Strength for Today and Bright Hope for Tomorrow

Volume 9 : 3 March 2009
ISSN 1930-2940

Managing Editor: M. S. Thirumalai, Ph.D.
Editors: B. Mallikarjun, Ph.D.
         Sam Mohanlal, Ph.D.
         B. A. Sharada, Ph.D.
         A. R. Fatihi, Ph.D.
         Lakhan Gusain, Ph.D.
         K. Karunakaran, Ph.D.
         Jennifer Marie Bayer, Ph.D.



  • We seek your support to meet the expenses relating to the formatting of articles and books, maintaining and running the journal through hosting, correrspondences, etc.Please write to the Editor in his e-mail address to find out how you can support this journal.
  • Also please use the AMAZON link to buy your books. Even the smallest contribution will go a long way in supporting this journal. Thank you. Thirumalai, Editor.

In Association with




  • E-mail your articles and book-length reports in Microsoft Word to
  • Contributors from South Asia may send their articles to
    B. Mallikarjun,
    Central Institute of Indian Languages,
    Mysore 570006, India
  • Your articles and booklength reports should be written following the MLA, LSA, or IJDL Stylesheet.
  • The Editorial Board has the right to accept, reject, or suggest modifications to the articles submitted for publication, and to make suitable stylistic adjustments. High quality, academic integrity, ethics and morals are expected from the authors and discussants.

Copyright © 2008
M. S. Thirumalai


Command or Curse?
Women's Position
A Look at Genesis 3 : 16 in the Light of Abuse

Carmen J. Bryant, M.Th.

According to the traditional interpretation of Gen. 3:16b, God gave the husband both the right and the responsibility to govern his wife. The wife is to desire only what her husband desires and is to submit to her husband. Reading this as command, however, fails to consider how it compares to the rest of Chapter 3. In the context, all of the statements are negative to the addressees, and all have universal implications.

The question of command or curse is not merely academic. Women throughout Christendom have suffered physical, emotional and spiritual abuse from husbands who have used Gen. 3:16 to support their supposed biblical right to control other human beings both body and soul. Even though abuse may not be advocated from the pulpit, it is nevertheless silently condoned by church leaders who preach a doctrine of moral authority that allows men to play God, accompanied by a doctrine of submission that encourages women to become idolaters. Some approaches are more blatant than others, but all, either directly or indirectly, find their roots in a misapplication of Gen. 3:16.

Abuse in evangelical churches exists. While the word abuse may conjure up visions of black eyes and bruised flesh, abuse is much broader than physical violence. The more common abuse in Christian families neither bruises the flesh nor breaks the bones but instead bruises and breaks the spirit. It damages the emotions and devours spiritual integrity, destroying even the will to live. Many Christian husbands do not recognize their controlling behavior as abusive because they justify it from Scripture. Eph. 5:22 is seen as a continuation and confirmation of Gen. 3:16b: "Your desire will be for your husband and he will rule over you." Principles of kindness, gentleness, humility and servanthood, i.e., fruits of the Spirit, are set aside in favor of a tyranny of control. The law of loving one's neighbor is ignored because the object is not a neighbor but a wife.

Although the Church as a whole has made progress in recognizing and fighting physical abuse, it has often indirectly promoted emotional and spiritual abuse through overemphasizing teachings on submission and headship at the expense of fruits of the Spirit. Why, with all of the Bible's endorsements of kindness, gentleness, mercy and self-control, would a Christian try to defend his abuse as biblically proper? The answer is in Genesis 3. Even as Satan twisted the words of God to deceive Eve, so also man twists God's words to Eve to promote the very sin named therein, thereby fulfilling the statement that a woman's husband would rule over her.

The result is a form of idolatry. The deceived man sets himself up as a mini-god to whom his wife must give the devotion properly due only to deity. He imagines that he has the right to discipline his wife in any way necessary to bring her under his complete control, lest it should be said of him that he cannot manage his own family (1 Tim. 3:4 5). Wives may indeed submit, but out of fear, not love. It is no wonder that women have seen Gen. 3:16 as proof that God is unfair. They have witnessed man's mistreatment of woman in the name of God and have accused God of starting it all. Many have turned their backs on Christianity because of this one issue.

Command or statement?

The deceit is caused in part by ignoring to whom the words are spoken. Gen. 3:16b is addressed to Eve, not to Adam. Like God's other words to Adam and the serpent, they are statements, not commands. They are predictions and prophecies, laying out the penalties that were to fall on the entire earth as a result of Adam and Eve's sin. Like the parent who gives a disobedient child time out, God announces the consequences of sin-only this "time out" is to last thousands of years until sin has been completely abolished.

This is only the beginning part of the article. PLEASE CLICK HERE TO READ THE ARTICLE IN PRINTER-FRIENDLY VERSION.

Intervention in Autism Spectrum Disorders A SLP'S GUIDE | Teaching of English Literature and Empowerment of Indian Students | Translating Irony in the Quranic Texts – A Contrastive Study of Yousif Ali and Pickthall English Translations | “Why” And “How” of Literature in Language Classroom | An Evaluation of the Communicative Approach and Audio-Lingual Method in Teaching Grammar in a Private High School in Turkey | Command or Curse? Women’s Position - A Look at Genesis 3 : 16 in the Light of Abuse | Learning Sanskrit: A Personal Experience | Plural in Tamil and Telugu - A Comparison | Incorporating Translated Malay Short Stories into Teaching English Language Skills | Getting Exposure to Input in Multimedia Language Laboratory - A Pleasurable Learning Experience | Representation of a Minority Community in a Malaysian Tamil Daily | The Internal Landscape and the Existential Agony of Women in Anjana Appachana’s Novel LISTENING NOW, A Doctoral Dissertation | HOME PAGE of March 2009 Issue | HOME PAGE | CONTACT EDITOR

Carmen J. Bryant, M.Th.
WorldLink Graduate Center
Portland, OR

  • Send your articles
    as an attachment
    to your e-mail to
  • Please ensure that your name, academic degrees, institutional affiliation and institutional address, and your e-mail address are all given in the first page of your article. Also include a declaration that your article or work submitted for publication in LANGUAGE IN INDIA is an original work by you and that you have duly acknolwedged the work or works of others you either cited or used in writing your articles, etc. Remember that by maintaining academic integrity we not only do the right thing but also help the growth, development and recognition of Indian scholarship.