When it comes to being made in God’s “image,” what I call being an Eikon of God, Sarah Sumner’s Men and Women in the Church opens up 1 Corinthians 11:7 and dwells on Augustine’s interpretation, and suggests that Augustine’s theory here had a large influence on the Church.
Do you run into women who think they are incomplete without a man? Do you know experiences/conversation where women don’t think they are the “image of God”? Has Augustine’s theory (that women do not singularly bear the image of God) shown up where you are? Let me ask this question in a different way, but it is the big one:
Does the Church’s treatment of women lead to a consciousness on the part of women that they are actually “not” the image of God even though my today would affirm they are the image of God?
A procedural point: yesterday two comments concerned how long some comments are. You know I agree with these concerns. The fact is that long comments put off other readers because some say “if I can’t read this long comment then I can’t comment at all.” Keep to the point; get to the point; keep it short on the point. Strive for two paragraphs. Think of what you need to say the most; say that.
Here’s 1 Cor 11:7 (TNIV):
A man ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God; but woman is the glory of man.
Sumner observes that “he” is the “image” of God while she is the “glory of man.” This led Augustine to comment on the text with two major implications:
First, that only Adam is the image of God; Eve is “image” only when in union with Adam. This drives the woman to be married to the man/male in order to form a complete identity.
Second, the “image” of God is the “rational” part of humans (males); females are more concerned with lower things while males with higher things. Women can “bear” the image of God; a man “is” the image of God. Women cover their heads in worship to cover their lower-focused heads/minds; men don’t cover their heads because they are focused on higher things.
Thus, Augustine separates “humanity” from “image of God.”
Sumner responds to Augustine with three points:
1. 1 Cor 11:7 does not mean that women do not bear the image of God.
2. 1 Cor 11:7 does not mean women acquire the image of God through marriage.
3. 1 Cor 11:7 does not mean women are less rational.
Most importantly, 1 Cor 11:7 emphasizes, not Image of God, but the glory element. Women differ from men in that the woman brings glory to her husband, and the husband to God. Both are in fact Eikons of God.