Male and Female Complementarity, Part 6


– Continuing from the last post-

Under Male and Female Differentiation as the Image of God, in Bruce Ware’s Male and Female Complementarity and the Image of God, Ware lists four “biblical indicators of a male priority in male and female as God’s image.”  You can read the list yourself.  I’m focusing on indicators three and four.  Number four flows from number three.  Citing Gen. 1:26-27, 5:12 and I Cor. 11:7, Ware concludes indicator three with:

Paul’s point, I believe, is that her glory comes through the man, and as such (implied in 1 Cor. 11:7) she too possesses her full, yet derivative, human nature. But of course, since her human nature comes to be “from the man,” so does her being the image of God likewise come only as God forms her from Adam, whose glory she now is. So there is no contradiction between Gen. 1:27 and 1 Cor. 11:7. Woman with man is created in the image of God (Gen. 1:27), but woman through man has her true human nature and hence her glory (1 Cor. 11:7b), the glory of the man who himself is the image and glory of God (1 Cor. 11:7a).

Is there a point here?

Notice the qualifiers.  Ware uses “but” twice in four sentences as well as “yet”.  His main model seems to be a woman is A, but B… she is C, but D, and so on.  So which is it – door number 1, door number 2, or door number…?  (That Ringling Bros. thing again.)

Notice Ware’s use of “derivative” in relation to a woman’s “full human nature” (again, “full” is qualified by “yet”).  What, she has no human nature of her own?

What about women without a man in their immediate lives – orphans, singles, widows?  What about daughters or wives whose fathers or husbands are abusive, ill, absent, or otherwise incapacitated (say, as the result of a stroke)?  From whom do they “derive” their “full human nature”?  Or are these females half-full in their human-naturedness?  Or half-empty?  This not only sounds as if females aren’t fully formed in the image of God apart from a male, but that they aren’t fully human in nature apart from a male, too.

Think about that for a minute.  Or more.  Now.  Ponder the ramifications.


Also, bear in mind that “derivative” is “resulting from derivation; copied or adatped from others.”  To “Derive” means “To obtain or receive from a source.”  What else can Ware mean here except that apart from a male, females are a half-step above plant life?

If  females “Derive” – obtain or receive – the “image of God” from a source other than God Himself, doesn’t that make the “other source” a demi-God?  If males are the conduits/source for bestowing “image of God-ness” and “full human nature” upon females, rather than this coming directly from God Himself, haven’t they just made themselves out to be god(s)?  Doesn’t this dilute the majestic, mighty act of creation by the Creator?


Continued next time.

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2 Responses

  1. Here is what seems to me to undermine Ware’s conclusions about “priority:

    ONLY the first woman came out or the first man.
    EVERY other man since has come out of a woman.

    Paul refers to this in 1 Cor 11.

    I’m enjoying the series.
    Keep up the good work! 🙂

    • True.

      Conveniently omitted from the I Cor. 11 passage by Ware, are discussions related to vs. 11 and 12, which focus on neither the man nor the woman being independent of the other. The focus is on inter-dependency & mutuality.

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