Ancient Wisdom for Modern Manhood, Part 4: Flawed, but Still Called

...even though we’re flawed, we’re still called. We must rediscover our essence of authentic manhood. And until a man understands that...

Genesis isn’t the end, thankfully. It doesn’t leave us without hope.

There’s a sentiment in our culture today that men should be content to sit on the sidelines. The idea is that it’s okay to simply let your wife take the lead, and that there’s no inherent sociological structure between men and women in marriage.

But today, I want to show you why that way of thinking is not just errant, but downright harmful to us, our wives, our families, and our society as we wrap up our “Ancient Wisdom for Modern Manhood” blog series. If you haven’t read them yet, check out Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 of the series to get caught up.

We talked in the last blog about Adam’s passivity in the face of temptation, how he stood by as Eve was tempted, took the fruit, ate it, and then shifted the blame when God held him to account for his lack of leadership. Today, we’re finishing our look at Genesis 3, and examining the results of the fall of man, how it impacts us as men today, and the hope we have to overcome sin. Take a look at Genesis 3:9-12…

“But the Lord God called to the man and said to him, ‘Where are you?’ And he said, ‘I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.’ He said, ‘Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?’ The man said, ‘The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate.’

Something radically changed in Adam in this moment. He didn’t sound like a man at all. He cowered. He whimpered. First he played the victim card and then tore up his manhood card! He went from a man to a boy.

Adam should have stepped forward, so why did he become so passive all of a sudden? I’ve asked that question about this text many times over the years. And the answer I’ve come to, which makes Adam’s sin even more heinous, is that Adam was willing to let Eve die to see what would happen.

“She can die,” I think he thought, “but I’ll be okay.”

But Eve ate and didn’t die at that moment, and Adam could have thought, “God must not be as powerful as he claims to be. Maybe Satan is right. Maybe I can eat as well.”

In his silence, passivity, and willingness to sacrifice Eve, Adam sinned long before she ate the fruit. And what was the result? God pronounced curses on the serpent, Eve, and finally, on Adam. We find Adam’s curse in Genesis 3:17-19…

“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.”

God told Adam, “Life is going to be hard for you.” And what’s interesting is that Adam wasn’t cursed primarily because he ate the fruit. He was cursed first because he listened to the voice of his wife.

Am I putting down the woman? Absolutely not. I’m putting down that she was leading and he was following. Adam’s manhood should have called him to lead her with God’s Word. But instead, he disregarded that calling on his life and followed her direction. The result here was that life forever changed for Adam, Eve, and all of their children — which includes you and me.

Now Adam, cursed, having forsaken the essence of his masculinity rather than lead his wife, will have the desire to dominate over women. In the curse of Eve, God says, “Your desire shall be contrary to your husband, but he shall rule over you.”

The word for “rule” in Hebrew speaks to harsh, oppressive domineering, the kind that leads to abuse, neglect, and manipulation. Those are all symptoms of this sin that has entered the world. And what is the consequence of this sin? Death.

Remember what God told Adam about the fruit back in 2:17? “[F]or in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”

When Adam took the fruit, he died. Not a physical death, but a spiritual death of separation from God. And what died most in Adam was his true masculinity. He fell from the noble perch of authentic manhood, and now had a twisted masculinity that struggled with purpose in life.

And with that death, life became hard. Men who were meant to be noble leaders now struggle to do so. They deal with comparing themselves to others and not realizing the great gift God has given them. And that judgment of death extends to all who came after Adam.

Romans 5:19 emphasizes this truth: “For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man's obedience the many will be made righteous.”

Adam and Eve had to leave their perfect garden and venture out into the world away from God’s presence. And this was where the woman was actually called “Eve” for the very first time. This is, what I think, is a continued sign of Adam’s leadership even in the brokenness of sin.

You see, even though we’re flawed, we’re still called. What it takes is for us to rediscover our essence of authentic manhood. And until a man understands that, he’s not a man, but a boy.

Remember what Paul said in 1 Corinthians 13:11. “When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways.”

Paul says in essence, “When I was a boy, I didn’t embrace truth. I didn’t feel responsible for anyone. I used people, especially women. But through Christ, I grew up. I embraced the essence of masculinity, which is leadership. I saw myself as a provider, a protector, a leader, a truth-giver, a life-giver.” 

Genesis isn’t the end, thankfully. It doesn’t leave us without hope. Because while through Adam, we’re dead, through Christ we can be more alive than ever and become the authentic, biblical men God created us to be.