Male and Female Complementarity, Part 5

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– See prior posts for context-

Under a lengthy discussion under the sub-heading, Male and Female Differentiation as the Image of God, Ware makes this assertion (among about nine zillion others):

In the very formation of the woman, it was to be clear that her life, her constitution, her nature, was rooted in and derived from the life, constitution, and nature of the man. (Emphasis added.) Now, surely God could have created a female human being from the dust, to parallel in her formation the male human being he had made from the dust. And surely had he done so, they would be seen as equally human. But God wanted to convey two theological truths (not just one) in the formation of the woman from the rib of Adam: since the woman was taken out of the man, 1) she is fully and equally human since she has come from his bones and his flesh, and 2) her very human nature is constituted, not in parallel fashion to his with both formed from the same earth, but as derived from his own nature so showing a God-chosen dependence upon him for her origination.

Question: If we’re going to hang an entire ontological dogma on an insentient object, can we please find something more substantial than dust… like maybe a rib???

I mean, really.  Being “formed” from dust – read, mud – vs. being “formed” from a living, breathing human being?  If the “equal dignity and worth” question is raised in this context, guess who gains “priority” (to use Ware’s term)?  By the way, how much is a pound of mud going for these days?  (Okay, okay.  I have a warped sense of humor.  But I can’t help noticing that from a certain viewpoint, the ontological argument Ware advances here is just plain hilarious!)

On a more serious note, notice point number two in the paragraph cited.  Point number one is troubling enough, but it pales in comparison to the ramifications of point number two.  Read it again.  I’ll wait.

“Her very human nature is constituted, not in parallel fashion to his… but as derived from his own nature…”?

So we have a dual-tiered constitution of human nature here?  Man has his own unique, individual human nature, but the same thing in a woman is dependent “upon him”?  Synonyms for “parallel” include similar, equivalent, correspond, analogous, matching, comparable, counterpart, etc.  If a woman’s “very human nature” is NOT fashioned “parallel” to a man’s, what does that make her?

Read much of Ware for any length of time and his arguments include enough logical leaps, bounds, twists and turns to qualify as a leading act for Ringling Brothers, Barnum & Bailey.  It seems peculiar that Ware goes to great lengths to employ words/concepts such as “full,” “equal” , “equally,” “sharing,” and “equality”  in relation to his discussion of female vis-a-vis male and so on, but he seems to deconstruct his own argument elsewhere.  The “equal” and related  phrasing he uses is almost always qualified or conditional.  “But,” “however” and “nonetheless” rank high among his favorite terms.  Note that these terms are qualifiers.  They restrict, reduce, lesson, limit, moderate, and otherwise indicate exception or exclusion.

What exactly is Ware qualifying?

Whatever else this practice may convey – and protestations to the contrary – this verbiage does not express inclusion, fullness, or completeness.  (As a conjunction, “but” means “to the contrary, except, save; with the exception that; without the result that; other than,” and so on.  Same thing with the adverb “however,” which means “By whatever manner or means; to whatever degree or extent; although; notwithstanding that.”  “Nonetheless,” another adverb, means “however; nevertheless.”  And so on.  The point is, these well-worn terms pepper Ware’s ontological arguments like Tabasco on scrambled eggs.)

In light of this habit, we are left to conclude that according to Ware, woman does not stand “fully and equally” on anything apart from man, although the reverse is certainly implied.  Her nature, image-bearing capacity, value, worth and dignity are not intrinsic nor directly God-breathed, but rather, “dependent” upon her relationship with the/a man.

If this doesn’t give you cause for pause, I don’t know what will.  More on this later.  Here’s one example, from Footnote 16:

“When I speak in this section of the ‘priority’ of the male in God’s creation of male and female equally as his image bearer, readers should understand that I do not intend to communicate any sense of greater value, dignity, worth, human personhood, or sharing in the image of God that the male possesses over the female; in fact, the preceding section should make clear that I believe Scripture clearly teaches the complete equality of female with male as being bearers of the image of God.”

Really?  Then how do we get the dust – rib – dependent upon – not in parallel fashion to paragraphs cited above?  If you’ve ever wondered what the best way to acquire a mammoth case of whiplash is, try keeping up with Ware’s yes, but, and okay, however, and you betcha, but nonetheless and although arguments.  Here’s another one, the next sentence from the same footnote:

“As will become clear, just as children become fully and equally (sic) image of God through the God-ordained reproductive expression of their parents, so the woman who becomes the image of God second, and she does so fully and equally to the image of God in Adam, although she is deliberately formed by God as the image of God from Adam’s rib, not from the dust of the ground as was Adam.”

Can someone please translate this into English?

Part 6 coming up next.

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