My Take: DIY, Pintrest, and the Rise of the New Domesticity

Over the last couple of weeks, my husband and I have been remodeling our basement. When we bought the house, it was “finished” in that classic combination of wood-grained paneling and burnt orange carpet. And while we really do appreciate vintage, we also accept the reality that we’re simply not cool enough to pull it off. On a hipster scale of 1-10, we’re an ironic 3.1415…. So a bit of rewiring, several gallons of paint, and twenty-eight boxes of laminate later, we’re close to having a space that’s hopefully more Pottery Barn and less Brady Bunch. Part of it will be a den and the other half will be devoted to, what I like to call, the creative urge.

In the past when we dreamed of our ideal (then non-existent) house, we always envisioned a room devoted to creating—whether it be crafting, sewing, drawing, writing, or simply playing with play-dough—we wanted a room that invites you to find your inner creative muse and let lose. Instead of fussing at my daughter for yet again cluttering up her room with odd bits of construction paper and glue, I want to be able to point her to cupboard of paints and glitter and chalk and say, “Go for it.”

I don’t know if other people dream of rooms like this, but I have noticed a trend among my generation. More and more of us are devoting our time and energy to things like crafting, cooking, and frugal living. You only have to hop on etsy, pintrest, or any number of DIY blogs to know that this phenomena is larger than any one subset and isn’t contained to the SAHMs among us. Women everywhere—from university-educated vegans to crunchy conservative homeschooling moms—are embracing the domestic.

In this Washington Post piece, Julia Rothman worries that this “new domesticity” will lead to obligation and foster a whole batch of June Cleavers trying to one up each other, not necessarily with our meatloaves and kitten heels, but with knit scarves and cheese making. And while this is definitely a possibility, I think the new domesticity can actually teach us something deeper about ourselves, if we let it.

Because whether it’s being motivated by a case of burn-out in the boardroom, a commitment to staying home with young children, or simply trying to make ends meet in these difficult economic times, this renewed interest in the creative process is really about reclaiming something very fundamental to our humanity. Whether you realize it or not, it’s about reclaiming the image of God in us.

In the case of my peers, generally young Christian women, the return to crafting and baking and decorating has accompanied a renewed emphasis on the importance of family life. We see marriages crumbling around us, children struggling through cookie-cutter schools, and so for many, the solution comes by devoting themselves full-time to their families. They’re educated women with more than a heaping of gifts, but they choose to become SAHMs because they really believe that, at least in the early years, they can best care for their families there.

But the truth that many are learning the hard way is that staying at home isn’t without sacrifice. In the eight years that I’ve been at home, I’ve discovered that little ones don’t often want to discuss French existentialism or world events, and major life accomplishments have been reduced to having everyone clean and fed at the same time. It doesn’t take very long to realize that staying at home can be less than stimulating.

In her breathtaking essay “Are Women Human?,” Dorothy L. Sayers argues that this is one reason why so many women pursue professional careers in the first place (a novelty in 1938 when she first gave the speech that would eventually be published as an essay). She says:

It is all very well to say that woman’s place is the home—but modern civilization has taken all the pleasant and profitable activities out of the home, where the women looked after them, and handed them over to big industry, to be directed and organized by men at the head of large factories…

It is a formidable list of jobs: the whole of the spinning industry, the whole of the dyeing industry, the whole of the weaving industry. The whole catering industry…the whole of the nation’s brewing and distilling. All the preserving, pickling and bottling industry, all the bacon-curing. And (since in those days a man was often absent from home for months together on war or business) a very large share in the management of landed estates…

Now it is very likely that men in big industries do these jobs better than women did them at home. The fact remains that the home contains much less interesting activity than it used to contain… It is perfectly idiotic to take away woman’s traditional occupations and then complain because she looks for new ones. Every woman is a human being—one cannot repeat too often—and a human being must have occupation, if he or she is not to become a nuisance to the world.

Sayers concern was not really to define what constitutes a “woman’s” job or a “man’s” job but to emphasize that every human being—of which half the species are women—must be engaged in creative, productive work because they are made in the image of a creative, productive God.

So I’m wondering, especially in the case of my peers, how much of the return to domestic creativity has less to do with our need to care for our families and more to do with caring for our own souls? How many of us craft and sew not primarily because we can do it better or cheaper, but because we simply love to do it? And for women who don’t stay at home, how much of your drive toward the new domesticity comes from the fact that the modern workplace has forced us to become mechanistic, unimaginative robots, spending most of our days processing bureaucracy and paperwork, without ever seeing tangible progress for our labor?

This is why we’re seeing the resurgence of creativity, especially in the home. Ultimately, we create because He did. We love beauty because He does. And when those things are less and less present in our lives, we are driven to find a way to recover them—whether we realize that’s what we’re doing or not.

This is not a problem. Domestic arts do often allow us to better care for our families. And creative pursuits do fill a need and enable you to return refreshed to the humdrum of work on Monday. It’s also not a problem if your creativity doesn’t take the form of traditional domesticity—feel free to go rebuild the engine of that ‘57 Chevy this weekend—because ultimately what’s at stake isn’t that we all become June Cleavers; it’s that we all become like our God.

In the end, we must recognize that we pin and we plant and we bake and we knit, not simply because we are women or mothers, but because we are human beings made in His image. And all the mechanization, all the industrialization, all the assembly lines in the world can’t remove that part of us that needs first to create, and then to step back with satisfaction and declare, “That’s good.” Just like He once did so very long ago, just like He continues to do every day.

[node:bio/handerson body]

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SDHaynie's picture

I know this article is aimed more at women, but I wanted to add my "Amen" and "Thank You" as a man. 

I have taught Doctrine for years in various settings ranging from VBS to Bible College and in my discussion of man being created in the image of God have always included creativity among the attributes.  You might be surprised to know that many face such a statement with disbelief ("Never heard that one before") and, at times, with out and out hostility ("NO...it's intellect, emotion, and will...NO MORE!).  I say, "No, there are many ways we are 'image bearers.'  To limit it to just intellect, emotion, and will is, IMHO, to shortchange the creativity and wisdom of God in making us."

Thanks for stepping out and so beautifully describing this part of the image of God in man.

Shawn Haynie

Susan R's picture

EditorModerator

Great article, and very insightful. Society tends to pendulum from one extreme to the other, and there was a time when new tech was so fascinating, and the idea of being able to 'do more' in less time seemed like a dream come true. Of course, the reality didn't live up to the fantasy, and we know that more tech doesn't really mean less work. Like money, when we have more, we seem to find a way to spend it.

I agree that when we don't have something productive to do, humans will find something to do. Idle hands and all that. There is a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment when we've made something with our own hands. I read a study, I think it was in the AMA, where they took crafty women and put monitors on them, and had them do different tasks, like sewing, painting, playing cards, and playing a video game. The crafty projects showed a significant decrease in stress levels- blood pressure, perspiration... We are truly designed to be creative. 

On the other hand, I think Pinterest and HGTV have spawned the armchair DIYer in much the same way that exercise shows/videos and dieting cookbooks have resulted in people who know all about healthy eating and exercise, but have never actually done either. So they pin and watch and talk about sewing and crafting, but they don't even own a hot glue gun. Wink

I grew up in a DIY household, and thank goodness I managed to marry a guy who loves to build and putter in the garage. We always make a space in our home for creative chaos. Biggrin

Hannah- I read a couple of books last year with my dd that you might enjoy- Perfection Salad and Something from the Oven, both by Laura Shapiro. Rather unconventional 'histories', but a real hoot IMO.

Shaynus's picture

"Hospitality became showmanship. It didn't become about sharing, or the interaction." Alton Brown (a Southern Baptist, btw) has a pretty good take on modern hospitality.  

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xi1IvDPj-kU

 

JD Miller's picture

   Great article.  My wife loves to sew and has recently started to knit and is really finding fulfillment from it.  I do not know much about the pintrest thing, but she talks a lot about here pintrest board with here friends.

   You brought out a great point about the creativity and the image of God.  This is true for both men and women.  I find great fulfillment out of planning and building things.  For my wife it might be a knit sweater or a new pair of pants that she sewed for the boys.  For me it might be the remodeled bedroom or the sandbox I built.

   Maybe your article will be what finally gets my wife to register on SI so she can comment.

handerson's picture

There is definitely a danger when creativity (whether it be hospitality or studio arts or technological development) becomes fueled primarily by showmanship or competition rather than service and worship. (Yes, I firmly believe that baking and knitting can be acts of worship.) But this a problem intrinsic to humans and not simply women or domesticity.

What's more telling to me is the surprise that people express when women fall into this pattern. They are shocked (shocked I tell you!) that domesticity and motherhood would have any overtones of competition or ambition. This shock reveals a lot about their initial presuppositions about domestic women--that they are somehow NOT human and thus immune to the rivalry that flourishes in the business world. To me, this in and of itself is a remnant of a certain idealism that put women on pedestals as somehow more spiritual or more pure and essentially less human. 

 

Crystal's picture

JD Miller wrote:

   Great article.  My wife loves to sew and has recently started to knit and is really finding fulfillment from it.  I do not know much about the pintrest thing, but she talks a lot about here pintrest board with here friends.

   You brought out a great point about the creativity and the image of God.  This is true for both men and women.  I find great fulfillment out of planning and building things.  For my wife it might be a knit sweater or a new pair of pants that she sewed for the boys.  For me it might be the remodeled bedroom or the sandbox I built.

   Maybe your article will be what finally gets my wife to register on SI so she can comment.

 

Gentle hint taken.  ;)  (he has been encouraging me to register for some time) 

 

As to the article.

  Burnt orange carpet.  My parents kitchen had that burnt orange, gold, green stuff in it.  Add to that a restaurant booth,  a coke chandeleir, veggie wallpaper, round pebbles backsplash and geometric linoleum when they purchased it.  Talk about a visual mess!  

Congratulations on your new "crafty" space!  That sounds like so much fun!  I have a corner of the dining room currently.  It is a mess of different projects in various stages of completion.  Creating various knitted or sewn items is FUN.  It is nice to see something "completed"  That reminds me of when God finished creation- "He saw everything he had made it behold it was very good"    My husband and I had a conversation recently.  I waltzed into his office with a newly completed project and was so excited to show it to him.  (I get like a little kid sometimes when I get excited.  LOL)  In telling him about the project I suddenly realized that it sounded as if I was bragging as I pointed out different features and improvements on the design that I had made.  I quickly calmed myself down just a tad and clarified that I wasn't intending to brag-I was just so excited and happy that my changes had worked out the way I had hoped.  We chatted for a while about the sense of accomplishment that comes with completing a "job" be it a crafty project, a woodworking or home improvement project or even just a full days physical labor.  God created us to work.  He even gave Adam a job to do in the garden.

 

It was interesting to me that you noted Sayers in why so many women go back to work.  I see on a forum I am part of that so many times women just cant wait for their kids to enter school so they can "get back to REAL work"  They ache for something to do that can be completed even when they do get back to "real" work.  They feel like at home there is nothing to do that is "stimulating".  Boring old dishes and laundry and dishes and laundry and maybe some dusting.  They wish that their boss in the workplace would just unleash them on some new project and let them complete it instead of handing it off to another worker.  Some complain about the "dehumanization" of processes because it makes them just another "cog in the wheel"    

 

You ask what our reasons might be to return to some of these different pursuits of the more crafty type?  I have found that "doing it cheaper" is actually kind of laughable.  I can purchase many of the items that I make for a better price than I can make it if I "charge" myself minimum wage for my time.  You hit it when you suggested that it is because of a love for the process...a love for the completion of it.  A sense that the process is something that God intended for us to do.  A sense that it was God who gave me the ability to do these many things and that he gives (and gets) enjoyment while participating in the process.  You noticed that I suggested that God GETS enjoyment.  If everything we do is to be to the glory of God I think that he can be glorified in our work.  I think even He watches our project unfold and receives pleasure that we are doing something that he made us able to do.

We ALL need to pay attention that our various pursuits, jobs and activities don't become idols.  Hospitality, craftiness, being a grease monkey, woodworker, techie... No matter what it is we need to be careful that God gets the glory through the process-not ourselves.       

Kevin Subra's picture

[Sour note warning...] I hear this "God created so we are to create" quite a bit. God did create, and it's certainly not wrong to reflect that ourselves. However, I think it's easy to jump on this bandwagon when the Bible doesn't seem to emphasize this aspect to the level suggested.

There are plenty of passages that encourage us to be holy, but none that I can recall to be creative. We are told to immerse ourselves in the Word, minister to others, etc. but not directed to craft our way into the likeness of Christ.

It is telling, I think, that key NT passages focus on ministry rather than creativity:

1 Tim 5:9-10 (which is a resume of sorts of a godly woman):

Do not let a widow under sixty years old be taken into the number, [and not unless] she has been the wife of one man,  well reported for good works: if she has brought up children, if she has lodged strangers, if she has washed the saints’ feet, if she has relieved the afflicted, if she has diligently followed every good work. 

Her focus her is on her husband, her children, her hospitality, her service to others. If creativity exists, it seems to need to be applied within those contexts (and I would argue that we can and should).

Titus 2:3-5 gives direction as well, and does not point out creativity (as an end) either:

the older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things— that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed. 

You do not see a focus on creativity here either. I do not argue that it doesn't exist, but it is not something that is to occupy us or distract us as an end in and of itself. It is to be applied in the realms of our God-assigned focuses.

Proverbs 31 reflects some of the same things, showing that the virtuous woman "creates" clothing for her family, items to sell, a vineyard to produce, organization, etc. in the context of her family duties that in turn assist them and her husband. And the underlying issue is not her creativity but that she "fears the Lord."

Creativity, then, seems to be a tool for other things, and not an end in and of itself.

For the Shepherd and His sheep,
Kevin
Grateful husband of a Proverbs 31 wife, and the father of 15 blessings.
http://captive-thinker.blogspot.com

handerson's picture

I'm not so sure the dichotomy is necessary or helpful. Did God create the world for a greater purpose or did He create because He enjoyed creating? I think the answer is yes.  (Rev 4:11)

It's important to remember that our personal fulfillment is not in opposition to serving God and others. I agree with you that it is dangerous when we focus on creativity as the ONLY aspect of our fulfillment--but it is equally dangerous to deny the intersection of serving others and finding personal satisfaction in the process. Ultimately when we exist as we were meant to, when we engage in the very things that make us like our God (service and creativity), those around us are blessed and we discover what we were always intended to be.

Kevin Subra's picture

handerson wrote:

I'm not so sure the dichotomy is necessary or helpful. Did God create the world for a greater purpose or did He create because He enjoyed creating? I think the answer is yes.  (Rev 4:11)

It's important to remember that our personal fulfillment is not in opposition to serving God and others. I agree with you that it is dangerous when we focus on creativity as the ONLY aspect of our fulfillment--but it is equally dangerous to deny the intersection of serving others and finding personal satisfaction in the process. Ultimately when we exist as we were meant to, when we engage in the very things that make us like our God (service and creativity), those around us are blessed and we discover what we were always intended to be.

I think this article does make creativity stand on its own. That is my point. The Bible doesn't present it that way.

The context of Rev 4:11 is that God is due worship because He created everything. The context of this passage doesn't comment on or even imply our pursuit of being creative. It also doesn't tell us why He created the world, but simply acknowledges that He did. (Col 1:18 says He created all things for Himself, which seems to go against why we should create). It also affirms that because He created God is worthy of glory, honor and power. Our creativity should bring glory to Him, not to us (1 Cor 10:31). It is even possible in our pursuit of our own fulfillment to end up worshipping and serving the creature rather than the Creator if our focus is on what rather than Who (Romans 1:25) .

I do think that our personal fulfillment IS contrary to our serving God, unless it is defined by God and directed by God and pointed to God. We are to take up our cross and follow Him. That really doesn't hint at personal fulfillment (in this life), but a rejection of it.

I believe that our life view should be built on the clear teachings of the Word, not inferences and implications, as this topic seems to be built upon. Our life is to be focused on God. In that, creativity can help us do that.

For the Shepherd and His sheep,
Kevin
Grateful husband of a Proverbs 31 wife, and the father of 15 blessings.
http://captive-thinker.blogspot.com

handerson's picture

but again, I'd suggest that when we recognize the creative process as a direct reflection of God's nature, we are glorifying and bringing praise to Him. Humanism glorifies and elevates man's creativity and intellect as an end in itself. A Christian understanding of creativity doesn't deny creativity--it simply directs the glory and honor back to God Who is the ultimate source of all we do. This was the distinction I was trying to make--we don't craft and bake simply from a humanistic or mechanistic paradigm. As Christians, the very act of creating is an act of worship when we recognize and acknowledge God as the source--in this way, we are doing all things, including creative arts, to His glory.

And as far as the dichotomy between personal satisfaction and service, yes, we are called to deny ourselves, but we are denying ourselves those paltry, minor, satisfactions like selfishness and pride in order to achieve ultimate personal fulfillment by pursuing love and service. And these are ultimately fulfilling because they reflect the nature of the God in whose image we are made. 

SuzetteT's picture

As a stay at home homeschooling mom of 25 years, I found that crafting ( knitting, sewing) gave me a tangible sense of accomplishment.  When almost every thing else I did had to be done again every day - or hour - it was nice to have something that showed progress.  Consider how many dishes are washed, dirtied, and washed again.  Food is lovingly prepared, and disappears!  Diapers are changed, washed, changed.....  I knew that  being a loving, consistent parent had eternal consequences, but it could easily feel like I was on a treadmill.  When I knitted 2 inches  in the evening after the children were in bed, I saw progress. Eventually I had a sweater for my son to wear. I admit I also enjoyed the mental challenge of learning new stitches or techniques.

  I guess, like God, we like to finish a task and see that it is good.

pvawter's picture

Kevin,

Are you the only one who is capable of being creative and focusing on God? That's what it seems you are suggesting. I don't recall the article declaring that we ought to pursue creativity to the exclusion of our service to and worship of God, and yet you argue against the straw man.

handerson's picture

I too struggle with the day to day work of keeping a family and house running smoothly--the laundry, the meals, the cleaning all seem to start over again as soon as they are finished. But even in this, I think we have a chance to reflect a different aspect of God's nature. We are imitating His continued care and maintenance of His creation. From Colossians 1 that says that Christ holds all things together to Lamentations comfort that His mercies are new every morning, God Himself works to provide for the continual well-being of His creation.

I think we get ourselves into trouble when we minimize or isolate any particular aspect of His image and fashion ourselves exclusively after that. He is a holistic, multi-layered God and He has created us to be holistic, multi-layered image bearers. 

Kevin Subra's picture

handerson wrote:

but again, I'd suggest that when we recognize the creative process as a direct reflection of God's nature, we are glorifying and bringing praise to Him. Humanism glorifies and elevates man's creativity and intellect as an end in itself. A Christian understanding of creativity doesn't deny creativity--it simply directs the glory and honor back to God Who is the ultimate source of all we do. This was the distinction I was trying to make--we don't craft and bake simply from a humanistic or mechanistic paradigm. As Christians, the very act of creating is an act of worship when we recognize and acknowledge God as the source--in this way, we are doing all things, including creative arts, to His glory.

And as far as the dichotomy between personal satisfaction and service, yes, we are called to deny ourselves, but we are denying ourselves those paltry, minor, satisfactions like selfishness and pride in order to achieve ultimate personal fulfillment by pursuing love and service. And these are ultimately fulfilling because they reflect the nature of the God in whose image we are made. 

I would just challenge you to find, as a direct premise from Scripture, that pursuing creativity is a reflection of God's image, or as you put it, "the creative process as a direct reflection of God's nature" as a means to bring praise and glory to Him. From what I see from Scripture, that emphasis is not there.

I would say the exact same thing about personal fulfillment. I do not find anywhere in Scripture where our personal fulfillment is encouraged or mandated. We are here to glorify God, following Christ by dying to ourselves. I don't see where personal fulfillment can exist while following Christ. Does He give fulfillment? Yes. But it is not from the pursuit of our own fulfillment. You do not see that as an emphasis whatsoever for the godly Christian woman. Therefore, it must be subordinate to what God does emphasize.

For the Shepherd and His sheep,
Kevin
Grateful husband of a Proverbs 31 wife, and the father of 15 blessings.
http://captive-thinker.blogspot.com

Kevin Subra's picture

pvawter wrote:

Kevin,

Are you the only one who is capable of being creative and focusing on God? That's what it seems you are suggesting. I don't recall the article declaring that we ought to pursue creativity to the exclusion of our service to and worship of God, and yet you argue against the straw man.

Your question is accusatory and misses what I have written in every way. I would encourage you to reread the article, and then read what I have written.

For the Shepherd and His sheep,
Kevin
Grateful husband of a Proverbs 31 wife, and the father of 15 blessings.
http://captive-thinker.blogspot.com

handerson's picture

We must have really different paradigms.

1) Direct passage of Scripture --"Whether therefore you eat or drink or whatsoever you do, do all to the glory of God." My understanding is that everything, including crafting, can be done in a way that either glorifies God or doesn't, that either directs praise back to Him as the giver of all things or directs praise to ourselves. This is fundamentally what makes something Christian (although I recognize that some things by their very nature cannot be Christian, direct sinful behavior for example)--whether we enjoy that steak in praise of His goodness and in consideration of others. Certainly, we do not consume it in our lust while our brothers go hungry beside us, but we also do not deny His goodness in giving us such a good gift to enjoy. In fact, I would argue that we must enjoy it in order to fully accept and honor the gift and thus the Giver. In this way, it is also possible to do "righteous" things in an unspiritual way--our service to others can actually direct praise back to ourselves when we fall into the trap of martyrdom.

And not to pile on, but I'd also offer Ecclesiastes 3;9-13

9What gain has the worker from his toil? 10I have seen the business that God has given to the children of man to be busy with. 11He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end. 12I perceived that there is nothing better for them than to be joyful and to do good as long as they live; 13also that everyone should eat and drink and take pleasure in all his toil—this is God’s gift to man.

2) I do believe in daily dying to myself to serve God and love others but a huge part of doing that comes because I also believe that this is the path to life and blessing and ultimate fulfillment. This precisely what Christ calls us to--abundant life by following Him. By being conformed to His image through the sanctifying process of the Holy Spirit, we are being restored to what we were originally meant to be--His image bearers. This restorative process must invade every facet of our persona and not be limited to "spiritual" compartments of who we are. 

A good illustration of how I understand the juxtaposition of service and self-fulfillment is the act of procreation itself (arguably one of the most God-like, creative things a human being can do.) The intimacy between a faithful, loving husband and wife (who have denied themselves the paltry satisfactions of pornography and adultery) produces an unspeakable joy and fulfillment at the same time that it creates human life. Do you really think that their enjoyment of each other is somehow in competition with their service to each other? Would you take this service vs. personal fulfillment paradigm to the place where you would believe that marital love is designed only for procreation and that you should never rejoice in the wife of your youth? 

And now in a bit of divine irony, I have to go make 300 truffles for my sister's wedding this weekend. Service and satisfaction. Baking and Joy. 

Kevin Subra's picture

handerson wrote:

1) Direct passage of Scripture --"Whether therefore you eat or drink or whatsoever you do, do all to the glory of God." My understanding is that everything, including crafting, can be done in a way that either glorifies God or doesn't, that either directs praise back to Him as the giver of all things or directs praise to ourselves.

I would say that you are using this in just the opposite way the context suggests. It is not suggesting that we can do everything, as long as it is done to the glory of God. It is not a blanket permission for any activity, whether it be creativity or something else. (Things you say later in this post suggest you would agree with that). The text discusses our motivation and purpose -- why we do what we do -- not our activities -- not what we do. It states that everything, even down to our eating and drinking (the most mundane routine activities of life) should be done for the purpose of bringing glory to God.

handerson wrote:

And not to pile on, but I'd also offer Ecclesiastes 3;9-13

9What gain has the worker from his toil? 10I have seen the business that God has given to the children of man to be busy with. 11He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end. 12I perceived that there is nothing better for them than to be joyful and to do good as long as they live; 13also that everyone should eat and drink and take pleasure in all his toil—this is God’s gift to man.

Instead of adding this above, I thought it would apply well here. Notice the context - the worker and the worker's toil. We're not talking crafts or hobbies done for pleasure. We're talking work that is required to live and survive (that is hard and in which we are tempted to complain and not enjoy because of the toil factor). We are to eat and drink and take pleasure in this toil -- while working, watching our children, etc. We are to find this pleasure and enjoyment in the midst of doing what God has assigned. It does not support your premise. It is not a blanket statement that whatever we choose to do is fine with God as long as we somehow reflect God's creativity. God has given us much direction that is to govern our lives. Pursuing creativity (as an end) is not in that mix. I would again suggest you study the "women passages" of the NT and see what God's assigned focuses are, and express our enjoyment and creativity within those. We do not self-define our purposes. The Word does.

handerson wrote:
2) I do believe in daily dying to myself to serve God and love others but a huge part of doing that comes because I also believe that this is the path to life and blessing and ultimate fulfillment. This precisely what Christ calls us to--abundant life by following Him. By being conformed to His image through the sanctifying process of the Holy Spirit, we are being restored to what we were originally meant to be--His image bearers. This restorative process must invade every facet of our persona and not be limited to "spiritual" compartments of who we are.
Amen. I still would suggest that your premise of reflecting God's creativity is not an emphasis. Being holy, serving, walking in the light, etc. are clear, primary mandates.

handerson wrote:
A good illustration of how I understand the juxtaposition of service and self-fulfillment is the act of procreation itself (arguably one of the most God-like, creative things a human being can do.) The intimacy between a faithful, loving husband and wife (who have denied themselves the paltry satisfactions of pornography and adultery) produces an unspeakable joy and fulfillment at the same time that it creates human life. Do you really think that their enjoyment of each other is somehow in competition with their service to each other? Would you take this service vs. personal fulfillment paradigm to the place where you would believe that marital love is designed only for procreation and that you should never rejoice in the wife of your youth?
I believe that our fulfillment should be found within God's directed and designed plan. Marriage is a beautiful picture of that. I don't think enjoyment and creativity are the same thing, however.

handerson wrote:
And now in a bit of divine irony, I have to go make 300 truffles for my sister's wedding this weekend. Service and satisfaction. Baking and Joy.
A wonderful way to be creative in celebrating something God is for!

For the Shepherd and His sheep,
Kevin
Grateful husband of a Proverbs 31 wife, and the father of 15 blessings.
http://captive-thinker.blogspot.com

handerson's picture

 "woman passages." 

I do not want to drag this out but I must insist on a couple points.

1. I never implied that crafting was an end in itself. My point was that there is immense pleasure to be derived from creating (a.k.a., "exercising dominion") not because crafting itself is so great, but because we are made in the image of God. The joy of creating comes from God's nature, not from the product. We love beauty and we love to create precisely because He loves beauty and He loves to create. When we deny this, we end up working out of obligation, mundane legalism, or martyrdom. That approach reflects life after the curse, not a redeemed, restored understanding of human work and creative dominion. 

2. I never argued that we do not sacrifice for the good of others or deny ourselves in pursuit of Christian maturity. But I do not believe that personal satisfaction is at odds with self-sacrifice. We do not serve a slave-master who cares only for Himself. The wonder of Christianity is that God's glory and our private good are inextricably linked.

3. There are no such thing as "woman passages." All Scripture is for the edification of all believers. A woman is made in the image of God to the same degree as a man. She needs to work and be creative as much as a man. Not to be snarky, but do you engage your work the same way you seem to suggest women should? I assume you don't work exclusively at tilling the ground or literally tending the earth. Instead, all of us exercise dominion in different ways--ways that are informed by both our gender and our unique gifting. Do you not feel the thrill of your work, the pleasure of finding new and creative ways to accomplish your specific tasks, of using your mind to tackle a problem and then sitting back once you've accomplished it and delighting in it? When anyone (man or woman) is kept from this process of creative involvement and seeing reward from their labor, they lose something of what it means to be made in the image of God. And the rest of us suffer because we are not blessed by their unique gifting and contribution.

I'm not trying to be confrontational, but I think we're missing each other somehow and I'm still not sure what you find so offensive.

Kevin Subra's picture

handerson wrote:

1. I never implied that crafting was an end in itself. My point was that there is immense pleasure to be derived from creating (a.k.a., "exercising dominion") not because crafting itself is so great, but because we are made in the image of God. The joy of creating comes from God's nature, not from the product. We love beauty and we love to create precisely because He loves beauty and He loves to create. When we deny this, we end up working out of obligation, mundane legalism, or martyrdom. That approach reflects life after the curse, not a redeemed, restored understanding of human work and creative dominion.

All I would suggest is that you be able to back this entire concept up (even just this entire paragraph) from Scripture, not your superimposition of your understanding of the image of God upon Scripture. Measure each statement against Scriptural proof.

For example, does the Scripture say God loves beauty and God loves to create? (I know of neither, and I believe God ceased creating after six days, and only created six days, as far as we know in Scripture.) If not, then the reason that we enjoy beauty and enjoy "creating" may be from a different reason.

If we are not creating, are we left only with obligation (which I find no problem with in Scripture), mundane legalism, or martyrdom? No one would ever again make a bed, change oil, or wash dishes. Creativity is not required to enjoy life or any task, nor is it required to glorify God when even eating or drinking, or to become like Jesus (at least nothing I find in the Epistles points us that way).

Creative dominion is not a term or concept found in Scripture. Exercising dominion is, of course, but that leaves off the creative part, doesn't it?

handerson wrote:
2. I never argued that we do not sacrifice for the good of others or deny ourselves in pursuit of Christian maturity. But I do not believe that personal satisfaction is at odds with self-sacrifice. We do not serve a slave-master who cares only for Himself. The wonder of Christianity is that God's glory and our private good are inextricably linked.

I agree, but in the way I already stated. Our "personal satisfaction" is to be found in taking up our cross and following Him. Does that eliminate creativity? No, but it certainly limits it within the framework of following after Christ.

3. There are no such thing as "woman passages." All Scripture is for the edification of all believers. A woman is made in the image of God to the same degree as a man. She needs to work and be creative as much as a man. Not to be snarky, but do you engage your work the same way you seem to suggest women should? I assume you don't work exclusively at tilling the ground or literally tending the earth. Instead, all of us exercise dominion in different ways--ways that are informed by both our gender and our unique gifting. Do you not feel the thrill of your work, the pleasure of finding new and creative ways to accomplish your specific tasks, of using your mind to tackle a problem and then sitting back once you've accomplished it and delighting in it? When anyone (man or woman) is kept from this process of creative involvement and seeing reward from their labor, they lose something of what it means to be made in the image of God. And the rest of us suffer because we are not blessed by their unique gifting and contribution.

I am surprised at this reaction. There are certainly "woman passages" that deal specifically and directly with women as women. Maybe you would label them something else, but they do not directly pertain to men. Here are a few (I know you could list them yourself):

  • Proverbs 31:10-31 (though written to a man by his mother, but describing a virtuous woman)
  • 1 Tim 2:9-15 - relating to modesty, teaching, and leading
  • 1 Tim 5:9-14 - relating to a woman's focus / responsibilities (I call this the Proverbs 31 of the NT)
  • Titus 2:3-5 - relating to a woman's focus / responsibilities

These very clearly define focuses specifically based upon a woman's gender, in addition to the "everyone passages" that apply to all believers (if I may call them that for consistency). Our creativity is not a focus but an enhancement as we serve God in the capacities He has assigned, as our creative Creator, to us in our various roles, including those derived by our gender. We have been given descriptions and prescriptions for living. Within those guidelines, we serve God and glorify Him, sometimes with creativity (when possible), but always with joy.

As far as this statement: "A woman is made in the image of God to the same degree as a man." I would simply refer you to Bruce Ware's article "Male and Female Complementarity and the Image of God" in the Journal for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, (JBMW 7/1, Sprint 2002, 14-23) as I don't want my scruples with it to divert the course of this thread. I found a yucky formatted PDF copy here - the left margin is cut off on some: http://www.cedarville.edu/personal/sullivan/bio4710/papers/ware_iog.pdf. I can send you a better copy if you would like. It is also supposedly found in the book Biblical Foundations of Manhood and Womanhood (Crossway, ed. by Wayne Grudem), if you might have that on hand, or can get ahold of it. Here is a link to my talking notes when I addressed it a few years ago, if you'd care to read it: http://www.northridgebaptist.com/Teaching/OT/GenesisFoundations/gen01/01.... It is not in "reading format," but rather just outline format with working studies.

handerson wrote:
I'm not trying to be confrontational, but I think we're missing each other somehow and I'm still not sure what you find so offensive.

I am not offended. I simply think that some of what you suggest - your core premise -- is creative itself, and not found in the Bible as you present it. At best it is a speculative definition of the image of God (there are many views), and then it is a speculative overstatement. I agree that God created. I agree that He created us, and that He gave us the ability to think, imagine, design, build, etc. I do not think that by using those faculties that "we all become like our God." Maybe Dorothy Sayers says that we, as you summarize "must be engaged in creative, productive work because they are made in the image of a creative productive God," but the Bible doesn't say that. Anywhere. Life can be interesting via our attitude, our perspective, even our sacrifice. We can enjoy mundane toil that we might face in a factory. We can wash feet and honor God.

For the Shepherd and His sheep,
Kevin
Grateful husband of a Proverbs 31 wife, and the father of 15 blessings.
http://captive-thinker.blogspot.com

handerson's picture

I don't think this discussion can go much further because of basic presuppositions. I do believe the concepts I've referenced have Biblical merit and that they are backed by Scripture and historical theology. The essay is not attempting to present any new theological concepts but simply tying a longstanding theological truth to a current trend.

1. Being made in God's image involves exercising dominion which involves creativity and work. Women and men are both called to exercise dominion over the earth. When women  are not doing this--for whatever reason--they will look for ways to fulfill that need as much as men do. (Men do the same thing by having wood shops and garages and gardens.) I'm not arguing for less domestic involvement but simply for a fuller, more humane engagement of what many godly women have already devoted themselves to. Women are not domestic robots; they must be allowed to be fully human.  

2.God has revealed Himself as a lover of beauty from His design of the natural world to the divinely inspired design of the tabernacle to the book of Revelation that describes New Jerusalem and the glories of heaven. It is entirely Biblical to say that He loves beauty and that as His children, we will be inclined to love beauty too. In fact, Psalm 19 says that the beauty and majesty of the natural world actually reveals His glory.

3. God is continually creating. For starters, Christ manifested His deity by creative miracles--loaves and fishes, water to wine, etc. Further, the very acts of regeneration, sanctification, procreation, and preservation are fundamentally creative acts. The Scripture says that we are "new creations" in Christ--in this sense, everyone who is saved and being sanctified is undergoing God's creative process at this very moment. By definition, God is a creative God.

4. Highlighting "women passages" is theologically dangerous if you have not first laid the foundation of full humanity. The categories of gender only make sense once we agree that men and women are fully in the image of God--that all human beings, regardless of whether we are male or female, need to work, to use our minds, to be in loving relationships, etc. Once we start there, then we can address the things that make us distinct like our specific roles and responsibilities. But if we understand ourselves only in light of functional roles, we will miss the bigger picture, and ultimately we will miss God Himself. My identity as a woman must not start with a list of responsibilities--as sacred as they may be--it must begin with being His image bearer, with being made in His likeness. Starting anywhere else puts the glory and significance on the role instead of on God Himself.

This is not simply theological semantics. This has very practical, everyday implications. If a woman in anyway believes that she is less able to mirror God's image than a man, then we have taught false doctrine and done her a great disservice. She will be unable to be a complete, godly woman. She may be a conservative woman conforming to certain norms, but she will not mature to the image of Christ who Himself is the ultimate revelation of God.

I'm sorry if I come across as overly passionate--maybe it's the woman in me.

 

pvawter's picture

Kevin,
I'm sorry if my question offended you, but your tone suggests that you are the only one who read the article correctly. Do you deny that it is possible to be creative and still glorify God? Is it further possible to glorify God through creativity?
My point, which you seem to have missed, is that these are not mutually exclusive categories.

Kevin Subra's picture

handerson wrote:

I don't think this discussion can go much further because of basic presuppositions. I do believe the concepts I've referenced have Biblical merit and that they are backed by Scripture and historical theology. The essay is not attempting to present any new theological concepts but simply tying a longstanding theological truth to a current trend.

My point all along is that we approach this without presuppositions. I challenge you to approach the Word inductively, deriving your premises from the Scriptures, rather than deducing things and then applying them. What you present is not in accordance with Scripture, and I have discussed and interacted from specific Scripture, not a presupposition if any kind.

handerson wrote:
1. Being made in God's image involves exercising dominion which involves creativity and work. Women and men are both called to exercise dominion over the earth. When women  are not doing this--for whatever reason--they will look for ways to fulfill that need as much as men do. (Men do the same thing by having wood shops and garages and gardens.) I'm not arguing for less domestic involvement but simply for a fuller, more humane engagement of what many godly women have already devoted themselves to. Women are not domestic robots; they must be allowed to be fully human.

This is your primary presupposition. You assume that the image of God is defined by ("involves") "exercising dominion," and then further define it, without evidence, that it involves creativity and work. I do not argue that exercising dominion is not part of human direction given by God (in addition to the other four mandates of Genesis 1:26). Neither do I suggest that creativity or work are wrong. There is simply no Scripture to substantiate in any way that exercising dominion defines (partially or fully) what the image of God is all about, and further, that creativity must be connected to that. The Bible doesn't say these things clearly, if at all. You connect dots that the Bible does not.

The definition of the image of God is not wholly settled. There are many view, some of which would not address creativity at all. Your view fully requires the definition to be settled, and to rest fully on the primary emphasis of expressing creativity in our lives, even though no passage of Scripture instructs us to do so. Something that you suggest is so important is not even addressed in any explicit way by the Word.

The fact that we like to "create" isn't even the best indicator. Beavers and birds create things (dams and nests), for example, by God's design, but they are most certainly not created in the image of God. Their creation reflects the amazing design of God, but it does not prove that they are in the image of God (because the Bible doesn't say that).

Another presupposition you make is that this exercising dominion is some type of need, so that "When women are not doing this--for whatever reason--they will look for ways to fulfill that need as much as men do." Other than the extra-biblical quotes in your article, you offer no evidence to prove this. You superimpose this onto the Bible. Your article is encouraging a recognition of this as a means of "caring for our own souls," which is not hinted at in Scripture in any explicit manner.

You further suggest that this is a need for self-fulfillment, a recapturing of the image of God. "Whether you realize it or not, it's about reclaiming the image of God in us." Nowhere in Scripture are we instructed to reclaim the image of God, or that it is necessary for us to do so, or that we have lost the image of God in the first place. In fact, based upon statements in Scripture after the fall, we remain in the image of God. It does not mean that sin has not in some way affected the image of God, but it is not lost. The basis for capitol punishment in Genesis 9:6 is that we are in the image of God inherently, not at the end of some self-actualizing pursuit. Further, you see the same thing about how we are not to talk about people, not because they have reclaimed the image of God, but because we are all made in the similitude of God (James 3:8-9).

Another presupposition is that if a woman does not embrace this philosophy and perspective, her only option, it is neither "humane," she can be nothing more than a "domestic robot," and she will be less than human. You discard what I call the "woman passages" that are very clear as dangerous, and yet build your view on what isn't said. I believe any woman who desires to obey God would not consider her pursuit of God's explicit will for her life as something to be feared. This has nothing to do with whether such women are creative, but whether they see creativity as something used within their God-given realms of influence rather than an overriding, self-fulfilling necessity.

handerson wrote:
2.God has revealed Himself as a lover of beauty from His design of the natural world to the divinely inspired design of the tabernacle to the book of Revelation that describes New Jerusalem and the glories of heaven. It is entirely Biblical to say that He loves beauty and that as His children, we will be inclined to love beauty too. In fact, Psalm 19 says that the beauty and majesty of the natural world actually reveals His glory.
I will just set this aside as an issue with me and semantics. I would not agree that it is biblical to stay that "God loves beauty" because God has not explicitly revealed Himself as a "lover of beauty" (unless you can provide references - I am teachable). This is an anthropomorphic assignment based upon deduction, putting man's feelings upon God. However, He certainly is one who has created a beautiful creation, and given us the ability to appreciate that beauty. The Bible has declared that God loved the world (John 3:16), for example, for which I am wholly unable to express adequate appreciation, but for which I am thankful.

handerson wrote:
3. God is continually creating. For starters, Christ manifested His deity by creative miracles--loaves and fishes, water to wine, etc. Further, the very acts of regeneration, sanctification, procreation, and preservation are fundamentally creative acts. The Scripture says that we are "new creations" in Christ--in this sense, everyone who is saved and being sanctified is undergoing God's creative process at this very moment. By definition, God is a creative God.
If you relate these concepts, then raising children would be wholly defined in this. Really. So would vacuuming the living room (preservation...), etc. It redefines creativity to a much broader manner than suggest in your article, and almost undermines it. Working with our children and helping sanctify others should be the very "creative" fulfillment you are aiming for and writing about.

handerson wrote:
4. Highlighting "women passages" is theologically dangerous if you have not first laid the foundation of full humanity.

To say that highlighting "women passages" first requires a foundation of full humanity is dangerous itself. First, it places an unbiblical requirement on teachers. Second, it assumes that one cannot learn from these passages without teaching on the image of God (as you would define it too, presumably). I know of no study of Titus 2, etc. that starts there. Maybe they are out there, but I think your statement actually is. A woman certainly can be taught from these passages to be chaste, discreet, to be a homemaker (Titus 2, as an example) without fully grasping the image of God (which I'm not sure anyone does). I certainly am one of the most adamant proponents of understanding the foundations taught in Genesis as a basis for the rest of Scripture (especially Genesis 1-3), but I would not discount the value of the rest of Scripture to be able to accomplish its intended results apart from it (2 Tim 2:16-17).

handerson wrote:
The categories of gender only make sense once we agree that men and women are fully in the image of God--that all human beings, regardless of whether we are male or female, need to work, to use our minds, to be in loving relationships, etc. Once we start there, then we can address the things that make us distinct like our specific roles and responsibilities. But if we understand ourselves only in light of functional roles, we will miss the bigger picture, and ultimately we will miss God Himself. My identity as a woman must not start with a list of responsibilities--as sacred as they may be--it must begin with being His image bearer, with being made in His likeness. Starting anywhere else puts the glory and significance on the role instead of on God Himself.

This is not simply theological semantics. This has very practical, everyday implications. If a woman in anyway believes that she is less able to mirror God's image than a man, then we have taught false doctrine and done her a great disservice. She will be unable to be a complete, godly woman. She may be a conservative woman conforming to certain norms, but she will not mature to the image of Christ who Himself is the ultimate revelation of God.

This again presumes a very unusual idea of the image of God, and even different than expressed in your article. It is not a Scriptural definition as there isn't one (that's what makes the image of God a difficult discussion). However, this is another dangerous definition, brings to question how you would view those unable to work or use their minds or that are not in loving relationships. You say we are fully in the image of God (though you say in your article we need to reclaim that), yet we need these things. I don't argue that it is good to work (to be "occupied"), to use our minds, and to be in loving relationships. (Some of those would be required to be "creative," technically.)

You seem to be afraid of a list of responsibilities. Why? It seems that God did just that from the garden onward. He started with 5 commands to the couple right out of the box. Any "list" does not undermine one's humanity, it affirms it. The fact that God does tell us what to do is unique to humans.

I do not believe you can rightly separate our humanness from our gender, as you suggest. Gender is the essence of humanity from our very creation. "Male and female He made them." Our value is derived inherently from our God-designed distinctiveness, not from ignoring that distinctiveness. That is reflected in every way in mankind's creation. God created Adam, the male, first, put him in the garden, and commanded him regarding the tree. Then he created the woman, and, what, gave her a garden of her own? No. He brought her to the man. The very design of each gender brought with it different emphases and focuses.

Gender distinctiveness is as much part of the "bigger picture" as our humanity. Gender, by God's design, includes those functional roles you disdain to embrace as they are. Understanding that makes no woman fear the "woman passages," because they understand that they are designed by God for those roles in the same way that men are designed for different roles by the same God.

The entire "image of God" topic relates to this directly. You say:

If a woman in anyway believes that she is less able to mirror God's image than a man, then we have taught false doctrine and done her a great disservice. She will be unable to be a complete, godly woman. She may be a conservative woman conforming to certain norms, but she will not mature to the image of Christ who Himself is the ultimate revelation of God.

I understand what you say. However, I find in Scripture that the very essence of a woman regarding the image of God is wrapped up in a man, per God's design, and as reflected in those "woman passages." You find this (to some, horrible) thought in 1 Cor 11:7-9 (which I did not write, by the way):

1 Cor 11:7-9 For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God; but woman is the glory of man. For man is not from woman, but woman from man. Nor was man created for the woman, but woman for the man.

There is a distinction here that directly relates to the image of God as it pertains to gender. It's not an easy passage. It certainly is politically incorrect (which I did not write...).

That is probably why, in Genesis 1:27, and Genesis 5:1, God never says "they" were created in image of God.

Gen 1:27 So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.

Gen 5:1 This is the book of the genealogy of Adam. In the day that God created man, He made him in the likeness of God. 2 He created them male and female, and blessed them and called them Mankind in the day they were created.

There is some major discussion to be had about the word for man (adam) and its several uses in Genesis. Genesis 5 seems to relate the image of God directly to the male. 1 Cor 11:7-9 seems to affirm this (with the implication that the image of God was passed on to the women, indirectly, from the man).

I do think that women departing from this God-designed role is precisely what Romans 1:26 refers to:

for this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. 

The understanding of "natural" and "nature" are involved, and seem to relate beyond procreation specifically to roles. That's another discussion.

No one suggests that the woman, as a woman, is of any less value, ability, intelligence, etc. from this. It is that she finds her meaning in God's design, not her own self-definition. Her God-given "list" is directed towards her husband and her children (which is reflected in every "woman passage" that I know). I refer you again to the articles I linked to before. There's much more there, and there is discussion and argument that goes along with this. However, the Bible does seem to share that the image of God for the woman is found through the man, not independent of him. (They are one, remember, by God's design, not independent.) I certainly believe and affirm that the woman was God's crowning creative achievement, and the man was "not good" without her.

I'll let you sort it out yourself. I have certainly studied it a lot, and I had to change my understanding. I have no ax to grind. I'm fine with whatever God says. I'm required to affirm what God teaches, not make the Word teach what I want it to say, or say it the way I desire.

I'm sure I will meet the hammer of the well-meaning. I would just suggest, before people do so, that they at least read Bruce Ware's article that I referenced earlier before desiring that I no longer inhabit the land of the living.

handerson wrote:
I'm sorry if I come across as overly passionate--maybe it's the woman in me.
Passion is encouraged. Clear, explicit proof is also encouraged.

Hannah, dear sister in the Lord, unless you request a response (via a question, etc.), I will let this be my last comment, and allow you the final word. It is your article, and you must stand by what you say.

I do thank you for the sharpening interaction.

 

 

For the Shepherd and His sheep,
Kevin
Grateful husband of a Proverbs 31 wife, and the father of 15 blessings.
http://captive-thinker.blogspot.com

Brenda T's picture

Abraham Kuyper addressed the image of God and artistic endeavors in one of his lectures on Calvinism

http://www.ccel.org/ccel/kuyper/lecture.toc.html

 

It seems Kuyper was saying that God is the only real Creator and man, because he is in the image of God, mimics creativity and finds artistic things enjoyable. He also pointed out that saved and unsaved alike are both artistic, because every person was made in the image of God. However, Kuyper doesn't portray it as a reclamation of the image of God in us, but rather a recognition of God as the source of artistic ability, and that it is Christians who recognize that. Kuyper also limited this creative aspect of the image of God in us to the arts (music, poetry, painting, etc.). His comments do not lump baking, sewing, decorating, etc. into the same category of "artistic" or "creative" things. His point, if I understood it correctly, was that Christians can and should be involved in the arts in a proper way.

handerson's picture

The implications of this discussion obviously hit very close to home for both of us so it's not surprising that we have both been so highly invested in it. Having said that I think you are treading into some difficult territory.

Theology is about piecing together Scriptural texts, deriving conclusions, and forming a bigger picture. Your desire for an explicit statement in Scripture that says "God loves beauty" is as impossible to find as the statement "God exists in a Trinity." Both of these are derived from theological process--as well as the majority of other doctrines that you and I hold dear. I believe that being made in the image of God involves creativity and that this theological truth is well-grounded in history, the broader scope of Scripture, and established Christian thinking; you are in fact the one offering a novel assumption.

Truthfully though, I think this whole engagement is more rooted in your assumptions about male and female roles and the way those dynamics inform our day-to-day existence rather than whether creativity is essential to our humanity.

When you said, 

However, I find in Scripture that the very essence of a woman regarding the image of God is wrapped up in a man... 

I realized that we would never be able to agree. There is great dependence between men and women. There is beautiful symmetry. There is God-informed and God-designed headship. There is submission. But in no way does a man mediate or convey the image of God onto a woman. In no way is she dependent on a man to exist as an image bearer.  

I agree that there is much debate about what constitutes "the image of God" but it must not be tied to gender--it must transcend gender simply because God himself is not gendered. Whatever "the image of God" is, it must be those things about us that are common to all humans. Our gender certainly informs and give shape to the application of God's image in our work and calling, but at the root, the image of God cannot, I repeat cannot, be dependent on whether I am a man or a woman.

Kevin Subra's picture

Thanks again, Hannah, for the discussion.

For the Shepherd and His sheep,
Kevin
Grateful husband of a Proverbs 31 wife, and the father of 15 blessings.
http://captive-thinker.blogspot.com

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