God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.Genesis 1:27
Both man and woman are made in the image of God.
In many churches, however, women are afraid to speak up even if it is just to ask a question in Bible class. Even if this isn’t a rule of the congregation, this is how many women feel whom I’ve spoken to over the years. The reason for this is passages like 1 Corinthians 14:
The women are to keep silent in the churches; for they are not permitted to speak, but are to subject themselves, just as the Law also says. 35 If they desire to learn anything, let them ask their own husbands at home; for it is improper for a woman to speak in church.1 Corinthians 14:34-35
Some have used this passage to discourage women from writing articles, from leading public prayers, and from passing communion trays while standing up even though 1 Corinthians 11:5 speaks of women prophesying and praying.
Without getting into the specific situation that was the occasion under consideration in 1 Corinthians 14, let’s run through a quick thought experiment from Genesis 1:27.
- Both male and female bear the image of God.
- Men have been the main teachers, authors, and interpreters of religious text for thousands of years.
- Both men and women joke from time to time that they don’t fully understand the members of the opposite sex.
- So, isn’t it the case that men can only contribute so much to the discussion concerning who God is? That is, doesn’t it take both halves of the image of God coming together and having joint conversations on the nature of God?
Numerous psychological studies have been done on the emphasis that both sexes place on various moral values. In an article from 2010, Jesse Prinz Ph.D. wrote, “When men watch wrongdoers getting punished, there is activation in reward centers of their brains, whereas women’s brains show activation in pain centers, suggesting that they feel empathy for suffering even when it is deserve [sic].”
Do you see how the inclusion of women in religious discussion over the last one hundred years has moved many Christians from a more authoritarian, one-sin-keeps-you-out-of-Heaven version of God to one that is more grace centered, patient, and loving?
Could varying degrees of egalitarianism and complementarianism contribute to different views of Hell, more ecumenical communities of believers, and a further emphasis on grace?
Isn’t the voice of both men and women necessary in order to have a more complete picture of the nature of God since both are equally made in His image?