"Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair white or black" (Matt. 5:36). This is the first usage of the word head in the N. T. And the first usage has a great deal to do with fixing its meaning. The meaning here is that it is a literal head upon which hair may grow.
"The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner" (Matt. 21:42). Here is another meaning which will be taken up later.
But these two meanings are summed up in the definition of head in The Critical Lexicon and Concordance by E. W. B. He say, "The head of man or beast, the head or chief part of anything." So the word head may be taken in either a literal or figurative sense. The context will decide.
Using the literal sense, we first must admit that the head of man or beast is a control center. In it is an organ called a brain. This brain is a master of the members of the body. It sends messages to the various parts and they act upon these orders. Without such a control center, there would be absolute anarchy among the members.
Smoothness of operation and the realizing of goals depend on cooperation and obedience. Each member must obey its orders and also work together with other members. This may be demonstrated by a concert pianist or the race horse. All members must work in perfect harmony to achieve the final result. This is the result of headship that is properly owned and obeyed.
But sometimes disease may step in and perfect coordination is spoiled. Locomotor ataxia can cause members to act in the opposite direction to the orders given at the head. Polio and other diseases can ruin the connections and communication lines, and so disrupt proper action. And we could go on to name numerous things that would break up the unity of the members.
It is possible that a member might go to sleep and be powerless to act. Another might get puffed up and take to itself undue importance and refuse to work with lesser important members. And a member might just get plain contrary and refuse to act.
These are all problems that may be met with in the body of a human or a beast. They may also be used in a figurative way to explain some of the problems connected with the church of which Christ is the Head. Need we go into detail?
Philosophers come up with some strange ideas at times, and one of them is that the head is the sum of the body. Would like to see an artist work out a picture of a man or beast which would fit this notion. It would indeed be something out of this world, something very strange. Philosophy cannot explain the deep things of the Word of God, nor the natural phenomena about us in the world.
Our first reference shows the limitations of the control one may have over any part of his body. The relationship is obedience in movements. And there may be a similar relationship between the head of the church and the body. It cannot change Him.