I blog semi-frequently about masculinity and femininity because I find the concepts fascinating, mysterious and beautiful.
BUT – talking about gender does have its drawbacks. With this topic, it’s a lot easier to stumble onto offensive untruths than it is to stumble into edifying truth. So before I continue teaching you things you never thought you could learn from watching videos of sperm and eggs, I’m going to take a little detour to say…
The things that are SIMILAR about men and women are far more important than the things that are DIFFERENT about them! We are all, first and foremost, images of God, siblings of Jesus, and co-equal with one another. Femininity and masculinity (or maleness and femaleness – which are not the same thing!) are, at best, secondary characteristics of who we are.
Let’s take a look at Scripture:
God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule… So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; 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.”
So if you ask, “What is a person”, the first Biblical answer is, “an image of God”. Pretty cool, right? But it’s even cooler than you think…
Genesis was written by Moses around 1500 BC to teach the Israelites about their identity as people of God. And his readers had a very specific thought associated with this word “image”. In Moses’ day, in the absence of modern media, a King would communicate the extent of his rein by proliferating his “image” – placing statues of himself in all that lands that he ruled. Whenever you saw his image, you would be reminded who was king over the land.
So when an ancient Israelite heard the words of Genesis for the first time, his or her perspective would have been radically upended. God was essentially communicating to the people, “The kings of this world claim to be God, and multiply their images throughout their empires to claim power for themselves. But you are not to have a human king because I, your God, am your King. And you are not to make any images (idols) of me; but rather you are my images! And your job is to fill the earth with yourselves; this is how you multiply my images. And your job is to subdue the earth, extending the boundaries of my kingdom and my rule to encompass all lands.”
Men and Women are Equally His Image.
The point I’m making is that the primary thing the Bible emphasizes when it says we are made in God’s image is not that men and women are different from one another, but that we are the same! We are both made to be His Image! As a friend of mine said to me recently, “Difference draws a box around you, but similarity draws a circle around us.”
Every face you see – whether it is male or female – is meant to be a sign reminding you of the majesty and dignity of your King.