Friday, June 10, 2005

Genesis 1:27

Genesis 1:27: And God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.

While verse 26 says “Our image”, verse 27 has God creating man in “His” own image and creating us both “male and female”. Why the switch from “Our” to “His”? One possibility is that the “image” of both God and that of Jesus Christ is for all intent and purpose the same. Another possibility is that “Our” and “His” are meant to be interchangeable since God the Father and at least God the Son are one and the same. At this point in scripture, both possibilities exist and we should leave ourselves open to both. In addition, one is not exclusive of the other.

This is the first verse in the Bible in which the idea of gender is introduced. Interestingly enough, while there is implication of reproduction for plant life (vs. 12) and fish and fowl (vs. 22), no mention of male and female is made. Modern science has determined, however, that for the majority of plant life, as well as the birds and the creatures of the sea, an equivalent to gender exists. In this present verse, the scripture specifically states that He made us male and female. To me that implies at least two things.

First, it suggests that for humankind, gender is a much more significant matter than it is for plants, birds, or fish. As we were created, our gender, was intended to have associated with it a much more specific or unique set of characteristics and/or responsibilities. This concept did not preclude equality between the genders as generations up to more recent modern times assumed.

Second, it suggests that the “image” of God really has nothing to do with gender since both male and female were made in His image. Nor does it imply that God is ‘bi-gender’ or ‘genderless’ since for all intent and purpose we are not bi-gender, but rather male or female. For to suggest that it does imply His bi-gender ness or His genderless ness, we would have to suggest that as either males or females, we were not created in His “image” – something that clearly scripture says we are. We can draw no inferences from this verse as to the gender of God.

Why then do we tend to use the masculine gender to depict God? Besides the obvious that the original Hebrew text was written utilizing the masculine articles for God, I am satisfied with one other fundamental argument – Jesus Christ Himself referred to God in the New Testament as “my Father”!

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