Many times when discussions start about certain subjects, there is a question or a statement made that causes the discussion to begin in the middle rather than at the beginning. There is no foundation laid from which to erect a proper structure.
For a respectable dialog to take place a starting point must be determined. Once this occurs then it would be good to build from that point using the scriptures as the guide in order to garner the truth of the matter.
The lack of laying a groundwork or underpinning leads to many questions and disagreements, which then becomes a vicious circle of misunderstandings and confusion. One obvious example of this is the centuries old argument regarding “eternal salvation”. People quarrel and oppose one another about a subject that God most assuredly wants us to understand. Yet because there is no agreed upon common basis (within the scriptures) from which to begin, the squabble continues endlessly…much to the Father’s chagrin.
Likewise regarding the subject of “Husbands and Wives” starting in the middle has proven to be unprofitable. More often than not the discussion is begun by quoting a verse regarding how husbands need to love their wives or how wives need to be submissive to their husbands. Then because of the culture that we live in things quickly become about women being dominated and men being the oppressors. Thus, nothing is accomplished, no unity is established and generally much hurt is imparted.
All this may be avoided if an origination point were agreed upon and the fullness of the scriptures employed. Hopefully, what is written here will do that…it is not a guarantee that it shall be such but a genuine effort will be made towards that end.
What than is the beginning point? A perspective not often considered being a starting point for a “Husband/Wife” conversation is the principal of “first the natural and then the spiritual”.
Paul alludes to this principle in 1 Cor. 15:42-49 where he writes:
42 So is it with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable; what is raised is imperishable. 43 It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power. 44 It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. 45 Thus it is written, "The first man Adam became a living being"; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit. 46 But it is not the spiritual that is first but the natural, and then the spiritual. 47 The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven. 48 As was the man of dust, so also are those who are of the dust, and as is the man of heaven, so also are those who are of heaven. 49 Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven. ESV
Another place where this is brought forward is in Colossians 2:16-17 which states:
16 Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holy day, or of the new moon, or of the Sabbath days: 17 Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ. KJV
Also in 1 Peter 2:5-6 we read:
5 you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. ESV
What are these verses saying? It seems that they tell us that not only is there a natural realm but there is also a spiritual realm. These verses speak to this point. Just as there are natural sacrifices there are also spiritual sacrifices…our bodies being one such sacrifice (Rom. 12:1) and praise being another (Jer. 33:11).
Just as the new moon and Sabbath days speak of earthly (natural) feasts they hint at feasts yet to come in the spiritual reality. Jesus was the fulfillment of the Passover, first the natural Passover, then the spiritual Passover. The feast of Pentecost was a natural feast and was fulfilled spiritually. There are spiritual feasts yet to be fulfilled though the natural have taken place.
First the natural then the spiritual, the idea is in the scriptures. When Jesus said he that has ears to hear let him hear, he was referring to our spiritual ears. Just as we have physical ears we also have spiritual ears and just as we have physical eyes we also have spiritual eyes. Just as we have a physical heart we also have a spiritual heart.
This then will be the starting point of this discussion “first the natural then the spiritual”. Yet, how is this principal relevant to the “Husband/Wife” issue?
The scriptures teach that the first Adam was a “living being” whereas the last Adam (Jesus) is a life giving spirit. They show us that Adam was a type or representation of Christ (Rom. 5:14). Adam was the natural and Jesus is the spiritual.
Now, if Adam is representative of Jesus who then does Eve represent?
…to be continued