Last week we talked beauty, and how an important part of understanding it as harmonized complexity. But another integral aspect of beauty is intentionality. Believing that God is sovereign, and that He is not arbitrary or reckless, we can conclude that He has planned everything out from the very beginning. His original intention, His beautiful plan, has always been for the headship of the husband, and consequently the submission of the wife, as argued by Wayne Grudem.* Even the mere fact that God had planned on things being so from the very beginning, intentionality, is a measure of complexity that is harmonized, and therefore beautiful.
Marriage is to represent the Trinity; it must represent peace, unity, and beauty, in addition to love, for the Father, Son, and Spirit are going to all be in agreement and harmony with each other; there will never be any strife. More specifically, marriage represents the relationship between the Bridegroom, which is Christ, and His beautiful Bride, which is the Church. Can you imagine the Church telling Jesus, ‘no’? Throwing a temper tantrum and rebelling? There is nothing more beautiful than the love relationship between the Bridegroom and His beloved Bride. And we know that the story ends with more than just a happy ever after, but includes the Bride being in perfect submission to her Lover and Savior.
When people in marriage are not submitting to their respective authorities, chaos, and more specifically, identity confusion is promoted. Children no longer know who they are to imitate and what roles they are to emulate. Remember, confusion is chaos; disharmony and disunity, and therefore, a lack of beauty. This confusion frequently leads to sin, which is immoral, and also, out of necessity, has a measure of ugliness to it. Take the research that is found in the book, Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood:
“Boys from homes in which the mother asserted herself as the leader exhibited more feminine sex-role preferences than did boys from homes in which the father was the leader.”*
“In many homes where the mother was the leading parent, there were many boys who chose to be a female when they grew up. At the same time, in homes in which the mother asserted leadership, the girls were like to want to be male.”*
We can clearly see what happens when we fail to follow God’s perfect plan. We are creating a world of ugliness and confusion when we fail to submit to God’s will. And the result is always sin, something that the Scriptures continually tell us is ugly in the site of God. So if we can trust that it is God’s will to be in submission, then out of the mere fact that failing to do so is, by definition sin, and ugliness is what ensues.
Submission is always going to be creating harmony, because it will always be bringing one will into alignment with another. And so therefore, will always necessarily be creating beauty. Those who say that submission is ugly are not looking at things correctly?? Our culture sees submission as ‘oppressive’, in fact anything that gets in the way of allowing us to do what we want to do is deemed oppressive. This is however an incorrect way of looking at oppression. Because God is both good and beautiful, it is not possible for Him, the Father or Son, to do anything that is not both beautiful and good. Therefore submission is both, good and beautiful. When the man lays down his life, in sacrifice, for his wife, as Christ did for His Bride, then there is unity between the Father, Son, the man, and his wife. Complexity and diversity that is unified and harmonized.
I recall proposing to my fiancé out in a field, on my knees by a cow pattie. There was nothing too particularly romantic about the whole thing, we laughed and enjoyed the idiosyncratic nature of the circumstance. But looking back, me on my knees, a little bit muddy, was a beautiful act of submission. I am to lay down my life for my wife. If the idea that submission is beautiful still needs to be argued, then true love is not understood.
* Piper, John, and Wayne A. Grudem, eds. Recovering biblical manhood and womanhood: A response to evangelical feminism. Crossway, 2006. 303-304.