåh). “Your impulse, your desire, will be against your husband.”
And Adam would respond with a rule over Eve that came from his greater strength and aggressiveness, a rule that was forceful and at times harsh (the verb måshal). “And he because of his greater strength will rule over you.” There would be pain in tilling the ground, pain in bearing children, and pain and conflict in their relationship…
[I]t show[s] us that the Fall brought about a distortion of previous roles, not the introduction of new roles…
Reading the text with pink glasses:
Even in the curse, God showed that women were supposed to reign: The woman’s offspring will crush Satan, not the man’s. Her sorrow in raising children (it does not only refer to child-birth) will increase, while God originally intended for her to find pleasure in reigning over the next generation. She will desire the man and allow him to rule over her, while God intended her to rule him. Men will have a hard time raising food – raising food is a task in which he does not reign over a living being, God intended him to do practical labour, while his wife reigns.
Stripping away the biases:
What Grudem did above was a red herring, not an argument. Remember the story of the two brothers who vandalized houses? Like in that story, all Grudem’s Bible quotes in this (lack of a) point told us about the situation after the fall, but only asserted, with no evidence, his actual point that the curse distorted old roles instead of giving evil new ones. Egalitarians disagree with Grudem on what teshûqåh means, but the exact meanings of teshûqåh and måshal are irrelevant to his point. It is as irrelevant as the exact meaning of “fitting” is to what the Derickson brothers were placed on earth for. His words on this point sound academic and eloquent, but does nothing to prove his argument.
There is no reason here to believe that gender roles existed before the fall.