May 1 I Sunday
1 Kings 10-11
“God created mankind in His own image, in the image of God He created them; male and female He created them.” —Genesis 1:27
We live in an age where understandings around gender and sexuality are more complicated and confused than ever before. Sexual ethics used to revolve around moral structures and discipline, but today they are characterized primarily by consent and freedom. The church today faces intense pressure to adapt its teachings and reconsider its stance on this highly controversial issue, which makes it all the more important to remind ourselves of what the Bible has to say.
We cannot have doctrines of gender and sexuality without going back to the Garden of Eden. Genesis 1:27 begins with a singular statement, “God created mankind in His own image.” The emphasis is on humanity as a species first, but humanity becomes plural when Scripture adds, “male and female He created them.” In other words, humanity is defined first by its common ground as a species and secondarily as male and female. Men and women are therefore equal in creation because they are both human beings created by God.
Men and women are also equal in consideration because they have the same status as created in the image of God. Each of us shares certain qualities and attributes with God relating to His moral character. God is merciful, kind, just and loving, and He created us in His image to be merciful, kind, just and loving. Whether male or female, we are physical beings meant to be visible expressions of what God is like.
God also created men and women to be equal in commission. Genesis 1:28 explains, “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 in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.’” This is a joint responsibility. Our purpose as a species is to have children, to cultivate the earth and to rule over creation. There was not meant to be conflict between the sexes, because we have been equally tasked by God to accomplish the same work.
The differences between men and women are good and important, but none of these differences tips the balance towards one sex over the other regarding our creation, consideration or commission. God has created us equally, and He offers His Spirit equally to all men and women to bring us into relationship with Him and to accomplish His work. Such is the foundation of the biblical doctrines of gender and sexuality: that though we have been created distinctly as male and female, we are united first and foremost as human beings created in the image of God and equally deserving of the dignity God bestows on us.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, shift my focus from division to unity as I co-labour with my fellow men and women to accomplish Your kingdom work. Thank You that we are all made equally, created in Your image.