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The Fiddler on the Roof

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A Real Christian Marriage: The Executive Summary
caraboska
Praise the Lord

This is a reply to this post. I have in fact posted about this matter at great length, with full quotes in both the original Greek and English, elsewhere on this blog. No doubt by clicking the appropriate keywords in my tag cloud, you will find the material in question. But here is the executive summary:

1. We must read the whole Bible before we come to a conclusion about what it teaches.

2. The Hebrew for 'suitable helper' is not at all what people think it is. 'Ezer' is a word used for 'helper' - normally used to describe God's relationship to us, NOT the other way around. 'Kenegdo' is a word meaning something like face-to-face. In other words, it is a word toning down a word that would normally imply superiority to one of equality.

3. While it is true that Genesis 2:24 does say 'A *man* shall leave father and mother', and the word 'to cleave' is in the active voice, in the New Testament it is very different. It says 'A *person* shall leave father and mother' and the word 'to cleave' is in the passive voice. Not even the middle voice (which would be translated as a reflexive verb in English). In other words, in our dispensation, marriage is not something a man does to a woman, but something God does to both of them.

4. In I Corinthians 7, it is written that 'It is not the wife who has authority over her own body, but rather the husband, *and in the same way* it is not the husband who has authority over his own body, but rather the wife.' Notice that the word 'authority' is used. There is no other way to translate this Greek word - it is completely unambiguous. And notice also that it is exactly the same authority that each spouse has over the other.

5. Combining this with Genesis 2, we come to the conclusion that God planned a relationship of equality from the beginning, and that marriage is all about authority. When we are unmarried, our parents are our highest earthly authority. When we get married, our spouse becomes our highest earthly authority - taking the place once occupied by our parents.

6. Just in case we didn't get the point, Paul tells us in Ephesians 5:21 that we must all be subject to one another in the fear of Christ. In other words, we are not allowed to usurp the place of Christ in each other's lives. And Jesus says (John 15) that we are all to lay down our lives for each other. So God has the exact same behavioral expectations from both parties.

7. We must proceed from the general to the specific. Nothing that is said to apply to only one gender can contradict that which applies to both genders. This means basically that there is no place for any one-way 'spiritual authority' relationship between the sexes, and that any differences must be temporal in nature.

8. And indeed: Paul was writing to people who lived under a legal system which gave men literal life-and-death authority over their wives and children. The fact that he took the 'Haustafel' (as it is called in German, and for some reason religious-studies types use this word even when writing about it in English) - a list of the obligations of various members of a household, which was a common fixture in the secular culture surrounding his recipients - and then stood it on its ear, writing to husbands and fathers that they actually had obligations to their wives and children (not just vice versa), was just... revolutionary!

9. According to God's definition of marriage as set forth in Genesis 2:24 and explicated by Jesus in Matthew 19, not to mention Ephesians 5:21, in looking for a godly spouse, both parties are to look for evidence that the other will show proper submission. Unfortunately, in today's world, women have to be particularly careful about this, because most men will try to worm their way out of this obligation in any way possible (and even any way that is impossible, they will try anyway).

10. I cannot overemphasize point 9 enough, because the very validity of the marriage depends on it. Just as in the case of a woman towards her husband, if a man is not willing to treat his wife as his highest earthly authority, taking the place of his parents, then his marriage is... not a marriage at all. And I am sure there is no need to explain how God views non-marital sexual relationships.

I thank God every day that He preserved me from getting married until I understood all of this very clearly in my mind - for He knew my desire to live pure for Him and commit no deed of fornication. They say that women want love and men want respect. I cannot speak for other women, but it certainly cannot be 100% true because I have basically had to choose between love and respect all my life. And for all the 46 years I have lived on this earth, I have chosen respect.

And because I have not yet met a man who is willing to treat me with the respect that God Almighty Himself demands of him - or if I have, there's been some other reason he is not immediately actionable - and I prefer to have no marriage at all if my only other option is a marriage in name only, I have remained single - again, for all of my 46 years on this planet.

Quite frankly, it is possible to do much more than get used to this state of affairs. I now find I generally prefer the company of cats rather than people, and it would be a huge adjustment for me if an actionable man did appear. Sure. It would be great to have both love and respect. It would be great to have a (human) male companion that I could actually live with under one roof. But of the options presently available to me, pending the appearance of other viable options, I have chosen the best one and I am grateful for it and having a good life.

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Dear Caraboska,
Thanks so much for stopping by my blog again, and for leaving me a comment. Please don't think you are wasting your time by commenting. I really do enjoy listening to others' opinions, wisdom and thoughts on what I write and share on my blog. I actually enjoyed reading your thoughts on my post.

I do long one day to be a helper to my future mate, and you are right, we are called to be united equals in the bond of marriage. I do not think that it is solely the mans position to run and do everything. I do believe that men should be the leader in any relationship though, and that his ultimate authority should be God and no one else.

While I do have a man in my life whom I love dearly, and hope one day to marry, be it the Lord's will, I know that the most important authority and relationship in my life is that of the one that I have with Jesus Christ and always will be.

Anyways...now I am rambling! Thanks for your thoughts!
Many blessings,
Sarah

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(Anonymous)
I like everything. Thanks for the post!

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