Should Wives Submit to Their Husbands?
Tom: In our pursuit of understanding why Christ had to go to the cross in order to save mankind, we’ve been reviewing the first few chapters of the Book of Genesis. Last week we went over chapter 3 verse 15, which is the first place in the Bible where God promises a solution to the fall of mankind. The Fall took place when Adam and Eve disobeyed God. The penalty was physical and spiritual death, separation from fellowship with God forever. That sin affected not only Adam and Eve but all of their descendants.
In Romans:5:12 we find: “Wherefore as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin, and so death passed upon all men for that all have sinned. So the Fall, Dave, had immediate results, which we’ve been discussing and as the scriptures demonstrate.
Let me pick up with verse 16: “Unto the woman He said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow in thy conception. In sorrow thou shalt bring forth children, and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.” This wasn’t Adam and Eve’s situation before the Fall.
Dave: Apparently not. It does imply—and, again, this is a controversial statement—it seems to imply that they may have, at least may have had, children before the Fall, because when God created them, He said, “Be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth.” So, it wasn’t understood that they would only have children if they sinned. They were supposed to have children from the very beginning. And now He says, “I will greatly multiply thy sorrow in thy conception.” You could say, “Well, that means multiply it more than what it would have been without the Fall.” And that doesn’t necessarily mean, and it doesn’t, that they had children already, but I think that …
Tom: I think you’re looking…
Dave: …it’s possible…
Tom: …to open a big can of worms, Dave!
Dave: (chuckling) Yeah, well…
Tom: We’ve gotten letters about this before.
Tom: But that’s your, you know, that’s a view that you’re not being dogmatic about it. But let’s look at that for a minute. Then, would they have sinned?
Dave: Oh, yes, they would have sinned. That’s why there are no extraterrestrials out there. Any creatures of God—humanoid, intelligent, moral agents with the right of choice, being less than God would make a less-than-godly choice, which is sin. So, undoubtedly, they sinned on their own.
Tom, I shouldn’t have said anything about it. We’d better drop it! (laughing) But it’s a possibility. What it means, I don’t know, unless it has some implications in Genesis 6 for the “sons of God.”
Tom: But let’s make a point here. You see, you’re reading the Scriptures—you’re one of the few guys I know…or, let me say it another way: you have such great command of the scriptures, from Genesis to Revelation, and you’ve been studying it for 50 years on your knees…
Tom: Sixty! See? So, I just…I’m always impressed…
Dave: And I was taught it for many years before then, okay?
Dave: But I became a believer 60 years ago.
Tom: Yeah. At the very least, you have a comprehensive view of the Scriptures, so you could take a look at a verse like this and maybe see some things there because of your understanding of other scriptures that I’ve yet to arrive at that level. Although, you know, I’m at a certain level…and others out there—maybe young believers…. But what we’re encouraging here is that if they read a scripture, let other scriptures interpret…
Dave: Mm-hmm Amen.
Tom: …so that they—whatever they believe, they believe by faith, by being diligent.
Dave: On the basis of the Bible itself…
Dave: Not some interpreter to the Bible.
Tom: Mm-hmm. Well, let me get into a little trouble here, Dave, now that you have (chuckling). The end of verse 16, it says, “And thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.” Now, I know I’ve gotten into trouble in the past because it seems to me, as I understand the scriptures, that Eve here, in a sense, wants to rule. Her “desire shall be to thy husband.” Now, not everybody interprets it that way or has that understanding. But if you look at not only the scriptures but down through history, God’s plan has been for man to be the head of the household. And throughout history—some people call it “patriarchy.” But there as been a thrust for “matriarchy” to take over and take control. Now, whether that relates to this scripture or not, I can’t say absolutely, but it seems to imply that. To me…
Dave: Well, I think it does: “He shall rule over thee.” Now, the women’s libbers are going to get really upset right away. Read the Bible—as you said, the Bible interprets itself. Go to the other scriptures, and you will find that this is not a rule of tyranny, mastery, but it’s a rule of love. Now, you’ve got two people—you don’t have three, so you can’t have a majority rule. Somebody has to be in charge. On the other hand, the Bible speaks…for example, Proverbs 31, it speaks of this virtuous woman, that—her husband trusts her in everything. Sounds like she’s pretty much in charge of almost everything—the whole household, and so forth.
So, it’s not that the husband is dominating her, and Ephesians 5 says that husbands are to love their wives. Interesting. It doesn’t ever say that the wife is to love the husband. She’s to reverence her husband. We’re to act toward our wives as Christ toward the church. Christ is the head of the church. Am I going to get upset and say, “Well, wait a minute. I think I ought to be…. Or at least I ought to have a 50-50 vote.”
If you try to have a marriage based upon a 50-50 deal, it isn’t going to work. We each—husbands and wives—must each love the other so much that they want the good of the other, not for themselves. So—but someone has to have a final word. Not dogmatically, and, wow! You know my wife, Ruth. She seems to be, in many ways, so much wiser than I am. I consult her on everything. She’s my editor, for sure! Red-lines things that I write.
Tom: Your toughest critic/your greatest supporter?
Dave: Yeah, but just because she redlines something doesn’t mean that I acquiesce always. I say, “Wait a minute, Ruth! I think that was okay,” you know, what I was saying there. So, we have a partnership, but someone has to—if it comes to a decision that has to be made, who is going to say? Someone has to say it, but the husband says it in love. And he says it as being himself under Christ. The husband is supposed to be the spiritual leader in the home. And I think an awful lot of husbands fail in that, and that may be why many women have to, kind of, take the spiritual leadership, because their husbands are not growing in the Word of God in relation to Christ. They can’t take the leadership. They’re not equipped to teach the Bible, which they should be, to their children.
So, I believe a pattern has been set here, and Paul says, referring to this, he says, “Adam was first formed, then Eve.” So there’s some priority there. He was the first one. Eve was made from a rib taken from Adam’s side. Then he says, “And he was not deceived. It was the woman who was deceived. And for those reasons, the man has been made the head.” Now, somebody would have to be the head. Would it be the woman that would be made the head? She was created after Adam. She came from Adam’s side. Now, furthermore, if this is a love relationship, and if this is what God wants, then why object? Why fight against it? Why not submit to the husband as he submits to the Lord? So, really, in submitting to the husband, you are submitting to the Lord through him.
Tom: Dave, we can go back before the Fall, and it seems to indicate—you gave the pattern that God set forth for man and woman, husband and wife, and Eve didn’t seem to be, with regard to her first sin, didn’t seem to be, certainly going in a partnership with Adam—talking this thing over with him, with regard to (I know I’m speculating here…)
Dave: No, no, Tom! You’re making a good point, because if Eve had been in this relationship with Adam…
Tom: This was before sin!
Tom: So that was a problem.
Dave: Right. Even as a partner, if she had consulted Adam…. But she didn’t consult Adam! She doesn’t need any “self-assertion” training. This is where self had its awful birth. This is why Christ said, “Except you deny self….” But we’re being taught in the church today self-esteem, self-improvement, self-development—all centered in self. No, this where self had its awful birth. She trampled on the rights of Adam! She didn’t even consult Adam. She took the leadership, and the first leadership that the woman took brought sin into this world.
Now, we’re not saying, “Well, then, all women are like this,” and so forth. But this is a pattern. This is something that God has established, then why not go for it? And the husbands, likewise…
Tom: We’ve gotten in past programs…I mean, we’ve called a spade a spade here. Adam—talk about being at fault! He went in with his eyes wide open…
Dave: That’s right. But I want to say to husbands, you don’t, now, then lord it over your wife. And you don’t just stubbornly insist on this. You’d better take your wife’s advice. Listen to…consult her. This is a partnership. And very often wives are wiser than their husbands. But that’s not what it’s talking about here. It’s talking about a godly order, under God, under Christ, that God himself has established.
Tom: And this verse 16 and other verses that we’ll look at, this is the result of sin. We talked about other verses in which self-preservation was the big thing. Adam blamed Eve; Eve blamed the serpent. There’s “self” in all of this ugliness. And it developed from there to what we have today.
Dave: It’s been a broken record ever since. So, “It’s not my fault, it’s society’s fault, or somebody else’s fault.”
Tom: Right. This is what sin has wrought.