In my last post, I examined Genesis 1:26-28 and affirmed Rebecca Groothuis’s belief, that Scripture presents man and woman as equals and of infinite worth to God because both were made in His image and given the task of having dominion over the earth (being “LIKE HIM”). In this post, I’m gonna discuss the implications of such a claim.
Groothuis provides them for us in her chapter called “Equal in Being, Unequal in Role: Exploring the Logic of Woman’s Subordination”:
“On the basis of this foundational text [Gen. 1:26-28], as well as the overall teaching of Scripture, evangelical egalitarians affirm AN EQUALITY OF HUMAN WORTH AND HUMAN RIGHTS between women and men; that is, whatever human rights there may be, they belong no less to women than to men (since women are NO LESS HUMAN than men). From this follows an EQUALITY OF CONSIDERATION, whereby women and men alike have opportunity to earn and attain the place in church and society that is appropriate for each individual’s God-given abilities and calling” (“Discovering Biblical Equality,” page 306).
Rebecca Merrill Groothuis states here that Genesis 1:26-28 entitles woman to be given the same human rights and respect as the man. The result of human worth and human rights is, what Groothuis called, an “equality of consideration,” where everyone is allowed to achieve (regardless of whether or not they will).
Look at the Declaration of Independence. It states the following:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
The Declaration of Independence states the beliefs of Americans who desired to have their own government and be free from the oppression and tyranny of the British Parliament. Jefferson states above, “We hold these truths to be SELF-EVIDENT…” What does it mean for something to be “self-evident”? It means that whatever the object or thought is, if it is self-evident it is CLEAR TO EVERYONE! IT IS APPARENT! Jefferson states here that the idea of all men being equal is not something that humans have to be made aware of—they already know it!
Then Jefferson goes and discusses the self-evident truths: the equality of all men, as well as their divine rights: life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. First, Jefferson states that “all men are created equal.” This means that all men are at the same level in terms of their dignity, worth, and rights. All men, all humans, are to be treated with respect because no one human is above the rest.
Next, Jefferson states that “they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights…” This means that, because of the equality of all humans, they are given certain rights, or privileges, that CANNOT be taken away.
What are these rights that all humans receive? “Among these are LIFE, LIBERTY, and the PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS.” All humans should be allowed to live; all humans should be allowed to carve out their own lives without government interference in everything.
But the last unalienable right (the right that cannot be taken away) is “the pursuit of happiness.” Because all humans are equal, and given certain divine rights by their Creator, then they are also given the pursuit of happiness—which means that each person can pursue whatever pleases them in their lives. Notice, however, that it doesn’t say “the ATTAINMENT or ACHIEVEMENT of happiness,” JUST the pursuit of it. All humans receive the opportunity to do so—with no hindrances.
Now, I wanna be honest about something: Egalitarians are not out with some political agenda regarding men and women. Egalitarians view Scripture as the authority by which they assess the world and its events, not the Declaration of Independence.
And yet, the Declaration of Independence shows us the importance of theology. Notice that the few lines quoted above of the Declaration tell of a Creator—“they are ENDOWED BY THEIR CREATOR with certain unalienable rights…” It is the act of being given something by the Creator (God) that made the Declaration what it was.
But sadly enough, this is overlooked in today’s church. No one seems to abide by the statements of the Declaration of Independence. And for those who talk about “rights,” they are deemed as “political activists” with a secular agenda…
And what about the church? Well, the church doesn’t understand Galatians 3:28 or the Declaration of Independence. Women just as well as men are entitled to the “pursuit” of happiness, that happiness being God’s delight. The church today STATES that men and women are equal, but that doesn’t influence ecclesiology at all (according to the complementarian). In their eyes, women are denied their rightful place BECAUSE THEY ARE WOMEN!
But this doesn’t make sense if, as Jefferson states it, we are given “the pursuit of happiness” as an INALIENABLE right, something that can’t be taken from us.
On the job, if an employee gets denied his benefits, he cries “discrimination.” However, if a woman in the church wants to preach and teach, she cries discrimination and is told that the Bible is the inerrant, inspired Word of God. But where’s the fairness in what a child is entitled to? Even though women and men are different, aren’t we all SONS?