Male and Female Complementarity and the Image of God -- By: Bruce A. Ware

Journal: Journal for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood
Volume: JBMW 07:1 (Spring 2002)
Article: Male and Female Complementarity and the Image of God
Author: Bruce A. Ware


Male and Female Complementarity and the
Image of God1

Bruce A. Ware

President, Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood;
Senior Associate Dean, School of Theology
Professor of Christian Theology,
The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
Louisville, Kentucky

Introduction

And God said, “Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds: livestock, creatures that move along the ground, and wild animals, each according to its kind.” And it was so. God made the wild animals according to their kinds, the livestock according to their kinds, and all the creatures that move along the ground according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good. Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; 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. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.” Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds of the air and all the creatures that move on the ground—everything that has the breath of life in it—I give every green plant for food.” And it was so. God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning-the sixth day. (Genesis 1:24–31 - NIV)

Everyone agrees: whatever being created in the image of God means, it is very, very significant! Clearly, in Genesis chapter one, the progression of creation builds throughout the six days, culminating in the final creative act, in the second part of the sixth day, to create man as male and female in the image of God. Some key internal indicators signal the special significance of man’s creation: 1) As just noted, man is the pinnacle of God’s creative work, only after which God then says of all he has made that it is “very good” (1:31). 2) The creation of man is introduced differently than all others, with the personal and deliberative expression, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness.” 3) The one God who creates man as male and female deliberately uses plural references of himself (e.g., “Let Us,” “Our image,” “Our ...

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