2. Apostle Paul’s Interpretation of the Image of God
The Bible was written by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 3:16). Therefore, if there is a problem that is difficult to understand, we must find the answer in the Bible. It is especially important to see how Jesus and the Apostles thought about the image of God. In other words, the answer must be found in the Bible through the words of Jesus or the writings of the apostles.
Let us now see how the Apostle Paul taught about the image of God of Genesis 1.
【1Cor 11:7-9】 A man ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God; but the woman is the glory of man. For man did not come from woman, but woman from man; neither was man created for woman, but woman for man.
The verse, “man is the image of God”, contains the meaning “woman is not the image of God.” Woman is only the glory of man and the glory of creation. Therefore, man does not wear a veil when praying, but woman must wear a veil.
Here, the first part, “man is the image of God” (1Corinthians 11:7), is a teaching about Genesis 1:27, and the latter part, “man did not come from woman, but woman from man”(1Corinthians 11:8), is a teaching about Genesis 2:21–24.
The apostle Paul is trying to explain the meaning of the image of God in 1Cor 11, by connecting the records of Genesis 1 and 2 into one event. Although human being was created as male and female(Gen1:27), the process shows that man was created first in God’s image(Gen2:7), and then woman was created as a part of man(Gen2:18).
According to the apostle Paul, human being was not created that man and woman have equal status. Woman was created as body, and man was created as head. Man and woman form a relationship of head and body, that is, the relationship of guidance and obediance, because woman belongs to the authority.
The apostle Paul interpreted the creation of man and woman in Genesis 1 not as a sexual relationship, but as a relationship between head and body which is a order of creation. Man is the ruler of the whole body as like head, and it is the will of creation that woman is the follower as like body.
【Eph 5:22】 Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church.
Bible says, “A man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.”(Gen2:24) The apostle Paul does not interpret the providence of creation simply as a sexual union, but rather says that Christ and the church (saints) are united in a head and body relationship.
【Eph 5:31-32】 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” This is a profound mystery–but I am talking about Christ and the church.
In Genesis 1 and 2, we can see that both man and woman were not created at the same time. Nevertheless, it is very unscriptural to claim that male and female God exist because man and woman copied the image of God at the same time. Such a claim is far from the teachings of the apostle Paul and, as I said earlier, a childish and simple idea of elementary school level.
It is said that if we are ignorant, we are brave. My dear brothers and sisters, for the correct interpretation of the Bible, we must not only see the beautiful flowers right now, but also look at the trees and see the great forest.