The Redemption of Love

Rescuing Marriage and Sexuality from the Economics of a Fallen World

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"An interesting study of gender roles and marriage. . . . Timely and relevant."--Christine M. Fletcher, Journal of Markets & Morality

Today's society is saturated with competing answers to the dilemmas of love, sex, relationships, marriage, gender roles, and family. In The Redemption of Love, Carrie Miles resists the temptation to jump to solutions without first stepping back to understand the problem and its cause.

Meticulous in her arguments, Miles leads the reader in discovering what the Bible has to say about love in the twenty-first century by using the relatively new tools of socioeconomics. The result is a comprehensive, compelling approach considering economics not in terms of money but with reference to how we allocate our time and energy and how our beliefs and values shape our identities.

Miles outlines a consistent description of biblical love throughout scripture. The differences that divide men and women and set them up for conflict today were not created by God, she argues, but by sin. According to Miles, the Bible shows us that the love God envisioned for his people is a "soul-stirring, deep, and passionate" love--the only effective solution Christians can offer in today's battle to save marriage and family. This will be a valuable text for courses on family, marriage, and gender issues, as well as for clergy and laypeople searching for answers.


"Dr. Miles successfully navigates the turbulent waters of modern sexual life and traditional Christian morality. She calls both husbands and wives to greater mutual love and regard through her careful reading of the passages of Ephesians and Matthew most challenging to today's Christian. The delightful chapter on the Song of Songs is worth the price of the book."--Jennifer Roback Morse, author of Smart Sex: Finding Lifelong Love in a Hook-up World

"Combining keen observations with sociological evidence, this book offers an understanding of the factors that have shaken the institutions of marriage and the family in modern societies and what can be done about it. Building upon both previous scholarship and a generous but responsible use of biblical writings, the author explains how we can be liberated from a self-centered 'economic' view of gender and sexuality relationships. The Redemption of Love calls for nothing less than a new ethics for marriage, gender, and family relationships, which in reality is a reaffirmation of biblical ethics. I look forward to using this well-written and insightful book in my gender and sexuality course."--Jack Balswick, Fuller Theological Seminary

"The Redemption of Love is a book we have needed for a long time! While there are plenty of books on the topic of marriage, few offer a genuine assessment of the impact of economics on marriage customs from the Garden of Eden through the present. This book is a must read for marriage counselors, pastors, professors, and lay leaders. With its biblical emphasis, The Redemption of Love belongs in every church library. It is an understandable and significant resource for lay people as well as professionals."--Mimi Haddad, president, Christians for Biblical Equality (

"This elegant, sensible, and faithful book peels away centuries of misunderstanding about Christianity and marital love."--Rodney Stark, author of For the Glory of God

"So many books on marriage are saying the same old thing; this book by Carrie Miles is a fresh perspective. I learned from her focus on economics about the many ways our materialistic, capitalist culture puts a strain on families and draws us away from the wisdom of scripture. Her application of the Bible to our lives today is a welcome relief from the politics of hierarchy we hear all too often. In persuasive and clear tones, Miles argues for greater mutuality in marriage between men and women, and helps us see what it really means to put God first. Miles sets our hearts and minds back on the right course: mutual submission and married love that honors Christ."--Alan G. Padgett, Luther Seminary

"In this candid and sensitive book, Carrie Miles shows how much of the 'traditional family values' were shaped by economic necessity. These values are not supported, however, by changing economic realities that in fact seem to support other values. Dr. Miles responds with a sophisticated analysis of biblical teachings on marriage, especially in the Song of Songs."--Andrew Greeley, University of Chicago

"I regard this winsomely written, meticulously researched, hopeful, and wise book as a must-read. Dr. Miles has brilliantly connected an astute analysis of the relation of the pre-industrial economics of scarcity to traditional sexual divisions of labor and gender norms in the 'fallen world of thorns' with her insightful and persuasive readings of Genesis, the Song of Songs, and Ephesians. Many readers will find truly eye-opening her detailed investigation of the intimate relation between human survival and the focus of marriage changing from production to consumption. And her emphasis on the here-and-now consequences of redemption in Christ for marriage and sexual relationships is both theologically sound and wonderfully practical. This book can change your life and your marriage for the better."--S. Scott Bartchy, UCLA

The Author

  1. Carrie A. Miles

    Carrie A. Miles

    Carrie A. Miles (Ph.D., University of Chicago) works as an organizational psychologist and consultant in Fairfax, Virginia. She is a senior research fellow at the Consortium for the Economic Study of Religion at George Mason University, Virginia, and the...

    Continue reading about Carrie A. Miles


"The questions about gender with which Christendom--and society at large--must reckon are vital. What does it mean to be a man? What does it mean to be a woman? Which social roles should be embraced because they are dictated by biology or faith, and which ones may be cast off because they are mere cultural conventions? It is these essential questions that this book seeks to answer. The author . . . brings knowledge of both economics and Christianity to bear on the topic of gender roles. . . . Miles's social and economic analysis of the family throughout history is masterful, but it is here, in offering the solution to these problems, that her book is most important. Using her own analysis of the Song of Songs from the Old Testament of the Bible, Miles argues that Christians should view love as an opportunity to serve others, rather than exert power over them. . . . Miles's overarching argument is compelling. This significant book brings the reader closer to logical, satisfying answers to the vital questions about gender--and humanity."--Melanie Seibert, ForeWord

"This is a book well worth reading, and almost everyone will find material that they did not know before. . . . Miles' competency in Biblical languages and thorough understanding of both Old and New Testaments gives her credence in discussing the problems facing marriages in ancient times as well as in our day. . . . Her approach to modern family problems for Christians, and their responsibility, opportunity, and limitations in the world of politics is informative and challenging. Her discussion of the social problems facing our world, their impact on marriage, what Christians can and should do about these factors is honest and realistic. This book should be in every church library, on the shelf of every marriage counselor, on the reading list or textbook list of Christian college courses on marriage, and would make great discussions for church book clubs!"--Alvera Mickelsen, Christians for Biblical Equality

"An interesting study of gender roles and marriage. . . . [Miles's] warning about the limits of politics in saving the traditional family, along with her analysis of the counterproductive effects [of] the church's support of traditional gender roles are timely and relevant. . . . She has . . . done a very good job in clearing an area for a rational discussion about supporting marriage and the family as well as also answering the charge that Christianity is oppressive of women."--Christine M. Fletcher, Journal of Markets & Morality

"[This book] offers a refreshing perspective on such complicated and well-worn topics as patriarchy, the breakdown of the family, the biblical perspective on marriage, and the rising rates of divorce and cohabitation. Miles looks to the Bible for a clear understanding of problems and causes, using economic sociology as a tool/lens. . . . Lest you suspect that this book is a dry treatise on historic and economic forces, I must mention the exquisite section on the Song of Songs that illustrates and elevates the biblical blessing of sex and marriage. . . . Miles' impressive scholarship and broad, encompassing conclusions are well worth the effort. . . . Although a challenging read, I cherish this book for its clarity and truth, and for its clarion call for the redeemed to live in the reality of that redemption!"--Marcie Macolino, Prism

"Miles has sought to bring her exegetically grounded readings of Genesis, the Song of Songs and Ephesians into dialogue with an account of the development of marriage and family relationships from pre-industrial society to the present within a strongly economic framework. . . . Restating the fall in terms of the economic limitations that it placed on family relationships and the way it constrained sexual relationships in a way that led to female subordination is challenging and provocative. . . . We are in [Miles's] debt for having attempted to ground a theology of marriage in a framework that takes account of the impact of changes in economic structure and beings a recovery of the importance of the church as social reality that does not depend upon the power of the state to enforce a morality."--Doug Hynd, Zadok Perspectives