The Religious A priori

Women And Christianity

Neither Male Nor Female:

The Grounds for Gender Equality

I.God's Trancendence of Gender

II.Imago Daei

III.Preisthood of The Believer

IV. Neither Male nor Female (Gal 3:28)


I've already dealt with God's transcendence of Gender in part I of "the grounds for submission." I wont repeat the same list, but add a couple of points. The Bible images God as having female qualities, as a mother, and as non gendered innanimate objects. God appears from a burning bush in Exodus, and to Job out of a whirl wind. God's "gender" is merely a metaphor. It is analogical lanugage as is all religious language (see Euegene R. Fairweather "Christianity and The Supernatuarl" New Theology no.1, 1964). Analogical language contains a "like" and a "not like" dimension. God is like a father, and not a father. God is like a mother and not like a mother. It is this space of the "not like" that sperates the image from littealism. Gender is the cultural construct that pertains to sex. Sex is grounded in biology, and gender is the way a clture interprits a given sex as being; women are born females, culture tells them females should be "feminine." There may be a biological compoant of feminity, such as less agression and less physical strength realtive to the male, but it is culture that decides this is expressed in wearing dresses and lipstick and so forth. Vice versa for men.

God is not the product of biology because God was not born of a mother (except in the incornation, but not eternally) and God did not grow up in a culture (not etenrally). Thus God transcends Gender.

Just a couple more points about the way god is imaged. The term "El Shaddai" which is used of God, translated as "Lord" or "almighty Lord" "the almighty" comes from the Heberw word Shad, which is the word for a female breat. The concept is that just as the mother is all sufficient for an infant, God is all sufficent for us.

"El Shaddai The God who is Sufficient

from the website Hebrew Letters by SARAHLEAH

EL SHADDAI is usually translated as GOD ALMIGHTY - EL, meaning GOD and SHADDAI being a combination word - SHE, meaning WHO and DAI meaning ENOUGH. EL SHADDAI GOD WHO IS ENOUGH, GOD WHO IS SELF-SUFFICIENT (Hagigah 12a). SHADDAI may also be from the Akkadian sadu, meaning MOUNTAIN, or the Hebrew sadeh, meaning BREAST. EL SHADDAI would then be translated respectively as GOD OF THE MOUNTAIN or GOD OF THE BREAST. Variant spelling - EL SHADAI “Adonai appeared to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as El Shaddai” (Exodus 6:3).

(Zohar. 1984. Tr. Harry Sperling et al. New York: Soncino. 3:130).

Jacob giving last instructions to his sons said:

Gen 49:24-25.(24) "But his bow abode in strength, and the arms of his hands were made strong by the hands of the mighty God (El) of Jacob; (from thence is the shepherd, the stone of Israel:)25 Even by the God (El) of thy father, who shall help thee; and by the Almighty (Shaddai), who shall bless thee with blessings of heaven above, blessings of the deep that lieth under, blessings of the breasts, and of the womb..."

(For other references to this same usage, see Isaiah 60:15-16 and Isaiah 66:10-13.)

For the full list of female imagery of God see the list on part I of Grounds for Submission

Since God transcends gender, neither gender, neither sex is enthroned in creation and neither is closer to God than the other. This brings us to the second point as a ground for gender eqaulity:

II.The Imago Daei

The image of God. Both male and female are made in the image of God.

Gensis 1:26 Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth." 27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. 28 And God blessed them, and God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth."

God created both male and female in the divine image.Notice, it says "male and female cretaed he them." Male and Female are two sides of the same coin, both are are created in the divine image, equal, together. Adam, in seeing Eve expressed "this is bone of my bone and flesh of my felsh," in other words, now I'm whole. The only suggestion of dominance here is dominion over the earth. One species, one race, human, divided into two equal gender, both created in God's image, and it makes no distinction about who has dominon.It does not say the man had it alone, or that he is first and woman second, it doesn't say man is the lord of the earth and the woman is his side kick. We have already discussed on Grounds of Submission that "helper" was not a subordinate term. This is clearly proff that the two are eaul; they both share dominon and no distiction is made btween them, as they are both images of he divine.

III.Preisthood of The Believer

The preisthood of the beleiver is a doctrine crucial to the very foundation of prostantism:

1 Peter: 9 But you are A R101 CHOSEN RACE, A royal PRIESTHOOD R102 , A HOLY R103 NATION, A R104 PEOPLE FOR God's OWN POSSESSION, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out R105 of darkness into His marvelous light; 10 for R106 you once were NOT A PEOPLE, but now you are THE PEOPLE OF GOD; you had NOT RECEIVED MERCY, but now you have RECEIVED MERCY.

1 Peter 2:5

you R89 also, as living stones, are F30 being built up as a spiritual R90 house for a holy priesthood, R91 to offer R92 up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

It was upon these passages that Luther founded the doctirne preisthood of the beiever. This is what seperates protestant indivudalism and reliationship with God from Catholic views of a hierarchical structure. Peter does not distinguish between male and female as part of this preisthood. The upshot of the doctrine is very important, because is tied to salvtion by grace. This means that each indivudal believer is her/her own preist before God. The one and only meidator between humanity and God is Jesus Christ. All notions of "preist of the home" (a term never found in the Bible) are frustrating the basic concept of savlation for the indivudal. A woman need not and cannot go to God through her husband. This merely putting a false idolotous hierarchy in the way of a believer's true salvation. We know this for several reasons:

A. Neither Male Nor Female.

Paul tells us (Galatians 3:28) that there is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female in Christ Jesus. He says "you are all heirs to the promsie." Salvation by Grace is not predicated upon race, gender, or social status.

B. Personal Relationship centeral to New Covenant.

In Hebrews 8:11; 13:4 we are told (quoting Jerimiah 31) that the new covenant will not be like the old because the new convenant cannot be broken since it will be in the heart of each believer. It says "no longer will a man say to his neighbor 'know the lord' for they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest!"

That phrase "from the least to the greatest would have to have to include women! It doesn't exclude women, it deals with all believers. If a woman can be saved through God's grace and know Jesus in her heart, then she is a preist in the preisthood of believers and does not need a "preist of the home" to teach her saying "know the Lord."She will know him a prori in the heart and will not need another mediator!

C.Believing wife sanctifies Husband!

Finally, the sillly presit of the home nonsense is put to rest by the fact which Paul states that the believing wife sanctifies the unbelieving husband. This isn't a preist of the home, but it does mean that God redcognizes marriage between believer and unbeliever as holy, even if the wife is the believer. That has to prove that the wife does not need a husband to function as her "preist of the home" or as any kind go between for her relationship with God.

Next: P2 of Grounds for Equality.

The Religious A priori