“For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” - Galatians 3:26-28 (NKJV)
In spite of Paul’s teaching that we are all one in Christ, there were still a considerable number of misogynistic writings from the early church fathers that have continued to influence believers today. A few examples include:
For it is improper for a woman to speak in an assembly, no matter what she says, even if she says admirable things, or even saintly things, that is of little consequence, since they come from the mouth of a woman. - Origen (d. 258): Fragments on First Corinthians, 74
It was you who coaxed your way around him whom the devil had not the force to attack. With what ease you shattered that image of God: Man! Because of the death you merited, even the Son of God had to die . . . Woman, you are the gate to hell. - Tertullian, “The Father of Latin Christianity” (c160-225): On the Apparel of Women, Ch. 1
As regards the individual nature, woman is defective and misbegotten, for the active force in the male seed tends to the production of a perfect likeness in the masculine sex. - Thomas Aquina, Doctor of the Church, 13th century: Summa Theologica I q. 92 a.1
How do we account for these teachings and such harsh perspective?
It is important to recognize that this mindset does not come from careful Biblical exegesis, but rather reflects another strong philosophical influence that still impacts us today.
From at least the time of the great Greek philosophers in the 5th century BC until today, the liberally well-educated have been schooled in classic Greco-Roman mindsets and thought patterns. A proper understanding of Scripture requires a transforming of our minds, so we will understand the Word of God in its proper context, rather than through the lens of this European, or Western, way of thinking.
Because of the Greek mindset, biblical Eve is often confused or associated with Pandora.
According to classical mythology, the titan Prometheus created men and gave them many gifts—one of which was fire, stolen from the gods on Mt. Olympus. Zeus was angry and determined to punish Prometheus by creating a wife for him. He commissioned the blacksmith of the gods, Hephaestus, to forge a woman in his smithy. She was lovely, and all the gods gave her gifts. One goddess gave Pandora the gift of curiosity. Zeus gave Pandora a lovely box filled with all the evils of the world as a dowry. The one good thing in the box was hope. Zeus then sent Pandora to Prometheus.
Prometheus means “forethought”—he thought before he acted. He saw the lovely woman and reasoned, “Zeus is angry with me. If he has given me a gift, it must not be a good one.” Therefore, he refused Pandora and her dowry.
However, Prometheus had a twin brother, Epimetheus, whose name means “afterthought”—he acted without thinking. He saw that Pandora was lovely, gifted, and had a dowry, so he married her.
After her marriage, the gift of curiosity stirred within Pandora, and she begged Epimetheus to open the box. As the couple lifted the lid to the box, all the evils of the world poured out. They quickly closed it before the last object escaped, inadvertently shutting hope in the box.
In the Greek philosophical mindset, man will always be attracted to woman, woman will always bring trouble into his life, and his troubled life will be without hope.
Renewing Our Minds
Contrary to both classical mythology and faulty Biblical exegesis, woman is not the conduit by which sin and the consequences of sin entered the Creation. Actually, God places much of the onus on Adam, as we see in passages like 1 Timothy 2 and Romans 5.
Eve is not Pandora. She was created as the perfect companion for Adam because God said that it was not good for the man to be alone. Woman is his complement. Further, because the woman was created from the man, they manifest the image of God in the earth together.
In stark contrast to the Greek perception of woman, God chose her as the conduit of redemption. In Genesis 3, Eve recognizes that the serpent is a deceiver, and God hands down His verdict for the serpent’s fate—the seed of the woman will ultimately crush the enemy. It is the seed of the woman, Jesus Christ, the last Adam, who restores us to the relationship the first Adam had with God in the garden.
1 Peter 1:3 says, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” When we receive Jesus as our Lord and Savior, hope is restored. Rather than woman being seen as the cause of trouble and hopelessness, her rightful dignity is restored in Christ. We all, male and female, have equality and redemption through our covenant in Christ Jesus.