Series of 5 Articles. And God said: Let us make Adam in our image. Article 4/5. The details of gender and the image of God.
5 Article Series. And God said: Let us make Adam in our image.
Article 4. The details of Gender and the image of God.
In the previous article I concluded that essential sameness and differentiated personhood are mutually inclusive. That is, you cannot have one without the other. Thus, differentiated personhood is not just an incidental, rather, it is fundamental to understanding the sameness of Adam, of man and woman, (and presumably of God for Adam is the image of God). This raises the stakes in terms of how Genesis 2 describes the differentiated personhood of Adam.
A Specific Type of Duality.
There is further detail to consider in regard to Adam the ground-person being the image of God. The basic feature of Adam being the image of God, is that he is both a singularity and a duality. But, we are told more details about this singularity and duality. We are told what type of singularity and plurality it is. Let us work through the details and implications of what we are told. Some of this will repeat what we have already seen.
We are told that Adam the ground-person is male and is a man. It is this man ground-person who is the image of God.
It is this man material from which woman is made. She is generated from this. She is built from this.
She is not an independent creature. She is not made from a different piece of dust. She is not another equal, separate, independent ground-person. She is part of him, part of Adam the ground-person.
There has been both a material ordering and a temporal ordering to the building of the woman. She comes from him in terms of material, and she comes after him in terms of time sequence. There is thus order, material and temporal, inherent in Adam the ground-person being the image of God.
She is a woman. She is not a man. She is not another man. There is distinction and ordering of gender. The man and woman are the same material, yet gendered persons. They are not just the same material and any persons. They are gendered persons. They are male and female gendered persons. They are man and woman. There is no other way for Adam the ground-person to be the image of God.
Woman is made from Adam the ground-person in order to complete Adam the ground-person. Without this making of the woman from out of Adam, he would not be the image of God. There is thus an order of purpose.
Summary of the three types of order.
So, we have 3 types of order inherent in Adam the ground-person being both a singularity and a gendered duality of man and woman. There is material ordering, a temporal ordering and an ordering of purpose. Each of these 3 orderings are mentioned by Paul in the New Testament.
Material ordering in 1 Cor 11:8 “For man was not made from woman, but woman from man”.
Ordering of purpose in 1 Cor 11:9 “Neither was man created for woman, but woman for man”.
Temporal ordering in 1 Timothy 2:13 “For Adam was formed first, then Eve”.
While we are in 1 Corinthians 11 I want to consider how that Adam is the image of God relates to what Paul says in 1 Corinthains 11:7 “man (and presumably not woman) is the image …. of God”.
Without the woman Adam the ground-person is not complete as the image of God. Adam is the image of God, but as man without woman he is not completed as the image of God. This is how Paul explains it in 1 Corinthians 11:7. He says that statement which is so strange (and repugnant) to our ears. “Man (and presumably not woman) is the image …..of God”.
[Sidenote. It is so repugnant to us (to me), that most of the time that I read this I say to myself that what Paul really means is that man and woman are each separately the image of God. Unfortunately, this re-reading by me simply shows that I do not understand what it means that the man Adam is the image of God. We do not realise the immense and fundamental significance of the fact that woman is made out of man and that she is not created as an independent separate creature from the ground. We do not understand the bible’s presentation in Genesis 1&2 of the essential sameness yet differentiated personhood of Adam as the image of God. This re-reading of Paul’s words in 1Cor 11:7 is equivalent to the changing of “Adam” to “mankind” in Genesis 1:26 and the “him” to “them” by the translators in Genesis 1:27. They do not understand how Adam can be both a singularity and plurality, so they translate (re-create) him into generic and corporate mankind, into separate independent men and women. Unfortunately, we continue to do this in our reading of Paul. ]
When Paul says “man is the image … of God” it is him saying that the man Adam is the image of God. Paul expands out how this works. He also says the two complementary and interdependent things “man …. is the glory of God” and “woman is the glory of man”. For now, I simply wish to propose that this is equivalent to saying “the building of the woman completes the man”. There are 2 stages, 2 parts to Adam being the image of God. The initial creation of himself (the glory of God) from the ground and the completion of himself through the building of the woman out of him (woman is the glory of the man).
The orderings are uni-directional. That is, they function in only one direction. Materially, woman is out of man, not man out of woman, and definitely not both from the ground. Temporally, woman is created after man, not man after woman and also not both at the same time. In terms of purpose, woman is created for man, not man for woman.
Adam the ground-person being the image of God entails uni-directional ordering of material, time and purpose.
In terms of the relationship of man to woman, there is thus a unidirectional ordering of male/female gender.
The man is the ground-person and the ground-person is a man. The woman is not a ground-person and she is not the ground-person. The ground-person is not a woman, yet Adam the ground person awakes to find that he has become two persons and the other person is a woman. Adam the ground-person is at one and the same time both a singularity and a unidirectional ordered male/female gendered duality. It is thus that the man Adam the ground person is the image of God.
Difficult conceptually but simple in practice.
Just like speaking of the triunity of God, it requires precision of thought and speech to speak of the singularity/duality of Adam the ground person as man and woman. Granted, it is difficult conceptually. Yet, it is not that difficult in practice. For, it is a simple process whereby God created the woman out of the man. We can see clearly that they are now of the same material, and that they are individual differentiated persons. It is similar in our relationship to the triune God. We can understand that the Father is God, that the Son is God and that the Holy Spirit is God and we can relate to them as differentiated divine persons. Yet, conceptually, it takes precision to speak of and explain and avoid the heresies that can come from only believing in their singularity or only believing in their plurality. Similarly, we must consider if there are theological dangers in only believing in the singularity or only believing in the duality of Adam.
To summarise and conclude. As we look at that creation process of woman out of man, we see that it was one of unidirectional gendered ordering involving material, time and purpose. This unilateral gendered ordering is fundamental to the nature of Adam’s personhood in the image of God and so to his essential sameness as man and woman. Without this unilateral gendered ordering, that is without the creation of woman out of man, Adam could not be completed as the image of God, and is not the image of God. It is my contention, that to deny this unilateral gendered ordering of man and woman is to change Adam so that he is no longer the image of God. It is to create a different Adam, one in our image, and so one who is no longer the singularity / duality that images God. It is to understand Adam and Eve (and so every man and woman) as only ground creatures, as animals, albeit equal ground creatures, yet nevertheless only animals and not as true persons. It is only as unilateral gendered ordered man and woman that Adam and Eve and hence every man and woman are persons made in the image of God.
This concludes the fourth of the five articles in this series. If you click on this following link, it will take you directly to the fifth article. http://manandwoman-exegeticalblog.com/?p=777
2 thoughts on “Series of 5 Articles. And God said: Let us make Adam in our image. Article 4/5. The details of gender and the image of God.”
Series. And God said “Let Us make Adam in Our image” Article 3/5. The solution to the enigma and the content of the image of God. – manandwoman-exegeticalblog.com 25 July 2021 at 1:25 am
[…] This concludes the third of the five articles in this series. If you click on this following link, it will take you directly to the fourth article. http://manandwoman-exegeticalblog.com/?p=775 […]Reply
Series of 5 Articles: And God said: Let us make Adam in our image. Article 5/5. Adam the image of God – the key to knowing God. – manandwoman-exegeticalblog.com 25 July 2021 at 1:59 am
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