Life behind Fig Leaves

 

I don’t understand you,

(But my heart goes out to you).

I don’t understand you,

(Considering all I’ve planned for you).

I don’t understand you—

Why won’t you come with me tonight?[1]

 

The devil is the original evil genius, as we see recorded in Genesis, chapter 3, the account of the fall of mankind. He came to Eve and tempted her with one carefully phrased question and one carefully phrased assertion. The question, “Did God really say you shall not eat for any tree in the garden” (Genesis 3:1)? The assertion, “You will not surely die…eat of it…and be like God” (Genesis 3:4,5). The question attacked God’s Word and so did the assertion. The devil knew exactly the words of God’s command to Adam: “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die” (Genesis 2:16,17). This tree was to be Adam’s “pulpit and altar” says Martin Luther. By honoring this one tree according to God’s command, he would be freely proclaiming his trust in God his Creator,[2] who had given him all things: a paradise in which to live, a free fresh food supply from any tree in the garden except the one tree, a godly wife, and the godly task of tending the garden with care (Genesis 2:15). However, with one probing question and one devious assertion the devil called God’s command into doubt, and Eve, abusing the gift of free will, accepted the lie for truth. Suddenly she saw what she did not see before, namely, “that the fruit of the tree was good for food, and pleasing to the eye, and desirable for gaining wisdom” (Genesis 3:6). She took some and ate, and gave some to Adam, who was with her, and he ate.[3] The result, self-imprisonment in sin: “The eyes of both of them were opened and they realized they were naked, and so they sewed fig leaves together and made covering themselves” (Genesis 3:7). Soon afterward, when they heard God approaching, they hid themselves further, among the trees of the garden. But God called out to them, “Where are you” (Genesis 3:9)? When they emerged from the trees, Adam said, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid” (Genesis 3:10). When God asked Adam, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from” (Genesis 3:11)? we hear Adam turn against both his Creator and his wife, blaming his sin on God “for the woman you put here with me” (Genesis 3:12). Eve blamed…well…the devil. (Genesis 3:13). So began mankind’s “life behind fig leaves.”[4] A life behind bars.

A primary consequence of the fall is that mankind no longer desires or seeks God’s holy will for marriage (our primary vocation in love of neighbor), as he commanded Adam and Eve: “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, and over every living creature that moves along the ground” (Genesis 1:28). This is so because, in the fall, mankind lost the desire and ability to be chaste. By chaste I mean, keep the Sixth Commandment perfectly, a moral law written on the conscience of Adam and Eve, later chiseled in stone at Mt. Sinai. “Do not commit adultery,” in thought, word and deed. This commandment upholds God’s institution of marriage for the good of mankind, in which one man unites with one woman for life-long companionship in marriage (spiritually, emotionally, and physically), the bearing and raising of children, and the foundation of a stable family life within which God’s saving Word in Jesus Christ is to be taught and handed down generation to generation. This, in turn, creates a stable society and culture. Outside of the Sixth Commandment, there is no chastity, only the instability and confusion of deviance. So we understand why the original evil genius (the devil) attacks mankind right here.

Okay, let’s continue to peel it back. In the fall, deviance is now what mankind desires, yet we convince ourselves (in a self-justification sort of way) that all we are really seeking is something innocent called romantic love, which justifies anything we do “for love.” But apart from the Sixth Commandment, we are really seeking self (as if in the backseat of a car—where we’ve all been in our lustful thoughts, words and deeds.) This deviance corrupts how men and women see themselves and each other. In this, no man naturally understands or can fulfill the divine role and responsibility of being a man, to be a glad godly leader, first of all in marriage. No woman understands or can fulfill the divine role and responsibility of being a woman, to be a willing vital helper, first of all in marriage. Neither understands how to relate to their sex. Neither understands what to look for the other. Rather than seek God’s help in this “life behind fig leaves,” help which is plain to be found in God’s Word, both sexes think they know best apart from it, despite their perpetually unhappy, “I Want To Know What Love Is,”[5] confusion. As long as God allows the earth to continue, the family unit will remain under constant assault by this “deviance” like a city under siege, its holy walls ever-threatened to be breached. Who of us, in our sins, does not serve on the front line of the siege troops in some way, even if we are married (Matthew 5:27-28)[6]?

Question: What is going on behind fig leaves today?     

+++

A Brief (the devil’s work to separate sexuality from the marriage relationship and child-rearing)

Chastity until marriage mocked as prudish, unrealistic.

Denigration of Christian chastity as raw bigotry: A well-reasoned response on sexuality as God has designed it, might result in the flippant accusation, “Are you a homophobe?”[7]

“Lust,” in all its forms, sells, pornography at the casual click of a computer mouse. A multibillion-dollar industry.

Homosexuality not only increasingly accepted, but even considered courageous. (The culture does not associate Christian chastity as courageous; but to be homosexual is—especially if one “comes out” to declare their “true” selves. Think about the power of this multi-cultural messaging on our youth!)

STDs (even early death) through promiscuity: Homosexuals face a much shortened lifespan, about 20 years shorter because of sexual disease.[8] (Our present culture is now beginning to encourage this lifestyle, even to our youth, with no concern for the self-destruction of shortened lives.) Heterosexual STDs also increasing, especially in the 15-24 year old demographic.[9]

Abortion: murderous lifeblood of “sex without intent to parent.” In the USA: 1.2 million abortions/year; the USA has highest abortion rate in western industrialized world; 47% of women who give birth in any given year have had an abortion; 4 in 10 of unintended pregnancies end in abortion.[10]

Overuse, misuse of contraception: shrinking average family size; some “contraceptives” are, in reality, abortifacients. Margaret Sanger, founder of Planned Parenthood, was a huge proponent of contraception and sterilization to destroy the black population.[11]

Rampant divorce, broken families, intentionally unwed parents, absentee fathers: Not a new problem, but a growing one. Example: In 1950, 85% of black children born into two parent homes; today, 70% are born to single mothers.[12]

Couples with few or no children as a lifestyle choice: Look at the birthrates around the world: In America 2.0 (Hispanics bumping up this rate); Britain 2.1 (Muslims bumping up this rate); Germany 1.4; Italy 1.4; Spain 1.4[13]; also Japan 1.4[14]. These numbers are barely sufficient (2.0) or dramatically insufficient to sustain population—huge family, church, and economic implications. See also Time Magazine, “Having It All Without Having Children,” by Lauren Sandler, August 12, 2013.

Bisexual and transgender, the next battlefronts for complete acceptance in our culture? What shall transgender marriage look like, or bi-sexual marriage? (By the way, why stop here? We should, then, legalize any and all forms of marriage, whatever we can invent, and this would include polygamy too. Who are we to judge?)

Children being “multi-culturalized” to hold the politically-correct positions regarding sexuality. Public school sex education for kindergartners, Chicago Public School System, “I’m okay with it,” said Ayesha Ahmad. “I’d like to think it’s not necessary, but I think our culture dictates you can’t start early enough.” Stephanie Whyte, CPS Chief Health Officer, says, “Whether that means there are two moms at home, everyone’s home life is different, and we introduce the fact that we all have a diverse background.”[15]

**The growing dominance of women over men in all levels of culture: see more below**.

**Let’s touch on this sensitive topic. This is a direct curse of the fall when Eve took the lead from Adam, and he stood silently by, unwilling to protect his wife (and himself) from danger. In fact, we don’t even know Adam is present with his wife until he took the fruit from her! God, in his Word, places most of the blame for this sin on ADAM AS FAILED LEADER. It is the fall, when the man refused to act as a husband and the woman pridefully stepping into the vacuum, that causes the ongoing power struggle within and between the sexes: macho-ism, chauvinism, feminism, sexual, physical and emotional abuse, homosexuality, gender confusion, stereotyping, role confusion, a dead-end unwillingness to prepare oneself for marriage and childrearing or to practice marriage as God designed it, a blindness to the blessings of marriage and childrearing as God designed it, an unwillingness to depend on God and his Word as the day-by-day saving, clarifying, empowering solution to each of these social ills.

Consider the following facts and cultural anecdotes concerning the present cultural problem, that of women advancing in dominance over men. Statistics show that men are rapidly receding in terms of maturity, education, earning power, influence and respect in the culture. This is not to denigrate advances of women, but to point out that one, presently, is coming at the expense of the other. This inequality is a dire challenge to a healthy family structure.

Some facts on the receding influence of men in the culture, to the harm of men, women, and the family structure in which children are raised.

  • In 1970, 80 percent of 25-29 year old men were married; in 2007, only about 40 percent were. In 1970, 85 percent of 30-34 year old men were married; in 2007 only 60 percent were.[16]
  • Since 1997, the percentage of men who consider a successful marriage important dropped from 35% to 29%.[17]
  • In divorce, women get the primary custody of the children 80% of the time.
  • Infidelity by the wife is often not considered as a factor in dividing up an estate, or in the custody of the children.
  • Only 16-18% of elementary and middle school teachers are male; 2% of kindergarten and preschool.
  • “But what is striking is that at every level of cognitive ability, boys are getting lower grades than girls.”[18]
  • Only 65% of boys graduate high school; Hispanic males, 49%; African-American males 48%.[19]
  • Since 2000, 57% of all college enrollments are women.[20]
  • Since 1969, the median wage for American men has declined $13,000 adjusting for inflation, a decline of 28%.[21]
  • Men twenty-five years old who started high school and never finished saw a 38% decline in real income since 1973.[22]
  • In the U.S. 4 in 10 women, in households with children under 18, are now primary breadwinners.[23]
  • In 2010, there were 38,364 suicides; 30,277 were men.[24]
  • From January 2010-May 2010, church attendance, 47% women, 39% men.[25]
  • An offbeat stat: Running event finishers, 1990, 75% male, 25% female; 2012 44% male, 56% female,[26] with the numbers becoming more female every year. Through the early 1970’s race event finishers were nearly 100% male as most races disallowed female entries until that time. Personally, I am glad that now both men and women can participate and compete freely. This is the way it should be! Yet it is an interesting social phenomena: As women increasingly participate in running races men are increasingly bowing out. I insert this stat because of my own participation in running events, and see this occurring first hand. The corresponding “racing culture” has changed since I first began to compete in the 1980’s. Then it was strongly focused on the competition itself, to do one’s best. Now it is more about finishing with friends or raising money for a cause. As a competitive runner, I find I am increasingly asking myself at the races in which I compete: “Why am I here?” Neither emphasis is right or wrong, of course, just different. Doesn’t this say something about the differences between men and women as they approach a competition like running? The change in the running culture has probably made it less interesting for men on average, as reflected in the dramatic decline in male participation.

Cultural Anecdotes

  • Home Depot commercials are now increasingly geared to women. In their commercials you see the wife featured more prominently than the husband in the decision-making and completion of the home projects.
  • Television programs in the past 20 years, featuring the husband/dad as the goofy bumbler, and the wife/mother as the mature, moral superior. Remember Home Improvement and Everybody Loves Raymond? Same concept in children’s books, such as the “Berenstain Bears” series. Thinking back even further: Disney’s Peter Pan (1953).
  • Television shows featuring feminized or homosexual men.
  • October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, which advertises with the color pink. In recent years, the National Football League (NFL) has become an advocate, cloaking its players, coaches, and T.V. graphics in pink during the month of October. Yet NFL viewers and followers skew solidly male. Consider: In 2013, there will be an estimated 232,000 women diagnosed with breast cancer, but 238,000 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer.[27] Where is the NFL’s interest, its public advocacy, for the health of men, if health of its fans is what the NFL is truly after? Is the league merely pandering to increase female viewership and the money women can bring into the league?
  • The absence of “Men’s Studies” programs and “Men’s Centers” on college campuses: Apparently men are not allowed to self-advocate where the free exchange of ideas is supposed to be taking place.
  • In recent politics, the 2012 Democratic presidential campaign played its “war of women” card against conservative men and their motives, suggesting that men, particularly Republican men, seek to keep the woman down.
  • “Indeed, there’s little evidence to show that as women acquire financial muscle, relations between the sexes have evolved successfully to accommodate the new balance of power. Neither the newly liberated alpha women nor their shell-shocked beta spouses seem comfortable with the role reversal.”[28]

Additional Commentary

From Men on Strike:

“In her book, The War Against Boys, (Christina Hoff) Sommers explains in detail the efforts of feminists and their sycophants to turn the educational system into one that favors girls at the expense of boys. Boys and their masculine traits and needs are often frowned upon in U.S. schools, and boy are now seen as ‘defective girls’ in need of a major overhaul. According to Sommers, ‘gender experts at Harvard, Wellesley, and Tufts, and in the major women’s organizations, believe that boys and men in our society will remain sexist (and potentially dangerous) unless socialized away from conventional maleness…The belief that boys are being wrongly ‘masculinized’ is inspiring a movement to ‘construct boyhood’ in ways that will render boys less competitive, more emotionally expressive, more nurturing—more, in short, like girls…”[29]

From Why Boys Fail:

“To social scientists, that’s dubbed the ‘marriageable mate’ dilemma. And while most of the marriageable mate discussion centers on women unable to find a similarly educated partner, men are equally affected. I hadn’t thought much about the second part of that dilemma until the New York Times ran a perceptive article laying out the problem from the male perspective. Men lacking a college degree are increasingly less likely to get married, the reporters concluded. Twenty-five years ago, only 8 percent of men with less than four years of college between the ages of 40 and 44 had never married. By 2006 that figure had jumped to 18 percent. While some of those men are unwilling to marry, a fair number simply can’t find a woman willing to marry them.

‘Men don’t marry because women like myself don’t need to rely on them,’ said Shenia Rudolph, a divorced mother from the Bronx. Any marriageable mate, said Rudolph, would ‘have to have a job; you have to be educated; you have to have your own apartment and a car. Both have to contribute something.’”[30]

From Tolkien: Man and Myth:

“(The Western culture) idealizes ‘love’…Its weakness is, of course, that it began as an artificial courtly game, a way of enjoying love for its own sake without reference to (and indeed contrary to) matrimony. Its centre was not God, but imaginary Deities, Love and the Lady. It still tends to make the Lady a kind of guiding star or divinity…This is, of course, false and at best make believe. The woman is another fallen human-being with a soul in peril.”[31]

From The Hand of God: (The author, Bernard H. Nathanson, M.D., was an early advocate of and activist for abortion on demand leading up to its legalization through Roe v Wade, 1972. Since 1981 he has been a pro-life advocate. The following quote details his first direct exposure to abortion, arranging for the abortion of his own child.)

“Ruth was a captivating, innocent, exceedingly intelligent young woman whom I met at a McGill dance in the autumn of 1945, in my first year in Montreal. She was seventeen and I was nineteen. We fell in love…And then she became pregnant. Thus was the first of my seventy-five thousand encounters with abortion. I had no inclination to marry; I was still facing another year and a half of medical school and five or six years of postgraduate (residency) training… I asked several of my classmates for the name of an abortionist, and eventually one did come through. I gave the name and telephone number to Ruth, and she arranged for it. The night before the abortion we slept together huddled in each other’s arms; we both wept, for the baby were about to lose, and for the love we both knew would be irreparably damaged by what we were about to do. It would never be the same for us.”[32]

From Why Boys Fail: (The author here refers to the book Guyland by Michael Kimmel)

“The promotion for his book describes the world Kimmel wrote about: ‘From coast to coast, from locker rooms to fraternity houses to sports bars, they’re everywhere: packs of aimless young men in their late teens to twenties with seemingly nothing better to do than hang out and brag about how much they drank the previous night, their prowess playing the latest video games, or the random girls that they’ve ‘hooked up’ with. Though the specifics on their individual situations may vary, these guys manage to fit into a single common culture—Guyland—that supports a shocking set of behaviors, which mask underlying feelings of uncertainty and self-doubt and, ultimately, keep many in a netherworld between adolescence and adulthood, afraid and unable to take the necessary steps towards becoming responsible adult men.”[33]

From Why Boys Fail:

“The marriageable mate issue gets intertwined with the ‘failure to launch’ syndrome, the increasing reluctance by young men to pursue traditional marriage and career paths. Some of ‘failure to launch’ is tied to the increasing education gap between men and women, but other factors come into play as well, such as the ‘Guyland’ values described in Chapter 5.”[34]

From Total Truth:

“In short, instead of challenging the growing secularism among men, the church largely acquiesced—by turning to women. Churchmen seemed relieved to find at least one sphere, the home, where religion still held sway. Whereas traditional church teaching had held that fathers were responsible for their children’s education, in the early 1800’s, says one historian, ‘New England ministers fervently reiterated their consensus that mothers were more important than fathers in forming ‘the tastes, sentiments, and habits of children,’ and more effective in instructing them.’ As a result, ‘mothers increasingly took over the formerly paternal task of conducting family prayers.’ Once again, we detect a disturbing dynamic: the churches were releasing men from the responsibility of being religious leaders. They were turning religion and morality into the domain of women—something soft and comforting, not bracing and demanding. Charles Eliot Norton of Harvard spoke for many at the time when he complained of the intellectual flabbiness—he called it the ‘unmanliness’—of religion.”[35]

From Hide or Seek:

“There can be little doubt that this blurring of roles is contributing to the homosexual epidemic, and it is a frightening trend. Dr. Charles Winick, professor of anthropology at Clay University of New York, studied two thousand cultures and found fifty-five characterized by sexual ambiguity. Not one has survived. Dr. Winick feels the future of Western culture is at stake in this issue, and I am inclined to agree.”[36]

From The Bible: 1st Corinthians 7:2-5, 9

But since sexual immorality is occurring, each man should have sexual relations with his own wife, and each woman with her own husband. The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband. In the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife. Do not deprive each other except perhaps by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control…”

From The Bible: Proverbs 18:22

“He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the LORD.”

Endnotes

[1] Crick, Matthew, from the poem, “Bellona’s Seduction”

[2] God blessed Adam and Eve with a free will. They were not robots. In this freedom they had complete control over their will. They were free to live holy lives, but were also capable of sinning. In Genesis 2:16-17 this dual reality is brought forth. Adam was “free to eat from any tree,” yet God also warned him against sin.

[3] Crick, Matthew, Sermon on Ephesians 6:1-4, “Fatherhood and the Fourth Commandment.” “So the devil set his sights on Eve, to cause her rebel, and Adam too. Notice that the devil did not address the head of the house, Adam, but first coaxed Eve to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil both spouses were to honor. It wasn’t that Eve was spiritually weaker than Adam. The devil, in tempting her to eat from the tree, was tempting her to rip the reins of leadership from her husband, and tempting Adam to allow it. This is what happened.”

[4] Wenthe, Dean O. “All Saints’ Choral Vespers Sermon,” Hymns in The Life of The Church, Concordia Theological Press, Fort Wayne, IN, 2004, pg. 12. “The root cause of all this disorientation was identified by an ancient student of Sacred Scripture. Commenting on God’s question to Adam: ‘Adam, where are you?’ he wrote: ‘This question was not for God’s benefit. God knew exactly where Adam was. Rather, this question was for Adam’s benefit that he might know how far he had traveled from God.’ Adam was not only disoriented, he was now lost. His flight from God in fear still characterizes his sons and daughters, men and women, in our day.”

[5] Hit song by the rock group Foreigner

[6] Jesus taught, “You have heard it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”

[7] Thompson, David C., What in The World Is Going On? Northwestern Publishing House, Milwaukee, WI, 2010, pg. 1.

[8] “The Dark Side of Gay” www.chick.com

[9] www.cdc.gov

[10] “Abortion in America” www.operationrescue.org

[11] www.blackgenocide.org

[12] Hymowitz, Kay, “Enduring Crisis for the Black Family,” www.washingtonpost.com 12/6/08.

[13] Yew, Lee Kuan, “Warning Bell for Developing Countries: Declining Birth Rates,” www.forbes.com 10/16/12.

[14] Durden, Tyler, www.zerohedge.com 6/7/13.

[15] Morrisey, Ed, “Kindergartners Taught Sex Ed,” www.hotair.com 8/30/2013.

[16] Smith, Helen, Helen, PhD, Men on Strike, Encounter Books, New York, 2013, pg. 2.

[17] Smith, Helen, pg. 3.

[18] Nelson, Dayrl, “Girls Are Thrashing Boys in Academic Achievement. How Come?” www.newstribune.com 4/13/13. “It’s not about ability; it’s about effort and engagement. Success in academics, like success in sports, requires time and effort. Because boys put forth less effort and are less engaged, they get lower grades and are less likely to get through college,” says Claudia Buchmannn, co-author of The Rise of Women—The Growing Gender Gap in Education and What It Means for American Schools.

[19] Whitmire Richard, Why Boys Fail, AMACOM books, New York, 2010, pg. 142.

[20] Smith, pg. 68.

[21] Smith, pg. 74.

[22] Whitmire, pgs. 141-142.

[23] Rampell, Catherine, “U.S. Women on The Rise as Family Breadwinners,” www.nytimes.com 5/29/13.

[24] Smith, introduction xv “Ironically, even when you look at the suicide statistics, mostly the concern seems to be about women who kill themselves.”

[25] www.gallup.com

[26] www.runningusa.org

[27] www.cancer.org

[28] Gardner, Ralph, Jr. “Alpha Women, Beta Men,” www.nymag.com.

[29] Smith, pgs. 69-70.

[30] Whitmire, pg. 176.

[31] Pearce, Joseph, Tolkien: Man and Myth, Ignatius Press, San Francisco, CA, 1998, pgs. 48-49. (Letter by J.R.R.Tolkien to a son)

[32] Nathanson, Bernard, H. M.D., The Hand of God, Regnary Publishing, Inc., Washington, D.C., 1996, pgs. 54-56.

[33] Whitmore, pgs. 102-103.

[34] Whitmore, pg. 178.

[35] Pearcey, Nancy, Total Truth, Crossway Books, Wheaton, IL, 2005, pg. 335.

[36] Dobson, Dr. James, Hide or Seek, Fleming H. Revell, Grand Rapids, MI, 1999, pg.185-186.