Image of God, Hormones, and God’s Attributes
The image of God, hormones, and God's attributes don't seem to go together. Well, there is a connection and the last two will help us more clearly understand the first. In Genesis 1:26-27, you see:
Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness,”... 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
In verse 27, you have two phrases
The words "him" and "them" both mean mankind, human beings. That would make the last part of each phrase basically the same wording. If that is true, then maybe the first part of each phrase is interchangeable.
"image of God" may be equal or synonymous to "male and female"
This is not trying to say that God is male and female. The theory would be that maybe the image of God is somehow related to maleness and femaleness.
That is where hormones enter the discussion.
Descriptive Words for Hormones
Below is a representative list for the basic hormones of a man and a woman. What one or two words would you pick if you wanted to represent testosterone or maleness? How about estrogen-progesterone or femaleness?
Estrogen / Progesterone
I realize that talking about these two lists can create arguments from many people based on their views of men and women. The lists do have strong support for the basic nature of both hormones though.
Probably the best two summary words for the testosterone list would be “separate or powerful” – and for estrogen-progesterone “belonging or relational”.
Therefore, if you were describing the combination of the two hormones, you could use “Separate and Belonging” or “Powerful and Relational”. The man would represent the “Separate” and woman would represent the “Belonging”.
Do you think that is reasonable?
Transcendent and Immanent
Christian scholars and theologians often use two words to describe God – transcendent and immanent. Consider the following:
Statements such as Ephesians 4:6, “One God . . . above all, and through all, and in all” indicate that God stands in a relationship of both transcendence and immanence to the created order. In that he is “above all” and “over all” (Romans 9:5), he is the transcendent God, and independent of his creation, self-existent and self-sufficient…on the other hand, in that he is “through all, and in all”, he is immanent in his creation (though distinct from it), and it is entirely dependent on his power for its continued existence. “In him all things hold together” (Colossians 1:17) and “in him we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28). – The New Bible Dictionary, (Wheaton, Illinois: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.) 1962.
Note the description of transcendence states that God is “above all” and “over all”. When you look up the definition of transcendent it contains words like “apart from, surpassing, incomparable, and preeminent”.
On the other hand, immanence states that God is “through all and in all” with the definition including words like “operating within, indwelling, possible to be experienced”.
While not the same, note the similarity between “Separate and Powerful” and the words associated with transcendence. The same is true for “Belonging and Relational” to immanence.
Look at how God describes Himself. While the following is not a complete list, it is representative of what the Bible states are attributes of God. The words represent what He is, His very essence. He is 100% of each of these, always:
Holy, Righteous, Saving, Love, Justice, Judging, Helper, Sovereign, Merciful, Gracious, Truth, Wisdom, Self Existent, Infinite, Eternal, Independent, Compassionate, Relational, Immanent, Immutable, Transcendent, Gentle, Kind, All Powerful (Omnipotent), All Present (Omnipresent), All Knowing (Omniscient)
Now take the above list of attributes and place them into the two categories of maleness and femaleness or “Separate or Powerful” and “Belonging or Relational”. Here is how I arranged the words into the categories.
The only word that does not easily fit into the categories is “love”, primarily because of the way we define love. Love actually has a powerful as well as a relational component, but I put it on the relational side, since it is a critical relational element.
Tying It Together
This is obviously not in-depth research, but the idea that the image of God can be described by using the terms of maleness and femaleness is extremely reasonable. Especially when you utilize the words that He is separate and powerful, and He is belonging and relational.
There are some wonderful implications if this theory holds true. Most importantly, it provides greater clarity to the roles of men and women and the divine picture of marriage – men and women united in marriage would represent the most complete picture of the image of God, especially if each is doing the roles that God ordained for them.
I want to be very clear, when I say His image is reflected in maleness and femaleness, I am not speaking of the physical, but the basic nature. In their design (hormones) men primarily reflect God’s Separate and Powerful attributes, while women, in their design (hormones) primarily reflect God’s Belonging and Relational attributes.
As you look at any man or woman, you may see the opposite side reflected. Why? Development can override design, but the design is still there.
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