Fifty Shades of Genesis 3:16

Well, Fifty Shades of Grey is coming out on Valentine’s Day.  Oh, what a warped view of love we have. I doubt Christian women need a lecture against reading the book or going to the movie. I can’t imagine anyone is going because they think it is a morally good thing to do. It will be a blockbuster hit because there is a deeper issue in our hearts, and it is that deeper issue that I prefer to address.

The Twilight Series was a lighter version of Fifty Shades of Grey. Call it what you want – erotic fiction, BDSM, or in the Twilight Series, paranormal young adult fiction. But the bottom line of both series is the same — Good Girls fall in love with Bad Boys. These particular series made the news because the individual books and movies reached a mass market audience, but “romance” novels involving the “hero” treating the girl badly and the girl wanting him anyway (with the hope of reforming him) have been hugely successful among women for hundreds of years.

The popularity of Fifty Shades of Grey doesn’t surprise me, because God predicted it in Genesis 3. The woman’s desire or strong craving (addiction if you will) will be for the man, and he will rule over her. THAT is why Fifty Shades of Grey, the Twilight Series, and countless other lesser known masochistic “romance” novels have flourished over the years. When Christ is removed from our relationships, that is what is left – men oppressing women and women lapping it up, even if it’s just in fiction. I imagine men will not appreciate that characterization any more than women will. Yet, apart from Christ and God’s common grace among unbelievers, this is where both sexes default in my humble opinion, and I think history affirms my view.

This is not to say that, apart from Christ, we don’t have countless societal coping mechanisms for dealing with this phenomenon. I see feminism as the major coping mechanism. I’m thankful for aspects of feminism, particularly the first wave of feminism. I see it as a great manifestation of God’s common grace. Feminism didn’t change anyone’s heart, but the movement did help to restrain sinful oppression of women in many countries and in many different walks of life. But for every educated, take charge feminist woman you know, there remain hundreds in the shadows of life contributing to their own sexploitation. After 3 waves of feminism, countless laws, and much education, millions of women would still run after the sulky vampire in their fantasies, choosing to suck blood for the rest of their lives rather than living in the light.

As for Fifty Shades of Grey, while it is in many ways like Playboy for men, there are motivating factors for women that are very different than a man’s for pornography. I think that understanding the reason that so many women are flocking to this book/movie can be a powerful tool to pointing them back to the gospel’s answer for the dark longings in their heart. To that end, I hope this analysis is helpful.

For many women reading this (and men too), a lot of this may sound completely foreign. If you’re saying to yourself, “That’s not MY husband or MY history,” then praise God! Perhaps as a child you were raised to know Christ and His Word. You recognized early on your creation in His image and your worth as His honored son or daughter. For the most part, that’s our family, though occasionally I get glimpses into my tendencies apart from redemption. I would have lapped up the Twilight Series hook, line, and sinker during my teenage years. I thank God regularly that He kept me from the kind of guys I would have been willing to date when I was too naïve and immature to recognize this in myself.

There is something much better than secular coping mechanisms that are helpful in some ways and detrimental in others though. Christ has broken the curse and is slowly but surely redeeming His children from its effects. In Christ, women have the rescuer we need. We have a need to submit, and we need one who dominates our life.  But only One, Christ Himself, can fill those needs in a way that invites light, not shadow. I’m reminded in all this that we will offer our best solutions spiritually when we best understand the root issue.

My heart aches for women longing for their Christian Grey. That is not his real form, and he morphs into something dark and disturbing when you least expect it.  In Christ, we can recognize this dark fantasy for what it is and then move away from the dark towards the light to live in the real relationships God has given us.

It helps a lot if you understand Genesis 3:16.

This is a reworked version of a post I first wrote in 2012.

59 Responses to Fifty Shades of Genesis 3:16

  1. Anonymous February 6, 2015 at 9:28 pm #

    Great Post! When I read the tweet, I thought oh great, another 50 shades of this stuff. Pleasant surprise to read a biblical post on this Thanks.

  2. Marie Gregg February 6, 2015 at 9:56 pm #

    This is FANTASTIC. I literally applauded when I finished reading. Thank you so much for speaking this truth!

  3. Wendy February 7, 2015 at 12:56 am #

    Thanks, Marie!

  4. Emily February 7, 2015 at 1:32 am #

    Wendy, a lot to think about here. I was wondering, when you say “[i]n Christ, women have the rescuer we need. We have a need to submit, and we need one who dominates our life” are you saying that women need these things because of the curse, or something else? Just reflecting on the basis for saying women “need” those things, and honestly wondering what are the consequences and implications of such needs.

  5. Wendy February 7, 2015 at 2:00 am #

    I think that when God created us, He created us dependent on relationship with Him. He created us with a need to submit in relationship to Him. At the fall, the woman transfers too much to the man, and the result is a desire for the man that only God can satisfy. Then, when a woman in Christ is in right relationship again with God, she can be the help to the man he needs without the cloying need for more than the man was ever intended to provide her.

  6. Wendy February 7, 2015 at 2:01 am #

    That was meant to be a reply to you, Emily, but I messed up the formatting. 🙂

  7. Ellie February 7, 2015 at 9:40 am #

    Good truth as always. I honestly don't see any appeal in 50 shades but know a lot of hurting women that want a God replacement and may not even realize it. Even in a completely secular worldview 50 Shades is not only twaddle or smut but poorly written. In a Christian worldview there is no place for a book or movie like this. Thank you for this thoughtful post.

  8. Kelty February 7, 2015 at 1:13 pm #

    “I would have lapped up the Twilight Series hook, line, and sinker during my teenage years.” – Oh, so true of myself as well. Ah! I'm thankful it was not around then! — Excellent article. I was actually thinking about Twilight vs. 50 Shades the other day, that they are similar, just “age-appropriate” (I use that term very loosely) in their level of sexual content. I had never linked it to Genesis 3:16 but you're absolutely right.

  9. Michele Morin February 7, 2015 at 5:58 pm #

    So thankful to hear your “why would a believer want to watch or read” response to 50 Shades. I'm so tired of reading apologetic tip-toeing around the subject, as if there might be a category of Christian who might “need” to read it or “benefit” from it in some way.

  10. Bea February 7, 2015 at 7:24 pm #

    I enjoy your blog, Wendy. I was wondering(perhaps I've forgotten something from the books, but I don't understand the comparison of Fifty Shades to Twilight. As far as I can remember, Edward never hurts Bella. Not purposely anyway. As I remember it, he does all in his power to protect Bella and is mortified at the thought of hurting her. Other than that it's a romance, I don't understand the comparison.

  11. Wendy February 7, 2015 at 8:39 pm #

    He's a vampire. Enough said? 🙂

    The story is written where he, the blood sucking vampire that can't live in the light, is actually sacrificially loving of the innocent heroine. But I submit that the same thing is done with Christian Grey — scarred hero rescuing the innocent heroine as he introduces her to his dark life. I believe that these are destructive fantasies.

  12. Bea February 7, 2015 at 10:36 pm #

    I haven't read the Shades books although a cursory glance gives one a good idea of the content. I have however read the Twilight books and think people read too much into a silly vampire fantasy novel when they compare it to the Shades stories.

  13. Wendy February 7, 2015 at 10:59 pm #

    Actually, I just found out that 50 Shades of Grey was originally developed from a Twilight fan fiction series. It's on wikipedia.

    “The Fifty Shades trilogy was developed from a Twilight fan fiction series originally titled Master of the Universe and published episodically on fan-fiction websites under the pen name “Snowqueen's Icedragon”. The piece featured characters named after Stephenie Meyer's characters in Twilight, Edward Cullen and Bella Swan. After comments concerning the sexual nature of the material, James removed the story from the fan-fiction websites and published it on her own website, FiftyShades.com. Later she rewrote Master of the Universe as an original piece, with the principal characters renamed Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele and removed it from her website before publication.”

  14. Laura Spilde February 7, 2015 at 11:44 pm #

    I think a good idea is to 'show' women how to sow the word of God into their heart. While the cost of all these dirty romance novels remains above one dollar…… the kjv bible is only one dollar. Show tips to incorporate the word into ones life.

  15. Pia February 8, 2015 at 12:14 pm #

    I appreciate that though you self-identify as one who was mostly raised to know your value in Christ, you are able to get behind the eyes of those of us to whom this topic is not foreign. When Challies highlighted several women bloggers, I remember that he referred to your blogs dealing with difficult topics. Perhaps that is why he linked to this one, again. Thanks!

  16. Anonymous February 8, 2015 at 2:21 pm #

    “It helps a lot if you understand Genesis 3:16.”

    but people don’t need to agree with you about that, to agree with the natural heart predicament, male and female (Jer 17:9) about sensuality
    Mark 7:22; 2 Cor 12:21; Gal 5:19; 1Pet 4:3; Eph 4:19; 2 Pet 2:2

  17. Suzanne February 8, 2015 at 3:00 pm #

    “We have a need to submit, and we need one who dominates our life.”

    Aren't you referring here to the need a human, male or female, has for the creator? Men can be caught up as a sub in BDSM also.

    Gen. 3, on the other hand, most likely refers to the dilemma of Sarah, Rachel, Leah, Hannah, Elizabeth and many more. Childbirth will bring pain but these women desire conception and childbearing more than life itself. This is how Rashi read this, and it is true to the Biblical narrative. We should not read modern psychology into the ancient texts. Let us be true to the text. At no time are Hebrew women shown to desire domination by men.

  18. Wendy February 8, 2015 at 5:12 pm #

    Yes, but I'm saying there is a deeper issue than sensuality going on in the heart of a woman that resonates with this series in a way that it doesn't with, say, Magic Mike.

  19. Wendy February 8, 2015 at 5:12 pm #

    Dinah?

  20. Suzanne February 8, 2015 at 5:29 pm #

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  21. Suzanne February 8, 2015 at 5:31 pm #

    Dinah's lover loved her with all his being and spoke tenderly to her. He was killed for this. He comes across as much more gentle than her brothers.

    (Just moved my comment.)

  22. Suzanne February 8, 2015 at 5:44 pm #

    Dominatrices have had male clients for centuries. Mostly from the privileged elite.

    We should not suggest to women that violence and domination is something that they have asked for as women because of how they have been created. This can be used by abusive men. In fact, men can be the clients/victims of violence also.

    This is very dangerous teaching that can be used against women, as in “you provoked it, you wanted it,” etc.

    Men and women have similar issues but expressed in culturally different ways, but not that different.

    We should read Gen. 3:16 in the context of the book of Genesis as intended.

    No, i don't think it says women want to dominate men, and I don't think it says women want to submit to men. It likely comments on the plight of women in a society where their only access to land and livelihood was through bearing a male heir.

  23. Anonymous February 8, 2015 at 8:31 pm #

    Wendy -don’t know anything about the specific plots lines of either you mention because I’m not interested, just thought from the general hype, simplistically, the reading/watching was just about the pursuit of sensuality -the same forbidden gratification Eve was deceived into – “good for food, delight to eyes, desirable to make one wise” Gen 3 6

  24. Curious Thinker February 9, 2015 at 2:05 am #

    I agree with most of what you said except for the “Twilight series”. I have never read the books, but watched most of the movies and I never considered the character of Edward a “bad boy” treating the good girl badly. If anything it's the opposite as he protects and defends her when necessary. I never took it really seriously since vampires don't exist anyway. But still great post.

  25. Wendy February 9, 2015 at 6:48 am #

    Thanks, Pia!

  26. Wendy February 9, 2015 at 6:50 am #

    He was a kind rapist. Yet, therein is the very issue. I do agree though that her brothers and fathers were equally culpable in her painful treatment.

  27. Akash February 9, 2015 at 7:27 am #

    this is just baloney…
    all this is is sin.
    women all over want to take the role of men, be the provider protector the leader etc…
    the same word for desire is used differently to what you think it is all over the Bible…

    if women natural sin state was to desire men like you suggest feminism would not exist…

  28. Akash February 9, 2015 at 7:35 am #

    you would be surprised at the number of Christian women that watch magic mike.
    Their husbands are made to sit at home and look after the kids while their wives go to perv on men… ( all this done in the name of Sacrificial love of the husband-see how Pastors manipulate men…)

    yet you go any Christian church men are mocked for ponography etc and they pretend women are holiest of the holy and are praised…

    don't believe me?
    listen to any father's day sermon vs a mother's day one…

  29. Akash February 9, 2015 at 7:40 am #

    Agreed with what you say but that is a different sin…
    a honest reading of the Bible as opposed to feelings gives a different interpretation of desire.

    also to many men depend on their wives for fulfillment instead of depending on God. so what you are talking about applies to both Genders

  30. Anonymous February 9, 2015 at 12:39 pm #

    Feminism exists because women got fed up with being treated unequally. Not because they want to control or usurp men.

    Not that I'm uncritical of feminism. I'm with Wendy: I have no problem with first-wave feminism. I would not be on board with everything current secular feminism stands for.

    'Women all over want to take the role of men, be the provider protector the leader etc…'

    No, they don't. Ask the oppressed women under the Taliban, or Islamic State, or living in Saudi Arabia – women being punished for not dressing top to toe in a burqa, women being forced into marriages at the age of nine, women being forced to undergo FGM, etc. – if their secret desire is to 'take the role of men'.

    I'm a lay preacher in my Anglican church. I enjoy being a woman. I have no desire whatsoever to be a man. I never have done.

    This idea that women's deepest desire is to control and usurp men is a pernicious and worrying one, but it very much explains the attitude of some sections of conservative evangelicalism to feminism. Such a view makes all women automatically suspect, as if we need to be controlled (or worse). Of course controlling women exist, just as abusive men exist. But to regard all women as potential usurpers is as destructive as regarding all men as potential rapists.

    There is plenty of evidence that intelligent women stay with abusive men out of a mistaken desire to 'change' the guy, or because they have such a deep desire to be loved that they will put up with atrocious behaviour. The awful, shocking reality is that when it comes to murder statistics, women are far more likely to be murdered by their partners, or ex-partners, than by random strangers.

    And of course there are male victims of abusive female partners, too.

    – Philippa

  31. Suzanne February 9, 2015 at 3:51 pm #

    The Hebrew doesn't say she was raped, nor does the KJV so I missed that entirely. It is one of those additions to the English translation. He took her, as a man might take a wife, and lay with her having sexual union. Did she consent or did she cry out? It does not say. The boy himself wanted her as a wife.

    http://jwa.org/encyclopedia/article/dinah-bible

    It is clearly a disputed point. In any case, Genesis is more about Sarah, Rebekah, Rachel, Leah, Tamar and so on, whose ultimate goal was to bear children. Dinah is a unique story. Later Tamar, David's daughter really is raped, and she begs for release, she begs her rapist to stop, he doesn't and she mourns for the rest of her life. Not that David did much to help.

    Regarding abuse in a relationship, I don't think that women staying with abusive men says any more about women than the many men who stay with abusive wives says about men. Why set up this pattern that men and women want to be treated differently when clearly both men and women want to make decisions for the good of themselves and their family. Some men and some women don't want full responsibility. This is not a God-given attribute but withdrawal from our duty as human beings.

  32. Wendy February 9, 2015 at 4:04 pm #

    Suzanne, we disagree about the Hebrew there. The NAS, which is the most careful English translation in my opinion, says he took her by force. But there's no point in debating that. I understand what you are saying and hope you will re-read the longer Genesis 3:16 article and perhaps just consider my reasoning on it.

  33. Suzanne February 9, 2015 at 4:05 pm #

    Is there even one woman in the Hebrew Bible who wants to be dominated by a man? Mot Sarah, Rachel and Leah. Not Rebekah who is taken to Sarah's tent. These women had their own domain, their own household. Not Hannah, who said a husband was not enough. Not Ruth who gave her first born to Naomi. Not Michal who scolded David. Maybe Bathsheba, but do we know? Wasn't she a powerless victim of a monarch?

    The pattern for Hebrew women was that they pursued their goal of childbearing with self determination in any way they could. And a few other women were prophets, judges, civic leaders, one or two here and there.

  34. Wendy February 9, 2015 at 4:08 pm #

    Akash, are you a man? I definitely agree that men bashing by male pastors (a la Mark Driscoll) has done a number on godly male leadership in the church. But it sounds like the result for you has been to grow bitter at women as a result. Both genders have issues and both genders need a Savior. We have great hope in Christ that these things don't have to characterize either one of us. In fact, I see the evangelical church growing greatly in these areas. For this post, I'm just explaining the root causes of the incredible success of these two dark series.

  35. Wendy February 9, 2015 at 4:10 pm #

    Did you read my Genesis 3:16 article? This is not about women inherently wanting to be dominated. That's a result, not a cause. You've missed the whole underlying point.

  36. Suzanne February 9, 2015 at 4:17 pm #

    I don't know how citing the NAS furthers a discussion of Hebrew. You need to read the Hebrew. English translations reflect historical gender ideas. But from what point in history is anyone's guess.

    I really like your earlier refutation of Susan Foh, and in fact, almost always agree with your blog posts. But this time you make a point which I have heard from egalitarians as well but I don't see it in the text.

    It's important to read a verse in the context of the book in which it was written. That is how the Bible comes to us. I don't see this referred to in the post.

    I once heard someone say that abused wives are closet masochists. They contribute to their own abuse by subconsciously wanting it. How terrible for an abused woman to hear that! And, as others point out, men can be abused too, although maybe predominantly psychologically. Do we say they are asking for it.

    I feel in this matter, safety first. Abused women, men and children must be affirmed. They did nothing to cause or bring about their abuse, but they get caught in it, and have a hard time knowing how to get out. They feel that seeking their own good, their own health, is selfish, but it is not. They are taught submission and suffering in imitation of Christ. But this is wrong. Allowing someone to dominate you does not further the kingdom of God.

  37. Suzanne February 9, 2015 at 4:19 pm #

    Okay, I missed something, a result not a cause. But wouldn't it be the same then for a man? Aren,t men to have the same relationship with God? Don't men have issues with BDSM? How does all this relate to Gen. 3? Now I feel muddled by your point. My fault, I'm sure. Too much focus on what Gen. 3 really means.

  38. Suzanne February 9, 2015 at 4:21 pm #

    Yes, I did read your article.

  39. Suzanne February 9, 2015 at 4:27 pm #

    “men oppressing women and women lapping it up,”

    This is the part that I disagree with. Lapping up abuse is an aberration, a small subset of men and women. Historically, men control decision-making and women resist in any way they can, if they can. This is what women in the Bible do, by creating control in their own households, by appealing to God, by tricking the men, by working together as women. They have goals, they seek to fulfill these goals, usually goals about creating a bloodline.

  40. Suzanne February 9, 2015 at 4:45 pm #

    I very much disagree with Keil and Delitzsch, but saw that at the time as a minor point in your refutation of Foh. Have you read God's Word to Women by Katherine Bushnell? As a missionary doctor, she was shocked and deeply disturbed by the harm done by this interpretation of Gen. 3:16.

    http://www.godswordtowomen.org/lesson%2018.htm

    This is such a dangerous teaching, either way. I hope you will think it over. So many women respect your blog.

  41. Kelty February 9, 2015 at 6:16 pm #

    Whoa. Well, that explains it. I haven't read 50 Shades, only the Dave Barry synopsis (which is quite funny, if you forget about how sad it all is) and the comparison I saw was this ridiculous plot construct of the beautiful girl who doesn't know or believe she's beautiful being chased by the dangerous dark man who really wants to be good. Why does that “beautiful but doesn't believe it” appeal to us so? Is it an attempt at humility?

  42. Wendy February 9, 2015 at 7:27 pm #

    Let me sum it up another way. Apart from Christ and the redemption brought by way of the gospel, a lot of women stay in harmful relationships because they feel needy of the man and unable to stand on their own without him. Apart from Christ, we try to give women ways out and we speak to their self esteem. We makes laws to restrain abusive men and so forth. But in Christ, women can have the deepest longing of their hearts met in the only One who can cause them to stand. When He is worshiped (desired if you will) in place of the unhealthy desire pointed at the man, the order is righted. A woman worshiping God alone, confident in her identity in Him by way of Christ, can engage a man not from a position of need but from a position of help (ezer). If he is an abuser, she can walk away knowing that he does not define her. If he is God's man in her life, she can help him from a position of inherent honor in God's good design that equips her to submit or help without feeling disrespected by a “lesser” role.

  43. Andrew February 9, 2015 at 9:55 pm #

    Good thoughts of 50SoG- but while it's important to rescue Gen 3:16 from the Patriarchy Prooftext Dungeon, I just want to comment here (slightly o/t) that probably the most accurate reading of Gen 3:16 is about the distortion of power dynamics in a marriage- that prior to the curse, men and women enjoyed a perfectly harmonious relational dynamic, but afterwards their relationship would be characterized by struggles for power over the other. This makes sense as the cleanest, smoothest reading of the passage, (retains the parallel thought structure of the verse) and makes the most sense of 'teshuqah' (the Hebrew word in question), both rhetorically and contextually. Wayne Grudem has, probably, the clearest exegesis of this verse in his Systematic Theology and other work.

  44. Suzanne February 9, 2015 at 10:17 pm #

    Wendy,

    We live in two different worlds. Most of the abused woves I have known were devout Christians and have gone on to live lives not defoned by their husband. But the teaching of the church held many in bondage and did not help women walk away. I don't know any women who got help from their church in any way. It was always, pray, submit, be cooperative and please your husband.

    You benefit from the awareness brought about by feminism not by Gen. 3:16. At least this is my feeling. I don't disagree with what you last said, but let's not pretend that 20 years ago, the church taught women how to walk away. Grudem tainted our church teaching, and Ware also with his submission talk, and telling women not to chafe and buck against male authority. Who will make them understand the suffering some women experienced from such warped teaching?

  45. Suzanne February 9, 2015 at 10:18 pm #

    Wives …. Defined ….

  46. Suzanne February 9, 2015 at 10:32 pm #

    In brief, “men oppressing women and women lapping it up” does not appear to me to be a real assessment of history or reality today among the majority of adult secular women. I don't think it's helpful either. Please consider whether or not this is true of the women you know. Not true of any women I know outside of conservative churches. It is in the church that women lap up negativity about women since they are taught to accept suffering “for a season.”

  47. Wendy February 9, 2015 at 11:38 pm #

    I am saying that when this shows up in conservative churches, we need to recognize it as a result of the fall, not godly Christian submission. Christian submission involves men leading strong women, not men lording authority over weak ones. And building such strength starts in the woman, not the man.

    As for it not being in the secular world, I am saying that 50SofG shows it is very much in the secular world and that the coping mechanisms given us in feminism have been ineffective at ultimately changing hearts.

  48. Wendy February 9, 2015 at 11:41 pm #

    It's not a power struggle, it's a desire struggle. Teshuqah is best translated strong longing/craving/desire. Which is why it's always translated that way in all English translations.

  49. Suzanne February 9, 2015 at 11:52 pm #

    Wendy,

    You have graciously let me have my say. Thank you.

    Suzanne

  50. Wendy February 10, 2015 at 1:03 am #

    You're welcome, Suzanne. Thanks for interacting.

  51. Emily February 10, 2015 at 2:19 am #

    Wendy, thanks for the thoughtful response.

  52. Andrew February 10, 2015 at 3:52 pm #

    NLT and NET don't render it this way…

  53. Wendy February 10, 2015 at 3:59 pm #

    The NLT is not a translation. It's a paraphrase. I don't know what the NET is. Check the KJV, NIV, NAS, ESV, ASV, and HCSB. It's desire.

  54. Anonymous February 12, 2015 at 12:01 am #

    CE
    Mostly agree, however: “As for Fifty Shades of Grey, while it is in many ways like Playboy for men, there are motivating factors for women that are very different than a man's for pornography. “
    Not sure men's desire for porn is any simpler than women's. I would argue that, even though it is vastly more harmful and sinful than women's romance/erotic novels, because it involves real women being destroyed to make it, unlike a text coming from an author's imagination, it also comes from a spiritual and anthropological disconnect that can be traced back to Genesis 3. Ie, by using porn as a coping mechanism (like many women use ice-cream…), whenever they are hit by unpleasant emotions, men both express their inbuilt need for women, and rejection of them. As if they hate the fact that they need feminity, but can't control it. So deep down, it's an expression of self-hatred, a rejection of the created order, of God's calling on their lives, of his provision in giving them the woman to fulfil their mission, and also of their inability to leave who God made them to be entirely behind. As a woman, when I go back to Genesis 3, I both feel a certain compassion for men who look at porn, because I know what it's like to long for and fear the opposite sex. I know , as a single woman, how the siren call of unhappy men still has some hold over my life, and I wonder how much it is holding me back from the real-life, positive relationship with a man in healing that God wants to give me. I know how easy it is to be self-defeating. At the same time, I don't buy the fact that men “need” porn, that it's just about sexual pleasure, that that's just the way men are, and i have to accept the lesser view of women it communicates as my destiny. I just don't buy it. I'm not sympathetic. Not sure how all this ties in with specific wording of Genesis in Hebrew, but I'm certain both sexes are entangled in their desire issues, which is all about being convinced God doesn't have the best gifts for us, and we have to grab second-best by ourselves,even though it's not even what we really want…

  55. Pastor Jamie February 13, 2015 at 7:56 pm #

    I agree with much of what you wrote, and the reference to Genesis definitely thought provoking.

    However, you say, “I doubt Christian women need a lecture against reading the book or going to the movie.”

    Based solely on friends, acquaintances, colleagues, etc… an unscientific sample…. it seems church or not, there isn't ANY DIFFERENCE in the number of women who have read this book. The movie might be different, I don't know.

    But I know MANY women I would consider honorable, God loving people who read the book. FWIW.

  56. Ann-Marie February 17, 2015 at 7:54 pm #

    Im not so sure about Gen 3. It seems like a lot is made of this verse these days that isn't actually there. Maybe I'm wrong but I've never read Gen 3:16 and got half of the weird ideas that I have heard about it lately. It just seems to me that the verse is saying that the physical pains of childbirth will be worse and that although the women will long for a good relationship with her husband it will be broken and fallen. I don't think it means that she will always be looking to undermine him or that he will always be a dictator. Just a thought.

  57. Amy k February 18, 2015 at 10:53 pm #

    Great article.
    I think it's important that we represent a Christian viewpoint in the
    whole debate. We can't just be opposed to it, we need to have something
    to present that engages those hoodwinked by the original 50 shades
    enough to show them that Christianity has a valid (better) alternative.
    I've talked to people til I'm blue in the face about the movie and domestic
    violence and respect etc etc but it's hard to make them listen. I did
    though find a Christian fiction alternative that is mirrored on the
    story but presents God's love not the fake and manipulative 50 shades
    love. I've found a few of my secular friends have said, oh okay if
    you're just giving me a novel I'll read it whereas they wouldn't have
    engaged in a full blown debate over it.
    Two of those friends have now started to (periodically) attend church. One said to me 'I didn't know you had a bigger love until I read that book.'
    Drawback is it's only on kindle though
    http://amzn.to/1Ac2x9c

    I guess what I'm saying is we need to engage somehow not just be negative or act like it's nothing to do with us.

  58. Erica February 23, 2015 at 5:12 pm #

    Hi Wendy,

    I loved your analysis of Genesis 3 and in particular this quote, “Really, folks, changing our interpretation of Scripture for a reason that surfaced in the last 0.08% of human history should trouble conservative theologians.”

  59. Anonymous March 4, 2015 at 3:42 am #

    Wendy, I haven't/won't be watching/reading 50 Shades of Grey, but have you read Twilight? I fail to see where you are coming from. “He's a vampire. Enough said?” I kindly say, not at all. A fantasy novel or fantasy character is not evil by default and 50 Shades being based on Twilight fan fiction would indicate it's based on just that – someone other person's fan fiction, not the series itself. Every male lead in the actual series seeks to become a better man despite his circumstances, none of them are 'bad boys', and they all compassionately care for the women they love. I'm by no means defending the series, rather questioning how you consider it a YA version of a raunchy BDSM series. The comparison is baffling.

    I do fall into your category of “For many women reading this (and men too), a lot of this may sound completely foreign. If you're saying to yourself, “That's not MY husband or MY history,” then praise God! Perhaps as a child you were raised to know Christ and His Word.” so perhaps something is there for you that wasn't there for me. It's so apples and oranges to me personally that I have a hard time taking the rest of what you say seriously. I mean that with respect, and not as a criticism; perhaps I, as a content-in-her-role 30-something SAHM, am not your target audience and that's okay. I would just say that if something is going to be used as an example or a comparison, that thing should be familiar enough to a writer to use with accuracy for the better understanding of whomever the target readers are.

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