The only “oops” in the creation narrative has become a way of life as Christian communities are structured with gender-based limitations. This seminar rehearses the narratives of Christian Scripture with its theological impact for challenging the practices of gender bias that have subverted the Christian imagination.
The Gospel According to Eve is a valuable resource for any egalitarian to have in their library. I also recommend it as assigned reading as part of a larger treatment or course on the history of interpretation.
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.
The Bible presents a three-part story of human relationship with God and with each other. This story reveals that both man and woman were created equally in the image of God to fulfill an ideal—a “one flesh,” “naked and not ashamed” relationship. That was the crowning act of creation. The second part of the story recounts our fall from grace and the loss of the fearless love for which God created us. The final chapter of the story finds us redeemed, restored to wholeness with God and with each other, a new man and new woman, restored to new life in Christ.
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.
Manhood is under siege and not because there are women in the board room and men in the laundry room. The crisis that threatens men has ancient roots according to James, and the only real solution is to recapture the even more ancient imago dei we find revealed in those first two chapters of Genesis.
Intellectually we know God is beyond gender; however, using only masculine pronouns sends image-shaping messages to our hearts and minds that are incorrect. By neglecting the feminine imagery for God, we have distorted our understanding of God.