“The idea that woman’s subordination is not in any sense determined by or grounded in what a woman is or what God designed her to be is CONTRARY to the ways of God in that it separates God’s WILL for creation from His DESIGN for creation. Ontology and teleology become detached, irrelevant to one another. In what other area of theology would this be asserted? Can the will of God be deemed to be at odds with the created nature of things? Would God require—has God EVER required—of us anything for which He did not design us? GOD’S DECREES ALWAYS TELL US SOMETHING ABOUT HIS CHARACTER, OUR HUMANITY, THE VERY NATURE OF THINGS THE WAY GOD CREATED THEM. For example, God’s ban on homosexual relationships tells us about—and is grounded in—the created nature of sexuality, its meaning, design and purpose” (Rebecca Merrill Groothuis, “Discovering Biblical Equality,” page 323).
I’m still in chapter 18, discussing Rebecca Merrill Groothuis’s work on “Equal in Being, Unequal in Role.” We’ve talked about here at the blog how “role” and “being” are synonymous terms (meaning the same thing) to complementarians. However, they’re stumped when you start asking them about women being EQUAL in being. If women are equal in being, then how can they be unequal in role (which is BASED on their BEING UNEQUAL)? If a woman is equal to the man in being, then she should also be equal in role. But to accept this is just too much to swallow…at least if one is complementarian…
In an earlier post on Genesis 1, I affirmed that woman are EQUALLY made in the image of God (as is the man) and that, just as the man was told in Genesis 1 to “rule the earth…and subdue it,” so was the woman. She, like the man, was made a “lord” (lowercase) over the earth—and was given such authority by her Creator (“Lord,” capital) who made the universe. Rebecca Merrill Groothuis responded here at the blog a few days ago in regards to the image, and she made a brilliant statement that I think is worthy of repeating: “Where there is the image of God, there is authority.” By virtue of man (and woman) being made in the image of God, they both have authority.
Rebecca Merrill Groothuis makes it clear that God’s will can be seen in God’s design. Let’s look at some evidence for Groothuis’s position, Romans 1:
“Since what can be known about God has shown it to them. From the creation of the world His invisible attributes, that is, His eternal power and divine nature, HAVE BEEN CLEARLY SEEN, being understood THROUGH WHAT HE HAS MADE” (Rom. 1:20, HCSB).
If this is not enough, what are we to do with Psalm 19?
“The heavens DECLARE the glory of God, and the sky PROCLAIMS the work of His hands.
Day after day they POUR OUT speech; night after night, they COMMUNICATE knowledge.
There is no speech; there are no words; their voice is not heard.
Their message has gone out to all the earth, and their words to the ends of the inhabited world.
In the heavens He has pitched a tent for the sun.
It is like a groom coming from the bridal chamber; it rejoices like an athlete running a course.
It rises from one end of the heavens and circles to their other end; nothing is hidden from its heat” (Psalm 19:1-6, HCSB).
Verses 1-6 give us what is known as “natural revelation,” a manifestation of God’s glory in the natural world, the physical world around us. As can be seen, God has not hidden Himself from us—rather, He has given us creation by which we can see who He is and desire to come to know Him.
In agreement with Rebecca Merrill Groothuis, God’s Will is seen in His design. After all, we do have Genesis 1:
“Then God said, ‘Let US make man in Our image, according to Our likeness. They will rule the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, the livestock, all the earth, and the creatures that crawl on the earth’. So God created man in His own image; He created him in the image of God; He created them male and female. God blessed them, and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful, and multiply, fill the earth, and subdue it. Rule the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, and every creature that crawls on the earth’” (Genesis 1:26-27, HCSB).
Notice that God said, “LET US…” The word “let” implies volition, the decision of the will. God, then, “willed” to create man in His image with His likeness. This is not something He was forced to do. Next, because God ordained man to bear His image, He then gave man dominion, rule over the earth, which matched His rule over all of creation (planets, galaxies, moon, stars, etc.).
Look at God’s words regarding the creation of sky lights:
“Then God said, ‘Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night. They will serve as signs for festivals and for days and years. They will be lights in the expanse of the sky to provide light on the earth’” (Gen. 1:14-15, HCSB).
When God creates light in the sky, He gives us the purpose for so doing—“THEY WILL SERVE AS SIGNS FOR FESTIVALS AND FOR DAYS AND YEARS…THEY WILL…PROVIDE LIGHT ON THE EARTH.” God doesn’t just create the lights in the sky for naught—no, He has a purpose for them—to tell of the seasons, and to report of the time of day and night throughout the years. Not only that, but they will provide light on the earth. God creates them, then, not only as time-markers, but so that, even in the dark (night), there would still be light. God not only spoke light into darkness (“Let there be light”), but He even placed light into the darkness. Because the night light would be in the sky, it would overlook all the earth and give light, shining as a huge “flashlight” from Heaven above.
And look back at the creation of man. When God creates man and woman, He does so how? In HIS IMAGE with HIS LIKENESS. We are made like Him and bear His image. Why are we made this way? Is this just something God decided to do without reason or purpose? No—we were made to “rule the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, the livestock, all the earth, and the creatures that crawl on the earth” (Gen. 1:26, HCSB).
God designed men and women with talents and abilities (because they both were made in the image of God). And once we become children of God, He gives us “grace gifts” by which we bring glory to Him. And the Lord would not give us gifts in reality which GO AGAINST HIS DESIGN (for “He cannot deny Himself,” 2 Timothy 2). If He designs something in a certain way, He intends for that design to serve a purpose.
An architect builds houses for the purpose of living arrangements, not as museum exhibits; the automobile industry designs cars for the purpose of having them be DRIVEN in order to travel from one destination to another; and doctors prescribe medication with the sole goal of helping their patients get better and stay healthy, not give the patient medicine to sit in their medicine cabinet (the patient won’t get better if he does this). All these things that we do have purpose in-built BY VIRTUE OF DESIGN!! And if this is true, and we are in the LIKENESS of our Creator, then why would it be any different with Him? Why would He play "hide-and-go-seek" with His creation?