What was not discussed in Sunday school this week

In 1 Corinthians 11, Paul, on the one hand, takes it for granted that women pray and prophesy alongside men – historical evidence of female prophetic roles.

On the other hand, he distorts scripture in order to argue that women should do so veiled. The distortion is not always recognized much less challenged, in part because of its longstanding influence on Christian culture and society.

Paul distorts the creation accounts in Genesis 1 and Genesis 2 by using bits and pieces of both, while imposing the latter on the former.

There are two very different creation accounts in Genesis.

In the first, God creates both male and female simultaneously in the divine image and likeness (Gen 1:26-27).

In the second, the Lord God forms the man alone (Gen 2:7) then subsequently derives the woman from the man (Gen 2:21-23) and only after forming the animals.

Paul imposes Genesis 2 on Genesis 1. The result is that according to his distortion of scripture, women are not created in the divine image and likeness.

Here’s the passage, 1 Corinthians 11:6-9 (KJV of course), with references to Genesis in square brackets:

For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God [cf. Gen 1]: but the woman is the glory of the man. For the man is not of the woman; but the woman of the man [Gen 2]. Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man [Gen 2].

In sum:

Man in divine image, hence no veil.

Woman not in divine image, hence veil.

But again Paul is distorting scripture here. The creation account in Genesis 1 clearly states that both male and female are created simultaneously in the divine image. Paul reads and rewrites Genesis 1 through the eyes of Genesis 2, where there is nothing at all about a divine image.

As long as this distortion is allowed to persist in influencing Christian culture and society, even and perhaps especially in sacrosanct settings, it should come as no surprise that women may feel that they are considered to be less (godlike) than men.

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