Memorial Moments – Image of God in Woman

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Image of God in Woman
Thursday in Easter 3
12 May 2011

We often only know what things are in relation. I am father in relation to my children. I am pastor in relation to children of my parish. That means that I could be “father” in two different ways, because of the different relationships implied by those different ways of relating.

One of the sets of relationships that brings us the most trouble, and maybe always will, is the relationship between men and women, especially husband and wife. Modern people are deeply disturbed by the male headship language used by the Bible generally and St. Paul in particular. Paul is thought to be a “woman hater” because he relates husband and wife in a head and body relationship; husband head, wife body. The pattern is set by Christ and His bride the church.

Man and woman are related to each other in this way by the order of God’s creation. But in relation to God they are not. Before God they are equally responsible humans that stand before God for judgment and the vindication of divine righteousness. But as they relate to each other they are head and body. This is why St. Augustine argued that woman has the full image of God in the same way that man does. So when Scripture points out that men and women find themselves under differing levels of order to others, it does not call into question their equal standing in the presence of God.

St. Augustine

“‘A man ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God, but woman is the glory of man’ (1Co 11:7). What shall we say to this? If the woman fills up the image of the trinity after the measure of her own person, why is the man still called that image after she has been taken out of his side? Or if even one person of a human being out of three can be called the image of God, as each person also is God in the supreme Trinity itself, why is the woman also not the image of God? For she is instructed for this very reason to cover her head, which the man is forbidden to do because he is the image of God (1Co 11:7, 5).

“But we must notice how that which the apostle says, that not the woman but the man is the image of God, is not contrary to that which is written in Genesis, ‘God created man: in the image of God created He him; male and female created He them: and He blessed them.’ For this text says that human nature itself, which is complete [only] in both sexes, was made in the image of God; and it does not separate the woman from the image of God which it signifies. For after saying that God made man in the image of God, ‘He created him,’ it says, ‘male and female:’ or at any rate, punctuating the words otherwise, ‘male and female created He them.’

“How then did the apostle tell us that the man is the image of God, and therefore he is forbidden to cover his head; but that the woman is not so, and therefore is commanded to cover hers? Unless, truly,…that the woman together with her own husband is the image of God, so that the whole substance may be one image; but when she is referred separately to her quality of help-meet, which regards the woman herself alone, then she is not the image of God. But as regards the man alone, he is the image of God as fully and completely as when the woman too is joined with him in one.”

Augustine, On the Trinity, 12.7

About Norm Fisher

Norm was raised in the UCC in Connecticut, and like many fell away from the church after high school. With this background he saw it primarily as a service organization. On the miracle of his first child he came back to the church. On moving to Texas a few years later he found a home in Lutheranism when he was invited to a confessional church a half-hour away by our new neighbors.

He is one of those people who found a like mind in computers while in Middle School and has been programming ever since. He's responsible for many websites, including the Book of Concord,, and several other sites.

He has served the church in various positions, including financial secretary, sunday school teacher, elder, PTF board member, and choir member.

More of his work can be found at


Memorial Moments – Image of God in Woman — 28 Comments

  1. Hmmmm. How about Man = Body, Woman = Missing Rib which she will no doubt clobber you with if you keep insisting on this “Hey, I’m the head” stuff… ; )

  2. Mark,
    That is sooo not funny, let alone what attitude a husband should have, if his charge, is a woman. You are her head, and she is thus your charge.

    Tends to put a bit of a submissive spin on it, not for us girls, but for those in authority or headship over their charges.

    I can’t beat ya w/what was taken from you to form me, can I?

  3. So in other important news- what are your congregations doing to serve the hungry in your communities? I know this arguing men/women/hats interpretation business is very important, but my community has a lot of ppl heading to bed without food and to hell without hope; I could use some ideas.

  4. Good question, Dana. We have food shelf, house of hospitality, emergency funds, etc, but I know there are those who “fall through the cracks”. Anyone?

  5. @Mark #1

    You’re the Head, Mark.
    Search the Scriptures to find out what that means
    and you should never have a problem with it.

  6. @Dutch & @helen my apologies, it struck me as a humorous line when I wrote it. But then again, I’m a sinner! I do believe in God’s created order, I’m an elder in my LCMS congregation, and I’m married to a wonderful woman who has kept me grounded and real for 28 wonderful years.

  7. @Mark #6
    …& @helen my apologies…

    No apologies needed here, Mark.
    I was laughing when I read it.
    [The bullies have no sense of humor either.] 🙁

    But I like Dutch’s “spin” in the second pp, too. 🙂

    dana, it’s a worthwhile question, but maybe you should have Norm set up a separate topic for it?
    Christ said, the poor you will always have with you and when you will, you can do something for them.
    But the primary role of the church is to feed people the Gospel.

  8. Oh Helen, there be no “spin” here! But thanks bunches, I love smiley faces!!!!

    There is a gambit of quotes, from the good & great of history’s men, who if given the chance, would never endevor & thank the Almighty they are not nor endevor to be a woman. Rather a sticky wicket, for us girls.

    Being one, of said issue, I can understand the trepidation. I am not unhappy, nor am I unthankful of the place, position, lot, or where my feet have been set. It’s always gobsmacking to me, women decry, and men forget the worth of a virtous or wise (not smart, not the same guys) woman. Untreated, VVS 1 rubies, are still very rare, ck the prices of one of just one carat. I know my gems, & this is rare still today folks.
    No one I have ever known, can afford it, let alone ones one.

    LCMS & WELS have a wealth, they sometimes, I think forget. We may be pushed & prodded, to do things we may know are not echt, but when it comes from those we are to submit & obey, what is it we women should do?
    We do not preach or teach, God forbid anyone do such, but should a woman, give testament or statement, a man may in a moment learn from….reminding is not the same as teaching, is it gentlemen?

    Such is the tightrope women tread upon. Help Meet, we help meet a need, want, command, or desire. What trumps any of men, easy Sola Scriptura does.

  9. Mark #6,
    No worries w/me here!!! My beloved & I, celebrated our 14th anniversary on Teusday May 10th!!!!

    Headship is a huge mantle for those who endevor it. I was blest enough, to have been blest beyond measure w/my own Dad. He knew his charge from Above, and did his best to do so, not for my Mum or us girls, but at the end of any day, he did so, for his Lord. Nothing was so important, as what he thought he wouldn’t never know or be blest. Knowing that, governed everything he did, unless my Dad’s eyes dropped from looking on/to things Above. Not every little boy or little girl grows up that way, that is why it is vital to impart the subject in more gross detail, for both boys & girls.

    It is the charge & responsiblity of every Christian parent, Godparent, and holder of the Office, this is taught, in the greatest of detail. It’s why I have an affinty or the Church of England’s marriage verbage. “Not wantently, lightly, and in the fear of God.” Fearing God, is not a bad thing, not if you are a child of Christ, little or big, single or married, is it?

  10. Congratualtions Dutch! Ours is next Tuesday May 17th – 28 years! May God continue to bless you and yours.

  11. Mark,
    If it is blest to us, being a husband or a wife, is one of the toppers of blessings from Above, is it not?

  12. Sorry Mark, I hit submit too quick, my utmost Congradulations & Blessings to your & your bride!!!

  13. Mark,
    That should be you & your bride. Long nails are pretty, but not conducive for typing or playing a violin, amongst a gambit of other things! lol

    Spelling aside, Congrats!

  14. #4 Kitty,
    I’m heartfelt grateful I was taught Sola & Catechism. It has been a blessing & profit to me on all counts!

    For me as a child of Christ, as a Mummy, and most importantly, as a wife. I cannot hope to execute my gift & position of help meet, if I lack the knowledge & thus the tools to do so. Look what all would suffer on so many an account, if we women, who have been, weren’t, or worse yet, were & said nothing. That is no help meet, for our husbands, our Congregations, let alone His Kingdom. Help meet, is a huge job, on many a front, at any given moment. Can we say multi task talent, anyone? lol

  15. #4 Kitty,
    So very true, that’s kind of a given, isn’t it? Teaching it in it’s entire & completion, correctness of Solas & Confessions,
    even to those who are well, in a position of obedience & submission, is still of profit for His Kingdom, His Church, & His child, even if it’s a girl, isn’t it? If not, what did my Pastors, Grandparents, Godparents, & Parents & Elders miss?

  16. Only the Pastor may teach publicly.
    Show me the mother who hasn’t heard the kids’ SS memory work.
    The Head can delegate that and usually does.

  17. Thanks to Redeemed for being walking the walk! I’m glad somebody cares. It does seem that more ppl slip through the cracks than get served sometimes. It’s even harder when nobody’s worried about it.

    Thanks to #4 Kitty for being awesome in every way! Tentacles indeed!

  18. #4 Kitty,
    What would those tentacles be? If situations demanded of you, to risk & loose all, even to your very life, what in detail would those you illuded to be?
    Is it echt, to attend a ‘Bible Study’, or ‘Study Group’, led by a woman, for women?

  19. @Dutch #22
    I’m waiting for input on this question. In our church, there wouldn’t be any studies for women if women didn’t lead them. But the choices, in two out of three cases, are “book studies,” rather than Bible studies: they feature books by non-Lutherans [one is a Joyce Meyer book: yikes!] from the local Christian book store. And the pastors don’t seem to mind, to my dismay. I’d LOVE a confessions reading group, but if I want to be in one, I have to go to another congregation to get it.

  20. @Janet #23
    In our church, there wouldn’t be any studies for women if women didn’t lead them. But the choices, in two out of three cases, are “book studies,” rather than Bible studies

    I would stay home rather than listen to anybody expound on Joyce Meyer or similar fluff.

    Have you approached the Pastors about a BOC group? Get a couple of men interested in backing your proposal (and attending).
    We have progressed from a half dozen meeting in a neighborhood pub (for Lutheran authenticity, don’t you know?) 🙂 to 12-20 meeting at church twice a month. [We lost the beer upon moving to the chapel, but I was drinking Coke Classic anyway.] 😉

    In my experience, LWML lately does not do much to encourage Lutheran study materials! 🙁
    I vary from telling myself, “You should go.” to asking, “Why?” It wasn’t always that way.

  21. Janet,
    Sorry for the delay, it’s been a rather upleasant few days. Joyce Meyer, I for the life of me, will never understand why any LCMS Congregation would allow, use, or have in their library any work of hers. She once was LCMS, and she is quoted as saying,
    “I am not poor, I am not miserable, and I am no sinner.”
    Amongst a gambit of other quotes, defaming & decrying, the Confessions, let alone the Solas, she was taught in the LCMS.
    It is a poor underShepherd indeed, to allow it in his Congregations, let alone if it is used outside that Holder’s sight. Run, do not walk, to the nearest exit. Faith/Word, Prosperity Theology (only for her mind you). Issues Etc, did a piece on this years ago, as did the St. Louis Dispatch (newspaper).
    As far as women’s studies, and women “teaching” women’s studies. Women can teach other women, on a great gambit of topics, that pertain to their gender, but in this, in theology, Scripture, or Doctrine, I have always endevored to attend one led by an elder or Pastor. The Solas, Confessions, Doctrine, & Faith, as far as that may go, are not gender led or gender specific. Nothing I hear nor need, is tended or rendered gender specific, unless it involves marriage, my ideas of what our Lord deems beauty is, He has already through Paul & Peter, told me, what the worth of a woman, a virtous Child of Christ, that happens to be a woman, is. I may not like hearing some of it, I may be joyful, in what those men say, but I learn from all of it. The only thing that counts, isn’t the interpretion or the delivery, it’s the accuracy of the content that Scripture already provides everyone. A special word, special understanding, or special knowledge, already says, to put up a caution flag. No matter who it is, what they are, or what they are to whom. I’ve always, learned & understood more, in this regard, from men, than I have ever learned from another of my gender. But, that involves words like submission, and that is now a naughty word for us, is it not?

  22. How fascinating…not one since post #13, ab den andern Geschlechte/auf Latin, Genus, has posted, since May 13th, near as I can wager.

    Not one, of the andren Geschlechte/Genus, has posted a link to 1 Peter 3:1-7.
    And your help meets, wonder why they know not feel, but know they are forgotten & left to people like Joyce Meyer, Beth Moore, & their like.

    Confessionals, do not bend to culture. Why does it seem, that men, in what position they may hold or be gifted, shy away & lack courage, to speak what is good, right, & true, in this? Even the prolific posters, at BJS?

  23. @Dutch #26
    Dutch, I have a little problem with that one, because I do braid my hair.
    However, I haven’t tried putting pearls or gold in it yet. 😉

    When you get, “My grandmother wore her hair like that.”
    you know you are safely away from the cutting edge of fashion.

  24. Helen,
    I braid my hair, when required, or on those bad hair days, lol.

    But, if my Grandma did it, it was to keep her hair out of her face, to do what she knew was needed. No one likes having to consistantly keep pushing, things out of the way, to do what they have to do, need to do, or bending to what culture or fashion, say is beauty. Our Heavenly Father already told what HE thinks it is, and what is true beauty, has very little to do with what others see, when they look at someone. Let alone, what the Church deems it to be. I’m thankful, that at the end of the day, no matter what may be looking back in the mirror, doesn’t deem my worth, my talents or gifts, strengths or weaknesses. I have His Word, that is what tells me I am. No human being, will ever even on my best of days, will see me/us, as He does. It’s just a shame, we don’t hear it from some who are in authority, to remind us.

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