One of the most controversial subjects in the Bible for our egalitarian culture is the encouragement of women to be submissive. Some critics attack Paul as sexist, chauvinistic, and misogynistic. I defend Paul as being just the opposite: Paul actually knows how vastly superior women truly are.There are multiple verses in the Bible that demonstrate Paul’s view on submission, but we’ll use Ephesians 5:21 as an example: “Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord.”
Now there are some potential explanations for why women should submit, and traditional thinking attempts to explain away Paul’s command as being based on women’s physical weakness or lack of education or men’s inherent superiority.
I’d like to propose, rather, that women are so obviously superior that Paul had to single them out in commanding them to submission. After all, one of the common themes in Christianity is that the first shall be last, and the last shall be first. The strong must give up their strength to help the weak.
Why do I think women are superior? Well, it should be obvious to anyone who has read The Atlantic article “The End of Men.” Women make up 60% of college students, we live longer, we’re better at organizing things, and we’re better at managing people. Not to mention we manage to give birth to all men while holding down careers and a household. And we’re more spiritually-minded than men.
Now I’ll give you this: women aren’t as physically strong as men. At least, most women can’t lift as much or run as fast as most men. However, those skills are less valuable in a postindustrial economy. Even in industrial economies, most social scientists realize that the key to improving developing countries is empowering women.
So why, then, should women willingly submit to the sex which is so obviously inferior?
I ask women everywhere a related question: do you really want to marry someone who is your inferior?
You see, when women take on every leadership role, there is no room for men to lead. Yet women want to date and marry strong, talented, and inspiring men. If we take over all the colleges, jobs, and church roles, which is inevitable in an egalitarian society, then there would be no training for the boys we love to grow into powerful men. Instead we’ll end up with a bunch of unmarriable men living in extended adolescence.
The way I see it is this:
Either I can give up the leadership roles I’d naturally assume to men so that there are more mature, spiritually-minded, and talented male leaders, OR
I can take on said leadership roles and develop my own talents, at the expense of producing the quality men that women (including myself) want to marry.
The choice is clear. If women willingly submit and allow men to take on more leadership roles, this in turn makes men better leaders, boyfriends, and husbands. Given how deep Paul’s insights are into the human heart, I have little doubt that this is the real reason behind his recommendation for women to submit. He was just watching out for both sexes.
Jordan Monge graduated from Harvard in 2012 with a concentration in Philosophy. A proud penguin of Quincy House, she served as editor-in-chief of the Ichthus in 2011. She now works as a tutor in Irvine, CA, while working on a book project.
This blog post was originally posted on October 19, 2011.