man and woman-exegesis of biblical texts

By - manan251

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.

5 Article Series.    And God said: Let us make Adam in our image.

Article 5.    Adam the image of God—the key to knowing God.

We know God by looking at Adam.

Referencing back to article 2

In article 2 we left the text of Genesis 1 with two similar singularity/plurality enigmas, one in regard to man (or more correctly in regard to Adam) and the other in regard to God. They both asked “how can a singular be a plural?” How can God be both singular and plural? How can Adam the ground-person be both singular and dual? Both questions were in the context of Adam the ground-person being created in the image of God.

Thinking through how we can know about God.

Logically, it would follow that if we can find out something about how either of them (God or Adam) can be both singular and plural, then that might, by inference, tell us something about how the other can be both singular or plural. If we see someone, then we usually have an idea what they will look like in a photograph. So, if we see God as He really is, then we should have an idea of what His image looks like or means. [Note: This is what we have in the revelation of God as triune through the revelation of God’s Son –the image of God, our Lord Jesus Christ. In Christ we actually see God as he is. He is both God and the image of God.] Conversely, if we have a photograph of someone, then we have some idea of what they actually look like and so will recognise them when we see them. So, if we can understand how man (or more correctly Adam the ground-person) can be and is both singular and plural, then we have gained some insight into how God can be both singular and plural.

It is this latter path that Genesis 2 took us on, where we discovered how Adam was created as both singular and dual.   

Adam images God.

And so, we should expect, since Adam is the image of God, that what we have learnt about Adam will also show us what God is like.     The least that it does, is strongly re-affirm what Genesis 1 has already told us, that God is both a singularity/plurality in his essential being.   That this is possible for man, being a singularity and a duality/plurality, tells us that it is also possible for God.  In fact, it tells us more than it is possible, it tells us that this is what God is like, a singularity in plurality. That is, there is personhood in God.

Material Generation images Eternal Generation.

The doctrine of the eternal generation of the Son is a central aspect of the doctrine (our explanation) of the Trinity. It describes and explains how God can be from eternity both one God and three persons, that is how God can be both singular and plural. If Adam the ground-person is the image of God, then material-temporal generation of woman from man parallels and images this eternal aspect of God.

I have argued that the ordering of man and woman is an essential part of Adam being created in the image of God. I propose that this at least raises the possibility and compels us to consider whether ordering is inherent in God in regard to His singularity/plurality. That is, does personhood in God involve order just as it does in Adam?  For now, it is suffice to say that, if Adam the ground-person in his singularity/duality and generation of persons images God in His singularlity/plurality and His eternal generation of persons then it would not seem incongruous to expect that the ordering that we have seen within Adam  as man and woman would also be imaging God in some similar way.

We know God by looking at Adam. We cannot know God by looking at mankind.

One final thing to note. Our propensity to translate Genesis 1:26,27 and increasingly 2:5 as “mankind” has devastating implications for our rightly understanding both who God is and who we are as man and woman, and so for honouring our triune God in our lives and in His churches. As we translate “adam” as “man/mankind” in Gen 1;26,27 we read Adam out of the text and we read in to the text our own definitions of “man/mankind”. As we re-define the image of God as “mankind” rather than who it really is, Adam the ground-person, then we are in danger of creating a new image of God. As we replace Adam, we are defacing the image of God and so as we look at our own created man/mankinds we are no longer seeing the true image of God, and are in danger of no longer seeing God as He truly is. In our modern world with its new definitions of man and woman, of gender or non-gender, of homo and trans and …., we the church  are increasingly taking on these new definitions.  As we do so, then we who are re-created in Christ to be conformed to His image are instead imaging our society’s understanding  of man and woman and so we dishonour the one true God who we were made to image and honour.

Summing up.

You hopefully are realising that the understanding of Genesis 1 & 2 that I am proposing has massive ramifications. Firstly, for understanding Genesis 1 & 2 correctly and how they are connected theologically. Secondly, for understanding what is meant by the image of God. Thirdly, for understanding who God is, and particularly in regard to his singularity/plurality, that is, for understanding the triune God who is more fully revealed in the New Testament. It gives us an Old Testament creational base that underpins the fact that the New Testament Christians and authors of the New Testament related to and spoke of God as the three divine persons, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Fourthly, for understanding man and woman. It gives us a creational theological base to understand the New Testament’s presentation of the relationship of man and woman as one of oneness and unity in unilateral ordered gendered duality.

And God said: Let us make Adam in our image.

In the image of God He created him, male and female He created them.

If you would like to go back to article 1 then click on this link.

If you would like to go back to article 2 then click on this link.

If you would like to go back to article 3 then click on this link.

If you would like to go back to article 4 then click on this link.

1 thought on “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.

Series. And God said: Let us make Adam in our image. Article 4/5. The details of gender and the image of God. – 25 July 2021 at 1:27 am

[…] 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. […]


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.