God and Gender

Discussion about scientific issues as they relate to God and Christianity including archaeology, origins of life, the universe, intelligent design, evolution, etc.
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#16

Post by sandy_mcd » Mon Mar 26, 2007 1:23 pm

andyredeemed wrote: God created man, so rather than God having male qualities, it would be truer to say man has god-like qualities. God created man in His own image. ...This is not to say that I believe males are particularly better than females, but their roles are different.
Hi Andy,
Could you clarify? It sounds like you are saying God created males in his own image (which is why males have God-like qualities); but females aren't as God-like in their qualities but more closely resemble the Holy Spirit? This is the first time I have heard that the differences in earthly genders reflect a God/Holy Spirit difference. [N.B. This has nothing to do with PC.]

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#17

Post by zoegirl » Mon Mar 26, 2007 1:29 pm

Yeah...I am not liking the direction of that either :shock:

Our roles may be different (although, as a single female, my role does not fit with what may be regarded as traditional), but scripturally, I have never heard anybody say that we as a gender are not made in the image of GOd!

Might want to clarify

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#18

Post by FFC » Mon Mar 26, 2007 1:44 pm

Good catch ladies! I was so enthralled in learning that I had God-like qualities that I didn't catch the subtle message in that post. Just kidding. :)

Andy?
"Faith sees the invisible, believes the unbelievable, and receives the impossible." - Corrie Ten Boom

Act 9:6
And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?

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Re: God and Gender

#19

Post by Judah » Mon Mar 26, 2007 3:54 pm

andyredeemed wrote:It seems that the horse is being put before the cart. God created man, so rather than God having male qualities, it would be truer to say man has god-like qualities. God created man in His own image. I don't mean anything silly about being omnipotent or being able to create things ex nihlo, but things like will, determination and certain masculine ways of looking at things. This is not to say that I believe males are particularly better than females, but their roles are different.
To illustrate my point, when Jesus is talking to the disciples at the last supper and tells them that He will send "the comforter, the Holy Spirit" the sense, if not the language, is equivalent to the bit in Genesis where God decides to create woman to be a helper for Adam. She was Adams enabler, the one who made him able to fulfill his role. She is not subservient. Paul's command is that women should be "submitted"-a non-passive act of will to behave in a particular way- not submissive. It's all a bit non PC, but I don't think that God gives two hoots about offending the sensibilities of those who buy into worldly wisdom.
I think Andy makes a worthwhile point here concerning the order of the horse and the cart.

God certainly created humankind in His image and thus we all have a propensity towards exhibiting certain of His qualities. It is that way around rather than any other.

However, the version of who inherits what qualities, leading to a claim of some of them being masculine rather than feminine, is somewhat contaminated by cultural misconceptions and does not necessarily match reality. Women can have incredible will and determination. Who decided that these, or other qualities, are masculine (or more masculine than feminine)? They exist in both XY and XX but can be exercised in different styles and with different purposes and outcomes.

For example, it is another common misconception that "men are more rational than women" and this myth has been based (quite dubiously) on the cyclical production of female gonadtrophins. It gets countered (equally dubiously) by sayings such as "men think with their, er, gonads rather than their brains". In reality, both XY and XX can think rationally if they choose - and at times even do so. To describe something as "a masculine way of looking at things" is to apply a cultural construct which may well serve to obscure the truth of our (both XY and XX) creation in God's image. However, in this flawed world I believe we do tend to perceive things differently according to gender (and many other factors) but to clarify, since that could be seen as a contradiction of my previous sentence, my point is that there is a need for caution when attributing gender to attributes we have all inherited from God. Mind you, I could be interested in an argument that denotes sin as a basically male characteristic. :P

I agree that there is a God-decreed distinction in roles for men and women, and that includes a hierachial aspect which is frequently misunderstood and misrepresented. In fact, both husband and wife, as God's dearly loved children, are to submit to each other (Ephesians 5) and ultimately to God over all else. This could be an interesting discussion topic in itself - the gender roles as set out in Scripture. I do not think the roles themselves imply one gender may have more of some characteristic than another, but simply that they are to be used in a certain way according to gender.

God is the three-in-one and thus separating the Holy Spirit as distinct from God is a false division. I suspect you were meaning to refer to the role of the Holy Spirit, Andy, rather than imply He is not God. Is that so? There again, I do not see any division between the genders in what is granted to each of us by the Holy Spirit - such that women may perhaps be more nurturing or comforting than men, for instance. Both genders may have those qualities, but they may use them differently according to their different roles. All receive gifts according to need and purpose, and regardless of gender have displayed those gifts. All receive the comforting and strengthening benefits of the Holy Spirit. I think we must be careful to avoid the idea that women might represent the Spirit and men some other aspect of the Godhead. To me that is applying human ideas - eisegesis, as opposed to exegesis - to Scripture and can lead to a distortion of truth.

FFC, have you stepped out of the glare of the headlights yet? :lol:
Yes, even you were "fearfully and wonderfully made" ! (Psalm 139:14)

Adam, back to your post very soon. I get so many interruptions! :?

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#20

Post by FFC » Mon Mar 26, 2007 5:02 pm

Judah wrote:FFC, have you stepped out of the glare of the headlights yet?
Yes, I'm now hiding behind your shadow.
Judah wrote:Yes, even you were "fearfully and wonderfully made" ! (Psalm 139:14)
That's what I keep telling myself. :lol:
"Faith sees the invisible, believes the unbelievable, and receives the impossible." - Corrie Ten Boom

Act 9:6
And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?

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#21

Post by Judah » Mon Mar 26, 2007 5:18 pm

adam wrote:Hello again Judah

I guess this IS all about faith, but is faith such a great virtue? presumably if you believe in God, you believe everything that is said in the bible. I admit personally, I am no great scholar of the bible, but if this God is to be believed he is one to be feared rather than worshipped.
Hi Adam

The Apostle Paul makes a special mention of faith, together with hope and charity, in 1 Corinthians 13:13. Yes, it is a great virtue, but we might need to talk more about faith to understand what each other really means by that word. I see it as a very rational thing, that of taking a step further in the direction to which all the relevant signs are pointing. I am trusting that something is true because it makes sense to me that it would be so. I cannot prove for certain, but I can offer you "proofs" that have a certain credibility about them.

I can understand your comment that the God of the Bible is to be feared rather than worshipped, but I think that is correctly qualified by your claim not to be any great scholar of the Bible. I am not a Bible scholar either, but I read and study to get to know it more and more. I am impressed that, where God shows his great strength in ways that are perhaps terrifying, we do well to fear Him - to fear His wrath against unrighteousness - and to have a "healthy respect" for the fact that He has set out a plan for us with a moral law that is to be obeyed. Of course we fail to do so, being flawed humans, but in His great love He also provided us with the solution - the imputation of Christ's righteousness for all those who choose simply to believe. But the idea of the terrible God who exacts vengeance and crushes underfoot must be put in perspective of an understanding of the entire context. God is also incredibly patient and merciful. Are there any particular passages that you want to look at more closely here?
adam wrote:I was brought up as a catholic, but later came to the conclusion that I believed in God simply because I was taught this way. It was geography the determined which set of beliefs I would follow. Everyone is born without any belief system, all the prejudices and dogma etc. is dictated to you by those who influence you when you are young and naí¯ve. Can you honestly say Judah, that had you been brought up with the Islam faith, you would still be a Christian?
Yes, geography does come into it. But that is not all of it. If I was raised a Muslim without any real exposure to Christianity, then I would likely remain a Muslim. However, that is not a given either. There are a great many apostate Muslims, despite the huge risk to their lives, that show geography is not everything. I believe God is supremely just, and if a Muslim has had no exposure to the Christian gospel, then that will be taken into account in the most just way possible. Because we are all made in His image, and have His law to a large extent inscribed on our hearts - our conscience, an inborn knowledge of right from wrong - we can be held accountable for transgressing to that extent. I don't know the decision God will make, but I do know that having been exposed to the gospel truth I had a decision to make that affects eternity for me. I also know that whatever the outcome for others, it was important enough that Jesus commanded Christians to go out and spread the gospel message so that they may be saved. I don't have all the answers, but in as much as I do know, I shall be held accountable for my response.

Whereas geography does play a part, it is also true that many who live in so-called Christian countries do not accept Christian beliefs. Geography is not the main determinant of who will follow Christ. I think that the willingness to put God before self is a very significant factor.
adam wrote:Does Islam faith have the same merit as Christian faith?
I responded to this one earlier with a link to my own website for information regarding Islam. If you have visited, you will know that my answer is a firm No.
adam wrote:In conclusion I think that having faith in something which is potentially dangerous, because it doesn't allow individual thought that may go beyond the parameters of belief.


It is potentially dangerous in that one may have faith in the wrong thing! Your statement seems to indicate that you hold "individual thought" in high regard. But individual thought must still be constrained by reality - those things that are true - in order for it to have a particular value where reality matters. If I were to follow my own individual thoughts that did not correspond with reality, then I could believe in anything I like to imagine and call that "truth" - but that does not make it so in actual fact.

One can have all the individual thoughts that one likes, but in the end it is what God decrees as truth that matters - not what I think.
adam wrote:I noticed in an earlier post you asked Seraph “please give your evidence for thinking that God has mostly male qualities” With certain religious questions, It seems that wanting evidence is something you require also. Would I be wrong in saying that in order to believe in God I would require evidence beyond faith? Is it wrong not to have faith? And do you think that non believers will be punished by God simply because they have a tendency to question things? Presumably God created the sceptic too!

Best Wishes
In order to believe in God... for me I wanted evidence in order that I could have faith. I was agnostic for quite a long time, having previously ditched my childhood and teenage Christian beliefs, thinking they were unhelpful to what was going on in my life. I had simply "swallowed whole" those things I had been taught in Sunday School, and at university I came across so many other ideas, philosophies, etc. Coming back to Christianity was not something I did lightly or easily, but after certain life events plus the efforts of a remarkable Christian friend, and reading much Christian apologia, I arrived back at the foot of the cross. I found heaps of evidence, but it still takes faith for that final step of commitment.

Is it wrong not to have faith? The Christian message is that you are in a state of sin not to have faith.

It is not wrong to question things. However, a non-believer is in a very dangerous situation if he continues to question and question and does nothing but question - or eventually decides against accepting Christ. Time runs out. I was involved in a very serious car accident before I eventually made my decision for Christ, and I shudder to think of that now and how close the call was, that I could have died in my agnostic state. But for me, questioning matters of faith was a significant part of acquiring a solid Biblical belief in God, coming to know Him, and in appreciating how much the Christian world view fits reality so completely.

Blessing, Adam. I hope my answers have been of some use to you.

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#22

Post by Judah » Mon Mar 26, 2007 5:22 pm

FFC, am I to see myself as the proverbial bushel? Or is it just Mommy's skirts... ?
Come out and shine, you fearfully and wonderfully made creature! :lol:

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Re: God and Gender

#23

Post by Vassal » Mon Mar 26, 2007 11:54 pm

adam wrote:Why would God himself need gender?
God doesn't have a gender. The reason God is referred to with masculine pronouns is because males have authoritative roles, while females have submissive rules. This is not, however, a license for males to order females around like some people would like to use it as. It is a responsibility for males to be more knowledgeable about God so they can make Godly choices when they are in leadership roles, as well as for them to be the providers for their household. This is also why everyone who is a follower of Christ is called the bride of Christ, because he is the one who leads us and the one who provides for us, and so we submit to him.

Authority is not something that is based upon strength or power, but knowledge and love. We submit to God's decisions because he loves us and because he knows what is best for us, not because he is a tyrant. Husbands have the same responsibility to love their wives and care for them, not abuse them.

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God and Gender

#24

Post by andyredeemed » Tue Mar 27, 2007 5:24 am

My apologies if I'm not too great a communicator in this kind of thing. I'll try to be clearer. God did indeed create mankind in his own image, but according to Genesis: And the Lord God said, "it isn't good for man to be alone; I will make a companion for him; a helper suited to his needs" Gen 2:18 (NLT-sorry, couldn't find a different version in the office) The suggestion here I think is that although man was created in God's image, the image was incomplete: man needs woman to complete him in Gods image.
My reference to the Holy Spirit was not to suggest that the Holy Spirit is not an equal part of the Godhead, but simply to highlight a common misconception of what a helper (or comforter) is. If you ever get the chance to see the baioux (I have NO idea how that should be spelled)tapestry, there is an image of King Harold poking his soldiers in the back with a spear, driving them into battle. It is entitled "King Harold comforts his troops". We commonly think of a helper as being subservient to the one being helped, but this is not true. A surgical consultant is there to help junior doctors by passing on skills and knowledge to them: They consult him, he serves/equips them, he is still in charge. This is exactly the role of the Spirit.
Women where made after man, not because they where to be his dogsbody, cook his tea and change the babies nappies, but (in part, there's more to this, I know) because man on his own was missing a vital aspect of God's own nature.
Men and women are to be in mutual submission to one another, but within that, man is the head of woman just as Christ is the head of man. How does Christ rule the church? By laying down His life for her and being her servant. men and women are equal (neither slave nor free, Jew nor Greek, male nor female) but equal doesn't mean the same, perhaps some times it even precludes it.
Oh, I gotta go and do work now-lunch is over. I hope I have made myself clearer. My wife tells me I'm an "ok" husband and not much of a neanderthal, so long as I get plenty of food and sleep :D
Bless you.

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#25

Post by Judah » Tue Mar 27, 2007 5:26 am

Sounds fine to me, Andy.

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Re: God and Gender

#26

Post by sandy_mcd » Tue Mar 27, 2007 9:34 am

andyredeemed wrote:If you ever get the chance to see the baioux (I have NO idea how that should be spelled)tapestry, there is an image of King Harold poking his soldiers in the back with a spear, driving them into battle.
Yep, much clearer. Bayeux.
http://www.bayeuxtapestry.org.uk/

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God and Gender

#27

Post by andyredeemed » Tue Mar 27, 2007 2:50 pm

Sandy, Thanks. :oops:
God is good

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#28

Post by zoegirl » Tue Mar 27, 2007 6:24 pm

I have no problems with the whole love each other and submit to each toehr- nicely explained

But still would like clarification.. are you saying that women are not made in the image of God?

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#29

Post by Gman » Tue Mar 27, 2007 6:27 pm

Ok.. I thought I would add my two cents into this...

The Bible is very clear that God has both male and female attributes or characteristics.. (Gen:. 1:27). He is known in the male (that's true..), but this doesn't mean he doesn't possess female qualities as well. As an example, God is called a "mother hen" in Matt 23:37.. In Isaiah 42:14 it has God saying, “I cry out like a travailing woman,” and in Isaiah 66:13, God promised, “As one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you.” These are but a few examples of God's image we can gather from the Bible...

God is simply spirit possessing both male and female attributes... He is more known in his male attributes, but is not physically either male or female for that matter...

Here is an example where God refers to himself to being like a "green pine tree" (in Hosea: 14:8.). So maybe God is a tree? Who knows..

Here is another example of God's image... This one is from Matthew chapter 25.. The Bible is chuck full of these types of allegories..

Matthew 34-36"Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Enter, you who are blessed by my Father! Take what's coming to you in this kingdom. It's been ready for you since the world's foundation. And here's why:

I was hungry and you fed me,
I was thirsty and you gave me a drink,
I was homeless and you gave me a room,
I was shivering and you gave me clothes,
I was sick and you stopped to visit me,
I was in prison and you came to me.

37-40"Then those 'sheep' are going to say, 'Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry and feed you, thirsty and give you a drink? And when did we ever see you sick or in prison and come to you?' Then the King will say, 'I'm telling the solemn truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me— you did it to me. The message.

And there you have it... These verses are PERFECT examples of showing how God possess both male and female attributes... Why?? Do you know of any women who were NOT hungry, thristy, a stanger, etc.. And when you are helping people (either male and female) that are in this predicament, you are really helping God...

Maybe we could put it this way too.. If God was known in the feminine, then God would be a feminist God.. If God in known the male, then he is a male chauvinist macho God, if he is known as an "it" then it's too impersonal... Whatever is attributed to God it doesn't matter because I think man will always find a way to twist scripture and make God biased between the genders or something else..

Btw, I also got this quote from another post... I did not write it, but I think it makes some great points.. (see below).

"The Bible teaches the full equality of men and women in Creation and in Redemption (Gen 1:26-28, 2:23, 5:1-2; I Cor 11:11-12; Gal 3:13, 28, 5:1).

Man and Women in Creation

1. The Bible teaches that both man and woman were created in God's image, had a direct relationship with God, and shared jointly the responsibilities of bearing and rearing children and having dominion over the created order (Gen 1:26-28 ).

2. The Bible teaches that woman and man were created for full and equal partnership. The word "helper" (ezer) used to designate woman in Genesis 2:18 refers to God in most instances of Old Testament usage (e.g. I Sam 7:12; Ps 121:1-2). Consequently the word conveys no implication whatsoever of female subordination or inferiority.

3. The Bible teaches that the forming of woman from man demonstrates the fundamental unity and equality of human beings (Gen 2:21-23). In Genesis 2:18, 20 the word "suitable" (kenegdo) denotes equality and adequacy.

4. The Bible teaches that man and woman were co-participants in the Fall: Adam was no less culpable than Eve (Gen 3:6; Rom 5:12-21; I Cor 15:21-22).

5. The Bible teaches that the rulership of Adam over Eve resulted from the Fall and was therefore not a part of the original created order. Genesis 3:16 is a prediction of the effects of the Fall rather than a prescription of God's ideal order.

Redemption

6. The Bible teaches that Jesus Christ came to redeem women as well as men. Through faith in Christ we all become children of God, one in Christ, and heirs to the blessings of salvation without reference to racial, social, or gender distinctives (John 1:12-13; Rom 8:14-17; 2 Cor 5:17; Gal 3:26-28).

Community

7. The Bible teaches that at Pentecost the Holy Spirit came on men and women alike. Without distinction, the Holy Spirit indwells women and men, and sovereignly distributes gifts without preference as to gender (Acts 2:1-21; 1 Cor 12:7, 11, 14:31).

8. The Bible teaches that both women and men are called to develop their spiritual gifts and to use them as stewards of the grace of God (1 Peter 4:10-11). Both men and women are divinely gifted and empowered to minister to the whole Body of Christ, under His authority (Acts 1:14, 18:26, 21:9; Rom 16:1-7, 12-13, 15; Phil 4:2-3; Col 4:15; see also Mark 15:40-41, 16:1-7; Luke 8:1-3; John 20:17-18; compare also Old Testament examples: Judges 4:4-14, 5:7; 2 Chron 34:22-28; Prov 31:30-31; Micah 6:4).

9. The Bible teaches that, in the New Testament economy, women as well as men exercise the prophetic, priestly and royal functions (Acts 2:17-18, 21:9; 1 Cor 11:5; 1 Peter 2:9-10; Rev 1:6, 5:10). Therefore, the few isolated texts that appear to restrict the full redemptive freedom of women must not be interpreted simplistically and in contradiction to the rest of Scripture, but their interpretation must take into account their relation to the broader teaching of Scripture and their total context (1 Cor 11:2-16, 14:33-36; 1 Tim 2:9-15).

10. The Bible defines the function of leadership as the empowerment of others for service rather than as the exercise of power over them (Matt 20:25-28, 23:8; Mark 10:42-45; John 13:13-17; Gal 5:13; 1 Peter 5:2-3).

Family

11. The Bible teaches that husbands and wives are heirs together of the grace of life and that they are bound together in a relationship of mutual submission and responsibility (1 Cor 7:3-5; Eph 5:21; 1 Peter 3:1-7; Gen 21:12). The husband's function as "head" (kephale) is to be understood as self-giving love and service within this relationship of mutual submission (Eph 5:21-33; Col 3:19; 1 Peter 3:7).

12. The Bible teaches that both mothers and fathers are to exercise leadership in the nurture, training, discipline and teaching of their children (Ex 20:12; Lev 19:3; Deut 6:6-9, 21:18-21, 27:16; Prov 1:8, 6:20; Eph 6:1-4; Col 3:20; 2 Tim 1:5; see also Luke 2:51). "

Equality of the races

13. The Scriptures teach plainly that God "hath made of one blood all nations of men.” Acts 17:26 From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live.

And there you have it... Go women!!! We men are half baked without you... :wink:

Also I thought this article by Rich Deem on sexism and the Bible was good as well..

http://www.godandscience.org/apologetics/sexism.html

Enjoy..
Last edited by Gman on Tue Mar 27, 2007 6:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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#30

Post by zoegirl » Tue Mar 27, 2007 6:34 pm

Thanks ,

nicely put
I agree, :-)

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