BIBLICAL Horizons, No. 32
Copyright 1991, Biblical Horizons
For a year of so we have been reading about date rape. It amazes me how many "conservative" commentators have taken the attitude that "boys will be boys," and that it is somehow the girl’s fault if she lets the boy go too far. I have to agree that we should not confuse seduction with rape, because the latter is a crime of violence primarily, not of sexuality. Nevertheless, the Bible’s perspective is clear: The primary guardians of sexual virtue in society are to be the men. (From the articles on Clarence Thomas published around the time of his hearings, I gather this is his opinion also.)
Similarly, I was dismayed to see the reaction of many "conservatives" to the testimony of Anita Hill against Clarence Thomas. I personally am inclined to think that Thomas is innocent. Certainly under our law a man is innocent until proven guilty, and Thomas was not proven guilty. At the same time, however, we should bear in mind that Miss Hill did not make open brazen charges against Thomas, but gave her testimony quietly and in private. Assuming for the sake of discussion that her testimony was true, it is not her fault that nobody else had the same experience as she did (no testimony of 2-3 witnesses), and it is not her fault that the matter became public so that she had to make public her allegations.
Moreover, her story was not at all incredible on the face of it. Some "conservatives" argued that if she had been harassed, she should simply have left her job and sought another. Comments like this show only that these "conservatives" have never had any experience with sexual harassment of women on the job. Most women are in no position, economically or psychologically, to just quit and take another job. They are forced to endure the harassment and resist it as best they can. Anybody with any experience knows this. As someone who has counselled women in this position, I assure you that it is not simply a matter of "quitting and getting another job."
And why did she stay with Thomas? Why move to another job with him? Obviously because he had stopped bothering her, and because her possibly legitimate ambitions were best served by continuing her association with him.
In other words, her story was not unbelievable. It was either true or false–my guess is that it was false–but as a scenario it was not in the least incredible. Harassed women every day find themselves in similar circumstances.
I’m a bit concerned when Bible-believing Christians rally around a man whose commitment is to "natural law" rather than to Biblical law. "Natural law" is just a way of avoiding saying "God’s law," and is an insult to the blood of Christ. We don’t want to speak about Christ and His kingship, so we speak of "natural law." We ought to be ashamed of such rhetoric!
The Hill-Thomas hearings should cause us to look back at what the Bible says about men and women. We find in Genesis 1-3 the most important story and most revealing history in this regard. A careful reading of the passage will reveal some interesting things.
To begin with, Eve had not yet been made when God told Adam not to eat of the forbidden fruit (Gen. 2:16-22). After Eve had been generated, God told them both that every tree would be for them to eat (Gen. 1:27-30). God used the implied-future tense: "It shall be food for you." So, how did Eve come to understand that the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge was temporarily prohibited? Adam told her.
Adam had three clear duties with regard to Eve. First, since she was in the garden and Adam was to guard the garden (Gen. 2:15), Adam was to guard and protect her. Second, since Adam knew things she did not, Adam was to instruct her. Third, since what Adam knew was about food, Adam was to feed her (supervise her eating).
Those three things are exactly what this male pig-dog did not do. Read carefully the story of the fall of man, beginning in Genesis 2:25, which actually introduces the story (2:25-3:7). According to 2:25, Adam was with Eve the whole time the serpent spoke to her. The phrase "with her" in Genesis 3:6 makes the same point. Adam stood by while the serpent seduced his wife. He did not interrupt to remind her of the truth. He did not properly supervise her eating. And he did not guard her.
Why? There is only one possible explanation: Adam wanted Eve to eat the fruit so he could see what would happen. If she died, he could simply tell the Lord, "Well, the woman you gave me ate the forbidden fruit after I told her not to. I’ve got more ribs. How about another woman?" If she lived, Adam would know that the serpent was right and would eat himself.
The more closely we consider the story of the fall, the more obvious it is that Adam had fallen into deep depravity. His actions were as ignoble and disgusting as any imaginable. That’s how men have tended to treat women ever since. They fail to guard women, and then they turn around and blame them when bad things happen.
But that’s not how our Husband treats us. The book of Revelation shows that the Last Adam protects His bride and kills the serpent. He feeds His bride with His own broken body and shed blood. He teaches His bride the truth and sets up the Church to remind her of it week after week.
As Christians, we need to stand up against "date rape" and sexual harassment. True, some of the women are falsely crying wolf, and my guess is that Anita Hill was one of them. In the main, however, men have behaved like chauvinist pig-dogs ever since Adam betrayed Eve. We need to distance ourselves from the evil opinions of "conservatives," and stand squarely on what the Bible says in this most important area.