Below are some of the passages from the book that we found most troubling:
Page 21: “If you are a wife, you were created to fill a need, and in that capacity you are a “good thing”, a helper suited to the needs of a man. This is how God created you and it is your purpose for existing.”
Page 22: “Are you engaged in active goodwill toward your man? That is God’s perfect will for you. When you are a help meet to your husband, you are a helper to Christ, for God commissioned man for a purpose and gave him a woman in fulfilling that divine calling. When you honor your husband, you honor God. When you obey your husband, you obey God. The degree to which you reverence your husband is the degree to which you reverence your Creator. As we serve our husbands, we serve God. But in the same way, when you dishonor your husband, you dishonor God.”
Page 23: “Men are created to be helpers of God. Jesus willingly became a helper to the Father. The Holy Spirit became a helper to the Son… God made you to be a help meet to your husband so you can bolster him, making him more productive and efficient at whatever he chooses to do.”
Page 58: “When a woman gets old and realizes that there is no man to love and cherish her, it is sad indeed, for she has failed in the very purpose for which she was created – to be a suitable helper for man.”
Page 230: “Just as my husband finds security and meaning in submission to his head, so I become the person God created me to be in submitting to my head – my
usband. …our submission to our husband should be viewed with the same love and fervency as our submission and love for Christ. The text says that we submit “as unto the Lord,” as if we were submitting to the Lord. Since my husband’s authority is delegated by God, when I submit to my husband, I am recognizing God’s authority, and I am indeed submitting to God.”
Page 250: “Adam was created for God’s glory. God made a person like himself – someone who could enjoy the things God enjoyed. Woman was created as a glory to the man. God looked at his friend, Adam, and knew that Adam needed someone for his own glory. So God reached into the body of man for a rib and made of it a woman. Bone of his bone, cell of his cell, RNA of his RNA, in the image of the one from which she came.” [Our children were made “from” my wife’s body, yet they were not created in her image. Neither was Jesus created in Mary’s image, even though he came from her body.]
Page 252: “The Scripture clearly teaches that the only safe place for a woman is under her husband’s authority.”
Page 270: [In a discussion of enduring abuse in silence:] “Women who threaten to report him to the law,’… are rebellious. They will never make it to the hall of fame found in Hebrews 11, where Sara was listed, nor will they make it into a heavenly marriage here on earth. They will go to their graves unloved and uncherished, a total failure as the woman God called them to be.” [Kind of tough on a woman being abused by her husband.]
We do believe that Eve was created to perfectly complement Adam and to help him fulfill the job God gave him. We find no Scripture, however, to back up the assertions that a woman’s sole purpose in existing is to be a help meet to a man, that only men have a direct role in fulfilling God’s purpose, or that a woman’s reverence toward and submission to her husband is an exact measure or direct corollary of her reverence toward or submission to her Creator.
Women, as well as men, were created by God and for Him. A woman, as well as a man, has a direct link to God through Christ and has a God-given purpose to fulfill in His Kingdom. Any woman who fails to find her primary identity in Christ and her life’s purpose in living in responsive obedience to God through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, will be left unfulfilled – no matter how well she obeys and reverences her husband. We are all, men and women, called to submit fully to God. It is in submission to God, her Father and the lover of her soul, that a wife chooses, in obedience to God, to submit to her husband - not the other way around.
Mrs. Pearl’s interpretation of the first chapters of Genesis is her basis for the rest of her book. She asserts that Eve was created to be Adam’s help meet (which Debi defines as servant to Adam), that only Adam was given the command to rule both over Eve and the rest of creation, and that Eve was made in Adam’s image (rather than God’s image). She makes it clear that she thinks God’s purpose for Adam was to rule Creation, and that God’s purpose for Eve was to serve Adam. Rooted in this assertion is her teaching that men are given a purpose by God and women are given to men (“God’s gift to men”, p.21) to help them do whatever men choose to do. Men find their identity in serving God, while women find their identity in serving their husband. We believe that Debi’s reading of Genesis 1&2 (and the rest of the Bible) is incomplete.
In Genesis 1&2, Adam is created and is given the job of tending the garden (not ruling it, in Genesis 2, which contains the only “job” or mandate given to Adam alone). God sees that it is not good for Adam to be alone and that he needs a helper. The Hebrew word for “helper” or “help meet” used here is used 19 more times in the Bible-- to refer to help given in battle—usually from God. God helps but he is not our servant. It is a wife’s role to help her husband, but it does not follow that she exists merely to serve her husband’s agenda.
A suitable helper cannot be found for Adam among the animals. God puts Adam to sleep and fashions a woman out of Adam’s rib. He then gives both the man and the woman a mandate to rule over Creation. They were both created to fulfill God’s purpose – each of them with a vertical relationship to God and a direct role in fulfilling His commands. Yes, Eve was created as Adam’s help meet, but she was his help meet in fulfilling God’s mandate to them both, not his help meet in making him personally fulfilled. Genesis 1 contains some crucial verses that Debi Pearl never quotes:
Genesis1:27-28 – “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them, ‘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 on the ground.’”CTBHHM asserts that Eve was created for the sole purpose of being Adam’s servant. Scripture seems to make it clear that Eve was created to be Adam’s companion and help meet, yes, but in order to help Adam serve God and carry out God’s mandate for His creation. There is a crucial distinction. Women do not find their sole identity and purpose in God through men in a bent way, but are created to have a direct, vertical relationship with God, working with men to fulfill God’s purpose for them and for Creation.
Never in Scripture is Adam given the command to rule over Eve, or are men given the command to rule over their families or their wives, despite what Debi asserts (for example, on page 136, she says, “Man was created to rule. It is his nature. But the only place most men will ever rule is their own little kingdom called home.”) Lead, yes, but rule, no. In fact, the only command given to Adam to rule over creation was also given to Eve (to “them”). The Bible does say that men will rule over their wives, but this is not a command – it is the result of sin entering the world – it is a part of the curse (Gen. 3:16). On page 229, Debi quotes the curse and concludes that “According to God’s very words…she is to be under her husband’s rule. That is the will of God.” Indeed, Debi seems to center much of her book on how to fulfill the curse in your marriage. Applying this logic to the remainder of the curse builds a very amusing picture. Should we eschew efficiency for toil as the will of God? Endure the weeds that God has planted (rather than pull them)? Maybe medicine is evil whenever it forestalls death? We have never heard any Bible teaching that the curse is to be prescriptive to our lives as redeemed Christians.
Instead, Paul calls Christian husbands to love their wives as Christ loved the church, sacrificially. He even calls for mutual submission, out of reverence for Christ (Ephesians 5:21). A husband is called to be a foot-washing leader--not a ruler, president, or king of his family, all analogies that Debi uses frequently in her book. The curse is not a picture of heaven. It is a burden, a crippling that we feel every day. By the grace of God, we want to love our wives, but our words come out harsh, our hearts are hard, and our bodies full of restrained violence. Indeed, we at times rule over them and crush so much joy that could have been ours.
Below are some verses from the Bible which contradict Debi’s assertion that women were created solely for the purpose and glory of men and find their complete identity in being a help meet to a man.
Colossians 1:15-17 – He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.Women and men were created by and for Christ.
Colossians 2:9-10 – For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority.Women and men have been given fullness in Christ. Women do not find completion in a man or in serving a man – they find it in Christ.
Ephesians 2:10 – For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.Both men & women were created in Christ Jesus to do good works, prepared by God for us.
Galatians 3:26-29 – You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.
Both men and women find their identity and being in Christ.
Galations 2:20 – I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live through faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!Christ lives in each woman who has invited Him in. Righteousness is found through Him, not through being a perfect help meet to a man.
1 Corinthians 7:8, 34-35 – Now to the unmarried and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I am… An unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the Lord’s affairs: Her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit. But a married woman is concerned about the affairs of this world – how she can please her husband.Paul made it clear that a woman did not have to be a help meet to serve God or have a true purpose in life. In fact, staying unmarried led to greater effectiveness in certain areas. Unmarried women, according to Paul, had not “failed in the very purpose for which they were created – to be a help meet to a man.”
Romans 12:1&2 – Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God – this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern on this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.We come to know God’s perfect will by offering our bodies as living sacrifices to Him – the ultimate in submission! Debi tells us that God’s perfect will for a woman (she uses these words) is to be a help meet as she defines it. (On page 73: “What is God’s perfect will for your life? To be a good help meet.”)