Ten reasons: The parallel with the Trinity (Part 1)

The author has moved onto his tenth, but not final reason for why he believes that headship existed in the Garden of Eden before the fall:

The parallel with the Trinity: The equality, differences, and the unity between men and women reflect the equality, differences, and unity in the Trinity. Though I list this here as the tenth argument why there were differences in roles between men and women from Creation, I will not explain it at this point because it constitutes “Key Issue Number #3” that I discuss further on.
Conclusion: Here then are ten arguments showing differences in the roles of men and women before the Fall. some arguments are not as forceful as others, though all have some force. Some of them whisper male headship and some shout it clearly. But they form a cumulative case showing that Adam and Eve had distinct roles before the Fall, and this was God’s purpose in creating them.

Genesis 1 clearly shows that men and women have the exact same role. Genesis 2 gives man the purpose of keeping the Garden of Eden and woman the purpose of helping him. It’s odd to imagine that God would ‘cure’ the problem that Adam has when he’s alone by creating a helper who couldn’t do what he does with him, but rather must leave him alone for the time it takes to fulfill his role and so that she can fulfill her own role. Sure, technically Eve can have children, if Adam contributes. Adam can’t have children, unless Eve contributes – so the biological argument falls flat given that neither one can have children entirely on their own. But let’s take a look at KIN #3 to see what he has to say on this subject:

This point is at the heart of the controversy, and it shows why much more is at stake than the meaning of one or two words or one or two verses in the Bible. Much more is at stake even than how we live in our marriages. Here we are talking about the nature of God himself. In 1 Corinthians 11, Paul writes, “But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife is her husband, and the head of Christ is God. (Verse 3.) In this verse, “head” refers to one who is in a position of authority over the other, as this Greek word (kephale) uniformly does whenever it is used in ancient literature to say that one person is “head of” another person or group.

I know a few things about 1 Corinthians 11; one of which is that the most common literal translation for ‘kephale‘ is as an actual head, as in the part of the body that is connected to the neck. But it also has a few figurative uses: “prominent” “origin” “source” “beginning” as in “at the head of the line” “the headliner” “the headwaters” – none of these senses have an inherent connotation of “authority over“. Now the English predisposes us to believe that ‘head‘ means ‘authority over‘ particularly in reference to groups of people – from the ‘heads of state‘ to ‘headmasters‘ which made it into American English as ‘principals‘, to ‘head honchos‘ to talk about our bosses, we can say someone’s a department head to say that they’re in charge. The author doesn’t stop to consider what if any of the other figurative uses are applicable; he only understand ‘head‘ as a connotation of authority. He continues …

So Paul is here referring to a relationship of authority between God the Father and God the Son, and he is making a parallel between that relationship in the Trinity and the relationship between the husband and wife in marriage. This is an important parallel because it shows that there can be equality and differences between persons at the same time. We can illustrate that in the following diagram, where the arrows indicate authority over the person to whom the arrow points:

He shows two circles – one with F, S, and HS inside and H and W in the other. In the first, there are arrows pointing from F to S, F to HS, and S to HS. The second has arrows pointing from H to W. He fails to realize that in most of the scriptures about the relationship of the Father and Son indicate their equality and oneness;

Jesus resumed talking to the people, but now tenderly. “The Father has given me all these things to do and say. This is a unique Father-Son operation, coming out of Father and Son intimacies and knowledge. No one knows the Son the way the Father does, nor the Father the way the Son does. But I’m not keeping it to myself; I’m ready to go over it line by line with anyone willing to listen….Jesus said, “I’m only quoting your inspired Scriptures, where God said, ‘I tell you—you are gods.’ If God called your ancestors ‘gods’—and Scripture doesn’t lie—why do you yell, ‘Blasphemer! Blasphemer!’ at the unique One the Father consecrated and sent into the world, just because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’? If I don’t do the things my Father does, well and good; don’t believe me. But if I am doing them, put aside for a moment what you hear me say about myself and just take the evidence of the actions that are right before your eyes. Then perhaps things will come together for you, and you’ll see that not only are we doing the same thing, we are the same—Father and Son. He is in me; I am in him.”(The Message, Matthew 11:27; John 10:34-38)

Since he’s saying that the Father/Son relationship is analogous to the Husband/Wife relationship, let’s see how that would theoretically change these verses:

Jesus resumed talking to the people, but now tenderly. “The Husband has given me all these things to do and say. This is a unique Husband-Wife operation, coming out of Husband and Wife intimacies and knowledge. No one knows the Wife the way the Husband does, nor the Husband the way the Wife does. But I’m not keeping it to myself; I’m ready to go over it line by line with anyone willing to listen….Jesus said, “I’m only quoting your inspired Scriptures, where God said, ‘I tell you—you are gods.’ If God called your ancestors ‘gods’—and Scripture doesn’t lie—why do you yell, ‘Blasphemer! Blasphemer!’ at the unique One the Husband consecrated and sent into the world, just because I said, ‘I am the Wife of God’? If I don’t do the things my Husband does, well and good; don’t believe me. But if I am doing them, put aside for a moment what you hear me say about myself and just take the evidence of the actions that are right before your eyes. Then perhaps things will come together for you, and you’ll see that not only are we doing the same thing, we are the same—Husband and Wife. He is in me; I am in him.”

Well that certainly changes things – I doubt you’ve heard it quite like that before. Now do the same thing for John 5 and see what results – is it oneness and equality or something that sounds different from the traditional interpretation? Back to the diagrams, the author is about to explain them.

Just as the Father and Son are equal in deity and equal in all their attributes, but different in role, so husband and wife are equal in person-hood and value, but they are different in the roles God has given them. Just as God the Son is eternally subject to the authority of God the Father, so God has planned that wives be subject to the authority of their husbands.

Now Jesus is in and of himself two people – fully God and fully man. As God, he had power to calm storms, cast out demons, call upon the angels, that sort of thing even though he had a frail, human body. As man, even his ‘God‘ self could get hungry or become tired. Both parts of his nature  mutually submitted to the other for the duration that he was incarnate. In this form, he was God the Son who submitted to God the Father for the thirty-three year duration that was his earthly ministry. Afterwards, Scripture doesn’t seem to indicate that as the Resurrected Christ he was to remain in submission to himself as God the father. To be sure, the whole concept is a little fuzzy – perhaps a murky clarity.

Scripture frequently speaks of the Father-Son relationship within the Trinity, a relationship which the Father “gave” His only Son (John 3:16) and “sent” the Son into the world (John 3:17, 34; 4:34, 8:42; Galatians 4:4), a relationship in which the Father “predestined us” to be conformed to the image of His Son (Romans 8:29; cf. 1 Peter 1:2) and “chose us” in the Son “before the foundation of the world” (Ephesians 1:4). The son is obedient to the commands of the Father (John 12:49), and says that He comes to do “the will of him who sent me” (John 4:34; 6:38).

Sometimes I get the feeling that a key strategy in winning these arguments is to deluge the opponent with a flood of verses and just keep them coming until the opponent concedes defeat, or drowns in so many Bible verses that there’s complete confusion as to the topic of the original question. He uses 25 references to Scripture in just four pages to prove this one point and we haven’t yet reached the half-way point. You’ll notice that he’s being rather selective about the verses he’s using – not using the ones that I started off with to show the oneness of the Father and the Son, he’s so driven to see them as two distinct selves that he disregards all testimony where the line gets blurred as to who’s who. He does this because in his book there’s no such thing a blurred line between the roles of husband and wife, so there cannot be one between Father and Son especially when they are both one and the same God. This is a problem especially in the context of the day – where a son is a representative of the father who is his equal – that’s why Jesus was called a blasphemer for saying “I am God’s son” it’s as if he said “I am equal to God“.

These relationships are never reversed. Never does Scripture say that the Son sends the Father into the world, or that the Holy Spirit sends the Father or the Son into the world, or that the Father obeys the commands of the Son or of the Holy Spirit. Never does Scripture say that the Son predestined us to be conformed to the image of the Father. The role of planning, directing, sending, and commanding the Son belongs to the Father only. And these relationships are eternal, for the Father predestined us in the Son “before the foundation of the world” (Ephesians 1:4), requiring that the Father has eternally been Father, and the Son has eternally been Son. If the Father’s love is seen in that He “gave his only Son” (John 3:16), then the Father had to be Father and the Son had to be Son before He cam into the world. The Father did not give someone who was just another divine person in the Trinity, but He gave the one who was His only Son, one who eternally had been His Son.

The author has begun setting up his argument, keep in mind that because he believes that the Father has the role of planning, directing, sending, and commanding the Son, he believes that husbands has a role which includes some of these elements in relation to their wives – he arguing that the Son is eternally submissive to the Father’s will because he believes that women are to eternally submit to the will of men. The Athanasian Creed says: “And in this Trinity none is before, or after another; none is greater, or less than another. But the whole three Persons are co-eternal, and coequal.” But the author can’t base the subordination of women to men on relationships where ‘none is before or after another‘ or ‘none is greater or less than another‘ or when the three persons are ‘coequal‘. But for all the talk about none being before or after another, the most frequent ‘order‘ of the Trinity is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. I wonder if there’s something to that – a belief about each one that explains why Father is usually first, Son is usually second, and the Holy Spirit (if mentioned at all, he isn’t always) is usually third.

It was also this way in the Creation of the world, where the Father initiated and commanded and created “through” the Son. The Son was the powerful Word of God who carried out the commands of the Father, for “all things were made through him” (John 1:3). The Son is the one “through whom” God created the world (Hebrews 1:2). All things were created by the Father working through the Son, for “there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things … and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things” (1 Corinthians 8:6). Nowhere does Scripture reverse this and say that the Son created “through” the Father. The Son sits at the Father’s right hand (Romans 8:34; Hebrews 1:3, 13; 1 Peter 3:22); the Father does not sit at the Son’s right hand. And for all eternity, the Son will be subject to the Father, for after the last enemy, death, is destroyed, “the Son himself will also be subjected to him who put all things in subjection under him, that God may be all in all” (1 Corinthians 15:28).

As a student of languages, I know that prepositions such as ‘through‘ and ‘from‘ can be a tricky concept from one language to the next. For example, a car can go through the wall; but you can also go through an intermediary to achieve a goal the same word can have two totally different connotations. Back in Genesis 3, the author argued that one preposition ‘for‘ could be understood as ‘against‘. One lexicon suggests ‘through‘ can mean ‘through an agent‘, “through particular means or the use of an instrument‘, ‘through a manner or customary style of doing something‘, ‘to express conditions or states‘, ‘through as in across‘, ‘through as in among or in‘, ‘on account of‘, ‘by reason of‘, ‘to express cause, occasion, or purpose‘; simply put ‘through‘ and for that matter ‘from‘ might be a clear-cut concept to us, but we have to rule out the original intention and uses of all of it’s other senses. What I don’t see in Creation is a sort of commander / subordinate relationship between the Father and Son, the verses I posted earlier … Then perhaps things will come together for you, and you’ll see that not only are we doing the same thing, we are the same—Father and Son. He is in me; I am in him… seems to indicate that there isn’t as strict a division as the author believes. I think what the author has done is confused a description of how God revealed himself in the Bible as a prescription for our way of life.

Continue to part 2: here.

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