“At thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore” (Ps. 16: 11)
The Basket Case Chronicles #129
“Nevertheless neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord. For as the woman is of the man, even so is the man also by the woman; but all things of God” (1 Cor. 11: 11-12).
Paul has just finished saying that the woman was created from the man, not the other way around (v. 8). He also says that in terms of intended design, the man was not created for the woman in the same way that the woman was created for the man (v. 9). But given how such truths may be abused by sinful men (and have been), Paul makes a point of setting this earlier point in context. He doesn’t want proud men thinking that they don’t need women, or vice versa. In the Lord, the man is not “without” the woman, and the woman is not “without” the man.
The first woman was taken from the first man but, Paul hastens to add, every man since Adam has been taken from the woman. In short, the sexes are entirely interdependent.
This is not a direct part of Paul’s point here, but it is worth mentioned that while the first woman was taken from Adam’s side, Adam himself was made from the dust of the ground—taken from the side of the earth. The word used in Genesis for the ground that Adam was taken from is adamah, which is adam with a feminine ending. No one has an autonomous starting point. We should sum it up the way Paul does, which is by saying that all things are of God (v. 12).
It is also important to note that this discussion of the interdependency of the sexes is not a shift in topic. Paul is still talking about head coverings—this is a long and sustained narrative about head coverings. He is building toward the climax of his argument, which is that the created order testifies to the reality of the interdependent relationship of the sexes. We will next see how the topics of hair and headship are the crown of his argument.