Spiritually different by design?

Spiritually different by design?

ducks2-Women-In-Ministry-by-Cheryl-Schatz

CBMW (Council for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood) puts on conferences called “Different by Design” and in these conferences  they teach that God created men and women different for different purposes.

While we can agree with CBMW that men and women are created physically different, does this mean that God created them also spiritually different?  How will we know?  Let’s ask ourselves some questions to see if the bible gives any indication that men and women are spiritually different.

1.  Do men and women have different ways for being saved?

2.  Are men and women designed to come before God in prayer in a different way?

3.  Are there lists of spiritual gifts that are listed for only men or only women?

4.  Do men and women inherit spiritual “sonship” in a different way?

5.  Is the command to make disciples given only to one gender?

It appears to me that what CBMW does is a bait and switch, confusing physical and biological differences with spiritual differences.

In our next post we will look at Galatians 3:28 to see how the complementarian and egalitarian camps look at this verse very differently and how we can determine which of these views is correct or if both of these views is flawed in some way.

What do you think?  Does scripture list our spiritual make up as differently designed by God?

61 thoughts on “Spiritually different by design?

  1. We all know the only scripture-explicit answer to each of those questions is “no”. But in spite of that, they will insist that the proof-texts overrule not only that list but also “not so among you” and the example of Jesus as listed in Phil. 2:5-11, the definition of love in 1 Cor. 13, and a host of other scriptures.

    When you’re talking to “scholars” who actually believe God named Adam with the English word “man”, all logical and theological bets are off.

  2. I think that the idea that sex was made in God’s image has caused a bit of confusion for many. Every time I re-read Genesis 1, I cannot escape that while humanity is said to have been made in God’s image, male and female (the same Hebrew terms used for the animals, saying that they are amle and female) are not. Even N.T. Wright use to believe that sex was made in God’s image, but then animals would be sharing in that aspect of the divine image. It has never made sense to me, yet this (however it’s worked out or explained) IS the reason why ‘CBMW’ type understand a spiritual difference between men and women. Even when I read egal books in the past, they were not clear on whether or not sex was part of the divine image which kept the water muddy.

  3. And it all ties back into the idea that God is male. There, sex is part of the divine image, and females are less like God than males because God is male.

  4. It certainly is a faulty view that sees God as male.  The question that many have is whether God gave an innate ability for males to be spiritual in a way that reflects God and women to not have the same spiritual ability to reflect God.  More to come in the next post.

  5. Cheryl,

    You used “sonship” instead of “child of God”.  In other words, your question would be better worded (IMO) as: “Do men and women inherit being children of God in a different way?”

    Why use gender terms when they are not warranted?
    Paula, 
    I am sure you know that the ESV says that God called them “Man” in Gen 5:2, why do you have a problem with dat?  I must say this is one of those times when I guffaw, as it is JUST SO WRONG on SO MANY LEVELS.

  6. Don,

    Good question.  I use “sonship” because Galatians chapter 4 calls us “sons” as heirs.

    Gal 4:6  Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!”
    Gal 4:7  Therefore you are no longer a slave, but a son; and if a son, then an heir through God.

    I find that very significant since in that culture only sons could be heirs.  This means that legally we are all heirs – all legal sons without distinction.  If scripture said that there are sons and daughters of God then there would be a distinction.  But we are all legal heirs.  But I am going onto point number two with my next post.  More later in a format where all will read.

  7. From a Bible footnote:

    huios is in reference to both males and females  (P. Oxy. 9.1206; P. Oslo 3; P. Erlangen 28.6;).

    Even so, it makes them fully equal, legally on the same level. Likewise, adelphoi does not refer only to males but is used when there is at least one male in the group.

  8. The husband got paid the dowry as it was brought to him.  If his wife didn’t make him happy, such as if she burnt his meal, or went in public without her headcovering, he could divorce her without any support.

    However in the Father’s inheritance, in the spiritual sense, I don’t think there is any sense of a dowry.  That is because just as all the church is the “bride” and also the entire church are  “sons”.  Equal equal.

  9. Cheryl, according to the Mishna man made rules about women and marriage, a husband could also subtract from a woman’s dowry because of various shortcomings or complaints about her,( a portion of a woman’s dowry by the ketubah went to her upon divorce) until there was nothing left in it.  In that way he could then divorce her and leave her with nothing.  Many of the things he could subtract for were: not spinning wool well, not being a good cook, not satisfying him in bed (called ‘making the bed’), and similar.

  10. There were 2 ways to get a divorce, you picked 3 sages/rabbis to hear your case.  Either a man or a woman could do it.  If you picked 3 from Shammai school, then you had to prove your case with evidence, and the charges might be neglect or abuse or adultery for the woman or lack of intercourse.  In general the man was to provide supplies and the woman was to prepare them.  If her father gave her servants, the servants did the least desirable work and the 4th servant did whatever the wife wanted, but the first 3 did things in order.  If a man proved adultery, he could confiscate her dowry, on the other things the rabbis imposed fines, which would eventually eat up the dowry or the bride price.  So if a woman refused to cook food and had no servants to do it, her dowry could be fined.  Or if the man refused to provide food to cook, he could be fined.  If he kept refusing, she could get a divorce, they would whip the man until he wrote the divorce certificate.

    The man could also go to 3 Hillel school rabbis and divorce for “Any Matter” and then divorce for any reason at all, but the dowry was returned.  This was the normal method of divorce, as no one had to prove anything, EXCEPT if one was trying to keep the dowry.

    It was asymmetrical with advantages to the man.  But the man could not just take the dowry unless the woman did not behave.

  11. Thanks Don.  🙂

    And remember also, that many of the charges of misbehaving were trumpted up frivolous charges.  Not cooking well, I consider a frivolous charge.  Add to that that a woman could, according to a mean husband, a wife could just not cook like his mom and he could fine her on that supposed ‘fact’. 

    It’s a good thing I wasn’t born in those days.  I’d be in a heap of trouble.  🙂

  12. The “not cooking well” was for the “Any Matter” divorce.  It was used as an example to make a point that “Any Matter” really did mean “Any dumb reason at all”.  For a real reason, it had to go before 3 judges and they had to agree it was real.

  13. In the October 5th, 2007 edition of Christianity Today, an article was published called What God Has Joined. In that article, author David Instone-Brewer rejects the idea of the Hillel school’s “any cause” divorce (great background info Don), but, in my opinion (and to his discredit), still leaves divorce an option for “almost any cause”. Some may find it interesting in light of this conversation.

    Cheryl – I agree with Paula, the answer to all of your inquiries which, if true, would yield inequality, is quite obviously “no”. I do have one possible quibble. You acknowledge the physical differences in gender (who could miss them), but those physical differences go further than our outside shell and reproductive anatomy. There are certainly hormonal and other bio-chemical differences between men and women, as well as significant brain structure and operation differences. So, although I agree that we are equal spiritually, I suggest that we may pursue spirituality quite differently.

    As it relates to your questions then, although the equality you suggest in the spiritual right or responsibility certainly exists and is well testified to in scripture, I am not so certain we (men and women)actually go about doing salvation, prayer, evangelism, discipleship, teaching, or any other spiritual endeavor in exactly the same way. In my mind, this is also very much intentioned in God’s design.

  14. These are excellent comments and questions!!

    I will participate later today.  I am heading off for an extended time in the dentist’s chair.  I’ll pop in later once my brain is unfrazzled.

  15. David Instone-Brewer is amazing.  Jesus rejects Hillel’s “Any Matter” divorce as not being Torah.  The other reasons are still allowed, but not required, including abuse, neglect, and adultery (which he makes symmetric).

  16. Don – don’t you worry about the implications of allowing “abuse” and “neglect” because of their subjectivity? That was the issue I had with the article’s argument, because without guidelines, virtually anything can be considered abuse or neglect, even a burnt meal.

  17. Gengwall,

    “There are certainly hormonal and other bio-chemical differences between men and women, as well as significant brain structure and operation differences. So, although I agree that we are equal spiritually, I suggest that we may pursue spirituality quite differently.”

    I don’t know about how others think, but I view those as part of physical differences.  And while it is true that our physiology may tend to influence us to pursue spirituality differently, that is not the same thing as saying men and women are spiritually different.  To my knowledge nothing in Scripture infers that men are spiritually different than women.  We are human first and foremost.  As humans we share the same type of spirit – that of humans created in the image of God.

  18. No, a burnt meal is not abuse.  But it is much preferred to teach that abuse and neglect are possible grounds that to claim that only adultery is a ground, as then the abused and/or neglected are stuck.

    One can look in the prophets to see what kinds of abuse and neglect God claimed when he divorced Israel.

  19. In order to prove something applies to a group of people universally, it would have to hold true without exception through all cultures and throughout history. “The exception that proves the rule” only works for things like grammar. When anyone says “all ____ are this and all ____ are that”, the existence of exceptions, even if in the minority, disprove the rule.

    I’ve observed that online, when identities are unknown, people cannot tell men from women. I’ve been surprised to learn that some individual was a man after all, or a woman after all. Likewise, I’ve been in debates where my opponent was sure I was a man and was quite surprised (sometimes even enraged!) that I turned out to be a woman.

    So even from that observation I can say that there is no “manly” way of thinking or any “womanly” way of thinking. There are averages, and stereotypes, but no hard and fast rules. And if anyone wants to prove me wrong, they have to show that certain traits follow a gender through all cultures and times.

    Same for spirituality. There are very tender-hearted, emotional, spiritual men, and very stern, logical, and unspiritual women. It’s a personality issue, not a genetic issue. Tendencies and averages are fine for marketing research, but not for making up rules for people.

  20. I beg to differ Paula. Brain scan studies are showing more and more convincingly that men and women do in fact think differently precisely because of our physiology – if “thinking” means how we gather, process, and react to information and stimuli. There is one simple fact you do not acknowledge – male and Female brains are constructed quite differently and it significantly impacts how we relate to other human beings. And, although alternate patterns of behavior, communication, and even data gathering can be learned, that does not negate the differences in our design, which is what the conversation is all about.

    Both Peter and Paul recognize this in giveing starkly different instructions to men and women in dealing with their spouses. Men are to unconditionally agape love their wives and live with them “in an understanding way”. Women are to unconditionally respect their husbands and phileo love them. These instructions deal with our inherent, designed internal psychological and relational differences, and would have no value if we were all an androgynous bell curve humanity.

    And don’t even get me started on hormonal differences, which strongly impact relational behaviors.

    Now, as far as online conversations go, I agree that since all the “evidence” is not available about who you are talking to, it may be difficult to tell gender. After all, my wife won’t even have online conversations since she can’t be “face to face” with the other person and therefore can’t employ her uniquely female intuition.

  21. The starkly different advice is mostly mythical teaching by non-egals.  We are to agape-love our enemies, so spouses are to agape-love each other.  And a husband is to honor his wife, which is very similar to respect.

  22. Aw, gengwall, you don’t have to beg. You can differ with impunity at no charge.  😉

    Suppose you have two sports cars, each very unique. They have different types of engines, different wiring, different body shapes, different manufacturers. Yet when they are tested, they perform identically. Both are cars, both will transport people, both have the same performance results. Two very different items with the same results.

    The simple fact you’re overlooking is that male and female brains cannot be told apart when their “results”– thoughts– are conveyed in anonymity. Males and females certainly have different body types, and if your facts are correct and uncontested by experts in the field, different “wiring”. But the important thing is the result; does “male” thinking differ significantly and without exception from “female” thinking? No, it does not. Differences in behavior vary more among members of one sex than between them. Personality is not a gender-specific trait, but is a combination of individual genetics and experiences.

    What God designed is not one superior sex and one inferior sex,  but two equal yet complementary sexes. What Peter and Paul write about is cultural reality and how believers should conduct themselves therein. Your claim that the Bible commands unconditional respect only from wives to husbands is completely unsupported from the text, as is the implication that only husbands are to agape love. All believers without exception are to agape love each other, to submit to each other, to follow Christ’s humble setting aside of privilege (Phil. 2:5-11) and to obey his command, “not so among you”.

    No, you wouldn’t want to get me started about “hormonal differences” either. I don’t go berserk every month; my husband never knows when “it” is unless I tell him. Even when I was pregnant I didn’t have many of the typical, average, majority symptoms of mood swings or strange cravings. (Even so, I’d defy any man to put up with half the things women put up with!)

    Many like yourself define equality between the sexes as androgyny, but I strongly disagree with that idea. Equality does not mean two people are identical. Are two twin boys or girls indistinguishable unless one bosses the other? No, we know they are two separate people, even though they may have identical genetics and behavior. Differentiation is by virtue of their being two separate people, not by their “roles”, personalities, behavior, or anything else.

    It appears from your statements that you are not very familiar with the writings here. Please take some time to prayerfully consider them, as well as the excellent DVDs.

  23. Cheryl, this is a great topic! I am so glad you posted this. WE are spending so much time and money in Christendom on gender differences that are leading us away from Christ and focused on the wrong things. You have brought it back to the main thing which is salvation and abiding in Christ.

    “So, although I agree that we are equal spiritually, I suggest that we may pursue spirituality quite differently.”

    gengwall, I would be interested in hearing what you mean by this and perhaps some examples.

    Paula, I have had the same experience as you. My full name is a typical male name and in business when corresponding by e-mail or letter, even over long periods of time, most think I am male. So much of what we think about genders is cultural.

  24. ‘The question that many have is whether God gave an innate ability for males to be spiritual in a way that reflects God and women to not have the same spiritual ability to reflect God.’

    The answer is, no.

    God gave roles to be fit into which are not determined by spiritual ability but rather by one’s sex. 

  25. tiro comment #11,

    If a married woman uncovered her head her dowry could be taken away from her and her husband would divorce her as it was considered a sign of unfaithfulness because the married woman’s hair was seen as a sexual enticement that no man was to see except her husband.  If a dowry can be taken away from a woman in this way then her inheritance is not secure.  It is only the son’s inheritance that is secure, hence we are all son’s of God and heirs with Jesus showing a secure inheritance.

  26. gengwall,

    You said:

    Cheryl – I agree with Paula, the answer to all of your inquiries which, if true, would yield inequality, is quite obviously “no”. I do have one possible quibble. You acknowledge the physical differences in gender (who could miss them), but those physical differences go further than our outside shell and reproductive anatomy. There are certainly hormonal and other bio-chemical differences between men and women, as well as significant brain structure and operation differences. So, although I agree that we are equal spiritually, I suggest that we may pursue spirituality quite differently.

    Good!  Glad to have agreed here.  Are there differences between men and women that cause us to pursue spirituality differently?  I think biblically the answer is yes and no.  Yes there is a difference because God himself said that he would initiate an enmity between the serpent and the woman (Genesis 3:15).  We know that the enmity between the seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent has the seed of the woman (Jesus) doing spiritual warfare and winning the battle for us.  Is it reasonable to assume that if God is also initiating the conflict between the woman and the serpent then he is providing the woman with the means to do battle in some way with the serpent? 

    It should not be a surprise that there are more women in church, more women tend to be prayer warriors and typically there are more women who are involved in bible studies then there are men.  Some think this is the “feminizing” of the church, but I think that God has enabled women to join the battle against satan that is still being fought and their involvement is in increased numbers and increased intensity.  Women seem to come across as more interested in spiritual matters while many men are more interested in the daily things of life.

    While there are some characteristics that appear to be more predominant in the general population of women than men, this doesn’t mean that these are characteristics belonging to women alone.  For example men are said to be more rational and women are said to be more emotional.  In our home, my husband is the soft heart and his tears flow easily when he is sharing a meaningful experience in public.  I am the one who operates in the logical realm.  This doesn’t mean that my husband is not logical, but I am the one who consistently deals with issues through a logical method and a logical mind.  In fact if someone presents “facts” to me that are illogical, my mind tends to shut down.  I am not able to continue to listen to the person because I am like a computer saying “this does  not compute…this does not compute”.  If something is illogical I tend to get stuck at that point and until I can unravel the illogical words, I miss everything else the person are saying.  Just the other day, this was brought out once again when my husband said that I appeared not to be listening to him.  I was stuck back at the beginning at the point where what he said didn’t make sense to me and I had shut down and couldn’t hear a thing after that.

    I also believe that women as a whole have  things to say and teach that men may miss getting from male teachers and so having women teachers is very advantageous because it keeps a person well-rounded getting the facts from different angles.  This is the complementary part that is missing in so many churches.  Women on the other hand are privileged receiving teaching by both men and women teachers.  Many men do not have the privilege of learning from a woman and so many are stuck in traditions that may not be healthy because they have not been allowed to expand their learning base.

    Even with my admission that men and women can teach differently, inside we are all basically human and so bottom line we are on the same level.  We are all individuals of the same species.  We all have emotions and we all have a will.  Each person takes what he/she has and uses their gifts individually.  I do agree with Paula that if one removes the ability to know whether one is communicating with a man or a woman, it is not readily apparent by our communication.  I have no doubt that I could be taken as a man since I teach with the level of authority given in 1 Peter 4:10, 11 that is available to all but which is culturally seen more in men.

    I am going to see about catching up on more of the comments.  You folks have produced much to think about.  Thanks!

  27. tiro #20,

    You said:

    I don’t know about how others think, but I view those as part of physical differences.  And while it is true that our physiology may tend to influence us to pursue spirituality differently, that is not the same thing as saying men and women are spiritually different.  To my knowledge nothing in Scripture infers that men are spiritually different than women.  We are human first and foremost.  As humans we share the same type of spirit – that of humans created in the image of God.

    This is well said, and I can give my hearty amen to your comments.

  28. Forgot something…

    The idea that without hierarchy there can be no distinction is one used by those who insist that the Persons of the Trinity must have hierarchy. They say that if there is no hierarchy, then we are teaching Modalism! (see This link)

  29. gengwall #25 said,

    I beg to differ Paula. Brain scan studies are showing more and more convincingly that men and women do in fact think differently precisely because of our physiology – if “thinking” means how we gather, process, and react to information and stimuli. There is one simple fact you do not acknowledge – male and Female brains are constructed quite differently and it significantly impacts how we relate to other human beings. And, although alternate patterns of behavior, communication, and even data gathering can be learned, that does not negate the differences in our design, which is what the conversation is all about.

    The main difference that I can see is in the area of multi-tasking.  It isn’t necessarily totally different thoughts but how we can connect things together so that women can talk from one subject to another to another and then back again while men typically stay on one subject at a time.  When I try to get my husband onto another subject too fast he tells me that he has to put the box away that has our last topic in it and open up another box.  He thinks in segments or in compartments and I, like many other women, am able to keep more than one subject open in my brain so that I can connect things together without getting confused.  I don’t have to shut down one thought before I start up another.

    Make sense?

  30. Don,

    On your comment #26 you said:

    The starkly different advice is mostly mythical teaching by non-egals.  We are to agape-love our enemies, so spouses are to agape-love each other.  And a husband is to honor his wife, which is very similar to respect.

    This is a very valid point.  It isn’t just men who need respect.  When my husband honors me, especially in public, his respect gives me a real boost that encourages me to give him extra love in private.  Also my husband needs a lot of touching, (hand holding, love pats, hugs, etc) even more than I do and I respect his need.  He doesn’t come asking me for respect but for love.  These are basic human needs that we all have whether we are male or female.

  31. Paula,

    You brought out an excellent point when you said:

    Many like yourself define equality between the sexes as androgyny, but I strongly disagree with that idea. Equality does not mean two people are identical. Are two twin boys or girls indistinguishable unless one bosses the other?

    I think that hierarchists are afraid that equality will bring androgyny but it doesn’t mean this at all.  True complementarity means allowing the complement to operate in their gift in a way that is different than yours so it enhances and adds to the full picture.  It doesn’t mean that only one can teach.  It means that both can teach in their individual ways so that the church is built up.  Complementarity is not one gender teaching (men) while the women are sitting on the bleachers going “rah, rah, go get ’em”.  Complementarity is all of us working together with our gifts and providing a full balance.

  32. Tanx! And I whole-heartedly agree: there should be male cheerleaders at female sporting events! (I’d better get some sleep before posting any more!)

  33. Lin said,

    Cheryl, this is a great topic! I am so glad you posted this. WE are spending so much time and money in Christendom on gender differences that are leading us away from Christ and focused on the wrong things. You have brought it back to the main thing which is salvation and abiding in Christ.

    I think there are helpful things to learn in a marriage from gender differences, but personally I don’t see any value from learning about gender differences in the church.  In every personality test that I have taken in a church setting, there has been a mixture of males and females in each characteristic type no matter how they name the type.  If it was gender based one would think that only women would be a “blue” (or whatever the name is given for a personality type) and only men a “green”.  The fact is that each personality type has both male and female subjects.

  34. Paula,

    On comment #34 you said:

    The idea that without hierarchy there can be no distinction is one used by those who insist that the Persons of the Trinity must have hierarchy. They say that if there is no hierarchy, then we are teaching Modalism!

    This idea pushed by those who believe there must be hierarchy in every relationship is malarky.  They have set up their own definition that is without foundation in the bible and then used it against us to say that we are denying the Persons of the Trinity.  This reasoning is not logical and it does not hold water.

  35. Paula #38,

    Tanx! And I whole-heartedly agree: there should be male cheerleaders at female sporting events! (I’d better get some sleep before posting any more!)

    Ha, ha, snorkle…very funny!

  36. “I think there are helpful things to learn in a marriage from gender differences, but personally I don’t see any value from learning about gender differences in the church.”

    Even too much focus on this outside of physical differences is dangerous in a marriage. Wars happen, people die of illness young, etc., and a spouse finds themselves taking on all responsibility of the family.  

    I can remember my dad being so incredulous about the fact that men did not have their wives involved in family fiances, dealing with repairs, etc. This was because several families we knew the husband died unexpectedly and these young widows were lost about many things outside of their domain. My mom and dad helped them with all these things.

    Back then, unless the husband directed it, the widow could not even get money out of account! She could not get loans, etc. Thankfully, many of those laws have changed. What is ironic is that my dad died when I was 13 but my mom carried on because she knew how to deal with all that stuff and was a business woman in her own right.

    We can take all this gender stuff too far.

  37. Absolutely, Lin. We should all be trained in basic independent living. We should all be taught how to make minor repairs, negotiate loans, handle our finances, plan careers, etc. Our schools never taught girls anything beyond the three Rs but sewing and cooking and proper etiquette. I would have much preferred the shop class. And they were never taught how to shop or sew or cook.

  38. Wow, you folks do a lot of writing and fast – I’m going to need a PhD to keep up with all of this…  😉

    I would like to offer (IMHO) that when Adam was first made, he was a complete representative of God – after the separation of the aspects of God’s person into two distinct beings, a situation was created where the two needed each other in order to fully represent the totality of God on all levels… Thoughts..?

    Secondly, I would agree that we need to allow the two genders to remain two genders – or we give credence to the homosexual argument – we are two genders, in need of each other, distinct and different, however neither one has a full representation of God within them in the natural – this can only be accomplished by the spirit man dwelling inside all of us, but is still not an easy task by any means… I don’t think that it means females are supposed to try and act like males, or vice versa.  I tend to think that we each have equally valuable, yet different characteristics to bring to the table…

    Thirdly, I would argue that we are all man – sons – etc…  The term used to express Eve’s character was an addition to the original – ish for Adam, (post separation) and ishah for Eve – meaning if you will, a man with a womb – Eve completed Adam, and vice versa – each had the ability to pro-create and grow the vision of the concept of the ‘body of Christ – the church, the bride, etc.” – each being has many differences and many similarities on all levels – but I still point to the fact that God set it up this way – so we would depend on each other for completeness – not just in marriage…

    Look, if I can be a bride, you women can be a man, son, etc…  😉  that was just as fun to say as it was to read…  lol 🙂

    My last point – in marriage, in society, in church (etc.) we need each other to bring wholeness and completeness to the table – the early church figured this out pretty quickly – of course they had Jesus as their teacher – he set the tone, the church followed in earnest – God generally (not always) uses males to start a thing (probably because we possess the need to cast the seed – another discussion) – I’ve seen women start a thing, but more often than not its a male – but once the thing is up and running, again IMHO, all bets are off – everybody is needed and has a place.

    I would encourage us all to allow the various differences that we bring to the table (not just the gender ones) – we need all that expression within the church – again, in my mind the question still has not been answered – what is the best way to do this on a practical level?  I’ve seen so many variations – but not too many of them were very effective…

    I like this blog site by the way Cheryl et al. I’ve been reading a lot of your stuff – you may be on to something – I’m just trying to understand it all and figure out in my small little brain, how we can take this learning and apply it on a practical level within the church?  How can we overcome the barriers? There may be a vein of gold here that the church needs – I wanted you to know that I recognize that…  😉  MM

  39. Hi All,

    I will be on and off the bog sporadically but will try to get to all the thoughts and questions as I can.  Our ministry partner Keith MacGregor has had a heart attack and this had caused some upset in our lives right now.  We just got back from the hospital and he is resting comfortably and is still waiting for his appointment for the test that assesses heart damage.

  40. Mike you said:

    I would like to offer (IMHO) that when Adam was first made, he was a complete representative of God – after the separation of the aspects of God’s person into two distinct beings, a situation was created where the two needed each other in order to fully represent the totality of God on all levels… Thoughts..?

    I am not exactly sure what you are saying here.  Are you saying that Adam was created as two persons and then one person was taken out of the first person?

    You said: 

    “however neither one has a full representation of God within them in the natural”

    I don’t think that anyone or even a group of people have the “full” representation of God.  Jesus was the only one who had the fullness of God.

    I will answer more later as I have to go now.

  41. Actually, there are two verses that say all humans are still made in the image of God:

    Genesis 9:6
    “Whoever sheds human blood, by human beings shall their blood be shed; for in the image of God has God made humankind.

    James 3:9
    With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness.

  42. Yes, keep Keith in good hands.

    In Gen 9:6 are 3 uses of Adam meaning human.

    In Jam 3:9 it in anthropos. 

    So this allows us to create a dictionary of sorts.  James being Hebrew thinking Adam chose the closest Greek word being anthropos.

    I would not want to debate Paula live, she knows too much Scripture!

  43. I have been thinking about difference and maybe much of this has been said.   but here goes anyway…

    First… a woman is human and shares human characteristics with a man.  I hear no discussion about what men and women share as human beings.  How are we alike?

    Second while a woman is different and being female is a part of my identity, it is not all of my identity.  I am a mother,  but also a teacher, athelete, scandinavian, passionate Christian.  Being female is part but not all of who I am and it does not define everything about me. 

    Third, the difference argument is often used to justify strict roles.  Much like a similar difference argument was used to justify slavery.
    It comes from the same foul source.

    Fourth, I do not see scripture dividing the attributes of the Trinity when he created the man and woman.  We are made in God’s image.  That image involves ruling and tending, building community, the ability to reason, etc.  Both men and women share this image of God according to Genesis 1:26

    Fifth, if we used the same argument for men (because women can bear children, that is their role and life call) that is used on women it would go like this:  Because men can father children, their role should be to father children… Because they were to till the soil, they may only farm… no computer training, no mechanics, no business degrees, men must only farm and father children.   They use a limiting hermeneutic on women and a broad one for men.  

  44. Nope Don, it’s actually the old Warner Bros. Daffy Duck cartoon character.  I thought it would inject some humor here in light of Cheryl’s black ducks at the beginning of her essay on spiritual design.

    It’s just the negation of the statement that if it’s just a world of ducks, then all ducks are Daffy.  All it does is expand the world of just ducks to all birds and allow for exception.

    It was intended to show as Cheryl has shown, that the preponderance of evidence for women needing a “spiritual covering” in the form of male leadership is just not there.

  45. Arlene,

    Welcome to my blog!  I loved your comments.  You said:

    Second while a woman is different and being female is a part of my identity, it is not all of my identity.  I am a mother,  but also a teacher, athelete, scandinavian, passionate Christian.  Being female is part but not all of who I am and it does not define everything about me.

    This is very true.  I too am a very passionate person.  Passion is not a male or female characteristic – it is a human characteristic.

    Third, the difference argument is often used to justify strict roles.  Much like a similar difference argument was used to justify slavery.
    It comes from the same foul source.

    If one does research on the reasons that were given for slavery, one would come away amazed to hear the same arguments that are used today regarding gender.  I also believe the source is the same.

    Fourth, I do not see scripture dividing the attributes of the Trinity when he created the man and woman.  We are made in God’s image. 

    This is also an excellent point.  Perhaps this might be a good time to ask, in whose image are men made in?  Are they made in the Father’s image or the Son’s image?  Whose image are women made in?  The fact is that we are made in God’s image.  There is only one image for God and not a divided image.   Those who try to divide God’s image for one way for men and one way for men are doing an injustice to the one God who made us.

    They use a limiting hermeneutic on women and a broad one for men.

    Good thoughts!  You have clearly shown us the prevailing pattern of the prejudice.  The really troubling thing here is that in our culture even women have become prejudiced against other women.  I find this very disconcerting.  In fact I have seen more anger and abusive talk with some women then from some men.

    Then I have to look at my own heart.  Have I been prejudiced against women?  I think I was programmed to be prejudiced too for a long time.  It is difficult to get it out of one’s head.

    Anyone else experience prejudice against women from other women?

  46. Mike #44,

    I am just getting back to finishing your comments.  You said:

    but I still point to the fact that God set it up this way – so we would depend on each other for completeness – not just in marriage…

    I agree with you.  I believe that women’s input and women’s teaching complement the man.  This makes us rather necessary not just optional.

    I’ve seen women start a thing, but more often than not its a male – but once the thing is up and running, again IMHO, all bets are off – everybody is needed and has a place.

    Is it possible that males are the one’s starting things because we shut the door in a woman’s face or perhaps because we give the message that this isn’t a woman’s place?

    In 1988 I started a support group to help former Jehovah’s Witnesses find freedom in Christ.  While I was the one who had the vision and do the “leg work”, I let the Christian men who were coming alongside me, run the first meeting because I was a complementarian woman who knew my place.  That meeting went south pretty fast.  The Christian men had a great time debating scriptures on the Trinity and the shell-shocked JW’s hated the meeting and didn’t want to ever come back.  So I took over the next meeting and it became very clear that God had gifted me to support these people coming out of the Jehovah’s Witnesses so that they opened up to me and allowed me to teach them the truth about God and his word.  My leadership carried on for sixteen years and the only time we had trouble was when I tried to get a man into the position.  Many men are not patient enough to be a support group leader.

    I would encourage us all to allow the various differences that we bring to the table (not just the gender ones) – we need all that expression within the church – again, in my mind the question still has not been answered – what is the best way to do this on a practical level?  I’ve seen so many variations – but not too many of them were very effective…

    I think that on a practical level we should just let people be people.  Let them operate in their girts without judging them on their gender, their nationality or their social standing.  If we have trouble doing this, then we need to learn how to change.

    I like this blog site by the way Cheryl et al. I’ve been reading a lot of your stuff – you may be on to something – I’m just trying to understand it all and figure out in my small little brain, how we can take this learning and apply it on a practical level within the church?  How can we overcome the barriers? There may be a vein of gold here that the church needs – I wanted you to know that I recognize that…  😉  MM

    Thank you!  I do not claim to have all the answers.  This is why I really like this community.  There are special people who visit that give freely of their wisdom and knowledge.  I am in awe of the wonderful godly people who regularly stop by.  I think we need to be humble enough to listen to one another.  If we are willing to learn even if it is from someone who is not like us, who does not look like us or speak like us, then I think God will grant us the ability to learn.

  47. ‘This is also an excellent point.  Perhaps this might be a good time to ask, in whose image are men made in?  Are they made in the Father’s image or the Son’s image?’

    This gave me a chuckle.  😉

  48. <i>God generally (not always) uses males to start a thing (probably because we possess the need to cast the seed – another discussion) – I’ve seen women start a thing, but more often than not its a male – but once the thing is up and running, again IMHO, all bets are off – everybody is needed and has a place.</i>

    Women are to initiate childbirth. They invite and the man acquiesces. Consider Rachel, Ruth, Hannah, Tamar and many more. Women equally cast their seed, as Sarah does in Hebrews 11. But men are needed once the pregnancy is off and running. Funny how intercourse looks from a different perspective. The scripture pattern is that women invite and men respond.

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