Authority and Created order

Authority and Created order

In this fourth part of my response to Matt Slick’s article called “Genesis 2, Adam and Eve, and Authority”, I am going to deal directly with Matt’s comments regarding authority and created order. Matt writes:

Still, the egalitarians will object and say that an absolute and total equality in all things exists between men and women in the church and the created order and Adam’s naming animals and naming Eve has nothing to do with it. But, is that what is implied in Paul’s words in 1 Tim. 2:12-14? “But I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man, but to remain quiet. 13 For it was Adam who was first created, and then Eve. 14 And it was not Adam who was deceived, but the woman being quite deceived, fell into transgression.” Notice that Paul says he does not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man because Adam was created first, then Eve. Obviously, in the mind of Paul the issue of authority is tied to the created order. This is not merely a cultural phenomenon.

Notice first of all that Mr. Slick uses the words “imply” and “implied” in his article. The reason that he has to do this is because scripture does not directly say that Adam had authority over Eve or that the man is to have authority while the woman is not. While 1 Timothy 2:13 does say that Adam was created first, the direct connection is to deception and “not deceived” not authority. While Slick says “Obviously, in the mind of Paul the issue of authority is tied to the created order” he cannot tell us what is in the “mind” of Paul other than what Paul actually tells us. Paul does not use the “normal” word for authority in 1 Timothy 2:12 which is “exousia”. “Exousia” means permission, authority, right, liberty, power to do something. Instead of the “normal” word for authority that Paul uses in his epistles, what Paul prohibits in 1 Timothy 2:12 is “authenteo” which is not even close to being a “normal” word for authority. In fact this unique word is never used again in the New Testament and Paul never gives males the right to “authenteo” anyone. So while Mr. Slick can believe that Paul is talking about a male right to have authority, Paul does not tie the prohibition into a “right” that belongs to someone else. Rather than tying the prohibition into a “right” that is withheld from women and given to men, Paul says nothing about anyone’s right to have authority. Instead, Paul ties the prohibition into the deception of the second one created and the non-deception of the first one created. The prohibition has everything to do with deception, not a right to authority.

Notice in Mr. Slick’s comments above that he does not comment on verse 14. He fails to tie the prohibition into deception and he makes it appear that Paul is giving the male the right to “authenteo”. This argument is seriously flawed because he does not reveal that neither Adam nor any man is given a right to “authenteo” any person either in or out of the church. What is forbidden to “a woman” in verse 12 is not given as a right to anyone else either.

Next Mr. Slick leaves “authenteo” aside and he tries to tie “exousia” from 1 Corinthians 11:10 to males alone. 1 Corinthians 11: 8-10 says:

8 For man does not originate from woman, but woman from man; 9 for indeed man was not created for the woman’s sake, but woman for the man’s sake. 10Therefore the woman ought to have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels.

Mr. Slick comments about these verses:

Authority is a huge issue with him. Notice that Paul says a woman is to have a symbol of authority upon her. Why? Because Adam was created first. Primacy in origin is related to authority.

Is “primacy in origin” related to authority? Not at all. First of all, Paul is not talking about “primacy” in origin in these verses. In the 1 Corinthians 11 passage, Paul is talking about equality and not primacy because in verses 11 and 12 which Mr. Slick has failed to include in his quote, Paul says that men now come from women. There is no primacy of one over another, but rather the primacy belongs to God:

1 Corinthians 11:11 However, in the Lord, neither is woman independent of man, nor is man independent of woman.

1 Corinthians 11:12 For as the woman originates from the man, so also the man has his birth through the woman; and all things originate from God.

Secondly, Mr. Slick says that a woman is to have “a symbol of authority” upon her showing the male’s primacy of creation, yet 1 Corinthians 11:10 says nothing of the sort in the Greek. The words “symbol of” have been added to the English however they are not in the original. The inspired word is not a “symbol” but “exousia” (authority). The woman herself is to have “exousia” or “authority”. The term “exousia” is never used in the New Testament as a term where a person is under someone else’s authority. Rather it is always used for the person’s own permission, authority, right, liberty, power to do something. Zodhiates WordStudy Dictionary says that this word “denies the presence of a hindrance, it may be used either of the capability or the right to do a certain action. The words exesti and exousia combine the two ideas of right and might. As far as right, authority, or capability is concerned, it involves ability, power, strength.”

So Paul in the inspired text is saying that the woman has the right, authority, ability, power and strength to make the decision over her own head, because of the angels. Why on earth would Paul give the woman the right and the authority to make her own decision regarding her own head and tie this in with the angels? All we have to do is go back a few chapters to what Paul has already told us about the angels and it becomes very clear. Paul said earlier in chapter 6:

1 Corinthians 6:1 Does any one of you, when he has a case against his neighbor, dare to go to law before the unrighteous and not before the saints?

1 Corinthians 6:2 Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world? If the world is judged by you, are you not competent to constitute the smallest law courts?

1 Corinthians 6:3 Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more matters of this life?

Paul gives the woman the authority to make the decision about what she wears or doesn’t wear on her head because she will also be judging the angels in the next life. If she will have such weighty responsibility because she too will be judging the angels in the next life, surely she should have the responsibility and the authority in this life to make the decision over a relatively minor “matter of this life” decision regarding what she does or doesn’t wear on her head.

Rather than Paul saying that she is under someone’s authority and that she has no decision making authority because she was created second, 1 Corinthians chapter eleven requires that the woman is to have authority over her own head because of her equal position in the next life as one of the saints who will judge the angels.

I will continue the refutation of Matt Slick’s article in the next post. For previous blog posts regarding the refutation of this same article, see:

Did the naming of Eve come from God’s command?

Special Authority to Adam, was it Given by God?

Was Authority Withheld from Eve?

13 thoughts on “Authority and Created order

  1. It was quite a shock to me to study this passage and find the words “symbol of” were added into the text. I believe in the inerrancy of the Word but not in the inerrancy of the translators!

    Thier whole house of cards comes tumbling down without ‘symbol of’ and even with it added in this interpretation makes it very confusing when reading verses 11 and 12. Anyone studying the Word deeply  would spot a contradiction and know that the translators got something wrong. The ONLY way to make this work for them is to proof text this passage. And that, of course, it what they have done.

  2. Use a bad translation, get bad theology.  It is a garbage in, garbage out principle.

    The whole “head covering” thing is 1st century cultural, which is why it can be hard to figure out what Paul is saying.  In 1st century culture a married woman wore a head covering when in public, it is similar to a wedding ring today.  When she was home or in another home, she took off her headcovering among friends.  The question is what is appropriate in church, which is a semi-public/semi-private setting.  Paul’s answer is brilliant, she can decide for herself.  If she is uncomfortable if a unfamiliar face shows up, she can wear her headcovering; if not, not; she is free.

    Notice the men are NOT free, they are NOT to wear a headcovering.  Again this is for 1st century cultural reasons but is seldom discussed by non-egals, as this is an example where men are less free than women, if you can imagine that!

  3. Paul tells Christian men not only that they must not cover their heads, but also why. The head covering was a symbol of guilt and shame before God, so for a Christian to cover in God’s presence was insulting to the sacrifice Jesus made. But upon hearing this, a Christian woman, especially one married to an unbeliever, was immediately between a rock and a hard place. If she covered she would shame God, and if she didn’t, she would shame her husband! No doubt the Corinthians needed to know the answer, because a woman’s life could be at stake.

    So Paul’s solution is brilliant: Let her decide! He knew very well that a woman would face strong social disapproval at the very least, and possible death, if she followed this new rule about head coverings in church gatherings. This was not for the church, or Paul, or any husband to dictate to his wife, but for her alone.

    As for vs. 8-10a:

    7 A man ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God; but woman is the glory of man. 8 For man did not come from woman, but woman from man; 9 neither was man created for woman, but woman for man. 10 It is for this reason that a woman ought to have authority over her own [b] head,

    The man is the glory of God. Does God hide him? Push him down? What does it mean to be the glory of God, if not his “crowning achievement”, the pinnacle of the tower, something to be proud of and to be ELEVATED for all to see?

    Therefore, when it says the woman is the glory of man, this in no way indicates that the woman is to be kept out of sight, under foot, silenced. She is his glory, not his shame! So he should treat her as one he is proud of, he should ELEVATE her and honor her.

    Paul speaks of her coming from man and being made for him. Did not Jesus come down to our level and die FOR US? Does that make him inferior to us? Hardly! Being “for” someone else is not a statement of inferiority but an indication of the recipients NEED or deficiency. And that Eve came from Adam makes her his complete equal in every way, since they share the same flesh. In stating this, Adam was surely noticing the difference between her and all the animals; they were not of his “flesh” but she was.

  4. Do you have a ref for Jewish women needing to cover their heads in worship for shame reasons?

  5. Don,

    Check out the quotes below:

    “What may at first have been a modest etiquette grew into a scrupulous rule. Some aggadic sources began to interpret this custom as a sign of woman’s shame and feeling of guilt for Eve’s sin,[6] while the rabbis compared exposure of a married woman’s hair to the exposure of her privy parts (and forbid the recital of any blessing in the presence of a bareheaded woman).[7]

    [6] Gen, R, 17:8; Er, 100b and Rashi;

    [7] Ber 24a


  6. Lin,

    It was a shock to me too to see that the translators had imported words that brought their bias into the translation.  The more I studied from the original text and less with the translations, the more shocked I became.  These texts were the ones that had caused me to be prejudiced against women just like many others were.  They had made me feel that it was a inferior thing to be a woman.  It was a very freeing thing to understand that it wasn’t Paul or God who was biased against women.

  7. Don #2 comment,

    That was well-worded.  Yes, I too believe that Paul’s answer was brilliant.  The married woman was caught between a rock and a hard place because she had two “heads”.  If her husband was a Jewish unbelieving man, it would be a very bad thing to force her to remove her veil.  It would have to be her decision on when was the proper time to be free from her veil.  Paul never gave the authority to her husband for the decision on whether she would wear the veil or not.  The decision was squarely on her shoulders.  This ruling alone giving the woman the authority to make the decision should remove any doubt that Paul believed that a woman was under the husband’s authority.

  8. I’ve said this before, but I think it warrants saying again.  At day’s end, the question still remains; was Paul legislating anew with his letters sent out to the various churches of his time or was he not?  I do not believe that he was.  Absolute cut and dried rules for head coverings cannot be laid down from the original texts any more than the doctrine of a pre-fall male hierarchy can be laid down.  For example, does the male infantryman in Iraq who doesn’t remove his kevlar helmet to pray during an urban firefight dishonor his head?  And if so, does it also mean that the Almighty will not listen to his appeal?  Conversely, is the female soldier who doesn’t remove her headgear cleared by the “rule of law” for a full hearing by God?  In all good conscience and common sense, I must conclude that the Almighty is more concerned with cutting away the covering on my heart than he is with what’s on my head or not on my head.

  9. Interesting blog.

    As an egalitarian, I use the ESV for 2 things:
    1. To detect weaknesses in the non-egal position.
    2. To sometimes quote as it cannot be accused of egal bias and is mostly pretty good, except they make all the choices they can in a non-egal way.
    As a general rule, whoever REQUIRES ESV is probably non-egal, as using that translation easily is more than half way home to non-egalism.

  10. Greg,

    “In all good conscience and common sense, I must conclude that the Almighty is more concerned with cutting away the covering on my heart than he is with what’s on my head or not on my head.”

    Great summary point, Greg!

    Thanks for the link!  I will want to copy the debate and read through the thoughts as I have time.

    Very logical thoughts about why one would want to use the ESV with comps.

    I have just finished a week of post production work on the first DVD in the 2 DVD set on the Trinity.  I am exhausted from the long hours, but so grateful to see the project come together.  The text, music, pictures, etc all come together to make a powerful statement that I think will be very helpful for a lot of people.  The next couple of days I want to catch up on my cleaning, preparation for a couple of weeks of R & R and writing articles and comments on my blog.  Thanks everyone for being so patient with me during this process.  I believe that the final product will be well worth the effort that I have put into this project.

    I will have more to say later when my exhaustion leaves!

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