I recently asked Nitsav at FPR about the correlation between Gen 3:16 and Gen 3:7. This is my own answer to the question.
Gen 3:16 closes with the following controversial statement of God towards Eve:
â€œthy desire [shall be] to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.â€
This is often interpreted as a sexist remark, saying Women will desire men sexually, and man shall be in charge of women. Needless to say many religious groups have been uncomfortable with the inequity here, including the LDS church with itâ€™s current pro-equality stance. One way of interpreting this scripture was found in a recent Ensign, where it states the Hebrew syllable representing â€œoverâ€ can also be translated as â€œwithâ€ making this a declaration of interdependence: â€œHe shall rule [with] theeâ€
However, as Nitsav observed, looking at the usage of this Hebrew in other passages, this seems unlikely. One example is Genesis 4:7, which contains the following confusing statement of God towards Cain about Sin.
â€œAnd unto thee [shall be] his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.â€
As can be seen, this statement almost exactly parallels Gen. 3:16. Here, we learn this desire is not sexual. As Sin desires the man, God is saying Eve will desire Adam.
More importantly, this scripture informs us more fully as to what is meant by “rule over”.
If we only had the bible to draw from we could perhaps conclude, as some of our friends in Christianity have, that â€œshall rule overâ€ in regards to sin is better translated as â€œmust gain mastery ofâ€ i.e., Cain must gain mastery of and resist sin, which seeks to control him, and Adam must gain mastery over Even, who seeks to control him. However, as members of the LDS church, we have also canonized the Pearl of Great Price, which contains Joseph Smiths retranslation of these two passages. While Gen 3:16 does not change, itâ€™s parallel, Gen 4:7, adds this additional insight.
If thou doest well, thou shalt be accepted. And if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door, and Satan desireth to have thee; and except thou shalt hearken unto my commandments, I will deliver thee up, and it shall be unto thee according to his desire. And thou shalt rule over him; for from this time forth thou shalt be the father of his lies; thou shalt be called Perdition; for thou wast also before the world. And it shall be said in time to comeâ€”That these abominations were had from Cain; for he rejected the greater counsel which was had from God; and this is a cursing which I will put upon thee, except thou repent.
Here we see that the desire spoken of is a desire â€œto haveâ€ or in other words, a desire to subdue, own, or possess. Implied here is a desire to control. What is confusing is that the scripture goes on to say that the desire to control leads to subjection as Cain â€œshalt rule over himâ€ and become â€œthe father of liesâ€ called â€œPerditionâ€. Many Authorities and Scholars have interpreted this verse to refer to Cainâ€™s embodied status giving him supremacy over Satan in the hierarchy of evil beings. This is not â€œrulingâ€ in the sense of divinely appointed legitimate authority or kingship, but more in the sense of Cain being the biggest and toughest in the pecking order, with no loyalty or devotion involved. Certainly, this is not co-leadership, Cain “ruling with” Satan.
So what conclusions can we tentatively draw from this?
For starters, in this scenario, Satanâ€™s subjection to Cain is due to Satanâ€™s desire to subject Cain to his own rule. Ignoring gender here, is it possible to say that this is alluding to the world of selfishness and scarcity, where we feel we must eat or be eaten? Is Adamâ€™s push to control Eve a reaction to Eveâ€™s push to control him? This is the opposite of Christâ€™s order, as set up in the New Testament, where he noted that those who desired greatness should seek this via service, rather than pushing for control. In Christâ€™s order, others submit to us as we submit to them. Christâ€™s order, the proper order, is also the Lordâ€™s order. So while we can see that the Lord’s order is, in fact, ruling with, Genesis 3:16 is probably not a statement of this order.