Authority and submission in the bedroom...

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Under son Joseph's post, "Humble is as stupid does...," "Anne" asks the question:

Can you provide Scripture that says authority and submission, 'conquering' and 'surrendering', are to be carried out in the bedroom? Because neither Song of Songs nor 1Corinthians 7, not even Ephesians 5 in its entirety suggests such a thing.

P.S: Failure to respond will be taken as a failure to provide appropriate scripture.

To which I respond:

Dear Anne,

Concerning physical marital intimacy, function follows form...

One of the race of Adam has been blessed by God the Father with physical body parts that receive and one with parts that penetrate. This requires those wishing to use those body parts as God intended--for the propagation of a Godly seed through being fruitful and multiplying--to initiate or to submit, just as God made them. One says, as it were, "Dear other half, my love and wife, I'm coming in," and the other "Dear other half, my love and husband, I'm ready and waiting to receive you." From love one deposits the seed; and from love, the other receives, protects, and nurtures the seed, ushering it toward the egg so that that male seed may penetrate the female egg, bringing about by the power of God a new man--male or female--who also bears the image of God.

If one understands that authority is to take responsibility for others and submission is to serve the one in authority to the end that his taking of responsibility bears the fruit God commands, it would be hard to come up with a more accurate picture among men (male and female) of Godly authority and Godly submission than the union of man and wife for the propagation of a godly seed. Function follows form.

I suppose you could use the words 'conquering' and 'surrendering' if you were determined to do so, but in our world where feminists speak much of "marital rape" and define the institution of marriage as "sex for money," it would seem infelicitous to do so. It might better serve as a description of the dance of sperm and egg because then no one could accuse the sperm of raping the egg. It's hard to impute hostility to the sperm or fear and terror to the egg.

Further, the whole language of Scripture in describing marital union is the language of free consent, and where there is no free consent, there is no marriage. This is the reason for the Declaration of Consent at the beginning of every Christian marriage service--the "will you" part at the beginning of the service. Without that initial inquiry and satisfactory responses on the part of two equal and free individuals, male and female, there is no Biblical marriage. Note that the model Jewish marriage to this day--that of Isaac and Rebekah--was clearly recorded by the Holy Spirit at the detail of Rebekah's consent (Genesis 24:55-61). Rebekah was asked by her family and she herself agreed to go with Abraham's servant and thereby to become Isaac's wife.

Note that all of Scripture speaks of the authority of the man and the submission of his wife. There is nowhere to escape this fact of God's Creation Order, and certainly not in the marital bed. God our Heavenly Father designed the marriage bed so that it testifies to His Creation Order and those who think they may rebel against him by rebelling against His Creation Order immediately find themselves up against the wall of the body parts He gave them. Again, the authority has the organ of penetration and the submission has the organ of reception. This is the reason Jesus speaks of the Bridegroom going to the Bride to take her away. One is the authority who initiates and the other is the submission who joyfully receives his initiative. Jesus' account of the Bridegroom and the Bride is modelled in every Christian wedding by the pastor asking "Who gives this woman to be married to this man?" to which the father of the bride responds, "I do." That is, the bride is given to the bridegroom.

So of course there is authority and submission in the bedroom. It's impossible to escape God's Creation Order. But why would we want to? It's the beauty of sexuality and marriage, that God has made us for union giving us complementary parts of authority and initiative and taking of responsibility and, on the other side, parts of submission and reception and bearing of fruit.

Thus when God made Eve from Adam's rib and gave him his suitable helper, he named her "Ishah" for she was taken out of "Ish." And Scripture records they were both naked and were unashamed.

To rebels it seems as if authority and submission are antithetical to mutuality and love. But Scripture demonstrates the opposite, starting with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. From love for the world, God the Father sent His Son to die. And from love, God the Son submitted to His Father and died. On the Cross. He was crucified, dead, and buried, and He descended into Hell.

There has never been anything but love and mutuality between the members of the Godhead and that mutuality has never been in the slightest degree antithetical to the submission of the Son to His Father. Fully equal. Fully submitted. Both at the same time.

This is what rebels can't understand, and it's the reason Scripture names rebels "idolaters." They do not know the True God. They worship an idol made by the wicked mind of man who is out to kill the father and the Father from Whom all fathers get their name.

So, dear sister, it is fair to say that authority and submission are so deeply embedded by God in man and woman that nowhere Scripture speaks of marriage or sex or fruitfulness or man and wife does it fail to speak of woman being the glory of man, woman being named by man, woman being the helpmeet of man, woman being the wife and the man husbanding her, woman being barred from teaching or exercising authority over man, woman being silent in church, and so on.

Then too, the Bible explicitly speaks of authority and submission in the matter of marital intimacy when it commands husbands and wives to give themselves to one another sexually: "The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does; and likewise also the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. Stop depriving one another, except by agreement for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer, and come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control" (1 Corinthians 7:4, 5).

So you see the answer everywhere is that there is authority and submission in marital sexual intercourse--"in the bedroom," as you put it. Perfect mutuality and perfect submission. All is at rest when we love and submit to our Heavenly Father.


PS: After writing the above response to "Anne," I found she had explained her question above in a comment (July 22 at 9:31 AM) she made over at a blog of feminist heretics. Please pray for her.

Tim Bayly

Tim serves Clearnote Church, Bloomington, Indiana. He and Mary Lee have five children and big lots of grandchildren.

Want to get in touch? Send Tim an email!