Two Become One

I’ve been trying to write a proper reply to Cane Caldo’s post on how he was Wrong About the Trees, but have been thus far stymied. I really can’t think of much to add to what he has already said on the matter. The analogy that he uses, that of the Vine and Branch, is so apt that I am somewhat ashamed I didn’t think of it earlier. [I know, that is probably a bit of envy on my part.] My last post showed how agricultural analogies were used quite frequently in Scripture. Israel was often compared to a vineyard [The Lord’s Vineyard], and similar comparisons about fertile land were also applied to women as well. The Book of Sirach was especially straightforward about this. The Song of Songs compared the Woman to a garden. So it was all there all along.

But those analogies, while apt, don’t have quite the same oomph as does Cane’s. I think the reason why is because there is too much of a divide between the farmer and the field he works. They cannot be “One Flesh” in the same way that the Branch and Vine can become “One Flesh.” Furthermore, we can see how the Vine is dominant and supports the Branch, in a way that just doesn’t quite translate when talking about the Gardner and the Garden. Cane’s comparison really allows for us to see how “they are no longer two, but one flesh.

Which brings me to Scott’s post on the subject. Scott was interested in the concept of identity in light of Cane’s article, and mentioned my background post on the nature of man. I wanted to add to his thoughts the reminder about how Jesus explicitly said that two would become one in Marriage. Specifically, “one flesh.” Modern science has helped us understand that Jesus was speaking both literally and metaphysically- there really is a lasting physical union that results from the conjugal act. Given the exchange of DNA and other chemicals, it shouldn’t surprise us that our body chemistry can change as well. That can carry with it potential behavioral changes, which just might change our view of ourselves- our identity.

Something else occurs to me as well. There are numerous comparisons in Scripture between marriage and the relationship between God and Man. In that relationship God takes the masculine role and humanity takes the feminine role. Now, from what I understand, our goal as Christians is to become more and more like God. In other words, to become Holy just as He is Holy. This is manifested by living out and achieving a spiritual life. Since “God is Spirit,” we then are trying to become just like God. Is that not the same as taking on God’s identity? Is that not ultimately our objective, to become as much like God as possible? If so, then we should consider that in light of the comparison of marriage to the relationship of God and Man. If Woman (the feminine) is to take on the identity of God (the masculine), then does it not make sense that the Woman (the feminine) is to take on the identity of Man (the masculine)? At least, when it comes to marriage the woman will undertake more of the identity assumption than the man. That seems to me to be commiserate with the feminine role- to be swept up in and to identify with the masculine. Something of a perfect symmetry appears to be at play here.

Or at least, that is what my casual musings have lead me to. I’m curious what my readers think. Feel free to chime in folks.

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68 Comments

Filed under Christianity, Femininity, Masculinity, Men, The Church, Women

68 responses to “Two Become One

  1. Mrs. C

    @DG If Woman (the feminine) is to take on the identity of God (the masculine), then does it not make sense that the Woman (the feminine) is to take on the identity of Man (the masculine)?

    I want to address this with the conclusions I’ve come to. You will see them in the link I gave above.

    First, everything I said above in the comments was a thinking process and a testing of hypotheses. Each vague conclusion come to just offered more questions. I was somewhat right and somewhat wrong in what I said. The reason this whole discussion is so maddening is because the masculine principle is easier to see than the feminine one.

    When a covenant is made the exchange of material things is a “sign” of an actual exchange of persons. Think “a pact made in blood.” They are still themselves but each has changed in some way for the union to be possible. They each give up their former identity as a “person unto themselves” and when they unite they make one other whole, new creation. When we are baptized, we are a new creation in Christ.

    In the old testament, each covenant God made with man there was a “sign” of the covenant between Him and man. This is like an engagement. Man kept breaking the covenant and God kept proposing again and again. Finally, it was God Himself who had to be the one to shed blood in order for the engagement to be lasting. Every time man was one to do it, the promise wasn’t kept Man is not strong enough to keep his end of the bargain. At the end of time, we will have the marriage supper of the Lamb.
    Although God is “other” than His creation, in Christ he has taken on our flesh and “signed” himself as one like us. By sending Christ, a person of the trinity was able to make the covenant and yet at the same time God is still God. If the whole God came and died, there could have been no resurrection. In Christ, through the sacraments and the Holy Spirit, we are made new creations, just as Christ is in his risen and glorified flesh.

    Marriage makes a whole new creation of the man and woman. They both lose their old identities as a single person and become one new creation. If only one becomes the identity of the other, that’s domination and that’s the curse that we as Christians are not to be living under. God doesn’t dominate us. He invites us to become something new with him rather than staying in our original fallen state.

    End of story….unless I think of something else.

  2. Mrs. C

    @Caldo “No. There is no accurate analogy of the whole picture. There is not meant to be. The symbolism isn’t meant to explain everything, but only to help us to see part of it.”

    Or sometimes if we don’t understand how all the parts fit, we’re missing something and the analogy is still good.

  3. Marriage makes a whole new creation of the man and woman. They both lose their old identities as a single person and become one new creation. If only one becomes the identity of the other, that’s domination and that’s the curse that we as Christians are not to be living under. God doesn’t dominate us. He invites us to become something new with him rather than staying in our original fallen state.

    You’re confusing two things.

    The husband doesn’t get a new identity, he gets a new purpose:

    1 Corinthians 7:32 But I want you to be free from concern. One who is unmarried is concerned about the things of the Lord, how he may please the Lord; 33 but one who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how he may please his wife, 34 and his interests are divided. The woman who is unmarried, and the virgin, is concerned about the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and spirit; but one who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how she may please her husband. 35 This I say for your own benefit; not to put a restraint upon you, but [r]to promote what is appropriate and to secure undistracted devotion to the Lord.

    The wife assumes a new identity by bearing her husband’s name, becoming his helpmeet, bearing fruit, etc. She also receives a new purpose. The purpose for each is their mutual concern for one another and the roles and responsibilities of marriage.

    Identity is fundamental. He doesn’t conform to us. We conform to Him. We bear His cross and His name as Christians, as a wife bears her husband’s name and is his helpmeet. Jesus does not assume a new identity because of the Church. He is God: Immutable and Immortal. His sacrifice means He assumes a new purpose, namely: the bridegroom as the head of the Church.

    The main argument that you’re using is the same one that feminists use. Indeed, feminists at the core argue that “authority” is bad because “Patriarchy” and other “authorities [that are men]” have done bad things. Authority is not bad because it is created by God. By the same measure, losing your identity is not a bad thing but rather a good thing. After all, we all have a new identity in Christ. We want to be under His authority and assume His identity and likeness because of His love for us. However, you’re somehow thinking it’s a bad thing for a single woman to lose her identity when she becomes a wife.

    Additionally, a wife retains her identity in Christ as a child of God irrespective of her marriage and taking on her husband’s identity. This is why husbands are commanded to love their wives as Christ loved the Church, and as their own body. “As their own body” is the understanding that she is now part of him. Likewise, in 1 Peter 3 to understand their wives as the weaker vessel, and honor her by the grace of life as a fellow co-heir in Christ. Remember, humanity is made in the image of God. It makes sense that we reflect Him in everything: as Christian, in our relationships, and in marriage. Marriage, in particular, is as Christ and the Church.

    I think you’re thinking of identity as a one cohesive whole when it’s made up of several parts. Because a woman loses her identity as a single to become his wife does not mean she loses her identity as a creation of God with all of the talents, abilities, and gifts of the Spirit that it entails.

  4. Mrs. C

    @DS “Identity is fundamental. He doesn’t conform to us. We conform to Him.”

    Yes, identity is fundamental. Don’t we conform to Christ and accept his authority BECAUSE he first conformed to us in likeness? We are about to celebrate Christmas. Scripture says, “although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. 8Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.…

    This is what I mean when I talk about how each gives up something of themselves and the two together are a new person. They don’t give up the same things. She gives up being her own authority (not her father’s because she has to do it freely or the marriage isn’t a marriage) and assumes his over her. His authority, is not his own but comes from his having assumed Christ as his head. So her obedience is ultimately to Christ. The husband gains his authority (purpose) over her by conforming to her likeness. He uses his authority for her sake like Christ used his authority for our sake. He became like us so we could become like him. This is what I mean when I use the word identity as a whole. There are still parts but there is conforming of each part to the other in different ways. They identify with each other as one person. Christ is true God and true Man and in that mystery there is no division of parts but one whole man. As God He has authority and as Man he bears our likeness so we could be saved.

    @DS We bear His cross and His name as Christians, as a wife bears her husband’s name and is his helpmeet. Jesus does not assume a new identity because of the Church. He is God: Immutable and Immortal. His sacrifice means He assumes a new purpose, namely: the bridegroom as the head of the Church.

    As a Catholic, I was signed with the cross at Baptism. Every Sunday, because I bear His name, I approach the altar to receive his sacrificed-once-for-all-time Body and Blood. In the Church, Christ gave Himself to us in the Eucharist. The fire of love that He had for me in which he became my sinful flesh so that I wouldn’t die is the fuel for my obedience. After I receive Him, I kneel and adore Him because it is no longer my sinful flesh that lives, but Him. While He was on earth He assumed our human likeness and now that he has left us his Church as Mother, she bears his flesh for the sake of giving us life. No longer are we under bondage of sin as in the Old Testament but we are now under the bondage of love and we see what that love is when we look at the cross. Rather than the obedience of a slave, we offer the obedience of love. That’s not feminism.

    You assume too much about how I think when you accuse me of thinking that authority is bad or that taking my husbands name to identify with him is bad. I never said anything of the sort in what I wrote.

  5. Philippians 2 mainly describes the attitude of Christ in His humility, which is essential for sacrificial love. It’s the purpose, much like is explained in John 3.

    John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His [e]only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.

    Who He is remains the same, namely:

    Matthew 1:20 But when he had considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for [u]the Child who has been [v]conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. 21 She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for [w]He will save His people from their sins.” 22 Now all this [x]took place to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet: 23 “Behold, the virgin shall be with child and shall bear a Son, and they shall call His name [y]Immanuel,” which translated means, “God with us.”

    He is God with us.

    There are two points here.

    1. Generally speaking, I agree with you that in that coming together transforms the whole to be greater than the sum of its parts. After all, a “husband” is not a “husband” without a “wife.” Likewise, a gift is not a gift unless it is accepted.

    2. What I think you’re missing is that the Scriptures affirm patriarchy and call God a Father for a reason. Namely, the assumption identity from the way that love flows from authority and the willingness of which we opt into it: Christ->Church, Husband->Wife, Father->Children.

    Love, via authority, elevates those under it to co-status. We are Sunkleronomos — co-heirs/co-inheritors in Christ. We are Sunergos – co-workers/co-laborers in Christ. However, our identity is fundamentally rooted in the family that we are grafted/adopted/accepted into of our free will. Christ-ians. Children of God. Mrs. X.

    Perhaps an analogy that will help you understand better is this. The husband is a melody, and the wife is a harmony. My girlfriend told me another good one when she heard that one: I am a cupcake to her icing.

    Another way of explaining it: https://deepstrength.wordpress.com/2015/12/10/women-need-flavor-with-food/

  6. @Mrs. C

    The husband gains his authority (purpose) over her by conforming to her likeness.

    Ridiculous.

  7. Mrs. C

    @Caldo – It’s called marriage. Christ has his authority because he’s God. A husband gets his on the wedding day and imitating Christ to took on our likeness. Nourish her like yourself in all that is of Christ.

  8. @Mrs. C

    “Conforming to her [the wife’s] likeness” is not marriage; not in spirit and not in flesh. I notice that it is the wife who tears and bleeds.

    Nor does “”Conforming to her [the wife’s] likeness” speak to the relationship of Christ and His Church. This is because at the consummation of all things, Christ will not be conforming to the Church.

    You’re just wrong.

  9. A father has authority over his daughter. However, it requires agreement of both the father and the daughter (oneness) for the daughter to be given to the husband in marriage: the passing of authority is from the father to the husband. A daughter trades the authority of her father for the authority of her husband. Her identity is of her father’s household (name), and she trades it for her husband’s household (name).

    This happens in Genesis with Adam and Eve, is the basis around the marriage both with Christ and the Church and husbands and wives.

    Paul confirms that the authority of a father over his daughter is still present under the New Covenant.

    1 Corinthians 7:36 But if any man thinks that he is acting unbecomingly toward his virgin daughter, if she is past her youth, and if it must be so, let him do what he wishes, he does not sin; let [s]her marry. 37 But he who stands firm in his heart, [t]being under no constraint, but has authority [u]over his own will, and has decided this in his own heart, to keep his own virgin daughter, he will do well. 38 So then both he who gives his own virgin daughter in marriage does well, and he who does not give her in marriage will do better.

  10. Mrs. C

    @Caldo ““Conforming to her [the wife’s] likeness” is not marriage; not in spirit and not in flesh. I notice that it is the wife who tears and bleeds.”

    Yes, she’s the one who tears and bleeds as a “sign” so that when the husband, whose body she is, can behold the sacrifice of love that he himself should make for her. If the wife is the body of the husband, she is a sign unto him of his own role. You seem to like thinking you have all the authority of Christ but don’t want to conform to being the sacrifice.

    @Caldo “This is because at the consummation of all things, Christ will not be conforming to the Church.”

    Is the glorified flesh He has in heaven not the same flesh that lay in a manger or that hung upon the cross as our likeness? When He had risen did He not still bear the marks of His wounds? Did Thomas not touch them? Is marriage not the “sign” of what our relationship will be with him at the marriage supper? In Revelation, he is depicted as a lamb slain but standing. There is nothing more meek than a God identifying himself in the likeness of a sacrificed lamb who yet, overcame death because He is also God.

    Catechism of the Catholic Church
    ” The Word became flesh to make us “partakers of the divine nature”:78 “For this is why the Word became man, and the Son of God became the Son of man: so that man, by entering into communion with the Word and thus receiving divine sonship, might become a son of God.”79 “For the Son of God became man so that we might become God.”80 “The only-begotten Son of God, wanting to make us sharers in his divinity, assumed our nature, so that he, made man, might make men gods.”

  11. Mrs. C

    @DS “A father has authority over his daughter. However, it requires agreement of both the father and the daughter (oneness) for the daughter to be given to the husband in marriage: the passing of authority is from the father to the husband.”

    Quoting an article on Catholic marriage

    “Then there are the wedding customs that actually conflict with Catholic marital theology. One significant example of this phenomenon is “giving away the bride.”

    Catholics believe that the man and woman give themselves to each other in marriage. The reason why the question “Who gives this woman to this man?” never appears in a Catholic marriage liturgy is because the freedom of both parties to marry each other is so important that any suggestion that there is a lack of freedom by the bride to enter into the marriage—that she has, instead, been “given” into marriage by her father alone or by her parents together or by anyone else—could call into question the validity of the marriage. I strongly urge Catholic wedding celebrants, parents, and couples to stoutly refuse to foster or participate in “giving away the bride,” on the basis of religious principle.”

    There will not be agreement due to different theological understandings so this conversation is really rather pointless in going back and forth. I’m going to bow out now and stand by everything I said.

  12. @Mrs. C

    You seem to like thinking you have all the authority of Christ but don’t want to conform to being the sacrifice.

    This is either a lie, or among the worst misreadings of one of my posts ever.

    The rest of your comment is meaningless.

  13. Passing from one authority (the father) to another (the husband) does not mean a bride/wife has not consented by free will to enter into the marriage contract.

    The only place I can find said quote is this article with no sources to Church teaching. It’s someone’s personal Catholic blog.

    http://www.catholic.com/blog/michelle-arnold/dont-give-away-the-bride

    I assume that the Church does not contradict the fact that fathers have authority over their daughters and give them away in marriage via Genesis 2 and 1 Corinthians 7. Thus, I’m curious why this article suggests that such a thing contradicts free will because it does not.

    I guess this conversation affirms that women have a difficult time separating out different concepts from the whole. Nothing new. Time to move on.

  14. Mrs. C

    @DS “I assume that the Church does not contradict the fact that fathers have authority over their daughters and give them away in marriage via Genesis 2 and 1 Corinthians 7. Thus, I’m curious why this article suggests that such a thing contradicts free will because it does not.”

    “In the 12th century, Pope Alexander III decreed that what made a marriage was the free mutual consent by the spouses themselves, not a decision by their parents or guardians.[52] After that, clandestine marriages or youthful elopements began to proliferate, with the result that ecclesiastical courts had to decide which of a series of marriages that a man was accused of celebrating was the first and therefore the valid one.[53][54] Though “detested and forbidden” by the Church,[55] they were acknowledged to be valid. Similarly today, Catholics are forbidden to enter mixed marriages without permission from an authority of the Church, but if someone does enter such a marriage without permission, the marriage is reckoned to be valid, provided the other conditions are fulfilled, although illicit.”

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marriage_(Catholic_Church)#cite_note-52

    @DS “I guess this conversation affirms that women have a difficult time separating out different concepts from the whole. ”

    Or, cupcake, perhaps it affirms that some men refuse to put ALL the concepts together because they don’t want to see the whole picture.

  15. Again, that doesn’t contradict the passing of authority from the father to the husband. A marriage contract with the husband and wife is also affirmed by the Church, the father, and hopefully the families, friends, and other witnesses including God. Free will assent in a contract or covenant does not necessarily exclude other parties and influence.

    Or, cupcake, perhaps it affirms that some men refuse to put ALL the concepts together because they don’t want to see the whole picture.

    I already acknowledged where your stance fits into the picture namely in “purpose.” It’s your view that doesn’t acknowledge the whole as it groups identity in with purpose incorrectly.

  16. You seem to like thinking you have all the authority of Christ but don’t want to conform to being the sacrifice.

    This is just calumny, and I am not even a fan of Cane, as almost everyone knows. But calumny is what it is.

    As for this:

    I think it would benefit the Christian manosphere a great deal if

    Donal, I think it would benefit this blog a lot if this specific poster were banned. She is a feminist, she means ill-will, she will only relentlessly dog, critique and nag in ways that are mirrored in the general culture, and her input is worse than useless. I realize that it generates comments in response (this could be seen as that, I suppose, but it isn’t a response to her, per se, but an advice for you), but it isn’t worth it in terms of the distraction. There are big ideas here, and good conversations — it’s a good time to ban the obvious troll like everyone else has done.

  17. fuzziewuzziebear

    While I have only read Novaseeker’s comment, I should speak up for Mrs. C.
    She has been a regular commenter on Maeve’s blog “Wannabe Martha” for well over a year. That blog does not lend itself to controversy as it is pretty much a mommy blog. Maeve tolerates me pretty well, although my only regular contribution is a bear video with each post. I haven’t seen anything objectionable from her there.

  18. Novaseeker

    I wasn’t talking about Mrs. C — she’s not whom I quoted for that specific comment (the comment I was quoting has since been removed).

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