1 Corinthians 11:3 and “head”

1 Corinthians 11:3 and “head”

1 Corinthians 11:3 and “head”

In the last post I summarized the foundational points from chapter 10 that is necessary to the understanding of chapter 11. If you haven’t read it already, it can be read by clicking here. In this post I will continue our verse by verse discussion from 1 Corinthians 11:3. I will be using the New American Standard Version for most of these posts unless otherwise indicated. I Corinthians 11:3 –

But I want you to understand that Christ is the head of every man, and the man is the head of a woman, and God is the head of Christ.

In 1 Corinthians 11:3 Paul commended the Corinthians for holding firm to the traditions that he had delivered to them and now Paul is going to help them to understand some of these traditions. In the fall of 2006 I heard a Pastor give an excellent sermon on the traditions that the Jewish people hold to this day that actually symbolize the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus even though they do not even know what they are doing with their traditions. At Passover they take a piece of unleavened bread and fold it into a white napkin and then they hide it in their house for 3 days. When the 3 days are over, the children look for the napkin and when they find it they bring it out and uncover the bread. They keep the tradition but never understand what the tradition is all about. The tradition of the unleavened bread in the white napkin being revived after 3 days is symbolic of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. In verses 2 and 3, Paul says that the Corinthians were holding to the traditions that he gave them but he wanted them to understand what the traditions meant.

Context of “head”

There has been much scholarly debate about the meaning of the word “head” in 1 Corinthians 11:3. Some have given a meaning to “head” as “authority over another person” or simply “boss” as in a hierarchal order. Others say that “head” means source or origin. However the only way that we can know for sure is to read the context surrounding verse 3 as well as to pay close attention to the inspired word order regarding “head”.

In verse 3 Paul sets up the order of the relationships that he lists in a very unusual order if he had meant a hierarchal ordering. If we come to the passage with the presupposition that God has completely inspired it including inspired words, inspired grammar and inspired word order, then we can clearly see a different pattern presented. If Paul had wanted us to believe that he was constructing a hierarchal ordering, then he made a grave error. He should have listed man as head of woman first, then Christ as head of men second and lastly God as head of Christ. The hierarchy would be woman at the bottom with man over her, Christ over all men and God over Christ.

Yet this is not the way that the word was inspired. Instead we have Christ listed first as head of all men, then the man head of woman, then God head of Christ. In this ordering we have God as Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end and an ordered list of origins. In the ordering we have Christ as the origin of all men, the man as origin of woman, and lastly Jesus Christ (as the one born through a woman) having his origin through God.

It isn’t just the order that tells us that “origins” not “hierarchy” is the meaning of the word “head”. The context of the passage also tells us that Paul is referring to our origins.

1 Corinthians 11:8 says:

“For man does not originate from woman, but woman from man;”

Here Paul teaches about the origin of woman. Woman originates from the man. This fits perfectly with verse 3 where the man is the “head” of woman.

1 Corinthians 11:9 says:

“for indeed man was not created for the woman’s sake, but woman for the man’s sake.”

The woman’s origin

Here again Paul is referring to origins and the reason for the woman’s origin.

1 Corinthians 11:12 says:

“For as the woman originates from the man, so also the man has his birth through the woman; and all things originate from God.”

Paul repeats the fact that woman originates from the man (remember that Paul said that repetition is for our safety – Philippians 3:1) and he sums it up by saying that all things originate from God. This is the Alpha and Omega of origins. Christ is the source of all men (He is the Alpha) and God is the source of Christ (the Omega). All things begin and end with God as the ultimate source.

However if we are to interpret “head” as “authority over” or “boss of” in a hierarchal ordering we will find no repetition of this concept in the passage. In this passage Paul is silent regarding any authority that the man has over the woman or any authority that the Father takes over Jesus Christ. Why is that? It is because the interpretation of “head” as “authority” or “boss” is completely out of step with the rest of chapter 11 and it is something completely out of kilter with the subject of the passage.

Confused
If we interpreted it this way, we are left scratching our heads wondering what Paul could possibly mean by sticking verse 3 in amongst this passage. We could be left thinking, “What does authority or being boss over someone have to do with this passage? What has this to do with the price of rice in China?” It is completely foreign to the context.

Paul should define his own term

Instead of trying to force the text to mean what we would like it to mean, we must let Paul define his own terms for himself. When we come to the passage with a hierarchal mindset, we miss Paul’s connecting the relationship of man to woman with the importance of origins. There is also more to see about the importance of origins that we will be discussing later on in the chapter.

The next thing that we need to pay attention to is the inspired words of verse 3. Here Paul uses the word for man twice which is “aner”. Let’s look at the second phrase…the man is the head of a woman. Now if we interpret it as “origin” or “source” as Paul repeats in verses 8, 9 and 12, we can understand that Paul is talking about the first man “the man” Adam and the first woman – Eve. Eve literally had her origin from the side of the man. Also wherever man and woman are placed in a relationship to each other in a biblical passage it is a sound practice to interpret this as husband and wife not just any man as head over any woman. That it is the husband that is the head of the wife is repeated by Paul in Ephesians 5:23 so we can know by repetition that this is what Paul is talking about. Paul said:

“For the husband is the head of the wife…”

Now the curious thing about this verse is that the inspired word used in the first relationship is that Christ is the “head” of every “man”. Man here is “aner” meaning a male or a husband and it is not the generic word for mankind. This is the inspired word used and it is not by accident that God has inspired it this way. If “aner” means husband in the second set of relationships, then we can logically give the same meaning to the first set of relationships where the very same term “aner” is used.

Christ then is the “head” of all husbands. Christ is the “source” or “origin” of all husbands. Now Paul is not saying that Christ is “head” only of men or husbands because Christ certainly is “head” of the wives too, but I believe that Paul is emphasizing a special relationship between Christ and the husband. We will talk more about the implications of this later, but for the time being perhaps you would like to give your thoughts on why God inspired the word “aner” to be used twice in verse 3 instead of the generic term for mankind that would normally include women.

Next post we will be discussing the cultural and spiritual “shames” that are brought about by the “head” relationships.

53 thoughts on “1 Corinthians 11:3 and “head”

  1. Hello Cheryl,

    i was wondering, do you have a comment as to why there is a definite article for aner (the man/husband) but gunaikos (a woman/ wife)has none?

    Do you see the ongoing use of these two greek words as best being translated husband and wife all the way through the passage?

    In Christ,
    Kerryn

  2. Just in follow up to the above, most (all?) major translations choose to translate aner as ‘man’, not husband.

    I am also not sure that translating every aner and gunaikos ‘husband’ and ‘wife’ works in the passage.
    Can we move from aner meaning ‘man’ (male), then to ‘husband’ and back do you think?
    how would you tranlsate the passage – vv 2-16?

    sorry – it’s late now – so i’ll do some more thinking on each specific verse and translation of these nouns over the next few days… not even sure if my qns make sense! feel free to ignore them if i am speaking gobbly goop!

    (-:
    Kerryn

  3. Hey Kerryn,

    Once again you have great questions. Apparently the sentence structure implies “the” for woman. That is why the Analytical Literal Translation renders it:

    Now I want you* to know that the head of every man is Christ, but [the] head of a woman [is] the husband, but [the] head of Christ [is] God.

    Also we know that the “the” is implied in verse 3 because the repetition of this statement in verse 12 does use the word “the” before woman:

    For as the woman originates from the man, so also the man has his birth through the woman; and all things originate from God.

    Now the words “aner” and “gune” can mean either man or husband and woman or wife, but the context strongly shows it means the first man and woman who were husband and wife. If we don’t think of this as husband and wife (Adam and Eve) then is the man “head” of any woman? Can my husband claim to be the “head” of all the women in our congregation? This special relationship is not shown in scripture to be anything other than the one flesh union of husband and wife. No man is ever said to be the “head” of anyone other than his own wife. At the same time this passage is talking about origins and since the origin of the first woman is through the man, we should be able to also render this man and woman. The problem with just saying man and woman is that there are those who use this passage to promote male headship in the church even though this verse says nothing about the church or leadership of men. This verse has been used to teach that the elders of the church are to take the single women under their headship along with all women whose husbands are not Christians. The teaching of male headship in the church that is attached to any man and any woman and not in relationship as husband and wife is taking this passage out of context.

    So yes, I do believe that this can be rendered man and woman, but I also believe that it is more accurate to translate this as husband and wife. The Amplified Bible is one that renders it this way:

    But I want you to know and realize that Christ is the Head of every man, the head of a woman is her husband, and the Head of Christ is God.

    The ESV:

    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.

    The Messianic Renewed Covenant Bible:

    But I want you to understand that the Head of every husband is Messiah, and the husband is the head of a wife, and the Head of Messiah is God.

    Weymouth New Testament:

    I would have you know, however, that of every man, Christ is the Head, that of a woman her husband is the Head, and that God is Christ’s Head.

    Young’s Literal Translation:

    and I wish you to know that of every man the head is the Christ, and the head of a woman is the husband, and the head of Christ is God.

    The point is that this passage is not teaching universal male headship outside of marriage.

    As far as translating every “aner” and “gune” as husband and wife, the principle that I have been taught and have seen for myself is that every time these two are together in a passage where there is a relationship between the two, they are almost always universally rendered as husband and wife. Where there are exceptions such as 1 Timothy 2:12, the passage would make more sense in context if they are considered as speaking about a husband and a wife. In my view, this is the only way that 1 Timothy 2:15 can be made to make sense in the entire context of this passage. More on this later.

    Lastly you asked if “wife” would be best to be translated through the entire passage of 1 Cor. 11. No because “gune” cannot be a wife when “the man” has his origin through her. In this case “the man” is not her husband but is her descendent. Much more on this later too in our continued discussion on 1 Corinthians 11.

  4. Thanks for your helpful comments Cheryl, and taking time to answer my qns so thoughtfully.

    In Christ
    Kerryn

  5. Kerryn,

    Boy I thought I was being thorough, but I forgot to include some of your questions that you posed earlier regarding verse 3.

    You asked:

    “further regarding v 3: what is interesting to also note is that paul does not explicitly refer to the 3 ‘pairs’ again – only the ‘pair’ of man and woman is used. for example, if v 3 was the ‘basis’ for the entire passage, then surely Paul would have said that man is the glory of ‘Christ’ (not ‘God’) in v 7, to link back to v 3?”

    I believe he does refer back to Christ in that Christ is God. Christ is the head or source of man in that He is man’s creator. By starting with Christ and ending the pairs with God, there is an Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the conclusion to all of creation and that is with God. Christ himself is the glory of God as the wife is the glory of her husband. This is indeed a passage about glory and honor not authority and hierarchy as you so aptly had also pointed out.

    Your question about verse 12 I will reserve for the time that we get there. If for some reason I forget, please remind me on that post 🙂

    You also asked:

    “what about Paul’s metaphorical use of ‘kephale’ (head) in Ephesians 1:10, 22; 4;15; 5:23 and Colossians 1:18; 2:10;19? can we assume that Paul is consistent or ‘repeating’ his use of ‘head’ in these other passages?”

    Yes, I do think that he is consistent but also adding the head as source as in “source of supply”. In Col 1:18 Christ is the head and is said to be the “beginning”. Beginning clearly represents source. In Col. 2:10 it makes perfect sense to interpret it as the one who is the source of all authority and rule. It is Christ who created all things included all rule and authority and who sustains everything by the word of his power.

    In Co. 2:19 the head is the one who supplies nourishment so it fits well with source. In Eph. 1:22, 23 the head is the one who “fills” all things. Again a good definition of what the source or origin does.

    Eph. 4:15 we are to grow up into him. This isn’t a metaphor for authority but our source that we get our nourishment from and grow to maturity.

    Eph 5:23 the head is the one who gives himself up for his body (wife). All of these things is what the head does as source of supply. He gives himself up to supply her with what she needs to grow and mature. There is so much in this passage that one could do a whole DVD on it 🙂

    I think I got all the relevant questions for now. I am sure that you will have many more questions as we go along!

    Warmly,
    Cheryl

  6. If you check BDAG, a well respected Greek lexicon, you will find that “kephale” never means “source” and has not been accepted as being so though out church history (including and especially when the church was chuck full of native Greek speakers who would know).

    Furthermore the Louw-Nida, another highly respected source indicates that there is not even a word in the same word family in Greek as “kephale” that means “source”.

    The whole argument is a rather recent innovation from Dr. Catherine Kroeger who misinterpreted what was said by John Chrysostom.

    This article helps to put the issue in perspective:
    http://www.biblicalstudies.org.uk/pdf/kephale.pdf

  7. Lawrence,

    Apparently you didn’t read my article very carefully because you didn’t answer the fact that the meaning of a word is evident in its context. The context of 1 Cor. 11 is source or origin (beginning) and there is nothing in the context of “authority over someone else”. If you can find that in the context, then please show it to me.

    You also do not mention that BDAG shows that “kephale” also can mean beginning. Source is a synonym of beginning and fits the context well.

    I have read the early church father that was quoted by Dr. Kroeger and I do not see that she misinterpreted what he said. Can you please show the misinterpretation?

    Dr. Joe E. Trull, editor of Christian Ethics Today, quotes Chrysostom:

    “If you think ‘head’ means ‘chief’ or ‘boss’, you skew the godhead!”

    Cyril, Bishop of Alexandria commenting on 1 Cor. 11:3 defines the head metaphor as source:

    “Thus we say that the kephaleo of every man is Christ, because he was excellently made through him. And the kephaleo of woman is man, because she was taken from his flesh. Likewise the kephaleo of Christ is God, because he is from him according to nature.”

    Liddell & Scott’s leixon (which is also a very good one) lists kephale as:

    11. 1 of things, extremity
    a. In botany
    b. In anatomy
    c. Generally, top, brim of vessel … capital of a column
    d. In plural, source of a river, Herodotus 4.91 (but singular, mouth); generally, source, origin, orphic fragments 21a; starting point (examples: the head of time; the head of a month).

    Liddell & Scott do not include the meaning of “kephale” as a final authority or superior rank at all.

    In the Hebrew, the word “rosh” (head) is used about 180 times with the meaning of chief or leader, however when the Hebrew was translated into the Greek in the Septuagint, the Greek term “archon” was the one that was chosen to mean leader, chief or authority and “kephale” was rarely used in this way. The main Greek word used to mean authority or ruler was “archon” which has a clear meaning of leader, ruler or commander. Out of the 180 times the Hebrew word for head means ruler or authority, only 8 times is the Greek word “kephale” used as a translation of “rosh” although both mean head and “kephale” would have been the simplest translation. This also shows that the main meaning of “kephale” is not ruler or authority. Since the translators rarely used “kephale” to carry the meaning of authority, this shows that the Greek term for “head” did not carry with it the same meaning of “head” in the Hebrew.

    The key to understand Paul, is for us to see what Paul meant in the context because that is the deciding factor. Where does Paul reference a man’s authority over the woman or God’s authority over Christ in 1 Cor. 11? It isn’t in the passage so we can’t get the context of ruler or authority over from the context. However what is indeed in the passage is that the man is the source or beginning of the woman and God is the source or beginning of everything (including Christ). Certainly the term “beginning” or “source” is appropriate as Paul’s meaning from the context and the meaning of “authority” and “ruler of” are not supported by the context.

  8. What do you mean by:

    Now Paul is not saying that Christ is “head” only of men or husbands because Christ certainly is “head” of the wives too, but I believe that Paul is emphasizing a special relationship between Christ and the husband.

  9. historyloveralways:

    We can see from scripture that Christ is “head” of the entire church (both men and women) so although in 1 Cor. 11:3 Paul is emphasizing a relationship of Christ with men, we know for certain that he is not saying that Christ is head only of males since Christ is head of the entire church not just men. So just as Paul isn’t denying that women are the glory of God, he is not denying that Christ is also head of women in the body of Christ. We need to see these verses as Paul’s honing in on a specific relationship for a specific reason. Does that help to explain what I mean?

  10. Cheryl:
    ‘Christ then is the “head” of all husbands. Christ is the “source” or “origin” of all husbands. Now Paul is not saying that Christ is “head” only of men or husbands because Christ certainly is “head” of the wives too, but I believe that Paul is emphasizing a special relationship between Christ and the husband. We will talk more about the implications of this later, but for the time being perhaps you would like to give your thoughts on why God inspired the word “aner” to be used twice in verse 3 instead of the generic term for mankind that would normally include women.’

    I don’t have any thoughts on why Paul used ‘aner’ twice, other than I’ve taken Christ is the head of every ‘aner’ to mean every person instead of every husband. Did you cover more on this? I haven’t seen it if you have. I wanted to hear more about it if and when you have the time. That Christ is the head , ‘origin’ of EVERY ‘husband’ just isn’t clicking in my brain. From what I’ve been told, it can mean every person?

  11. No I don’t think I wrote more on this and I should do one more post when I get time.

    Although I have heard that “aner” can also mean “people”, if that is the case, it would be an unusual meaning for the word that typically refers to a male or a husband. Paul also is very precise in his use of words so we should be able to assume that Paul (and the Holy Spirit) meant exactly what he said.

    In 1 Cor. 11 Paul hones in on several very specific applications of a narrow view of a several wide application ideas in order to make a point. For example Paul says that the man is made in the image of God. Paul is not saying that the woman is not made in the image of God, but he highlights that the man is in the image of God to make his point. He also says that the man is the glory of God. Again he is making a narrow view of a wider application. The woman too is the glory of God but Paul has applied a narrow view to make a point. Lastly Paul also makes a narrow view of Christ being the head of the male (or husband). Since we know that Christ is the head of the entire body, we also know that Christ is also the head of the woman. Once again we see Paul take a wide principle and narrow it down to make a point. He is not excluding women in his points – he is focusing in on men for a reason.

    So my question would be, why did Paul focus in on the men in this passage? What specific point was he making? I do not believe that Paul’s words are a mistake. There is a specific application to males here.

    In the marriage relationship only the husband is called the “head”. The “head” and the “body” are vitally connected but they are not interchangeable. I agree that there is more to be said on Paul’s use of “aner”. I’ll put this one on my “to do” list.

  12. Sorry to dredge up old posts but I’m having a wee struggle with one thing. (BTW – just re-read this series and it truly is wonderful and astounding. I sooooo “get” this passage now and feel very confident arguing against head=boss with friends and family)

    Related is the more recent dialog you had with nn regarding Christ and the Word and whether or not the human Christ is the pre-incarnate Word (http://strivetoenter.com/wim/2011/06/14/repost-authority-vs-submission-a-biblical-view-of-ephesians-522/)

    I get how the man is the origin of the woman – Adam’s rib and all that. And I get how God is the origin of Christ. But I’m not sure how to interpret “Christ is the origin of all men”. Is it your position that this is addressing creation? That doesn’t seem to follow the Christ-Word-God argument because, I think, the Word was what created, not the human Christ? So is this maybe instead talking about the creation of the Church? I don’t know. It is a little fuzzy for me. Any thoughts?

  13. So is this maybe instead talking about the creation of the Church?

    This has crossed my mind before gengwall, but ‘every aner’ doesn’t seem to restrict Christ being ‘head’ of the church only (not in this verse).

  14. “So is this maybe instead talking about the creation of the Church? I don’t know.”

    This idea has crossed my mind before gengwall, but “every aner” doesn’t seem to restrict Christ being head of just the Church in this verse.

  15. gengwall,
    Thanks for the kind words! Words like these help to reinforce that my work is not in vain. Sometimes I just really need encouragement!

    But I’m not sure how to interpret “Christ is the origin of all men”. Is it your position that this is addressing creation? That doesn’t seem to follow the Christ-Word-God argument because, I think, the Word was what created, not the human Christ?

    Yes, it sure does appear to be about creation of mankind. This past year I have been teaching through the book of Hebrews with a small group bible study and I put a lot of effort into researching and studying on Melchizedek. My eyes were popping open and so were the eyes of the entire group!

    Then I look at the “man” who walks with Abraham, and walks with Adam and shows up in the fire with the three Hebrew lads. Did the author of the book of Hebrews think that there was something special about Melchizedek? It does appear so. Did Paul appear to think that the humanity of Christ was unlimited through time in 1 Cor. 11? The wording seems to suggest that to me. All other explanations seem to have gaping holes.

    I am not sure if this helps or not, but it is what has blown my mind about the place of the resurrected man who is my Lord. When we see Him in heaven, I don’t think we will need to stand in line to give Him a huge hug!

  16. Well….it doesn’t help very much. I have no issues with the resurrected Christ interacting with people in the past, even Adam. But that is not the same as the resurrected Christ being the creator of those people.

    I don’t want to distract from more current discussions, so I’ll drop it for now. But it remains a question for me.

  17. I think Col. 1:15-16 shows Christ (specifically mentioned as “Christ” earlier in the chapter) as the “firstborn of all creation, for all things were created by him and for him.” I don’t think the idea of Christ, with that title, as the Source or Origin of man, is outside Paul’s Christology.

  18. PS. The Lamb is “slain from the foundation of the world,” so in that timeless sense, He has always been the Christ.

  19. Kristen,
    The Lamb “slain from the foundation of the world” is the one I was thinking of too. After all if Jesus the resurrected man can go back in time and walk with Adam, then He can go back before Adam was created and be there for the creation.

    The firstborn of all creation is a reference to preeminence. The “first-born” rights were not necessarily given to the first one born. But it is a term of preeminence.

  20. “The Lamb “slain from the foundation of the world” is the one I was thinking of too. After all if Jesus the resurrected man can go back in time and walk with Adam, then He can go back before Adam was created and be there for the creation.”

    I have no problem with Christ being there. But that does not make Him the creator. Doesn’t John make it clear that the Word is the creator? So how does simply being there make Christ the source or origin of man? That is where I can’t make the connection.

  21. gengwall,

    There are 2 Scriptures that are interesting to see together:

    Genesis 2:7 (NASB95)
    7Then the LORD God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.

    and

    1 Corinthians 15:45 (NASB95)
    45So also it is written, “The first MAN, Adam, BECAME A LIVING SOUL.” The last Adam became a life-giving spirit.

    The first Adam “became a living soul” when God breathed into him.

    The last Adam when He was incarnated “became a life-giving spirit”. This is one “in the flesh” who was the life-giver. The Greek term for life-giving is zoopoio which means to make life or sustain life. He is the one who gives life and who sustains life. Who is the one who walked with Adam and breathed life into him? Do you think that it is possible that Paul and the author of Hebrews saw this life-giver as the resurrected Christ? The one who’s death was said to be from before the foundation of the world? This is something to think about for sure.

  22. Cheryl, yes, I was aware that “firstborn” was a reference to position.
    But Gengwall, what about “all things were made by Him and for him” in Col 2:15-16? Surely that means the Christ is also the Creator?

  23. Hi Kristen,

    Here is my issue. I certainly recognize the Col 1 verses (incidentally, take a look at the NLT translation) but I don’t know how to take it. John 1 clearly says that the Word was the creator: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.”

    Cheryl went to great lengths in the “Repost – Authority vs submission – a biblical view of Ephesians 5:22” comments to establish to NN that The Word and the Christ are not synonymous; that “the Christ” “is a term for the humanity of Jesus” while “the Word” is a term of deity; that “his title as His identification as Christ is ONLY tied to His human nature”. A human can not create man, only God (a deity) can. (Cheryl made the opposite argument regarding Jesus’ death – a deity can’t die, only a human can. The Word did not die, only the Christ did.) If Christ is ONLY the human nature of God the son, and the Word is the deified nature of God the son that took on flesh to become the Christ, then I don’t see how we can use the term “Christ” for the creator of man. After the resurrection, when He was no longer bound by our space/time, Christ could have certainly been there at creation, but only as an observer.

  24. Also, regarding Col 1:15-16, look at the list that comprises “all things”: “whether thrones or dominions or principalities or authorities”. A limited list that does not include anything from the 6 days of creation. It also states that the things being created were in heaven and on earth, meaning it is not speaking of the creation OF heaven and earth. So it is not necessarily clear that the creating being spoken of was the Genesis 1 creation.

  25. I’ll add one more thought regarding Col 1. The Lexicon on blueletterbible.org lists two definitions for the word translated as created.

    1) to make habitable, to people, a place, region, island
    a) to found a city, colony, state
    2) to create
    a) of God creating the worlds
    b) to form, shape, i.e. to completely change or transform

    Considering the verse is talking about institutions, perhaps the context fits more accurately with the first definition and a better translation would be “all things were established through Him and for Him”.

  26. gengwall,
    From Colossians we can understand that anything that has been created has been created by the Word. The Word Himself was not created so He is in the category of Creator and all else is in the category of created.

    Then the Word became flesh. The flesh is the Christ. The Word did not cease to be the Word when He became the Christ. He is and always was the Word – God Himself. The flesh, the man Jesus, had a beginning in the womb of Mary, even though He has always existed in the Spirit as the Word.

    So how do we see these things as far as the Christ and creation, not just as the Spirit who is the Word? This is stretching me as well. All things were created by the Word. But is it possible that after creation, the resurrected Jesus breathed life into Adam? He, the physical man, is said to have “become” a life-giving spirit. He gives life to the world. If He is the one who gave life to the very first man by breathing life into him, then He would be the origin of life in man.

  27. I see “Christ” as a role or title, not a statement of the Son’s nature, whether human or divine. “Christ” means “the Anointed One, the Messiah.” I do think that the Son took on the role and title “Christ/Messiah” when He was incarnated– but can we really say that He is ONLY Messiah in His human flesh and not in His divine nature? Is the Son divided to that extent? Look at 1 Cor. 8:6: ‘for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom are all things, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, by whom are all things– and we exist through Him.” Paul makes it clear that it is also as the Christ that He is the Lord by Whom all things exist and through Whom we exist. The Word and the Christ are not so divided from one another that we can say only the Word can create and only the Christ can save. John 1:14, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us . . . full of grace and truth.” Then in verse 17, “Grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ.” He did not cease to be the Word when He became Christ. He was, in God’s divine anticipation, the Christ even before He became flesh, for He was appointed to be slain from the very foundation of the world. We must not make Him into two beings rather than one divine/human Entity.
    The Word and Christ are not synonymous, but that doesn’t mean we can divide them up into slices. And “Christ” is not merely a reference to His human nature, though He needed to become human in order to complete the Christ’s task. “Christ” is Who He is, just as much as “the Son” or “the Word.” Whatever Cheryl may have meant when she wrote to NN, I cannot agree that His natures should be separated like that.

  28. I am not trying to divide the Son’s nature. What I am trying to say is that the term Christ is intimately connected to His humanity in that it is not a term that can be used for the pre-incarnate Word other than in reference to the time of His incarnation, therefore to use it synonymously with “God” is incorrect.

    The Word was incarnated. The Christ was born. The Word is God. The Christ is the son of David. Jesus is both God and man, but it is in His humanity that He is especially united to the Church. It is in His humanity that He is the last Adam. In His being God, He has power over all. When we say that Jesus Christ as head of the church as the husband means that the husband is like God over the wife, we distort the connection of one flesh and make it about authority and power over another. Is Jesus Christ one flesh with the Church? Is the Christ head of or head over? These are the things that need to be answered.

  29. One last question for tonight… what connection between the two makes God the head of Christ? Makes Christ, the last Adam the head of man? And the husband the head of the wife? When we can see the common denominator between all three, we will understand.

  30. Kristen,
    Reading thru your comments again, I can see that you are not talking about any nature of God or man, but a title only. Yet you turn around and say that Christ is what He “is”. This is very confusing to me to understand you. What a person is, is the nature of that person.

    There are synonyms for the title Christ. Son of man, son of David, seed of David, seed of the woman, the last Adam – all of these are references to the Christ. These terms do not negate His Deity. They emphasize His humanity and His being the forerunner for His body, the Church.

  31. Cheryl, I will try to answer your questions one at a time to clarify how I see it.

    Are you also saying that the Bible could have said “The Christ became flesh and dwelt among us?”
    In a way. What I’m saying is that “Christ” is a title. It means “Messiah.” But– and this is the crux of it– it is a title He took on at the creation of the world. When God made the world and its creatures, and humanity in His image, He had already decided within His triune Self that the Son would be the Christ to the world. So it does make sense to say, as Paul does in Col. 1:15-16 and 1 Cor. 8:6, that all things were made by and through the Christ. He had that title before He was incarnated, though He had to be incarnated in order to fulfill the role that the title anticipated.

    the term Christ is intimately connected to His humanity in that it is not a term that can be used for the pre-incarnate Word other than in reference to the time of His incarnation, therefore to use it synonymously with “God” is incorrect.
    I agree that it is not synonymous with “God.” I disagree that it cannot be used for Him pre-incarnation, because that is exactly how Paul did use it in 1 Cor. 8:6 and Col. 1:15-16.

    When we say that Jesus Christ as head of the church as the husband means that the husband is like God over the wife, we distort the connection of one flesh and make it about authority and power over another. Is Jesus Christ one flesh with the Church? Is the Christ head of or head over?
    I think Paul uses “head” in Eph. 5:22 in the same way he uses it in Eph. 4:15-16 — as the Source of provision and nourishment. Husbands in Paul’s day were the source of provision and nourishment for their wives. Womenhad no way of taking care of themselves or providing for themselves in that society, short of prostitution. So as the church is dependent on Christ for her nourishment and growth, so also the wife was dependent on the husband.
    Jesus is not “one flesh” with the church yet. The marriage of the Lamb to the Bride has not yet occurred. When it does, when He comes back, we will “be like Him, for we will see Him as He is.” 1 John 3:2. Then we will be “one flesh.” That is the “mystery” Paul spoke of in Eph. 5:32. He will raise the Bride up, completely cleanse her of all spot or wrinkle and present her to Himself in glory. That is what husbands in Paul’s day were being asked to do for their wives– to raise them out of their lowly state of inferiority and subservience, to be glorious beside them.
    Christ is “head of” the church in Eph. 4 and 5. He is “head over” all principalities and powers in Eph 1. The church is not one of the things he is “head over,” for she is beside Him in the heavenly places. In Eph 1, “head” combined with “over” instead of “of,” means “The One in the Place of Prominence” or “Preeminent One.” So applying that to Chapter 5, husbands (being in the place of prominence and preeminence in that culture) were being asked to raise their wives up to be beside them in all the things the husbands were “over.”

    To be continued. . .

  32. Answering Cheryl’s questions, continued. . .

    I can see that you are not talking about any nature of God or man, but a title only. Yet you turn around and say that Christ is what He “is”. This is very confusing to me to understand you. What a person is, is the nature of that person.
    Yes, I can see the confusion here. According to that definition, you are right– He is not the Christ in the same sense that He is the Word or the Son, because He was the Word and the Son from eternity, but He took the title “Christ” at the creation of the world, in anticipation of what He would do for the world. However, to say that He only became the Christ when He was incarnated, causes the exact problem Gengwall raised. Once you do that, “head” as “source/origin” in 1 Cor. 11 no longer makes sense. If He was not yet the Christ when humans were created, then Christ cannot be “the head of man.”

  33. Final response to Cheryl:
    what connection between the two makes God the head of Christ? Makes Christ, the last Adam the head of man? And the husband the head of the wife? When we can see the common denominator between all three, we will understand.

    God is the “head of Christ”in 1 Cor. 11:3 because God is the source/origin of Christ. Col 1:15 – “He is the image of the invisible God.”

    Christ is the “head of man” in 1 Cor. 11:3 because Christ is the source/origin of man. He already bore the title “Christ” at the creation (because in divine anticipation He was “slain from the foundation of the world”) when all things were made by Him, to exist through Him, according to 1 Cor. 8:6.

    “The man” (meaning Adam) is the “head of woman” in 1 Cor. 11:3 because Adam was the source/origin of the woman, when the woman was taken out of Adam. But verse 12 says that just as the woman originated from the first man, so also man now originates from woman (in childbirth), and God is the source/origin of all things.

    The husbands is “head of the wife” in Eph. 5:23 because the husband was the source of provision for the wife. But the husband is not the “head of the wife” as source/origin in the same way as “man is the head of woman” in 1 Cor 11:3.

    Paul was capable of using, and did use, the word “head” in a variety of metaphorical ways. The original audience, being familiar with all these different metaphorical meanings, would not have had the trouble we have today, figuring out what meant. They knew “head” could mean “source/origin” AND “source of nourishment” AND “preeminent/prominent one.” They would have followed Paul seamlessly, where we get tripped up.

    But I think it’s a mistake to say the Son did not become the Christ till the incarnation. When we do that, we negate “slain from the foundation of the world,” and we render 1 Cor. 11:3 un-interpretable as being about origins (which the context supplied by verse 12 makes clear is the case).

  34. My italics disappeared in my last post. I wonder what happened to them? I intended to set off your questions from my responses, Cheryl. If you could go back and put them in, I’d really appreciate it!

  35. “But is it possible that after creation, the resurrected Jesus breathed life into Adam? He, the physical man, is said to have “become” a life-giving spirit. He gives life to the world. If He is the one who gave life to the very first man by breathing life into him, then He would be the origin of life in man.”

    This is a very interesting thought. I can start to see through the fog. BTW – thanks for being gentle with my nagging questions.

  36. #32 Kristen,
    You said:

    So it does make sense to say, as Paul does in Col. 1:15-16 and 1 Cor. 8:6, that all things were made by and through the Christ. He had that title before He was incarnated, though He had to be incarnated in order to fulfill the role that the title anticipated.

    Col 1:15, 16 doesn’t use the term “Christ”. 1 Cor. 8:6 does use the term but the grammar is present tense so it would be proper to use the term Christ for the present.

    The only reference that I can find for a name that existed in the past for the Spirit who was the Word is in Job.

    Job 19:25 (NASB95)
    25“As for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, And at the last He will take His stand on the earth.

    Here the Hebrew term Goel is what is translated as Redeemer and it can have several meanings including kinsman Redeemer and a term used for God who redeems Israel out of slavery. Job gives his testimony that he knows his Redeemer lives and will stand on the earth in the future. This standing on the earth would be in the flesh.

  37. #33 Kristen,
    You said:

    However, to say that He only became the Christ when He was incarnated, causes the exact problem Gengwall raised. Once you do that, “head” as “source/origin” in 1 Cor. 11 no longer makes sense. If He was not yet the Christ when humans were created, then Christ cannot be “the head of man.”

    This is why I stated that the resurrected Christ can go back in time and I believe that it is the resurrected man that walked with Abraham. If this can happen, and if indeed the resurrected Christ who is a life-giving Spirit could have breathed into Adam and given him life. Is this impossible? I don’t think so. If it is impossible, maybe you could tell me why it is impossible. I think that Paul used his words deliberately and he used Christ here for a reason. I do admit that it is a hard saying, but then Paul was used to giving out hard sayings.

    Thanks for working with me on this one, it is good to banter back and forth and push each other for answers. I think it really stretches us and it is what I love about the “tool” that we have on this blog. I certainly don’t mind being challenged at all, and you ask great questions!

  38. #34 Kristen,
    Thanks again for your participation. You have worked hard to try to provide good answers.

    You said:

    God is the “head of Christ”in 1 Cor. 11:3 because God is the source/origin of Christ. Col 1:15 – “He is the image of the invisible God.”

    Yes, I agree, but I do think that we could not use the term “Christ” here to refer to anything other than the flesh since the Spirit has no origin. The Word is eternal with no beginning.

    Christ is the “head of man” in 1 Cor. 11:3 because Christ is the source/origin of man. He already bore the title “Christ” at the creation (because in divine anticipation He was “slain from the foundation of the world”) when all things were made by Him, to exist through Him, according to 1 Cor. 8:6.

    The problem you have here is that the Bible never calls the Word (Spirit) as Christ and the grammar in 1 Cor. 8:6 is present tense not past tense. The verb comes from verse 5 which is present tense in both instances “are” not “was”.

    “The man” (meaning Adam) is the “head of woman” in 1 Cor. 11:3 because Adam was the source/origin of the woman, when the woman was taken out of Adam. But verse 12 says that just as the woman originated from the first man, so also man now originates from woman (in childbirth), and God is the source/origin of all things.

    Excellent!

    The husbands is “head of the wife” in Eph. 5:23 because the husband was the source of provision for the wife. But the husband is not the “head of the wife” as source/origin in the same way as “man is the head of woman” in 1 Cor 11:3.

    I agree. Good job!

    But I think it’s a mistake to say the Son did not become the Christ till the incarnation. When we do that, we negate “slain from the foundation of the world,” and we render 1 Cor. 11:3 un-interpretable as being about origins (which the context supplied by verse 12 makes clear is the case).

    The term used is the “lamb” which was slain from the foundation of the world. It doesn’t say “Christ”.

    Revelation 13:8 (ISV)
    All those living on earth will worship it, everyone whose name is not written in the Book of Life belonging to the lamb that was slaughtered from the foundation of the world.

  39. Sorry for being so slow, Kristen. I have been neck-deep into the Scriptures for the next DVD that I am working on and there are times that I have to stay in that context until I have a section done.

  40. gengwall,

    BTW – thanks for being gentle with my nagging questions.

    You are welcome and thanks for asking questions that are important to you. I like to be prodded for answers as it also stretches me and you have been one who surely has stretched me!

  41. Cheryl, I appreciate your push-back, but I’m going to stand by my position. 🙂 “Christ” is the Son’s title as Savior, and “Lamb Who was slain” is part and parcel of what it means to be the Christ. Therefore, in my mind He has been the Christ from the foundation of the world, and there is no reason to conjecture His traveling back in time in order for this to be so. Time-travel, it seems to me, is an anachronistic application of modern science-fiction ideas to an ancient text, the writers of which could not have intended that meaning.
    I also think that “all things” in Col 1:15 and 1 Cor. 8:6 probably means “all things” and not “all presently existing things” or “all principalities and powers only,” as Gengwall suggested.
    Let’s just agree to disagree on this. We are in agreement on the essentials, anyway. 🙂

  42. Kristen,
    Yes, I see that we will have to agree to disagree, but that’s okay. There will come a time when we will all agree to everything, but it isn’t quite yet.

    You said:

    “Lamb Who was slain” is part and parcel of what it means to be the Christ.

    I agree. That is why I believe this has to be the Word made flesh and cannot be about the Word as Spirit alone. The Spirit cannot die. This is why the Word HAD to be made flesh so He could become our Kinsman Redeemer and sacrifice Himself. The Lamb is a human who was sacrificed on our behalf.

    You also said:

    I also think that “all things” in Col 1:15 and 1 Cor. 8:6 probably means “all things”

    I agree it means all things in Col 1:15. But the term “Christ” is not used in that passage. The term “Christ” IS used in 1 Cor. 8:6 but it is present tense not past.

    I think the weakness of your position is implying that the Spirit (who is called the Word) is said to have died. I think that opens a can of worms about what was resurrected – a Spirit?

    Thanks for sharing your position and I am sure it gives us all something to think about and wrestle through. Who knows who both could be wrong in our positions and may need to be corrected in the future. I leave myself open to that.

  43. Cheryl,
    No, I don’t mean that the Word died. I mean that He was called the Christ from Creation onwardsin anticipation of His later death, which is what I think “slain from the foundation of the world” also means.
    Hope that clarifies my position. You are free, of course, to continue to disagree.
    Peace,
    Kristen

  44. “Time-travel, it seems to me, is an anachronistic application of modern science-fiction ideas to an ancient text, the writers of which could not have intended that meaning.”

    Only if you are thinking of it in human terms. Certainly God is not bound by our space/time, is He?

  45. That is the way I think about it genwall. I cannot imagine seeing God with our limitations. He asked if anything is impossibleto Him? I have to say “No”. Nothing is impossible to Him and He is not bound by anything except His own nature. Because of His nature, He cannot lie, He cannot deny Himself, etc. If I keep this in mind I must leave aside my own thinking about what God cannot do in His time/space creation.

  46. So what you mean is that the Word is called the “future” Christ?
    In a way. I mean that to the Godhead, in Their unbounded Now, the Son was the Christ from the moment when They planned the Incarnation, Atonement and Resurrection (if it even makes sense to say “the moment when” in this context). I simply don’t think time travel on the part of the human body of Jesus was necessary, based on the way God looks at time.
    Hope that makes sense.

  47. I am not sure if I understand you quite yet, Kristen. Do you mean that the Word of God before the creation of the world was designated to become the Christ (this I can agree with) or that the Word, who is pure Spirit, already was the Christ, the kinsman Redeemer, merely by the giving of a title, rather than the actual taking on of the kinsman Redeemer’s flesh? If this is what you believe, do you have a verse that says the title was given before creation to God? Or is this just something you believe in yourself without any clear verse stating as such? If it is the latter and you don’t have a verse that says God the Word took on a title of the Seed before creation and before incarnation, then I guess we will just have to agree to disagree and put this one to rest.

  48. I guess I would say that from God’s perspective (outside time) He already was the Christ because He was absolutely going to be the Christ. From within time and the human perspective, sure, He wasn’t the Christ yet. No, I don’t have a verse that says point-blank, “God gave Him the title “Christ” before the foundation of the world.” But I do think that all the scriptures I have cited, including the one in Revelation about “slain from the foundation of the world” and the ones in 1 Cor and Col., with their contexts, all point to the idea that at the time of Creation He was the Christ in the mind of God, and that “all things” were created by and for Him.

  49. I think this Scripture is the clearest:

    1 Peter 1:18–20 (NASB95)
    18knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers,
    19but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ.
    20For He was foreknown before the foundation of the world, but has appeared in these last times for the sake of you

    The correct term would be “foreknown”.

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