Women and the Gender of God– The Dialogue Part Nine

Women and the Gender of God– The Dialogue Part Nine March 29, 2023

Q. The question becomes since the image of God is both male and female (and patriarchy is a result of the Fall, including the curse ‘your desire will be for your husband and he will lord it over you’, and Gal. 3.28 says in Christ there is ‘no male and female’), what does that really mean? Notice Paul in Gal. 3.28 breaks up the triad and does not say there is neither male nor female (unlike neither Gentile nor Jew neither slave nor free). I take it to mean that Paul is denying that the creation order mandate to marry and propagate the species is any longer a command in Christ’s community. In short, it is fine for men and women to be single for the sake of the Kingdom like Jesus (see also Mt. 19) or to be married in the Lord as husband and wife. I don’t think you can get an androgenous Adam, much less an androgynous God  from ‘male and female he created them in his image’.   How would you parse what Genesis says about these things?



A.     This is certainly a key issue I will address in volume 2, but in short, it does strike me that in Genesis you have a male being from whom the flesh of the woman is drawn which is a fitting chiasm to the incarnation in which a woman provides the human flesh (through the miraculous work of the Holy Spirit as discussed above) of the Savior. The situations are not exact, but strikingly resonate. I would not describe Adam as androgynous (feminist criticism does good work to show that never works out too well for women), but there is a unique reality to his maleness in that the material of Eve is drawn from him. I have much more work to do here.


Q. It seems to me an irrelevance to debate whether women can be priests, since ministers in the NT are absolutely not priests, except in the sense that they are part of the priesthood of all believers. The only other priesthood in the NT is Christ as the heavenly high priest in Hebrews. Ministers in the NT are elders, deacons, and overseers/bishops.  The category of apostle, according to Paul (if it doesn’t simply refer to missionaries as in Acts 13-14 so apostles with a little ‘a’) refers to those like himself who have seen the risen Lord and been commissioned by Him. That would apply to no one today. But at a minimum we clearly see women playing the roles of prophetess, deacon (Phoebe), teacher (Priscilla) and even apostle (Junia) in the NT.  Probably elder as well.  The model of ministry which involves priests, temples and sacrifices was made obsolete according to Hebrews by the once for all time sacrifice of Christ.  And no, the Lord’s Supper is not depicted as being a re-enactment of Christ’s sacrifice any more than the last supper was. The elements in the Passover were symbolic (e.g. the bitter herbs). In fact, the Lord instituted that Supper BEFORE he even went to the cross at the last supper. The imposing of an OT hermeneutic on Christian churches leadership structure is not to be found in the NT, but rather is an imposition of later church history, and it is big mistake, not least because it marginalizes women and their ability to be ministers.  How would you respond to this?


A. I hear what you are saying here, especially in that the logic of some of the sacramental traditions is based more upon a typological reading of the OT than the New. Nevertheless, in the tradition I’ve made my own, the Episcopal Church as one member of the Anglican Communion, these are live conversations. Because Catholic, Orthodox, and some Anglicans prohibit women from church leadership because of their understanding of the maleness of Jesus, I wanted to address that issue in this book.



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