This final semester of divinity school, I am enrolled in Hebrew one. On today, I love it. Last night I got home from class and spent 2 hours at the kitchen table learning the Hebrew alphabet (aleph-beth) to the tune of Yankee Doodle Dandy. After Thomas got home from his classes around 10, we ate dinner and then spent until 12:45 learning my first week of vocabulary. What a blessing to have someone who reads Hebrew in my household. I was able to check my pronunciation and he was able to give a final review for me, simply allowing me to review the vocabulary by him reading them out loud to me.
Today in class I had an exciting epiphany about a piece in Genesis that is used out of context to speak down to females in churches. When the Bible says "Let us create man in our image," the word for man is AdAm. Although it can mean man, it also means mankind. The passage goes on to say [Genesis 1:26-27] "...male and female he created them."
I learned this verse in the King James Version when I was in Bible drill as a child. I always thought it was really repetitive. I thought to myself it just said he created man, why does it say he created male afterward? Well, the Hebrew goes on to say not again AdAm but uses different words that mean specifically male and female. In other words, I think it should really read "...create HUMANITY in our image, male and female..." I believe that this would be a more correct egalitarian reading of this verse and would open the door to forget the idea that only males were created in God's image.
You see all too often persons think of God in human terms with male characteristics. However, God does not have gender because we were created in God's image and not God in ours. Each human being is a reflection of God and as such the church should be the place that most embraces each person as equally valuable in God's sight. I fear though, that many of the churches in my part of the country are not only a place where gender causes persons to be valued as more or less than others, but it is a breeding ground for such behavior based on a misunderstanding of scripture.
I pray that I will be a teacher, by word and deed, that every persons is indeed made in the image of God.