Is the Red Pill Concept of the Female Imperative Biblical?

In the last part of this series, “Is Red Pill Biblical?”, we discussed the Red Pill concept of the Male Imperative and how it is Biblical in presenting sex as driving need for men and that men being polygynous in their sexual natures matches with God’s design of the masculine nature.  We showed however that Red Pill, because of its naturalistic world view, fails to see that sex is only part of a much larger masculine imperative that God intended for man when he designed him.

In this fourth part of our series, we will discuss the Red Pill concept of the Feminine Imperative and answer the question of whether any part of it is Biblical or not.

In order to discuss the Feminine Imperative we must first discuss the Red Pill paradigm of Alpha and Beta males which is at the core of the Feminine Imperative.  “Alpha Fucks/Beta Bucks” is common way that the manosphere refers to two classes of men. There is also a well known “80/20 Rule” in relation to Alpha and Beta males meaning that 80 percent of males are Beta and 20 percent are Alpha.   Tomassi states in “Transactional vs Validational Sex”  that “Alpha Fucks and Beta Bucks could better be described as Alpha Seed and Beta Need”.

In his article entitled “Alpha”, Tomassi defines Alpha when he writes [ https://therationalmale.com/2011/10/20/alpha/  ] – “Alpha is mindset, not a demographic. Alpha is as Alpha does, it isn’t what we say it is”.  And in “The New Polyandry” [ https://therationalmale.com/2018/12/10/the-new-polyandry/ ]  he writes  “‘Broke men don’t get women‘,…unless they’re hot broke men”.

The point is a man being Alpha has nothing to do with how much money he has, but rather it is primarily based upon his mindset and then only secondarily upon his looks.  Together this is what makes a man “hot” to a woman.

The Red Pill Alpha Male Mindset

Tomassi defines the Alpha Mindset in his article “Mental Point of Origin”:

“Personally, I was at my most Alpha when I didn’t realize I was. That’s not Zen, it’s just doing what came natural for me at a point in my life when I had next to nothing materially, only a marginal amount of social proof, but a strong desire to enjoy women for the sake of just enjoying them in spite of it.

I’ve mentioned before, the most memorable sex I’ve had has been when I was flat broke (mostly). It didn’t matter that I lived in a 2 room studio in North Hollywood or had beer and mac & cheese in the fridge – I got laid and I had women come to me for it…

It didn’t take my doing anything for a woman to get laid or hold her interest. All I did was make myself my mental point of origin. It’s when I started putting women as a goal, making them into more than just a source of enjoyment, that I transferred that mental point of origin to her and I became the necessitous one.

A lot of guys will call that being ‘needy’, and I suppose it is, but it’s a neediness that results from putting a woman (or another person) as your first thought – your mental point of origin…

And in then in this same article Tomassi asks a few questions that help men to see if they are their own “mental point of origin”, i.e. living in an Alpha mindset.

“Are you your mental point of origin?

Is your first inclination to consider how something in your relationships will affect you or your girlfriend/wife/family/boss?

When men fall into relationships with authoritarian, feminine-primary women, their first thought about any particulars of their actions is how his woman will respond to it, not his own involvement or his motivations for it. Are you a peacekeeper?

Do you worry that putting yourself as your own first priority will turn a woman off or do you think it will engage her more fully?”

So, according to Red Pill, If you as a man make your life decisions regarding your career, your hobbies, your relationships or other decisions without seeking to please others whether they be men or women then you have an Alpha mindset. In my next article in this series I will be discussing whether any part of the Red Pill Alpha mindset is Biblical.

The Red Pill Beta Male Mindset

The beta male mindset according to Red Pill is the polar opposite of the alpha male mindset.  Unlike the alpha male who needs no approval for his life decisions, beta males crave the approval of others, especially the women around them.

Specifically, when it comes to women, beta males put women on a pedestal and adopt the “Happy Wife/Happy Life” mentality.   Tomassi describes the beta mindset or “beta game” in his article “Our Sister’s Keeper”:

“for about 25 years or so, popular culture strongly pointed men towards a sexual strategy that could be defined as Beta Game. Play nice, respect a woman by default, be supportive of her self-image and ambitions to the sacrifice of your own, don’t judge her and do your utmost to identify with the feminine, was the call to action that, deductively, should make a man more attractive to a woman.”

Why Do Women Marry Beta Men?

So, if women are primarily aroused by the alpha male mindset then why do we see women so often marrying Beta men? The answer to this is found in Tomassi’s article entitled “Transactional vs Validational Sex”:

“As most of my readers know, Hypergamy – women’s dualistic sexual strategy (and really life strategy) – is much more than a tendency of a woman to ‘marry up’. In Hormonal the ideas of Alpha Fucks and Beta Bucks really solidify with the research.

However, as useful as it is as a catchy euphemism Alpha Fucks and Beta Bucks could better be described as Alpha Seed and Beta Need. In a woman’s peak ovulatory phase of her menstrual cycle she enters an estrus state and becomes subject to behaviors that can only be defined as a pretext of seeking Alpha seed…

While women are subject to an estrus state they still require the second half of Hypergamy – the Beta need for security, provisioning, protection, comfort and at least the sharing of parental investment responsibilities for any offspring…

It may be true that women have never been better provided for in history as far as money and opportunities go, but women still look for emotional security, protection, dominance and comfort in men as part of their innate mental firmware.”

What Tomassi is saying is that women have duel and competing concerns when it comes to choosing a man.  The have the Alpha arousal side but they also have the Beta needs side for security, provisioning, protection and comfort.   Optimally women would like to have both sides of this equation met but few women can find a man that meets both the Alpha arousal and Beta provisioning desires that they have.   So long story short, many women compromise on the Beta provisioning side because of the “80/20 Rule” that only 20 percent of men are Alphas and 80 percent of men are Betas.

In “The New Polyandry”, Tomassi writes:

“Monogamy is a social norm, if not an evolutionary norm. A lot has been written about how monogamy in its present incarnation – one man, one woman – is really the result of a post-agrarian social order that optimized the sexual strategy of Beta men. In essence socially-enforced monogamy serves the largest population of Beta males.

However, the tradeoff for women was long term provisioning, protection (in as far as the man was capable) and parental investment – all thing conducive to sustainable futures for women and their children. All that was expected of women was a compromise on the Alpha arousal side of Hypergamy. And naturally, Alpha men and most women found ways to circumvent this socio-sexual adaptation that benefitted women in spite of Beta men.

Monogamy serves Beta men. Alpha men still get sex, broke or not.”

And again in “Transactional vs Validational Sex” he writes about how the vast majority of women married to men whom they consider Beta husbands have sex with their husbands simply as a reward to control their behavior:

“For most men (i.e the 80% Beta men) transactional sex is where the rubber meets the road. In fact, I’d argue that for most Beta men transactional sex is the only definition of sex they ever really know…

Marriage today is almost entirely predicated on the transactional sex side of Hypergamy. I’m not saying it has to be, nor am I saying it always is, but I’m fairly comfortable in speculating that for most married women sex is reward she uses in the operant conditioning of her husband

one thing we’ve all seen a lot of from young and old Blue Pill Beta men is this logical tendency for them to want to ‘sacrifice their way to happiness with their wives’. It’s as if the more they sacrifice the more they pay for that intimacy they seek, but what they never get is that this only buries their sex lives that much more.”

So why do so many women marry Beta men according to Red Pill? Because there are far fewer Alpha men, polygamy is not accepted by society, and a Beta male that can be a provider,  a protector and a father to their children is better than having no man at all.  And being married to a Beta male that they are not aroused by has one added benefit they would not have being married to an Alpha male. They can control the Beta man using sex as a reward.

In other words, according the Red Pill, the vast majority of women are settling for less than the man they would like to marry.

Hypergamy and the Feminine Imperative

According to Red Pill, a man’s sexual strategy is “quantity over quality” .  This means a man is driven to have sex as often as possible and ideally with as many women as possible, thus men are far less picky about how sex occurs and who it occurs with.

Women on the other hand have an opposite “quality over quantity” sexual strategy.  They are more concerned with the quality of the man in addition to his ability to provide for her, protect her and be a father to her offspring.

Women instinctively and naturally desire the Alpha “seed”, they desire sex with men who not only exhibit, but truly live the Alpha mindset.   And if a man has the Alpha mindset along with the Beta provisioning and security a woman’s desires this makes for a “a good Hypergamous pairing” and Tomassi states “A woman in a good Hypergamous pairing accepts – desires – his authority, but also his genes. She doesn’t just want children, she wants his children”.

It is this dualistic sexual strategy in women’s “mental firmware”, the desire for Alpha seed but also the Beta needs for provisioning and security forms the core of the Feminine Imperative.  Hypergamy is what prompts women to meet their dualistic sexual strategy by an means necessary.

Feminine Hypergamy is the reason you might see a 25-year-old woman marry a wealthy 50-year-old man.  It is also the reason that the same 50-year-old man might come home to find his wife in bed with their pool boy.

Tomassi writes the following about hypergamy in “Relational Equity” :

“That post was born out of all the efforts I’ve repeatedly read men relate to me when they say how unbelievable their breakups were. As if all of the investment, emotional, physical, financial, familial, etc. would be rationally appreciated as a buffer against hypergamy. The reason for their shock and disbelief is that their mental state originates in the assumption that women are perfectly rational agents and should take all of their efforts, all of their personal strengths, all of the involvement in their women’s lives into account before trading up to a better prospective male. There is a prevailing belief that all of their merits, if sufficient, should be proof against her hypergamous considerations.

For men, this is a logically sound idea. All of that investment adds up to their concept of relationship equity. So it’s particularly jarring for men to consider that all of that equity becomes effectively worthless to a woman presented with a sufficiently better prospect as per the dictates of her hypergamy.

That isn’t to say that women don’t take that equity into account when determining whether to trade up or in their choice of men if they’re single, but their operative point of origin is ALWAYS hypergamy. Women obviously can control their hypergamic impulses in favor of fidelity, just as men can and do keep their sexual appetites in check, but always know that it isn’t relationship equity she’s rationally considering in that moment of decision.”

And in “Christian Dread”  Tomassi writes:

Religion is no insulation against Hypergamy. I understand that in the past religion was used as a control on Hypergamy, especially in respect to men’s burden of performance and the necessity of their provisioning to women.”

Is the Feminine Imperative Biblical?

The Bible teaches us that God made men and women to bring him glory in different ways.   In 1 Corinthians 11:7 we read “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”.  Man was created with the primary purpose of imaging or displaying God’s attributes.  God is a leader, a worker, a husband and a father among many other things.  And in order for man to image God as a husband and father God created woman and by extension marriage.

The Bible states in Ephesians 5:24 “Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing and in Ephesians 5:29 we read “For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church”.  This teaches us that God wanted women to submit to the authority of their husbands and to be provided for and protected by their husbands.

So, we can rightly say that the part of a woman’s “mental firmware” or “hardwiring” that seeks a confident man to lead her, provide for her and protect her is by the very design of God and it is in fact Biblical.

But just as sin corrupted man’s God given masculine nature in many ways so too woman’s feminine nature has been corrupted by sin as well.

Sin corrupts and twists a woman’s God given desire for male leadership, provision and protection and makes her discontent with her husband always wanting more.   This discontentment destroys a woman’s love and devotion to her husband and it is this discontentment that is the root cause of women having affairs and/or divorcing their husbands looking for the next best guy.

In the 7th commandment found in Exodus 20:14 we read “Thou shalt not commit adultery” and in Romans 7:2-3 we read “For the woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth… So then if, while her husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress”.   These are direct condemnations of the end result of Feminine Hypergamy.

Contrary to Tomassi’s assertion that “Religion is no insulation against Hypergamy” the Bible teaches us that true faith in Christ can absolutely be an insulation against Hypergamy (women being sinfully discontent with their husbands) and the other sins of this world:

“I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”

Philippians 4:13 (KJV)

“For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.”

1 John 5:4 (KJV)

The topics of the sanctity of marriage and exhortations to contentment are mentioned side by side in the book of Hebrews:

“4 Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge. 5 Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.”

Hebrews 13:4-5 (KJV)

When women are covetous of other’s women’s husband’s or they simply allow themselves to grow discontented with their husbands for various reasons this threatens the sanctity of their marriage covenant.

Tomassi’s assertion that “Religion is no insulation against Hypergamy” is also wrong not just from a Biblical perspective, but even from a divorce rate perspective.

Focus on the Family did a closer look at the common claim that divorce rates are as high for those in the church as those outside the church in an article entitled “Divorce Rate in the Church – As High as the World?” .  In that article they state some interesting studies which show committed Christians that regularly attend church have lower divorce rates than the average population:

“Professor Bradley Wright, a sociologist at the University of Connecticut, explains from his analysis of people who identify as Christians but rarely attend church, that 60 percent of these have been divorced. Of those who attend church regularly, 38 percent have been divorced.Bradley R.E. Wright, Christians Are Hate-Filled Hypocrites … and Other Lies You’ve Been Told, (Minneapolis, MN: Bethany House, 2010), p. 133

Bradford Wilcox, a leading sociologist at the University of Virginia and director of the National Marriage Project, finds from his own analysis that “active conservative Protestants” who regularly attend church have are 35 percent less likely to divorce compared to those who have no affiliation. Nominally attending conservative Protestants are 20 percent more likely to divorce, compared to secular Americans.W. Bradford Wilcox and Elizabeth Williamson, “The Cultural Contradictions of Mainline Family Ideology and Practice,” in American Religions and the Family, edited by Don S. Browning and David A. Clairmont (New York: Columbia University Press, 2007) p. 50

Professor Scott Stanley from the University of Denver, working with an absolute all-star team of leading sociologists on the Oklahoma Marriage Study, explains that couples with a vibrant religious faith had more and higher levels of the qualities couples need to avoid divorce.

Whether young or old, male or female, low-income or not, those who said that they were more religious reported higher average levels of commitment to their partners, higher levels of marital satisfaction, less thinking and talking about divorce and lower levels of negative interaction. These patterns held true when controlling for such important variables as income, education, and age at first marriage.

The divorce rates of Christian believers are not identical to the general population – not even close. Being a committed, faithful believer makes a measurable difference in marriage.

Saying you believe something or merely belonging to a church, unsurprisingly, does little for marriage. But the more you are involved in the actual practice of your faith in real ways – through submitting yourself to a serious body of believers, learning regularly from scripture, being in communion with God though prayer individually and with your spouse and children, and having friends and family around us who challenge us to take our marriage’s seriously – the greater difference this makes in strengthening both the quality and longevity of our marriages. Faith does matter and the leading sociologists of family and religion tell us so.”

True Faith in Christ, contentment with one’s marriage and keeping one’s family in church on a regular basis are in fact great insulators against Hypergamy.

Does that mean its guaranteed? Of course not.  But it gives a marriage a far better chance of success.

Conclusion

The Feminine Imperative to seek the best quality man with which to mate and also to have a father for that offspring providing and giving security to a woman and her offspring is by the design of God.

But Red Pill because it is a naturalistic philosophy sees the hypergamous aspect of the Feminine Imperative, her always looking for the next best guy, as simply a part of evolution’s plan to give women the best quality children with the best provision and protection possible.

But as Bible believing Christians, we know that that the hypergamous part of the feminine nature, always looking for the next best guy and never truly being content with the man she is with, is actually a corruption of the feminine nature by sin.

God condemned feminine hypergamy in the 7th commandment and saw it as such a threat to society that he allowed the death penalty for it in the following passage:

“If a man be found lying with a woman married to an husband, then they shall both of them die, both the man that lay with the woman, and the woman: so shalt thou put away evil from Israel.”

Deuteronomy 22:22 (KJV)

Even short of the death penalty, women had a strong motivator to keep their hypergamous natures in check and keep would-be Alpha seeders at bay.  If their husband divorced them and sent them away, they would lose their children to him and leave with nothing but the clothes on their back, no split assets, no alimony and no child support.

The sad truth is that because of changes brought on by feminism since the mid-19th century, all of these controls and checks against feminine hypergamy have been removed.  Our society has actually been restructured to support feminine hypergamy.

Womens’ discontentment with men which is at the heart of feminine hypergamy is encouraged by our society.  And our society actually rewards adulterous women with child custody, alimony, child support and split assets in the event of divorce.

A society which has no controls for keeping feminine hypergamy in check will eventually collapse.  Why? Because without controls on feminine hypergamy marriage and the family unit have no security or stability.  And when marriage and the family unit collapse society will follow.

We are already seeing the beginnings of this collapse of Western civilization with the growth of the Manosphere, Red Pill and the MGTOW movement.  Many men in Western nations no longer see marriage as a blessing, but as threat to their lives and their emotional and financial wellbeing.

But what I have said many times on this blog I will say again now.

Guys I get it.  Before the mid-19th century men had about a 97% chance that their marriage would be secure and truly be “until death do us part”.  And even in the event of divorce, men did not loose their children or become financially destitute as a result like they do today.

If you are a non-Christian or fair-weather Christian who is not committed to your faith or one that does not regularly attend church you have roughly a 50 percent chance of divorce.  If you are committed to your Christian faith, regularly attend church and find a woman of like mindset and background you can reduce that chance to less than 40 percent.  But even in the best-case scenario, you still have about a 40 percent chance of being emotionally and financially devastated in the event of a divorce.

But let’s flip that around.   That means you have a 50 to 60 percent of chance of staying married to the same woman, raising your children with her and spending your sunset years together.

Let me put that chance of success in perspective.  Do you realize that only 30 percent of small businesses make it past 10 years before failing? That means you have twice the chance of your marriage succeeding as you would a small business if you started one.

Men your created purpose was not just to survive and avoid any potential harm to your emotional, physical and financial wellbeing.  God created you as men to image him and thereby bring him glory.  And you cannot fulfill that purpose without being a husband and father.  God’s rule for both men and women as found in Genesis 1:28 is to “Be fruitful, and multiply” which means men and women are to seek marriage, and after being married have sex and have children.  God’s exception to this rule is celibacy for undivided service to him for those few whom he gives this special gift to.  God says in 1 Corinthians 7:9 that “it is better to marry than to burn”.

Risk is part of life gentlemen.  And God created us as men to be risk takers, it is part of our built-in masculine nature.  But just as when a man starts a small business, he must do careful planning and vetting, so too a man should do careful planning and then vetting of any woman he looks at as a potential future wife.

And a final word to the Christian women reading this. While both men and women can struggle with the sin of discontentment this sin seems to affect women far more often than it does men in marriage.  It is not hard for most men to be content in their marriages to their wives despite things they wish were better.  But for women it is the exact opposite.  The vast majority of women struggle with the sin of discontentment with their husbands.   And this is why once the societal controls on hypergamy were removed we saw divorce sky rocket with women now filing for 70 percent of divorces.

Christian women – keep your feminine hypergamy in check by daily asking the Lord to give you a spirit of contentment with your husband.

“Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.”

Hebrews 13:5 (KJV)

Why does the KJV render Romans 7:7 as “lust” and “covet”?

Is lust the same as covetousness?  Why does the KJV in Romans 7:7 translate one word as “lust” and another as “covetousness” even though in other translations like the NASB and NIV they translate both words as “covet”?

A friend of mine, Emily recently wrote this to me about Romans 7:7.  For my readers who are not familiar with this discussion one of the truths that I believe the Bible teaches is that lust is covetousness.  Specifically in the context of Matthew 5:28 lust is referring to a specific form of covetousness – mainly to covet another man’s wife.

Emily is not alone, there are many good Christians who want to believe that lust is a separate sin from covetousness and that lust refers simply to sexual desire, rather than it applying more accurately to sexual covetousness. I believe based on the whole of Scripture, as well as the meaning of the original languages that this distinction between lust and covetousness is faulty. Lust IS covetousness.

Here was Emily’s statement to me:

 “But first… that is not how it is phrased in my Bible, fyi. I just looked it up. It compares coveting to coveting, not to lust. Lust is not mentioned in that passage at all!

In that case, there is not much else in the Bible that equates the two. So I mean, thanks for clarifying what you mean by covet but I still think lust in and of itself is a sin.”

The reason Emily is not seeing see it in her  English translation of the Bible is because some modern English translations have left out the distinction Paul was trying to make.

Here is Romans 7:7 in the KJV, the NASB and NIV:

“What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet.” (KJV)

“What shall we say then? Is the Law sin? May it never be! On the contrary, I would not have come to know sin except through the Law; for I would not have known about coveting if the Law had not said, “You shall not covet.” (NASB)

“What shall we say, then? Is the law sinful? Certainly not! Nevertheless, I would not have known what sin was had it not been for the law. For I would not have known what coveting really was if the law had not said, “You shall not covet.” (NIV)

Now usually between these three popular translations the KJV is the most literal(but uses older English words), the NASB is more literal than the NIV, but less literal than the KJV with more modern words and then you have the NIV rounding out with the most modern wording, but it is often the least literal out of the three. Each of these have their value and I have used all these and other versions in my studies over the last 20 years.

But occasionally the NASB is more literal than even the KJV, and sometimes even the NIV is more literal or a better translation of a particular verse than the KJV.

So the big question is why does the KJV translate the first word as lust and only the second word as covet while these other two translations translate both words as covet? The reason is because in the Greek these are two different words:

“What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust[Epithumia], except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet[Epithumeo].” (KJV)

Here is the definition of the Greek word Epithumia (which the KJV translates as “lust” in Romans 7:7) according to Thayer and Smith’s Bible dictionary:

“desire, craving, longing, desire for what is forbidden, lust”

Here is the definition of the Greek word Epithumeo (which the KJV translates as “covet” in Romans 7:7) according to Thayer and Smith’s Bible dictionary:

“to turn upon a thing

to have a desire for, long for, to desire

to lust after, covet

of those who seek things forbidden”

So while these words are synonyms they are not identical and the KJV accurately represents that distinction in its translation where the NASB and NIV loose that distinction for the reader. If Paul meant to use the same word twice he would have said “for I had not known [Epithumeo], except the law had said, Thou shalt not [Epithumeo].” but he used a deliberate word play here with these synonyms to get his point across.

Both Epithumia and Epithumeo are used in positive and negative contexts

These words do not always represent wrong desires, lust or covetousness in the bad sense of these words.  The context of the surrounding passage is what tells us if these words are being used in a negative or positive sense.

Here is a positive use of Epithumia(translated as “lust” in Romans 7:7) in another passage of Scripture:

“But if I live in the flesh, this is the fruit of my labour: yet what I shall choose I wot not.  For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire[Epithumia]  to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better: Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you.” – Philippians 1:22-24 (KJV)

This is one of those passages of Scripture where I think the NIV does a better job of making this more understandable in modern English while still staying true to the wording in the original language:

“If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! I am torn between the two: I desire[Epithumia] to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body.” – Philippians 1:22-24 (NIV)

In either case both the KJV and NIV correctly translate Epithumia as “desire” here. Desire is used in the sense of a positive desire on the Apostle Paul’s part to want to be with the Lord in heaven.

Here is a positive use of Epithumeo in the Scriptures:

“And he said unto the disciples, The days will come, when ye shall desire[Epithumeo] to see one of the days of the Son of man, and ye shall not see it.” – Luke 17:22 (KJV)

Here is a another negative use of Epithumia(translated as “lust” in Romans 7:7) in another passage of Scripture:

“Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection[Pathos], evil concupiscence[Epithumia], and covetousness[Pleonexia], which is idolatry:” – Colossians 3:5 (KJV)

Concupiscence is an English word that means “evil sexual desires”.  Incidentally the word translated “covetousness” here is not the same word “Epithumeo” that is translated as “covet” in Romans 7:7.  This is another Greek word “Pleonexia” which has more to do with the greedy side of covetousness, rather than the desire to possess something that does not belong to us side of covetousness and this is why the NASB translates this same passage using the word “greed” instead of “covetousness”:

“Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion[Pathos], evil desire[Epithumia], and greed[Pleonexia], which amounts to idolatry.” Colossians 3:5 (NASB)

The NASB except for the word “immorality”, which should be “sexual immorality” is probably the most accurate translation of this verse to the original language of the Bible here in Colossians 3:5. The Greek word “Pathos” which is translated as “passion” in the NASB has the idea of a person being led astray by emotions.

But here we see based on the context of it being “evil” that these are speaking to wrong desires.

Here is another negative use of Epithumeo (translated as “covet” in Romans 7:7) in another passage of Scripture:

“But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after[Epithumeo] her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.” – Matthew 5:28 (KJV)

Conclusion

As I said before every translation of Scripture is just that, a translation of Scripture. Each translation has its strengths and weaknesses. But in this particular case the KJV rendering of Romans 7:7 by using “lust” in comparison to “covet” is accurately communicating the Apostle Paul’s attempt to play these two synonyms off each other.

“What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet.” – Romans 7:7 (KJV)

In the context of lust as it is spoke of in Matthew 5:27, this also proves by the fact that Epithumeo is used for lusting after a woman and Epithumeo is used synonymously of the 10th commandment in Romans 7:7 as “covet” that means God equates lust to covetousness.

The Church, Women and Barbeques

Imagine that you had a neighbor that had barbeque parties all summer long in his backyard. You like to barbeque too. But there is a world of difference between what he gets to cook on his barbeque and what you get to cook on yours. He cooks steaks every weekend, but you can only afford hamburgers.

By now you have probably honed your hamburger making skills to a science. You make the best barbequed hamburgers for your wife and children. But hamburgers will never be steaks.

Your neighbor makes a lot more money than you. He gets the best cuts of steak every weekend to make for his wife and their friends. Every weekend as you cook in your backyard you can see those sizzling steaks. The aroma is intoxicating. You can imagine just sinking your teeth into one of those steaks and how awesome it would be.

But you never allow your thoughts to turn to covetousness toward your neighbor’s steak. Instead you thank God each week for the ability to buy and cook those hamburgers that you have down to a science.

But what if you allowed your thoughts about those steaks to go to a different place? What if you started to imagine scenarios where you could sneak over there in your neighbor’s yard and grab one of those steaks off the grill? He and his wife go in their house all the time to get things for their party, you could wait till their gone for a second and take one. Maybe you act on this thought, maybe you don’t. It does not matter – what you have just experienced is a covetous thought.

Do you see where imagination moves to covetousness? God created us as human beings with an imagination. God also gave us a natural desire for and pleasure from the sights, smell and taste of food. But our sin nature will take something that God intended for our pleasure (our imagination and the pleasure we get from the sights, smell and taste of food) and corrupt it into wicked and covetous thoughts.

Covetousness takes our God given desires and corrupts them into the desire to possess those things which he has not given us to possess. Covetousness then moves from the desire to possess into imagining in our mind ways we could take possession of that thing which does not belong to us. Covetousness does not require that we actually act on any imaginations of possession, even just the imaginations in this case become sinful.

The Bible tells us to enjoy the blessings God has given us in the book of Ecclesiastes:

“Behold that which I have seen: it is good and comely for one to eat and to drink, and to enjoy the good of all his labour that he taketh under the sun all the days of his life, which God giveth him: for it is his portion.

Every man also to whom God hath given riches and wealth, and hath given him power to eat thereof, and to take his portion, and to rejoice in his labour; this is the gift of God.” – Ecclesiastes 5:18-19 (KJV)

God tells us in his Word that it is “good and comely” to enjoy the gifts he has given us. Some of those gifts include food and drink, our jobs and houses. The old English word comely is a translation of the Hebrew word “Yapheh” which literally means “beautiful or handsome”. God literally finds it “good and beautiful” when we as his creations enjoy the many gifts he has bestowed upon us – and one of those gifts is our ability to imagine things and also our ability to enjoy the sights, smells and taste of our favorite foods.

So what do Steaks have to do with women and the Church?

Well let’s change up our story a bit. Sure you like steak. But you notice something even more attractive than the steak your neighbor is cooking and that is wife.

“That’s wrong! That is lust! That is totally different than enjoying the sight of your neighbor’s steak. She is person man! Get your mind out of the gutter! She is a person for whom Christ died, not some object for your sexual viewing pleasure!” – This would be the reaction from many Christians and even some non-Christians.

Let’s say you had one of your friends over with wife for a barbeque. Your wife and his wife are chatting away in the house while you and your friend stand around the barbeque chatting. Your friend mentions “Boy those steaks you neighbor has cooking look great!” and you reply “And so does his wife.” If your friend has been in a typical Christian Church for any length of time he might mention Matthew 5:28 to you.

“But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.” – Matthew 5:28 (KJV)

Your fellow Christian Brother might then point out to you “This verse means that if you look with lust on any woman you are not married to you are committing adultery in your heart. You see In Christianity, it’s the intentions, just as much as the actions that are important.”

Now many people think of lust in our modern English terms as having to do completely with sexual thoughts but in the Bible however lust is not always talking about sex. So if you were not a really inquisitive person you might leave it at that – take our modern definition of lust, apply it to that verse and from that point on whenever your neighbors’ wife comes in his back yard you would have to look the other way even though it is just as hard as trying to ignore the smell of those steaks sizzling on your neighbor’s grill.

But what if you were like the Bereans?

But what if you were like the Bereans and have searched the Scriptures on this subject of lust – you may have some questions and observations for your Christian brother.

“And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea: who coming thither went into the synagogue of the Jews. These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.” – Acts 17:10-11 (KJV)

You see the Berean’s would look up everything the Apostle Paul was teaching them from the Old Testament about the coming of the Messiah and his plans for a time when the Gentiles and Jews would form a new body – the Church. They didn’t just take his Word for it – they checked the Scriptures to be sure.

Here are some observations that you could point out to your Christian brother.

Let’s look at Matthew 5:28 in with verse 27 to give it more context:

“Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.” – Matthew 5:27-28 (KJV)

The context of Christ’s discussion on lust was adultery. He first refers to the 7th commandment which forbids adultery.

The Biblical definition of adultery up to this point was when a man had sex with another’s man wife. The marital status of the man was irrelevant. In the Old Testament adultery was never a sin against a wife, it was always a sin against the husband of the other man’s wife(and of course it was sin against God as all sin is ultimately against God).

In the Gospels (Matthew 5:31-32, Matthew 19:3-12, Mark 10:2-12 and Luke 16:18) Christ expanded on the definition of adultery to include when a man wrongfully divorces his wife. His putting her away wrongfully is a newly defined form adultery, as well as the fact that he causes her to commit physical adultery by marrying another man and that man commits adultery because he is taking a woman that is still another man’s wife in God’s eyes.

Going back to Matthew 5:28 Christ gives us another form of adultery – “mental adultery”. But really this was not a new sin, but simply a new label for a specific form of a sin that God had already spoke against in the 10th commandment:

“Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s.” – Exodus 20:17 (KJV)

So this new type of “adultery in the heart” or “mental adultery” refers to a specific form of covetousness – mainly to covet another man’s wife.

Even the Biblical definition of lust confirms this:

“for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet.” – Romans 7:7 (KJV)

God’s Gift of Sexuality

In addition to the gift of being able to enjoy the sights, smells and taste of food along with many other gifts God has given us – he has also given us one of two other gifts.

For a chosen few he has given them the gift of celibacy.

“For I would that all men were even as I myself. But every man hath his proper gift of God, one after this manner, and another after that.” – I Corinthians 7:7

Celibacy is a gift that is to be used in God’s service and not for one to purposefully and selfishly avoid God’s institution of marriage. The gift of celibacy is God’s ONLY exception to his command in Genesis 1:28 for man and woman to “be fruitful and multiply”, otherwise the rest of us are supposed to be getting married and having kids if it is possible for us to do so.

But the majority of us do not have the gift of celibacy, but rather God has given us the gift of our sexuality. This helps us to fulfill his command to be fruitful and multiply, but that is certainly not the only reason God gave us sex and he could have used a much different means of reproduction.

God has blessed both men and women with his gift of sexuality, but he distributes it differently to men then he does to women. For most women their sexual desire is more emotionally based and for men it is far more physically and visually based. So the way in which men and women experience the gift of God’s sexuality is very different.

“Even by the God of thy father, who shall help thee; and by the Almighty, who shall bless thee with blessings of heaven above, blessings of the deep that lieth under, blessings of the breasts, and of the womb:” – Genesis 49:25 (KJV)

“Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth: for thy love is better than wine.” – Song of Solomon 1:2 (KJV)

“This thy stature is like to a palm tree, and thy breasts to clusters of grapes. I said, I will go up to the palm tree, I will take hold of the boughs thereof: now also thy breasts shall be as clusters of the vine, and the smell of thy nose like apples;” – Song of Solomon 7:7-8 (KJV)

Breasts in the Scripture have a dual symbolism. In the context of a mother and her child they symbolize nourishment and comfort. In the context of sexuality they represent a woman’s body and the fact that it is a gift of God toward men.

The Scriptures are clear that sexual relations of any kind between a man and a woman are strictly reserved for marriage:

“Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.” – Hebrews 13:4 (KJV)

But while sexual relations between a man and woman are reserved for marriage alone, this does not mean our sexuality itself is reserved for marriage alone. In other words the focus of all one’s sexual thoughts and sexual energy does not have to be solely directed at one’s spouse.

The Bible does NOT forbid sexual fantasy and sexual imagination. Rather the Bible forbids sexual covetousness which is also referred to as adultery of the heart (mental adultery) or lust.

The Bible condemns sexual imagination that is evil, but not all sexual imagination. We are forbidden from imagining ourselves in sexual acts that are a violation of God’s design of sex. God designed heterosexual sex(sex between a man and a woman), but things like homosexual sex, orgies and bestiality are corruptions of God’s design for sex. Even thoughts of heterosexual sex can be become sinful if they become covetous imaginations(adulterous thoughts).

But aren’t all heterosexual thoughts outside of marriage sinful?

As we just stated God designed sexual relations between a man and woman to be ONLY within marriage.  Some people reason from this that even imaginations of heterosexual sex are reserved only for marriage and only about the person you are married to.  They would say that just as it is wrong to have homosexual imaginations or imaginations about bestiality it is equally wrong to have heterosexual thoughts about someone you are not married to.

But thoughts of heterosexual sex are not wrong in and of themselves.  God created us to desire and think about heterosexual sex – it is his gift to us. It is always the context of heterosexual thoughts that makes them right or wrong.

If you simply have an imaginative thought about what it would be like to have sex with a woman, regardless of if your are married to her or not – there is no sin that. 

It is only when you add more context to that thought where you are thinking of covetous ways that you would actually seduce such a woman(or pay her) to actually have sex with you that now your heterosexual imagination becomes a covetous and sinful thought.

So how does all this relate to our neighbor, his steaks and his wife?

What this means is that in the same way that God designed your brain to get enjoyment from the sights, smells and taste of food he also designed your brain to get pleasure from the sight of women(and not just your wife), the imaginations of heterosexual sex and the act of sexual relations itself. Again while the act of sexual relations is strictly to be within the bounds of marriage as we discussed earlier, the rest of your sexuality is not restricted to only your wife.

What this means for your neighbor, his steaks and his wife is that in the same way you could enjoy the sight of that steak on his grill you can freely enjoy the sight of his wife. Obviously you don’t want to gawk and be rude, but you receiving pleasure from tasteful glances of her beauty is as pure as the driven snow. You are enjoying the gift of sexuality that God has given you within the bounds of his law.

Even if you were to at some point later to have a sexual imagination while you are awake or a sleep it matters not as long as you are not thinking covetous sexual thoughts about her. That would be like fantasizing about befriending your neighbor’s wife (which usually starts with just neighborly talking, then leads to talking about more intimate things, then the flirting and eventually getting her into bed). That is a covetous sexual imagination, that is adultery of heart (mental adultery) and that is lust.

Applications of Biblical truths surrounding Lust

I have shown conclusive evidence from Scripture that lust as it is mentioned in Matthew 5:28 is referring to a specific form of covetousness, mainly to covet another man’s wife. Now certainly within the context of Scripture as a whole we understand all covetousness to be sinful which means it would also be wrong for a woman to covet another woman’s husband. Christ labeled this specific form covetousness as “adultery in the heart” or in other words “mental adultery”.

So what does this mean for Christian men when it comes to them enjoying the view of a woman whether she is right there before their eyes or the woman is simply an imagination whether that imagination is just in one’s head, or that imagination comes in the form of a moving picture set (a movie), a still picture or a painting?

It means that not all imagination is sin. In fact our ability to imagine, even outside the context of sexual imagination is a gift from God.   As long as we don’t sit with our heads in the clouds all the time to the neglect of our other responsibilities to our wife and children, our churches and jobs there is no sin in this.

“All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.” – I Corinthians 6:12 (KJV)

That means if you are watching the Avengers movie and you are imagining how cool it would be to be in that Ironman suit saving the day there is no sin in that.

This means if you are watching a movie like Fury (a World War II movie) and you imagine yourself on that tank mowing down Nazis with that machine gun there is no sin in that.

It also means if you are watching a movie that has a beautiful woman in it having sex with a man and you imagine yourself having sex with her the way he is – again there is no sin this.

The reason this is not sin has to do with a statement we referenced earlier.

“In Christianity, it’s the intentions, just as much as the actions that are important.” So what are your intentions when you are imagining yourself in the position of that man on that moving image set (movie) having sex with that woman? Is your intention to go find out who the inspiration was for that image (the actress) and find her address and pay her to have sex with you?(fornication) Or is your intention only to enjoy the imagination of her and you have no covetous intentions towards her?

If you have no covetous imagination or intentions towards the actress that inspired that movie there is no sin in your imagination. It is a gift from God. These are pure thoughts as God has designed your mind to receive pleasure from thoughts of normal heterosexual between a man and woman.

Now if you spend all your time thinking about sex with that woman or other women or even your wife to the neglect of your other responsibilities than then you have violated the principle of I Corinthians 6:12 and have come “under the power” of your sexual imagination(this would be by definition sexual addiction).

Addressing the jealousy of wives toward their husbands

While jealousy certainly affects both men and women it does not mean men and women are equally jealous of the same things. For instance most men would not mind if their wife thought the actor Chris Hemsworth was attractive. In fact most men, unless they are taught to be jealous(like through church teaching or others), would not mind a bit if their wife got sexually excited by watching a Chris Hemsworth movie and she wanted to have sex with them.

However if you put a typical woman (not all women) in this same position she would have a very different reaction. If her husband were to watch a Megan Fox movie which made him want to have sex with her many women would be offended by the idea their husbands were thinking sexually of another woman.

In fact I have a Pastor friend of mine whose wife forbid him from watching anymore Transformer movies when she figured out that Megan Fox was putting him in the mood. Unlike some of my other Pastor friends, he has not able to break free of the Church’s incorrect teaching on what lust is and he felt his wife was right and that he was lusting after Megan Fox and he was in the wrong.

So the million dollar question here is which person is wrong? Is the husband wrong for having sexual imaginations about any other woman than his wife? Or is the wife wrong for being upset about her husband having sexual imaginations about women other than herself.

Biblically speaking jealousy is not always wrong. If something belongs to us then it would not necessarily be wrong for us to be jealous of that thing. God shows himself jealous toward his people because his people belong to him and they owe him their worship.

But does a man’s sexual imagination belong to his wife? Are all his thoughts regarding sex to be of her and her alone? The answer scripturally speaking is no. Therefore his thoughts and sexual imaginations are between him and God and as long as he does not allow his sinful nature to corrupt his natural sexual imagination there is no sin and his thoughts remain pure.

Because of this a woman has no right to be jealous of her husband’s sexual imaginations. This is in fact a sinful and selfish jealousy of her wanting to be the only woman he would ever think of sexually.

Some may try and point to this verse as saying a wife does have a right to compel all of her husband’s sexual imagination toward her:

“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.” – I Corinthians 7:4 (KJV)

The “power” spoken of here is the power to have sexual access to your spouse’s body. A wife is to have sexual access to her husband’s body and as he is to be able to have sexual access to hers. This does not remove his headship (Ephesians 5) over her nor does it give her control of his thoughts or desires.

Another argument I hear often about jealous wives comes from people who oppose the Scriptures I have shown demonstrating that God allowed and condoned polygamy (more specifically polygyny) in the Bible. Their argument usually goes like this “polygamy never works because it always causes jealousy by women when their husbands take other wives”. What these same people never consider is –were those wives justified before God in being jealous of their husbands having other wives?

The answer Biblically speaking is no they were not right in being jealous of their husband’s other wives. We even see that God blessed a wife in Scripture for overcoming her jealousy of her husband and giving him another wife!

Leah was always jealous of Jacob’s affection toward his other wife Rachel. In truth God saw sin on both sides in Jacob not giving Leah the love she was due and God gave Leah children while leaving Rachel barren to prove his point to Jacob. But Leah at the same time was also wrong in her jealousy over Jacob. God stopped Leah from having any more children. Then she overcame her jealousy and gave her servant Zilpah to Jacob as another wife. God rewarded her for overcoming her jealousy and opened her womb again to give her another child.

“Then Leah said, “God has rewarded me for giving my servant to my husband.” So she named him Issachar.” Genesis 30:18(NIV)

How many women today could have done such a thing and give their husbands another wife? Yet today in our post Roman culture (which eliminated polygamy from most of the western world) women will not even tolerate their husband’s thinking of another woman, yet alone would they give him another wife.

It is certainly something to ponder.

See these other related articles

How should Christian women respond their men looking at other women

What is Lust of the Eyes in I John 2:16

Was polygamy a sin God overlooked in the Old Testament?