Tuesday, May 29, 2007

GENDER DIFFERENCES AND SIMILARITIES

I've been thinking some about gender and roles in the church. Here is a thought from John Stott that is a good place to start:

"Gender, Sexuality, Marriage and Divorce 885. Equal beneficiaries It is essential to begin at the beginning, namely with the first chapter of Genesis: Then God said, 'Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.' So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; 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 of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.' (1:26-28).

If we put together the divine resolve ('Let us make man ... and let them rule ...'), the divine creation ('So God created ...') and the divine blessing ('Be fruitful ... fill the earth and subdue it ...'), we see that the emphasis seems to be on three fundamental truths about human beings, namely the God made (and makes) them in his own image, that he made (and makes) them male and female, giving them the joyful task of reproducing, and that he gave (and gives) them dominion over the earth and its creatures.

Thus from the beginning 'man' was 'male and female', and men and women were equal beneficiaries both of the divine image and of the earthly rule. There is no suggestion in the text that either sex is more like God than the other, or that either sex is more responsible for the earth than the other. No. Their resemblance to God and their stewardship of his earth (which must not be confused, although they are closely related) were from the beginning shared equally, since both sexes were equally created by God and like God."

John Stott, "Issues Facing Christians Today" (London: Collins/Marshall Pickering, 1990), p. 257.
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