Breaking The Silence of Adam
Mark Clifford Brunner
Some life statistics about men:
(From the National Center on Health Statistics)
- 66% of all heart attacks occurring in the U.S. annually are suffered by men.
- Every 12 minutes a man dies of prostate cancer.
- 54% of all Americans who suffered strokes last year were men.
- Every year, 29,000 more men die from cancer than women.
- Four men die from suicide to every one women in the United States.
- 86% of all AIDS related deaths will be men.
- Last year, 0% of all the abortions were performed on men.
Life! The Bible says that life is precious and that it needs to be guarded and held as sacred. The Lord told Noah: “And for your lifeblood I will surely demand an accounting… And from each man I will demand an accounting for the life of his fellow man. Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for in the image of God has God made man.” (Genesis 9:5) The Lord makes it very clear that he placed the responsibility for the spilled blood of man squarely on the doorstep of our second parent, Noah. There was no equivocation in these words. God abhors the shedding of the blood of the crown of his creation. And, God leaves little doubt in Holy Scriptures that it was man who was responsible. He personally charged Noah and his sons with this covenant. He granted them headship and authority in these matters just as he had done with Adam and would do with the generations of his children to come. That being the case, why haven’t more men taken up the mantle of leadership when it concerns the sanctity of life? Just where is Adam today, and why is he so silent?
In an Internet column, Kathleen Howley, a pro-life freelance writer, took on men who shirk their leadership roles. She stated, “I’ve been around enough men to know that they occasionally daydream about great feats they would perform if, for example, they suddenly found themselves trapped, with their whole platoon, under enemy fire. It’s one of the most charming qualities of men, this desire to prove themselves to be brave and fearless. But, so many men fail to realize that all around them, in our modern world, are opportunities to show their valor. Every day, they are confronted with opportunities to witness to the truth situations which, perhaps, take more courage than saving a platoon from enemy attack.” Despite Howley’s lamenting, she concluded her writing with a word of hope. She was thankful that not all men showed such weakness in the face of the brutality of abortion, euthanasia and abuse. She cotinued, “Still, there are countless other men who dare to swim against the tide, men who respect life, and respect women, at a time when neither is required by the world. Those are the men who don’t have to daydream about performing feats of great valor. They do it every day.”
Howley summed up the problem neatly and served it to the reader squarely. The pro-life movement in our country often struggles because too many men simply show little concern for it. Many men stand by silently, shrug their shoulders and plead ignorance. “When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.” (Genesis 3:6)
Why is it that so many men stand in the background regarding the issue of the sanctity of human life. Is it because 0% of all the births in this world occur to men? Or, more likely, because 0% of all abortions are performed on men? “Some might say that is because men don’t feel the pain, physically or emotionally. How can anyone expect us to be so maternal? It takes a women to know about these things, and a woman to care about them as well.” Perhaps that would be true if it weren’t for the fact that our Lord has stated that we men simply don’t have a choice to make. God expects us to choose on the side of life boldly and faithfully. “This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him.” (Deuteronomy 31:8) We can safely assume that Moses spoke these words to the whole assembly of Israel, the men of Israel. He challenged Israel to choose the right road, the road that led to blessings and eternal life. Choose life! One can only imagine the roar that went up from the crowd of the assembled elders, leaders and men of Israel. Undoubtedly they responded with the cry, We choose life!
A fair question at this point might be: Isn’t it enough that I am pro-life? I’m a Christian and I hate abortion and euthanasia. Are you asking me to be an activist as well? Assume for the moment that many of those assembled before Moses had the same question on their minds. “Yes, Lord, I’m for it! Now, what am I supposed to do?” Moses was announcing a covenant relationship between God and his people. That covenant relationship meant that God would do everything for his people. All they needed to do was to believe and obey, God would bless their obedience and belief. This is the way that God has chosen to deal with men since the beginning of time. He is a covenant-making and covenant-keeping God. God created these holy bonds between himself and man [with Adam (Gen. 3:15), Noah (Gen. 6:17-22; 8:20-22; 9:8-17), Abraham (Gen. 17:1-2), Moses (Ex. 2:24), and David (2 Sam. 7:12-16)] and personally supervised them. Obedience brought blessings, and disobedience brought the attendant curse. Obedience implies action. Yes, through faith in Christ Jesus we are moved to take action out of thanksgiving to our God for his precious gift of life. And, as we grow in faith, we will continually strive to reach a higher level of sanctification in that regard and our actions will then mirror that thankfulness ever stronger each day of our lives.
Why was Adam wrong when he didn’t rebuke Eve but allowed her to eat of the tree? Plainly God had mandated the authority and responsibility to Adam through a covenant headship over his wife. Adam was bound by this covenant to act. He failed and brought sin and shame upon us all. Too often today we men are silent on issues that affect our lives (managing our spiritual lives, family relationships, the discipline within our families, finances, the growth and development of our families and their moral lives). Instead of taking the initiative and leading the way, we have a tendency to take a passive role. God expects us to be fathers, elders and disciples – examples of godly manhood. When it comes to these life issues, God expects a high level of masculinity from every man. “For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior.” (Eph. 5:23) “You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming.” (2 Pet. 3:11)
God put man at the heart of the plan for the family. This is an inescapable fact. As men we can’t escape this reality. We are biologically male but not necessarily spiritually masculine. Although it is God’s plan for us to be, when we reject the role that God has given us through his covenant of headship, we emasculate that spiritual role. We turn away from our masculinity. That is what Adam did when he remained silent in Eden. That is what the children of Israel did when they rejected God’s covenant in Sinai. This is what we do when we fail to afford moral leadership in our families.
Why have so many abdicated that role? One possible explanation is that society itself has helped us along that path. When the Supreme Court legitimated a woman’s right to have an abortion, it not only legalized the carnage to come, but it also touched the very fabric of the family leaving it morally torn and coming apart. When a woman considers an abortion, the Court has told us that this is her “personal” right, that it is a decision between her and her doctor. It does not matter whether or not she is married. Therefore, the fact that a husband has been charged by God to exercise headship in matters concerning the life and welfare of the family, becomes a matter of no legal consequence to the court. When men begin to believe this, their leadership role is weakened and taking action may be seen as doomed to failure from the start.
It is time that men once again embrace their role as moral leaders within their households. Bowing to God’s will, men need to reassert biblical, spiritual masculinity ordained by God to ensure the security of our families and the well-being of society as a whole. How can this practically be accomplished? As men we need to repent of our passive approach to life issues. And, in humility and contrition, we must turn to our God and ask for his forgiveness. Then, get involved and make our lives an act of living worship as we practice the faith that the Lord has put into our hearts. “Repent, then, turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, and that he may send the Christ, who has been appointed for you even Jesus.” (Acts 3:19) We need to begin in our homes and then bring our headship to bear in society. We can’t abdicate this role for it has been ordained for us. Only when we work together with the many dedicated women who have already performed such dedicated service to the Lord in this ministry of proclaiming the sanctity of life, will the work be done in a truly God-pleasing fashion.