07 August, 2006

Presbuteras: The Image of God

The image of God is both male and female.

That's really an odd sentence, and it's horribly confusing if you stop and actually think about it. The key is that it is not God Who is both male and female, but God's image - us. God is neither. Male and female are attributes of physical beings, while God is Spirit.

So, if we step back in light of that distinction, and look at the image of God again we must be looking at men and women. It takes (unfallen) men and women together to represent God in the way He intended. When God was deciding how to form a physical image of His Spiritual perfection, He settled on creating mankind male and female. God, as Spirit, is and does things He centered in males. He also is and does things that he centered in females. Why? I don't know, but it's a beautiful picture that He has created.

I would love to jump into applications of this fact, except that Paul says:
1 Cor 11:7
A man ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God; but woman is the glory of man.

Paul has made what sounds like a solid declaration that the woman bears the image of the man, and not of God - that she is an image of the image of God.

Crushing.

I cannot say that I know anyone who truly believes that the image of God is not borne by women. Maybe by this time tomorrow, that will have changed, but I am starting here as a possible point of common ground. Hopefully, we all will see this in a reasonably similar way. My objectives are two-fold. One, I hope that we will all agree that the image of God cannot be properly represented by males alone. Two, I hope that we will all agree that Paul's statements are not always clear.

If I am going to take a look at the image of God, and see how it is borne, I am going to look at two things, the first mention of His image, and what we know about Him.

The First Mention of the Image of God
Gen 1:26&27
And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

(That's pretty cool - when I cut/paste from Crosswalk, the lexicon entries still work.)

Gen 5:1&2
This is the book of the generations of Adam. In the day that God created man, in the likeness of God made he him; Male and female created he them; and blessed them, and called their name Adam, in the day when they were created.

Check this out. Click "man" in the 7th word of the first passage. You will go to a page that tells you about ~da, which is Adam. If you then refresh this page, you will note that "Adam", the 8th word from the end of the second passage is purple (or whatever color displays for visited links.) This is because the word for "man" and the word for "Adam" in Hebrew are exactly the same word, so when you visited the word for "man," you also visited the word for "Adam."

So, when God created Adam, He created man. This word also means, "mankind." So, the writer of Genesis has gone out of his way to tell us that mankind was created in the image of God as male and female.

Score one for the image of God being properly represented by a plurality of people including both male and female.

What We Know About God
If we know God to be and do things that we would understand as male and female attributes, then we can logically conclude that His attributes could not be completely represented by only male or female. We all accept that God does things typically interpreted as masculine. Is God and does God do things typically interpreted as feminine?

Yes.

1) El Shaddai is often interpreted as God Almighty. It is readily accepted by many, though, that this could better be interpreted as God our Nurture/Supply. This is because shad, in the Hebrew, is breast. If God the Nurturing Breast is a reasonable interpretation of El Shaddai, then we have a solid reference to a feminine attribute of God.

2) The Spirit was a Mother Bird over all the earth.
Gen 1:2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.

Jamieson, Fausset and Brown
[This the text from Crosswalk.com]
the Spirit of God moved--literally, continued brooding over it, as a fowl does, when hatching eggs.
[This is the text from the bound version of the same commentary]
moved on -- Our English version does not give the meaning correctly; for this word does not convey the idea of progressive motion, but that of brooding over -- cherishing -- the act of incubation which a fowl performs when hatching its eggs.
[Fascinating how different the two texts are. I wonder who made the changes?]

Matthew Henry
as the hen gathers her chickens under her wings, and hovers over them, to warm and cherish them, Mt. 23:37,—as the eagle stirs up her nest, and flutters over her young (it is the same world that is here used), Deu. 32:11. Learn hence, That God is not only the author of all being, but the fountain of life and spring of motion.

[Baker's Evangelical Dictionary lists this verse as a reference on sexual immorality. That's a kick.]

I'm reasonably sure we could find lots of references for the Spirit's brooding over the face of the deep as a feminine act.

3) Let me quote a number of verses all neatly aggregated for us by Christians for Biblical Equality at their page, What Language Shall We Use? There is a lot on this link that I have not quoted here for those who are interested.
Deuteronomy 32:18: “You deserted the Rock, who bore you. You forgot the God who gave you birth.”
Hosea 13:8: “Like a bear robbed of her cubs, I will attack them and rip them open.”
Isaiah 46:3–4: “[Y]ou whom I have upheld since you were conceived, and have carried since your birth. Even to your old age and grey hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.”
Isaiah 66:13: “As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you.”
Job 38:29: “From whose womb comes the ice? Who gives birth to the frost from the heavens... ?”
Psalm 90:2: “Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the earth and the world . . .”
Hosea 11:3–4: “It was I who taught Ephraim to walk, taking them by the arms; but they did not realize it was I who healed them. I led them with cords of human kindness, with ties of love; I lifted the yoke from their neck and bent down to feed them.”


Also from this page, let me quote:
Holy Spirit (in Hebrew is feminine, ruah...)

4) The Lord does "women's work" for us.
Gen 2:18 And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.

The word "meet" in that verse, as in "help meet", is "ezer" in Hebrew (as you will see if you click on the link.) It appears 21 times in scripture according to Crosswalk's count, and the overwhelming majority of times it appears describing what God is to us. Here it describes what the woman is to be to the man. I'm cool with either seeing this as elevating the role of the wife to be like that of God toward us, or simply describing the work of God as the same as the work of a wife. Either the woman is doing something distinctly unfeminine here, or God is doing something feminine in the Psalms.

Ps 20:2
Send thee help from the sanctuary, and strengthen thee out of Zion;
Ps 33:20
Our soul waiteth for the LORD: he is our help and our shield.
Ps 70:5
But I am poor and needy: make haste unto me, O God: thou art my help and my deliverer; O LORD, make no tarrying.
Ps 89:19
Then thou spakest in vision to thy holy one, and saidst, I have laid help upon one that is mighty; I have exalted one chosen out of the people.
Ps 115:9
O Israel, trust thou in the LORD: he is their help and their shield.
Ps 115:10
O house of Aaron, trust in the LORD: he is their help and their shield.
Ps 115:11
Ye that fear the LORD, trust in the LORD: he is their help and their shield.
Ps 121:1
I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.
Ps 121:2
My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth.
Ps 124:8
Our help is in the name of the LORD, who made heaven and earth.
Ps 146:5
Happy is he that hath the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the LORD his God:


Paul and the Image of God
On the human side, we have seen that from the beginning, God made all of mankind the bearer of His image, and that this mankind includes male and female. On the heavenly side, we have seen that God is not ashamed to ascribe to Himself feminine attributes and actions. The obvious conclusion is that the masculine and feminine sides of mankind both show forth (glorify) crucial portions of the Godhead.

So, what is Paul's take on all this? It seems pretty negative so far!

Paul uses the Greek word for, "image," 7 other times according to Crosswalk.com.

Ro 1:23
And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.
Ro 8:29
For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.
1Co 15:49
And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.
2Co 3:18
But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.
2Co 4:4
In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.
Col 1:15
Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:
Col 3:10
And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:


Of those 7 other times, Paul refers to idols 1 time, all of us being made like Christ 4 times, and Christ Himself bearing/being the Image of God 2 times. When Paul refers to us being made like Christ, it is clear that he is refering equally to men and women, but he is not refering to the likeness of God that we bear. Neither is he refering to this likeness when he talks about idols.

That leaves us with 2 verses that say Christ is the Image of God, and one verse seeming to say that all males are the image of God. Paul has left us with precious few guideposts to interpreting his statement about males being the image of God. We have even fewer guideposts regarding women being the image of men.

This verse is an island in the scripture. It speaks truth, but we only have negative clues so far as to its meaning. That declared, I am content to say that the negative evidence is overwhelming. Whatever Paul meant, it was not that only men bear the image of God. When Paul speaks of the Image of God, he is going to capitalize the noun, and be speaking of Christ. That is not the case here, so it must mean something else.

---

Like I said at the beginning of this post, I hope that everyone agrees with this analysis. (Who'm I kidding - I hope that everyone agrees with all my analyses. ;-P] Do you agree with the basic idea of looking at a verse in this way? If you find its common interpretation to be out of step with the rest of scripture, do you agree that looking for some stronger interpretation makes sense?

Next, we have to go to the positive meaning of 1 Cor 11:7. What *is* the truth Paul is speaking here? For that we need to go to the internal context of 1 Corinthians, and I fear I have already gone on long enough with this post. So, until some time later this week...

22 comments:

Milly said...

I’ll be reading this again. Lots to think on.
I could never put a face or body on God. It was forbidden in my home to have statues and pictures other than the books of Jesus and we were told we don’t know what he looked like. With that I always thought that our image of God was internal it’s spiritual, not faces and such not man nor woman. Jesus took a man’s form because of the time in the world, men had more power then.

codepoke said...

It's an amazing thing that God has made an image of Himself, and we are it - and much more so before the fall. Again, the Lord's ways are higher than I could ever imagine.

The subject of us making images of God is a difficult one. Check out Weekend Fisher on this one at Christian Art and the Graven Images Commandment - she nailed it.

DugALug said...

Codepoke,

Side note: The Hebrew for man (adam) sounds a lot like it may be related to the Hebrew word for ground (adamah) which is also the name for Adam

An 'ah' ending interestingly also denotes that something is of God's.

So it is like saying man of/from God from the earth. It backtracks to the same root 'da because is comes from the same root.

This will be important for my comments below.

I am also sure that God is neither male nor female.

God/Jesus is also equated to cornerstones and rocks. These, of course, are neutral/neuter in gender.

Is it possible that God was probably talking about a soul? I go back to the 'God breathed' scripture in Gensis.

Genesis 2:7 (NIV)

7 the LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.


Why was it relavent for Moses to mention that God 'breathed' into his nostrils? Why wasn't this mentioned with all other creations?

God's breath is significant here. Adam was unique from all other earthly creations because he possessed an eternal component. He was a vessel of God's life. As in God's image, he was eternal.

But man, by himself, is incomplete. Man, by himself is unable to generate a progency. Without woman, man/mankind is a dead-end.

Much like the Essenes of the Bible, and Gnostics of the 1 century (both were sects that preached a doctrine of celibacy), without offspring, stagnation eventually occurs.

Man and women are interdependant, and as such, co-heirs with Christ.

In the Genesis Scripture you quoted who is the 'Us' Let us make man in our image? I hold it is the entities of the trinity. Again, one entity resides in Eternity, one resided here on Earth, and one travelled between carrying out the will of the Father. Interestingly enough, it is clear in the trinity that both Jesus and The Holy Spirit are subordinate to God... which is kind of a wierd-funny statement.

Could God be saying let's make mankind in this image? With a temporal flesh (Jesus), an independant mind (God), and an eternal soul (Spirit). No where in this does Gender come into play.

Whatever Paul's attitude on women position, I can only see that you take Paul literally. If you don't head his instruction you are tap-dancing. If you believe the Gospell in its entirety (which I do), then Paul instruction concerning women is... well... Gospel!

The references to God as a Father, or Shepherd, are merely equivalences to God's nature. Both masculinity and feminenity are clearly embodied in God's nature. But since, God is most often refered to as a Father, we have attached a male Gender to Him (see I can't get around referring to God as He). Next time you are in church, try referring to God as a 'She' and see the reaction. Technically neither is correct, but culture dictates God as a male.

God Bless
Doug

Danny Kaye said...

So far, you haven't presented anything in the Scriptures that teaches a woman can be in leadership over a man.
I don't think anyone disagrees that women are made just as much in the image of God as men are.

But your presentation has a flaw in it that I cannot work through.

You say, "One, I hope that we will all agree that the image of God cannot be properly represented by males alone."

I respectfully (of course) disagree.

My understanding is that Jesus was not just a male, but He is the God incarnate. I agree with Dugalug that God's character encompasses all of the male qualities normally attributed to men, and all the female qualities normally attibuted to women. And Jesus, being God in the flesh, displayed them both equally and perfectly.

We have discussed this before about 6 months ago. You explained that, because women are the more sensative sex, they would fill a gaping hole that the men simply could not fill with regard to leading a Church. (That is a loose paraphrase. Feel free to correct it if it is not quite right.) I agreed that the gaping hole exists. But I argued that the solution is not to put women in leadership over men, but instead for the men to imitate the Lord more fully. And that would mean taking on the same feminine qualities that Jesus displayed. We are the ones who must learn from Jesus how to fill that gaping hole. If it means we should do this by watching how women display feminine qualities, so be it. If it means seeking input from women on how to be sensative or compassionate or empathetic or whatever...then so be it. We are the ones biblically charged with leadership of the Church. Therefore, we are the ones who must be humble enough to be like Jesus even in the ways not normally striven after by men of the world.
Sure, it's awkward.
Sure, it's uncomfortable.
Sure, it's going to be looked at as weakness.

But if it was displayed as perfection is Jesus, then it's a requirement that we do it.

(Don't get me wrong. I am not letting the sisters off the hook on this one. Their imitation of Jesus should be just as complete in the other direction. But that is for another argument.) ;-)

I appreciate that the Lord created both men and women. I love my wife and respect her more than I respect myself. She is an inspiration to me and has been since the day I met her. I love the marriage relationship we have. (I won't go into that. ;-))

I appreciate the sisters and non-Christian women the Lord has put in my life. I am proud to call them friends.

I can learn...No...I HAVE learned just as much from the women in my life as I have from the men.

Jesus was very "up" on women. He served with them, as did Peter and the other apostles. But as far as leadership in the Church goes, I just don't see it. Believe me, there are times when I am not being like Jesus and I wish a woman WOULD step in. But that is not the solution. The solution is always for me to repent and be like Jesus in every way, fully.

codepoke said...

And we're off!

codepoke said...

DugALug,

God/Jesus is also equated to cornerstones and rocks. These, of course, are neutral/neuter in gender.
And therefore that there are things about God that have to be shown by things that are not human. Yes, very much so.

I hold it is the entities of the trinity.
I don't think any regular visitor here will have a problem with that. I certainly agree.

Interestingly enough, it is clear in the trinity that both Jesus and The Holy Spirit are subordinate to God
Ah, but here you are going to run into some serious bucking. This is a subtlety invented some time in the last few decades specifically to rebuff egalitarians. Everyone agrees that on earth, Christ the God/Man humbled Himself in obedience to the Father. There is, however, not one scriptural shred of evidence that the Son and/or Spirit are anything but coequal with the Father in eternity, one in substance, will, and purpose.

This doctrine was first introduced to the world in an anti-egalitarian position paper or some such. So, for 1800 years this idea was never breathed by a Christian, then suddenly some women start preaching and this doctrine is born fully grown. Nope. This one won't fly.

Whatever Paul's attitude on women position, I can only see that you take Paul literally.
Go with me one more post, and see whether or not I decide to ignore holy writ. I assert that when a scripture stands alone, and when it seems to stand against the evident testimony of the rest of the bible, it is worth the time to look for another explanation. That is very different from asserting that if I don't like a scripture, I can ignore it.

I will take Paul literally.

(see I can't get around referring to God as He)

You will note that I never called God, "She" either. Oddly, though, Moses was not afraid to do so. Ruah simply is feminine. In english it is precisely the equivalent of saying, "Spiritette." If Moses is cool with it, why should we not learn it?

Next time you are in church, try referring to God as a 'She' and see the reaction.

Smacks of following men instead of God, doesn't it?

Technically neither is correct, but culture dictates God as a male.

Technically, "He" is correct. "She" would be incorrect, because "he" is the English neuter. The fact that the English speaking world has become comfortable with thinking of God as a man instead of a Spirit is to our shame.

Don't worry, though. Once this blog gets a couple more readers, we'll change the world!

codepoke said...

Danny Kaye,

And Jesus, being God in the flesh, displayed them both equally and perfectly.

Amen.

I agreed that the gaping hole exists. But I argued that the solution is not to put women in leadership over men, but instead for the men to imitate the Lord more fully.

I remember the discussion pretty well, and you have summarized both positions just fine.

You are correct. I have not yet made any argument that women should be in leadership over men. So, your argument against my non-existent argument is pretty compelling. :-)

I really need to know where you stand on the method I am using of interpretting scripture before we can talk well.

The point of this post is seeing who is willing to risk balancing one verse against the rest of scripture and see what happens. I have tried to do this the best I can. What do you think?

I assume that your answer to these questions begins to be, "No," at some point. I am tryng to understand where that point lies.

- Did I demonstrate that God desired to create a physical representation of His image?
- Did I demonstrate that He chose to divide His representation differently between men and women?
- Did I demonstrate that Paul's statement seems to be out of step with the rest of scripture?
- Does this make you question the common interpretation enough to actually want to listen to another possibility?

This is good stuff. Thanks, DK!

Danny Kaye said...

1. "Did I demonstrate that God desired to create a physical representation of His image?"

In Jesus...yes. But aside from that...no.
If I understand you correctly, you are speaking about man and women being physical representations of His image? I disagree. I believe (for now) that God created our spiritual qualities and our characters in His image. I don't believe that God looks like me or any other man or woman. I don't even believe God looks like Jesus...except for the spiritual qualities and character. Perhaps I am misunderstanding the question?

2. "Did I demonstrate that He chose to divide His representation differently between men and women?"

Yes. You didn't even need to post anything about it. We agreed beforehand.

3. "Did I demonstrate that Paul's statement seems to be out of step with the rest of scripture?"

I don't claim to understand all of what Paul was talking about in 1 Cor. 11. But my (limited) study and understanding leads me to believe that he is simply discussing the sequential relationship between God, Christ, man, and woman (and somehow angels fit into the picture).

So, to answer your question, I don't think the passage is an anomoly. I believe it to be a spiritual truth that I may or may not ever understand to its fullest.

But to answer your question again, I don't think it is a pivotal Scripture on which to base an argument for or against women's roles in the Church.

4. "Does this make you question the common interpretation enough to actually want to listen to another possibility?"

No...I am open to listening to that anyway. ;-)

Of course I will listen. Of course I will consider your arguments strongly. Of course I will read you 30 page posts. (jk)

Keep in mind what you are trying to accomplish, here. You want to convince me and others that what we currently view as biblically correct is actually biblically false. That being the case, your arguments must be quite solid in order for us to lay our current biases down. (I am not saying you are right or wrong. I am simply stating a fact of human nature.) But no matter, the onus is on you to present such a strong case that we can begin to see things the way you see them. Bit for some reason, I get the imporession that you don't mind being in that position. (heh-heh)

Milly said...

I once again found myself wanting to climb on the fence and watch. Then again I do enjoy the wrangling.

At lunch today I asked my husband and children what they thought God looked like? Is God male of female?
Catholic raised husband-no surprises from him.

Miss Little- Told me what He wears. She woke me this morning to talk about how she would be dressed today. She also thinks He looks like Jesus.

Son- Neither male or female. They do talk as if God is male. I pointed out that it talks as if God is female also so saying neither one is a good answer. That’s my boy.:-}

CoC and I am assuming ICoC have always been very careful about the description of God. The whole image and worship of them thing. I still stand by my thought that Jesus had to be male because the world wasn’t ready for a female. It simple wouldn’t have worked.


I do think that this is a valid part of the women as leader discussion because if we have a clear view of God than we might have a clear view of a leader male or female.

DugALug said...

CP,

This is a subtlety invented some time in the last few decades specifically to rebuff egalitarians.

Bologna:

Here's the scripture.

John 14:15-16 (NIV)

15 "If you love me, you will obey what I command. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever—



Matthew 26:42 (NIV)

42 Again, a second time, He went away and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if this cup cannot pass away from Me unless I drink it, Your will be done.”


I don't see how these two scripture can be interpreted any other way. The Jesus the man argument is considering, but even when Christ is referenced in Revelation, He is seated beside God.

The idea that this is a modern line of thougt is silly, unless you consider St. Jerome and St. Augustine modern. This exact argument was made by the two church fathers in the 4th century. How it was adapted to this discussion is arbitrary.

God Bless
Doug

Patchouli said...

(Riding up with spurs jangling--"I heard there was some commotion, and came by to see what was up.")

I was just communicating with someone this a.m. on this very subject. I defer to her (summarized) answer to my own questions:
"...those (scriptures) that speak of the subordination of the Son to the Father point to His voluntary and temporary subordination made necessary when He became man for our salvation. The Son’s servanthood and obedience were limited to His incarnation."

dugalug, you are right. The word is ha'adam--Hebrew for the earth from which the first human was made. Literally, earth creature. Isn't that cool?

Milly, you make a good point. Would Jesus have survived past the age of 12 if he had been a she?

I'm going to excuse myself from this for awhile (I am an 'ezer kenegdo, after all).

codepoke said...

Danny Kaye,

If I understand you correctly, you are speaking about man and women being physical representations of His image? I disagree.

God is Spirit. I am not attempting to say that Adam and Eve look like God physically looks. Even Jesus fails to look like God physically looks, in exactly the same way that a light shade of blue cannot swim to England.

No, I am refering to God saying, "let Us create man in Our image." God wanted to create a more-than-merely-spiritual being that would be in His image. Unfallen man is a blend of physical and spiritual, and in at least some of his actions he shows the image of God, or God failed to do what He said He wanted to do.

I agree with you that God doesn't look like anything, but He surely meant something when He said mankind would be created in His image. I was not explicit enough (I need to write 60 pages; 30 is obviously not enough. ;-) but I meant that the invisible attributes of God are seen in the visible actions of humans. God is love spiritually, and humans love spiritually/physically. God nurtures and humans nurture. God protects, and humans protect.

When humans do these things, they show forth the image of God - they glorify God.

I don't claim to understand all of what Paul was talking about in 1 Cor. 11.

I intend to talk about all of 1 Cor 11 tomorrow. Today is about the method that I will use tomorrow.

The point I am trying to make is that Paul's clear meanings are not always clear. Paul says that the woman does not bear the image of God. He says it clearly, and with all the connector words in place to prove that he really means what it seems like he means. He means to say that the woman is not the image of God in the same way that the man is the image of God (Paul does clearly say that mortal men bear the image of God.)

Paul and I both agree with you that only Jesus is the perfect image of God. But all of scripture affirms that mankind also bears the image of God in part. It is only here in this one verse that Paul says that the woman has no part in that image bearing.

Though Paul is clear, his meaning is truly not clear, or we would clearly see how it agrees with the rest of scripture.

But to answer your question again, I don't think it is a pivotal Scripture on which to base an argument for or against women's roles in the Church.

Again, I agree. This is a verse upon which complementarians and egalitarians agree. No less than Grudem and Piper (vocal, respected complementarians) would agree that women bear the image of God as they interpret this verse.

I could start firing arguments at 90 miles an hour, but that guarantees that we will not agree. I would blast my points while you blast back, and we would both walk away convinced that we had carried the day. That seems to me like Jolt Cola (all the sugar and twice the caffiene.) It takes you on a serious ride, but there's always a crash at the end.

Instead, I want to find a common base, and an agreed upon way of reaching it. I want to have one statement upon which all of us can shake hands, and get to that statement by a method we all understand and appreciate. Then we can reuse the method on a point on which I'm more than sure we will disagree.

Since complementarians and egalitarians all agree that women bear the image of God equally with men, this verse seems like an outstanding place to start. It is foundational, and buried in the middle of a controversial passage.

You want to convince me and others that what we currently view as biblically correct is actually biblically false. That being the case, your arguments must be quite solid in order for us to lay our current biases down.

Yep. You're right. I am quite aware of the elephantine burden of proof against which I will be measured, too. That's why I wanted to start right here, in a place where we should agree, using a method that I can repeat.

The degree of disagreement we have had so far is encouraging. I'm a happy camper so far. Thanks for giving consideration to my plodding methods. :-)

Oloryn said...

Actually, looking again at exactly what is said in I Cor 11:7, Paul isn't saying that men and women differ in image - he's saying they differ in glory. Man is the 'image and glory of God', but woman is the 'glory of man'. By leaving image out of the second phrase, one might argue that Paul is leaving woman in the same place as man as far as being the 'image of God', but making a distinction in 'glory', whatever that is(as someone who is by nature a concept-juggler, I usually grasp the concept behind a word pretty easily, sometimes scarily so, but 'glory' is a term I've never been able to convince myself that I've managed to fully wrap my head around).

How does that affect your upcoming discussion? This takes this verse out of 'island in the scripture' status, but leaves Paul making a distinction that might not be entirely clear to us.

codepoke said...

Milly,

Your little girl sounds unbearably cute! And your boy quite logical. I love that stuff. :-)

Did my points to DK help you see what I mean by bearing the image of God? That it is our actions that show God's attributes? When Miss Little describes God's robes, sandals and beard she is bearing the image of God's simplicity. (And we could use a LOT more of that! We overcomplicate God every day, and it hinders our prayers. God loves us in utter simplicity, without artifice.)

No. I don't believe that God has a beard, sandals or a robe. :-)

codepoke said...

DugALug,

This exact argument was made by the two church fathers in the 4th century. How it was adapted to this discussion is arbitrary.

I just read Patchouli's comment, and I agree completely. Bilezikian wrote a great piece on this, and if I have the time, I will try to find it. In the meantime, I am going to table this discussion on my end.

codepoke said...

Oloryn,

Paul isn't saying that men and women differ in image - he's saying they differ in glory.

Great analysis. Thank you.

I'm not sure it completely gets rid of the problem, because Paul goes to such an extreme to create it. Paul's statement is hardly friendly to the idea that women bear the image of God, even if the differentiation you point out exists. I will have to see how it plays out when I start writing on 1 Cor. 11. :-)

I hear you on glory. One of my friends wrote a song that defined glory as, "Glory is what the Son brings to the Father." For a long time, that was about the best I'd heard. Just yesterday, though, I heard glory defined as "outshining." That made a lot of sense to me. Glory is when we shine out the bits of God that He has given us.

It was a beautiful picture, and I held on to it.

codepoke said...

Patchouli,

Yeah, I just had to look up 'ezer kenegdo on God's Word to Women. :-) Good stuff!

Thanks for weighing in.

Oloryn said...

Paul's statement is hardly friendly to the idea that women bear the image of God

I'm not sure if it's really that unfriendly.


One other note: I'd be careful about making interpretations based on capitalization or the lack of it - the earliest New Testament manuscripts we have are in all caps. Capitalization (or the lack of it) in our english translations comes primarily from the interpretation of the translator.

I'll be watching this discussion, definitely, as I typically find myself not exactly lining up with either 'side' of the issue. I tend to learn complementarian, but I also believe that there are a lot of attitudes that traditionally accompany a complementarian view that aren't biblical. E.g., see
here

codepoke said...

Oloryn,

I'd be careful about making interpretations based on capitalization or the lack of it - the earliest New Testament manuscripts we have are in all caps.

Nice point. :-)

I meant it figuratively, but I didn't give much clue about that. Uncials, right?

Your link did not come through for some reason.

Oloryn said...

Looks like I left the h off of the href. The link is here

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