In Focus on the Family’s article How Can Woman Be Made in the Image of a Male God? the following question is posed:
How is it possible for both men and women to be made in the Divine Image when the Bible speaks of God primarily in masculine terms? I’m wondering if all the talk I’ve been hearing about the biblical basis for equality between the sexes is just an attempt on the part of liberal theologians to “feminize” God.
Focus on the Family answers this question thus,
according to the language of Scripture, it takes both man and woman – or, to put it another way, mankind as a whole – to reflect God’s Image in a complete way.
How does this not make God out to be a bifurcated man/woman, masculine/feminine God? The writers at the same time attempt to reassure us that God is not bifurcated,
Although it’s true that God has revealed Himself in the Bible as a Father who has many masculine traits, this isn’t quite the same thing as saying that He is a “male” God in the style of Zeus, Apollo, or Hermes. If you have trouble grasping this, remember that while the Lord is a personal God, He is neither human nor sexual in nature. There’s an important sense in which “masculine” is not necessarily the same thing as “male” – at least not when we’re talking about God.
Those sentences reflect the writing of someone who has not fully thought this through. We are told that God is a “masculine person” but that “women bear his image” and He is “not human” (while maintaining that Jesus, a man, is God). The statement is so conflicting and confusing that it leaves the reader hopelessly forced to assume ambiguous, abstract meanings to the words, FATHER, MASCULINE, FEMININE, MAN, WOMAN, etc.
There’s also Paul’s text regarding the image of Jesus (a male) being the image of God which is completely left out of their discussion (Col 1:15). This too would be explained subjectively.
Here, and in most other complementarian resources, we are told to assume that MAN/WOMAN reflect the the IMAGE of God while at the same time told to believe he is a FATHER and not a MOTHER. This is the doctrine we are taught: God’s image is both masculine and feminine. There is absolutely no sense in this. But we’ve lived a long time under a fear of straying from such a doctrine so as not to reap the repercussions of getting burned at the stake. It became taboo to even question this. And so truth becomes squandered by our submission to fear.
The idea that “everyone is made in his image” is old…
In the Epistle of Barnabas (not authentically written by the Apostle Barnabas) written in around 100 A.D. we read this:
There is yet this also, my brethren; if the Lord endured to suffer
for our souls, though He was Lord of the whole world, unto whom God
said from the foundation of the world, Let us make man after our
image and likeness, how then did He endure to suffer at the hand
It would seem that blindness came over Christianity as soon as the Apostles left the building. It is not said anywhere, by Jesus, nor by the Apostles in the New Testament that everyone is made in the image of God. In fact we find the opposite: that one must be made into the image of God (Rom. 8:29).
The first man is out from earth, dust; the second man out from heaven. (1 Corinthians 15:47)
In v.15 Paul was caught mentioning two Adams.…from Adam, back to Adam…