A few weeks ago on Monday nights we took a couple weeks to look at how to think about gender from a biblical viewpoint. Here’s a few more helpful thoughts on the matter from John Frame. This comes from a chapter in the larger of the two books I recommended last week:
Is sexual differentiation an aspect of the image [of God]?
Yes, for everything we are images God. The point is not that God is male, female, or both. To say that our eyes image God, remember, is not to say that God has eyes; it is rather to say that our eyes picture something divine. Similarly, our sexuality pictures God’s attributes and capacities:
(a) It mirrors God’s creativity, by which He brings forth sons and daughters (John 1:12; Romans 8:14ff.; etc.).
(b) The love of a husband for his wife pictures God’s love for His people (Ezekiel 16; Hosea 1-3; Ephesians 5:25-33).
(c) Scripture describes God both in male and in female terms, though the overwhelming preponderance of imagery is male. The reason, I think, is basically that Scripture wants us to think of God as Lord (Exodus 3:14; 6:3, 7; 33:19; 34:5ff.; Deuteronomy 6:4ff.; cf. Romans 10:9f; 1 Corinthians 12:3; Philippians 2:11), and lordship, in Scripture, always connotes authority. Since in the Biblical view women are subject to male authority in the home and the church, there is some awkwardness in speaking of God in female terms. Our need today, in my opinion, is for a far greater appreciation of the Lordship of God and of Christ. Therefore, in my view, the movement to use unisex or female language in referring to God is fundamentally wrongheaded from a Biblical perspective.
(d) Nevertheless, the very submission of the woman also images God. God the Lord is not too proud to be our “helper.” Christ the Lord is not unwilling to be a servant. Godly women stand as models, often as rebukes, to all who would be leaders (Matthew 20:20-28).
And here’s his summary and conclusion:
Women and men equally image God, even in their sexual differences, even in their differences with regard to authority and submission.
The reason is that the image of God embraces everything that is human.
Both men and women, therefore, resemble God and are called to represent Him throughout the creation, exercising control, authority, and presence in His name. This doctrine is not at all inconsistent with the subordination of women to men in the home and in the church. All human beings are under authority, both divine and human. Their submission to authority, as well as their authority itself, images God.