Man Not Woman Created In God's Image

by FairMind 17 Replies latest jw friends

  • anewme

    Thankyou Blondie for repeating the post. I do respect this interpretation of Genesis, but is that all there is? Is that where we leave it???? Are we stuck with a two thousand year old interpretation of women's role?

    Paul seems to take it upon himself to elaborate about the marriage arrangement and the congregational arrangement. Like I said he never met the Lord personally. Paul came from the Jewish patriarchal religion.

    I just sigh over the lack of new and inspirational insight into these matters.

  • blondie

    I don't agree with the WTS...............remember both men and women received the holy spirit in the NT and were selected to go to heaven to rule with Christ.


  • Leolaia

    Thanks blondie and stilla.

    Notice that in both places, the Society does not discuss Genesis 1:26-27 which is the very passage being alluded to in 1 Corinthians 11:7. This passage in both the Hebrew and the Greek specifically states that both men and women were created in the "image of God", e.g. "And God made man (anthrópon, gender-neutral "human being") and in the image of God (kat' eikona theou) he made him (auton, in agreement with the grammatical gender of anthrópon but still gender-neutral as it pertains to sex), male and female (arsen kai thélu) he made them". This states in no uncertain terms that women were created "in the image of God". Compare the first-century philosopher Philo Judaeus who interprets the passage similarly, tho with the Platonic idea of an undifferentiated androgynous original man: "And when Moses had called the genus 'man' (anthrópon), quite admirably did he distinguish its species, adding that it had been created 'male and female,' and this though its individual members had not yet taken shape" (Opif. Mundi, 7). Thus, many modern translations render the phrase more accurately: "And God created human beings, and in his image he made them, male and female he made them".

    Neither does Paul's use of the text deny that women were made "in the image of God," otherwise 1 Corinthians 11:7 would have said that woman in her being is the eikón "image" of man. The text says that "woman is (estin) man's glory" while man "is (huparkhón) God's image and glory". It is an exegetical leap for the Society to say on the basis of this text that "in this respect he [man] alone is 'God's image' ". Notice that two different verbs are being used here. Woman is man's glory in a different sense than man is God's image and glory; huparkhón emphasizes one's nature or essential being in a way that estin does not. A person's status as "God's image" pertains to the relationship between man and God, for God created mankind with his divine "image" (or huparkhón "being"). But here it is the relationship between woman and man that is under discussion, not her relationship with God. So saying that she "is (estin) man's glory" does not deny that she was made as God's "image" as well, or has huparkhón as God's "image"....the focus is on her status as (estin) man's glory. The reason why Paul characterizes her in this way is given in the next verse which explains that man was created first: "He does not owe his origin to woman, but woman owes hers to him" (v. 8). This is an interpretation of the narrative of Eve's creation in Genesis 2, and Paul explains that woman is man's glory because she owes her origin to him. Of course, Eve was was not created "in the image of man" because Adam was not the creator, God was (cf. v. 12, "As woman came from man, so man is born of women, but everything comes from God"). But the main point is that man has his being (huparkhón) through God and that's it, while woman (= Eve) may have her "being" (huparkhón) from God as well but also exists (estin) because of man.

    This passage is always read out of context, and so the reason why Paul makes this argument is usually forgotten. Paul's opponents in the church of Corinth included followers of Apollos who came from Alexandria (where Philo Judaeus lived and where Platonic Judaism was popular), and their teaching is reflected in ch. 1-2 which is strongly reflective of a kind of Sophia Christianity related to Platonic Judaism and the Middle Platonism of second-century gnosticism (cf. also ch. 15 which reveals that the Corinthians did not understand the resurrection and thought in terms of Plato's immortality of the soul). Now Paul's own teaching in Galatians 3:28 is related as well inasmuch as he stated that there is "neither male nor female" in Christ Jesus, and these ideas were further developed in gnosticism which dissolved all gender distinctions (see my thread on this). Paul's opponents would have thus had a view similar to Philo Judaeus that claimed that since God's original creation was an androgynous anthrópos that was neither male or female (as claimed by Plato and as Philo's reading of Genesis 1:27 reveals), and since Christians are made new in Christ, all gender distinctions should be dissolved inside the church such that "you make the male and the female one and the same, so that the male not be male nor the female female" (as the Gospel of Thomas 22:4, an early proto-gnostic work, puts it). That precisely something like this has been going on in Corinth can be seen in ch. 11...the whole discussion assumes a situation in which the women in Corinth had already dispensed with their veils and head-coverings (cf. especially 11:5-6). So what does Paul do? He points out that contrary to the Platonic interpretation of Genesis 1:26-27 (which construed the first creation as an androgynous being before it was divided into male and female), man was created first for "woman was [created] out of man (ex andros)" (1 Corinthians 11:8). That is to say, the source of woman was anér "man", not a genderless anthrópos. Paul thus affirms that gender distinctions were part of the original creation and thus should remain in the church. Full-blown androgyny and abolition of gender roles went on to be practiced in Valentinian gnosticism which circumvented this argument by claiming that the creator of the world was an evil Demiurge and thus the limitations of his plan should be transgressed. Paul did not share a demiurgical view of creation and thus accepted cultural gender roles, and yet he was a lot closer to the later gnostics than the more strongly misogynist views of later orthodoxy, for Paul did teach the egalitarianism of Galatians 3:28 and elsewhere showed that he recognized that women often had rather prominent roles in his church, even in 1 Corinthians 11 which echoes Galatians 3:28 in v. 11.

    Paul has this whole discussion of Genesis 1-3 because it bears on one specific practice under dispute in the church, namely, the veiling of women in public worship. Paul does not abrogate women's right to publically teach and pray (as later writers would do, even under Paul's name), but he asks for certain decorum to be followed in order to respect the "natural order". This decorum concerns the wearing of a veil and the woman "having her head uncovered"...these are matters that precisely evoke the issue of nakedness discussed in Genesis 3. So does the practice of prayer and prophesying which puts women in the presence of God and angels (cf. v. 10) just as Adam and Eve were in their presence in Eden. Paul uses this "original state" of Adam and Eve as a model for Christian decorum. Adam was created naked and so men can have their "heads" uncovered. Women were created differently however, such that by their "nature" (phusis) "long hair was given to her to serve as a covering" (1 Corinthians 11:14-15). If they remove this God-given covering by cutting their hair, they should cover themselves with a veil (v. 6) when praying in order to replace her God-given covering. Otherwise, the woman would be taking on man's nature and would be neglecting her own doxa "glory" (v. 15), for her "long hair is her glory (koma doxa auté estin)". Now doesn't that sound familiar? Earlier in v. 7 Paul stated that "woman is man's glory (guné doxa andros estin)", and this has exactly the same grammatical construction. Moreover, her covering is referred to as "authority on her head" in v. 10, and so her "glory" is also her "authority". These statements have confused exegetes for many years, but one interesting solution is that Paul is playing with the polysemy of the word kephalé "head," which is used in two different senses in this chapter: (1) the literal head of a man or woman, and (2) the metaphorical head in terms of headship or origin, such as that "the head of woman is man (kephalé gunaikos ho anér estin)". A woman's head is the source of her long hair, just as man (the head of woman) was the source of woman (= Eve), and a woman's long hair (which arises from the woman's head) is her glory just as woman (who arose from the head of woman, i.e. man) is man's glory. This is Paul's rather strained attempt to link the matter concerning hair decorum to the gender differentiation inherent in Genesis 1-3.

  • FairMind

    After sharing the information received in answer to my question, my wife asked, "WHAT ABOUT SINGLE WOMEN?". Since a single woman doesn't have a husband to be her head it seems to me that her question makes a point. What do ya'll think?

  • Justitia Themis
    Justitia Themis

    One of the organization's main supports for discriminating against women is that Genesis calls her a (Heb. ezer) "helpmeet," which THEY presume to be inferior. However, notice how many times Jehovah calls HIMSELF a helpmeet...sometimes even OUR helpmeet.

    More interesting information you will NOT find in the society's publications is at the following link:

  • bjc2read

    Hello everyone,

    Most of the sentiments shown above, along with many additional scriptural thoughts, I feel have been expressed in a very concise article written on this very topic. Perhaps, you may find this article especially refreshing and thought-provoking as well, especially if you are very familiar with the Watchtower Society's slanted viewpoint on women, and if you are of course, like me...a female.

    Here is the link to the article:

    Should Women Be Given Authority Within God's Congregation?


  • Qcmbr

    And the plularity of Gods in Genesis is at least partially explained - I'm surprised that christian feminists haven't jumped at the idea of a female God..or maybe they already have..

  • bjc2read

    Hello everyone,

    There are two outstanding examples in the scriptures, both of whom were married, that show that Jehovah did endow women with the ability to lead, that is, they could act as the head of a man. One example to consider is that of Deborah who was both a prophetess and a judge of the nation of Israel. (Judges 4:4, 5)

    Another example is that of the prophetess, Huldah. In 2 Chronicles 34:22-28, the account records that King Josiah, after finding and reading a copy of the Mosiac Law sent the high priest, Hilkiah, to Huldah to learn what word Jehovah had for the nation. Here she is giving instructions to both the High Priest and to the King.

    For more information please see the following article:

    Was Deborah A Judge Within The Nation of Israel


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