This story may be a bit dated, but it just recently caught my attention. Things that Thomas Sowell writes usually catch my attention. Mr.
Sowell wrote in Townhall.com a piece called Sex and the Military. Sowell states his thesis:
For thousands of years, people around the world had the common sense to realize that putting young men and young women together in military operations was asking for trouble, not only for these young people of both sexes, but for the effectiveness of military forces entrusted with the fate of nations.
Yet, in these politically correct times, civilian leaders who increasingly have no experience whatever in the armed forces are far more willing to try to micro-manage the military than back in the days when most members of Congress and most Presidents had served in the military.
There seems to be something liberating about ignorance and inexperience. You are free to believe whatever you want to, unencumbered by hard facts and, if you have political power, to impose your headstrong ignorance on those with first-hand knowledge.
Sowell articulately describes the ramifications of permitting men and women in close quarters in the military: sexual assault, distracting disputes over sexual conduct, distractions over physical attraction between the sexes, and ultimately the degradation of military leadership and discipline.
For thousands of years, people, at least in Christendom, had the common sense to realize that Scripture said this is what would happen. Upon Adam and Eve’s fall from grace, God proclaimed the curse that resulted from their disobedience.
To the woman he said,
“I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing;
in pain you shall bring forth children.
Your desire shall be for your husband,
and he shall rule over you.”
I quote only the curse upon the woman because it is the key point in this discussion. But before I get to this key point, I need to make some preliminary comments about the whole pericope of the curses. The curses on the serpent and on the man bracket the curse on the woman. The curses on the serpent and on the man are more extensive than the curse on the woman. The curses on the serpent and the man have a certain parallelism to them. They both have to do with a struggle in “eating.” Likewise, the curses on the ground and the woman have a certain parallelism to them. They both have to do with a struggle in bearing or “bringing forth” “seed” or fruit. This parallel is a bit more explicit if we read Romans 8:22 in conjunction with Genesis 3: “We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.” The woman is in a pivotal relationship between the serpent and the man, not only in the structure of the passage, but more importantly, in that her seed would bruise the head of the serpent, but the serpent would bruise the heel of her “seed.” The context is one of struggle.
In this context, we read the words, “Your desire shall be for your husband and he shall rule over you.” Admittedly this is a confusing idea. Clearly, we have an innate sense of what it means that he would “rule over you.” It is not so clear what it means that she would “desire” him in the context. Calvin wrote that the woman would not be free and at her own command, but that her desire would be nothing but what the husband wished. As much as I like Calvin, I just cannot buy this proposal. This is out of context with the rest of the passage. It is out of the context of struggle. It is also not what we see in every day life.
More recently, commentators have observed that the word translated “desire” תְּשׁוּקָתֵךְ, is also used in Genesis 4:7, when God confronted Cain after he killed Able. “If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it.” There is the same struggle going on here as in Genesis 3. Here the word appears to have a sense of control or domination. On the one hand, the passage could be taken as a recognition of domination by the man, or, on the other hand domination by the woman. This tends to fit with the structure and overall tone of the periscope. There will be struggle as a result of the fall.
Here I must deal with one potential objection. Someone might say that this is a curse on Adam and Eve as a divinely married couple. That is a valid concern. However, I don’t think it carries much force on this question. God in this passage was cursing the creation as creation. He was cursing the man as man and the woman as woman. To put it another way, there is nothing that causes the curse to arise out of the administration of wedding vows. Men and women living outside the bonds of marriage have the same tendencies to fight as married couples do when they live together. It is the nature of the intimate relationships between members of the opposite sex.
As a matter of fact, it is the marriage vow that is God’s tool to reverse the curse. Consider again that the ultimate glory of the curses was that the seed of the woman would bruise the head of the serpent. All of Scripture recognizes this to be a prediction of the Christ that would die on the cross and destroy the power of Satan. Christ has redeemed marriage from the fall, just like he has redeemed all of creation by his death and resurrection. The Pharisees asked Jesus, “Why then did Moses command one to give a certificate of divorce and to send her away?” 8 Jesus said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. 9 And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery.” Matthew 19. Jesus came to correct the hardness of the human heart and set marriage right. As a result, marriage becomes His divinely established covenant to correct the fallen relationship.
Men and women are both fallen creatures, affected by the curse. The military is a highly charged, competitive environment, where life and death are on the line. I cannot imagine a more intensely intimate situation. The military is an ideal situation for such struggles. In such situations, the curse will certainly exhibit itself. Without the covenant of marriage, one cannot expect anything but a competition for domination.
- Thomas Sowell Addresses Sexual Assult In The Military. (austrianaddict.com)