“At thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore” (Ps. 16: 11)
The Basket Case Chronicles #127
“For the man is not of the woman; but the woman of the man. Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for man” (1 Cor. 11:8-9).
We will return in the next verses to the application, and to the symbolism manifested in and through head coverings. Those applications are various, but the reality being applied, the symbolism being expressed, is here.
What Paul says is that we can say that the woman is of the man in a way that we cannot say in reverse. We cannot say that the man is of the woman. We can say that the woman was created for the man, and we cannot say that the man was created for the woman. We live in a day that takes high offense at things like this, and so we have to be careful. We have to take care not to make it any more offensive than it is, and we must also take care not to back away from the apostle’s teaching in order to stay out of trouble. If we reject the apostle’s teaching here, the only honest response would be to find a religion other than Christianity.
Paul teaches that the woman is oriented to the man differently than the man is oriented to the woman. There will be additional detail in subsequent verses, but here it says that she is “of” him, and in that same way, he is not “of” her. The man was created first, to tend the garden, and the woman was created second, to tend the gardener. She was created for him in a way that is not true concerning him and her.
This is a creational orientation. The fall and sin has disrupted it, and men must love their wives as Christ loved the church in order to keep their families from being disrupted by male selfishness. But orientation toward his creational task (his garden) is not male selfishness.
This fundamental orientation is very important—so important that we need continuing and ongoing cultural reminders of it. If we ditch those reminders, we must not be surprised when we start to lose the reality as well. Symbols matter. Liturgy matters.