In 1 Corinthians 11, the Apostle Paul grounds his argument for head covering in the pre-fall creation order. This is one of the strongest arguments for why veiling is not a cultural practice but rather is something that is to be upheld by all Christians. In making a distinction between the principle (biblical manhood and womanhood) and the symbol (head covering), some hold that only the principle needs modern affirmation. The symbol is seen as a cultural practice that pointed to proper gender roles in the first century, but that has no meaning today. Many complementarian theologians arrive at this conclusion because of a wrong expectation of continuity in practice. Meaning if the veil was truly grounded in the creation order, then not only would Eve have worn it before the fall, but also every godly woman throughout biblical history.
Head covering is not a practice that was required under the Old Covenant (though many women did cover throughout this time). It is only a requirement for those under the New Covenant (like us). So let’s first state up front that I agree that head covering was not supposed to be practiced in continuity from Eve onward. But that does not deal a death blow to the creation order argument. My position is that God has taken something common (a covering) and has infused it with creation order meaning. So he has set up a brand new symbol which he designed and gave meaning to, and then had His apostles deliver it to the churches for them to practice. This is not an anomaly as God has always been about creating symbols to visually teach different truths. Many of these symbols (like head covering) were only to be practiced under one covenant. For example, the sacrifices and the feasts (Col 2:16-17) were only to be practiced under the Old Covenant whereas Baptism and the Lord’s Supper are only for the new covenant. Read more
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