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By M.M. Johann of The Tenets of Unbiblical Patriarchy. Originally posted here. This is part of a new series critiquing Vision Forum’s Tenets of Biblical Patriarchy. Please remember that while the contributors to this website are united in our belief that there are problems with the teachings of Vision Forum, we come from a variety of diverse perspectives.

The Image of God and Gender Roles

Tenet 2. Both man and woman are made in God’s image (their human characteristics enable them to reflect His character) and they are both called to exercise dominion over the earth. They share an equal worth as persons before God in creation and redemption. The man is also the image and glory of God in terms of authority, while the woman is the glory of man. (Gen. 1:27-28; 1 Cor. 11:3,7; Eph. 5:28; 1 Pet. 3:7)

Gen 1:27-28 – So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

I Cor. 11:3 – But I want you to know that the head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God.

Man is the head, but not all Greek scholars agree on the meaning of head here. 1 Cor. was first written in Greek, and their word here is kephale. Like the English head, kephale has the first meaning of the body part above the neck. After that, it has some symbolic meanings. Is äuthority figure”one of them? Some Greek scholars say this word never mean authority figure. Even scholars who very much like to see male authority in the Bible, claim head mean “origin” more often than “authority.”

(If you read authority into head here, you would read the authority figure of every man – atheistic man, male murderer, male Hindu priest, or drug abuser in the gutter- is Christ. “Is Christ.” Not “should be Christ.” Is He indeed their authority figure?)

I Cor. 11:7 – For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God; but woman is the glory of man.

Eph. 5:28 – So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself.

Eph. 5:28 is a very good truth, but seems to have no relevance to the tenet.

I Pet. 3:7 – Husbands, likewise, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered.

2a) Both man and woman are made in God’s image

Yes.

b) (their human characteristics enable them to reflect His character)

If that explanation of what “made in God’s image” mean is in the Bible, they should give a Bible reference for it. It’s easy to believe, but these are called Biblical tenets, and this one is not backed up from the Bible.

c) and they are both called to exercise dominion over the earth.

Yes. (Note that earth does not include people. Humans should exercise domininion over animals and planet, but this verse cannot be used to defend taking dominion over other humans.)

d) They share an equal worth as persons before God in creation and redemption.

Yes. That is Biblical.

e) The man is also the image and glory of God in terms of authority, while the woman is the glory of man.

In 1 Cor. 11:7, man is “the image and glory of God” in some way, while the woman is “the glory of man. It’s rather baffling, as the woman was already called the image of God in Gen. 1, and God crowns us with glory according to Ps. 8:5 (man in :4 is not a gender specific word),and we change into the image of God’s glory (2Co 3:18).

The text certainly does not say that man is the image and glory “in terms of authority.” Authority is not in the text. TBP get “in terms of authority” by linking the patriarchal understanding of head to verse 7. This view may be incorrect.

Other ways Christians understand this:

I already touched on the opinion difference over head in Greek. Also notice that “the head of woman is man” is singular, and may refer to Adam being the head (source, beginning) of Eve. If women are the glory of man, men should be proud of them.

Summing it up

How reliable is this tenet? I will use a color code:

The color code:

     This is adequately Biblically defended

     It can be Biblically defended, but so can another view

     This is a partial truth. (The other part of the truth, that together make it        Biblical, will be added in brackets.)

     This is not Biblically defended

2. Both man and woman are made in God’s image (their human characteristics enable them to reflect His character) and they are both called to exercise dominion over the earth. They share an equal worth as persons before God in creation and redemption. The man is also the image and glory of God in terms of authority, while the woman is the glory of man (and also has God’s glory).

<<<Tenet 1                                                                                                         Tenet 3>>>

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