Is Male Leadership Simply a Result of the Fall?

Many people argue that male leadership (in the home and church) is simply a result of the fall of man and not as God originally intended things to be. John Piper disagrees and responds in this way.

Nine evidences in Genesis 1-5 that man’s leadership is an order of creation and not a result of the fall:

  1. The creation of man and woman equally in God’s image but with a representative leadership function implied for the man (Genesis 1:26-27).
  2. Man is created first, then the woman (Genesis 2:7, 18). Man goes ahead (leads) in creation and is given that same leadership function in life. Paul picks up on this in 1 Timothy 2:13.
  3. Man is given the moral teaching for governing the garden to pass on to the woman (Genesis 2:15-17). God gives these instructions to Adam with the assumption that he is to pass them on to Eve.
  4. Woman was created “from man” and presented as a helper “fit (suitable) for him” (Genesis 2:18-23). Woman is to come alongside man and partner with him in serving the Lord.
  5. Man names woman (Genesis 2:23). Naming is a significant leadership function. For example, parents name their children.
  6. The serpent undermines the roles ordained by God and draws Eve and Adam into a deadly role reversal with God and each other (Genesis 3:1-6). Satan targeted Eve in the deception. Adam was “with her” (verse 6) when she gave of the fruit of the tree but he did not stop her.
  7. God calls the man to account first, not the woman (Genesis 3:7-9). This is one of the clearest evidences. God did not go to Eve first even though she was originally deceived by Satan.
  8. The curse of “Desire” and “Rule” show the futility of role corruption (Genesis 3:16b).
  9. God named man and woman man (Genesis 5:1-3). This is why it’s good for married couples to have the husband’s last name.

Adapted from lesson four of What’s The Difference: Manhood and Womanhood Defined According to the Bible. A DVD small group study by John Piper.

2 thoughts on “Is Male Leadership Simply a Result of the Fall?

  1. Hey Dan. Thanks for posting. I must contest with his first point. The words for man in Gen. 1:26-27 refer in a few instances to “man” or “mankind,” which would include both the male and female ( Adam’s name means “man” as well. I feel that it could very well be that God is speaking of mankind in general at this point in Genesis and not specifically Adam. I also do not understand how he gets the design of roles from this passage by inferring that the devil decided to usurp the leadership of man and spoke to Eve instead. I do not feel that Gen. 3:1-6 is showing how role reversals can lead to chaos. Rather, I think it shows how the first humans BOTH decided to willingly disobey God and usher sin into the world. Lastly, I will admit that I agree that the male should take a higher spiritual leadership in his home. However, I do not feel that this passage proves how God’s design for marriage was for men to be the dominant partner over his wife. Just my thoughts. I guess I’m showing my true colors with my comment, but I just wanted to push back at Piper a tad with his points.


    1. Steve, thanks for your comments. To be quite honest, I did not fully understand point #1. We are working through a small group curriculum right now even though I didn’t fully understand what he was saying with this one, I wanted to include it (exactly as he taught it). However, I can rely what he was saying in terms of your other criticism. He gave the illustration of someone who comes to talk to an Indian tribe. Instead of going to the chief first, he goes to the number 2 guy. Piper used this to illustrate that Satan knew God had made Adam as the representative head, but went straight to Eve first. I agree with you that both willingly decided to disobey God, but Adam was held responsible because he didn’t step in and show the leadership he needed to. Lastly, I don’t think Piper is making a full case for complementarianism (not that you are saying he is), but is simply attempting to show that male headship is not simply a result of the fall. There was an order in place before the fall happened.

      Again, thanks for sharing and I hope this is helpful.


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