In my book Leadership is male? one of the shortest chapters describes the difference between men and women. This is an essential part of understanding deception and why Paul advocated restrictions on the female gender in certain public sections of the assembly of believers. Once this is appreciated and catered for appropriately, there are no more hindrances to a full role for women in church leadership. It is my considered belief that any book on the issue of women in leadership without a thorough understanding of deception misses totally on what Paul wrote on the matter. Indeed, I have found the amount of space discussing deception in a book about the issue of women in the church is a tell-tale as to whether it is worth considering.
What I wish to do in this article is provide a stand alone explanation of the difference between men and women in regards to deception.
That there is a difference at all is explicit.
. . . Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression.
1 Timothy 2:14
This is part of Paul's clear reasoning for having advocated:
I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence.
1 Timothy 2:12
Leadership is male? has a whole chapter, related passages and an appendix to demonstrate this is better translated as:
I do not allow for a woman to teach, nor to exercise authority of a husband, but to be in quietness.
1 Timothy 2:12 JM
This helps to appreciate the relation to the next verse which is the other part of Paul's reason for what he advocated.
Adam was formed first, then Eve.
1 Timothy 2:13
The creation order relates to the order of headship within the one flesh/marriage relationship. Further, Eve is told by God in Genesis 3:16 that her husband is to rule over her in matters related to any new intense desire which she is instructed to bring to him for that very purpose. This involved protecting her from future desire related deception. In Leadership is male? I explain the Genesis 3:16 command as the passage Paul was referring to when he said "Let your women . . . be submissive, as the law also says." (I Corinthians 14:34) which in the literal Hebrew reads "unto your man your desire and he to rule over you" but in the Septuagint (LXX) which was the version of Scripture Paul regularly quoted, there the Genesis passage reads "thy submission shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee". This is why Paul mentions the headship as in the marriage setting as is well translated as follows (another separate chapter and an appendix).
. . . and head of a woman the husband . . .
1 Corinthians 11:3 JM and Amp.V, GNB1&2, RSV, LB
This distinct headship practise is also confirmed by both Paul and Peter when instructing "Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord" (Ephesians 5:22; 1 Peter 3:5) from which it is worth noting "their own husbands" as clearly meaning not to submit to somebody else's husband. But, in the Lord, we are all to submit to one another in the fear of God (Ephesians 5:21).
The main deal
However the deal is that before sin was a factor, woman's capacity to be deceived in a certain way is a reality to address and was revealed by the deception of Eve. Just as the capacity for passivity in a man's make up prior to sin's existence is a factor too and was revealed by Adam's inaction to obey the command of God, let alone by the reason for the imposition of a curse on the ground and it's later removal (Genesis 8:21). Needing to be active in order to eat meant little time for the passivity of man as fertile soil for the weeds of wickedness to grow.
How did the deception operate in the garden?
We see that Eve is described interacting in relation to what she experiences:
So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate . . .
In the short chapter I mentioned above I describe the difference between men and women as:
WOMEN ARE EXPERIENCE ORIENTED
MEN ARE TASK ORIENTED
We can see the enemy - Satan, the serpent (Revelation 12:9) - had fully observed how woman lived for experiences by her observations in speech and her actions. He took advantage of that by overwhelming Eve in what she saw, what she was about to taste and the benefits she would feel she would obtain from eating of the fruit. She was absorbed by her senses. We can see this overflowing feeling in the word for "desire" which God then described as the kind to submit to her husband for him to rule about in future in Genesis 3:16. The Hebrew word used is TESHUQAH with the core SHUQ being all about overflow as in "the vats shall overflow with new wine and oil" (Joel 2:24), "the winepress is full, the vats overflow" (Joel 3:13). This intense desire is not limited to human passion between lovers as in "I am my beloved's, and his desire is toward me" (Song of Solomon 7:10), but is equally the kind that sin and the demonic have to control and to rule us ". . . sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you . . ." (Genesis 4:7). So, is it any wonder they can impose and relay that desire upon us in order to make us fall in sin?
The thing is when a desire is intense, the emotional situation is such one cannot always think straight or, one can even feel unable to speak or, only to do so about and for the emotionally recognised in the moment. This is not a safe place if the desire is for something harmful or, if when felt in among others, it throws off the purpose of the group at a tangent. The time of the gathering is wasted.
But, in God saying to Eve (literal Hebrew) "unto your man your desire and he to rule over you" he is telling her that in the midst of having this desire, she still has the ability to submit it to her husband to make a ruling about. Thus providing a means to protect her in the middle of that desire: from acting on it to eat a newly offered fruit. In the absence of the man in her life, what is a girl to do? Simple, and this is true for the guys, for when the enemy equally imposes feelings on them, the answer is to wait. Do nothing new or different for a time. This is because anything from the enemy has a time limit on it for the simple reason that he does not have self-control and is not patient. Those are facets of the fruit of the Holy Spirit which they do not have in their rebellious make up (Galatians 5:22-23). But even in women waiting to ask their own husbands (1 Corinthians 14:35) - those who have them - they too may find themselves not needing to, as the intensity passes.
The other way is to discern by the very intensity and the compulsion in the feeling, that this is the enemy at work and not the Lord. Jesus leads his sheep. He does not drive them. God is gentle and willing to yield (James 3:17) and as mentioned he has self-control. The enemy does not. A tool in the armoury of the saint is to know and recognise the enemy's voice in this way.
As more of a task based person, man lives in his head a little more and is more often deceived in the area of ideas and concepts. But in the middle of an active group of saints interacting with a speaker, to have the enemy prevent throwing off the purposes of the group or what is being taught by the Lord, in the recognition the female make up permitted experience related deception, Paul advocated for that time women were not to get involved. Which I believe is all he meant. Women were commended for teaching men (2 Timothy 1:5) and women (Titus 2:3-4). Interacting live in public in response to a speaker is another matter.