In amongst 1 Corinthians 11:2-16, Paul recognises a problem.
If man is the head of woman because woman was made from man and for man, then sinful men - yes, even Christians - will inevitably take these truths further than they should go.
So after outlining the reasons in Creation for the authority of man over woman, Paul establishes limits.
Nevertheless, in the LORD woman is not independent of man, nor is man independent of woman. For as woman came from man, so also man is born of woman. But everything comes from God.
Christ restores Christian men and women to their original creation purposes and relationships, but these purposes and relationships work together. It is true that "in the Lord" woman is not independent of man - she is made from him and for him - but it is also true that "in the Lord" man is not independent of woman. Paul backs this up with the same reasoning.
For as woman came from man, so also man is born of woman.
Even though in the beginning, woman came from man, since then, man owes his very existence to woman. These two truths go together.
A man may be head of a woman, but there is to be no denigration, no lording it over her, no verbal, emotional, physical or sexual abuse. Instead, as Peter says elsewhere in the Bible:
Husbands...be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.
There is still authority and submission in marriage (and other specific relationships between man and woman) but *at the same time* man and woman are partners and fellow-heirs. Women are to be treated with consideration and respect. God is watching and will not listen to an ungodly, disrespectful and abusive, man.
Childbirth is a great equaliser.
Typically, women trying to fight for "women's rights" and feminism see childbirth as a barrier to be overcome. Pregnant women and mothers are vulnerable. Giving birth and caring for children interrupts careers and achievements and makes the competition against man that much harder to win.
Paul teaches a completely different view. Childbirth puts a stop to the overreaching arrogance of man. It ensures equality between man and woman by asserting their *interdependence*, rather than by attempting to make them increasingly the same.
And Paul could have gone further. Childbirth brought us a Saviour, Jesus, through whom we all become heirs of God's promises.
Let's not argue.
But everything comes from God.
Man is head of woman by virtue of being created first. Yes.
Woman is the helper of man by virtue of coming from man. Yes.
Every man since creation has come from a woman. He could not achieve his purpose, or even exist, without a woman. Yes.
We can acknowledge all this. Instead of going to-and-fro, let's remember that, going even further back, all of us came from God - man, woman, everything.
From that perspective, all of us are equal.