Will the Gospel allow hierarchy to stand?

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Daniel Kirk has an ongoing series about this sort of stuff, but this latest post caught my eye.

First, Paul himself does not give merely a hierarchical reading of Gen 1-3. He also gives an egalitarian reading when he appeals to birth and mutual dependence on God.

But even more importantly for those of us who are committed to reading the Bible as a narrative, it is the Gospel that finally will not allow hierarchy to stand. Who we are “in the Lord” transforms our understanding of mutual interrelations, so that it no longer makes sense to say, “Here is man, who simply rules over his wife and family.” Now mutual interdependence and dependence come to the fore, such that both depend upon the other–a kind of relationship in which there can not, for long, be any sense of one ruling the other.

via Complementarian Interpreations of Creation | Storied Theology.

Recently, in reading another book, it was posed that Paul pitted Deuteronomy against Leviticus, through the lens of Christ. The author, I believe, made his point. Anyway, I find it interesting to watch other scholars find Paul arguing traditional interpretations of the Old Testament Scripture and bringing in Christ. How often we forget that Christ changed the entire world, including biblical interpretation and in a very real way, Biblical Fact. Here, Kirk is implying that Paul is using the Gospel to turn back the idea that the Creation Order of Genesis 2 still mattered in Christ. Kirk goes on:

Paul’s new creation theology will not allow him to give a creation-based hierarchy the last word.

Here, my mind starts wondering. If Paul has been shown to use one verse against another, one author against another, but always through the lens of Christ, does that mean that he always accepted the premises which he preposed? In other words, simply because he used the “Creation Order” bit, does that mean that he continued to subscribe to it?

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7 Replies to “Will the Gospel allow hierarchy to stand?”

  1. “simply because he used the “Creation Order” bit, does that mean that he continued to subscribe to it?”

    That’s my question exactly. And if so, how do we demonstrate that biblically? I think Kirk begins to get at it in his post, but I can’t seem to get past the fact that Paul’s obvious statements are hierarchical while his “egalitarian” statements (to be anachronistic about it) are, shall we say, not often so obvious.

  2. I do think it’s important to recognize that Paul is making a rather ad hoc argument at this point. He basically creates three or so lines of argument to say, in effect, “Dress like you know you should as first century Corinthians who don’t want to make everyone looking at you think you’re available for sex after the service.”

    One reason I find this passage particularly interesting is that, unlike 1 Tim 2, the church has rarely felt compelled to use “creation order” as a reason for continuing to require the bottom line argument: women have to cover their heads.

    As I commented in my comments, I think there is a Christological hermeneutic, a new creation hermeneutic, that summons us to follow the more “egalitarian” road rather than the “hierarchical” road–though both are present in the text.

    No only is Paul using ad hoc argumentation here, he’s also a person within his own day and time, and I don’t think fully capable of working out the implications of his message that, at times, cut deeply against societal norms of hierarchy.

    When he sees the perpetuation of societal norms based on money, status, power, he jumps on it, proclaiming that the cross has undone all that. I think he might be too close to fully see the implications for gender, slavery, etc.

    1. Agreed – with everything – so far.

      I guess my worry is that modern readers cannot/will not understand that simply because Paul uses the argument, it doesn’t mean that he buys it.

  3. Scriptural mysteries are not really a premise of mere intellectualism, its that and more of a divinely given insight that has a supernatural element to it.That element is REVELATION,albeit its sovereign and the benefactor is given by Divine discretion..the names written before the foundation of the world….now this is MELCHIZEDEK’s meat not seminary milk.John

  4. We will be all perfect,, those that make it but not the same.Like we are in a household.In the beginning God made them equal.John

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