Explorations of Genesis 2 intent on recovering God's ideal for the interrelationship between male and female often zoom in on the creation of Eve. We are better able to appreciate how the narrative supports that ideal when we engage the whole chapter.
As a change agent in the community, the body of Christ must come to an understanding of the biblical concept of the image of God. An understanding of humanity as the bearer of that image—regardless of any classification society or culture might impose—is intrinsic to the church’s engagement in seeking justice.
Theologians are generally agreed that Genesis chapters 1 to 3 are foundational to biblical revelation, and in particular to a right understanding of the male-female relationship. Today, most commentators on Genesis and Pope John Paul II in a binding encyclical on all Roman Catholics, conclude that in God's good creation man and woman stand side by side, equal in status, dignity and leadership ability; the fall is entirely the cause of women's subordination.
Cultures of hierarchy maintain authority by claiming ontological distinction. The power and dominance inherent in hierarchy, which directly conflict with ontological equality, perpetuates abuse. This session will examine the abuse that results from hierarchical human relationships and the biblical response to dominance.
It is good to bear in mind that traditions – whether Jewish or Christian – have not always stayed loyal to the biblical truth. Nowhere can this be seen more clearly than in the value and status of women throughout the centuries.