The main focus is on Genesis chapter one and the biblical creation stories. God created man and woman in his own image to rule over his creation (Petersen and O'Day 10). In this creation story, man and woman are equal. This story was developed to refute the Babylonian mythologies of creation. According to these myths, god created man to do what he did not want to do himself. It signifies man as being created in order to work for god (Spence 45). However, in biblical creation, man and woman are created in the image of God. This signifies the ruling/domineering nature of man and woman over other things created by God. God entrusts man to the world that he created (Petersen and O'Day 10).
In genesis chapter two, another creation story is told. This is the earlier version of the creation mythology. At first, God did not intend man to die. He gave them the tree of life that provided eternal life. Man was free to eat anything in the garden apart from the tree of life which was reserved for God (Petersen and O'Day 5).
God then decided to create animals and the man named them all. The naming of the animals signifies that man would rule over all animals and trees. However, when God creates woman, the man does not name her. Instead, he says that she shall be called woman. This is not a direct naming as he had done with the animals. This means that woman is not subordinate to man but to God who named her (Petersen and O'Day 13).
The woman is deceived by the serpent. The serpent indicates that by eating fruits from the tree of life, she would be able to determine good from evil, which is a correct statement. The serpent added the she would live forever, which is the lie. When God comes he condemns the man, woman and the serpent. The Old Testament does not characterize the woman as being bad or evil in nature (Petersen and O'Day 23).
However, in the Jewish world, the woman is portrayed as the guilty one and the man is exonerated from any wrong doing. The woman is described as being inferior to man. The story goes on to say that man should rule over the woman. Man is given higher moral ground than the woman in the Jewish world. This type of thinking is carried in the early Christian world and can be found in the Gospel of James (Petersen and O'Day 27).
Greco Romanian creation stories are postulated as portraying the woman as a punishment to man. The story indicates that after man had stolen fire from the gods, the gods created woman to punish man. Everything was given to man except hope. The woman is portrayed in a very negative light in this mythology (Spence 101; French 155).
Classical Athens is a period portrayed as solidifying the negative view of women. Most of the women written about in this era are wealthy. Most women at this era were confined to homes and did odd chores in the house (French 145). Women’s fate as the weaker sex was pushed further by Aristotle. He was a great philosopher who indicated that man in nature is fit to rule, and woman is fit to be ruled. He went ahead to say that men are fully rational while women have irrationality. The classical period ends with women lacking most of their human rights recognized. Women were not allowed to conduct business without the man. They could not go to a law court without the company of man, and they could not inherit or own property (French 160).
French, Marilyn. From Eve to Dawn: Revolutions and the Struggles for Justice in the 20th Century. New York: The Feminist Press, 2008. Print.
Petersen, David L., and Gail R. O'Day. Theological Bible Commentary. Kentucky: Westminster John Knox Press, 2009. Print.
Spence, Lewis. Myths and Legends of Babylonia and Assyria. New York: Cosimo Classics, 2010. Print.