Sunday, February 28, 2010

Man: The Crown of Creation?

In examining the false teachings of patriarchy, there is often a focus on how it directly devalues women. Patriocentric views of women are manifested in various specific teachings such as those relating to the "proper" female role (which is limited to extra-Biblical extremes), but what is sometimes missed is the fact that the patriarchy camp also incorrectly views men. This is done by raising men to a super-status that is not Biblically supportable. Patriarchy emphasizes an extreme androcentric view of society, of the church, and of the family. Even sisters are encouraged to serve their brothers but not vice versa. (Of course Scripture does clearly teaches that in Christ's kingdom we must all be as servants, but Jesus failed to mention that the servanthood principle is related to gender. Perhaps that is because it is not?) Basically, not only do the teachings of patriarchy directly devalue women but they also indirectly lower women by elevating men erroneously. In an article featured on Vision Forum Ministries we are told:

"Man is God’s glory because he shows forth God’s authority over all creation. Man is therefore the crown of creation and shines forth the image and glory of God in a way no other creature does, even in a way the woman does not. What distinguishes the man from the woman (beyond the physical differences)? It is his headship over the woman. In other words, man’s authority and headship makes him the image and the glory of God in a way that surpasses all other creatures, including the woman."

So there we have it: according to this, headship and authority over a woman makes one more of an image-bearer of God. This logic is astounding. It suggests that my 2-year-old son, who is under my and his father's joint authority, is made more in the image of God than I am, simply because he will someday have headship over a woman if he marries. This leads me to wonder where it leaves the males who actually never do marry and thus never exercise authority over a woman, but perhaps it isn't that a man actually does exercise this authority but merely the fact that he could if he wanted to that sets him apart. Either way, it's a concept that joins a long list of patriarchal teachings that are Biblically insupportable.

But why does it matter? On the surface it may sound like harmless sexism, but consider the fact that the Biblical basis for valuing human life is that we are made in God's image (Genesis 9:6). This is what differentiates us from other creatures and why God forbids the murder of human beings. What then is the logical progression of believing that the male sex bears God's image in a way that surpasses that of the female sex? Perhaps the notion that a man's life is more valuable than a woman's life, an assault on the intrinsic equal worth of every human being. While I suspect that the author of the above quote does not actually embrace this conclusion, this does not change the fact that he treads dangerous ground in advocating the false view that males alone are God's crowning achievement.

5 comments:

  1. Excellent post!

    You know, the easiest way for the Enemy to get a foothold into people's lives is to just tweak the truth a little bit.

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  2. Your 2-year-old son has headship over his baby sister. Weren't you listening? Maybe you should ask your husband to explain it to you. :P

    On a more serious note, it's too bad that there's even a need to clarify that the Vision Forum teachings aren't just "harmless sexism." Is sexism, or any -ism that elevates one part of humanity above another, ever truly harmless?

    Keep up the good work!

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  3. Thanks Jo, Lore, and Hillary! Lore, I LOL'd about Peter and Liberty.

    Well this is the first time I've got 3 comments to a post, so I guess this is the most popular topic. :)

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  4. Wow! I didn't even know about this teaching. Thank you for the link.

    I think the worst thing about this whole partriarical concept is they have left out the thoughts that woman may actually have a mind and some senses!

    In the beginnings of recovery...
    a wife

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