Monday, January 4, 2010

Imago dei, again.

Section of a new article I'm writing.

In Genesis 2, this further expresses itself in the freedom for the other within the human community, and not merely with the regard to piety towards God. Focusing in more closely on the sequence of events of the sixth day, we are told that Adam is first given the promise of life within the garden (Gen. 2:15), he is also given dominion over the animals by being granted the act of naming them (v. 18-19). Being given this dominion, he is thereby also free to enter into relationship without losing himself. He possesses all therefore he is in no need of holding himself back from relationship. Relationship will not represent competition for him, but rather freedom for service and love. He is therefore free to receive the woman (v. 21). And he fittingly begets her from his own side. As such, he expresses the divine image of power and glory giving rise to self-giving and love. It is therefore also fitting that the Apostle Paul states that there is an analogy between the Trinitarian relationship between Father and Son and man and woman:
"Now I want you to realize that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man, and the head of Christ is God . . . For man did not come from woman, but woman from man; neither was man created for woman, but woman for man . . . In the Lord, however, woman is not independent of man, nor is man independent of woman. For as woman came from man, so also man is born of woman. But everything comes from God" (1 Cor. 11:3, 8-9, 11-13, Emphasis added).

The word "head" (κέφαλη) can of course (as many have noted) may also be translated as "source."[1] In this context, it would appear that Paul means it in both senses. He is on the one hand insisting on male headship by appealing to the protological relationships between man and woman, while at the same time insisting that this headship/source relationship mirrors that of the inner life of the Trinity.
This is strongly illustrative. The Father is glorified and obeyed by the Son (Jon. 17:1) not because the Son is inferior, but because in an eternal act of self-surrender, the Father has given the fullness of his being and glory to the Son (Heb. 1:3) thereby freeing him to a respond in an act total self-giving. In the same way, male headship is based on the male having given of himself to bring about the woman in the protological marriage (Gen. 2:21-3, 1 Tim. 2:1-11). Elsewhere, Paul notes that Christian marriage restores this relationship of self-giving. The male headship in the Christian marriage is based on the male standing as an image of Christ: "For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything" (Eph. 5:23-4). The male's headship, just as in the case of Christ's headship, is based on being the one who takes the initiative of giving of himself fully to the other, which in turn as we noted earlier, gives the freedom to wife to fully give herself to the husband. This occurs through the loving service of the husband to the wife and his self-sacrifice to her. Possessing fully her husband's self-giving, the wife is then free to honor, glorify and love him. In this, they become mutually united in love and glorification. We can observe this in Adam act of glorification of the woman, which stands in analogy to the Father's love and glorification of the Son (Mt. 3:17,17:5, Mk 1:11, Lk 3:21): "This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called 'woman, for she was taken out of man" (Gen. 2:23 Emphasis added).
In this, the inner life of the Trinity finds its expression in the relational dimensions of the divine image of holiness and righteousness in man and woman together. In the vocational relationship marriage, male and female in the state of original justice mirrors the source and the begotten image of the Father and the Son. Similarly, the mirror the unity of love and glorification in the Holy Spirit. This is not, it should be emphasized, an attempt to revive medieval speculations about vestigia Trinitatis. Rather we are merely working out the relational dimensions of the divine image as holiness and righteousness. If the life of faith, as Luther has insisted, is the righteousness, and if this righteousness is the image of God spoken of in Genesis 1, then it must necessarily take on relational and Trinitarian dimension as it does within the eternal divine being. As lord of the entire world, man is free to surrender himself to other. In order to exercise such freedom, there must be an other to surrender to. Such is the role of woman in the original creation and in Christian marriage.
Furthermore, it should also be noted that it is merely an analogy with the eternal life of God. Humans are not active as God always is, but rather passive. We return to Paul ending remark in the passage above: "But everything comes from God" (v. 13). Eve passively receives her reality from God's creative act. Similarly, the man is made completely inert in that he falls into a "deep sleep" just like Abraham in Genesis 15 when he received the unilateral promise of justification (compare Gen. 2:21 with Gen. 15: 15). Human are therefore only passive in their relationality, whereas each person of the Trinity is mutually active in their subsistence in begetting or procession. For this reason, such vocational relationship comes from the life of faith, that is, the vita passiva.

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