Heb 10.1 ¶ For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and
not the very image of the things, ...
The literal appoach to scripture offers no meaning from the text for 'shadows'. Yet if we do not understand the shadows, we do not really understand the law.
When Paul speaks of marriage, though it is clear to all who read his teaching that he is speaking of marriage, he plainly states that he is not speaking of marriage:
Eph 5:31 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and
shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.
Eph 5:32 This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and
In Day 6 of creation, the man and his bride are a shadow of Christ and his bride. There can be no denying that the bride of Christ includes men and women... therefore we are not speaking of literal gender.
Timothy understands the shadow. The letter to Timothy was not written in a vacuum, but in the context of Paul's teaching, including that in his letters to the Corinthians that all should prophesy, including literal women.
Speaking of the woman being deceived, Paul is not holding all women accountable for Eve's deception, nor is he indicating that all women are more susceptible to deception. Eve was not indicted by God for having sinned first, but that sin came into the world by the man:
Ro 5:12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death
by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:
Apparently it was a lessor crime to have been deceived than to have sinned. Therefore it is wrong to interpret Paul's saying as a punishment for Eve's actions.
Paul is using Eve as a shadow or a figure for those who are 'blind' or do not understand no matter what their actual gender is.
Since he says that all should prophesy, there are two reasons why he doesn't plainly state it here:
He does not wish to cause a cultural disturbance.
He is inviting us to intentionally live 'dinner theater' portraying Christ in the same manner that OT saints did unknowingly, and Jesus did intentionally.
In Corinth, women were participating and the men were complaining about it. Paul's sharp rebuke after lulling them into ease concerning their prejudice is a masterful play in Greek rhetoric.
1Co 14:36 ¶ What? came the word of God out from you? or came it unto
But in the more conservative community where Timothy served, openly advocating that women should participate would cause a social stir and distract from the preaching of the gospel.
How can he say what he wishes to Timothy without causing such a stir, and what did he say?
Clement of Alexandria states that there are some things that he only taught face to face, and would not commit to writing because they would be misunderstood by some. These things are part of the "mystical" tradition of the church. But since we now live in communities more akin to Corinth, we can speak plainly of them, without causing the cultural stir.
Since the woman represents the blind, and the man the seeing one. Paul only permits those who understand to teach (figuratively men), and those who do not understand to learn in quiet submission (figuratively female). If a genetic female understands, then she is a metaphoric male. Christ is the male, and his bride, though made up of men and women, are called female because they relatively do not see as well as Christ.
The riddle of Jeremiah can now be understood:
Jer 30:6 Ask ye now, and see whether a man doth travail with child?
wherefore do I see every man with his hands on his loins, as a woman
in travail, and all faces are turned into paleness?
Jeremiah says men will become pregnant. Incidently, the riddle is shared by extra-biblical sources which should not be taken as authorities, but are offered as examples that the genre of riddle, and this particular riddle was more widely known than we may expect. The Gospel of Thomas teaches that women must become male. The Sikhs have a saying that men must become virgins.
These are all made clear with the metaphor that the female is 'blind'.
GOT: The blind must see.
Sikh: Those who see must become the virgin bride of Christ.
Jeremiah: The bride of Christ (which understands) will be fruitful and multiply.
Virgin: The fruitfulness is not a physical fruitfulness, but a spiritual fruitfulness.
The reason that Jesus was born of a virgin, is to say metaphorically that children of God are born spiritually. They are not of the flesh. He is the 'first-born'.
To Timothy, Paul said that those who understand should teach, but do not cause a social upheaval. Instead knowledgeable women will role play the position of the church to Christ, in the same manner that prophets of old role played their messages. They become a living testimony of Christ and the church.
It is a privilege to be invited to be a living shadow of Christ. It is a shame that so many interpret it to be a punishment for someone else's misunderstanding.