A Woman's Worth, by Elaine Stedman
"But it is not the spiritual which is first but the physical, and then the spiritual."
Then God said, "'Let us make man in our image, after our likeness, and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.' So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him, male and female he created them" (Genesis 1:26,27).
From this concise and uncluttered summary of human creation we learn about the equality, the duality and mutuality of our identity as human beings. We learn of our co-dominion over the earth, and recognize that this is a delegated authority, both privilege and responsibility. Since we are made in the image of God, the purpose for our humanity is evident: we are the means by which God is to share himself with his creation. As Dorothy Sayers suggests in "Mind of the Maker", as the artist works to project himself, so God The Creator created man in his own image. This puts our humanity in perspective. God is not our creation; we are his. We cannot simply create God with our imagining. That kind of preposterous fantasy displaces the reality of the transcendent God who is unimaginable to our finite minds. The arrogant "naming of God", a presumption which has lately seized the so-called religious feminists, is the blasphemy of displacing the one and only true God with the human ego--the Potter with the clay, the Shepherd with the sheep, and--unthinkably--the Redeemer with the sinner.
We exist in order to display the character of God to his created universe. The "God-shaped vacuum" in each of us is meant to contain the very essence of life, God himself, in whom we live and move and have our being. It is this dependent relationship of creature to Creator that is the very essence and purpose of human existence. Our intrinsic value derives from the fact that we are God-designed, and that our Creator-God made us to share His Life and thereby to participate in His cosmic, redemptive plan.
In the Genesis account of creation we learn that when the Creator-God had finished the six days of creation, he rested on the seventh day. Certainly God was not compelled to rest because he was de-energized! Nor was his character, his Godness, altered or determined by his work. Rather, his character was revealed, or expressed in his work.
Since we are created in the image of God, it seems reasonable to conclude it is not our role which gives us value; rather it is who we are in terms of our relationship with God and the purpose for which he created us. Our identity is not determined by our role, or function. It is defined by the God who made us. We cannot, therefore, generate our own identity. We have value because he made us; we receive our worth from him . Our sense of failure, guilt, frustration, and lack of identity come from trying to live apart from his character, from his indwelling life. In separating ourselves from his character, we are denying our creative purpose. The consummate privilege of our humanity is our fellowship with God himself. We will love and enjoy his creation proportionate to learning the transcendent joy of loving and knowing the Creator.
The relationship between identity and role, or function, may be compared with the relationship between faith and works. There is no discrepancy between the two, but works are the result of faith, not vice versa. Works are the mode by which faith is expressed. The validity of faith is tested by works. Faith is the foundation; works the superstructure.
What faith is to works, identity is to role. Our femaleness gives us a social function, subsidiary to and dependent upon our human identity. We are essentially spiritual beings, our bodies being simply the visible evidence of that being. In God's economy, the physical, tangible elements are the parable of the essential spiritual realities. God has made the material things to picture spiritual verities. Thus, "The heavens declare the glory of God and the firmament shows his handiwork." And we, his people, demonstrate the glory of his character as we yield ourselves as those "who have been brought from death to life, and (our) members to God as instruments of righteousness."
The purpose for our human existence has, appropriately, been assigned by creative fiat. God has chosen women, as well as men, to be the bearers of his image, vessels in whom his own life is resident, life that transcends death and brings grandeur to every dimension of our humanity, as we live for the praise of our Maker. This is the factor that determines whether we will use or abuse our sexuality.