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The Letter:

Greetings and Blessings to your Church!

I’m reaching out in hopes of getting in touch with a member on your team. I recently came across an article posted on your website titled “Male and Female Made in God’s Image”; its author:  Hopson Boutot. 

Blog | Poquoson Baptist Church

First, I want to say this article is well written and very interesting to me on a personal and educational level. I am a fellow believer in Christ Jesus and recently, I have been on a path to advance my knowledge of the bible when it comes to Man and Woman’s creation through the account of Genesis.

Second, as the author noted, the topic of Man and Woman’s creation can indeed be highly controversial. Although I have not personally encountered verbal objection to Women sharing God’s image, I have read numerous stances as to why Women “DO NOT” share in the image of God; their justification stems from 1 Corinthians 11:7.  Furthermore, some of the articles with this perspective seem to be authored by highly intelligent individuals and I’ll be honest…it can stir feelings of insecurity and self-doubt.

As a woman of faith, I genuinely enjoy talking about this subject and Biblical Theology as a whole. Most importantly, as a mother I desire to be even more so grounded in my identity to better reflect a wholesome example of biblical womanhood to my children. Therefore, here's my inquiry:

*Hopson Boutot quotes:

    1. “Look again at Genesis 1:27—So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.  Aha! God made man in His image. God created “him” in his image. “Man” and “him” are both referring to the entire human race, not to Adam exclusively. We can see this clearly in Genesis 5:1b-2, “When God created man, He made him in the likeness of God. Male and female He created them, and He blessed them and named them Man when they were created.”  

Question:  How can the author be certain “him” and “man” are in reference to “men AND women” versus “him” referring to “Adam” (the male) in a singular form?  I am no expert in Hebrew nor in its grammar...which I believe to be my missing link / root to my uncertainty. However, I read Genesis 1:27 and Genesis 5:1 and continue to see the singular “him” be referenced.  If “Man” in these two passages refers to male and females, why did the author of Genesis simply not say “So God created man in His own image, in the image of God he created THEM; male and female He created them”; it almost seems like the creation of woman was an “after thought” or was not intended to share the same value in imagery as man does to God.

Thank you for your time and consideration. I look forward to hearing from you.

The Response:

Thank you so much for visiting our blog and for your recent question about the image of God. I think you'll find the answer if you look closely at the structure of Genesis 1:27...

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.

This sentence is actually a wonderful and beautiful example of Hebrew poetry, which uses a lot of parallelism between lines. So in a lot of Bibles the text will look like this...

So God created man in his own image, 
in the image of God he created him; 
male and female he created them.
Notice that each line is parallel to the line before. In line one, God is the subject, created is the verb, man is the direct object and in his own image is the preposition. You could depict it like this...
        S         V       DO             P
So God created man in his own image, 
The second line, of course, is parallel to the first. It's telling us the same thing in a different way. The only thing that has changed is the sentence order and that pronouns are used for God and man... 
               P                S       V       DO
in the image of God he created him; 
The final line is also parallel, but here the author of Genesis makes a subtle shift. Notice here he replaces the phrase "in his own image" with "male and female." Everything else is the same. 
           P               S        V      DO
male and female he created them.
This final line tells us two crucial truths that are essential to the Bible's conception of human sexuality:
First, it is not only the man who was created in the image of God! The direct object (man, him) from lines one and two is now them in line three. Both Adam and Eve are created in God's image! 
Second, part of what it means to be made in God's image is our maleness and our femaleness. It is absolutely crucial to notice that the phrase "male and female" replaces "image of God" in the third line. Expressing it this way through parallel lines of Hebrew poetry indicates that our God-given sexuality is not a minor add-on but a crucial component of how we image God as human beings.
Of course the Bible goes on to explain how humanity fails miserably in our assignment to image God, beginning with the fall of Adam and Eve and their separation from God. But the Good News of the Gospel is that God loved the world so much that He gave His only Son to live a sinless life and die a sinner's death then rise from death, so that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life.
I hope that answers your question and I hope you will continue to find hope and help in the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. God bless!

Christ is All,
M. Hopson Boutot