Today I have an article up on the Sophia Network website, a group in the U.K. with a mission similar to The Junia Project. Here are the first few paragraphs and a link to the full post. While you’re there, check out the other great articles featured and sign up for their monthly newsletter!
I have a three-year-old granddaughter who loves to be read to.
When I start reading she pays very close attention, but sometimes when we get to the middle she abruptly closes the book, because she already knows how the story ends and is ready to move on to something new.
I realized recently that I have been guilty of doing the same thing when it comes to understanding what it means to be made in the image of God (Imago Dei) and the implications this has for gender equality.
That is, my understanding of Imago Dei has been based almost entirely on the creation narratives of Genesis. After all, in these first pages of the Bible there is true equality between the first man and the first woman. Both Adam and Eve are image bearers who equally reflect their Creator, both are under the authority of that creator alone, and both are given the mandate to fill the earth and have dominion over it.
End of story.
In the essay “Imaging God, Embodying Christ” theologian Lisa Stephenson makes the case that while being created in the image of God is foundational, if we stop there our theology of women will not be as robust as it could be. She suggests we also need to consider the implications of the Incarnation and Pentecost.
A closer look at this three-fold framework – Imago Dei, Imago Christus, Imago Spiritus – reveals just how intentional God is about the equal standing of every image bearer.
IMAGO DEI – women are equal to men on the basis of their creation in the image of God.
“So God created mankind (humankind) in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.” (Genesis 1:27-28)
In the first chapter of Genesis we read that Adam and Eve are created equally in God’s image (Genesis 1:27), and given equal stewardship of all creation (Genesis 1:28). Though clearly different, the woman is not a separate creation; she is made from the same material as the man. Both embody the fundamental qualities and capacities of being human while at the same time having the added dimensions of sex and gender.
Photo Credit: Jake Givens/Unsplash
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