Biblical Gender Roles

The first sin woman ever committed in the Garden of Eden was not accepting the limits God had placed upon her.  She wanted equality.  The first sin man committed was in knowingly abdicating his authority over his wife and following her in her sinful desire rather than rebuking her sin.

The scriptures show us that woman was deceived by her sinful desire for equality:

“1 Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?

2 And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: 3 But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.

4 And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: 5 For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.

6 And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.”

Genesis 3:1-6 (KJV)

Later in divine commentary given to him by God, the Apostle Paul gives us further detail on the Genesis account:

“And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.”

1 Timothy 2:14 (KJV)

So what Paul is telling us is that Eve was deceived by her desire for equality while Adam went into the sin fully knowing what he was doing.  His sin was not a desire for equality with God, but rather a failure to live out his role by leading his wife and rebuking her sinful request to him.  God tells us man’s first sin when he states:

And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life;”

Genesis 3:17 (KJV)

Many years later the righteous man Job would do with his wife what Adam should have done with Eve when Job’s wife enticed him to sin against God as Eve enticed Adam to sin to against God:

“9 Then said his wife unto him, Dost thou still retain thine integrity? curse God, and die. 10 But he said unto her, Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips.”

Job 2:9-10 (KJV)

Job did not follow his wife’s sinful request – but instead he rebuked his wife as God would later rebuke his wife Israel (Hosea 2:2-23) and Christ would later rebuke his wife the Church (Revelation chapters 2 & 3).

God warns Adam just as he would later warn Cain

In Genesis 4 we read of God’s warning to Cain regarding his sin nature:

“If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.

Genesis 4:7 (KJV)

When God speaks of “his desire” he is speaking of Cain’s sinful nature.  His sin nature wanted to control his actions and make him sin against God.  But God told him instead of letting his sin nature rule over him, he must rule over his sin nature.

This exact same phrase is used by God regarding a woman and her relationship to her husband:

“16 Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.

Genesis 3:16 (KJV)

In this case sin’s desire is replaced by the woman’s desire toward her husband.  What we find in Genesis chapters 3 and 4 is that man must fight against two powerful forces that desire to control him and would have him sin against God.  He must rule both over his own sinful nature as well as the sinful nature of his wife.

“But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.”

1 Timothy 2:12 (KJV)

A woman’s sinful desire causes her not only to seek equality with man – but also to usurp authority over man thus reversing the created design of God in regard to the two genders.

After 7000 years woman and man return to their original sins

Men and women have sinned against God in many ways since that fateful day in the Garden of Eden around 7000 years ago. And women have rebelled against their authority in man for all that time in many different ways.

But while man sinned against God in many ways since that day in the Garden there was one command that for the most part man followed:

“thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee” Genesis 3:16 (KJV)

Men for all of human history up until the mid-19th century followed God’s command for them to rule over women. Sometimes they did so in harsh and imperfect ways, but for the most part they did not fail to exercise this mandate. Men were fully cognizant of a woman’s sinful desire for equality with man as she sinfully desired equality with God in Eden. Men, for the most part, were cognizant of a woman’s sinful desire to control man and men kept women in their place even when they sought to rebel.

But around the mid-19th century an equality cult was born. It was this equality cult, or egalitarianism as it is now called which gave rise to the birth of feminism.  The equality movement taught that if one person did not have the same rights and privileges as another then this was treating that person in an inhumane and unjust manner.  Feminism seized on this principle applying it specifically to women calling the inequality of women to men an injustice.  The Bible was even twisted and mangled to support this false notion of injustice.

Just as Eve reached for that forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden women were once against reaching for the forbidden fruit of equality. But men having stood their ground against this sinful inclination in women for 7000 years relented and they once again did what God condemn Adam for.  They abdicated their mandate to rule over women and “hearkened unto the voice” of women.

This movement cast aside the patriarchal family structure that had served mankind since creation itself. This feminist movement eventually infected the Church and attacked the very foundations of God’s design of the genders and of his divine institution of marriage.

The result of the equality cult and his spawn of feminism has been the downfall marriage and the family over the last century.  God’s institution of marriage is routinely mocked by couples engaging in casual sex. Divorce is rampant and couples living sin together is the norm. Children having two moms and dads is now the way of life.

But as Christian Churches and as Christian men and women we can return to God and his will and design for our genders if we so choose and he will heal our land if we do so.

If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”

2 Chronicles 7:14 (KJV)

Returning to Biblical Gender Roles

In order to return to living by Biblical gender roles we must return to “the book” as a young Israelite King did.

“10 And Shaphan the scribe shewed the king, saying, Hilkiah the priest hath delivered me a book. And Shaphan read it before the king. 11 And it came to pass, when the king had heard the words of the book of the law, that he rent his clothes. 12 And the king commanded Hilkiah the priest, and Ahikam the son of Shaphan, and Achbor the son of Michaiah, and Shaphan the scribe, and Asahiah a servant of the king’s, saying, 13 Go ye, enquire of the Lord for me, and for the people, and for all Judah, concerning the words of this book that is found: for great is the wrath of the Lord that is kindled against us, because our fathers have not hearkened unto the words of this book, to do according unto all that which is written concerning us.”

2 Kings 22:10-13 (KJV)

The “book” alluded to in the story above is the Word of God.  Like young Josiah said of his ancestors, our American “fathers have not hearkened unto the words of this book, to do according unto all that which is written concerning us.” Our Ancestors starting in the mid-19th century began to lose their way when they followed the false teachings of egalitarianism and feminism.

Now we must return to the teachings of “this book” if God is to heal our land, our churches, our families and our marriages. This is the primary mission of this site – BiblicalGenderRoles.com.

With that being said we will start with the divine commentary on the Genesis account as given by the Apostle Paul:

“3 But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God…

7 For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man. 8 For the man is not of the woman: but the woman of the man. 9 Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man. 10 For this cause ought the woman to have power on her head because of the angels. 11 Nevertheless neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord. ”

I Corinthians 11:3 & 7-11 (KJV)

This passage teaches four critical Biblical principles if we are to understand God’s design of man and woman in this world.

Biblical Gender Principle #1 – Man was made to image God

Man is “the image and glory of God” meaning he is God’s direct image bearer and he was made to bring glory to God by playing out the image of God.

So what does this mean? It means the masculine traits given to men before the fall and those masculine traits which are honored by God are things that men should freely and abundantly exercise to the best of their ability.  Man’s desire to lead, provide and protect.  His competitive nature, his desire to build, his desire for respect and his desire for beauty and pleasure all come from God. Man’s desire for all these things is not simply for himself, but ultimately it is so that he will fulfill the purpose of his design which was to be God’s direct image bearer.

Women today complain that men just don’t act like men anymore and you know what – they are right! But it is men, not women that must decide for themselves that they will act like men.

“Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.”

1 Corinthians 16:13 (NASB)

It is men who must decide to take back their mantle of responsibility. Will they work hard and provide for their families or will they be deadbeats? Will they love their wives and children by leading them, correcting them, teaching them, providing for them and protecting them as God does for his people or will they abuse their families and abdicate their responsibilities? Will men follow the mandate to rule over their wives or will they let their wives rule over them? Will they image God or not? These are the choices men must make for themselves.

Biblical Gender Principle #2 – Woman was made to help man image God

There are many Christians on both sides of the aisle that teach that men need women to help them be what God intended them to be.   But most of these Christians do so from the false premise that woman by nature is spiritually and morally stronger than man and they in essence teach that men need their wives to act as a mother figure to them to help them to fully image God as a husband and father.

Christian Feminists and Egalitarians on the left make no secret of their belief that men need women to keep them in line. They have no problem with women usurping authority over their husbands wherever a woman feels her husband is wrong.

But there are many Christian groups which on the surface seem to oppose women usurping authority over men but then they encourage feminine usurping through the back door.  Focus on the Family is a good example of this.  In one statement they will say they believe in male headship and that women should submit to their husbands.   But then they completely undermine Biblical patriarchy by teaching women they may usurp authority over their husbands by “placing boundaries” on their husbands.  Women placing boundaries on their husbands is just another way of saying women can correct and discipline their husbands as a mother would correct and discipline her son.

In a way the teachings of groups like Focus on the Family, that supposedly support Biblical male headship yet subtly undermine it, are more dangerous than that of Christian feminist groups because they are mixing their heresy with some truths from God’s Word.

So how should a woman help her husband?

From a Biblical perspective a woman helps a man image God not by being his mother and teacher but instead by giving her husband the respect she gave her own father and seeing her husband as her teacher. Only when a woman rids herself of all pride realizing that every part of her God given physical and mental design was meant to serve and bless her husband can she help him image God.

It is when a woman expresses her respect for her husband, her need for his leadership and guidance and when she fully submits her mind and body to his will making herself one with him in this way that she fully helps him to image God.

Woman was made in man’s image to bring him glory and by doing so she brings God glory. God made woman the “weaker vessel” (I Peter 3:7) so that she would need man as mankind needs God. Woman was made from man (I Corinthians 11:8) so that she would share in common with man a human nature.  In their common human traits men and women both reflect the nature of God but woman’s nature deviates from God’s nature in her distinctively feminine traits. Every attribute of a woman’s feminine nature was given to her not as a reflection of God’s image, but rather as a way to help man fully reflect God’s image by being an object upon which man can fully play out his role as the image bearer of God.

Biblical Gender Principle #3 – Only through marriage can man and woman fully live out their design

Men and Women are given a natural pull and complementary needs toward one another so that they will play out the roles given them by God.  This is why I Corinthians 11:11 tells us “Nevertheless neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord.” – meaning that God made men and women interdependent on one another. Many liberal Christians and those who reject Biblical principles will not have a problem with this third principle.  They like that men and women need each other.  It sounds nice.  But what they don’t like is WHY the Bible teaches here that men and women need each other.

“22 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. 24 Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.

25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; 26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, 27 That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.

28 So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. 29 For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church:

30 For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.

31 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. 32 This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.

33 Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.” – Ephesians 5:22-33 (KJV)

It is “for this cause” (vs 31), the cause of fully playing out the roles that God has given to men and women that we enter into marriage.  Ephesians 5 shows us that God made man the image bearer and woman for man to play out his role as the image bearer in marriage. In God’s divine institution of marriage man plays the role of God and woman plays the role of mankind.

Men “need” women as objects upon which to play out their God given image traits. On the other hand – every need of the God given feminine nature (before the corruption of Eden) is given to a woman to help man play out his God given attributes.

In other words the reason God gave women a desire to be beautiful was not for themselves but it was because men desire beauty.  Women were not given sexual desire for themselves, or the ability to derive sexual pleasure for themselves.  They were given sexual desire and the ability to experience sexual pleasure to please their husbands for whom they were made. A woman was not given the desire to bear and nurture children for herself, but rather she was given these desires to please her husband and help him fully play out his God given image as both husband and father.

In summary regarding this third principle – there are some things God has given us to do that we cannot do without cooperation with someone else. It is only through God’s divine institution of marriage that men and women can fully play out the design for their genders.  Man cannot fully image God without becoming a husband and father and woman cannot fully live out her role as the being created specifically for man without finding a man to serve as his wife and mother to his children.

Biblical Gender Principle #4 – Celibacy is God’s exception to his design for two genders

In the rare case of celibacy, God allows in his sovereignty for some men and women not to fully play out the roles he designed for each gender.

God’s rule – “Be fruitful, and multiply” (Genesis 1:28) is that man plays out his image and that woman is the object upon which man plays out his image.  His exception to this rule is that he has given some the “gift” of celibacy (I Corinthians 7:7) so he does not put in them the independency upon the opposite sex referenced in I Corinthians 11:11. This gift is given for service to God.  But we must remember this is the exception to God’s design and not the norm of his design for man and woman.

Conclusion

Unfortunately our American ancestors have returned us to the original sins committed by Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. Eve sought an equality that was not hers to have and Adam abdicated his responsibility to rule over his wife and followed her sinful request. But like young King Josiah – we too can return to God’s ways if we return to the teachings of “the book” – the Word of God.  It starts with us as men and women as individuals returning to God’s Word and then with husbands teaching their wives and fathers teaching their children.  When our families are rebuilt on the Word of God then we can take back our Churches for God and eventually our nation for God.

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14 thoughts on “Biblical Gender Roles

  1. I believe that one major problem that my wife has is of her role towards me and towards her children, all of whom are grown adults with their own children.

    When we first met, when I went to her home her then 29-year old son was still living with her. He slept until noon, went to the gym after that, hung out with his friends, and did not have a job (except for selling minutes for cell phone via the internet for a few hours a day). He had a place to sleep and always had enough food to eat, all free of charge. He contributed nothing towards the household expenses.

    Before we got married, I told her, “He is not living with us!’ She sold her house in Colombia and shortly after that married me and moved to Mexico. I thought then that the emotional umbilical cord she had to this son would be broken, but it just got longer! In May she called him 32 times, in June 34 times. (Thank God, that just before that our plan with Telmex included free international calls to most countries.) She has sent him money many times. She is now sending money to her oldest son, who is now 40 years old. She said that both of her sons are excellent salesmen. i asked her, “Then why do you need to send them money?”

    Her youngest son has been begging her to come back to Colombia. He would like for both of us to move there. While I was getting counseling via Skype from a Hispanic pastor in California mentioning my wife’s desire to move back to Colombia, he said, “Maybe God is through with your ministry in Mexico.” I went on a one man retreat in the country after that, fasting and praying for over two days. The Lord made it clear to me that He wanted me in Mexico, not Colombia. He said that I am to follow him, not my wife.

    To be honest with you, I provoked some of this problem with my wife when I told her, out of compassion, that if I ever get to a point to where I can no longer take care of myself (I’m 76 years old now), that we could move there so she could be closer to her family. This opened up an even greater desire for her to move back to Colombia. Now she and this son are saying, “What if he (meaning me) has a heart attack or a stroke in Mexico? How could he move to Colombia then?”

    I reminded my wife that even before we got married that I said that any woman who wanted to marry me would have to be willing to live in Aguascalientes, Mexico. But, unfortunately, my wife does not really understand the word committment.

    She apparently wants to live the same life with me that she lived as a widow before marrying me, with me taking the place of her son, but with financial benefits to her. Many times she has rebuked me as she would her son. Lately I have told her that I would not tolerate this disrespect, that I am not a child, but her husband. I told her that her ordering me around is very offensive to me. She said that she was not ordering me, but just talking to me as a person close to her. She said that in her culture it is not offensive. I told her that in my culture it is, and that she needed to adjust to my culture (in this). She said that I needed to adjust to her culture.

    The main reason I didn’t look at American women as being potential wives is that so many of them want to be independent of their husbands. I thought that with a Latin American woman I wouldn’t have that problem. I was sure wrong about that!

  2. Hello. Please pardon me if I am tad forward. I never felt biblical and cultural were any were near the the same thing. Cultural having more to do with the flesh and biblical having more to do with ones spirit. Am I mistaken on this?

  3. Joanna,

    I am not sure what you saying. Not everything our culture does or believes is sinful and not everything our culture does and believes is right. The Bible is our measuring stick, our canon by which we compare our behavior and our traditions. This the only way we can tell right from wrong.

  4. I should have told my wife that her ordering me around is not biblical, rather than saying that it is against my culture (she brought up the word culture, which is why I responded to her in this way). No matter what the culture says, the Bible clearly says that women are to respect their husbands, not order them around like children.

  5. Hi there,
    I read what you wrote (on another post) about a woman running a man’s race and not receiving her prize at the end because she avoided all of the “woman’s race” obstacles. You also stated that you believe God designed a man to work and provide for his family, while a woman is designed to stay at home and care for her husband and kids. Getting rid of the race metaphor, you think that a woman having a full time career is unbiblical, correct? What if she was more gifted in the area of leadership and “breadwinning,” and her husband was more gifted at raising the children and running a home? Are these not all good, suitable, noble pursuits? I’d love to hear your thoughts! Thanks!

  6. Kelly,

    I believe it is unbiblical for a woman to CHOOSE to have a full time career while her husband and children and her home need her full time attention. Now it might be possible at after all the children are grown and are in school that a woman might be able to go work or teach at School as long as it did not interfere with her duties to the home. But again this is still very problematic and the vast majority of women cannot have a full time career without dropping things at home.

    Now some women have no choice but to work and have a full time career because they have no husband or their husband has become disabled. In this case God chose for them that they would need to do both taking care of their home and working. But a woman does not have the right to set the obstacles for the race God has given her – she must run the race God gives her.

    On the issue of a woman being more gifted with leadership and the ability to be a breadwinner and a man being better suited to the home here is my answer.

    A king picks two people for different tasks. He says to one – you are in charge of tasks a, b, and c. He says to the other you are responsible for tasks d, e and f. When you are both done bring the results of your tasks.

    Those two people have no right to switch their tasks because one is better than the other at certain tasks. The King assigned them their tasks. If they return to the king showing that they had exchanged tasks because they knew better than the king he will not find “good” or “noble”.

    This is how it will be with God in the judgment. We cannot in our pride and arrogance assume we know better than God. He has given us certain tasks depending our gender and yes for some of us those tasks will be more difficult than for others. Regardless we each have our role to play if we are to follow God’s rules of the race.

  7. Hi, I’m having a few issues with my husband, and i think im doubting the bible.

    Recently, my husband and i had a rather tense night of sexual relations, and as a result we’ve been cold to each other.
    during this night, i was exhaused after working all day, and he was too, just, not as tired. He insisted on relations even after i made it clear several times. i really didnt want it. Afterwards i got emotional and he got angry.

    I dont want this to ruin our marriage, but i really dont want it to happen again.
    Help?

  8. Heather,

    I Corinthians 7:2-5 makes it clear that when you marry someone God gives that person the power over your body for the purposes of sexual release. It is interesting that Paul frames the sexual rights in marriage in two different ways:

    In this first verse he speaks of each spouse freely giving their body for the purposes of sex as kindness in marriage:
    “Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband.:

    Then in the next verse we go from the position of the spouse freely giving their body to the other now to telling spouses that their spouse may freely “take” as in they have power over the other spouses body for the purposes of sexual release:
    “The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife”

    Now the Apostle Paul is not talking about a man forcing himself inside his wife – something that I would argue would be physically abusive. But he is saying that you or your husband have the right to ask for sex ANYTIME you need it and the other spouse has no power to refuse such requests. Now should a spouse take into account a spouse being sick, or otherwise physically unable? Sure and I think the Lord would want us to consider postponing sex for legitimate reasons.

    But I don’t think being exhausted from a long days work is a legitimate reason for sexual refusal or postponement.

    Consider it from you view as a woman. Imagine if you had a hard day at work and a lot of things happened and you wanted to just emotionally release everything that happened at work. Often times women need that emotional release where they can just talk about the people that gave them a hard time and all that. But you start talking and your husband says “I am exhausted and really don’t feel like talking to you today or listening to you today. Can we talk tomorrow?” How would you feel? I think most women would be quite annoyed with their husbands in that situation.

    In the same way sometimes when a man has horrible day at work – all he can think of is having sex to literally “get a load off his mind”. Talking makes you as women feel relieved, having sex makes men feel relieved and relaxed.

    The reason you got angry is because you were looking at this from only your point of view as a woman, and not his point of view as a man.

  9. I have always felt that the best way to deal with a woman who gets out of line is to start with hiding the car keys around the house. Her struggle to retrieve these keys clearly reflects the same struggle that Jesus endured in his crucifixion. Although it may be physical or emotional in the moment, they eventually appreciate the overall biblical meaning of the struggle.
    Secondly, refusing sex is the worst a wife thing can do (of course, as long as there is no medical reasoning behind it). In my opinion there is no excuse for this, especially considering that the house is based under classic patriarchy ruling.
    Having said that, I myself have not worked since forklift accident. But, my welfare checks, unemployment payments, and Uncle Harry’s inheritance money (wife’s side, but I am discussing my share) far outdo any of the scrap money she brings in from her fancy degree.

  10. Throughout this website, you cite the Bible passage telling wives to submit to their husbands “in everything.” But consider this hypothetical case: a husband is severely physically and mentally disabled. He sits in a wheelchair because he cannot walk. His limbs are weak and useless, and he frequently has epileptic fits. He certainly could not hold down a job. He cannot talk, only groan incoherently. Sometimes he is highly distressed or angered by the many situations he doesn’t understand. He’s a messy eater and wets himself.

    How can her husband fulfill his obligations to lead, provide and protect if he is so disabled that he cannot interact with the world in a meaningful way? How can he love his wife sacrificially if he doesn’t recognise her as his wife? How can he be responsible for disciplining the children if he can’t even control his own bladder?

    What should the wife do in such a situation? I think she would still love him for better or worse, but how does she practise this? If, for example, she is working while he stays at home, would God be understanding of the non-traditional gender roles, given the situation? Or would she still be punished in the next life for not submitting to her husband? (And does it make a difference if she married him knowing he was like this, as opposed to marrying an able-bodied neurotypical man who later began to suffer from an incurable progressive illness?)

    That’s another thing. It’s not directly linked to Biblical gender roles, but what do you think happens to mentally disabled people when they die? If they couldn’t have understood anything, let alone the significance of Jesus’ sacrifice, and they couldn’t have made a choice to accept Jesus as their Saviour, would they go to Heaven or Hell? Would God’s justice (regarding original sin) or God’s mercy (regarding the weak) come into play here?

  11. Consider these two scenarios:

    1. A male character in a movie takes a bullet for his wife and dies. He has saved the life of the woman he loves, at great personal cost to himself.
    2. A female character in a movie takes a bullet for her husband and dies. She has saved the life of the man she loves, at great personal cost to herself.

    Which character is the true hero?

    Husbands are to love their wives sacrificially, says the Bible, but cannot wives do the same thing? I know husbands and wives are symbols of Jesus and the Church, and I suppose it would be a little silly for the Church to take a bullet for Jesus. But I feel uncomfortable with the thought that my husband can save my life if I need him to, and yet I do not have God’s permission to save my husband’s life. What does sacrificial love amount to in practice? What is the female equivalent, if there is one?

  12. Rose,

    Your Statement:

    “Throughout this website, you cite the Bible passage telling wives to submit to their husbands “in everything.” But consider this hypothetical case: a husband is severely physically and mentally disabled. He sits in a wheelchair because he cannot walk. His limbs are weak and useless, and he frequently has epileptic fits. He certainly could not hold down a job. He cannot talk, only groan incoherently. Sometimes he is highly distressed or angered by the many situations he doesn’t understand. He’s a messy eater and wets himself.

    How can her husband fulfill his obligations to lead, provide and protect if he is so disabled that he cannot interact with the world in a meaningful way? How can he love his wife sacrificially if he doesn’t recognise her as his wife? How can he be responsible for disciplining the children if he can’t even control his own bladder?”

    The Bible tells us this:

    “41 There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory. 42 So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption: 43 It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power”

    1 Corinthians 15:41-43 (KJV)

    The Bible tells us that the presence of sin in the world has physically and spiritually corrupted everything in this world. Make no mistake – God’s design is still present in everything, yet it corrupted in different ways with different people and things. One of the corruptions of sin in this world is sickness, deformity and death. If Adam and Eve had never sinned there would be no sickness, deformity or death in humanity.

    The Bible tells us in the world to come all these things will gone for those who believe in him:

    “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.”

    Revelation 21:4 (KJV)

    So the answer to your question about your hypothetical husband is this. From your description the husband almost a a vegetable and invalid at best with out proper mental facilities to do the most basic things or make the most basic decisions. The reason this man is in this condition is the same reason babies are born with horrible birth defects – because of the corrupting influence of sin on this world.

    So let’s first tackle should a woman marry such a man knowing he is in this condition. My answer would be NO. The reason is that a woman should not purposefully go into a marriage situation knowing full well that her marriage will never be able to be the model that Ephesians 5:22-33 says marriage is to be. In the situation you describe the husband would be incapable of modeling any part of his role that God has called him to.

    Instead such a man should remain celibate and his family members should care for him for the remainder of his life.

    But am I saying no woman should go into a marriage knowing her husband is disabled? No. But going into a marriage with a man that is basically an invalid who cannot think or rationalize or make any kind of decision is a person going into marriage purposefully knowing they will never be able to model marriage as God desires it.

    It would be one thing if a man is simply in a wheel chair or has some other disabilities but still has his mental facilities in place.

    God says his word shows “the thoughts and intents of the heart”. God very much cares about our intent when we go into a situation. So if a woman marries a disabled man in a wheel chair, or perhaps marries a disabled veteran with the nobel intent of wanting to serve him knowing she may have to work to support their family that is a nobel and righteous intent.

    But consider another type of woman. She knows full well what the Bible says about women being keepers of the home(Titus 2:5) yet she has looked down with disdain on this role of woman since she was a teenager. She wants to be a career woman and have a man at home whom she takes care of. So she devises a plan to purposefully marry a disabled man so that she can have her career and have her man at home the way she wants. God sees her intent and it was not nobel. It was not based on wanting to care for and serve a disabled man – but was instead a way for her to have her selfish ambitions.

    So yes because of the corrupting influence of sin in the world sometimes men are called to double duty(working and taking care of the duties of the home) and other times women are called to double duty(working and taking care of the needs of their home). It is one thing if this happens to your spouse after marriage. It is also different if your intents as a woman are nobel wanting to help a disabled man, but one that can still lead you even if he cannot provide because of his disability. It is quite another to willfully plan and intend to go into a marriage where a man will not be able to lead you or provide for you because of your own selfish ambitions as a woman.

    God judges the thoughts and intents of us all and each decision we make.

    Your Statement:

    “what do you think happens to mentally disabled people when they die? If they couldn’t have understood anything, let alone the significance of Jesus’ sacrifice, and they couldn’t have made a choice to accept Jesus as their Saviour, would they go to Heaven or Hell?”

    I think mentally disabled people are much like children in that they cannot understand these things. I believe that God only holds those accountable who the mental facilities to understand their position before God. David said this of his infant child that died:

    “But now he is dead, wherefore should I fast? can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me.”

    David knew that he would see his infant child again one day with God. This is why I and many other Christians believe there is an age of accountability(the exact age will be different for each person). But only when you reach a certain maturity where you can understand your sin and what God requires will God hold you accountable for your decision.

    So I say all this – no I do not believe mentally ill people or young children go to hell when they die because they have not yet trusted in Christ as their savior.

    II Samuel 12:23 (KJV)

  13. Rose,

    Your Statement:

    “Consider these two scenarios:

    1. A male character in a movie takes a bullet for his wife and dies. He has saved the life of the woman he loves, at great personal cost to himself.
    2. A female character in a movie takes a bullet for her husband and dies. She has saved the life of the man she loves, at great personal cost to herself.

    Which character is the true hero?

    Husbands are to love their wives sacrificially, says the Bible, but cannot wives do the same thing? I know husbands and wives are symbols of Jesus and the Church, and I suppose it would be a little silly for the Church to take a bullet for Jesus. But I feel uncomfortable with the thought that my husband can save my life if I need him to, and yet I do not have God’s permission to save my husband’s life. What does sacrificial love amount to in practice? What is the female equivalent, if there is one?”

    There is nothing wrong or less heroic about a woman taking a bullet for her husband or sacrificing herself for her husband. There is no permission needed to save another person’s life if we have the capability to do it. However we must remember that a woman is under her husband’s authority. So let’s say there is a situation where only one person can live and one will die and a decision must be made. The husband gets this call and he should willingly give up his life for his wife and though it will be hard for her she should allow him to do so. She cannot override his decision.

    The fact of the Bible is that men are called to sacrificially love their wives and women are called to submissively love their husbands. Some of the actions they take may look very much the same in these en devours. When a man comes home from a hard day at work a later that evening decides to wash the dishes and clean the kitchen for his wife this is an act of sacrificial love on his part. When a woman consents to her husband’s request for sex even though she is totally not in the mood and has had a stressful day and sex is the last thing on her mind – she is submissively loving her husband.

    A woman’s submissive actions may also look very much like sacrifice. She sacrifices her pride when she follows her husband even though she disagrees. She sacrifices herself when she gets up in the middle of the night with her infant child and makes sure she does not bother her husband so he can get up for work in the morning. She sacrifices herself when she is an intelligent woman that could do many things in various career fields but chooses to submit herself to God’s design for her life by dedicating herself to her husband, her children and her home.

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