Life Notes—October 20, 2011
“So God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” Genesis 1:27
Last week I hypothesized about the implications of taking the Hebrew word that is translated “rib” in the second creation story in Genesis and translating it as “side,” as is done in other places in the Old Testament. Last week’s Life note is at https://lifeworshipnotes.wordpress.com, if you missed it or want to refresh your memory. This change allows us to picture God’s first creation of humankind as embodying both male and female attributes, as God most certainly does. In the creation story of the second chapter of Genesis, rather than God removing a rib from the man, God removes a “side” of the first human and leaves two halves—one man and one woman.
When we allow ourselves to explore this alternate translation of rib to side, the implications are significant and, for me, make sense of much that I find confusing from traditional interpretations of the creation story. For example, I have heard some argue that because the man was created first, and because the woman was created from one small piece of the man, that man was somehow created superior to woman. Alternately, I’ve heard people say God created woman from the side of man so she would walk beside him, not from his foot that he could tower above her, or from his head so she would be above him. Although I find the second version more compelling, the alternate translation allows a more logical interpretation.
God separated the first human into two equal, but distinct parts. Neither is complete in and of itself; but by joining the two, a degree of wholeness is restored to the being. There is no confusion about whether male or female is superior. Both are images of one aspect of God’s being. When joined together, they mirror that divine image. Just as I find logic and justice in the thought of all races originating from a single creation, so I find logic and justice in the thought of both genders originating from the same creative act.
During our premarital counseling, our pastor had Carrie and I take personality tests, scoring us on several aspects of our personalities. I was fascinated that Carrie and I were essentially mirror-opposites on every trait. For example, Carrie was extroverted and I was introverted. But it was astounding that Carrie was extroverted to nearly the same degree I was introverted. We’ve all heard that opposites attract. However, I think it is more accurately a recognition of what is missing in oneself and finding another who best completes them—like pieces in a puzzle. To be continued next week…
Life worship is at 10:00 in Brady Hall and traditional worship is at 8:30 and 11:00 in the Sanctuary. Contemporary worship at the west campus is at 9:00 and 11:00.
Come home to church this Sunday. Could it be the image of God we seek to restore?
Greg Hildenbrand, Life Music Coordinator