God’s Image, Man’s Glory

Creation Order teachings aren’t a clear-cut series of verses; rather, they are a collection of verses from different letters to create an idea. It can be used to interpret itself to arrive at any conclusion; for example, my friends at the Head Covering Movement concluded that:

“Paul says why women must have a have a symbol of authority on their head; because of the created order.
Where do you find man being directly created in the image of God? Genesis 1.
Where do you find woman being created from man, or being the “glory of man”? Genesis 2.
Where do you find that the woman was created for man, not the other way around? Genesis 2.
And when do you find sin entering the picture? Not until Genesis 3.
So this foundation is not only based in creation, it’s based in God’s perfect creation before sin. Headship & authority was God’s original intent. It wasn’t a post-fall disaster, but a pre-fall masterpiece.”

Looking at 1 Corinthians 11:2-16, find that Paul’s teaching isn’t exactly as clear as it seems:

I praise you for remembering me in everything and for holding to the traditions just as I passed them on to you. But I want you to realize that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man, and the head of Christ is God. Every man who prays or prophesies with his head covered dishonors his head. But every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head—it is the same as having her head shaved. For if a woman does not cover her head, she might as well have her hair cut off; but if it is a disgrace for a woman to have her hair cut off or her head shaved, then she should cover her head.
A man ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God; but woman is the glory of man. For man did not come from woman, but woman from man; neither was man created for woman, but woman for man. It is for this reason that a woman ought to have authority over her own head, because of the angels. Nevertheless, in the Lord woman is not independent of man, nor is man independent of woman. For as woman came from man, so also man is born of woman. But everything comes from God.
Judge for yourselves: Is it proper for a woman to pray to God with her head uncovered? Does not the very nature of things teach you that if a man has long hair, it is a disgrace to him, but that if a woman has long hair, it is her glory? For long hair is given to her as a covering. If anyone wants to be contentious about this, we have no other practice—nor do the churches of God.

He first asks where man was made directly in the image of God. He should be more specific – man and woman were both directly made in the image of God in Genesis 1. Woman is made from man in Genesis 2 and is referred to as the ‘glory of man’ only in 1 Corinthians 11:7. They’re not the same thing. After all, verse seven also states that ‘a man … he is the image and glory of God’ but Romans 3:23 says that ‘all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God’. 1 Corinthians 10:31 tells us; ‘So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.’ There’s not a a real clear understanding what it means to be the ‘glory of God’ and a much less clearer understanding of what it means to be the ‘glory of man’. Does Adam have any special privileged over Eve because he is the source of her creation? The nearest thing I can think of is flour – it’s a simple dust from which bread can be formed. From bread we can make things like stuffing. Would ‘flour’ have headship over ‘bread’? Would ‘bread’ have headship over ‘stuffing’? Yet when this argument is made of Adam and Eve, we find that the idea is that Adam has headship over Eve because she was made out of him, but the earth does not have headship over Adam for the same reason. After all, God blessed the man and the woman ad gave them permission to subdue the earth – the thing that Adam was made from. This doesn’t seem to apply for the woman though, subduing the thing she was made from. Perhaps the heart of this issue that ‘men and women are equal but different’ so verses about men and women must be applied ‘equally but differently depending on whether or not a subject is a man or a woman. That really would explain everything.

When I looked up what could possibly be meant by ‘Image of God’ I saw some really nicely done videos that explained that because everyone was created in the image of God by God, it meant that Christians were to be something like social workers – by being pro-life and advocating to abolish abortion, euthanasia, assisted suicide, and the death penalty; by supporting orphanages and research to cure childhood diseases; by standing up for immigrants and helping them settle their lives in a new home; by speaking against human trafficking and helping rescue trafficked children and women; by helping provide for the homeless; by supporting the rights of the elderly and restoring their dignity; in other words, they were tasked by God to see all human life as ‘in his image’ and every stage of life, from the unborn to the elderly ought to be treated with respect and dignity as there’s no such thing as a disposable human being. It’s a nice idea and all, but they fail to see that their historical counterparts perpetuated slavery and they’re no different – allowing sexism to go unchallenged. Maybe this is the effect of the ‘man’s glory’ side of what it is to be a woman.

“Man’s glory” … should remain silent in the churches. She is not allowed to speak. She must be in submission. It is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church. (1 Corinthians 14:34-35)

“Man’s glory” … should learn in quietness and in full submission. I do not permit Man’s glory to teach or assume authority over a man, she must be quiet. (1 Timothy 2:11-15)

“Man’s glory” … should wear a head covering. To pray or prophesy without wearing one is to dishonor man. (1 Corinthians 11:5)

“Man’s glory” … must not be an overseer, elder, deacon; for overseers and elders and deacons must be ‘husbands of one wife’ and women cannot be husbands nor have wives, so they cannot fulfill the qualifications. (1 Timothy 3:1-13)

If this is what it is to be man’s glory, it sounds rather inglorious doesn’t it?

Now when a fictional character declares that a woman is glorious – he clarifies what he means by that: It is everything about her. The way she carries herself, confident and strong. She commands those around her. The proud tilt of her head, the way her face betrays none of her true feelings, the power of her voice. And her eyes, they’re as hard as separ gemstones, and twice as sharp. (Star Trek Deep Space Nine, Worf describing Grilka, from ‘Looking for par’mach in all the wrong places’.)

The definition of ‘glorious’ is “having, worthy of, or bringing fame or admiration” as well as “having a striking beauty or splendor that evokes feelings of delighted admiration.”

It surely doesn’t seem like women are admired as glorious in the Christian church. Factor in the controversial comments about women from celebrity pastors; like it’s okay to learn from women if you can’t see them or hear them, it’s not okay for a women to interact with men in a direct, personal, and authoritative manner, as well as the ones that haven’t been made yet – but it’s only a matter of time. The more telling signs of inglorious treatment of women come from the every-day pulpit, a joke at a woman’s expense, characterizing women as ‘too frivolous’ or something else – casting them in a negative light.

I think one of the fundamental tenants of Christianity ‘love your neighbor’ is at stake here – if we fail to honor each other, see each other as glorious, then we run the risk of treating each other as if we’re not and that’s when we fail to love each other.

Turns out Complementarians have interpreted these verses to mean that because woman is the glory of man, it is her responsibility to ‘honor’ and ‘praise’ him; to give him glory; which the men who are the glory of God use to ‘honor’ and ‘praise’ Him; to give Him glory. That explains why women get consistently poor treatment in general – they seem to have no glory of their very own and no one to give any to them, to treat them with honor and praise.

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One thought on “God’s Image, Man’s Glory

  1. Hello! I just wanted to say that I personally believe that the reason people do not understand this passage (1 Corinthians 11: 3-16) is because they think that man is the image and glory of God. However, the Bible is clear that Jesus Christ is the image and glory of God. (2 Corinthians 4: 3-4, Colossians 1: 15, Hebrews 1: 3, Revelation 21: 23). Yes, male and female are created IN the image of God, but ONLY Jesus Christ IS the image and glory of God. This is because He is the Word made flesh. (John 1: 14) Therefore, He is the visible image of the invisible God. So as long as men and women say that man is the image and glory of God, they will never understand this passage. What is happening in this passage is that Paul is responding to a faction of men who want women to be veiled while praying and prophesying. So verses 4-6 are quoted. And the men are making a literal head argument. So because the men make a literal head argument, Paul gives his model with the figurative meaning of head in verse 3, and refutes their argument by referring back to his model in verses 7-16. If you would like to see more on this, please feel free to visit my website. Take care and God bless.

    Liked by 1 person

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