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4 comments | Thursday, February 16, 2006

It’s always a sensitive issue when dealing with the role of women in a marriage relationship. Today’s cultural influence, past experiences, and emotions all cloud our thought—I am even guilty of this myself. This is why the issue is often diverted onto trails never meant to be, and why I have never actually taking on the issue. However, Tim Challies has more chutzpa than I; well actually, he has just dedicated some serious study into what the Bible has to say about the wife’s submission to the husband and is reporting his findings.

Challies offers ten “proofs” to support the claim that a woman is to submit to her husband:

  • The order of creation: Adam was created before Eve. This may seem to be weak grounds for an argument yet it was strong enough for Paul to mention in 1 Timothy 2:12-13 where he does not "permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man...For Adam was formed first, then Eve." Inherent in the order of creation is the foundation for the order of human relationships.

  • The representation of the human race: It was Adam who had a special role in representing the human race. Though Eve was the first to sin, it was Adam who was considered most culpable for their combined disobedience. In Corinthians we read that, "as in Adam all men die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive" (1 Corinthians 15:22). Christ is the second Adam, not the second Eve as we might expect if the Bible held Adam and Eve as being equal in representation and leadership.

  • The naming of woman: Adam was given the honor and responsibility of naming his wife. "She shall be called woman," he said, "because she was taken out of man" (Genesis 2:23). Within the Scriptures we see that the person who names something is always the one who has authority over it. This parallels the account of creation where God named the night and the day, the expanse, the earth and the waters. By naming them He showed His authority.

  • The naming of the human race: The human race is named after Adam, not Eve. Neither is it named after both Adam and Eve. God named the human race "man." "When God created man, he made him in the likeness of God. Male and female he created them, and he blessed them and named them Man when they were created" (Genesis 5:1-2). While this does not provide a cut and dry case, it points again to the headship and leadership of the man in the created order.

  • The primary accountability: God held Adam primarily accountable for the Fall. While Adam and Eve hid from God, God called "to the man and said to him, 'Where are you?'" (Genesis 3:9). God did not call to both Adam and Eve, but called to Adam alone. Dr. Grudem draws an analogy of a parent who, upon entering a room where several children have been misbehaving, will summon the oldest and demand answers. It is the oldest who bears greatest responsibility. In the same way God summoned Adam and demanded an account of both his sin and that of his wife. Notice that Satan reversed this order, approaching Eve before Adam in an obvious (and successful) attempt to disrupt the God-given pattern

  • The purpose of women: Eve was created as a helper for Adam, not Adam as a helper for Eve. While feminists have made much of the term "helper," the fact remains that in any given situation, the person doing the helping necessarily places himself in a subordinate role to the person needing help. Yet helping does not remove accountability. While I may help my son with a paper route, the ultimate responsibility is still his. Eve's role, from the beginning of creation, was to be a helper for Adam. This does not by any means indicate inferiority, but a helper who was Adam's equal. She differed in ways that would complement Adam.

  • The conflict: A dire consequence of the Fall is the conflict it has introduced into the relationships of husbands and wives. In Genesis 3:16 God tells Eve, "Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you." This desire is to interfere with or distort the role of her husband. The roles God gave to the husband and wife have been distorted through the Fall. Eve would now rebel against the God-given authority of her husband and he would abuse the authority to rule poorly, forcefully and even harshly.

  • The restoration: When creation is restored through the work of Christ we do not find an undoing of the marriage order. Were submission a consequence of the Fall we would expect Christ to "make all things new" in this manner. Instead we find that Christ provides power to overcome the sinful impulses of a wife against her husband and the husband's response of ruling harshly over her. But Christ does not remove the order of a husband being in authority over his wife.

  • The mystery: When the Apostle Paul wrote of a "mystery" he was describing something that was understood only faintly in the Old Testament but became clear in the New. In Ephesians 5:31-32 Paul shows that the ultimate purpose in marriage is to mirror the relationship between Christ and the church. "This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church." Dr. Grudem says, "Although Adam and Eve did not know it, their relationship represented the relationship between Christ and the church. They were created to represent that relationship, and that is what all marriages are supposed to do. In that relationship, Adam represents Christ and Eve represents the church..."

  • The parallel with the Trinity: The triune nature of God provides the perfect example of submission. "The equality, differences, and unity between men and women reflects the equality, differences and unity of the Trinity." We are blessed and honored to be able to represent that relationship in our marriages.

Challies makes some fine Biblical points here. The two cents I would add would be the role of a man, and how, to a certain extent, it’s our fault this is a controversy. I think this subject at hand has only become controversial because men have abused the principal of submission. There is no need for an explanation on this—we all know this is true in various ways and degrees. Men are to love their wives as Jesus loved the Church. I truly think that in a Christian home, if this is done correctly, the woman is confident, willing, and pleased to submit to her husband. In fact, if a woman is unwilling to submit to the husband, I would say it’s the general principal that the man has failed to show his love and leadership effectively (were all guilty to some extent).

If men would act like Men (in the Biblical sense), then women would not feel inferior, unloved, insignificant, and invisible; and discussions of this nature would not be “controversial.” A man needs his wife—Adam could not be happy without Eve as God stated, "It is not good for the man to be alone…”. In a Biblical realm, there is no lopsided relationship; and just as there are different roles in the Trinity, there is oneness; and for the two individuals in marriage there is oneness.

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Blogger Jim Jordan said...

Hi, Brain fry
An enlightening piece. It seems whenever the individual asserts themselves their world is distorted immediately. Women might read this and get upset (feminists would blow up). We all are guilty of going nuts over "inequalities" yet we fail to see the obvious truth of how unequal we are before God. Society's norms drive out the order that God created which is the godly construct of marriage.
Fascinating post. Thanks, Jim

I just happened across your dialog with an assertive atheist on my blog. Very amusing. I loved that apologetic debunking the Bible "It didn't". Drama is their dogma.

2/20/2006 7:31 AM

Blogger Beowulf said...

Thanks Jim, feminist would eat me alive for this one, but it’s not meant to be demeaning at all. For whatever reason, God has set up the marriage relationship this way. And, yes drama seems to be the most effective apologetic for some atheists (as you have seen). You should see this “dialogue”

2/20/2006 8:21 PM

Blogger The Intolerant One said...

Hey BF:

First let me say that my wife and I would and do support what your posting here says. God removed all that "feminism" bunk from her. We have the understanding that, although she submits to my leadership (not dictatorship as some would distort it) we still function as a team. And like Christ, I am often called to set the example thru servanthood to her.

I linked thru to your site reading your debate with RA re: ID.

Just wanted to say I felt you made a SOLID argument. I was hoping to see more but in RA's world he is either always right and when he is not he simply deflects it. I still read his post's but but do not bother to comment as I find him to condescending towards differing views.

I recently posted an entry on Feb. 5/06 titled "Not as close as once thought". It reveals recent science further debunking the "evolution" fairytale.

Pop on by. I will continue to visit your site.

2/21/2006 8:53 PM

Blogger Beowulf said...


Thanks for stopping by and commenting. As Jim noted above, atheist like ra rely on drama to sustain their position. He has his stock slogans like, “subtract deity and you have no argument”. However, all he’s trying to do is deter attention from the subject had hand (red herring), so no one will notice his week case and hopefully discourage those commenting who digress from his position. He never did answer my last questions—I think it was fatal to his argument.

Anyway, I will definitely stop by your blog when I get the chance.

2/22/2006 11:44 AM


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