4 Every man who has something on his head while praying or prophesying disgraces his head.5 But every woman who has her head uncovered while praying or prophesying disgraces her head, for she is one and the same as the woman whose head is shaved. 6 For if a woman does not cover her head, let her also have her hair cut off; but if it is disgraceful for a woman to have her hair cut off or her head shaved, let her cover her head. 7 For a man ought not to have his head covered, since he is the image and glory of God; but the woman is the glory of man. 8 For man does not originate from woman, but woman from man; 9 for indeed man was not created for the woman’s sake, but woman for the man’s sake. 10 Therefore the woman ought to have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels.
This is the prooftext to demonstrate that women are not made in the image of God. Now, this ignores the majority of texts that definitely seem to state that women are made in God’s image. I think we should establish a paradigm about what the image of God is and how it was applied.
26 Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” 27 God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.
There is a debate about what the image of God is. Some think it refers to physically resembling God. God is a humanoid looking being and therefore we image him or in his physical likeness, others think it refers to our rational capacities, and others think it means that we representatives of God. The scholarly consensus thinks the last view is the correct one. The common idea is that “image” and “likeness” aren’t distinct(Gen. 5:3).
Fundamental to Genesis and the entirety of Scripture is the creation of humanity in the image of God. 42 The expression “image of God” is used uniquely with reference to human beings and so sets them apart from the other creatures. Whereas the other creatures are created “according to their kinds” (Gen. 1: 21, 24, 25), humanity is made “in the image of God.” Being made in God’s image establishes humanity’s role on earth and facilitates communication with the divine. D. J. A. Clines details a number of characteristics of being made in the image of God. 43 First, the term image refers to a statue in the round, suggesting that a human being is a psychosomatic unity. Second, an image functions to express, not to depict; thus, humanity is a faithful and adequate representation, though not a facsimile. 44 It is often said that the Bible represents God anthropomorphically (i.e., as a human being). More accurately, a human being is theomorphic, made like God so that God can communicate himself to people. He gave people ears to show that he hears the cry of the afflicted and eyes to show that he sees the plight of the pitiful (Ps. 94: 9). Third, an image possesses the life of the one being represented. 45 Fourth, an image represents the presence of the one represented. Fifth, inseparable from the notion of serving as a representative, the image functions as ruler in the place of the deity. Hart explains, In the Ancient Near East it was widely believed that a god’s spirit lived in any statue or image of that god, with the result that the image could function as a kind of representative of or substitute for the god wherever it was placed. It was also customary in the ANE to think of a king as a representative of a god; obviously the king ruled, and the god was the ultimate ruler, so the king must be ruling on the god’s behalf. It is therefore not surprising that these two separate ideas became connected and a king came to be described as an image of a god. 46 The Hebrew perspective bears a distinct difference. In ancient Near Eastern texts only the king is in the image of God. 47 But in the Hebrew perspective this is democratized to all humanity. “The text is saying that exercising royal dominion over the earth as God’s representative is the basic purpose for which God created man,” 48 explains Hart. He adds, “man is appointed king over creation, responsible to God the ultimate king, and as such expected to manage and develop and care for creation, this task to include actual physical work.” 49 Finally, in the context of Genesis, the image refers to the plurality of male and female within the unity of humanity. This concept is also distinct from the ancient Near Eastern perspective.
Waltke, Bruce K.; Waltke, Bruce K.. Genesis: A Commentary (pp. 65-66). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.
The term “man” can either refer to Adam or it can refer to humanity in general. The chiastic structure seems to imply that God made “male and female” in his image.
“man” in Gen 1– 4 is usually preceded by the definite article “the man,” except when preceded by an inseparable preposition such as “to” (2: 20; 3: 17, 21). In omitting the article with the preposition, behaves like “God.” In chap. 5 is used without the article as a personal name “Adam,” but from 4: 1 and 4: 25 it is evident that even with the article “Adam” may be the better translation, just as may well be translated “God,” e.g., 22: 1 (cf. Cassuto, 1: 166– 67). This fluidity between the definite and indefinite form makes it difficult to know when the personal name “Adam” is first mentioned (LXX 2: 16; AV 2: 19; RV and RSV 3: 17; TEV 3: 20; NEB 3: 21). The very indefiniteness of reference may be deliberate. is “mankind, humanity” as opposed to God or the animals ( is man as opposed to woman). Adam, the first man created and named, is representative of humanity (cf. TDOT 1: 75– 87; THWAT 1: 41– 57). (For a diachronic explanation of the variant spellings in chaps. 2– 3 see Barthélemy, 1981). 27 Whereas v 26 used the anarthrous, here in v 27 the definite article is used, and clearly mankind in general, “male and female,” not an individual, is meant. The fulfillment of the divine command is recorded in three brief sentences specifying the most significant aspects of human existence: So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him: male and female he created them. The three clauses are in apposition. The first two are arranged chiastically and emphasize the divine image in man, while the third specifies that women also bear the divine image (on apposition clauses cf. SBH, 55).
Wenham, Gordon John; Wenham, Gordon John. Genesis 1-15, Volume 1 (Word Biblical Commentary) (Kindle Locations 2897-2914). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.
The construction of v. 27 is an embedded poem consisting of three lines, with lines one and two in chiastic arrangement (inverted repetition) and the last line an explication:
a So God created man in his own image
b in the image of God he created him
c male and female he created them
The inner elements of the chiastic lines identify the focus of the poetic verse: the divine image. The third colon specifies that ’ādām (“ man”), created in the image of God, refers to both male and female human life.
Mathews, Kenneth. Genesis 1-11: An Exegetical and Theological Exposition of Holy Scripture (The New American Commentary) (Kindle Locations 3826-3832). B&H Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
In Genesis 5:1-2 we see this similar theme about mankind being made in God’s image:
This is the book of the generations of Adam. In the day when God created man, He made him in the likeness of God. 2 He created them male and female, and He blessed them and named them Man in the day when they were created.
This same image is spread via procreation to Adam’s progeny. So, there is no apparent reason to think it is merely spread to just the male descendants.
This is significant because it demonstrates that the image of God is transmitted through procreation. If we didn’t have this statement, along with Gen 9:6, the reader might be left to wonder if the image of God was unique to Adam and Eve. But this shows the reader that the image of God is shared by all of Adam’s posterity.
Furthermore, Genesis grounds capital punishment in the fact that God has made man in his image:
6 “Whoever sheds man’s blood,
By man his blood shall be shed,
For in the image of God
He made man.
Genesis 9:6 seems to imply people are put to death for murdering an image-bearer. If one were to interpret it differently, then murdering a woman wouldn’t or shouldn’t be punishable by death. But what in the Law of Moses would warrant the idea that murdering a woman wasn’t punishable by death(Lev. 24:17)? Other texts to consult are Psalm 8 and James 3:8-9. Those two texts are about humanity in general and mention that humanity possesses God’s image.
18 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.
21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.
24 Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another.25 They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.
26 Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. 27 In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.
Romans 1 has relevance for its usage of Gen. 1. It calls back to Genesis in different ways. Earlier in the passage, you have God “from the creation of the world” revealing his nature to us and later the referring back to Gen. 1:26-27 by mentioning the exchanging of the “glory” of God for “images” of things. Paul then appeals to the idea that Homosexual and lesbian relations are a corruption of the original creation. This is done in a blatant outgrowth of idolatry.
At least two pieces of evidence indicate that an argument from the created order is constructed in Rom. 1: 26– 27. First, Paul selected the unusual words θῆλυς (thēlys, female) and ἄρσην (arsēn, male) rather than γύνη (gynē, woman) and ἀνήρ (anēr, man), respectively. In doing so he drew on the first creation account of Genesis, which uses the same words (Gen. 1: 27 LXX; cf. Matt. 19: 4; Mark 10: 6). 13 These words emphasize the sexual distinctiveness of male and female (D. Moo 1991: 109), suggesting that sexual relations with the same sex violate the distinctions God intended in the creation of man and woman. Second, the phrase “contrary to nature” (παρὰ φύσιν) is rooted in Stoic and Hellenistic Jewish traditions that saw homosexual relations as violations of the created order (see below).
Schreiner, Thomas R.. Romans (Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament) (p. 214). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
Furthermore, in the same book, Paul mentions that Christians will be redeemed and while we all bear God’s image our image will be redeemed and renewed as we are being conformed to the image of Christ(Romans 8:28–30; Ephesians 4:24; Colossians 3:5–10; 2 Corinthians 3:18). That is an eschatological promise to all those that are Children of God and goes to both male and female Christians. I think this gives prior credence to the Gen. 1 allusion in Rom. 1 is tied with human idolatry:
One last Old Testament background in Romans 1 needs exploration. Genesis 1—3 may also be partly behind Paul’s thought in Romans 1:23, as some commentators think: “and they exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures.” If this is an allusion to Genesis 1—3, which I believe to be probable, then the idea of humanity’s role of reflecting God’s image and their sin in committing themselves to other images would enhance the implicit idea that part of the destructiveness of idol worship is becoming conformed to the likeness of the idol that is revered. Douglas Moo, while not persuaded about the figure of Adam lying in the background here, nevertheless acknowledges the following allusions proposed by others to Genesis 1—3:22 (1) the threefold portrayal of the animal world in verse 23 (“birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures”), (2) the pair of words image (eiko4n) and form (homoio4sis) reflect Genesis 1:26: “let Us make man according to Our image, according to Our likeness.” To this list may be added three more items: (3) that Adam and Eve were the first idolaters in that they shifted their loyalty from God to the serpent, a crawling creature, whose deceitful character they came to represent, since they started lying immediately after their “fall” in Genesis 3:10-13; (4) the combined ideas that the idolaters had “knowledge” and falsely pursued “wisdom” may also reflect Genesis 3:5-6 (“knowing good and evil” and “the tree was desirable to make one wise”); (5) the fact that Paul makes allusion to the golden calf event (via Ps 106:20) may fall well in line with Adamic echoes, since Jewish tradition frequently associated Israel’s sin of idolatry at Sinai with that of Adam’s fall. 23 This Jewish tradition may be another hint that Israel was conceived of as a kind of corporate Adam figure, who fell just as the individual Adam fell. Paul appears to have brought together the primal sin of Adam and that of Israel, recapitulated later in Israel’s history, which Paul sees continues to be recapitulated among all sinful humans. …
That “image” in Romans 1:23 refers to sinful humans reflecting the corruptible creation is apparent further from noticing Paul’s other uses of image. These other uses, while positive, also refer to reflecting something else, whether that be Christ reflecting God (2 Cor 4:4; Col 1:15), humans reflecting God (1 Cor 11:7) or believers reflecting Christ’s image (Rom 8:29; 1 Cor 15:49; 2 Cor 3:18; Col 3:10), where also glory is sometimes used synonymously with image (Rom 8:29-30; 1 Cor 11:7; 2 Cor 3:18; 4:4), as in Romans 1:23.
G.K. Beale; We Become What We Worship: A Biblical Theology of Idolatry (Page 212; 214).
This leaves us with the original text to discuss. I think that Ciampa and Rosner provide the best and most likely interpretation of the passage in debate.
In the previous verses Paul indicated that a woman should cover her head in worship and a man should not, and he indicated that not to do so would be disgraceful, but he did not explain why it was so, except to say that “the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man.” Here Paul explains further why this distinction holds. While this verse and the following could be taken to support the point that the man is the head of the woman (v. 3), the context suggests that it is intended to support the point that the woman should cover her head, since that is not only the final point made in v. 6 but also the implied point of v. 10 and the stress of v. 13 as well. Paul begins this verse with the case of the man, who ought not to cover his head. This is not his main concern, but it provides a foil for the point he wants to make about the woman. The reason the man should not cover his head is that he is the image and glory of God. The woman, on the other hand, is the glory of man (and therefore she should cover her head). That mankind was created in the image of God is clear from Genesis 1:26–27. The image of God is interpreted in Psalm 8 as having to do with humanity being “crowned … with glory and honor” (8:5). Paul probably uses the term “glory” both because it is associated with “image” and because it is sometimes substituted for “likeness” or “image” in references to Genesis 1:27. As Garland points out, Paul moves smoothly from “image” to “glory,” which “then becomes the key term in 1 Corinthians 11:7–9 and counterbalances the notion of ‘shame’ in 11:4–6.”
The references to the glory of God and the glory of man should be understood as keys to what this passage is about, as understood from the stress on “the glory of God” in 10:31. Paul’s statement in v. 7 that man is the image and glory of God; but woman is the glory of man causes some to think that Paul understood Adam to be created in the image of God, but not Eve. In 15:49 however, he says that “just as we have borne the image of the earthly man, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly one,” suggesting that he understands all humanity to share (even if imperfectly) in the image of God as it has been passed down to us through Adam, and that part of our redemption in Christ entails the restoration of God’s perfect image in Christ (cf. Rom. 8:29; 1 Cor. 15:49; 2 Cor. 3:18; Col. 3:10; 2 Cor. 4:4; Col. 1:15). Understanding 11:7 in the light of 15:49 suggests that for Paul Adam was created directly in the image of God and that the rest of us (from Eve on) are made in God’s image as we inherit it from Adam and our parents (cf. Gen. 5:3; 9:6).
That is similar to a rabbinic way of interpreting Genesis 1:26–27 and understanding the relationships between those verses and the narratives in Genesis 2. As D’Angelo has shown (following Boucher), some rabbinic debates over the interpretation of Genesis 1:26 implied that the plural forms (“let us”; “our”) referred to God’s intention to create the first man and woman in unique manners after which every other man and woman would be created by God in conjunction with (through) a human father and mother (thus “our” image would be the image of God and the parents). Thus, “[i]n the past Adam was created from dust and Eve was created from Adam; but henceforth it shall be “in our image, after our likeness” [Gen. 1:26]; “neither man without woman nor woman without man, and neither of them without the Shekinah” (Genesis Rabbah 8:9; cf. Genesis Rabbah 22:2; y. Berakot 9:1). Thus Adam and Eve were created in different manners, and neither of them was created in the manner of the rest of humanity (through a mother and father). The rest of humanity, however, was to come about through God working through both a mother and a father.
The close relationship between Paul’s clear allusion to Genesis 1:26 in v. 7b and his statement that the woman is the glory of the man in v. 7c calls to mind that he understands Adam to have been uniquely made in God’s image (without any human contribution), while God’s image was passed to Eve through Adam. Verse 7 is therefore probably best understood as an interpretation of Genesis 1:26–27 “through the creation account in Gen. 2.”
Gundry Volf argues that Paul’s point is that “man and woman are both the glory of another and therefore both have an obligation not to cause shame to their heads.” This is true, but the question of whose glory each one reflects (and not just that it is of another) seems important to Paul’s argument. It is important because it is appropriate for the glory of God to be reflected in worship, but not that of man. For man’s glory (the woman) to be uncovered in worship does not bring glory to him and/or God but shame.
One of the reasons that Paul does not mention that the woman was also created in God’s image is probably “because he wants to stress the point that she is the glory of man.” Thus Paul’s point is not that women are not made in God’s image but that the way the creation narrative distinguishes between the origin and purpose of the man and the woman suggests that the man (not originating from the woman or being created to complete her) does not reflect the woman’s glory (but only God’s), while the woman does reflect the glory of the man. Verses 8–9 use details from Genesis 2 to explain why the man cannot be understood as the glory of the woman, while the woman can be understood as the glory of the man.
On the basis of the use of the word “glory” in texts like 1 Thessalonians 2:20 and Philippians 3:19 Watson has suggested that in the second part of this verse (where it refers to the woman) the word means “the object of a person’s joy, love and devotion” such that “man as the manifestation of God should not be veiled, but woman as the object of man’s erotic joy, love and devotion should be veiled” since the veil covers a “focal point for the male erotic drive.” While this suggestion fits well with Paul’s broader concerns about the understanding of the church’s need to protect itself against the presence or threat of sexual immorality and with the understanding that an uncovered woman drawing attention to herself would likely have been considered sexually provocative by many in Paul’s context, it does not ultimately convince. Watson contends that Paul is using the word “glory” in two different ways in this verse. He understands man to be the glory of God in the sense of God’s “manifestation or revelation,” but he does not think that meaning makes sense for the woman. She is not the manifestation or revelation of man “for, unlike God, man is not hidden and does not need a manifestation external to himself. Even if he did, why would it need to be concealed behind a veil?” We may be able to answer Watson’s question best without proposing two different meanings for “glory” in a context where the point of contrast seems to be based on the different people who might be revealed, manifested, or honored in the context of the worship of God.
BDAG states that the word “glory” means “reflected radiance” in this verse (evidently in both parts). That is consistent with the understanding of the image of God (or images of gods) in the ancient biblical and pagan contexts. Beale points out that “the notion that Adam was set in a sanctuary as a royal ‘image’ of his God is an ancient concept found even outside Israel.” He points out that Ashurbanipal II “created an icon of the goddess Istar … from the finest stones, fine gold … making her great divinity resplendent.”89 Beale also shows that “[t]he resplendent glory of the image was to reflect the luminescent glory of the goddess herself. Accordingly, the light of the deity was to shine out from the temple into the faces of humanity. Consequently, the idols in Assyria were made of precious metals in order to reflect the heavenly glory of the god they represented.” This idea of the god’s image reflecting and/or representing his glory is not restricted to ancient Near Eastern texts91 but is found elsewhere in the Bible, especially in Paul’s thinking. In 2 Corinthians 3:18 Paul refers to believers as people who “with unveiled faces reflect the Lord’s glory, [and] are being transformed into his image [literally, “the same image”] with ever-increasing glory.” In the following chapter Paul refers to “the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God” (2 Cor. 4:4). Here Paul describes Christ as God’s image, manifest in glory which transforms those who look upon it into the same glorious image. The thought suggests that the glory reflects/reveals/manifests the one whose glory it is and leads others to be caught up in admiration of that one. Paul’s discussion in 2 Corinthians 3–4 also recalls the role of a veil in keeping people from seeing the glory shining recalls an image, which also suggests that Paul has a similar glory in mind for the woman and that it is appropriate for her to wear a veil to keep people from gawking at man’s glory in the church.
The cultic associations of any reference to an “image of God” (or an image of any god, which is expected to be found in cultic contexts and to serve as a conduit for worship of the god represented by the image) are significant in our context since Paul is dealing with proper behavior and adornment in the context of Christian worship. Paul’s ultimate point seems to be that nothing should happen in worship that would detract from God’s glory, including behavior that would draw attention to the glory of man. Hooker points out that the woman’s head should be covered “not because she is in the presence of man, but because she is in the presence of God and his angels—and in their presence the glory of man must be hidden.”
Ciampa, R. E., & Rosner, B. S. (2010). The First Letter to the Corinthians (pp. 523–527). Grand Rapids, MI; Cambridge, U.K.: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company.