Objection: natural hair is the hair covering

This objection says that the hair covering being spoken of by Paul is the natural hair on a woman and not a veil or other extra covering put on top of her hair.

The main verse used in support of this objection is the one where Paul says “For her hair is given to her for a covering.” (1 Cor 11:15)

To be sure the idea that a woman’s hair is a covering is certainly biblical based on that verse but is it the covering referred to by Paul when he says “let her cover her head.” in 1 Cor 11:6?

Let’s take just one verse where Paul talks of the need for a woman to wear a head covering and replace the words used to refer to a covering with “hair” and see if this objection makes any sense.

1 Corinthians 11:6 says (without any replacement)…

For if a woman does not cover her head, let her also have her hair cut off; but if it is disgraceful for a woman to have her hair cut off or her head shaved, let her cover her head.

Now let’s replace any reference to a head covering in this verse with hair (going alone with the idea that the head covering is simply the woman’s natural hair)…

For if a woman does not have hair on her head, let her also have her hair cut off; but if it is disgraceful for a woman to have her hair cut off or her head shaved, let her have hair.

Does that make any sense? Of course not!

Such an interpretation is absurdly ridiculous.

How can a woman who has no hair (i.e. head covering…going along with the belief that the hair is the head covering) have her hair cut off? Either she has hair (i.e. a head covering) or she does not. If she has hair then it makes no sense to say that she should cut it off for having…well…no hair (or covering). If she has hair she has a covering and therefore would not need to have her hair cut off.

Furthermore how can women who are bald for some reason (though rare it does happen) ever obey these verses since it is impossible for them to ever grow hair? Are only women who have natural hair able to pray and prophesy?

Lastly to be consistent with the hair is the covering objection we must conclude that all men must have their hair cut off and go around bald in order to ever pray and prophecy. I’ve replaced any references to head covering on a man with “hair” to show how ridiculous this notion is.

1 Corinthians 11:4

Every man who has hair on his head while praying or prophesying disgraces his head.

And…

1 Corinthians 11:7

For a man ought not to have hair on his head, since he is the image and glory of God;

If hair is the covering being referred to by Paul then only women can properly pray and prophecy unless the men all shave their heads bald in which case they too could pray and prophecy.

If hair is the covering most all the Christian men that I know are walking around in disobedience for having a covering of hair on their head when praying and prophesying.

The head covering is meant as a visible display supporting God’s order of authority (or the hierarchy of authority within the church). If the natural hair on a woman is that covering then no such visible display is possible since most all women would have hair on their head whether they are in subjection to God’s order of authority or not.

In other words the natural hair present on most all women would dilute the intended affect of having a head covering over the head of Christian women who pray and prophesy to the point where any symbolism unique to the wearing of a head covering would be lost and rendered meaningless.

It is precisely because the covering spoken of by Paul is not the natural hair that the symbolism of a head covering means anything at all. The head covering is an external symbolism that is put on specifically by Christian women when praying or prophesying. A symbol that upholds and acknowledges God’s order of authority under which the women prays or prophesies.

When Paul says that the hair on a woman is given her for a covering he is talking about a kind of covering that mirrors the external head covering that he has been speaking of. He uses the symbolism of the natural hair covering to support his contention that women should wear an external covering over their heads. He does not mean that the hair is the very covering he has been speaking about.

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