As many of you know, my wife and I are about to meet our first child, a little girl, any day now. I can’t really imagine how my life is about to change, but I can only think it will be for the better. As her arrival has come closer, I have been thinking about girls and women and how I can be the best father possible for our new daughter.
One of the storylines of Scripture is of the image of God. Humans were created as God’s image, and the fullness of that image happens when the cumulative of both men and women is combined. The full story of the imago of God includes falling into sin and marring the image, God taking on the image of humanity in Jesus, Jesus restoring the image of God in his work, and humans being transformed to the image of Christ, thereby restoring the image of God in humanity. As I look into that narrative, I discover something about humanity, something about God, and something we have often overlooked in the church. I discover Eve.
For too long, we have looked at Eve, and instead of seeing the mother of all who live, and instead of seeing one of only three people who have ever lived as sinless human beings (if only temporarily in her and Adam’s case), and instead of seeing the glorious likeness of God in all the beauty of womanhood, we have seen the stain of the first human sin. The first failure as a human being. The first temptress. The first person to side with evil against God. By seeing only the failure instead of the beauty, we have missed something essential, and we have forfeited much understanding of women, humanity, and God.
Typically, we learn from Eve that women cannot be trusted. We learn from Eve that woman are dangerous. We learn from Eve that men need to be protected from the temptation women offer. We have ignored the fact that God confronts Adam after the fall. God sees Adam as owning his own responsibility, but for some reason, we have fallen for Adam’s lame excuse that it was Eve who gave him the fruit.
I reject that view of Eve, which has been unconscious for some and painfully conscious for others. I take responsibility for my own sin, and that frees me to look for the beauty of God to be found in Eve and in all of her daughters.
I believe women have tremendous insight into God, hugely important contributions to our theology. Unfortunately, theological inquiry and teaching has been predominated by the masculine. Of course, I appreciate all the study men have done regarding our Creator and all they have shown us, but if we neglect what women can teach us, we lose more than we can afford. I do appreciate that the body of theological teaching produced by women is growing. I look forward to how we view God grows as the long ignored feminine perspective on the divine begins to come to light.
In the meantime, I would like to share what women have taught me about God, not by their careful study and teaching, but simply by being women.
I will have more to say about that soon.